LIVINGSTON, NJ – Human Resources Manager of Livingston Schools Susan Burman reviewed an annual strategic plan detailing policy review in a presentation before the Livingston Board of Education and the public at a workshop/voting meeting on Monday night at Livingston High School.

Burman went through the entire slide presentation, which can be found online on the district’s Web site at http://www.livingston.org/cms/lib4/NJ01000562/Centricity/Domain/16/Agenda%2010-10-11/policy%20presentation.pdf.

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The first slide mentioned that the responsibility of the board of education is to develop policies that will be administered through administrative regulations within the district. 

Burman also reviewed the district’s strategic goals. The first is for a long term plan to be put in place and properly updated, the second is to review, modify or develop polices in areas that are classified as emerging or current needs, the third is to align the code of conduct and other district documents with district polices and core beliefs and the fourth is to maintain an authority figure to enhance and carry out these policies and inform the community and staff members about who to contact if there are questions, suggestions or concerns regarding policies.

Next, Burman discussed the strategic plan action items Livingston is planning to accomplish in the upcoming years.  An item that was disseminated to the board and the public at the meeting was a preparation of a cycle of review for all district policies.  By March of next year, there are plans to complete conversion of all mandated policies from NJSBA (New Jersey School Board Association) to the Strauss Esmay numerical system.

“We have, I believe, five to six remaining policies that we need to convert over (from NJSBA to Strauss Esmay),” Burman said.  “Because they need larger discussions, those are the ones that still need to be accomplished.”

Another strategic plan is to create a homework policy which is aligned to the information contained within the Grading and Reporting handbook by August of 2012.

Later in the presentation, Burman talked about the mandated polices which are driven by state statute or administrative code.  An example would be the harassment, intimidation and bullying policy, an item that was discussed earlier in the meeting.

There are also optional policies, which are carried out to match the best needs of the district and according to Burman “things we think are good to have as a regular course of business.”  An example of this would be the policy to have student representatives at board of education meetings, Burman said.

Livingston has reviewed, revised and adopted 332 policies since 2005.

Another discussion item that took place at Monday night’s meeting was a report detailing the district’s Violence and Vandalism policy.  This report is mandated by the state every year, according to Superintendent of Livingston Schools Brad Draeger.  He also informed the public that “incidences of violence and vandalism in Livingston are extremely low.”

There were 36 incidences of violence reported this year, compared to 21 the previous year, Assistant Superintendent of Livingston Schools Lawrence Russell said.  He continued, saying that a majority of those incidences came from simple assault reports at the elementary level.  Vandalism incidences have decreased from 9 reports this year compared to 13 the previous year.

Weapons incidences this year were reported once as compared to five the previous year.  When talking about weapons, Russell mentioned that these are any objects used to strike another student.  This can include a broomstick, a pencil stick or a ruler for example, according to Russell.  There were six reported incidences of substance abuse, one more than last year; all at the high school level, Russell said.

There will also be a state mandated policy that the board will be required to report incidences of harassment, intimidation and bullying twice a year to the public at board of education meetings, Draeger said.  He mentioned that he would like to “sink up” the reporting of violence and vandalism with the harassment, intimidation and bullying report.

James Perretti, in charge of construction projects at Livingston schools, reported that phase one of the construction at 4 of the 8 Livingston schools is pretty much complete and he and his team are now on phase two.

Much of the work at these schools was done over the summer and minimal work will take place during the school year, so as to not disrupt the flow of education, according to board administrator Steve Robinson.

In other news, Livingston High School senior Alan Sun was recognized for his audition and performance as a member of the Music Educator’s National Conference High School Honors Orchestra.  Sun, a violist, performed this past June at the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington D.C.  Sun performed a Johann Sebastian Bach piece before the board and public at the meeting.

39 Livingston High School students, including Sun, were selected as commended students for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

The next Livingston Board of Education meeting is set for Monday October 17th at 7:30 p.m. at Livingston High School.  It will be another workshop/voting meeting.