Monument Students & Families – 

Good afternoon everyone.  Since my email last Friday, the situation with COVID-19 has continued to evolve with closures to non-essential businesses in the Commonwealth and additional recommendations for increased social distancing measures as we collectively work to “flatten the curve”.  In this afternoon’s press conference, Governor Baker announced the Massachusetts public schools closure will be extended with an earliest return date now set at Monday, May 4, 2020. In light of this new information, I write to share immediate next steps as well as our developing plans to transition to at-home and online learning for this extended school closure.

First, every family should have by now heard from your advisor who is reaching out to determine your current access to technology in the home, both in terms of hardware and connectivity.  As we look to moving to more virtual and online connection, the District is committed to providing the necessary support for student success. Please take a few minutes to respond.

Food distribution remains a District priority.  This week will be the last of DAILY lunch and breakfast distribution.  Beginning THIS Friday and continuing EACH Friday, we provide additional quantity for the following week.  This shift is to address the Governor’s guidance to reduce exposure. There will still be pick up at our four locations; Monument Valley, the Stockbridge Town Hall, the Housie Dome and the Great Barrington Fire Department; as well as delivery if needed. Please reach out if you would like to be added for this service.

Next, I have asked each teacher to focus with students over the remainder of this week and through next week on completing the third quarter.  Third quarter grades should be based only on work leading up to our school closure. However, students have the opportunity to complete unfinished or missed work, or to improve on work that had been done, since they did not have the final three weeks of the quarter to do this in school.  While I know receiving multiple emails from many teachers is overwhelming, the goal is to tie up these loose ends and prepare to move into the fourth quarter. I encourage each student to check on PowerSchool for third quarter grades. If you forgot your login, please email Dede Norton for support.  If you believe something is missing, please connect with the teacher.  If you need support or are overwhelmed with too much, your teachers are ready and waiting to help. Please send them an email.  They can connect virtually or by phone. You can also reach out to your guidance counselor; Mike Powell or Marcie Velasco; or your special education liaison; or our school adjustment counselor, Pam Morehouse or school clinician, Casey Wilton

Looking toward the extended closure, I have been working this week with the administrative team, Peter Falkowski, and teacher leaders on the structure for learning as we enter fourth quarter.  The planning is still underway but there are several components we will be including. First, each student will have an adult they have worked with this year who will serve as their mentor for their learning experience.  Teachers will be working in teams to streamline communication for families and students. The experience will include a social component and a wellness component, in addition to academics. I fully understand the devil is in the details, so to say, and there are going to be a multitude of questions. We will get through this and address concerns and questions as they arise.  It is important to remember the circumstances are unprecedented and we are working hard to create a structure to continue each student’s learning as well as provide the needed connection for support.

On a final note, many teachers will be emailing students and families directly from PowerSchool.  If you wish to reply, please DO NOT hit the reply, rather please click below the original email where it says “SENT ON BEHALF OF teacher email”

As always, please reach out if you have a need or a question.  I am happy to help and support!

Be well –

Kristi Farina

Monument Mountain Regional High School
600 Stockbridge Rd
Great Barrington, MA 01230
(413) 528-3346