Important Information from the Westfield Board of Education

April 12, 2014 at 2:56 PM

SYNOPSIS of Board of Ed Meeting of April 8, 2014

GUIDANCE & COUNSELING UPDATE

Director of Counseling, Maureen Mazzarese, provided the Board with an
update on services and initiatives of the Counseling Department.  She
outlined the mission of the counselors, which embraces services to all
students, including academic development, career development and
personal/social development.
Ms. Mazzarese affirmed Westfield’s counseling goals, which she called the
bedrock of any effective school-based counseling program:

•       To develop  programs and procedures that reach all students;
•       To recognize the importance of individual student planning in all areas
(academics, career, and social and emotional skills);
•       To develop services that are responsive and timely;
•       To use counselor time effectively and efficiently;
•       To be current in changes and trends in the college application process
as well as changes and trends in career opportunities and all post high
school options for students;
•       To expand our connections with colleges and universities;
•       To work effectively with administrators, teachers and support staff
with an emphasis on mutual respect and appreciation for each other
expertise. (The I&RS --Intervention & Referral Services--  Committee is a
good example of this collaboration);
•       To develop collaborative relationships with resources in our own
community, especially expanding our network of referrals in the mental
health care community;
•       To maintain positive relationships with parents and communicate
effectively with parents; and
•       To evaluate results by looking at data and narrative feedback.

Ms. Mazzarese explained that counselors support students, teachers,
parents, supervisors, principals, and child study teams. She provided
examples of how the counselors meet their goals:

Elementary
Four elementary school counselors work in six buildings. Collectively these
counselors are seeing over 237 students individually, some seeing as many
as 65 students per week.  Over 60 students are participating in group
counseling each week and entire class lessons are provided when possible.
The counselors also serve on every I&RS Committee, 504 Committee and share
the responsibilities of scheduling, maintaining records, case managing, and
writing action plans. They are all anti-bullying specialists. They are
written into Child Study Team behavior plans, are involved in school
committees, Professional Learning Communities, In-service, evening
presentations for parents, annual reviews, and crisis intervention.  They
provide assistance to students in decision-making/problem solving, social
skills/communication skills, academic difficulties,
impulsivity/self-control, coping skills, divorce/family changes,
grief/mourning, anger, friendships, self-esteem, anxiety, and school
phobia/avoidance.

Middle School:

Counselors have caseloads that average 285 per counselor at Edison and 244
at Roosevelt.  They provide individual counseling every day, attend weekly
core team meetings and dozens of annual reviews; serve as 504 case managers
and I & RS committee members; they participate in NJ ASK test preparation
and implementation, Genesis scheduling, classroom lessons, peer leadership,
and a grant-sponsored lending library for parents.  At Roosevelt, they are
working on a program entitled Effective School Solutions, and Edison was
named as a Mix-it-Up Model School, one of just 76 schools from across the
country.


Westfield High School:

The student counselor ratio is approximately 205:1, which is in line with
comparable districts and with American School Counselor Association
standards.  The WHS counselors just completed approximately 1,900
individual scheduling conferences.  There are approximately 450 Junior
conferences in progress.  Counselors made 27 classroom visits to review the
college application process and provided 34 Naviance and Common Application
Workshops.  More than 50 letters of recommendation have been written per
counselor. Counselors are case managing 61 I&RS Plans and 54 of the 504
Plans. In addition to many individual and crisis counseling meetings, they
are attending more than 150 annual reviews. The department provides an
advisory role to three student support groups.  To assist students and
families in the college process, the department has provided:
•       3484 transcripts processed, averaging 8.1 per student (an increase of
13%);
•       2 college essay workshops;
•       5 parent evenings;
•       200 colleges attending WHS College Night;
•       142 college rep visits; and
•       48 counselor college tours, with more scheduled later in the spring.

Ms. Mazzarese highlighted many new accomplishments this year.  Counselors
were trained early in the school year to develop Student Growth Objectives.
She stated that among the districts that regularly attend the Union County
Directors of Guidance meetings, Westfield is the only district that
required Student Growth Objectives for counselors. We are now a model for
others. For elementary counselors the SGO in-service was an opportunity to
set some common goals, to plan together, and to support each other
throughout the process.

At every level counselors are taking advantage of workshop opportunities to
help students deal with anxiety, difficult emotions and life experiences.

To date, Suicide Prevention In-Service has occurred in 7 of our schools and
the remaining three are on the calendar for this month. Counselors have
worked with Ms. Mazzarese and their principals to develop a presentation
that was tailored to the needs of the school and the age levels of the
children and provide staff with essential information, policy review and
resources.

Middle School Counselors have expanded their Character Education
initiatives and peer leadership models to include more classroom lessons
and school-wide programs.

