PARCC Policy for “Opt Outs” and HIB Report Card Discussed at Montville BOE Meeting


MONTVILLE, NJ - The Montville Township Board of Education met for a regular meeting on Jan. 20. The first order of business was to honor fourteen teachers who have been awarded the Governor’s Teacher Award and the Governor’s Educational Services Professional Award for 2015.

After a short break, Superintendent Paul Fried spoke about the pending PARCC testing in the District.

PARCC stands for The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and is a set of assessments that the District will administer beginning March 2nd on a rolling schedule, for students in grades 3-11, in the subjects of math and ELA (English Language Arts and Literacy).

Sign Up for E-News

According to the PARCC website to which the District refers parents seeking more information, “These new assessments will replace outdated and ineffective tests with new tests that measure real world skills that colleges and employers say they value – like critical thinking and problem solving. PARCC is a group of 20 states working together to develop a common set of computer-based K–12 assessments in English language arts/Literacy and math linked to the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Forty-six states and the District of Columbia voluntarily adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010 and 2011, and these states need assessments that are aligned to these higher standards.

“The new tests also are being developed in response to the longstanding concerns of educators, parents and employers who want assessments that better measure students’ critical-thinking and problem-solving skills and their ability to communicate clearly,” the PARCC website states. 

Tests vary from 40 to 60 minutes, take place over the span of five days for each school level, and are composed of two groups of testing dates:  Performance-based assessments, which will be tested in the District from March 2 until March 20, and End-of-year assessments, which will take place in the various schools from April 20 until May 8 (The schedule of testing for each school can be seen HERE)

But some parents are voicing discontent with the assessments, and Fried addressed the situation at the meeting.

“Parents within various states and New Jersey have made comments, asked questions, voiced concerns about the testing, sometimes about the frequency, the length, the format – because it’s now computer and technology based – and more specifically I’ve been asked by just a couple of parents recently in writing, about our policy, with regard to testing, [when] there is a refusal to be tested on the part of any our parents,” began Fried.

Fried stated that the State Department of Education believes the PARCC assessments are a “valuable test,” and therefore will not define an “Opt Out” policy. 

“On the other hand, parents, of course, have a lot of prerogatives, legally, about their children’s education, and parents can of course make decisions about those kinds of issues,” continued Fried.

Fried stated that handling the situation of students Opting Out of the tests falls into “Administrative Procedure.”

“We will not punish students or create any consequences with regard to that decision. We will not have the students sit in front of a computer for the testing period and stare at the computer and feel uncomfortable during the testing. We will instead have the child whose parent has written us a note excusing them from testing be in an alternative environment, potentially a study hall , the media center, or they would be supervised somewhere where they could read for that period of testing time,” Fried stated.

Fried explained that parents who wish their student to not participate in the testing must write a letter to the student’s school administrator stating such. Students whose parents have excused them from the testing will not be required to participate in the makeup exams, either. Fried stated that a letter will be sent to district parents explaining the procedure that will be used when parents Opt Out their students from testing. In the meantime, “Certainly I’ll be responding to any individuals who send us correspondence,” indicating that they wish their student to not participate, stated Fried.

Fried went on to explain that the State Department of Education is “leaving it up to the school districts to make a decision about how we will, at that time, treat the child, and handle the situation.”

However, not every district will be providing an alternate room for students not taking the test.

“I have seen, through emails, there are some districts who decided to adopt what’s being called ‘sit and stare,’ where, if the student refuses to take the test, they would have the child in the testing environment staring at the screen for an hour,” stated Fried.

“That’s never the way I will act towards students I’m [basically] taking care of,” stated Fried. “Most superintendents are moving forward with a sense of ‘we’re not going to punish students.’ Very often it’s the decision of their parents, of course, and we have students as young as eight years old and in third grade taking this test. So we’re not going to punish our students, but, again, we’re also not going to provide entertainment for them, or a different learning environment for them.  We would put them in an environment where they’re comfortable but they would have to read for that period of time.”

Board Member John Morella asked if the students would have any foreseeable consequences for not participating in the testing, and Fried stated, “There’s no individual ramification, […] but there could potentially be ramifications to the school district. You have to remember that the participating school districts are receiving federal money for this, as part of the process, and one of the requirements of the federal government is that 95% of the district’s students participate in the testing process."

“So theoretically, if fewer than 95% of our students participate in this [testing], there could be ramifications to this school district, but not for individual students. We’re not sure what those ramifications or consequences [would be]; it may be creating an improvement plan for the future,” explained Fried.

Board President Karen Cortellino asked Fried if the state is tracking the number of parents who are opting their children out of the assessments, and Fried stated that the County Executive Superintendent asked for that information.

“There are some districts where there are many parents who are already looking to move in this direction [of opting out].  But that hasn’t been our experience in Montville right now,” stated Fried.

Fried also explained that the District’s HIB (Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying) “Report Card” is now online (see it HERE). The Report Card is a self-assessment tool used by each school every year, as required by law. Administrators at each Montville school, aided by Director of Guidance Leslee Scheckman, rate their anti-HIB programs, training, curriculum and instruction on HIB, reporting, and investigative procedures, and the grade is assembled on a chart that is sent to the state. Out of a maximum of 78 points, Montville schools rated themselves as 71 or better, and the average score was 74.

Fried’s resignation has been made official, and Cortellino stated her dismay at the change (Read about the announcement HERE) and discussed the timeline for finding a replacement. District Administrator James Tevis has sent out Request for Proposals to several “head-hunting” firms who specialize in finding superintendents, firms have responded, and “the Board is vetting those materials, and will set up interviews with these firms,” according to Cortellino. "Once the firm is selected we will develop a process to attract a suitably qualified candidate."

