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Monty Tech Super Bowl Champs 2015

NO SCHOOL – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2016

Principal's Office
Thomas Browne, Principal
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District
1050 Westminster Street
Fitchburg, MA 01420
Email:  browne-thomas@montytech.net
Phone: (978) 345-9200 Ext. 5205
 
From the Principal's Desk

Happy New Year to the Monty Tech Community!
 
I vaguely remember commenting around this time last year that we had not really experienced much snow and that it seemed like it might be a casual winter. I will not make the same mistake this year, but I do hope that everyone has been enjoying the winter months so far.
 
Before I move on to updating families on initiatives and upcoming events at the school, I do want to take a moment to address the school’s unfortunate incident on January 7.  As I shared with families that afternoon, Monty Tech received a series of non-specific threatening phone calls from what was determined to be a single individual.  In response, based on evidence that was available to school administrators and our partnering local police and fire departments soon after the original call, Monty Tech chose to remain in session rather than react to threats that we were extremely confident were part of a hoax.  I hope that families will understand the assessment of the strength of our evidence when you consider that it was a mere 4˝ hours between the original call and when the alleged suspect was in the custody of police. 
 
While I am thankful for the many positive responses that we received from members of the school community, I want to acknowledge the concern of some parents in regards to the incident. I wish that I could share more information to help families understand the process that police, fire and school officials went through to determine our plan of action, but that would be inappropriate in light of the upcoming prosecution of the suspect.  Nevertheless, as I stated in my message to the school community, our primary focus throughout the morning was the safety and security of the students, faculty and staff.  All families should be aware that the administration chose at the start of the school year to review School Safety Plans as part of our 2015-2016 District Improvement Plan.  Thus, we had many of the necessary strategies in place to deal with such a scenario already. 
 
Furthermore, in many cases, threats like the ones we received are often directed at simply causing chaos at the school and disrupting the lives of everyone in our school community.  If we have the proper evidence to make the decision to remain in session, we cannot satisfy the perpetrator’s intent, but instead must send the message that not only is our safe learning environment sacred but that we will also use our evidence to identify offenders, arrest them and charge them to the full extent of the law.  Lastly, I would ask all members of the school community to avoid succumbing to the rumor mills on social media.  Unfortunately, the school is constrained from sharing exactly what happened that day, and sadly in these cases some people choose to use that fact to completely fabricate their own facts.  If you have specific concerns, I urge you to share them with me rather than turn to the internet and, if possible, I will clarify the information.  In conclusion, again, I am very proud of the collaborative efforts of the administrative team and our local fire and police departments, and sincerely hope that we will not need to address issues like this any time soon.
 
On a more positive note, I would like to briefly share two important results of this month’s School Committee meeting that affect some essential initiatives at Monty Tech.  First, Monty Tech will be taking its first steps to potentially expanding our vocational program offerings and facility as we continue to explore the addition of a Veterinary Technician program for the 2017-2018 school year.  A recent presentation demonstrated the need and interest for such a program in the Montachusett region, and the school is considering using our own students and instructors to build a veterinary clinic and classroom on campus as a separate facility during the 2016-2017 school year.  This effort would be funded by in-kind efforts of the district, but primarily through private donations that are amassing due to the efforts of our superintendent, Dr. Sheila Harrity. This month, the School Committee voted to approve funds to complete an exploratory design for the program’s facility which will hopefully lead to the formal construction later this year.
 
In addition, as many families may recall, Monty Tech became a Google school last summer as we switched over to the Google platform and G-Mail.  Following this change, the school chose to invest in a significant purchase that allowed all faculty and paraprofessionals to be provided with a Chromebook device so that we could begin to access the benefits of the Google for Education platform.  This was accompanied by a series of professional development trainings for faculty as we began to see more and more applications of the platform in our classrooms and shops. However, it has been determined by the administration that we cannot fully benefit from this platform if students themselves do not have a device in their hands.  Thus, following the School Committee’s approval, Monty Tech will launch a 1:1 Chromebook initiative meaning that all students will be provided with a Chromebook device for the 2016-2017 school year.  There is much work left to launch this effort, but we are incredibly enthusiastic that this important initiative is now formally underway.
 
Still, while these future efforts are on the horizon, the reality is that we are approaching the mid-point of our current school year which means that we will begin our midyear exam schedule with Sophomore-Senior Exam Week from January 19-22 and then Freshmen-Junior Exam Week from January 26-29.  The full schedule of specific exams is available on the school’s main web page.  In addition, parents and guardians of Freshmen should be aware that our Exploratory period ends January 29th as Freshmen will be formally assigned to their shops for second semester which is scheduled to begin February 1st.  Our hope is that 2nd Quarter Report Cards will be sent home on February 5th.
 
Of course, as we know from last year, all of the above dates are subject to change due to weather, but let’s all hope that we do not have a repeat of last year!!
 
Best wishes,
 
Tom Browne
Principal
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