MORRISTOWN, NJ - Unity Charter School hosted their first General Assembly of the school year on Monday night, October 17, 2016. As a public school of choice in New Jersey, Unity Charter School has a Board of Trustees of 11 volunteers elected from the commUnity for three-year terms by commUnity members to serve the oversight function for the school, guide the mission of the school, and set forth a strategic vision, as is done in all public schools. Additionally, the Board of Trustees ensures that the school operates efficiently and in compliance with the Charter School Program Act of 1995 and all other applicable laws and regulations.
The four functions of a Board of Trustees, as outlined by the New Jersey School Boards Association, are:
- To develop a budget
- To provide guidance through policy. The Board sets policy or the WHAT (vision, goals, needs, expectations). The Director provides the HOW (hiring, evaluation, purchasing, assigning, implementing, coaching, teaching, testing, assessing)
- To provide management oversight (hiring and evaluating the Director, approving the curriculum, etc.)
- To ensure two-way communication with the administration, staff and parents
In addition to regular monthly board meetings, Unity Charter School convenes three General Assemblies throughout the school year, where the entire commUnity is empowered to actively participate in the governance of our school; they allow parents, teachers, Board members, and students opportunities to discuss, debate, and decide issues of governance. All stakeholders, including students in grades 6–8, are eligible to vote at the General Assembly.
Each General Assembly is also an opportunity for the commUnity to celebrate the school's accomplishments and to thank special people and organizations for their participation in Unity's mission of education and sustainability.
During the General Assembly, Unity Charter School honored Grow it Green in Morristown, NJ, and their Director of Agriculture & Education, Shaun Ananko. Students and teachers presented Farmer Shaun with a Certificate of Appreciation and handwritten thank you notes, and the students read a special letter they wrote to him, thanking him for teaching them about farming, letting them try new vegetables, and for always showing them kindness and respect. Students in grades K-4 take walking trips to Grow it Green where they learn hands-on about sustainable organic farming and get to taste new fruits and vegetables. When possible, students eat Farmer Shaun’s produce in the cafeteria. Farmer Shaun and Grow it Green are a significant part of Unity Charter School’s introduction to farming and to our nutritious eating program, and they continue to be an outstanding local community organization dedicated to education and sustainability.