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Clayton Community Letter

June 29, 2020

Dear Clayton Community:

I hope this letter finds you safe and healthy. As we turn the page on the 2019-2020 school year, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of our teaching staff and administrators. What they were able to accomplish over the last few months is nothing short of astonishing. My “Clipper Pride” in their professionalism during this time of uncertainty has only grown.

We now have a new challenge before us – how to re-open school safely for all our students and staff. Last Friday afternoon, the New Jersey Department of Education announced re-opening guidance for our schools. From my preliminary review of the plan, here are some of the key takeaways from The Road Back: Restart and Recovery Plan for Education. The link to the plan is provided below.

https://nj.gov/education/reopening/NJDOETheRoadBack.pdf

  • School year will start either in person or as a hybrid model (partially online)
  • Social distancing in the classrooms will be required
  • Social distancing on buses will be encouraged
  • Staff and visitors will be required to wear face coverings
  • Students will wear face coverings when social distancing cannot be maintained
  • Students and staff will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19
  • School lunches will be permitted, subject to health and safety protocols
  • Recess and Physical Education will be permitted, subject to health and safety protocols
  • Districts must be prepared to quickly return to remote learning if health conditions worsen
  • Trauma-Informed Social Emotional Learning (SEL) will be incorporated
  • Educational, emotional, and mental health supports will be involved
  • Staff training and supports will be incorporated
  • School funding will be impacted
  • Pandemic Response Teams will be formed
  • Districts will be required to submit re-opening plans

As the New Jersey guidelines were just issued, we are currently reviewing this document. Clayton School Public School District has taken some preliminary steps in developing our plan. We have formed a re-opening task force made up of administrators, health professionals, and teachers. This task force will be reviewing the state guidelines and developing a re-opening plan for Clayton. The task force is split into six sub-committees:  Facilities, Governance, Instruction, Technology, Operations, and Wellness. Each sub-committee has been reviewing best practices from other state plans, CDC, and the New Jersey Department of Health.  In addition, within the next week we will be posting a survey on our website for parents to complete

in order to get your input for our plan. It is my hope that at the end of this process we will have a comprehensive plan that will allow us to return to school safely.

Finally, I want to thank you again for your patience and understanding. The last three months have been an unprecedented time, and your flexibility has been essential in making it a success. This new school year will bring its own challenges. As always, I know we will meet them.

Clipper Strong!

Sincerely yours,

Nikolaos C. Koutsogiannis

Superintendent of Schools

Posted in: District News, High School News, Middle School News

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Summer 2020 Learning Activities

We are pleased to announce that our district will continue its tradition of providing learning activities in the summer. Research data has proven that students who engage in summer learning
activities reduce the effects of the “summer slide”. Summer slide causes students to lose what they have learned during the school year due to the free time that they have in the summer
months, when they are not engaged in learning activities. This year, students and parents will be provided with the following:

  • A recommended list of books to read for each grade level/grade span
  • Access to iXL Math and ELA (K-8)
  • Recommended websites and apps to practice ELA and Math skills
  • Suggestions for parents to assist students with reading (K-5)
  • Key skills that should be mastered by the end of each grade for ELA and Math (K-8)

We would also like to inform you that students will not be required to complete a summer reading project this year. Instead, we are strongly recommending that all students make time to
read and practice math skills as often as possible.

You will find all of the information for the above activities on our district website below. 

Thank you for your support and participation. Have a great summer.

Questions?
Contact Tanya Clark- tclark@claytonps.org
Clayton Public School District

 

Summer Reading K-12:

Summer Math K-8:

Math – Key Skills To Be Mastered For Each Grade Level

ELA: Key Skills To Be Mastered For Each Grade Level

Posted in: District News, Herma Simmons Elementary News, High School News, Middle School News

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Student 1:1 iPad Update for current 6-11th Grade Students

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, we are announcing that all students should keep their 1:1 iPad device during the summer. Any students that are leaving the district should contact us to set up a time to return their assigned device.

All students and guardians are still required to complete and sign the annual Apple iPad Terms and Agreement paperwork and purchase the yearly 1:1 Device Care Protection Plan. The cost of the 1:1 Device Care Protection Plan for the 2020-2021 school year is $40 per student, per year. This payment will cover the device during the summer and through the end of next school year (two incidents per year). Please review the financial responsibilities and 1:1 Device Care Protection Plan details in the attached packet.

