Principal's Message

  • September 2021

    We are one month into our very successful return to 100% face-to-face instruction. Having to navigate these uncharted COVID-19 waters has been a challenge, but so far so good. In our continued effort to provide a safe environment,  it is essential that you immediately inform the school if your child tests positive for the COVID-19 virus.  This step is important for effective contact tracing, to limit the spread of the virus.

    In addition to wearing the mask, students should comply with our HBO policy here at McNicol.  Hands, Body, Objects, keep them to yourself.  This policy was first implemented to minimize physical altercations, but it now plays a dual role to help to stop the spread.  CDC Guidelines still require that we maintain social distancing.

    On another note, thank you for your support with the various events over the first four-weeks.  The students’ orientation, open house and food distribution were all well attended.  Almost 300 families benefited from the food distribution, which was a collaboration between McNicol Middle, Farm Share and Do You Have the Time Foundation.  We look forward to continuing this effort to support our families that may be in need.

    One of the many advantages of being a student at McNicol is receiving an iPad with 30 GB of data monthly.  As soon as your child returns the forms that have been sent home for your completion, he/she will receive their iPad and charger.  These are to be returned at the end of the school year.

    We would like to revitalize our partnership with our parents via active participation in our PTSA, School Advisory Council (SAC), and School Advisory Forum (SAF).  All three committees meet monthly for less than an hour.  If you are interested in serving on one of these committees, please contact me at 754-323-3407. 


    Parents are required to report the reason that their child is not physically present in school. When a student is not physically present in school due to "stay home" orders (quarantine) related to COVID-19, the student will be counted in attendance when they are in quarantine or are asymptomatic and have access to assignments, curriculum, and instructional personnel.

    Parents must communicate the "stay home" order using the same methods for reporting an absence. The District offers three options for communication at all of our public schools.

    1. Online Absence Reporting Form (got to McNicol website, hover over Contact, select Report An Absence); or
    2. Attendance Hotline (754-323-3402) to leave a voice message; or
    3. A written note delivered to the Attendance Manager per McNicol's protocol

    Your Proud Principal,

    Ms. Deirdre A. Benka-Coker


     August 2021

    Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year at McNicol Middle Magnet and STEM School! It is a new beginning in many ways. I am delighted to now serve you in a slightly different capacity as the principal of our school. It has been a pleasure being here at McNicol for the past five years, supporting and guiding my grade level families. I now have the opportunity to expand my influence to serve all McNicol families.

    The disruption of our lives over the past 18 months by the pandemic has forced us to make numerous adjustments. Seventy percent of our students took advantage of virtual learning for the entire 2021 school year. Apart from when they came in for testing, most students have not been in the building. These students will now have to be reacclimated to the routines and rituals of attending brick and mortar school.

    Secondly, the school has become accustomed to hosting only 30 % of the students in-person since October of 2020, and we will now be at 100%. Please be assured that every effort will be made to ensure strict adherence to all District mandates and guidelines.

    Charles Darwin stated that “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.” Our current situation requires us to make changes. We will all have to adjust, ensuring that we do what’s best for all, and not any one individual. Now more than ever it is evident that our individual choices may impact many.

    I am confident that the McNicol faculty and staff are committed to providing a safe, secure and fulfilling environment for your child. Our support does not just consider the needs of students, but also of their families. Please take advantage of the many resources we provide.

    Aftercare – Unity for Teens

    Community Liaison – Ms. Jona Brown

    Family Counselor – Ms. Azemard

    Psychologist – Ms. Moscato

    School Resource Officer – Officer L. Rios

    School Counselors – Ms. Gannon (6th Grade); Ms. Lee (7th Grade) and Ms. Montrose (8th Grade)

    Social Worker – Ms. Belizaire

    Parents, students and community members, I welcome your involvement and input on things that may impact how effective we are as a school. We are all members of the McNicol family that has successfully weathered the past 18 months together, and we will continue to do so. Although we are facing many challenges, let’s aim to make it the best year ever.

    Our 2021-22 school theme is:

    Embracing New Adventures, The Possibilities Are endless!


    Your Proud Principal,

    Ms. Deirdre A. Benka-Coker