BERNARDS TOWNSHIP, NJ - The Bernards Township Board of Education is scheduled to hold its first summer meeting on Monday, July 20, at the Board of Education conference room, 101 Peachtree Road, with the public portion of the session to begin at 7 p.m.
The agenda is posted on the school district website. Since this is the first meeting held since Ridge High School students graduated on June 18, one of the first items is to certify the number of graduates.
At the school board's last meeting, on June 15, board members voted for a resolution to be sent to state officials outlining concerns and citing negative impacts that this year's handling of the new state PARCC tests had on students and the curriculum in Bernards Township schools.
The resolution was drafted by the board Advocacy Committee. The Advocacy Committee is scheduled to report on its progress at Monday's meeting.
Following the June 15 meeting, Board member Linda Wooldridge, who reported on the Advocacy Committee that night, said she was working on a more detailed letter to send to the state educational commissioner, and the state legislature.
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test was launched statewide in spring 2015, with testing for grades 3 to 11 that began in March. The first round of testing, with a few days thrown out of kilter by inclement weather, were followed up about a month or so later with an End of Year Assessment.
The resolution also notes that the end-of-year testing at that time is too early for the Bernards school district, which runs until later in June.
At several earlier board meetings last year, parents complained that the need to prepare for the tests, which required students to learn typing skills, had taken up too much classroom time. Complaints were made that teachers, students and parents were stressed by the need to focus so strongly on the standardized tests, instead of other class materials. The test itself was criticized as being confusing. Some parents throughout the state, including Bernards Township, exercised their right to have their students "opt out" of the test.
The resolution approved by the school board on June 15 stated that, "PARCC preparation and administration has disrupted the school calendar and resulted in reduced instructional time in the classroom."
The resolution concluded, "PARCC testing in its current form should not be used to evaluate teacher or students."