EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Todd Simmens, newly-elected president of the East Brunswick Board of Education, began the most recent meeting introduced Superintendent Victor Valeski who honored the BOE during National School Board Recognition Month. He praised members for their "service and commitment to the 8,200 students in East Brunswick's pre-kindergarten through Grade 12" program. "Each has a different reason that brings them together...Of the three boards I have worked with, this one is the best," said Valeski
Also honored at the meeting was the Institute for Politcal and Legal Education (IPLE) team of East Brunswick High School which won first place in New Jersey for the 27th time. (There have only been 28 competitions.) IPLE students on East Brunswick's We the People team will travel to Washington, DC to compete in the National Championships in April. We the People is a program that focuses on constitutional law and bulding legal arguments. BOE Vice President Vicki Becker praised the hard work and dedication shown by the IPLE students, noting the "tremendous amount of preparation before they can even try out for the team. I give them a lot of credit and wish them luck" in Washington.
Longtime East Brunswick High School music teacher Marjorie LoPresti was honored by board member Kevin McEvoy for being named 2016 TI:ME's Teacher of the Year. Lopresti has been recognized for her incorporation of technology into her music education classes, including piano, music theory, and composition. Currently pursuing a master's degree in Educational Technology, she has published research and given presentations on the implementation of technology in music production. She has created and used cloud-based applications with her students to contemporize their studies.
Other items discussed at the BOE meeting included the following:
- Valeski recognized the achievement of East Brunswick student teams in the New Jersey Science Olympiad. Teams will move on to complete at the next level on March 8.
- Dr. Valeski reminded residents who wish to participate in the district planning meeting tonight to meet with him and the BOE members at Hammarskjold at 7:30. "I hope to see you there, or else I will keep calling your house, " joked Valeski.
- World Languages Supervisor Ruth Chang was noted for her sucess in facilitating ESL Literacy Night, an opportunity for teachers, parents, and students to work together with language.
- There have been no changes to mid-term exam schedules as a result of this weekend's snow.
- An extended discussion about purchasing and construction contracts involved several members. Board Secretary Bernardo Giuliana described some of the many purchasing alliances the district works with to minimize costs. (Contracts often go to the lowest bidder.) Dr. Brad Cohen expressed concern that sometimes "lower bids wind up costing more than the original price" because of contractors going over the allotted time for the jobs and legal issues reslting from poor work. He described this situation as a "flaw in the system." Giuliana noted that contracts "Aren't struck with the lowest bidder if we have had a bad experience in the past."
- Meredith Shaw noted the increase in the number of counselors available to students and some training staff and students have had regarding personal relationships and social interaction.
- Kevin McEvoy, representing the Technology Committee, reported that students in grades 3, 4, and 5 will receive wireless connection and Chromebook cards soon. The Tech Committee also discussed the updating of the district's technical infrastructure and the movement to Microsoft migration