Dear Bloomfield District Staff:
As I embark on my 43rd year in district and my 7th year as your Superintendent of Schools, I am pleased to welcome you to the 2019-2020 school year! I want to thank our Board of Education members for their continuous support, our 12-month administrators and staff, as well as our 10-month staff members who worked over this summer and participated in important planning sessions in order to ensure an exciting start of the school year.
This letter is intended to keep you apprised of the hard work and successes we have realized in the areas of administration, curriculum enhancement, technology, facility revitalization, personnel support and student support services. Our ultimate goal remains enhancing our educational environment to ensure equitable access to the highest quality public education, and I applaud my staff and our community for their continued support in this effort.I want to begin by highlighting a key change in our central office leadership with a brief reintroduction of Mr. Joseph Fleres who was approved by the State Department of Education as Assistant Superintendent/Director of Curriculum effective July 1, 2019.
Mr. Fleres will be working alongside his fellow Directors, as well as Dr. Bari Erlichson, the district’s curriculum consultant. At the conclusion of Dr. Erlichson’s consultant review, I anticipate recommending structural changes to central office all aimed at standardizing our delivery of targeted support to our schools and looking at the
individual professional development needs we need to support and enrich, in order to meet student
Our elementary and early childhood center curricular programs continue to thrive with consistency and success. Bloomfield teachers will continue to receive meaningful professional development in all academic areas in order to deliver the best possible instruction for our students. In our ongoing commitment to involve parents and guardians in our community, the elementary arts program continues to flourish and provide the opportunity for interactive experiences throughout the school year.
Consistent with our collaborative strategic plan, the district continues its commitment to Readers’ & Writers’ Workshop. Similar to 2018-19, our teachers, staff and administrators will see a continued focus on best practices for Balanced Literacy K-8 with a deeper focus in the area of Word Study. New for this school year, you will witness the following curricular enhancements:
1) New Algebra 1 (Agile Minds) offering for our grade 9 Algebra 1 CP and Honors students;
2) New math course and/or curriculum for: Middle School Intro to Computer Science, High
School Honors Coding and High School Math Apps;
3) Curriculum documents for English/Language Arts grades 7-12 have been revised for
2019-2020 school year;
4) New Curriculum in English/Language Arts grades 3-6 (Reading & Writing);
5) New Creative Writing Workshop course and curriculum guide for grades 9-12;
6) New Science program (TCI) and curriculum for grades 6-8;
7) New High School Biology Honors, Chemistry CP/Honors and Physics Honors;
8) New - Project Lead the Way (Medical Detectives) and Design & Modeling (STEM course)
for grades 7 & 8;
9) New Guidance/Social Emotional Curriculum developed for grades K-3 and Independent
Development in grades 9-12;
10) New Social Studies program for grades K-3 (next year 4-5) - Young Citizens;
11) New Leadership 1 & 2 curriculum guides for grades 11 &12;
12) Fine & Performing Arts curriculum guides have been revised for 2019-2020 school year;
13) Standards and regular revisions for Health & Physical Education curriculum guides.
n our overall mission to support all learners, the district is completing our phased-in elementary inclusion program which will be supported by additional special education inclusion teachers within our elementary ranks. Our continued dedication to fiscal health has allowed the expansion of programs with the approval of new budgeted positions to directly impact student success.
Personnel support not only remains a vital component to achieve our student-centered goals but is essential to keeping students safe at school by affecting the environmental changes that promote healthy, respectful and safe student interaction. The Office of Special Education Programs has organized its supervisory staff to focus on expansion of the district’s inclusion initiative while providing additional personnel and programs to assist our most vulnerable students.
Additionally, Michael Bruno joins the Supervisory Staff to support Guidance K-8 and mental health initiatives.
While the Office of Special Education Programs has continued to provide the necessary professional development for expanding the district’s commitment to inclusion (including workshops in the areas of multi-sensory instruction/Wilson, writing, Trauma Informed Instruction, Conflict Resolution, School Avoidance and the co-teaching model), the department recognizes the importance of the district-wide commitment to pupil safety by participating in numerous schoolwide activities including “Sandy Hook Promise,” “World Kindness Day,” “Week of Respect,” “National Suicide Prevention Day” and the “Out of the Darkness Walk.”
Implemented for 2019-20, in addition to a nearly $300,000 expenditure to phase in our elementary special education inclusion, the 2019-20 budget includes over $650,000 to enhance human resources’ management with the addition of the following:
1) additional elementary guidance support;
2) additional music technology teacher;
3) additional nurse
Our commitment to continue upgrading our infrastructure is another important aspect of our success worthy of highlighting. In the 2019-2020 budget, we set aside approximately $6.7 million to address district facilities needs. Major capital improvement projects that have taken place include: Bloomfield Middle School Roof Replacement project, Demarest Water Infiltration project, and Berkeley Security Cameras Project, which will be used as a model for other elementary schools.
