Letters to the Editor

Important Information from the Westfield Board of Education

SYNOPSIS of the June 10, 2014 Westfield Board of Ed Meeting:
By Superintendent Margaret Dolan


Board Vice President, Rosanne Kurstedt, presented Board of Education
resolutions to secondary school teachers who were recipients of awards this
spring.  They included:  Optimist Intermediate Teachers of the Year,
Colleen Raparelli, Math teacher at Roosevelt Intermediate School, and Kerri
Webster, Guidance Counselor at Edison Intermediate School.  Also
acknowledged were three Westfield High School teachers:  Bob Brewster,
Science teacher, who is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished
Teacher of the Year Award and James Hart, Industrial Arts teacher and 2014
winner of the Robert and Linda Foose Memorial Award for Excellence.  Rose
Calimano, Spanish teacher and recipient of Westfield High School PTSO’s
Outstanding Teacher Award, who was attending her son’s concert, was
unable to attend the Board meeting.  On hand at the Board meeting to honor
all the awardees were school principals, PTO officers, students,
colleagues, family members, and friends. Principals Renwick, Carey and
Bolton all spoke of the dedication, commitment, care and that the teachers
demonstrate in their profession.


I reported that the Westfield Public School district has met the criteria
as a High Performing District under NJ QSAC review by the NJ Department of
Education.  NJQSAC monitors districts’ compliance with state and federal
laws and programs and evaluates districts in five components.  If a
district receives a score of 80, it is considered a High Performing
District.  These are Westfield’s scores:  Instruction and Program (93%),
Personnel (100 %), Fiscal Management (98 %), Operations Management (100 %),
and Governance (100 %).  We devote considerable time to prepare for QSAC
over a period of several months. I would like to thank the QSAC Review
Committee which included:  Rosanne Kurstedt, Board of Education
representative; Dana Sullivan, Business Administrator; Paul Pineiro,
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction; Michael Weissman,
Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services; Barbara Ball, Human
Resources Specialist; Audrey Zavetz, Principal of Lincoln School; David
Greer, Supervisor of World Languages K-12/English Language Learners;
Douglas Kehler, teacher, Westfield High School; and Dominick Ceccio,
teacher, Roosevelt Intermediate School. In addition to preparing
substantial data, we had visits by the State to the Administration Building
and a number of our schools.  The next step in the process will be the
recommendation by Acting Commissioner of Education, David Hespe, to the
State Board of Education that will certify Westfield as providing a
thorough and efficient system of education for three years or until the
next QSAC review. I am pleased with this outcome and with all of our staff
who work hard every day.


The Board approved contracts; legal, banking and investment services;
dates, time and place for monthly official meetings; and purchasing
authority to enable the Board to continue to operate the business of the
Board for the 2014-2015 school year.


The Board accepted with regret the retirement of Christine Hedden, Edison
Intermediate School Social Studies teacher, who has taught students in
Westfield for 22 years.  We wish her an enjoyable and healthy retirement
and thank her for her service.


The Board approved for first reading the following policies:  2320
Independent Study (Program); 2411 Guidance Counseling (Program); 2423
Bilingual & ESL Education (Program); 5300 Automated External Defibrillators
(AEDS) (Pupils); 5500 Conduct –Discipline / Code of Conduct (Pupils); and
5530 Substance Abuse (Pupils).  The Board approved for first reading to
abolish the following policies which have been superseded or combined with
others:  0147 Board Member Travel Expenses (Bylaws); 0147.1 Board Member
Travel Expenses (Bylaws); 1440 Travel Expenses for Administrators
(Administration); 2411.1 Guidance Program – Elementary Schools (Program);
2460.8 Special Education – Pupil Records (Program); 3440 Travel Expenses
for Teaching Staff (Teaching Staff); and 4440 Travel Expenses for Support
Staff (Support Staff).


The Board approved for first reading Mandarin Chinese III (World

The Board approved three field trips which align with curriculum.


The Board ratified a three-year contract with the Westfield Education
Association (WEA), effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017.  The
contract represents approximately 570 teachers, nurses, librarians,
guidance counselors, social workers, school psychologists, and educational
specialists. Under the new contract, WEA members will receive a 2% increase
in salary for each year of the contract.  Under New Jersey’s Chapter 78
legislation, Westfield teachers will be required to contribute more to
their health insurance each year of the contract and may continue to waive
Westfield district insurance coverage if they have additional sources of
health insurance.  One additional professional development day will be
added to the calendar for an annual total of two professional days.
Westfield negotiating team members included Human Resources Specialist
Barbara Ball, Business Administrator Dana Sullivan, and Board of Education
members Ginny Leiz (Chair), Ann Cary, Gretchan Ohlig, and Mitch Slater.
The WEA negotiating team members included WEA President and guidance
counselor Kim Schumacher, Michael Seiler (Chief Negotiator), Dominick
Ceccio, Scott Rutherford, Gail Alston, Debbie Vezos, and Mary Wickens.
Board members Brendan Galligan and Mitch Slater did not support the
The Board approved resolutions to use capital reserve funds for the local
share of NJSDA Grant Agreements for Westfield High School and Franklin,
Lincoln, McKinley, Tamaques, Washington, and Wilson schools.


