Education

Federal Holidays to Serve as Make-up Days, Teacher Evaluation System Approved and More at Westfield Board of Education Meeting

November 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

WESTFIELD, NJ—At the November 13 Board of Education meeting, the BOE members began dealing with the aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy on Westfield’s schools.

In the first place, the board approved a revised school calendar for the school year. Because schools were closed for eight days in late October and early November, the district has to make up school days.

Superintendent Margaret Dolan made a presentation in which she explained the state requires 180 school days and has a firm date for the end of the school year.

Sign Up for E-News

“It’s a tight year,” she told the board. “There are no good options, but we have to make a decision.”

The calendar as it existed had 184 school days, including three days built in for snow days. Those extra days have now been used, but the district effectively gained two days on its calendar when the state cancelled its annual teachers’ conference earlier this month.

To make up the remaining two days, Dolan proposed using Monday, Jan. 21, which is designated as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and Monday, Feb. 18, which is designated as Presidents Day.

For Jan. 21, she suggested a four-hour session, which qualifies as a full school day. That will enable students to participate in the town’s annual celebration, which begins at noon.

“It’s a day that’s important to recognize,” she noted.

The Feb. 18 date is a full day.

The board discussed the possibility of using some days during the December holiday break, from Monday, Dec. 24, through Tuesday, Jan. 1, but the superintendent pointed out that many families have already made plans for those days and people might be away for all or part of the week.

In response to questioning, Dolan also said she had discussed the proposed make-up days with the teachers union and they were in agreement with the plan.

“They’re willing to work on federal holidays,” she noted.

Now that this year’s snow days have been used, the policy committee is to meet to develop a contingency plan if there are more closures due to weather. The committee is to make its recommendation at the next board meeting.

The recent storm also propelled the chairman of the board’s technology committee, Mitchell Slater, to gather his committee this Friday to discuss the district’s communications.

“Obviously, our server and our website were down, and I think that impact has to be addressed,” he said. “Most importantly… a holistic solution to keep us in communications when all our backups fail us is something we desperately need to address.”

Part of the discussion, he continued, will be social media. “The takeaway from the last few weeks is that people live in real time,” he said, noting that many people used Facebook and Twitter as sources of information.

Slater promised his committee will report back at the board’s next session.

In a related vein, Dolan noted that the district’s instant alert system worked well during the school closing. Parents who had signed up for the system received about 15 messages sent by the board’s public information officer.

In other business, the board approved the Kim Marshall teacher and principal evaluation system after hearing a recommendation from Barbara Ball, the district’s human resources specialist. The board is required by the state to institute such a system by next year.

Ball said the Marshall model provides for more frequent and unannounced visits to classrooms and principals’ schools and offers opportunities for feedback and coaching.

Software for the program will cost about $12,000 in the first year, and perhaps $4,000 less in succeeding years, she said. The district has funds in its budget for the purchase.

Before approving winter coaching assignments, the board heard from athletics supervisor Sandy Mamary about the evaluation system she has devised in the past year.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Citing Respect for Springsteen, Tribute Band Pulls Out of Garden State Inaugural Ball in DC

January 16, 2017

FANWOOD, NJ — For more than three decades, The B Street Band, a popular Bruce Springsteen tribute band, has played Jersey Shore bars and festivals, as well as the 2009 Garden State Ball for Barack Obama's first Inauguration and a return engagement four years later. However, the group, which pioneered the "tribute band" concept in 1980, has never received as much flak ...

Conversion of Single Family Zoning to Multi-Family Zoning Could Start 'Gold Rush' of Development

January 14, 2017

Dear Editor,

I am writing to oppose the construction of a multi-family residence (6 residential units) at 1481 East Broad Street in Westfield.  The construction of a multi-family residence at this location (RS-12 zone district) is contradictory to the township’s 2005 Master Plan, which has zoned this district for single-family home construction only.  Additionally, it requires ...

