Monument Valley Regional Middle School

Week at a Glance and News and Notes

Note from the Principal:

Friends and families, it is time to get ready to say goodbye, and to go into the summer to see everyone again on the other side.  Next week is our last one, and it has not been normal, so this next week has to be special.  We are doing a lot of things with the kids to bring a good ending to the school year, and some things to make the last hello the best goodbye we can.  The big one is the parade on Thursday for all the kids to see–see the details below for this fun event!

Your child’s advisor is collecting the end of year reflections this coming week.  This reflection is important.  It helps the students make sense of the school closure experience and it gets them to focus a little on what they want from next year.  It will also be a good introduction to next year’s teachers.  Please help your child with completing that activity, as it may be one of the most important ones they do this spring.

We really have no confirmation on what next year will hold for us.  I will be sending out more details in the next weeks and months as Massachusetts figures out what is safe and what they want us to do, and our district makes plans.  I do know we will be back in one of three settings: full online, some mix of back to school and online, or back in the building full time.  See my community forums (link to video and audio below) for details about how things will be in the fall when we return.  I will hold forums through Zoom at the end of this month and in July and August so that you have a place to ask questions as things become clearer about school for the fall.  And of course, I will record the sessions so you can get the info even if you cannot join live.

These past months have been hard with the virus shutting down most of life as we know it.  School was hard to close, and we all did our best to adjust to the new normal.  As I have said before, I am grateful that our community is so strong.  The educators did an amazing job at connecting and engaging kids.  You all did a fabulous job at trying to support your kids in learning at home.  We learned a lot about learning in this way, and we may have to use those lessons in the fall.  We will also run summer programming as we usually do, but virtually as well.

These past few weeks also brought community reflection and action.  In the nation there has been an upswelling of support for people of color and other groups who experience institutionalized violence and repression.  Our children are passionate about fairness, equity and treating people right.  This is what I love about working with this age group.  Our kids stood up when there was gun violence in schools in our nation.  They stood up for ClimateJustice when they were called to join a global movement to save the planet for humanity.  And they show us now how much they care about all people.  The most important thing you can do as a family is talk about the issues.  Please make sure you check in with your kids if you have not discussed yet–many are asking us as educators to talk about it with them, and they want adults to help them make sense of the world.  Peter Dillon sent out some excellent resources if you want help in understanding or talking with your kid about this.  Our children are our future.  Let’s stand with every child to show them they are part of that future.

Once next week finishes we will be sharing end of year information with you, and send our periodic emails through the summer with information on next year.  Please reach out to me at as I am eager to get feedback and answer questions.  Your appreciations and recommendations so far have been so important.  My (virtual) office is open…

Thanks, and be well,

Ben Doren


Week at a Glance:

Monday, June 8

Remote Learning School Day

Tuesday, June 9

Remote Learning School Day

Wednesday, June 10

Remote Learning School Day

Thursday, June 11

Remote Learning School Day

PARADE!!!!: The staff are driving through town to say hello and wave!  See separate email with details on how you can see the parade.  We love you and miss you!!!!!

Friday, June 12

Remote Learning School Day

Last day of School!

Locker Clean Out

The 5th and 6th grade lockers have been cleaned out and belongings have been placed into a bag labeled with the student’s locker # and name.  The bags are in the cafeteria and you will be able to pull up in the front circle of the school, check in with a staff member, then enter the cafeteria to pick up your bag.

We will allow four people in at a time.  All staff, parents and students must wear a mask and practice social/physical distancing.  No one will be allowed to enter the school building outside of the cafeteria.

Locker content pick up times for 5th and 6th grade

Monday 9-11

Tuesday 10-12

Wednesday 9-11

Thursday 8-10

If these times do not work for you, please contact to arrange a different time.

7th and 8th grade locker contents will be ready beginning on June 22.

Books Returns

There will be boxes in the cafeteria where library books and textbooks can be returned.

Chromebook Returns

There will be a table in the cafeteria for returned Chrombooks and CHARGERS.  Please return both!

Lost & Found

Please check the coat hooks in the cafeteria for any lost items.  Remaining items will be donated over the summer.

Field Trip Refunds

Field trip refunds are being processed.  Your refund will be mailed around mid-June.  If you do not receive your full refund please contact

Memo to Parents of current 6th graders (soon to be 7th graders):

Reminder to complete the Massachusetts mandated immunization(s) requirements for entrance into 7th grade. Completed immunizations are required by the MA Department of Public Health for public school attendance. Students who are not in compliance with these state regulations must be excluded from school until the proper documentation of immunization(s) is received from a physician’s office (there may be a grace period this year due to the pandemic). The only allowed exceptions to required immunizations are a medical exemption (if a health care provider submits in writing that an immunization is medically contraindicated), or a religious exemption (if a parent submits a signed statement to the school stating that immunizations are contrary to their religious beliefs).

To comply with state regulations all 6th grade students should have a physical examination with their medical provider within the year prior to September 2020. During this exam any required mandatory immunization(s) should be obtained. This year may be a bit different due to the COVID virus and physicals may be delayed, but immunizations should still be obtained. All incoming 7th graders should have these required immunizations for the start of the school year. If you have already submitted a copy of updated immunizations to the Monument Valley Health Office – thank you.

