BOE Approves Administrative Restructuring to Create Director of STEM


BRIDGEWATER, NJ - In an effort to continue to offer the best educational opportunities for students, and in particular with regards to STEM education, the Board of Education approved an administrative restructuring that creates a position for a specific supervisor of science and moves around other administrative responsibilities.

According to Superintendent Victor Hayek, in his first 100 days with the district, he met with stakeholders, conducted exit interviews, reviewed teacher evaluations and more.

“We are a good school district, and we have a lot to celebrate, the kids are fantastic,” Hayek said. “We have started talking about how to get to the next level, and ensure the programs we offer are in line with what the expectations are in college or career.”

Sign Up for E-News

The first goal, Hayek said, which was discussed at the most recent Board of Education retreat, was to continue reviewing full-day kindergarten options and potentially implementing one in the 2018-2019 school year.

“We’re going to come up with creative ways and put a plan together,” he said. “We’re focusing on a number of different options and bringing ideas to the table.”

In addition, Hayek said, the district started discussions about the possibility of implementing different academies in the high school, which would allow for a number of courses that culminate in some kind of project at the end.

Some of the considerations, Hayek said, would be for law, computer science, fashion merchandising, MBA programs and medical ones.

“Given the size of the high school, academies can be as small as 25 to 30 students,” he said. “The goal is to open up the opportunities for the students.”

But the district, Hayek said, is also looking to put an emphasis on STEM education, starting in the younger grades.

“We are talking about technology and embracing it, as opposed to trying to fight it,” he said.

First, Hayek said, the district is looking to have a 1:1 ratio for students to computers by 2020, and they also want to expand educational technology uses in the district.

The purpose of changing the administrative structure in the district, Hayek said, is based on the board’s goals for improving facilities, creating a central registration process at the Harmon V. Wade Building and expanding those technology opportunities.

According to Hayek, the state Department of Education granted the district a waiver to reduce its observations by one-third, or 800 in total. The district had previously changed its administrative structure to accommodate the increase in observations as required by the state.

“In looking at our goals, we didn’t want to reduce administrators, so we set out to put a plan in place to modify it,” he said.

First, Hayek said, they have eliminated the floating assistant principal positions.

Next, he said, they have established a director of STEM, as well as a director of humanities and the arts.

“The director of STEM will create cross-curricular programs, and focus on the foundation of math and science,” he said. “The director of humanities and the arts gives us a renewed focus and support for the arts. There will be increased writing across the curriculum and a focus on the initiative of reading and writing.”

Hayek said they are creating an office of the central registrar, to make a one stop for parents looking to handle enrollment, particularly when they have students in multiple schools.

Finally, Hayek said, the final step is to redesign supervisor responsibilities.

Under the current structure, Hayek said, the district has a supervisor of science and social studies split among the nine schools and doing observations.

“Since the observation count is down, we have narrowed the scope of responsibility,” he said.

Katrina Macht, a teacher at Hillside Intermediate School, said she wanted to advocate for increased science education, as well as professional development for teachers in the lower grades to be better equipped to teach the subject to their students.

“By 2018, 8 million more jobs will require college degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” she said. “By the age of 13, half of the young people in the K to 12 system have disengaged from science, and deemed it to be irrelevant to their lives or future plans. That is why in recent years there has been a strong push to bring science to the elementary grades.”

Macht said it is important that they do not wait until middle and high school to focus all of the STEM expertise and resources.

“Science education needs to be a priority for K to 6,” she said. “At the K to six level, we need a supervisor who can focus on the Next Generation Science Standards and provide us wiht the professional development we need to be ready for full implementation.”

The new structure includes a supervisor of science and a supervisor of social studies, as well as supervisors of math split among the grade levels – kindergarten through fourth, fifth through eighth and ninth through 12th. All the supervisors will report to the director of STEM.

“The director will be coordinating activities,” Hayek said. “We will be ready for the next generation, and expect to be leading innovation in the next generation in science studies. That also has quite a bit of math, so we believe it makes sense and will meet the demands upon us.”

The board unanimously approved the administrative restructuring.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Wed, July 18, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, July 18, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster,

2018 Members’ Non-Juried Exhibition & Sale

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, July 19, 9:00 AM

The Wayrick Gallery, Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: NJ Audubon Photography Instructors’ ...

Arts & Entertainment Green

Somerville Woman Arrested for Shoplifting from Macy's, According to Bridgewater Police Report

July 14, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - A Somerville woman was arrested for allegedly shoplifting more than $400 worth of merchandise from Macy's at the Bridgewater Commons Mall July 7, according to a report from Bridgewater Township Police.

Sara Morales-Silva, 51, was charged with shoplifting after she was found with about $435.04 worth of merchandise from the store.

She was processed and released pending a ...

Cardiologist Takes Helm at Hunterdon Medical Center

July 17, 2018

RARITAN TWP., NJ – There’s a new guy at the top.

Dr. Robert J. Cody is now the Interim President and CEO of Hunterdon Healthcare System, the corporate parent of Hunterdon Medical Center. He replaces long-time chief executive Robert P. Wise, who announced his retirement in May.

Cody brings a varied background to the job. He is a licensed cardiologist, but he also holds an MBA. He ...

Somerville: Gallery Hosts Photo Society's 90th Anniversary Exhibit

July 15, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – Arts on Division is presenting “Visions of Raritan Photographic Society – A Celebration of 90 years” from Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, Aug. 19, 2018 at the Gallery on Division, 15B Division Street.

The Raritan Photographic Society, founded in 1929, is the oldest photography club in New Jersey. The exhibit celebrates the organization's 90 years ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

Take Action to Reduce Debt

In our last article, we broached the subject of debt and the township’s reliance – or over-reliance – on debt to fund our yearly expenditures for items such as roads. So, ok, we want to reduce our reliance on debt moving forward, especially as the cost of borrowing is rising. What’s the solution?

Well, there’s no magic wand we can wave to suddenly end ...

Is the Mediterranean Diet Still the Best for Heart Healthy Eating?

The Mediterranean diet has long been the standard for heart healthy eating.  It is a diet that emphasizes olive oil, fresh vegetables, nuts, whole grains over refined grains, fish and plant-based protein over red meat, herbs and spices to flavor food over salt, and fresh fruit for dessert instead of refined sweets. The US News and World Report even named the Mediterranean diet its ...

Celebrate Summer with Freedom & Responsibility

Parents and students rejoice!

School is out and everyone can now experience a great sense of freedom. Kids want to be outside enjoying summer weather and; although it’s the most wonderful season for non-academic activities involving swimming, traveling, and hiking to name a few, let us not forget that summer loss is a serious long-term result of not opening a book or writing for eight ...

Unique Skill Set Offers Students an Advantage

One of our SAT prep students recently gained a lot of attention for being accepted to all seven of the Ivy League schools to which she had applied, as well as to Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) She has chosen to attend M.I.T. and major in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Of course, Diana had earned stellar SAT scores and had a most impressive ...

Geoffrey the Giraffe Moves In To New Brunswick Children's Hospital

July 12, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Over a stretch of nearly 70 years, Geoffrey the Giraffe at Toys R Us stores was the symbol of happy times for generations of children, and now he may provide those same feelings for children coming to a hospital.

"From this day forward, Geoffrey stands tall in our lobby to encourage our smallest patients to smile when they enter our facilities," said John ...