At the High School, the use of Naviance grows. One of the department’s
SGOs is to have all sophomores started on a resume as a way to reflect and
plan.

Through a survey of 11th graders, counselors identified a group of students
who were interested in learning about alternatives to college. To that end,
counselors have met with representatives from seven technical or trade
schools. Thirty-four of our students attended a college/career day at New
Jersey City University where they and the counselors had the opportunity to
meet with representatives from dozens of programs and schools.

Money saved by technology has allowed for certain technology upgrades in
the form of some lap-tops and i-pads that counselors will use in group
presentation, college tours, meetings, and for working at home and on the
road. The department has used data to re-organize the counseling calendar
for next year. For seniors and juniors everything will happen sooner to
better align with the college timeline.

Next year our Naviance bundle will expand as we integrate Alumni Tracker
into our package.  Through the National Student Clearinghouse we will be
able to track graduates. The program will allow us to correlate high school
GPA’s and test scores with post high school achievement, majors and job
outcomes. Ms. Mazzarese explained that with more information about what the
millennia generation is doing, the department can advise and counsel
better.  She thanked the Board for its continued support.


PERSONNEL

The Board accepted with regret the retirement of Kathleen Ellis – Lincoln
School, Special Education – following 15 years as a Special Education
teacher in Westfield.  We wish her a healthy, happy retirement, which is
effective June 30, 2014.

POLICIES

•       The Board approved for second reading the following policies:  2230 –
Course Guides and 2510 Adoption of Textbooks.
•       The Board approved for second reading to abolish the following
policies:  3220 Evaluation of Teaching Staff Members and 3222 Evaluation of
Tenured Teaching Staff Members. We will instead be following the new state
mandated staff evaluation model.
The Board affirmed my decision on five HIB incidents.

CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAM

The Board approved the following curriculum as aligned to standards:
Language Arts - English I, II, III, IV and Writers Craft.

Pamela Ackerman-Garcia, Supervisor of Language Arts, provided background on
the new curriculum that aligns with the Core Curriculum Content Standards.
She noted that the curriculum changes focus on: balancing informational and
literacy texts, building knowledge in the disciplines, text complexity, and
academic vocabulary.  In the case of Intermediate Language Arts (6 – 8),
the format has changed to create a balanced literacy vision characterized
by explicit skill instruction and the use of authentic texts.  There is an
emphasis on reading informational text aligned to Literature, and the
writing focus has shifted to opinion/argumentative writing.  The
collaborative approach among teachers from different academic disciplines
also is meant to help prepare students for college and careers.

The Board approved for first reading following curricula: Language Arts -
Intermediate English Language Arts (6-8).

The Board approved for second reading following curricula: World Language -
French III & III Honors; French IV & IV Honors; French V & V AP; Spanish
III & III Honors; Spanish IV & IV AP; and Spanish V & V AP.  Language Arts
- School Library Media and Journalism II. Mathematics -  Math of Personal
Finance; Calculus, AP Calculus AB, and AP Calculus BC; Computer Science
1,2,3; Discrete Mathematics; Probability & Statistics; AP Statistics;
Pre-Calculus; Pre-Calculus AP; and Pre-Calculus Honors.  Social Studies -
Social Studies K-4.

The Board approved four field trips to coincide with curriculum.



FINANCE

The Board approved a resolution for the NJSDA Grant Agreement for
Roosevelt’s projects:  upgrade temperature controls, phase I; boiler
replacement; and security upgrades, year I.
The Board approved tuition for STEM Summer Camp in the amount of $250 per
week.

LIAISON REPORTS

Ginny Leiz reported on her attendance at the PTC/PTO Presidents’ meeting
in which there was discussion regarding the new website and possible PTO
funding for school air conditioning.  Rosanne Kurstedt stated that at the
Roosevelt Intermediate School PTO meeting there was appreciation expressed
for the Board’s awareness of improvements needed for auditoriums.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

WORLD LANGUAGE
Congratulations to students in the Spanish II Honors class at Westfield
High School, who combined their knowledge of language and history to make
an awarding winning video.  Earning first place in the Montclair State
University Spanish Day film festival on March 28, the video entirely
created by Westfield High School freshmen, beat out all other schools in
New Jersey including those represented by upper classmen. "En busca de un
futuro mejor" (In Search of a Better Future) is a 5 minute video based on
historical events concerning forced disappearances in several countries in
Latin America in the 1970’s and 80’s.  Attending the award ceremony
were Juliana Yang, Max Wasilewski, Zoe Rader, Emily Sackett, Sophie
Hurwitz, Noah Bram, Ben Norton, Katie Colleran, Erica Cheung, Jillian
Martinez, Emma Pettit, and Emily Oster and teachers Liz Schultz and Katie
Foley. The film festival was held during the second half of Spanish Day at
Montclair and attended by more than 15 schools and approximately 400
students. The first half of the day consisted of workshops entirely in
Spanish.

