Superintendent Dr. Thomas A. Gorman, Montville Township Public Schools

In 1863, amidst the middle of the Civil War, President Lincoln declared that the fourth Thursday of November would be set as the first official national Thanksgiving Day. This day of thanks means many things to different people and is celebrated in various ways by families.

For most of us, Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season. But the holiday also signifies a season of tradition that reminds most of home and family.

At our family gathering, after all the food was placed on the table, grace was said. Then each person at the table had an opportunity to reflect on their high and low for the year. Memories of lost loved ones were shared and funny moments that occurred during the year were recounted. But each person concluded with something for which they were grateful. This “Attitude of Gratitude” was most impactful at the table and, indeed, is most impactful each and every day.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Americans enter the holiday season where religions, families, and communities share and celebrate traditions and customs. But at the heart of all these relationships and traditions is the feeling of gratitude and goodwill towards others.

The success of the Montville Township Public Schools can be attributed to many factors. MTPS students are conscientious about their studies, engaged in arts and sports, and active in the community. Behind the scenes are parents, guardians, grandparents, relatives, mentors, educators, and friends who provide support and guidance, and who sacrifice, to help students build confidence and achieve success.   

In this, the “Season of Gratitude”it is important to reflect on those for whom we are thankful.  

As the Superintendent of Montville Township Public Schools I am thankful for our students and all of those people who support our students, our teachers and our school district. 

I am grateful for the faculty and staff who make everything run smoothly and provide wonderful opportunities for all students.

Every day the educators of MTPS come to school to Educate, Inspire, and Empower the students. Teachers teach their subject matter but also teach about life through their classroom lessons. The secretaries, custodians, maintenance staff, lunch providers, substitutes, paraprofessionals, administrators, and faculty have a tremendous impact upon the 3,400 children of this school community. Each student excels in their own way and at their own pace and all of these individuals assist in opening doors to student learning. The educators bring to life the curriculum in areas of study such as math, science, the arts and humanities, athletics, civics, health, business, and so many other important subjects. In return, educators and other staff members receive notes of gratitude from students about the positive impact they have had on student lives.

MTPS students know that gratitude is important in life and as a result, from pre-K to grade 12 they belong to many service-oriented clubs at all school levels. Students get involved in helping other students with their academics, and they fundraise to battle cancer, homelessness, and many other needs, and they collect food or articles of clothing for the most vulnerable.  

I am also grateful for the support of the Montville Township community and an active business community. Our senior citizens, business owners and other organizations work tirelessly to support our students and the four A’s: Academics, Athletics, Arts and Activities. Without this support many innovative educational initiatives would be curtailed or unavailable to our students. The community is a vital component of a successful school district, and Montville Township is home to active and dedicated businesses and organizations.

One of these organizations, The Montville Educational Foundation, has fundraised $200,000 over the past 15 years to provide educational grants to each of the schools so that teachers may expand or implement innovative programs. This group of MEF volunteers fosters and promotes unique approaches for excellence in education. They raise funds to assist Montville Township educators who have developed cutting-edge ideas that require additional funding to bring these dreams for the students to fruition. 

Another organization is the Montville VFW Post #5481. This organization sponsors important civics programs in Robert R. Lazar Middle School and the Montville Township High School. VFW members and other veterans are also honored participants in the renown Cedar Hill Elementary School’s Veteran’s Day celebration. During the celebration students share letters of gratitude with veterans, and thank each veteran for their service. Throughout the day, veterans go into each classroom and speak with the students, sharing their experiences and answering questions. At the end of the day, a school-wide assembly is held where students sing patriotic songs and recognize each service member in the audience. The event ends with "Taps" being played by an MTHS student and everyone attending departs in silence out of respect for those who have served our country. It is a beautiful tribute that brings tears to many.

I am grateful for an army of parent volunteers who provide extraordinary support for our students and teachers. Support such as the Band and Athletic Boosters, the parent organizations – like the HSA, PTA, and PTC – class parents, Monday Memo volunteers, and so many others; all of which raise funds, chaperone field trips, serve on lunch duty and task forces, set-up for competitions, host banquets and celebrations, sponsor assemblies, and cheer enthusiastically for all students. 

These volunteers also facilitate open communication and foster goodwill and cooperation between the school and parents. Along the way, they help build positive and productive relationships for everyone attending and working in the schools and throughout the community. 

I am grateful for the Board of Education, a team of nine volunteers who selflessly devote their time and energy toward making sure the district is run well. MTPS has an excellent Board who works tirelessly to ensure the students and educators have what they need to be successful. This educational support prepares students for life.

The “Season of Gratitude” goes way beyond the Thanksgiving dinner table. In this season, students know to give back in different ways because of what they are taught in school, in religious communities, and at home.  

The children of Montville Township are grateful and care for others, and for that I am very appreciative. MTPS students embrace an “Attitude of Gratitude.” When you get a chance, ask them what their high and low for the year is and what they are most grateful for. Their answers may surprise you…but then again maybe they won’t, because their “Attitude of Gratitude” is part of their character, not just a part of the season.

-December 1, 2023

The ""Superintendent's Column"

by Dr. Thomas A. Gorman also appears in

"The Citizen" newspaper and on-line at "MontvilleTAP"