MONTVILLE, NJ – Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar made her recommendation to the Montville Township Board of Education at the May 1 meeting regarding changing the start time of the high school.

A committee had examined all the working parts involved in changing the time, currently 7:25 a.m., and presented their findings at the April 10 board of education meeting. That committee did not make any recommendation due to the complexity of the decision. They studied both an hour delay in the start time and a half hour delay.

The complexity of the topic was due to changes in the busing structure, teacher commutes, staffing at the aftercare program and sports programs, to name just a few. To read about the committee’s presentation, click: change time.

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At the May 1 meeting, Rovtar said that although teens need more sleep, and sleep deprivation can negatively impact health safety and academic performance, delaying the start time by an hour would have significant cost with “very little possible gain for the students in terms of sleep,” since research has noted the teens use digital technology before bed, which can also impact their sleep.

On the one hand, there are problems such as vocational school students missing class time, the aftercare program not being able to use high school faculty or students for staffing, sports practices running later and impacting recreation league schedules, and a potential cost of $560,000 to $720,000, Rovtar said. On the other hand, research indicates that for every 30 minutes of school start delay, students gain an average of 11 to 17 minutes of sleep.

“There are other factors that are impacting the health of our high school students beyond a possible change in the start time,” Rovtar said. “Our Mindfulness Plan has a goal of trying to help address the stress and anxiety that many of our students experience. I do not feel that a change to the high school start time can be effectively and efficiently accomplished at this time.”

To read Rovtar’s statement regarding the matter, click: decision.

The board honored former president, vice president and member Matthew Kayne, who is now a member of the Montville Township Committee, for his service.

Former board president Karen Cortellino thanked him as well and said she missed having him on the dais, but she took solace in knowing that the entire township is benefitting from his leadership and integrity.

The board honored bus driver Amy Emery, who aided the student hit by a car near her bus April 25.

“Amy immediately took control of the situation, kept the driver at the scene, and calmed nearby witnesses until police could arrive,” Assistant Principal Kenneth Nadzak said at the meeting.  “Staff and students alike have complimented, applauded, and thanked Mrs. Emery for her heroism and compassion in a chaotic moment. Amy is deserving of all the praise, and so much more.  To our students, she’s a hero.  To parents in the community, she’s a neighbor you can trust with the safety of their children. Thank you for your bravery in the moment, and your dedication to Montville each day of the year.”

Montville Township High School students who won first place at the New Jersey Chinese Cultural Project Competition presented portions of their project, how American and Chinese music reflect the differences in each culture. The students sang, danced, and chanted in English and Chinese. Presenters were Parth Agrawal, the team leader, and Jenny Sun, Christine Sun, Jack Motherway and Jennifer Weiss presented at the competition. Cindy Xie filled in for Jennifer at the board of ed meeting, and the other team members Nicolette Rubel, Cynthia Zhu, Brian Laurito, Cameran Ko, Avereen Chahal contributed a great deal to the research work of the project and making props, according to Mandarin teacher Liping Meng. Amal Tahir, Kevin Zheng, Cindy Xie, Addy Sharma, Celia Tang, and Lai Yuen Ching also helped out, she said.

High school students Parth Agrawal and Erin McGuire presented their research in bioinformatics. Last year they took Heather Einstein’s AP microbiology class, MTHS teacher Heather Einstein said, and approached her at the end of the year about conducting independent study. Agrawal and McGuire completed graduate-level studies with Chunguang Du at Montclair State University, and presented their findings at a symposium April 27 where they were the only high school students, she said. The pair presented their research regarding genes captured by rolling-circle transposons at the Montville board of ed meeting. 

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