Education

Springfield Board of Education: Tempers Flare as Looping is Discussed in Open Session Again

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The Caggianos speaking to the Board of Education Credits: Ellen Dickson
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Board of Education business session Credits: Ellen Dickson
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Large crowd at Board meeting - most were there to hear the Holiday Picture awards Credits: Ellen Dickson
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SPRINGFIELD, NJ - In the Open Public comments session a number of residents came to the microphone to discuss the practice of Looping. Looping is a system whereby a student or class retains the same teacher for a second academic year.  

Speaking against looping, Sylvia Caggiano reminded the Board that she has appeared and spoken at every meeting from September 18 onward. She cited numerous studies that support “opt out” policies for looping and noted that Springfield does not allow such an option. She then said, “We will take up the challenge and we will be back here week after week with examples of districts with opt out policies. We will continue to do your job and give testimony.”   She spoke of the hundreds of residents that have signed the petition to have an opt out policy for looping. “Nothing seems to embarrass some on this Board.  We will take up the challenge of researching opt out policies and report back at future Board meetings.”

She later went on to say “I try to find the positive in all this negativity.  I try to find the silver lining. If I had not discovered this looping policy many may have never come forward on the issue of bullying.  If it had not been for this, the bullying would have remained in the shadows…maybe this helped them find their voices.”

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Superintendent Michael Davino responded to resident questions about looping.  He explained that, “Looping is a programmatic scheduling procedure.” He then stated “This Board never adopted a policy on it.  Instead, looping is a programmatic scheduling procedure and has academic implications. Looping is a scheduling issue not set by the Board by policy.”

A resident queried whether the Board could even make a change on looping. Board member Marc Miller explained that changing looping is out of their purview as Board members. The public is beginning to understand the difference between practice and policy. We can ask, we can recommend but that is all.

A few residents questioned the amount of legal fees the Board is expending on this and related issues.  Dr. Joy Sudler asked “How many cases are under litigation?  How many cases of parents suing the district regarding educational and social issues? Can you give me a number?”  The Board Attorney responded she would not give a number and the Dr. Joy Sudler asked “Is it because you don’t know the answer or you won’t give it?”  The Board attorney relied that she “…will not give it.”  

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