BLOOMFIELD, NJ – In an effort to enhance communication and engagement within the community, leaders from the Upstander Program and Unified Sports Program made presentations during the Bloomfield Board of Education Public Meeting held Tuesday, February 25 at the School Administration Building.

John Baltz provided board members an update on the districts progress with the Upstander of the Week Program, run in conjunction with the New York Jets of the National Football League.

“This is a program we are very happy to have at Carteret (Elementary School),” said Baltz.  “This program encourages students to display certain characteristics on a daily basis, including courage, compassion, leadership skills, and being active members of the community.”

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The Jets Tackle Bullying program is a collaboration with STOMP Out Bullying to tackle all forms of bullying by raising awareness, providing tools for educators, and preventing bullying for kids and teens.

This is the third year that Bloomfield School District has partnered with the Jets for this program.

The Upstander Program highlights one student per week during the season across the Jets social media platforms and on the video boards during home games.  The objective of the program is ‘when you see someone being bullied and/or cyberbullied and you help them, you stop being a bystander and become an Upstander.’

A representative from the Jets community relations department and several student leaders from Carteret School were present at the meeting and addressed the board.

“You are the first line of defense in our schools to teach all these great things to your classmates, so we thank you for your hard work,” Board President Jill Fischman said while recognizing the student leaders.  “It’s not always easy to do the right things, and the fact that you guys do it when it’s not so easy is a testament to the way your parents have raised you and to your character.”

Superintendent Sal Goncalves added, “(the students) are role models to the school and that’s amazing – we are very proud of you and the staff at Carteret.”

Next up at the meeting, longtime Bloomfield High School Athletic Director Steve Jenkins outlined the proposed Unified Sports Program, which also featured remarks from Meghan Leonard.

The goals of the program are to develop whole child qualities and attain student achievement while improving diversity and inclusion between student athletes and those with special needs.

“A couple years ago, the NJSIAA and Special Olympics joined in an initiative to create Unified Sports,” Jenkins said.  “Last year in speaking with Terry Nevins, who runs our Special Olympic program, Terry explained that this opportunity would not take away from our kids in the existing program and the kids in our general population sports programs, but rather provide an opportunity for both programs to come together.”

The cost of the program and budget considerations are not yet known, nor was it up for a vote, as this initial presentation was to familiarize the board with the potential benefits of the program.

Jenkins concluded, “frankly, after the board reviews our presentation and we answer any questions you may have (at a future meeting), this is something that I would like to see implemented, and hopefully we can get this onboard for next (school) year.”

The next Bloomfield Board of Education Public Meeting takes place Tuesday, March 10 at the School Administration Building.  It begins with a closed executive session at 6:30 pm, followed by the open public meeting at 7:30 pm.