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An important message - Schools must open on Thursday, April 5 and Friday, April 6, 2018.

 

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Dr. René Rovtar                                                                                                                             Phone:   (973) 331-7100

Superintendent of Schools                                                                                                              Fax:       (973) 316-4640

 

March 22, 2018

 

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As you are aware, as of March 22, 2018, the Montville Township Public Schools have used seven snow days. We only had five make-up days available to us in our school calendar. The formula to make-up the additional four days is found at the bottom of the school calendar and lists the days in the following order; April 6, April 5, April 4, April 3, and April 2. Based on this formula we will need to attend on April 6 and April 5.

A number of parents have reached out to me suggesting that days be added on to the calendar in June to allow us to maintain a full week of spring break. We are unable to add days on to the end of the year due to our longstanding tradition of Project Graduation, the alcohol-free celebration that is held for our graduates on the night of graduation (this year scheduled for the last day of school on June 21st). The contracts and arrangements for that event are finalized well in advance and the date is not flexible at this point.

The need to make-up days over the Spring Recess has caused many issues for our students, families, and staff. Vacation plans which include non-refundable tickets, needing time off for religious holidays, college visitations, and our attendance policy have all contributed toward these issues and have created a great deal of stress for many.

To help families make plans for the months ahead, we have developed a plan. The primary goal of the plan is to support our students, particularly our high school seniors, so they can complete their high school careers in a productive manner, while reducing their stress as much as possible. The other goals are to respect the situations that our families and staff members find themselves in as a result of the winter weather.

Below I am listing the essential parts of the plan:

At this time I expect that we will hold full days of school on Thursday, April 5 (Day 1) and Friday, April 6 (Day 2).

The vast majority of our juniors are enrolled in a health class during marking period three. Our attendance policy, for quarter courses, calls for loss of credit if a student is absent from class more than three times, whether the absences are excused or unexcused. The New Jersey Department of Education does not consider vacations as excused absences, even if there are nonrefundable deposits involved. The Board of Education has agreed to allow me to work closely with the high school administration and use our discretion in allowing students to miss more than three days of health class for appropriate reasons. These absences must be associated with unavoidable absences because of pre-existing plans established prior to March 9.

Our current attendance policy allows for three excused absences for college visits. The Board has agreed to allow me, working with the high school administration, to use my discretion regarding college visits and college orientation days. Thus more than three college visits/orientation days can be allowed – proof must be provided.

The vast majority of our seniors are enrolled in a health class during marking period four. Our attendance policy, for quarter courses, calls for loss of credit if a student is absent from class more than three times, whether the absences are excused or unexcused. The Board has again agreed to allow me to work closely with the high school administration and use our discretion in allowing students to miss more than three days of health class for appropriate reasons. These absences must be connected to college visits and college orientations. 

Discretion regarding health class absences will not be extended to any student who has an unexcused absence the day or days following the prom weekend. 

The New Jersey Department of Education requires at least 180 days of instruction. The make-up days are to be used to move the instructional program forward, and teachers will introduce new material to their classes when appropriate. However, during the spring break make-up days on April 5 and 6, no tests or other major assessments will be given. 

The district is operating in good faith by making the adjustments listed above. We ask for your cooperation in providing documentation when necessary and working with us to solve this complicated issue.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

 

Sincerely,

René Rovtar

René T. Rovtar, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools