RANDOLPH, NJ- The Randolph Township Board of Education held their first organization meeting of 2014. Some areas covered were the new food service in school, student use of mobile devices in school, and recognition for students who had outstanding achievements this past fall.  Three elected members were also sworn in by Board Secretary Michael Neves. They were Sheldon Epstein, Alfredo Matos and Amy Sachs.

Board of Education President Tammy Mackay was re-elected and will remain in her chair. Next was a nomination for Matos to sit in the VP chair replacing Amy Sachs.  Sachs will remain a board member for three more years.

Karysn Wagner, Randolph High School’s student representative reported that the student council launched a twitter account  @RHS_studentgov .

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It was also reported by Wagner that there will be a food drive held for the Morristown Soup Kitchen. To make it a fun event, the students will submit their donated cans with the name of who they want to win the Super Bowl. Members of the board asked Wagner for student feedback regarding the change in food service providers, which she will report back on next meeting. Maschio’s Food Services, Inc. of Chester, N.J. is now the food service management company for the school district, effective Jan. 1 and through June 30 of 2014.

Mr. Jonathan Olsen, Supervisor of the Humanities, presented the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) executive report, now that Randolph Township is in its second year of BYOD. David Browne, Superintendent of Schools, spoke with enthusiasm in support of the policy’s success. Olsen proceeded through a series of slides demonstrating “best practices” for teachers to help students utilize their devices. Many hands on, practical, and fun lessons were shown.

Browne further explained that teachers are frequently being offered professional development opportunities on how to best utilize this policy, and to ensure device use is not being abused by students. After a question from the public portion of the meeting on availability to all students, it was explained that there are Nooks available to any kids who do not have their own device. For more information on the BYOD Initiative click here

Next up, several groups of students were honored by the board. One success story after another marched into the meeting and shared their inspirational story.

Both boys and girls High School Varsity Soccer teams were honored along with their coaches for their amazing season, spirit and success. The girls won the County Tournament, and barely lost in the State Finals game in which they statistically outplayed their opponent.  The boys made the county finals where they lost a tough game and won a state playoff game before bowing out.

The Girls High School Cross Country team was also acknowledged for winning two titles they had never won before.  They were named Cross Country County Sectional Champions and achieved their first ‘Meet of Champions’ title. The inspiring story of Margaret Thomson was retold.  Thompson is the student who lost a shoe but continued to run the rest of her race on rough terrain which badly cut her foot. When asked by Browne to speak she said “I know many others who have powered through worse things, I just knew I had to do this, one shoe or not.” Browne responded “I read the story over and over, and I cried every time.”

David Imhoff, Supervisor of Visual and Performing Arts, also introduced and acknowledged some of his staff and students. The North Jersey Middle School Area Band was honored as well as two High School Bands including the North Jersey Area Band Symphonic Band, and the North Jersey Area Band Wind Ensemble. Their concert is 6 p.m. this Sunday at Mt. Olive High School.

After all of the accomplishments were reviewed, board president Mackay said “Well I think we picked a great time to honor these students. It got us revved up right around budget time. We feel more motivated to sharpen our pencils and get back to work on the new budget.”

The first budget meeting is on Monday Jan. 13 at 7:15 in Central Office, and is open to the public.