Class of 2020

Dear 8th Grade Parents and Guardians,

Good morning! As always, we hope that this communication finds you all healthy and well! We are excited to share the final plan as it relates to 8th grade promotion, and a follow up event to celebrate our students!

The school and district administration along with the board of education committee on 8th grade activities have had ongoing dialogue and meetings on this important topic in an effort to stay fluid and plan the best possible promotion for our students given the many ever changing variables at play. The most important topic for all involved has been the safety and health of our students, and your families. With safety in the forefront of our minds, the suggestions and insight offered from all of you, and with the latest announcement from Governor Murphy accounted for, we have decided on a hybrid virtual and drive up promotion ceremony, coupled with an outdoor July celebration for the graduates (that we had originally hoped would be a possible August event).

On Monday evening, June 15th, students and parents will be invited to view the virtual portion of the ceremony that will include speeches from Mr. Carl Schneider, our Board of Education President, Mayor Trina Mehr, Dr. Stephanie Brown, our Chief School Administrator, and myself. Mrs Citro will also be reading the 8th grade awards during this portion of the ceremony, and there will also be musical selections by the JK Chorus. Information on where to view the virtual portion of the ceremony will be shared in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, June 16th, students and parents will be invited to come to Joyce Kilmer in full cap and gown in order to receive their promotion certificates, any awards they have received, and their yearbooks. There will be 3 different time frames for the drive up portion of the ceremony to choose from; 10 am - 12 pm, 1 pm - 3pm, and 4 pm - 6pm. It is our hope to roughly have 30 families per time slot. Milltown Police will be assisting as we ask that you arrive no earlier than 5 minutes before your scheduled time frame only utilizing 1 car with 4 guests plus the graduate. Cars will be staged in the Joyce Kilmer parking lot, and assistants/chaperones, and/or police will guide your cars on to West Church where you will pull up and stop in order to exit the car and proceed towards the school and the entrance of the gymnasium. The red carpet will be out, so there will be no confusion as to where to go. Students will be greeted at a safe distance by myself, Mrs. Citro, and Dr. Brown as Ms.Metz will read each graduate's name over the outdoor PA system. Graduates will receive their diplomas, awards, and yearbooks in a contactless manner as all items will be organized and set out based off of sign up times. The Joyce Kilmer "step and repeat" banner (a background for pictures used at events and at banquet) will be available for a photo opportunity adjacent to where the students will receive their items. We do kindly ask that you strategize the best way to efficiently take your pictures (who is going first, second, and with what family member) as we will need to gently move everyone along in a very timely manner in order to get through 30 families per time frame and 90 families in total. In conjunction with best practice and the MPD we ask that everyone wear masks during the event and please remain at a safe social distance. We also ask that you do not congregate after taking photos and kindly move along as quickly as possible. Cap and gown distribution will take place during the week of June 8th. You will need to sign up for your timeframe to pick up the cap and gown, along with the Class of 2020 sweatshirt. Watch for this sign up later this week. Information on sign ups for specific time frames for the promotion ceremony will be shared next week.

On the evening of June 16th, we are asking all graduates, all Joyce Kilmer and Parkview families, and every Milltown resident, at the end of the 7:00 Milltown fire whistle, to step outside of their homes, and make some noise for our graduates! For one minute, we ask everyone to be outside making noise by clapping, cheering, playing musical instruments and maybe banging on some pots and pans to show love and support for our 8th grade graduates! We would ask you to record what you see, and most importantly hear, and post it to the Joyce Kilmer Homeroom app!

This hybrid event, during the regular promotion timeframe, will allow us to celebrate the students now rather than waiting until summer. Then, in July, we will have, as I mentioned earlier, an outdoor event celebrating our graduates with what we hope, by then, will be even less restrictions at that time. Details on this event will be shared later as planning will take place again, in the coming weeks.

Each family will receive a complimentary professional photograph of their child taken during the promotion ceremony, and will have the option to purchase additional prints directly from the photographer.  Also, the Class of 2020 lawn signs are expected to be delivered this week.

We understand that this is far from the norm, and we understand that this is certainly not how we expected to be celebrating our graduates, but we do appreciate everyone's cooperation, understanding, ideas, and respect for our efforts as we keep safety, health, and the future well being of our soon to be Freshman in mind. Stay tuned for the aforementioned information, and have a great week!

Thank you, and be well,
Mr. Veit