Letters to the Editor

Important Information from the Westfield Board of Education

Synopsis of a Westfield Board of Education meeting on November 26, 2013
By Superintendent Margaret Dolan


The Board approved for first reading a revised calendar for the 2014-2015
school year.  After the November 12 Board of Education meeting in which the
calendar was approved for first reading, we received feedback from parents,
the high school administration, and members of the Parent Teacher Council
(PTC).  It was suggested that we move the majority of spring break after
Easter, starting with Good Friday on April 3, 2015 through Friday, April
10. It allows for families to better celebrate Easter and Passover.  It was
also recommended that we move high school graduation to Tuesday, June 23,
2015, instead of Monday, June 22.  In order to prepare for graduation,
thousands of chairs are rented and set up the day prior to the event.  It
would be more economical and safer to set up on Monday than on Friday and
over the weekend. The new calendar also helps with the schedule for final
exams.  Thank you to the parents and staff who provided input to the
original proposal.
The Board approved for first reading the following policies:  3337
(Teaching Staff Members) – Service Animals; 4337 (Support Staff Members)
– Service Animals; and 5337 (Pupils) – Service Animals. These policies
resulted from a student who had a need for a service animal.
The Board affirmed my decision on 5 HIB incidents.


The Board approved an overnight field trip for the Model UN club to
participate in the Model UN annual conference.
The Board approved for first reading the following curricula:  Social
Studies – Psychology through Film and Literature; Personal and Financial
Literacy.  World Language – Italian III, Italian III Honors, Italian IV
Honors, and Spanish 3, 4, and 5.
The district received a positive report from the NJDOE regarding its
standard review of school funds that were disbursed through federal
programs.  We have received no financial penalty for any of the findings,
since the recommendations were not substantive.  We will review and address
the findings and bring a final report to the Board.


The Board gratefully accepted a gift from the Westfield Coalition for the
Arts of $6,735 to Edison Intermediate School Music Department for the
purchase of 10 new cellos.
The Board approved a resolution to appoint Brown & Brown Metro, Florham
Park, NJ, for professional insurance broker services. Finance Chair Mark
Friedman explained that it is important to find the most competitive rates
for our health insurance in particular.


Lucy Biegler attended the Washington PTO meeting at which teachers
Elizabeth Reilly and Liz Martin presented for parents a sample of a very
informative reading and writing workshop.  Students participated in the
workshop, which provided a very realistic view of what is being taught in
the classrooms.


Congratulations to Hi’s Eye -- Westfield High School’s Student
Newspaper. Once a finalist and now a winner, Hi’s Eye, our High
School’s student-run weekly newspaper is one of only three in the country
receiving the distinguished Pacemaker Award from the National School Press
Association for newspapers of eight pages or less.  The Pacemaker, which
the National School Press Association launched in 1927, is judged and
awarded based on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting,
leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design,
photography, art and graphics.  The other two winning high schools are from
Ohio and California.  In total, there were 350 submissions for Pacemakers
nationwide.  Hi’s Eye has been an integral part of Westfield High School
since 1935.  Current Advisers are Nicole Scimone and Rosemary DiBattista.

•       Here is a wrap up of the fall season in athletics:
o       Gymnastics won the sectional meet and placed 3rd in the entire state.
o       Girls Cross Country finished 5th in the state and 3rd in the section.
o       Boys Cross Country finished 2nd in the state and 2nd in the section. All
three of these varsity teams won their Union County tournaments as well.

Congratulations to all of our student athletes on combining the challenges
of academics with the rigor of athletics.

•       Congratulations to 7 Westfield High School seniors who have signed a
national letter of intent with universities to continue their dedication to
academics and sports. Our student athletes include:  Sarah Cronin – Girls
Swimming, Brown University; Karli Sottung – Girls Soccer, US Naval
Academy; Mary Randazzo – Girls Lacrosse -  University of Massachusetts;
Alexis Kardias – Girls Lacrosse, University of Southern California; Anna
Tanji – Girls Lacrosse – College of the Holy Cross; Caroline Baldwin
– Girls Swimming, University of North Carolina; and Michael Ionta  -
Baseball, St. Peter’s University.  (This marks 13 consecutive years in
which a WHS catcher has been accepted by a Division I university).


The entire student body at Edison Intermediate School in Westfield
participated in Mix It Up Day on November 22, joining more than one million
students across the country to help break down social barriers and to
encourage an inclusive school community and learning environment. The
day’s events included an assembly, teacher-facilitated discussion groups,
and team building activities.  Nationwide cafeterias are the focus of Mix
It Up because that’s where a school’s social boundaries are most
obvious. During Edison’s lunch periods, student leaders led games and
conversation to encourage their classmates to move out of their comfort
zone and sit with someone new. Students and staff alike commented on how
the school-wide events encouraged unified and strengthened relationships
throughout the building.

•       On Saturday, December 7th at 7pm, the chorus from Franklin School will
perform with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra at the Home for the Holidays
concert, a seasonal stroll of timeless classics, sentimental wintertime
favorites and symphonic melodies.  The performance will be held at the
Presbyterian Church in Westfield. For tickets and information go to or call 908 232 9400. There is a special offer
for all students K-12.
•       School-wide and town-wide contests are underway to encourage service to
the community.  The contests are being hosted in coordination with the
Westfield Municipal Alliance, WHS Dream Team, Westfield Public Schools
Parent Teacher Council, Prevention Links, The Union County Department of
Human Services, the Division of Planning, and the NJ Governor’ Council of
Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.  There is a poster competition at the elementary
level, a poetry contest at the intermediate level, and a public service
announcement challenge for high schoolers.  Flyers have been sent to the
schools and information will be included in PTO newsletters prior to the
December deadlines.

The Westfield Public Schools will be closed in commemoration of the
Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and Friday, November 28th and 29th.  A
four hour session was scheduled on Wednesday, November 27th.


May you enjoy a safe and happy holiday weekend.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

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