Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Organization Meeting Jan. 5



Business Administrator Dana Sullivan congratulated Michael Bielen, Brendan Galligan, and Amy Root, who were elected to the Westfield Board of Education on Nov. 8, 2016 and sworn into office prior to the start of the January 5, 2017 meeting.  Ms. Ohlig was nominated by Mark Friedman to continue as President of the Westfield Board of Education.  Amy Root nominated Peggy Oster to resume the role of Vice President. The Board was unanimous in electing the nominees to their positions. The Board agreed to abide by the School Board Association Code of Ethics, which they read aloud, and approved reorganization resolutions in order to continue conducting official business.


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I was pleased to accompany Ms. Ohlig on behalf of the entire district and the Board in congratulating the Westfield High School football team.  Congratulatory certificates were presented to members of the Westfield High School football team, and Ms. Ohlig summarized the winning season.  Our Blue Devils won the North 2, Group 5 State Championship on December 3rd at Met Life Stadium, marking their second consecutive championship.  With an undefeated record of 12 – 0, the team tied or broke 20 school records and amassed a 25 game winning streak over the past two years – the state’s best. The Blue Devils captured the Watchung Division Mid-State 38 Championship, were ranked #1 for all Group 5 Schools in New Jersey, #1 for the Mid-State 38 conference and #7 in the final poll for the entire state. It was a pleasure to acknowledge the students, Head Coach Jim DeSarno, the assistant coaches and supporters who represented our school district and our town so incredibly well this school year.   


The Board accepted with regret the resignation effective January 6, 2017 of David Greer, World Languages Supervisor K-12.  We congratulated Mr. Greer on being selected the Director of Academic Education for the State of New Jersey and are pleased that the Westfield School District can maintain our relationship with him in that new capacity.


The Board approved for first reading Policy 3240 – Professional Development for Teachers and School Leaders (Teaching Staff Members).

The Board approved for first reading to abolish Policy 3244 – In-Service Training (Teaching Staff Members), since the requirements are now included in Policy 3240.

The Board approved for second reading the following policies:  2132 – School District Objectives (Program); 2415.30 – Title I – Educational Stability for Children in Foster Care (Program); 3125.2 – Substitute Teachers (Teaching Staff Members); 3126 – District Mentoring Program (Teaching Staff Members); 3310 – Academic Freedom (Teaching Staff Members); and 8462 – Child Abuse and/or Neglect (Operations).

The Board approved for second reading to abolish Policy 3425 – Work Related Disability Pay (Teaching Staff Members).

The Board affirmed my decision on four HIB incidents.


  • The Board approved for first reading the following curricula:


AP Biology II


Gifted Program:

Examination of Point of View through Debate

Introduction to Physics



  • The Board approved for second reading the following curricula for Visual & Performing Arts:

Visual & Performing Arts:

Advanced Portfolio Development & Art History


Ceramics II

Composition & Artist’s Practices in 2-D

Computer Graphic Design

Computer Graphic Design II

Crafts Exploration


Foundation of Art

World Crafts

  • The Board approved a district field trip to correlate with curriculum.



The Board gratefully accepted the following gifts:  $5,900 from the Westfield Baseball League toward the Edison Intermediate School Junior Varsity Baseball field renovations; $3,546 from the Westfield Coalition for the Arts to purchase three new Yamaha Double French Horns for the Edison Intermediate School music department; and $725 from the Westfield Coalition for the Arts to purchase a Wenger Bass Rack for the Westfield High School orchestra.


Amy Root reported that prior to winter break, she and members of the Parent-Teacher Council (PTC) met with Brian Auker, District Chief Technology Officer, to discuss a new communication tool for online PTO newsletters.  



Six additional top scores were achieved by four students on the ACT and SAT standardized tests widely used for college admission and placement criteria.  The scores were earned in either October or November 2016 by Juniors Robert Faktor – ACT Science and STEM, and Madison McKenna – ACT English; and Seniors Spencer Fishman – SAT Math 2 and Physics, and Griffin Morgan – SAT Math 2. 


