RANDOLPH, NJ- The following is a summary from Randolph Schools of the Tuesday night Board of Education Meeting:
"This executive summary is not the official Board meeting minutes. The official minutes are typically approved by the Board and posted within thirty days of the meeting and are available on the District website."
Board of Education FFT Chair Jeanne Stifelman provided an update on the status of the new facility project on Bauer Field.
In a statement released by Mrs. Stifelman:
“The Randolph Township Board of Education is excited to announce that we will be awarding a contract to Frankoski Construction tonight to build the new Field House and Wellness Center at Bauer field in the middle of the Randolph High School and Randolph Middle School campus. This new building will be a 20,000 square foot, two story building built into a hill with the first floor consisting of 4 locker/team rooms, public restrooms, a concession stand, an area for the trainer and storage. The second floor will be accessible from ground level as you approach from the Middle School and will consist of a lobby with bathrooms, a weight room, a large storage area and a multi-purpose room for physical education and community use.
The award is for $8.9 Million dollars which includes the base bid and two out of three of the alternates which are a retaining wall between the home grandstand and the building and a much needed ADA compliant walkway from the handicapped parking onto the new remarkably bigger plaza between the building and Bauer Field. Comparing apples to apples, this bid is more than $800,000 lower than the lowest bid received in September of 2019 and $400,000 lower than the lowest bid received in March.
After this award the only project remaining to be awarded from the October 2018 referendum are the bathrooms in Randolph Middle School. We are also proud to announce that all of the projects will be completed, many with significant enhancements to the original scope, below the overall $24.5 Million dollars approved by our community. It is important to note that the money used for the referendum projects come from bonds that the district floated when the referendum was approved by the voters. Under law, the $24.5M cannot not be transferred into our general fund budget to cover any other costs of operating the district nor can it be used for any projects, capital or otherwise, outside the scope of the referendum projects approved by both the state and the voters in October of 2018.
This project, like all the other projects in this referendum were designed with significant input from various stakeholders and have exceeded even the Boards expectations.”
Superintendent Jennifer Fano provided an update since the district’s last Board of Education meeting. She advised that two days after the last meeting, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced school buildings will remain closed through May 15, 2020. Further, she noted that on March 27, 2020, the Governor stated that, “The stay at home order will remain in effect until further notice.” Per this directive, this extends the May 15, 2020 date for school closure. She also informed that as of Tuesday, April 28, 2020, New Jersey has 113,856 reported cases of COVID-19 and 6,442 deaths in the state due to the pandemic. Ms. Fano expressed her heartfelt thoughts and deepest sympathy to everyone that has been impacted.
The superintendent shared good news. On April 21, 2020, US News & World Report was published ranking Randolph in the top 10% of all U.S. high schools
Ms. Fano informed that the district sent out a survey to parents on April 27, 2020 and as of April 28, 2020 the district had received over 750 individual responses. She outlined a process for convening a focus group to review some of the feedback to help inform the district plans. This focus group will:
• Reflect and plan for the continuation of virtual home instruction
• Gather additional input on how the district might celebrate spring traditions including finalizing a safe way to recognize and celebrate the Class of 2020
• Discuss the re-entry into district facilities
Ms. Fano shared a reminder by the Office of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning that the governor’s Executive Order currently still prohibits “wave parades” or encouraging families to drive to an event while non-essential travel is currently prohibited. She advised that each principal will share plans for celebrating spring traditions as plans are finalized, and no later than June 1, 2020.
The superintendent informed that the district recently completed a survey conducted by the NJSBA relative to the district’s readiness to open schools now or in September. Ms. Fano advised that the district was also able to share its concerns and awaits additional information from health officials as the district prepares for multiple scenarios in the meantime. She assured families that the district and building leadership teams will continue to plan for a multitude of issues as the district closes out this school year and plans for re-entry to our schools.
Ms. Fano outlined some of the items the district is planning for which included but is not limited to:
- Collecting materials, such as devices, textbooks, library books, and items in lockers
- Returning medication currently in nurses’ offices
- Ensuring the district has an ample amount of personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Planning for the possibility of a virtual Extended School Year (ESY) and other summer course offerings
- Planning to audit, analyze, and plan instruction to address any education gaps that may be identified as a result of this period of remote teaching and learning
- Scheduling and placement for all students for the 2020-2021 school year
- Continuing to reflect and update remote learning plans in the event there is the need for another school closure
- Ensuring that the district is fully staffed for next year, while the district also monitors the potential for further budget reductions.
