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From the Hilltop 4-1-2021
From the Hilltop 4-1-2021
Fred Lamkey
Thursday, April 01, 2021

Hello Toppers,

We hope all is well with you as we approach our spring break on this Easter weekend!  The school district will be off Friday April 2nd and Monday April 5th in observance of the holiday weekend.

In a normal year we would have very concrete plans for our end of the year commencement and promotion ceremonies, but this has been no normal year.  At this time all we are able to do is talk dates because of the ever changing mitigations and restrictions in place during the pandemic by the IDPH.  Those dates are May 23rd for high school graduation and June 2nd or 3rd for junior high promotion.  We apologize for not being able to offer more detail.

There has been miscommunication in the community about our end of year ceremonies that we would like to clear up.  First of all, we do not have detailed plans for either event at this date because of the ever changing pandemic restrictions.  It is our goal to offer ceremonies that have as few restrictions as possible.  We will relay more detailed information at the April 21st Board meeting, but even then it should be noted that details can and will be adjusted as mitigations and restrictions change.  Our hope is that high school graduation will take place in-person with families and friends in attendance.  How many family and friends remains to be seen.

There are changes coming to the junior high promotion ceremony and a major change includes a time change.  The junior high administration and staff are working to make the 8th grade promotion celebration more student focused and less formal.  All the traditions of walking across the stage and receiving a certificate in front of family and friends will still be in place, but it will be moved to the afternoon instead of the evening and will not involve robes.  Additional activities are being planned with ideas including unique lunch plans, potential field trips, activity/game days and a parent sponsored “Open House” to celebrate the 8th grade students..

The pomp and circumstance of a formal junior high ceremony was designed for a time when some students never graduated high school making junior high graduation their final educational accomplishment.  The junior high staff wants to align our promotion activities with our district and school improvement plans that embrace continuity between schools and increased rigor in curriculum.  Moving from 8th grade to high school is not a culminating activity that requires an ending, rather we see it as a continuation that should be celebrated in a way that benefits students, not necessarily a long-lived tradition.

We recognize that change, especially in traditions, can be very difficult.  Please know that our efforts are not to take away from the 8th grade student’s experience as they transition to high school, but to celebrate their success in a way that puts their interests as the central focus.

The district does appreciate your input and will always reflect on our communications with all stakeholders.  Know that we will make every effort to make our end of the year ceremonies special for each student.

Respectfully,

Fred Lamkey, Mt. Pulaski Superintendent