WOOD-RIDGE, NJ - Several parents expressed concerns about the district's summer reading program during the Hearing of Citizens portion of the Wood-Ridge Board of Education on Monday.

Parent Cheri Ottevaere expressed her concerns about the district Honors Program for incoming seventh graders. She explained that she had attended a recent school event and several incoming seventh graders said they were "not going to partake in the Honors program." She went on to outline the summer requirements for students in Math (a 6-page packet); Language Arts (read two books, choose and complete two activities from a list, and create a Google slide presentation on each activity); Social Studies (compare and contrast two example of exploration and create a chart with various notes, graphs, and details); Science (listen to The American Life, watch a movie, read a book, create a model of a sustainable space station, and write a corresponding paper.) 

Before she could finish, Board president Albie Nieves interrupted her.

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"The district wants kids in the Honors Program, but something like this might deter them," he said.

"I am all for summer homework," said Ottevaere. "I just want to know 'why'."

Nieves said "there needs to be an evaluation."

Another parent agreed and said her experience was "this had nothing to do with what they were taught, or they were being taught."

Before parent Melissa Crews addressed the panel, Board vice president Joe Biamonte surprised the audience.

"I want to have the administration re-evaluate all summer work, especially the summer reading, and possibly do away with it," said Biamonte. "Do away with summer reading. Let the kids read a book they enjoy."

The statement drew applause from parents in the audience.

Board member Christopher Garvin noted that the program is "looked at every year" and agreed to look at it again.

Crews explained that other districts in the area offer alternative ways to summer learning, including a summer bingo, building a kite, and other ways to get kids off technology, outside and learning.

A question asked of Superintendent Nicholas Cipriano was about registration for the upcoming Pre-K program, which he indicted would be in mid-February. A date would be announced in advance. As part of his report, Cipriano also said the Junior/Senior High School was collecting new and gently used coats throughout January (donations can be sent into the main office), midterms will be January 23 to 28, four WRIS students placed in the annual Elks Lodge Shoot Out, and WRIS will host its first ever Science Fair, tentatively scheduled for April 9.

Nieves also mentioned that the Board is beginning work on the 2020-2021 budget. The district will have its final totals on state aid on February 24, and the presentation will be in May.

The Board approved the following spring coaching assignments:

Name: Michael Carcich
Position: Head Baseball Coach

Name: Sean Mansfield
Position: Assistant Baseball Coach

Name: Robert Carcich
Position: Assistant Baseball Coach (shared position)

Name: Robert Kistner
Position: Assistant Baseball Coach (shared position)

Name: Quinn Geraghty
Position: Head Spring Track Coach

Name: Charlie Trentacosti
Position: Assistant Spring Track Coach

Name: Jerry Cala
Position: Assistant Spring Track Coach

Name: Andrea Marino
Position: Head Softball Coach

Name: Alexandra Paskas
Position: Assistant Softball Coach

Name: Kendal Caruso
Position: Volunteer Assistant Softball Coach

Name: Bailey Wyrostek
Position: Volunteer Assistant Softball Coach

Name: Matthew Bogert
Position: Volunteer Assistant Softball Coach



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