RANDOLPH, NJ- The superintendent outlined the six areas the district will focus planning efforts on as the district closes out the school year and plans for the 2020 – 2021 school year:
Governance, Wellness, Instruction, Facilities, School Operations, and Technology.
She advised that the district’s leaders and previously established committees will continue to work in each of these areas. In addition, Ms. Fano was notified during a meeting with the county superintendent that the county will be working in committees that will each focus on these same six areas. She shared that the goal of the cross-county committee work is to create a resource for all school districts regarding reopening procedures and guidelines.
Ms. Fano highlighted that the New Jersey Department of Education’s Director of Homeland Security Jeff Gale plans to release guidance on the pick-up of student materials from school buildings. She also informed that summer camps will not take place in the district’s buildings and that virtual plans for Extended School Year (ESY) have been developed. Additionally, Ms. Fano advised that the district is offering some courses again this summer and they are scheduled to take place virtually.
Director of Elementary Education Danielle Soldivieri and Director of Secondary Education Jonathan Olsen provided the following information regarding the parent survey:
“The parent survey we conducted closed on May 8, 2020 and there is a focus group meeting being led by the directors of elementary and secondary education which will include different principals, vice-principals, teachers, supervisors, and parents. Over 1300 surveys were submitted via Genesis by parents. The results from these surveys will be discussed by the stakeholder committees which will begin meeting this week.
The goal of these stakeholder focus groups is to assess progress and plan for future virtual learning needs and discuss school re-entry planning. The work of these groups will be structured in an "Elementary "K-5" and "Secondary 6-12" format so that we can work closely on the specific needs/concerns of each group. They anticipate bringing these groups together multiple times prior to the close of school year in efforts to better learn what is working in our school district and to solicit feedback about areas that may need improvement.
Other already established committees, such as our building crisis teams will help guide other important planning for the entire school community.”
Ms. Fano advised that the school calendar for 2020 - 2021 was approved last fall, but that the district needed to revisit this current year’s calendar. According to Ms. Fano, “New Jersey school districts are required to be in session for instruction for 180 days.
With the closing of our school facilities in March, they have been able to count virtual instruction toward this requirement. This means the district has two emergency/snow days that were not used this year and need to be scheduled before the end of the school year.”
The superintendent presented a modified calendar for the board’s consideration which places these two days in May (the 22nd and 26th) to extend Memorial Day Weekend from a 3-day weekend to a 5-day weekend. Ms. Fano advised that three AP exams are scheduled for Friday, May 22, 2020 and students may choose to take their exam or utilize the make-up date.
“We all know that the work of our students in these classes has been impacted this year and we are grateful for the flexibility shown by the College Board in these times, Ms. Fano said. “We know our teachers have prepared our students and that they are ready to demonstrate all that they have accomplished.”
Ms. Fano advised that she recognizes that the calendar is a topic where people may have strong opinions and ideas, but that the district considered other options for the two unused emergency days and based this recommendation on the input from district leaders and some student feedback.
The following team members gave a presentation on the district’s mental health services and resources:
Walter Curioni, Director of Special Services, Greg Dimiceli, Director of School Counseling, Meredith Gatzke, Director of Employee Relations and Organizational Development, Marissa Randazzo, School Psychologist, Megan Ingman, School Counselor, Amanda Weiner, School Psychologist, Jennifer Wagener, School Counselor, Colleen Huguenin, School Psychologist, Cheyenne Finocchiaro, School Counselor
The Board of Education approved the amended school calendar recommendations. The district will observe an extended Memorial Day weekend from Friday, May 22, 2020 through Tuesday, May 26, 2020.