Dear Piscataway Families:
Welcome back to school!
Every new school year brings change. Some are visible—different classrooms, new teachers and staff, freshly paved parking lots. But the changes you can’t see are as important—and in many cases more important—than the changes you can see.
This September brings a big, visible change for me, as I begin my first school year as Superintendent of Piscataway Schools. Our schools and students are doing well. In the past year alone, Piscataway High School was listed as a top high school in the United States by US News & World Report and again made the College Board AP Honor Roll for student achievement on AP exams. Based on the strength of our music program, Piscataway was named a Best Community for Music Education by the National Association of Music merchants for the second consecutive year.
But even districts that are headed in the right direction need to change and grow. I’d like to take this opportunity to share how I plan to guide our district toward positive change in the coming year. My focus and the focus of every school, will revolve around five areas:
1. Taking Care of People
2. Safety and Security
4. Technology Integration
5. Curriculum and Instruction
Taking Care of People
I place Taking Care of People first, because I think this is our top priority. We need to make sure our students are ready to learn and that our teachers have the tools and training they need to reach every student. The social and emotional health and overall wellness of students and staff are as important as academics.
Safety and Security
The number one priority for any school district is keeping students safe. We are completing a five-year Safety and Security plan that includes double-door entries for all school main entrances, locks for every door in every building, and a security staff that includes a Director of Security and dedicated safety officers at every school. We conduct security drills appropriate for every grade level and require identification for anyone entering our schools. And we continue to review and update our plan in collaboration with the Piscataway Police Department and Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Culture is the way we do things. It’s how we treat each other, what we value, and how we understand expected behaviors and processes. Kindness first.
We implement technology integration best practices at every grade level, training teachers to integrate technology into their everyday curriculum, and educating students in internet safety and usage expectations. We keep technology in the forefront of staff professional development.
Curriculum and Instruction
We continue to explore and build curriculum offerings that challenge students at all grade levels, including the curriculum-specific academies at Piscataway High School. We also continue to focus on equity for all students in all schools, and to developing problem solving and soft skills necessary for long-term success. We want to create an environment where students will try their best but are not afraid to fail, and will develop resiliency, empathy, and kindness.
As we move through the year, I will reach out through a number of communication channels—in-person, online, and through other programs—to provide more detailed information on these initiatives. I look forward to sharing a wonderful school year with all Piscataway families. It is an honor to serve this district.
Dr. Frank Ranelli
Superintendent of Schools