• August 2020                                                                                                                     

    Dear Student and Parents/Guardians,

    I hope this letter finds you safe and enjoying a healthy and relaxing summer with family and friends. The 2020 - 2021 school year will certainly be unique and challenging, as we continue to address the multitude of issues associated with COVID-19.  Please know that we have been working diligently to create a re-start and re-entry plan that allows us to provide the best education possible in the safest manner for our students and staff.   Our plan, which was previously disseminated to all stakeholders, includes a phased approach and we will continue to reassess our plan, as we receive guidance from the state and local health officials.

    To safely prepare for the start of the school, we ask that for the remainder of the summer, you take the following steps and measures. 

    1.     If you are planning to travel to a state with high rates of COVID 19, as identified by the state of New Jersey, please understand that you will have to quarantine for 14 days and will not be able to report to school if your travel occurred within the two weeks of the start of the school year.

    2.     Practice wearing a face covering for long periods of time.  It will take some time to get used to wearing face coverings for the length of the school day.  You should begin that process now.  

    3.     Monitor your health and practice social distancing for the remainder of the summer.

    4.     Continue to peruse the school and district websites to familiarize yourself with the new procedures and protocols that we will be implementing to keep students, staff, and community members safe, as we return to school.  

    If we all work together to make good choices and protect one another, we will have a better chance of getting back to a normal high school experience for us all.

    The 2020-2021 school year is rapidly approaching and I am looking forward to partnering with you to create a shared vision of excellence for the future of Morris Knolls!  Toward that end, I would like to highlight some of the exciting things that are taking place at Morris Knolls.  We will be implementing many new initiatives for the upcoming school year.  We are about to enter our second year of implementation of the Math and Science Magnet Program at Morris Knolls High School. The Magnet Program is a highly focused and rigorous four-year honors program.  We are also entering year 3 of implementation of the Morris County Performing Arts Academy.  The Academy provides opportunities for students to specialize in dance, theatre, or vocal performance.  We will also have a new cohort of students entering the Aviation and Aerospace Program.   We are one of the only schools in NJ offering students exposure to the aviation and aerospace community!   Lastly, we will continue to challenge our students and build upon our Advanced Placement, Gifted and Talented, International Baccalaureate, and Special Education Programs through the revision of curriculum and course offerings.  

    Furthermore, we have planned many upgrades in the areas of technology for the upcoming school year.  We will enter year 4 of our Chromebook Initiative.  Students in grades 9-12 will all have school issued chromebooks, which will be used to foster creativity, critical thinking and collaboration.  New security cameras have been installed throughout the building, including cameras to live stream events in our gym and at Caruso Stadium.  All families will be able to view live events through the NFHS network.  We are also excited to announce that we have developed a new Morris Knolls mobile app.  Parents and students will be able to access class schedules, assignments, grades, receive school news and notifications, access school calendars, and much more.  You will be receiving information in the near future when we are ready to launch the app. We have also purchased new technology, such as webcams for each classroom and new software licenses to enhance our virtual learning experience.

    In addition to renovating our school to address the safety concerns of COVID-19, we have many facility projects and upgrades taking place for the 2020-2021 school year.  In the Fall, we will complete construction on our new athletic field complex, which includes a new all-purpose turf field and parking lot.  We are constructing a new Black Box Theatre, which will be used for our Fine Arts Programs.  We have also implemented an Energy Saving Incentive Program to replace all lighting in the building and install air conditioning in the auditorium, cafeterias, gymnasium, and in all of our classrooms.   Additionally, we will be renovating multiple instructional areas and bathrooms throughout the school.  As you can see, we have some exciting projects planned to help bring Morris Knolls to new heights!

    As we approach the new school year, I encourage all of our students to reflect upon their years at Morris Knolls and set new personal and academic goals.  This is a time filled with great expectations, joys, and responsibilities. Decisions about further education, career choices, and some of the apprehensions that go along with significant changes in your life will occur within the next ten months.  The entire staff at Morris Knolls is prepared to help you meet these challenges and make your time at Morris Knolls a positive and memorable experience.  

    I also challenge our students to be leaders and positive role models for our student body.  Set a tone of excellence each and every day in the classroom, on our stages, and on our athletic fields.  Our incoming freshmen will look to you to develop school spirit and set high academic and behavioral standards.  

    To assist you in preparing for these challenges, I have provided some important information in this mailing.  Please review this information carefully, as well as the student/parent handbook, which is available on our school website:  www.mhrd.org.  Please remember to register for the school year on Gateway, which is a new software system we are using for yearly registration.  Parents are required to register each of their children in Gateway for every new school year.  In addition to school registration, parents of students participating in athletics will need to register for each season, utilizing FamilyID.  All information regarding our Federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program is also available on our school website.  Be sure to check ASPEN for your scheduled bus route and information and be sure to have your school issued ID with you on the first day to board the busses.  2020-2021 course schedules will be available in ASPEN for students on Friday, August 28, 2020. 

    My staff and I are looking forward to working with you as partners in education to ensure the success of our students. This year will be exciting and I hope that you will join us in making this a rewarding and memorable experience. I encourage all of our parents/guardians to join our Home and School Association and play an active role in your child’s education.  Information is located on our school website. Please know that my door is always open and I welcome your involvement. Please feel free to reach out to discuss any concerns, suggestions, or ideas to make this a great year! I can be reached at 973-664-2201 or via email at rmacnaughton@mhrd.org.


    With Golden Eagle Pride,


    Ryan MacNaughton
    Principal - Morris Knolls High School