Education

Candidate Statements

Access & Equity: Statement from School Board Candidate Donna Smith

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There has been a lot of discussion around equity in our district, but it is important to identify what we mean by “equity.” I define equity as believing that each child has the capacity to be successful, ensuring that we empower our student learners and provide them with what they need to succeed. This includes a rigorous curriculum, effective supports, a climate that supports learning and adults who create that climate. This is why I voted for the development and passage of the Access Equity Policy and a Strategic Plan focused on meeting the needs of individual learners, at the pace and depth of learning that is right for them.

I recognize that implementation of the Access & Equity Policy has been rough and that we have issues remaining that must be addressed, including providing the most flexibility for students to be able to move up or down levels and figuring out why, for some courses, African American students have not leveled up.  We need to examine how to maximize the role and impact of guidance and teaching staff assist students in course selection, focusing particularly in the transition years from 5th to 6th and from 8th to 9th.  We also have to look at the possibility of eliminating Level 2 classes across the board, since they are proven to be a path to nowhere.  We need to ensure our curriculum in grades K-8 is engaging and rigorous enough to truly prepare students to take on the challenges of college preparatory coursework.  Most importantly, we need to ensure we have the operational excellence to enable all of this hard work.

We also need to come together as a community, focused on how this district is going to move forward to ensure that every child is properly prepared in our K-12 system for college, career and a strong future. The future of learning and teaching, as laid out in the district’s Strategic Direction, is designed to provide every child with the challenge and supports required to be successful. This will be enabled by individual pathways supported by an array of choices for educational programming, teachers who are specifically trained to provide instruction to a range of student needs and pacing, whole child social/emotional supports and collaboration between the district, teachers, parents and students as stakeholders in every child’s educational pathway. In the future state of how we deliver teaching and learning in our district, I believe there is space for levels as a means of choice, not as a gate that denies students access to a rich curriculum.

The District has started implementing portions of the Strategic Plan and will continue to roll it out over the next few years. There are multiple pilots in place testing out the waters on homogenous classrooms, programs to better engage parents as partners and whole child supports. These pilots must be monitored carefully for learnings. This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for our District and I look forward to overseeing its development in the coming years.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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South Orange Police Blotter as of June 21

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Upcoming Events

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Fri, June 22, 3:00 PM

Outside of U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen's office, Morristown

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Government Health & Wellness Law & Justice

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Fri, June 22, 7:00 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, Short Hills

The Extra Rich In Class Dinner Show with E.R.I.C.

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Carousel_image_6f87fbcddb8c623bb6c0_downtown_after_sundown_2

Fri, June 22, 7:00 PM

Spiotta Park, South Orange

Jersey Swamp Cats in Downtown After Sundown

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Tue, June 26, 6:30 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Memoir Writing Class at Millburn Library

Arts & Entertainment

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'Fridays for Families' Vigil in Morristown

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South Orange Pool Update - June 21

Work on the main pool filter replacement project at the South Orange Community Pool is being completed today. The contractor is on site, working to get pool filtration operational.

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