PLAINFIELD, NJ – As teachers and staff across Plainfield get ready for the 2018-2019 school year, Interim Superintendent, Dr. Ronald Bolandi announced parts of his reorganization plan to improve student performance in the district over the next few years, putting an emphasis on training and support for teachers on intervention, data, STEM, and other programming.
“We have had an active school summer as a district for staff training,” said Bolandi at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting. “We have excited teachers…working with the kids.”
Bolandi said that the Abbott program has returned, but this time the district will have a training center with a board approved coordinator to work with teachers from each building on science, social studies, math and language arts areas.
“Abbott will work with the kids who aren’t sure about going to college on readiness skills such as note taking and academic strategies,” he continued. “This is for the ‘middle of the road’ kids who need that extra boost. Not the at-risk or Gifted and Talented.”
“Our teachers will take online courses to help train them which was not done the last time Abbott was in place,” said Bolandi, adding that the program will start in the middle schools and will be rolled out to include the high school levels next year.
To target struggling learners, Dr. Adams will lead the Response to Intervention (RTI) program, and “only the best (staff members) who apply will be in the RTI positions,” said Bolandi, adding that the district now has control over its remedial programs through grants. “These are veteran teachers who chose to apply, not those who couldn’t cut it and were placed with the lowest level students.”
Bolandi also said he wants high school teachers to start teaching civics, so the Solutions Civics program will be implemented “to help get kids involved with how the political process and government work.”
While the school board voted to approve a $2.7 million technology initiative with Apple that will provide 5,000 iPads and related services to district schools, they also adopted a new federally funded character education program at the meeting that will begin in six, 6th grade health classes this fall.
The ‘YES You Can!’ risk avoidance program will address various social topics ranging from teen pregnancy and relationship building to bullying, said representatives from the NJ Physicians Advisory Group which will run the program and train teachers.
“It’s designed to help students develop a vision for the future,” they said, adding that the district will be able to continue to use the program after the grant ends.