I want to share some important information regarding the review of adjustments to school schedules for the 2018-2019 school year by the administration and Board of Education.  This comes out of discussions that have been underway with the BOE Program, Student Liaison, Health & Wellness and other committees who have been looking at ways to innovate the high school schedule. We are continuing to review and revise the original proposal to minimize disruption to current school hours and transportation schedules at our other schools. 

The high school schedule has been a topic of discussion and an area of focus for roughly two years or more.  In part, the question of how we best use school-scheduled time was born out of our work with Stanford University’s Denise Pope as part of her May 4, 2016 presentation, Overloaded and Underprepared.  These conversations were formalized in one of our district goals this year.  District Goal #3, reads: we are looking, “To address scheduling and the use of time towards maximizing student learning, targeting scheduling elements at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.”

The proposed schedule allows for an innovation hour at MHS in the middle of the day by capturing a few minutes of time from the end of the day, class periods, and homeroom.  This proposed schedule meets several goals:

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  • An innovative schedule allows for students to have built-in, decompression time during the school day.
  • An innovative schedule allows for students to access their teachers during the extended lunch period to receive extra help or merely “connect.”
  • An innovative schedule may allow us to increase teacher collaboration time.
  • Time for club meetings and short assemblies
  • Time for students to meet with counselors, child study team members or go to the MHS Student Center.
  • Seniors would have a study hall/advisory period during Semester 1 to allow guidance counselors to confer with individual students without having them miss instructional time. It will provide time to work on college applications and essays, and for students to receive help and counseling. This is something that has been requested by students and parents over the years. Seniors will still have senior privilege,  during which time they may leave campus.   

Next Steps… 

We are hoping to have a new proposal for the Board of Education to review at the April 30th BOE meeting.  We will plan to send it to parents in advance of it being presented in public.


Challenge Success

I am excited to announce another district effort to enhance our work in support of helping students find a healthy balance in their pursuit of excellence. Teams of educators from MHS and MMS will be attending Challenge Success conferences this summer to learn about implementing this program to make positive changes in curriculum and assessment, homework policies, the daily school schedule, and health and wellness programs. Our upcoming work with Challenge Success will help us assess and provide support for the work already in motion across grades 6-12 to increase academic engagement and well-being for students.  We’re really looking forward to our partnership with them. 


Health & Wellness Parenting Opportunities:

We continue to provide opportunities for parents to learn strategies for supporting your students. Parents at this week’s Empower Hour were empowered to tackle some difficult topics – from children's’ and parents’ fears and concerns, to race and diversity.  I am looking forward to continuing these important conversations around the district. 

Mark your calendar now for these upcoming events:

  • Tuesday, April 24: Winning Strategies for College and Career Success, New Providence High School, 7:00 pm (Consortium Parent Wellness Series) 

Join Dr. Joel Ingersoll, a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Master Coach for a parent program in which Dr. Joel will lead a one-of-a-kind experience, designed to help you maximize your student’s adjustment to college and give them an edge in thriving throughout their first-semester experience. 

Please see flyer for more details: 4-24-18 Consortium  

  • Thursday, May 10: Parent Academy Trifecta Gateway, Chatham High School, 7:00 pm (Consortium Parent Wellness Series)

• Learn about the latest drug trends

• Learn about the signs and symptoms to watch for

• Be better equipped to speak with your children

• Be given tips and advice to better prevent drug and alcohol use from affecting your children

See flyer: 5-1—18 Consortium

  • Wednesday, May 2: SCREENAGERS

Millburn PTOC town-wide Parent Education Committee presents the award-winning film SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age, a documentary about the biggest parenting issue of our time. The movie focuses on the dilemma of watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span.

There are 2 opportunities to see the film: 11:30 a.m., Millburn Bowtie Cinema; 7:30 pm, MHS Auditorium with a panel discussion about social media and its impact on academics and social and family life.


Celebrate our planet this weekend:

Tomorrow: 13th Annual Essex County Earth Day Celebration,  11 am to 4 pmEssex County Environmental Center, Roseland

Free Day-Long Event Features Canoeing, Hiking, Gardening Tips, Honey Bee Demonstrations and More


Sunday: Help our own Millburn Green Team to reduce plastic use, by “skipping the straw” and refusing disposable plastic bags. Beginning on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22, the Millburn community will be asked to adopt the practice of refusing and replacing single-use plastic. Learn more at the Green Team table at Sunday’s Street Fair! 


 Youth Art Celebration - Thursday

Please join us for this year’s celebration of student art from grades K-12 on Thursday, April 26th from 6:30 to 8:30 pm in the High School Gym.  The art show will include 2D and 3D artwork, including drawing, collage, printmaking, digital design, painting, sculpture, ceramics, quilting, and metalwork.  It’s our own “Millburn Museum of Modern Art!”  Please stop in to enjoy the work of our talented students.


See you on the Red Carpet at the Film Fest tonight where you will have another opportunity to see the talents of our visual artists on display!