Education

Warren Board of Education Tackles Declining Enrollment

04094c5c5422a5cc3dc6_image.jpeg
Warren Board of Education Tackles Declining Enrollment  Credits: B. Nemcek
04094c5c5422a5cc3dc6_image.jpeg
WARREN, NJ - Student enrollment is declining in Warren Township schools. Kathy Helewa and Len deMontagnac, heads of the Study to Examine Enrollment Project (STEEP) education and facilities committees, provided updates on their work at the last meeting of the Warren Township Board of Education.

deMontagnac acknowledged and appreciated the larger than usual crowd at the meeting, saying, "It's nice to see, when we come to board meetings, everyone here because we feel your energy, we like having a big crowd and we like to be engaged with the community."

In the last nine years, enrollment has steadily declined. According to information presented at the meeting-from a high of 1,511 to 1,112 at the elementary level and from 804 to 663 at the middle school.

Sign Up for E-News

Kathy Helewa, who heads the STEEP education committee, presented their findings and said declining enrollment should not be viewed as a "problem," but "as an exciting time for students, a good time for our town and our stakeholders."

"The truth is, declining enrollment is not a bad thing," said Helewa. "It just is. And it is cyclical. And it's also an opportunity, one that past Warren boards of education did not have."

"What will our facilities allow?" said Helewa. "How can we get what we need, spending responsibly? Can we get better with declining enrollment? It's a very unique opportunity."

The board will move forward "with confidence and optimism" as it makes the best decision for Warren's children, she said.

Helewa reviewed five models for the district and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

The five school and grade configuration models are:

-Do nothing. Keep the existing school and grade structure.

-Close one elementary school and have three PK-5 schools and one 6-8 middle school.

-Shake it up with one PK-1 school, one 2-3 school, one 4-5 school, and one 6-8 middle school.

- or, one PK-3 school, one K-3 school, one 4-5 school, and one 6-8 middle school.

-Change the grade levels at the middle school to grades 5-8

three PK-4 schools and one 5-8 middle school.

The factors to be considered are:

Student enrollment distribution, professional development, consistency of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, consistency of educational programs, transitional years (changing schools), role models, parental involvement, amount of stability, stasis in social groups, change/novelty vs. continuity, grouping of grades, developmentally similar/dissimilar, and impermanence in social groups.

"It's daunting, but not in a bad way," said Helewa.

Helewa asked fellow board members to take some time to absorb the information with the whole student in mind. "In Warren Township, we take a 'whole student' approach," said Helewa.

Board Member Len deMontagnac, who heads the STEEP facilities committee, said "Everything we're doing is about, and for, the kids. Priority number one: Kids. Priority number two: Kids. Priority number three: Kids."

The facilities committee analyzed nine models that deMontagnac said generated 111 combinations. 

deMontagnac said there is clearly room for growth at all school sites based on the district's class size guidelines and "We all know how important this work is."

Board Vice President Celeste Campos will provide a STEEP finance committee update at the next meeting on March 21. Expect updates on  "What the cost would be to close an elementary school. What the cost would be to maintain an elementary school that was closed. And then the cost to reopen a school," she said.

 
 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Warren

Found: Green Brook and Warren, Do You Know this Dog?

April 18, 2018

WARREN, NJ - Do you know me? I'm a young, male German Shepherd who appears to be around a year old. Found near Warrenville Road near the Green Brook, Bound Brook border and now at Somerset Regional Animal Shelter. Call  908-725-0308.

Health Alert from Borough of Warchung

April 22, 2018

A kitten from a colony of free-roaming cats in an isolated are in the vicinity of New Providence Road was recently found deceased. Testing revealed that the kitten was infected by rabies. All known exposures to humans have been addressed and there are no known exposures to resident pets. If anyone has knowledge of exposures to cats in this area please notify the health department at ...

