Montclair High School parents, frustrated by a proposed schedule at the high school starting May 20, are petitioning the school to adopt an alternate plan created by parents. The petition, started Sunday, is entitled “Don’t Stick Our Kids in Study Halls: Adopt the MHS Amended May 20th Proposal”.
The petition calls for MHS Principal Anthony Grosso, Montclair Schools Superintendent Dr. Kendra Johnson, members of the Montclair BOE, and Mayor Robert Jackson to adopt an amended May 20th plan that would reduce the amount of study hall time proposed in the May 20th proposal and offer other options to students. The amended plan proposed in the petition is in response to the M20 Transition plan announced by the district at a meeting by Mr. Grosso.
The petition reads as follows:
Dear Mr. Grosso, Dr. Johnson, Members of the Board of Education and Mayor Jackson,
We understand that this has been an extraordinary year in which the MHS staircase collapsed and asbestos was found. We appreciate that the repair and rebatement work will begin in a timely manner so that we can ensure an on-time start to the AY 2019-2020 school year.
We are writing to express our dissatisfaction with the Current District May 20th Proposal, which:
- warehouses our children for at least three hours per day in study halls,
- crams all students into one over-crowded and chaotic lunch period,
- sends a very clear message to students that attendance is more important than instruction, and
- wastes students’ time and our taxpayer dollars, with no ability for families to authorize their students to pursue additional opportunities off-campus.
We urge you to adopt the Amended May 20th Proposal (the “Amended May 20th Proposal”)(see link for the full Amended May 20th Proposal). The Amended May 20th Proposal works within the framework already provided by the district and provides for:
- A reduction in study-hall time for most students from 3 or more hours to either 2 or 1 hours
- A divided lunch period, reducing the number of students eating lunch at the same time and making food service options and discipline easier to manage.
- An additional 210 minutes of instructional time for the typical student from May 20th until June 24th.
- An “Off-Campus Success Opportunities” option through which parents authorize their students to leave campus during study halls to pursue additional educational and social/emotional growth opportunities.
- The minimum state-mandated attendance hours.
We understand that the May 20th construction deadline is looming. Given this very real time constraint, the Amended May 20th Proposal modifies and improves upon the existing district plan without requiring a complete scheduling overhaul. It makes attendance from 8 am to 2:32 pm (or 2:30pm) the default, adds instructional time, and reduces the number of minutes students will spend in study hall. It adds flexibility for families to authorize their students to leave campus and engage in other educational or community-based activities during non-instructional times. And it will provide smaller-sized learning environments for those students who remain on campus throughout the day.
Attendance is not instruction. Even in emergent times of collapsing and asbestos-laden stairwells, we owe it to our students to do better. We hope you will adopt the Amended May 20th Proposal. Thank you for your consideration.