New Montclair Superintendent Penny MacCormack convened a congress of Montclair’s 11 public school Parent Teacher Associations Tuesday at the Montclair Public Library to introduce herself and discuss her vision for the district.
In addition to a get-to-know-you session, MacCormack, who began her tenure on Nov. 1, heard from invitees specifics of where their schools could be improved.
“This is a great forum to build a foundation of listening and learning,” said MacCormack. “I’m inspired. I’m excited. I feel that taking the time to put together a plan ... is certainly the way to go.
“Right now, I’m listening and learning in an effort to formulate a broader vision and build that strategic plan together with the community.”
MacCormack said she has three beliefs that will guide the direction of the district under her tenure:
- All students can achieve at a high level given the opportunity.
- Strive for continuous improvement. She mentioned the formation of the Magnet schools as an example of the communities willingness and drive to improve the schools.
- Put in place and implement a strong, coherent, strategic plan; moderate the plan; and improve on the vision.
MacCormack also released a 90-day plan of entry for the district. The plan can be found here.
Each school PTA gave MacCormack an overview of where improvement was needed.
While every school has its own particular focus and issues, there were many similarities mentioned, including:
- Aging infrastructure
- Lack of technology
- An inefficient district website
- Understaffed positions
- Public relations
- Occasional lack of communication between schools and parents, as well as between the district and parents
Future of the Magnet School System
MacCormack emphasized to the PTAs and parents the Magnet school system is the “foundation” of the district.
“I start with the foundation that the Magnet school system is one that [will] remain intact,” said MacCormack. “It is how we do business here in Montclair. ... It’s here to stay.”