Ginny Leiz attended the Union County Educational Services Commission’s
reorganization meeting, The Garden State Coalition of Schools annual
meeting, and the Union County Roundtable’s recognition of annual
Rosanne Kurstedt attended Roosevelt Intermediate School’s PTSO meeting at
which time new volunteers were being transitioned into roles on the PTSO.


Mary Keller, Social Studies teacher at Westfield High School since 1998,
has been elected to the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Council for
Social Studies.  She will serve as one of three regional Directors for
Central New Jersey representing the Westfield Public Schools as well as the
interests of Union, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Somerset, and
Warren County school districts for a two year term (2014-2016). As part of
her duties, she will be working with like-minded social studies educators
across the State of New Jersey to provide meaningful professional
development.  Westfield’s Supervisor of Social Studies, Andrea Brennan,
congratulated Mary and said, “This is a great opportunity to put your
skills and experience to work and help Social Studies teachers in NJ.”
We congratulate Ms. Keller and know that she will represent Westfield

Congratulations to the cast and crew of Westfield High School’s spring
musical production of Anyone Can Whistle, which won two awards at the 2014
Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards ceremony.  This year's recipients
were seniors Alexa Derman for Student Achievement in Hair & Make-up Design
and Samantha Gruskin for Student Achievement in Stage Management.  In
addition to these two awards, Mr. John Brzozowski, vocal teacher at
Westfield High School, was recognized with an Honorable Mention for musical
Congratulations to Westfield High School senior Fraser Weist, who for the
second year in a row, won a $1000 prize in the Harmonium High School Choral
Composition contest.  Fraser was at one of our Board of Ed meetings this
spring, since he also was named a Presidential Scholar finalist in two
categories -- the only high school student in the country receiving two
distinctions.  He also won the Distinguished Student award at Westfield
High Schools recent Awards Night. He will represent Westfield High School
well at Harvard,

Congratulations to 6 Westfield High School 11th graders who achieved
perfect scores in March on the SAT and 4 who had perfect ACT scores in May.
They are: Hannah Goldring – SAT Writing, Frances Ling – SAT Reading and
Writing; Jacqueline Napolitano – ACT English, Mathematics and Reading;
Olivia Windorf – SAT Reading; Jack Rose – ACT Mathematics; Andrew
Kuznetsov – SAT Writing; Bryan Chou - ACT Mathematics; Jameson Maher –
ACT English; and Andrew Zale – SAT Reading.
At Westfield High School’s annual Awards Night, more than 130 awards were
presented to graduating seniors.   Please check the district website for
the names of the award recipients.  We will celebrate all of our graduating
seniors on Thursday, June 19, at the Commencement ceremony which will be
held at Kehler Stadium at 6:00 PM.  In the event of inclement weather,
graduation will be held at the Armory.
Congratulations to Mark Gillespie – WHS senior – who achieved a gold
medal on the National Latin Exam run by the University of Mary Washington
for the past four consecutive years.   The National Latin Exam Committee
wrote to Principal Renwick stating, “This noteworthy achievement is,
indeed, a credit to your school and to you who support and recognize the
value of the study of Latin, as well as to your Latin teacher whose
dedication has made this honor possible.  We congratulate you and we share
the great pride you must take in this outstanding student.”   We
congratulate Mark Gillespie and his teacher James Rowan.

Congratulations to 8th graders Julian Mazzola and Eve Crandall from
Roosevelt Intermediate School who were presented the Outstanding Solo
Performance awards at the 47th Annual Bucks County Playhouse Student
Theater Festival on May 15.  They were among the 27 eighth grade drama
students from Roosevelt Intermediate School who performed in 22 short comic
scenes.  More than 150 students representing 6 schools from New Jersey and
Pennsylvania participated in the performances and were able to attend
workshops that included working with the Broadway performer/choreographer
Lee Wilkins.  Kimberly Jonny is the Drama/Public Speaker teacher at
Roosevelt who worked with the students in preparation for the annual

McKinley Elementary School recently held its third annual Mini-THON.  The
event, at which over 220 students danced to fight pediatric cancer, raised
over $8,400 to benefit the Karyn Research Fund.  This is a great cause and
a great effort by our young students and their school community.

Twenty-one Westfield Public School staff members were honored for 535 years
of combined service by the Board of Education and colleagues at the 27th
annual Gala for school employees.  The event was held June 5th at the
Pantagis Renaissance in Scotch Plains.  The annual event brings staff
members together to honor retirees and employees with 25 years of service.
Please check the district website for the complete list of names of our
honorees.  We appreciate the opportunity each year to thank our retirees
and our long term employees who have served the Westfield school

Congratulations to our Boys Lacrosse team for winning the Group 4 State
Championship on May 29.  We will honor the team at our next Board meeting
on June 17th.

For K-8 students - The LAST DAY OF SCHOOL WILL BE FRIDAY, JUNE 20. The last
two days of school, June 19 and June 20, 2014 will be four-hour sessions.
For Grades 9-12 - JUNE 19 WILL BE THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL .  The last two
days of school, June 18 and June 19, 2014 will be four-hour sessions.

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING -- will be held on Tuesday, June 17, at
7:30 PM.  In addition to our boy’s lacrosse team, we are inviting the
Fine Arts students who have been recognized statewide this year.

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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