FINE ARTS

Congratulations to Westfield High School’s drama department for receiving
8 Montclair State University “Theatre Night Award” nominations for the
school’s fall drama, Metamorphoses.  The nominations include:
Outstanding Achievements in Sound Design; Stage Crew; Costume Design; Stage
Direction; and Acting Ensemble.  Also - Outstanding Production of a Drama;
Outstanding Overall Production; and Outstanding Performance by a Supporting
Actress in a Drama for Jesse Zimmermann’s role as Myrrha.


Six Edison Intermediate School students were selected to showcase their art
work at the Elizabethtown Gas Company in Union, NJ.  A special awards
ceremony was held on March 24 to honor the Westfield students and recognize
their unique artist talents.  The students are: Tahani Ahmed, Darika
Lara-Rodriquez, Elaina Jones, Amanda Zhang,  Shea Elliot, and Elisha
Israel.  Members on a committee from the Art Educators of New Jersey made
the final selections.  The chosen Westfield pieces included four paintings,
one pen and ink drawing, and one using colored pencil.  The Edison
Intermediate School award winning artists are students of Alison Hooper and
Helen Frees.

WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL

Eight Westfield High School students have achieved perfect scores in
January on the SAT and in March on ACT standardized tests widely used for
college admission criteria.  They include:  Katherine Ko (ACT English);
William Crenshaw (SAT Writing); Brian Johnson (SAT Math); Andrew Zale (ACT
Science); Griffin Mooney (SAT and ACT Math); Albert Chen (SAT Reading and
Writing); William Chen (SAT Writing); and Benjamin Howell (ACT English).
This group of students brings to 29 the total of perfect SAT or ACT scores
thus far in the 2013-2014 school year in Westfield.

ODYSSEY OF THE MIND
Westfield Odyssey of the Mind will be hosting its second annual Showcase on
Wednesday, April 23, from 6 to 8 pm at Edison Intermediate School.  The
community is invited to find out what this creative problem solving
competition for kids is about and how to get involved.  Admission is free,
but donations to support the Westfield Odyssey Program are kindly accepted.
 For questions, please email WestfieldOdyssey@gmail.com

INTERMEDIATE

A reminder that the deadline for receipt of nominations for the 17th annual
Intermediate School Outstanding Teacher Award is Tuesday, April 22.  Two
intermediate school teachers – one from Edison and one from Roosevelt
Intermediate Schools – will be chosen to receive the award on May 14th at
an Optimist dinner, and will be honored at a Board of Education meeting in
June. Students, parents and staff are encouraged to submit nomination
letters to: Outstanding Teacher Award Committee of the Optimist Club of
Westfield, c/o Office of the Superintendent, Westfield Public Schools, 302
Elm St., Westfield, NJ  07090.  Letters can also be e-mailed to:
optiaward@westfieldnjk12.org.

ED FUND
The Education Fund of Westfield is holding its annual Wine Tasting and
Auction on Saturday, April 26th, from 7 – 11 PM at the Echo Lake Country
Club.  Proceeds fund grants for teachers in our schools.  For more
information, contact westfieldnj.com/edfund.

WESTFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL BE CLOSED APRIL 14 - 18.  We wish everyone an
enjoyable Spring Break.

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING – will be held Tuesday, April 29, at 302
Elm Street.  We will have the Public Hearing on the 2014-2015 budget at
that time.

Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

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

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Newark Police Officer Indicted for Manslaughter in Fatal Shooting Outside Paddy’s Place

December 7, 2016

ELIZABETH, NJ – An off-duty Newark police officer who fatally shot a Middlesex County man outside of Paddy’s Place in May was indicted by a Union County grand jury Wednesday, according to Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park.

Joseph Macchia, 35, is charged with second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of 37-year-old Michael Gaffney of Piscataway.

Township of ...

Important Information from the Westfield Board of Health

December 7, 2016

To the Editor:

The Westfield Board of Health met on Dec. 5.

The seasonal influenza vaccination program is continuing. A pediatric flu clinic will be held on Friday, Dec. 9, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Municipal Building. All children who attend preschool must be vaccinated. A simple vaccination can prevent the flu and protect the children. It is best to ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_b5a658b18afc6bb10268_glencadam

Fri, December 9, 5:00 PM

NosVino, Westfield

Free Scotch Tasting: Glencadam

Food & Drink

Fri, December 9, 7:30 PM

Galeria West Art & Music Gallery, Westfield

Flamenco Nights @ Galeria West Holiday Music & ...

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Police Blotter: Drug-Related Arrests, DWIs & More

December 7, 2016

November 30, 2016 10:40 a.m.

