EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Laurie Lachs is a candidate for the East Brunswick Board of Education.  BOE candidates are not linked to any particular political party.

My name is Laurie Lachs, and I am seeking re-election to the East Brunswick Board of Education. 

As a lifelong resident of East Brunswick, I am a product of this superior school system and a proud member of the EBHS graduating class of 1988 (Laurie Rubin).  My husband Michael, who also grew up in EB, and I have 2 children currently in the school district. 

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Community involvement is very important to our family. I am a PTA member, EBHS athletic booster parent and the Treasurer of Mayor Cohen’s Charity Fund. I have worked with various civic, athletic and religious groups over the years.  My husband Michael is also involved in town and serves as a Trustee on the East Brunswick Education Foundation and the St. Bart's Football and Cheer program.  Together we enjoy giving back to the community while modeling for our children the importance of being productive members of society.  Our children take active roles in peer and leadership endeavors such as school ambassadors, EBEF, Youth Council, Sources of Strength and team sports.

For the past two years, I have been serving as the Vice President of the BOE and the Chairperson for our Building and Grounds and Human Resources committees. Additionally, I am a member of the BOE negotiations team and have served on several other committees during my board tenure.

The role of a Board of Education member is complicated. We are tasked with ensuring that the diverse needs of all stakeholders in the township are met. We must provide an excellent education that incorporates the needs of our academically challenged population, our English language learners, our general education students and our accelerated youth. Each student must receive individualized academic support which has to be balanced with meeting the needs of our staff and administration. Furthermore, the BOE must remain sensitive to the taxpayer  (both those with and without children in our schools). We work diligently to maintain our level of excellence while keeping within our budget constraints and not overburdening our residents

Despite these challenges, I believe the future of education is limitless. Today’s students have had to be resilient and adaptive. Their intuitiveness with technology is astounding. They have a greater grasp of technological devices since they have never lived in a world without them. Having a library at their fingertips fosters an eagerness to learn and the ongoing quest for knowledge is one of the bright spots in our techno-advanced world.

Technology has been a priority of the EBBOE. We have strived to be leaders and innovators in this department, which was instrumental in being able to implement an effective plan for our staff and students in the wake of the pandemic. Ensuring that our staff is trained on how best to implement this in their classrooms is a top priority. Ongoing staff development is vital to making sure that our teachers have the support and training needed to keep up with the current technological trends and continue to be successful in the classroom.

Over the years, our staff has met many challenges. As educators, they have continually been asked to teach beyond the academic curriculum. Currently, their roles encompass being not only an educator, but also a nurse, therapist, security guard, and sometimes a surrogate parent. This new normal demands that teachers play all these roles, but now, they must do this while getting to know some of their students only across a computer screen.  Their lessons must be able to translate to the screen time that some students are limited to, while still interacting with the students sitting before them.  This is why technology is so important and why I am thankful that we started investing in it long before the need arose.

Concurrently, educators need to focus on the whole child.  Teaching students that kindness is not weakness breeds a well-rounded and emotionally healthy student.  Peer and self-acceptance is encouraged as we academically and emotionally serve our world’s next generation.  Some of the greatest teachable moments are learned not in a classroom, but on a field or in a theater.  Teamwork encourages sharing.  Socialization is imperative in relationship building for a generation who has replaced face to face conversation with text.  We need to raise good solid citizens with varied interests. Sports, clubs and activities build character, camaraderie and basic life skills. East Brunswick prides itself on offering a wide variety of clubs and activities to appeal to our diverse student body.  Maintaining continued excellence in our academic, athletic and arts programs is always at the forefront of my agenda.

I am a strong proponent of the hybrid learning system as I feel that it is the best answer to the question of how to effectively continue education during the Covid crisis. This flexibility provides an option for those families that want and/or need the in-person learning, while respecting the want/needs of those who feel more comfortable and secure in a virtual learning environment. Choice is essential, because despite the fact that we are one community, our individual needs at times are quite varied. The formulization and implementation of the hybrid system necessitated that we as a community work together. To do this, we had to listen and be willing to compromise and accommodate different needs and opinions.

We all patiently await the day when we can resume personal contact. Until this day comes, this hybrid system allows each individual family to choose how to best meet their needs in the broader context of the community and bring a small sense of normalcy to our student’s days. In looking for a silver lining, this pandemic has forced us to be better listeners and enhanced our team working to accommodate and compromise.

Perfection is an unattainable goal, but in analyzing, course-correcting and working together, we can find the ideal solution that works for us as individuals and as a community.

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts. I respectfully ask the voters of East Brunswick to re-elect me to the East Brunswick Board Of Education so that I may continue to work on behalf of our town’s residents, students and staff.