CRANFORD, NJ – The Cranford Education Association recently adopted Ponderosa Elementary School in Spring, Texas to help with Hurricane Harvey Relief.

More than 200 families with students in the school were displaced by the powerful hurricane.

“It’s heartbreaking to see,” Rich Hurley, a teacher at Cranford High School who spearheaded the project, said. “Having been through it with Sandy, it’s our turn to help them out.”

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Between the staff and faculty at Cranford High School, nearly $4,600 was raised in cash donations to be sent to nine individuals associated with the school.

“We hope to get all of the schools [in Cranford] on board and raise as much as we can,” Hurley, said at Monday night’s Board of Education meeting.

For those who wish to donate, Hurley will be collecting checks made out to the CEA Philanthropic Fund at CHS. The checks will be mailed to families in Texas.  

“Cranford is a very, very caring community and that extends beyond our schools,” Superintendent Scott Rubin said. “There’s a culture of giving and I’ve seen that ever since I’ve been here. People genuinely look out for one another.”

Additionally, two reports were presented at the meeting. The first, given by Kevin Deacon, Principal of Livingston Avenue School, highlighted Cranford Public Schools’ Achieve Program. Students in the Achieve program tested below grade level and worked with specific teachers to target basic reading and math programs.

To test the progress, Deacon used i-Ready, a diagnostic tool that measured the grade level for individual students. For reading, more than half of students who tested below grade level at the beginning of last year reached grade level or higher by the end of the school year, according to i-Ready data. The numbers were similar for math as well.

“We’re making the strides we need to make so students can reach growth level,” Deacon said. “The growth is absolutely amazing and it’s because of the teachers.”

The board agreed, commending the nine teachers at the elementary and middle school level for their hard work and dedication.

“It’s striking to see how many kids reached grade level,” board member Nicole Sherin Kessler said. “You’re really changing a kid’s trajectory here.”

The second report reviewed the HIB School Self-Assessment and Public Hearing on Violence and Vandalism. From January 2017 to June 2017, there were five incidents of violence and vandalism, which includes cased of HIB (Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying).

Overall, there was one case of HIB, one fight at Cranford High School, a vandalized garbage can at Bloomingdale Avenue School and two incidents of marijuana use.

“Last year we also had five, so we’re consistent,” Board administrator Robert J. Cafagno said.

The Board of Education will meet again on Monday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m.