Westfield Police Blotter: Shoplifting, Drug-Related Arrest & More

January 12, 2017

January 4, 2017 6:23 p.m.

Pietro Maioriello, age 20, of Scotch Plains, NJ, was arrested for possession a controlled dangerous substance under 50 grams pursuant to a motor vehicle stop. Subject was processed and released on a summons.

January 4, 2017 9:21 p.m.

Stephen Thomas, age 21, of Plainfield, NJ, was arrested on the strength of two outstanding warrants for his arrest from Highland ...

Audio: Point View's Petrides Tells Bloomberg Says Content Move Makes Sense for Apple

January 16, 2017

Point View's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on Bloomberg Radio (Interview starts at 1:35) discussing Apple's potential move into making original video content:

assets.bwbx.io

Point View Wealth Management, Inc. works with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...

5 Questions to Ask at an Open House

When you go to your next open house, ask the listing agent these key questions to help you make an informed decision. When a property is hot, a public open house may be your best opportunity for due diligence before submitting an offer. While the hosting agent may not be able to answer all of your questions, there is a lot you can learn.

1. How long has it been on the market?  You may ...

Today’s Bond Market - Should I Stay or Should I Go?

2016’s final days left bond investors unsettled.

Just a few months ago, with the backdrop of the surprise July Brexit vote, U.S. Treasury yields hit record lows. Donald Trump’s election as president has increased concerns of a new round of tax cuts and greater government spending, which could stimulate inflation. The Federal Reserve has finally raised interest rates and is ...

It Even Happened to Me

Beware of credit card fraud — it can happen to anyone.

I was shopping at a retail establishment over the holidays and purchased some items with my business credit card. The next day, I was downloading my credit card activity into QuickBooks and spotted some strange charges - they were not large amounts, but they originated from establishments I don't frequent, like ...

Video: Mistreated, Harassed, Abused, Discriminated Against or Retaliated Against at Work?

Have you been mistreated, harassed, abused, discriminated against or retaliated against by your employer?

Watch this video to learn how Westfield employment attorney Fred Shahrooz-Scampato, who for the last 25 years has aggressively represented employees, can help you.

If you are the victim of prejudice or spend every day in a hostile work environment, you can give him a call for ...

Westfield Students & Parents Learn Positive Steps in Navigating the Digital World

How much screen time is too much?  More than 1,500 Westfield intermediate school students probed the answer to that question this week in grade level assemblies arranged by their counselors. In a film called "Screenagers," sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools were shown examples of how excessive digital use can impact school, family ...

Westfield Area YMCA is Ready to 'Bring on Summer'

It may be cold outside but the Westfield Area YMCA is gearing up for summer camp!  In-person registration is now underway.  Each year campers ages 3-15 try new activities, learn new skills, get creative, have a blast and make new friends in a safe environment.

 

 

The Y is excited to offer new S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) ...

Holy Trinity School Spotlight - 6th Grade

Sixth grade is a transitional year for students as they enter middle school.  Holy Trinity School embraces this change through its continued commitment to creating an environment in which its students can grow and develop academically, socially, and spiritually. 

In sixth grade, the curriculum becomes more departmentalized with students rotating classes for various subjects and ...

Cat Missing from Fanwood Home

Shadow has been missing from vicinity of Russell Road, Fanwood since Dec. 26. Shadow is a timid, long-hair gray male, about 6 years old. He may have been spotted on Fairacres Avenue in Westfield Tuesday.

Call 908-294-0340 with any information. 

Police Identify Body Found as Missing Woodland Park Senior

January 14, 2017

WOODLAND PARK, NJ - Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes and Woodland Park Police Chief Anthony Galietti announced earlier that the identify of a deceased man found in Woodland Park on Jan. 13 was Thomas Kozell, 85, of Woodland Park. 

Kozell, 85, had been reported missing by his family in the evening on Jan. 12, ...