Congratulations to the following Westfield High School choir students who were accepted into the 2017 Region Chorus: ​Alison Brown, Charlotte Fountain-Jardim, Charlotte Geary, Joseph Maldonado, Abby Rothenberg (who scored first in the A2 section), Matthew Siroty, and Laura Surace. These students were chosen out of over 800 students who auditioned. They will perform at Monroe High School on February 3rd alongside 200 students from Central NJ. It should also be noted that Abby Rothenberg was accepted into the All Eastern Honor choir that will be performing in April in Atlantic City for the National Association of Music Educators All Eastern Convention.  What wonderful achievements for all of these singers!

Congratulations to seven Westfield High School Band students who were accepted to the 2017 Region Band or Orchestra.  The following students also placed first overall in their instrument: Dale Beyert - Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, Trumpet; Michael Hauge - Wind Ensemble, Eb & Bb Clarinet, and Brooke Walden - Wind Ensemble and Orchestra, Piccolo & Flute. Also chosen for the Region Band of Orchestra are: Austin Chen - Symphonic Band, Matthew Schiff - Wind Ensemble, Alto & Bass Clarinet, Sara Shen - Symphonic Band, Flute, and Daniel Shenker - Symphonic Band, Alto Saxophone. The Region Orchestra will perform this Sunday, January 8, and Region Band is performing onJanuary 15 – both at 3:00 PM at Montgomery High School. The seven students also will be auditioning for All-State on January 21. We are so pleased that they will be representing our school this year.  


We commend the second graders in Monica Gundrum’s class at Tamaques School for donating 102 sets of new pajamas to the Union County Chapter of the “Pajama Program.”  The recipients of the pajamas are those in shelters, foster homes, hospitals, the Department of Permanency (DYFS), and Head Start programs. Mrs. Gundrum explained that this is a great community project for the children to participate in and a way in which they can understand that others are less fortunate.


Screenagers -- film about social media, video games, academics and internet addiction -- will be shown at 7 PM at Edison Intermediate SchoolTuesday, Jan 10.

Free parent education presentations on Time Management Skills are scheduled in January for all Westfield parents. They will be held at 7:00 PM at Franklin School on Thursday, January 26, and at Tamaques School – Tuesday, January 31. Carol Pedro, a licensed professional counselor at Youth & Family Counseling Service, will offer tips on learning effective time management, including organizing homework and daily routines.

Helpful information for all parents is available in a newly released Westfield Public School video entitled “Resilient School Age Children – Who Are They and How Did They Get There?” Based on recent presentations to parents by Westfield Director of Counseling, Maureen Mazzarese, the video explores ways to avoid unnecessary anxiety or stress in school age children and provides helpful tips for parents.  To watch the video along with recommended resources, such as books and Ted Talks, please visit the Parent Tab on the Westfield Public Schools website.


The Westfield PTC-Special Education Committee is holding a meeting on Wednesday, January 11, in the library of Edison Intermediate School, featuring a presentation entitled, “Clarity & Collaboration - I&RS, IEP, and 504s.”For further information       


All Westfield Public Schools and offices will be closed Monday, January 16, in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On that date, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Westfield will observe its 30th annual Interfaith Commemorative Service at 1:00 PM at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 315 First Street.  The speaker will be Andrew H. Lee of Westfield who is an Associate Curator of New York University Libraries, an affiliated faculty member of the NYU Department of History, and an author.  The theme this year is “Bridging the Divide.”  The student winners of the essay, poetry and art contests will be announced at the ceremony. Marchers will assemble at the Martin Luther King monument on the South Avenue Circle to proceed to Holy Trinity at 12:30 PM. 


The next meeting of the Westfield Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, January 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Board Room at 302 Elm Street.  The complete agenda will be available on the Board website on Friday, Jan. 20. 


The Board moved into Private Session for the purpose of discussing matters rendered confidential by state and federal law, personnel, pending or anticipated litigation and pending or anticipated contract negotiations.  Following Private Session, the Board unanimously voted to accept the immediate transfer of Peter Renwick from the High School to the district position of Director of Special Projects, reporting directly to me.  Furthermore, the Board approved Mr. Renwick’s resignation from the district in February 2018.  The Westfield High School Principal position will now be posted and we will begin the interview process quickly and efficiently.  Dr. Derrick Nelson will continue as Acting Principal at Westfield High School until this position is permanently filled.  I appreciate the support of our entire school community who work together to provide a safe, nurturing and motivating environment for our students.

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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