Under the supervision of our facilities team, we have completed improvements in all school buildings during the
summer including but not limited to the following: (1) ceiling tiles replacement at Berkeley and Bloomfield Middle School, (2) new fencing at Carteret, Demarest, and Fairview (3) new vinyl coated tile at Brookdale, Forest Glen, (4) carpet replacement in hallway at Franklin and offices at Bloomfield High School, (5) new sound system in main gym at BHS, (6) new air compressors for heating systems at Oakview and Watsessing, and (6) repave and restripe parking lot at Administration Building. Projects that have been budgeted and will take place in the summer of 2020 includes Berkeley Boiler Replacement, Watsessing Student Bathroom Renovation, and Fairview Student Bathroom Renovation.
To enhance school security, we have installed lockdown shades in all classrooms and offices throughout the district. During the summer months our Title I schools hosted successful ESY programs with a focus on student achievement. Our district ELL students once again participated in theTitle III-funded ESL Summer Academy with a goal of decreasing summer learning loss of English language skills while having some summertime fun. Our Title I schools have planned many extended school day and parent involvement programs for the coming year. This will include curricular programs, assemblies, parent workshops and student activities. Our Title III funding will again provide evening English classes for the parents/guardians of our district ELL students with classes hosted at Fairview School and available to any non-native English-speaking parent or guardian who would like to improve their language skills.
The Title IV initiatives in 2019-2020 will include both STEM opportunities as well as programs to address Social Emotional Learning. District Elementary Gifted and Talented program continues to thrive with our “lunchtime” program for 4th , 5th and 6th grade students which includes many great enrichment activities facilitated by elementary G&T coordinators. This group will also be very busy with planning for the special programs that we host which include “Academically Speaking Tournament,” “Challenge 24,” “Forensics”, “Shark Tank” and the “Battle of the Books.”
We have successfully implemented the Breakfast After the Bell program at Berkeley School and are rolling it out to Carteret and Watsessing Schools in the Fall.
Over the summer, 154 teachers from every school attended 45 courses taught by supervisors (11) or fellow teachers (34) as part of the Bloomfield Teacher Academy and completed 896 total hours of professional development. The courses covered topics in Math with new online resources, Readers/Writers Workshop, and a variety of other subjects, as well as effective use of technology. The 1:1 Program will expand into the 6th grades in each school. Last year, 6th grade teachers visited the Middle School to observe best practices in the classroom and learn about resources for effective integration of learning. For the 6th grade, we adopted a new model of Chromebook that is more durable. An additional 30 Chromebooks were delivered to each elementary school for use in grades K-5.
District-wide, we continue to expand the print-monitoring software that allows teachers and students in grades 5-12 to print, scan, and copy in a secure and regulated manner. Teachers will also have additional methods for contacting parents via email, with the extension of access to SchoolMessenger in the PowerSchool Faculty Portal. As part of the 6th grade 1:1, the District plans to extend access to a web portal in the Securly content filter that will allow parents and guardians to review their child’s browsing history after school, while on their Chromebooks. The Web Portal should be open and available by the time that the 6th graders take home their Chromebooks in January.
As your Superintendent, I recognize that nothing I share with you as a community can be appreciated, evaluated or improved if you do not have the one vital assurance that your children are safe at school. As many of you are aware, we have had many meaningful conversations over the past year with the Bloomfield community about school security and student safety. I believe that our administration and Board of Education have both gathered and personally evaluated the community’s input and this meaningful process has permitted all of us to reflect upon our personal opinions and engage in new and alternate approaches to ensuring pupil and staff safety. Toward this goal of enhancing security, mindful of our community’s concerns, we continue to implement and collaborate on the “Holistic Approach to School Safety” by successfully incorporating Bloomfield’s first annual “Sandy Hook Promise Start With Hello Week” during late September. The community, school staff, and students participated in various activities to promote a true culture of inclusion and in recognition of our collaborative efforts, Sandy Hook Promise has selected the Bloomfield School District as the Grand Prize winner for the 2018 “Start With Hello District Award.” Considering the number of entries Sandy Hook Promise received from across the nation and the high quality of these entries, Bloomfield School District should be very proud of this achievement and I thank the community for your continued support and dedication to keeping our community safe.
During the remaining days prior to our orientation, I urge you to contact me if you have any suggestions for upcoming orientation activities.
Superintendent of Schools