The firm that aided Montville Township in hiring Fried “held stakeholder meetings” to identify “qualities that the Montville community was seeking in a superintendent” before interviewing candidates, created an ad, and the most qualified candidates are presented to the Board for interviewing.

The firm’s process was “thorough,” according to Cortellino, “so we will follow a similar process, and hope to have the new superintendent seated by July 1st,” stated Cortellino.

Board Member Charles Grau stated that the high school media center renovation process is moving forward, but it does not appear that the center will be usable by Sept. 1 as had been previously hoped. He also stated his admiration for the MUDD event last week (Read about the event HERE).

Fried stated that January is “School Board Recognition Month,” and complimented the Board of Education on working “tirelessly” on behalf of the children and the community in the school district.

“They do so without any pay, oftentimes without much recognition,” continued Fried. “People in the audience come because they often have a problem they want to share with the board, and most of the emails that we get are also about problems, as opposed to thank you’s or recognition. So I wanted to take this moment tonight to say how much I appreciate all of the hard work that they do. I’ve worked closely with most of them for the entire five years I’ve been in the district, and I can tell you that the schools and the children are in good hands.”


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sun, February 18, 1:00 PM

Pyramid Mountain Natural Historic Area, Montville Township

Snowshoe Sundays at Pyramid Mtn

Health & Wellness


Tue, February 20, 4:00 PM

Pyramid Mountain, Montville Township

Maple Sugaring on the Mountain

Education Food & Drink


Thu, February 22, 7:30 PM

Montville Township Municipal Building , Montville

Planning Board Meeting



Fri, February 23, 1:00 PM

Montville Senior Center, Montville

Walter Choroszewski's "Presidential Scandals of ...

Arts & Entertainment

Towaco Civic Association Scholarship Applications Available

February 16, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Calling all high school seniors living in Montville Township! It's time to apply for the annual Towaco Civic Association scholarship award. The winning applicant will be selected based on their community service record.

Applications are available at Montville Township High School, or email for information.

The deadline to apply is March ...

Boy Scout Michael Manetta Achieves Eagle Scout Ranking

February 11, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Members of Boy Scout Troop 74 gathered on Jan. 14 as Scout Michael Manetta was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout at his Court of Honor.

Officials such as members of the Montville Township Committee, the Montville Township Board of Education, former post commander Frank Warholic of VFW Post 5481, Dee Cook, who is treasurer of the Dog Park Advisory Committee and Fishawack ...

2-Hour Delay for Montville Township Public Schools on Thursday

February 7, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ - Montville Township Public Schools will have a 2-hour delayed opening tomorrow, Feb. 8, according to Superintendent of Schools Rene Rovtar. MEDLC will open at 9 a.m. and buses will run two hours later than usual schedules.

Morris County Prosecutor Appointed to New Jersey Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission

February 15, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - On the morning of Sunday, Feb. 11 2018, Governor Phil Murphy held a press conference at the Messiah Baptist Church in East Orange to announce that he was going to reconvene the New Jersey Criminal Justice Sentencing and Disposition Commission. Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp and MCPO Detective Patrick LaGuerre, formerly a member of the East Orange Police ...

Nutley Closes School Due to Security Threat

February 16, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - The Nutley Police Department and the Essex County Bomb Unit have finished investigating a security concern.  As a precaution, the school was canceled on Friday after a video was posted to Instagram that suggested a possible threat to schools. Dr. Julie Glazer, Nutley Superintendent of Schools, made the decision late Thursday night to close ...

Towaco Civic Association Scholarship Applications Available

February 16, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – Calling all high school seniors living in Montville Township! It's time to apply for the annual Towaco Civic Association scholarship award. The winning applicant will be selected based on their community service record.

Applications are available at Montville Township High School, or email for information.

The deadline to apply is March ...


How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting can have an ...

Ask the Care Advocate Your Elder Care Questions Today

MONTVILLE, NJ - TAPinto Montville and LMR Elder Care have announced a new monthly advice column: Ask the Care Advocate.  Heidi Schnapp, Co-founder of LMR Elder Care, utilizes her knowledge and expertise in answering your questions concerning:

Helping aging parents and their ...

Another Luxury Listing in the Pond Section of Montville Presented by Century 21 The Crossing

MONTVILLE, NJ - Century 21 the Crossing and Jason Failla do it again!  Another luxury listing in the Pond section of Montville.

"This new listing has had over 13,000 views in less then a week," Century 21 The Crossing's Jason Failla said. "Anyone can list your home, it takes a comprehensive marketing strategy to sell it!"

"Luxury is in each ...

Century 21 Open Houses

MONTVILLE, NJ - Century 21 presents the following open houses:

Saturday, Jan. 27 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)

Sunday, Jan. 28 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
8 Summit Drive, Bld #10, North Caldwell
12 ...


AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link:

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!


The Best Way to Pay Your Child a Compliment

“Of course you’re good-looking.”  “You’re the best friend ever.”  “Who wouldn’t want you on their team?”  Is there a parent out there (including me) who hasn’t praised a child in order to make him or her feel better?  Sometimes it’s true, and sometimes we say it because we just can’t stand to see them ...

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

'American Hero' explores with powerful performances

‘American Hero’ pulses with tension, clashing emotions at George Street

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNWICK – The issue of social injustice makes its way into “American Hero,” the second play in a trilogy by Christopher Demo-Brown.

Armand Schultz as Rob is to receive a medal of honor for his heroic actions during the Iraq war. Although he lost the use of his legs, he ...

Pet Corner