• Fri. Oct 8th, 2021

On the first day back, New Milford schools hope for a more ‘normal’ school year

ByDiane S. Anderson

Aug 25, 2021

NEW MILFORD – More than 3,700 children got out of bed Wednesday morning, brushed their teeth and carried backpacks over their shoulders on their first day of school. Masks in hand, the students of New Milford returned to schools that looked and felt much more “normal” than those of last year.

“Each new school year is filled with so many emotions, and this year in particular is extremely special,” said Education Board Chair Wendy Faulenbach. “Our staff and our district have worked so hard to prepare for this day and this coming school year – to try to start again to educate and promote our school district.”

Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo said in an email Wednesday was “very special” as it was her “first, first day” as superintendent.

DiCorpo took office as Superintendent in February after having served as Acting Superintendent since October 2020.


“As I visited the schools this morning, I was able to welcome back and learn from so many teachers who told me they didn’t sleep last night due to anticipation and the excitement of the first day, but arrived with big eyes and a lot of energy! ”DiCorpo wrote.

The three children of New Milford’s mother, Tammy McInerney – a senior and sophomore at New Milford High and a sixth grade at Schaghticoke – were excited to return to school and see their friends, classmates and teachers in person.

“I feel like we’re back to a more typical school year than last year,” said McInerney, who sits on the Board of Education. “I am delighted to speak to [my kids] when they come home, to find out how their days were, how their classes were.

She said her sophomore year Aine was especially excited to have a more authentic high school experience this year – one filled with orchestral and theater rehearsals, a marching band, and classes with her friends.

Although the arrival of Tropical Storm Henri threatened to derail New Milford’s schedule this week, the minimal impact of the storm meant the first day could continue as planned. However, on Wednesday and Thursday, early layoffs are expected due to the expected high temperatures and humidity.

As of Tuesday, 3,719 students were enrolled in district schools. It will also be the first day of school for 36 new teachers, as well as new district administrators.

Newly hired principal Raymond Manka takes the place of former principal Greg Shugrue, welcoming high school students from New Milford on Wednesday. Holly Hollander will take up her post as Assistant Superintendent, and Facilities Manager Matthew Cunningham will ensure all campus buildings and classrooms are prepared for a safe influx of enthusiastic young academics.

After a year of pandemic learning, the district is moving forward

With a full school year of pandemic learning under their belt, the school has updated some of its directions for the new year.

“I am filled with anticipation and hope for a strong academic and socio-emotional environment for our students, especially as we come out of a year where students were isolated from their peers and accessing their education in a platform. distance learning form and / or attending school for in-person learning only a few days a week, ”wrote Superintendent Alisha DiCorpo in an Aug. 18 welcome email to families.

She added that the school is committed to keeping students in person five days a week, but acknowledged that the guidelines could change throughout the year. Masks are mandatory indoors and on buses for all students and staff this fall, per the state government’s mandate.

Now, vaccinated teachers and students do not have to quarantine themselves during the exhibition, and students seated three feet or more from an infected student will not have to quarantine themselves as long as they are wear a mask and remain asymptomatic. The district requires parents to provide proof of vaccination for their children where possible.

The district also plans to use federal emergency relief funds for elementary and secondary schools to establish physical and mental health clinics in their schools with help from the Connecticut Institute For Communities, Inc.

These school health centers will eventually be located in the five district schools, but the Northville and Schaghticoke Middle elementary school centers will be completed in the first phase before work is extended to the other three schools.

The implementation of these centers will be a two-year, two-phase construction and implementation plan, according to the Education Council’s agenda documents.

The new school year will also bring some changes to the physical campus.

The high school roof is being replaced – a project that saw an unexpected budget increase this summer. The school is also redoing its tennis courts, replacing an LED panel and repairing its sports dashboard.

This year, the school district will use a new school management software system, migrating from Rediker Software to PowerSchool. The significant data migration caused problems in transmitting timetables to parents before the first day of school.

Yet even with the changes, construction, and an ongoing pandemic, the general essence of Day One has remained. Teachers, administrators and students envisioned a new start and the year ahead.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Faulenbach. “We are ready for this and we are going to give ourselves 500% to be there for our city. “

DiCorpo wrote that she left school with a smile, “knowing that all the children are in good hands and are going to have a wonderful school year.”


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