NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – New Providence parents overwhelmingly prefer starting the school year after Labor Day. Superintendent David Miceli revealed the survey results regarding the school calendar at the Thursday, Nov. 14 Board of Education (BOE) meeting.
Miceli had opened a board discussion regarding next school year’s calendar at the October BOE meeting. He explained that next year Labor Day falls on Sep. 7. He pondered if the district would like to begin the school year before Labor Day as both the Chatham and Summit school districts had decided to do. Board President Adam Smith had suggested that a survey be conducted among parents regarding the school start date.
Miceli explained that the district received 541 responses for the survey. Additionally, the district received over 200 open ended comments and suggestions.
A total of 66 percent of respondents do not want to start the school before Labor Day, while 34 percent were willing to do so. An overwhelming majority (73.2 percent) of responders also did not want to consider opening school prior to Labor Day in the subsequent school years either. The vast majority (78.7 percent) would prefer a two-year school calendar.
Miceli explained that the board members had received draft calendars for the next two school years. He asked the board members to provide feedback on the drafts as well as to go through the comments made in the survey responses. The school calendar for the next school year will be approved in January.
Miceli noted that the draft calendar features school opening for students after Labor Day as preferred by the parents. However, the teachers’ professional development day would take place before Labor Day, thus there will be no professional development scheduled for Martin Luther King Day which will be a day off for both the students and the staff. He also pointed out that despite the late opening day next school year the last school day would be Thursday, Jun. 24, 2021.
With regard to other news Jay Richter, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision, explained a proposal to include the school resource officer in the classroom teaching for three or four lessons during the year. According to the Middle School Law Enforcement Against Drugs Proposal the resource officer would participate in the health lessons for 8th graders teaching facts about drug and alcohol use, vaping and dating violence and promoting healthy and safe decisions. Richter explained that this pilot program is scheduled to start this year. The program is funded by the New Providence Alliance.
Board Member Rebecca Coniglio expressed her concern with taking the resource officer away from his usual duties patrolling the school premises. She asked if there will be a back-up officer to respond to any emergencies that may occur while the resource officer spends time in a classroom. Richter noted that the officer is in the classroom with teachers and would be able to leave the classroom on a moment’s notice. Miceli also pointed out that the original idea of hiring the resource officer was to include him/her in the school curriculum.
Additionally, both Miceli and Board President Adam Smith commented on the two “incidents” that took place during the past week. Without giving out details of the incidents Smith commended both the school administration and the borough police department for their handling of the potential “threat”. He also pointed out that any threat is taken seriously and students should be aware that something meant as a joke may lead to serious consequences.