Officer O’Holla arrested Honnie Graham, age 31, of Plainfield at the Middlesex County Jail for an ATS warrant in the amount of $2,500 out of this jurisdiction.

December 1, 2016 11:21 p.m.

Officer Bagan and Natale arrested Amanda Oskierko, age 26, of Maxim Court, Jackson, NJ, for driving while intoxicated pursuant to a motor vehicle stop in the area of ...

Seventeen Graduate Local Suicide Intervention Training

December 8, 2016

The graduates of a recent suicide intervention training class held by caring and crisis hotline Caring Contact of Westfield proudly hold their certificates. The Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) class was held Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 at the RWJ Rahway Fitness and Wellness Center in Scotch Plains.

ASIST is an internationally acclaimed interactive training program in suicide ...

Westfield Area YMCA is Here to Help You Make and Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

It’s that time of year again when millions of Americans are thinking of making New Year’s Resolutions.  The question is…will they keep them?  Studies reveal that only 10% of Americans keep their resolutions for an entire year.  You can change that statistic! 

You can become more active. The hardest thing to do is to get started.  Once started, make ...

Give With Your Heart ... But Use Your Head

It is that most wonderful time of the year when every day becomes a mad scramble to attend parties, meet family obligations, buy gifts and, in between, get work done. The holiday season engenders feelings of nostalgia, hope and gratitude. And, with that, we spend incredible sums of money, sometimes without thinking. Generosity is a virtue, so here are some basic tips on giving to ...

‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales' Captures Old-Fashioned Nostalgia at Shakespeare Theatre

MADISON, NJ – It’s clear the Welsh love to sing as the evening moves on with relatives gathering for Christmas dinner at the Thomas home in Wales.

The play opens with three children and then a chorus singing “In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,” a melancholy tune that conjures visions of Swansea, a village in Wales,  with “fallen snow on ...

Lindabury Hosts Fall Meeting of International Network of Law Firms

The law firm of Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C., recently played host to the Fall meeting of LEGUS, is an international network of high quality mid-sized law firms located across the globe.  More than 60 firms from across the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East sent senior level representatives to the two-day meeting held at the W Hotel in Hoboken.   ...

Beckerman’s Theory of Everything

Any armchair theoretical physicist knows that Stephen Hawking has pursued a lifelong quest to come up with a Theory of Everything. This all-encompassing theory would tie together general relativity (large scale and high mass galaxies, stars, etc), quantum theory (quantum mechanics, quarks, atoms, subatomic particles), and Newtonian physics (gravity on small bodies, gas laws, electromagnetism) to ...

Family Portraits After the Death of a Family Member

One of the gifts of working in the field of children’s grief support is the support I receive from my family and friends. They always have their eyes peeled for interesting articles that relate to grief and loss. Usually they send the articles to me with a kind note, like “this made me think of you” or “thought you’d be interested in this!”

A few days ago my ...

Female Dog Found in Roselle

This female dog was found at 315 East 1st Ave. in Roselle.  She is currently at the Roselle Police Headquarters. If this is your pet or you know the owner call the Roselle Police at 908-245- 2000. 

Holy Trinity School Spotlight - Kindergarten

At Holy Trinity School, Kindergarten is cool!  In Kindergarten, students learn the fundamental skills necessary to thrive in a school environment. The Holy Trinity Kindergarten is a full-day, faith-based program focused on reading readiness, language development, math, and science concepts.   Students also take part in several special classes each week that include music, library, ...

GWACC (Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce) Invites the Chamber and Community Members to Enjoy a Trip to Pompeii & the Amalfi Coast

GWACC has announced today that it will be visiting irresistible Southern Italy & Amalfi Coast, departing Oct. 11, 2017 and is inviting chamber members, and family and friends of chamber members to join them on this once in a lifetime experience.

Rich in culture and stunning scenery, irresistible Southern Italy is the setting for this breathtaking journey. Enjoy an eight day ...

Tamaques Elementary Launches New 'Makerspace' Initiative

With the objective of fostering students' critical thinking, imagination and creativity, Westfield Public School librarian Christine Pitarresi has spearheaded a new program at Tamaques Elementary, called "Makerspace." Observing current trends and needs for growing minds, Ms. Pitarresi enthusiastically noted, "We used to be a society of makers, now we are ...

20-Year-Old Orange Man Arrested in Murder of Missing Montclair Woman

December 8, 2016

NEWARK, NJ - Authorities announced that they have arrested Khalil Wheeler-Weaver, 20, of Orange, who is suspected of the murder of Sarah Butler, according to Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray and Montclair Police Chief Todd Conforti.

Butler, a 20-year-old Montclair resident reported missing on Nov. 23, was found dead on Dec. 1 in Eagle Rock ...