WEST ESSEX, NJ — During the Board of Education meeting held via Zoom this past Monday, West Essex High School (WEHS) principal Caesar Diliberto announced the third and fourth marking period recipients of the Shoprite Stars awards.  R

eceiving recognition for Academics were rising seniors Lea Bachenheimer and Oliva Saud.  Recognized in the field of Arts were Lindsay Bernstein, who will be attending James Madison University in Virginia and rising senior Gabe Ruszaia. 

Athletic recipients were Kevin Baker, who will be attending Rutgers University and Jessica Cola, who is a 12-varsity letter athlete who will be attending University of South Carolina.  Community Service recipients were Juliana Himawan and Jeremy Caplan who will be seniors next year and in the field of Leadership Danielle Schwartz who will attend Emory University and rising senior Abby Boggler.

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The semi-annual Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) data was presented by Juliann Hoebee, WEHS Assistant Principal.  Hoebee reported that from January 1st-June 19th there were six cases reported at the high school, one was deemed to have been founded and one matter is still pending. 

For that same time period in the middle school there were three reported instances and one was deemed to have been confirmed.  The HIB categories that were confirmed by the two founded cases involved race and the second involved an issue of “mental, physical sensory disability or other distinguishing characteristics.”  Remediation measures included counseling, social probation, reporting to police, remediation measures involving written assignments and suspension.  Hoebee commented that “we are working in concert with everyone to try to educate and remediate.”

During agenda items under Finance the board voted to accept $34,778 from the CARES Emergency Relief Grant.  Also accepted was the 2020-2021 IDEA Consolidated Formula grant in the amount of $322,708 for special education purposes.  The board approved $3,500,000 to be transferred into the Capital Reserves Account which represents an anticipated current year surplus and an additional $500,000 into a Maintenance Reserve Account.

Multiple personnel items were approved as the board continues to prepare for school’s opening in September, that included the appointments of various staff members and approval for curriculum writing over the summer.  New courses for the fall include:  AP Seminar, CAD/Engineering/STEM Program, Cybersecurity, Freshman Seminar, Middle School Math and ELA remediation, Video Game Design, and a Woods Program.

The board passed unanimously that dependent upon the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s (NJSIAA) directives coaches for the fall 2020 season will be appointed, however if the State “suspends, restricts, or prohibits the 2020 fall sports season, these appointments shall be rescinded and the coaches shall be paid a prorated amount of their stipend, if any, for services actually rendered.”  A similar resolution was passed for the appointment of the Schedule B High School Marching Band advisors for the fall season, dependent upon the State or the Board, suspending, restricting, or prohibiting the 2020 fall season.

Under curriculum items, the board voted to approve summer workouts to begin on or about July 13th, as per the NJSIAA return-to-play guidelines.  The board unanimously approved holding a modified in-person graduation ceremony on July 9, confirming that the ceremony shall follow “all relevant Department of Education and Department of Health social-distancing requirements and guidance.”  Superintendent Damion Macioci’s (1) qualitative and (1) quantitative merit goals were deemed to have been successfully completed and approved by the Essex County Interim Superintendent of Schools.

Board member Debra Sacco-Calderone gave a committee report regarding curriculum.  Sacco-Calderon reported that Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Ryan Gupta along with an 18 member staff committee have been preparing for enhancing the district’s remote distance learning experience.  As the group delves into research and input the goal is to “get more information regarding accountability and attendance, more information from parents, and to provide more support going forward.   A pilot will be focusing on small group instruction.  Sacco-Calderone stated that most energies are preparing for September and the group was “putting all efforts towards a difficult task”.

The next Board of Education meeting will be July 15.