Superintendent of Millburn Township Schools Update

Superintendent Dr. Christine Burton Credits: TAPinto Millburn and Short Hills

13 Reasons Why

You may have heard about the controversial new Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why, about a teen who takes her own life. Experts and educators are concerned about the subject matter, as they believe the show glamorizes suicide, and includes graphic depictions of rape, alcohol abuse, and bullying. It does not address mental health issues or alternatives to suicide, and the adults in the film do not respond appropriately to issues as they arise. 
Our teens are binge watching this show, in many cases on their own. Experts say that if your child is watching it, you should be too, in order to discuss any issues and questions that may arise. 
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MMAC's Empower Hour will address this topic on Monday morning at 11 a.m. at the Millburn Public Library. Nancy Kislin, Family Psychotherapist and Parenting Coach will facilitate a discussion of how to talk to your kids about the series, and the difficult subjects it raises. All are invited to join this important conversation.

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) has provided Talking Points to help parents and teachers address the issues being raised by this program. 
As you know, Health & Wellness has been a school district focus this school year. I want to remind you of our Health & Wellness website that has links to community resources and hotlines that are available 24 hours a day. The Millburn High School Student Center also provides support for students and families who may be struggling with depression, anxiety and stress or suicidal thoughts. 
As always, if you have concerns about your child, please contact your child’s teacher, guidance counselor, school nurse or principal who will put you in touch with our team of experts to help you get the assistance you need. 
School Budget

The Board of Education held the annual public hearing on the budget on Monday night. Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider and I gave our final presentation about the 2017-2018 School Year budget. We addressed questions that have been raised about staffing and related arts (“specials”) teachers:
As a result of moving all of the 5th grade students from their current elementary schools to the Washington School, the number of sections in each of these schools will be reduced. Anticipating the reduced number of sections at all six elementary schools, we recognized that most of the Related Arts teachers would not have a full schedule in a single building and therefore would need to be shared between buildings. In order to share staff between schools, a 9-period common schedule was created providing for 35 available periods of teaching time each week. (Contractually teachers get a lunch and a preparation period each day). With more available periods for teachers to teach, fewer Related Arts teachers will be needed in Grades K-5. Students will still receive the same amount of instruction time in the Related Arts that they have this year.
I understand that change is difficult. Please know we do make every effort to find a place for staff whenever we can.
Staffing Updates 

We look forward to welcoming Mr. Evan Abramson, who was approved as our new Technology Director at Monday’s BOE meeting. Mr. Abramson comes to Millburn from New Brunswick, and will begin in July. We are in the process of completing interviews for the Wyoming and Middle School principals, and hope to have those approved at our next BOE meeting on Monday, May 8. 
Students – Help Name a Street!

The Millburn Township Committee invites students in Millburn to select the name of two roads that will be created during the construction of the new apartment complex and hotel near the Short Hills Mall. The street (or avenue, or road, or lane...) name should be tasteful and students should explain why they propose the name. Does it have a Millburn connection or some historical significance? Maybe the name describes the neighborhood or the environment. Time to use your creative skills! Submit the survey here.
We will keep you posted on the final naming decisions! 
I hope many of you will be going “Under the Sea” along with the cast of the Middle School’s “The Little Mermaid” this weekend. Enjoy the show!

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