MADISON, NJ – Lengthy presentations and discussion ensued on a number of topics at this week's Madison Board of Education meeting, including:

  • Adoption of a new math program for K-5  
  • The annual state assessment results which produced above the curve results in all subject areas
  • A new generation of tests designed to produce more data so that teachers can better assess students individually and/or collectively
  • The new teacher evaluation system changes in standardized testing
  • A focus on the Common Core Curriculum Standards
  • The school calendar
  • Adoption and specifications of the new math program (Singapore Math) will be presented at the next board meeting.

An overview presentation and report provided by Lee Nittel, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, covered nine different tests across specific grades in the district’s five schools showing an assessment of student proficiency for the 2011-2012 school year.

While the school system in general is not without future changes and challenges when it comes to evaluation and testing, the 2011-2012 assessments produced above average results and well above the DFGs (District Factor Groups) and state level.  This information tracks academic progress, drives instructional programming and collects data regarding longitudinal growth of a group of students.  The data compares Madison’s performance against socio-economic groups of the same likeness and to that of all other schools in the state.

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Nittel indicated that all graphs and data can be found on the district website.

After hearing Nittel’s report, Steve Wells, a Madison resident, approached the board. “People actually spend time coming up with all this stuff? Whatever’s going on in Trenton is freaky,” Wells said. “I’m bothered by the school calendar.  It’s a horrible utilization of time, and I think community would support changes to it.”

An exchange on the calendar issue between the board and Wells provoked deeper discussion on the pros and cons of his suggestion to change the start date and end date of the school year.  There was a motion to amend the calendar and then another motion to table the motion to amend the calendar.

The motion to table was overruled and the motion to amend the calendar came to a tie.  It was explained by Mr. Gary Lane, School Business Administrator/Secretary to the Board of Education that when there is a “tie” vote, the motion goes unchanged.  Consequently, the school calendar start date will remain the same which is Friday, September 6, 2013.

Board member Shade Grahling reported on the progress of curriculum, professional development and world language. She said “We are looking for ways to improve the implementation of the Rosetta Stone, and we’re working on a full assessment for language in K-12 by the 2014-2015 school year.”

Patrick Rowe, Vice President, indicated that the Board of Education will soon be providing recordings of board meetings online.

Rowe was also questioned by a Madison resident on his recent candidacy and what would happen if he were to win the upcoming election for Town Council.  Rowe indicated his term on the board is up at the end of the school year, so there wasn’t an issue.