Letters to the Editor

Important Information from the Westfield Board of Education


Synopsis of Board of Ed Mtg from June 17, 2014:


Board President Richard Mattessich began the announcement portion of the
meeting with a special recognition of our State Champion Boys Lacrosse
team.  Their Group 4 Championship is the first since 1987.  In addition to
earning the State title, the team won the Group 4 North championship.
Besides certificates for the team members, Mr. Mattessich presented one to
Head Coach Patrick Tuohy who had been named the Group 4 Coach of the Year
and the Courier News Coach of the Year.

Mr. Mattessich also presented certificates to Fine Arts students who
received state recognition.  They included Westfield High School students
who were accepted into the All State Mixed and Women’s Choruses and those
who received Paper Mill Rising Star Awards, Montclair State University
Theatre Night Awards, and the Harmonium High School Choral Composition
Contest.  At the intermediate level, students were recognized for the Bucks
County theater awards and for selection for a State House art display.
Drama teacher Daniel Devlin was also recognized for receiving Montclair’s
award for Outstanding Achievement in Stage Direction for the drama
Metamorphoses, and vocal music teacher John Brzozowski for earning
Honorable Mention from Paper Mill for musical direction of Anyone Can

Business Administrator Dana Sullivan reported that the summer roof projects
will start to take place on Tuesday, June 24.  Please check with the
Westfield Recreation Department for possible relocations of its summer
playground programs.

The Board approved for first reading the following policies:  2361
Acceptable Use for Computer Network, Computers, Personal Electronic Devices
(PEDs) and Technology Resources (Program); 2622 State Standardized Pupil
Assessments (Program); 2622.1 District Pupil Assessments (Program); 3282
Digital Communication by School Staff (Teaching Staff Members); and 4282
Digital Communication by Support Staff (Support Staff Members).

The Board approved for first reading the Bilingual/ESL Three-Year Program
Plan, School Years 2014-2017 (World Languages).

The Board approved two field trips (STEM Camp and Marching Band).

Business Administrator Dana Sullivan announced that now that contracts have
been awarded for the remaining school roof projects, there is a $3.5
million savings to the taxpayers.  While the November 2013 bond referendum
approved by the voters authorized the district to sell $13.6 million in
bonds for the roofing projects, the district will actually be selling only
$10.1 million in bonds. She explained that due to good planning, we were
able to bid all of the roof projects early in the year and therefore
received numerous bids for each project, resulting in $3.5 million savings
to the taxpayers.  NJ state law requires public schools districts to
solicit bids and award contracts to the lowest responsible bidder and that
process sometimes results in variations in costs depending on the timing of
the bids and the economy.  The Board approved a resolution approving the
sale of bonds in the amount of $3.2 million. The approval of the resolution
is for a 10 year payback period rather than 15 years, thereby saving the
district an additional $336,000 over the life of the bonds.  Last summer a
previous bond sale took place in the amount of $6.9 million.

The Board approved an agreement between the Westfield Support Staff
Association (WSSA) and the Westfield Board of Education for the period of
7/1/13 through 6/30/16.  The WSSA represents custodians, maintenance staff
and mechanics in the district.


Mitch Slater, Chair of the Technology Committee, reported that it has been
a very exciting year, and he thanked Chief Technology Officer Brian Auker;
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Program Paul
Pineiro; and Master Technology Teachers Jeanine Gottko and Adam Pizzi for
their hard work and success in accomplishing much in 2013-2014.  The
district recently was accepted into the Innovate NJ Community initiative
established by the NJ Department of Education to help showcase, promote and
scale innovative programs and models in schools and districts across the
state to ensure that students are keeping pace in a rapidly changing global
landscape. Looking ahead, Mr. Slater referred to the next phase of the
Edline rollover this summer and the replacement of access switches and
creation of more access points.  In the fall, an Instructional Technology
Center will be launched at Westfield High School to give students the
opportunity to help other students and staff members.  The District also
will add Facebook to its social media outreach.