The superintendent advised that the district has already conducted all phases of its comprehensive interview process in its remote setting and the district will recommend new team members to fill known vacancies.
Ms. Fano shared that she is currently working with superintendents in Morris County and with superintendents from other counties to inform the plans that are being developed for Randolph’s re-entry. She informed that the district will be working within committees to refine the district’s plans. The superintendent advised that they will update the Board and share the same updates with staff and the community. She emphasized that the district will focus its efforts on a few specific areas in order to address issues the district can plan for while also creating multiple scenarios for the unknown as well.
The basic areas Ms. Fano outlined included:
Governance – The district will review policy, create various schedule options, and plan for other school related events.
Wellness – The district will support student and staff wellness as well as plan for health-related procedures once schools reopen.
Instruction – The district will review curriculum, reflect on virtual teaching and learning, reflect on professional learning, and focus on additional efforts related to instruction and assessment. Ms. Fano advised that these plans would also include the school counseling department focusing on how the district can work with the Class of 2020 to transition and working closely with the class of 2021 to plan for their senior year and beyond.
Facilities – The district will continue to review its inventory of supplies, cleaning and disinfecting protocols now and when students return to the buildings, and guidelines once the district resumes normal operations.
School Operations – The district will continue to evaluate food service procedures, transportation matters, and the organization of athletic and extra-curricular activities moving forward and review things such as Senator Sarlo’s Bridge Year bill being proposed for current juniors and sophomores.
Technology – The district will work through its Technology Advisory Council to audit technology, review the current 5-year plan, and make any adjustments based upon the district’s ability to most effectively implement remote instruction moving forward.
Ms. Fano expressed her appreciation of teachers, support staff, leaders, students and parents. She thanked everyone for partnering to ensure the effective delivery of instruction during this period of school closure. Ms. Fano also gave a special thank you to essential employees and health care workers.
The superintendent shared upcoming events for the board and community’s consideration.
National Teacher Day: May 5, 2020
National Teacher Day is observed on the first Tuesday of the first full week of May. The National Educators Association encourages people to show their support for teachers by wearing red on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, and sharing a picture on social media explaining why you’re wearing #REDforED.
As an example:
“I’m wearing #REDforED to thank teachers for the incredible work they do each day.”
Special Education Week May 10 - 16, 2020
The theme for special education week is Creating, Learning, and Growing. Consistent with this theme, Randolph continues to create programs, support learners, and grow as an inclusive community. Over the past five years, Randolph has developed the following programs:
- Therapeutic classrooms at both RMS and RHS (OASIS)
- A multiple disabilities program with P.G. Chambers at RHS (RISE)
- A multiple disabilities program at Ironia
- ABA programs at Center Grove and RMS
- Language Disabilities programs at Ironia and RMS
- Transition House, 565 Millbrook, for our eighteen-twenty-one students
The district continues to foster inclusive opportunities district-wide through Unified Sports, Spring Fling, Peer Buddies, Helping Hands, and other clubs and extra-curricular offerings. Randolph will continue to support inclusive opportunities through community-based instruction, job placements, and robust partnerships with the Township, Sheriff’s Office, and various State agencies.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Awareness Month began in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization. While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. In 2020, the theme of Tools 2 Thrive will provide practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase resiliency regardless of the situations they are dealing with. The tools this organization has compiled – even those that may need to be adapted for the short term because of COVID-19 and social distancing – will be more useful than ever.
Ms. Fano advised that the district will provide an overview of the mental health services available for students and staff at the Board’s next meeting.
Business Administrator Gerry Eckert presented on the 2020-2021 budget. Please see the power point presentation located on the district’s website for more details.
The district leadership team and Board of Education are pleased to announce that in working with the Randolph Education Association, it was able to approve an agreement on April 28, 2020 wherein Association members will be able to utilize the 2019 -2020 bereavement leave entitlement during the 2020-2021 school year. This agreement will allow Association members to attend the funeral or memorial service of a family member or a member of the employee’s household who passed during the period of the Governor’s Executive Orders of state-wide closures. During this incredibly difficult period, the district leadership team and Board of Education want to thank the staff for their dedication and want to express their condolences to any of our staff who lost a loved one. Our district is thankful that our staff who have lost loved ones during this unprecedented time will not need to worry about how they will grieve or honor their lost family members when gathering is permissible again.