EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Every day, 10,241 students attend the East Brunswick Public Schools. They comprise about 21 percent of all the residents of the township. Students can begin their journey through the public education at age 3 and end at age 18. At 180 days per school year, that's a great deal of time spent in classrooms, on athletic fields, onstage, at practice, in competitions and on buses managed by the district.
Superintendent Victor Valeski assured district stakeholders last week that the time was well spent.
At the annual "State of the District" presentation at Hammarskjold School on Thursday, Dr. Valeski reviewed how the district's public schools were "Implementing Our Blueprint for Success" during the 2016/17 school year. (The Prezi used in the presentation is here.)
The shining star of the program was the 3,386 college credits earned by East Brunswick High School students through the EBHS/MCC Pathways Program. Students enrolled in the program earned concurrent credit through Middlesex County College, allowing them to complete core courses required by most colleges while they were still in high school. Some courses have been available at EBHS for several years, but this year the program took greater shape, expanding to include more options for students.
According to the district website, "This initiative provides East Brunswick High School students the opportunity to earn an Associate Degree by taking college courses while still in high school. At present, more than 450 East Brunswick High School students have registered for 40 courses. Courses include mathematics, English, public speaking, accounting, computer science, natural sciences, history, political science and psychology, and world languages."
A new form of outreach was also introduced: the "Innovation Dashboard." As part of the district website, the Innovation Dashboard is a resource for students, parents and educators to build understanding of district programs that affect both daily instruction and the daily life of school. East Brunswick teachers have prepared short videos that explain, for example, the use of SMART responders as part of the assessment program in an elementary math class. Teachers are welcome to incorporate these ideas into their classrooms, and parents can better understand strategies used to build learning.
Valeski celebrated the achievements of students and programs in academics, athletics, and the arts, citing numerous awards and honors earned by East Brunswick students. These included everything from the Group 4 Championship for the EBHS boys bowling team to the Division and Red Division championships for the girls volleyball, soccer and swim teams and baseball and boys cross-country teams.
The superintendent noted the many honors earned by student musicians and music programs that included national recognition and performances at Carnegie Hall.
Also cited were the areas about which stakeholders had given input in a workshop held last year. Valeski discussed five areas of improvement driven by suggestions from an information night held at Hammarskjold. In the area of Curriculum and Assessment, Valeski marked the re-introduction of World Language instruction at the elementary levels as "completed." He also added that homework assignments had been reviewed and analyzed for their impact on student success.
When indicating the Facilities improvements, Valeski went on to discuss updating of air-conditioning in all elementary schools and the Churchill gym. He noted improvements at several locations in drop-off and parking at several schools.
More clubs at the elementary schools and at Hammarskjold were added to Extra-Curriculars, as was the establishment of an eighth-grade baseball team.
The Superintendent also commented on improved community education in the area of Nutrition, as he once again sought parent feedback regarding school meal programs. He noted improved quality control and increased choices of meal items at the schools.
Finally, as part of the Logistics review, Valeski lauded improvements in transportation and greater "operational consistency." He also recognized the return of "Back to School" nights and the implementation of a Pre-K breakfast program.
Valeski's presentation has become part of the annual closure and review of the school year in East Brunswick.