Congratulations to the 165 students who participated in kindergarten
graduation ceremonies at Lincoln School on June 12.  Following a Pomp and
Circumstance procession to the stage with their artwork as a bright visual
backdrop, the students sang seven songs, all based on the theme of world
harmony.  Three separate celebrations were held to accommodate both the
morning and afternoon classes.

•       Congratulations to 7 Westfield High School 11th graders who have
achieved perfect scores in May on the SAT standardized test widely used for
college admission criteria.  They include:  For Math 2 - Bryan Chou,
Kayleigh Denner, Jack McKinley, Caroline Stocking, and Eli Wirtshafter; for
Reading -  Maria Lizzo; and for Spanish - Jameson Maher.

•       Following are Westfield High School results from some of the national
exams in World Languages.  For more information and names of awardees,
please check the district website.

o       57 students earned a variety of awards and recognitions at all four
levels of the Latin National exam.  Noteworthy results this year include
the students who took the Latin 4 exam, every single one of whom won an
award, and senior Mark Gillespie, who received a gold medal on the exam for
his fourth consecutive year.

o       A total of 9 gold, 13 silver, and 11 bronze medals along with 29
honorable mentions were earned on the 2014 National Spanish Examinations.
According to the National Director of the Exams, “Attaining a medal or
honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is
very prestigious because the exams are the largest of their kind in the
United States with over 150,000 students participating in 2014.”

o       Students also participated in the Italian National Exam competing against
students from 105 schools across 20 states and taken by more than 5,000
students. A total of 24 Westfield High School students who study the
Italian language received honorable mention.

•       Congratulations to Kevin Miller, who is completing his junior year at
Westfield High School.  He was presented the West Point Eisenhower
Leadership Award which recognizes our nation’s outstanding high school
juniors who have demonstrated exceptional performance in academics,
athletics, community service, leadership, moral character and who promote
the values of national service as exemplified by Dwight D. Eisenhower.
•       Approximately 75 students recently took part in McKinley School's
annual 4th Grade Wax Museum in Westfield.  This year's exhibit was
"Celebrating Innovation: Trailblazers".  Each student was tasked with
researching an innovator in their field, writing a speech, assembling a
costume, and creating a display to present at the museum.  The entire
school visited the exhibits, which also were admired by many McKinley
•       Congratulations to Sarah Zong, a 4th grader at Jefferson Elementary
School, who won the "Le Petit Orchestre" competition in May 2014.  She will
play as a soloist with the Central Jersey Symphony Orchestra on Friday
evening, June 20, at the Nash Theater, Raritan Valley Community College.

The last day of school for K-8 students is Friday, June 20. The last two
days of school, June 19 and June 20, will be four-hour sessions. The last
day of school for Grades 9-12 is June 19.  (This is also Graduation).  The
last two days of school, June 18 and June 19, will be four-hour sessions at
Westfield High School.
Time Out New York recently included Westfield as one of five of the coolest
places in New Jersey for New Yorkers.  In the description of Westfield,
Time Out New York cites the "good public school system." The article
appears in its entirety on www.westfieldnjk12.org “In the News.”

Mrs. Cary reminded the public that she and Mrs. Kurstedt will not seek
another term on the Board of Education.  To consider becoming a Board of
Education member for the 2014-2017 term, candidates must file a petition in
person in the Office of the County Clerk in Elizabeth on or before 4 PM on
July 28, 2014.  The actual election will take place on Tuesday, November 5.
 Petition forms are available at the Board of Education office, 302 Elm
Street, Westfield. Questions regarding the election process can be referred
to the Union County Election Supervisor, Lisa Hugelmeyer, at 908-527-4996.
Information is available at the County Clerk’s website at
www.ucnj.org/ctyclerk.  Interested residents are encouraged to contact any
member of the Board of Education or the Superintendent of Schools, Dr.
Margaret Dolan, for more information about service on the Board.

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING – is scheduled for Tuesday, August 26.
I wish our entire community an enjoyable and safe summer!

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.

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