May 15, 2020
Dear Parents/Guardians, Students & Staff,
May is typically the time of year when we are looking forward to our moving-up and graduation ceremonies. Yet while this is not a typical year, I want to assure you that we are working hard to celebrate these milestone events in a festive but safe way for our children, their friends and families, and our staff members.
With New Jersey’s pandemic trends heading in a better direction, Governor Murphy made some considerable moves this week to “re-open” our State. His new guidelines include large gatherings – and specifically reference graduation ceremonies. Over the past few weeks, my leadership team has considered various options; and yesterday, per the State’s new guidelines, made a final decision with regard to these specific celebrations as well as other events that would normally take place in June and over the summer.
The following information pertains to our 8th grade Moving-Up and High School Graduation ceremonies. For the safety of all, Teaneck Public Schools will host these ceremonies via a virtual webinar (which will include easy-to-use desktop and mobile-friendly interfaces for graduates to upload their personal content – and for our seniors, to wear their cap and gown). These virtual ceremonies will feature personalized video messages from each student to share with their family and friends, and to have as a keepsake. Further, the high school ceremony will include customary speeches from senior class leaders, the valedictorian & salutatorian, and school and district leadership.
Our Virtual Graduation Ceremonies will be held on Monday, June 22, 2020. The schedule is as follows:
• Thomas Jefferson Middle School – 10 am start
• Benjamin Franklin Middle School – 1 pm start
• Teaneck High School – 5 pm start
NOTE: These schools will be sending out more specific information about logging on to these ceremonies; and as we get closer to this date, we will also post this information on our district website.
Previously, I had announced that all other school and district events would be cancelled through the end of June. But I do hope that you will join us during our June 10 and June 17 virtual Board meetings where we will be recognizing our recent retirees, our Governor’s Educators of the Year, high school senior accomplishments, and of course, our Teaneck Apple Award winners for those who went above and beyond during this pandemic.
Unfortunately, as we now look toward this summer, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our summer camp program (Camp K). I realize that cancelling this program is a disappointment for our children and their parents; but with strict limitations on large gatherings as well as trip availability, we need to choose health and safety first.
Finally, as this school year comes to a close, we have developed a detailed plan to enable our students and staff to retrieve any belongings – whether in a locker or classroom – over the next few weeks. Our high school students and staff will go first in this process (in May), followed by our middle and elementary schools during the first two weeks of June. You will receive more specific details on this from your school principals – including how we will conduct this process in a safe and orderly manner.
In closing, next weekend includes the celebrations of Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) and Memorial Day weekend. The schools are closed on Friday, May 22 and the district is closed on Monday, May 25. The weather is getting warmer but please enjoy these special events safely so we can come together (virtually) to celebrate our 8th grade students and our graduating seniors.
May you and your family remain healthy, and let’s continue to keep those who are sick or who have lost loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.
Dr. Christopher Irving, Superintendent of Schools