Pat Harper, RN; for any specifics about your student’s immunizations on file.

Community Forums: Archived video and audio of the events!

I held Community Forums and we had a session on signing up for ninth grade classes.  They were well attended, and I appreciated those who could join us.  I also recorded the sessions in video and audio formats so you can watch or listen if you could not join.  The videos and audio files are in a folder at this link.  I start the session by welcoming folks and celebrating what we have accomplished, and continue by acknowledging how hard it is to make sense of this school closure.  I discuss what will be happening in the next weeks and to end the year, and where the district is with end of year activities like graduation and transitioning to the next grade.  If you have specific questions feel free to email me, as always, at  I will also hold another set of forums in a few weeks once we have more information from Massachusetss and our local leaders.

Plans for Graduation for Eighth Graders

Detailed information will be sent today in an email to families.  Here is information for you on how we will celebrate our eighth graders.  Some have been part of our school for four years, some just joined us this year and some came in between.  We want to honor all of them!  Even though these times are so different, it does not change our desire to see them off properly for their transition to high school.  Here are the things you can join if you are a family of an eighth grader, and even if you are interested in joining.

Thursday, June 11

Afternoon: PARADE!  The staff will drive through the towns to celebrate our graduates, make cheer (safely distanced!) with all of our students, and create a buzz for the evening graduation ceremony. Time to be determined in the next week.

Evening: GRADUATION!!! We will live stream a graduation program celebrating the eighth graders.  We will hold it at our regular time, 6:30 pm, to keep the same tone and flavor.  We will also record the ceremony so you can watch it again, or for folks who cannot connect that evening.

Friday, June 12

Afternoon: Come get your Graduation Envelope!  Students and families drive through the MVM front circle to get the envelopes with their certificates, and staff are there to cheer them (safely distanced!)  Our last hurrah, and a way to say goodbye as “in-person” as possible!


Pre-Ordered yearbooks will be included in Eighth grade student envelopes.  Yearbooks will be on sale during the Eighth grade envelope pick up parade for exact cash of $20 or check to MVM activity Fund.

How much do we care about our students?  This much ———>

Here is the great news: The educators at Monument Valley miss the students so much!  And how do you know?  They showed them.  Please watch this video to see the heartfelt connection that the staff have with our students:  Many thanks to Katie Malone-Smith, our art teacher, for leading this and producing the video, and of course to our staff for snapping the pics!


Yearbooks will arrive at the school in early June and at that time we will communicate to you how and when to pick yours up.  Since this year is certainly one that will be remembered for the current events, be sure you don’t forget about all of the wonderful events and memories of Monument Valley Regional Middle School’s entire 2019-2020 school year that the yearbook staff has worked so tirelessly to chronicle in this year’s yearbook. Part of the book is dedicated to our online distance learning!  We have sold 35% of the books we ordered from our publisher which means there are still limited-edition copies available and you can order yours here:  We will communicate more details about how students will receive their yearbook as soon as possible.

Reminder about Important (updated) news from our School Nurse

Please see the information posted on our School Nurse’s (Pat Harper) website  It has contact information so you can connect with her for health questions as well as get COVID-19 updates.

2020-2021 School Calendar

Many of you have asked about next year’s school calendar.  You can find it here:

Reminder about Food Support available at the end of the week:

The District will be providing a week’s worth of food to families of our students in our district community every Friday.  These meals will be available to all students who would benefit from the service. Food will be distributed on FRIDAYS from 11:00am-2:00 pm ONLY AT THE MONUMENT VALLEY site.  If you need this resource and cannot pick up, we can deliver to you.  Email  if you are interested in receiving a box, or share this information with a family who needs a box.  At this time we can only distribute boxes of food to families with children in our district.  There are resources in towns for food support as well, such as the People’s Pantry in Great Barrington, for families or individuals who do not have children in our district.


Flyers are available on our website at this link:

This week’s flyers:

  • Help with P-EBT Card Use

Last week’s flyers:

  • Summer Reading with GB Libraries

  • Glass Blowing:  MVM Virtual Field Trip

Older flyers:

  • Think Before you Click” Internet Safety Campaign

  • Ward’s offering Free Tree Seedlings to Youth

  • GB Babe Ruth Baseball 2020 Registration

  • French & Spanish Immersion Camps for rising 4-6 graders

  • Berkshire Cal Ripken Baseball Registration

  • GB Girls Softball Registration

  • GB Little League Registration Information

  • CANCELLED–Family Dance at Unitarian Universalist Church

  • SMArt Summer @ Flying Cloud Institute

  • STEM Summer @Flying Cloud Institute

  • Outdoor Explorer’s Club @ Flying Cloud Institute

  • Eisner Day Camp

  • RSYP:  RYSE Weeklong Summer Program

Julie C. Duffin
Principal’s Secretary
Monument Valley Regional Middle School
313 Monument Valley Road
Great Barrington, MA  01230

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