Payment and completed paperwork can be mailed to:

Attn: Clayton Technology Department
Clayton Board of Education
350 East Clinton Street Clayton, NJ 08312

*Please do not mail cash. Checks can be made payable to “Clayton Board of Education.”

 

We understand that the current economic conditions may be impacting you in many ways, which is why we will allow payment and paperwork to be submitted when school resumes. However, if you have the ability, please purchase and submit payment as soon as possible.

Parent and Student Apple iPad Terms and Agreement for the 2020-2021 School Year: https://claytonps.org/wp-content/uploads/Student-Parents-iPad-Initiative-Agreement-20-21-1.pdf

Posted in: District News, High School News, Middle School News

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A message and survey from the NJ Department of Education

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your heroic efforts to support your children’s schools and the learning process during closings due to the coronavirus pandemic. The New Jersey Department of Education (Department) continues preparations for the next stages of school opening, and hearing from parents is a Department priority. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey at the following link:  NJDOE parent survey. We appreciate receiving your responses by Monday, June 8th.

If you have any questions, please contact the Department’s Office of Civic and Social Engagement at civicandsocial@doe.nj.gov.

 

Estimados Padres,

Gracias por sus esfuerzos heroicos para apoyar las escuelas de sus hijos y el proceso de aprendizaje durante los cierres debido a la pandemia de coronavirus. El Departamento de Educación de Nueva Jersey (Departamento) continúa los preparativos para las próximas etapas de la apertura de la escuela, y escuchar a los padres es una prioridad del Departamento. Por favor, tómese unos minutos para completar la encuesta en el siguiente enlace: NJDOE encuesta para padres. Agradecemos recibir sus respuestas antes del Lunes 8 de Junio.

Si tiene alguna pregunta, por favor póngase en contacto con la Oficina de Compromiso Cívico y Social del Departamento en civicandsocial@doe.nj.gov.

Posted in: District News, Herma Simmons Elementary News, High School News, Middle School News

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Letter to the Community from the Superintendent

Dear Clayton Community:

The past months have been challenging for all of us. The pandemic has forced us to change how we live and learn. However, as I expected, we came together and showed our strength as a community. We remained positive and strong in a time of uncertainty.

Now just as we are trying to re-open and establish a new normal, our country is in turmoil over the senseless killing of George Floyd. Unfortunately, this was not the first time our television screens have broadcast the unjustified murder of a black man at the hands of those who are sworn to protect us. These scenes keep playing out over and over again in our society. It is obvious to many we are still combating the legacy of racism and discrimination.  

I have spent the last several days reflecting and listening to a generation of young people screaming for change. People of all backgrounds have taken to the streets demanding justice. We are a nation born from rebellion that declared we have “unalienable rights” as human beings. Protests and demonstrations are part of our history.  I have hope for the future. I believe that this new generation of Americans will bring the change that is needed. I also believe that real change can be brought about peacefully. Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela all fought against injustice and changed the world through peaceful protest and civil disobedience.

These events have also made me grateful to work with the Clayton Police Department and especially our School Resource Officers. Our SRO’s do more than just protect our schools. They have become an important part of our school family. They have volunteered as coaches, delivered food to families during the pandemic, and even gave students “curbside shout outs.” They understand that they must be part of the community they serve.

I am also proud to lead such a diverse district. From the time that I served as the Principal of both the High School and Middle School, I have marveled at the acceptance of all people in our school community. I take pride in walking visitors down to the cafeteria and having them see our diverse student body sitting together talking and laughing. I have learned just as much from the students as we have taught them. I am also not naïve, and I do realize that we are not perfect and change is needed to become even more inclusive.

In my role as Superintendent, I take my leadership responsibilities seriously as I endeavor to serve all our students. I find myself asking what can I do to make a difference?  How can I help our students feel empowered? One of our jobs as educators is to lead our students in positive discourse in order to help break the cycle of racism.

In order to begin the much needed but difficult conversations, I will be establishing the Clayton Equity Committee (CEC).  The committee will have a diverse group of educators and students working together to address systemic inequities. My hope is this committee can be a vehicle for change and give a voice to our students. I will be forming the committee immediately upon our return to school in the fall.

I look forward to moving ahead and continuing to make a bright future for all our students.

Clipper Strong,

Nikolaos C. Koutsogiannis
Superintendent of Schools

Posted in: District News, Herma Simmons Elementary News, High School News, Middle School News

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