Gallery Reception to Showcase Sherman Feller’s Photography

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- The public is invited to the Scotch Plains Public Library to view the photography of Sherman Feller. There will be an artists’ reception which the public is welcome to attend on Sunday, May 6 at from 1-3 pm.  Registration is not required for the reception.

Feller has exhibited six times at the Scotch Plains Library and at the Malamut Art Gallery, the Pearl ...

Obituaries

Jul 28, 1955 - Feb 8, 2018
Owner/Chef of Jaret’s Stuffed Cupcakes  Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and ...
Read more

Down the Shore: Registration Now Open for NJ State Police Basic Boating Safety Course at the St. Francis Community Center May 1 and 3

April 18, 2018

BRANT BEACH, NJ - Are you ready for sun and warmth?  Spring and summer fun is not that far away even though the weather has been so cold recently.

The St. Francis Community Center is offering a Basic Boating Safety Course in May.  Registration is open for the course that is being held on Tuesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 3 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the St. Francis Community Center, 4700 ...

Travels Update - Long Beach Island Summer Shuttle No Longer A Free Ride

BRANT BEACH - The Long Beach Island Shuttle, an extremely popular service for visitors and residents of Long Beach Island, will have a fee for the first time beginning Memorial Day weekend. 

The Long Beach Township Board of Commissioners made the announcement at their meeting on Monday, April 9. 

Here is the overview on the fees:

One-way shuttle rides from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Baby Seal Waddles Its Way onto Belmar Beach

BELMAR, NJ — A baby seal waddled its way onto the Fifth Avenue beach earlier today to enjoy one of the warmest days of spring so far.

Around noon on April 12, photographer Nancy Orlowski took these snapshots, which have also been posted on the Belmar Facebook page where it states that the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey has been notified.

This is the second known instance ...

Bateman Bill, “ Bijou’s Law”, to Require Training, Licensing for Pet Groomers

April 12, 2018

 

TRENTON, NJ - State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman (R-16) will introduce legislation to increase protections for family pets by requiring pet groomers to be properly trained and licensed following the deaths of three dogs in five months at different New Jersey pet salons. .

“It is sadly far too common for us to read of dog grooming deaths in the news,” said ...

Op-Ed: New Jersey’s Out-of-Network Bill is a huge blow to the middle-class

April 17, 2018

As Trenton currently looks to balance the budget, once again it’s our state’s hardest working citizens who will be left holding the bag. This time, though, it will be the hardworking office and ancillary staff from our small business private medical practices.  A bill called “The Out-of-Network Consumer Protection Bill” A-2039/S-485 looks poised to make ...

WHRHS Baseball: Watchung Hills Tops Morristown, 6-3

April 11, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Senior Joe Blajsa picked up his first win of the season and Kevin Badger went 4-for-4 with a run scored, a stolen base and one RBI to lead Watchung Hills over Morristown on Wednesday, 6-3.

Blajsa pitched six and 2/3 innings allowing only six hits, striking out five and walking one. Junior Ben Ant came in for the strikeout save to pick up his ...

Blue Mass Celebration at Immaculate Conception School Honors Police

April 22, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Immaculate Conception School hosted a “Blue Mass” Friday morning at Immaculate Conception R.C. Church to honor the men and women of law enforcement.

The mass was attended by all students and staff in the K-8th grade school, with more than 100 members of law enforcement, including Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

The annual mass was also ...

Watchung Borough Council Recognizes Watchung Hills Senior Julia Cunningham, Proclaims April 19 Julia Cunningham Day

WATCHUNG, NJ - Watchung resident and Watchung Hills Regional High School graduating senior, Julia Cunningham was recognized at a special meeting of the Watchung Borough council Thursday. 

Councilman Bill Nehls praised Cunningham, “ as probably one of the best basketball players in the state,” and “an inspiration for girls in the seventh and eighth grades, ...

Police Investigate Bias Incident in Montgomery, Seek Help from Public

MONTGOMERY, NJ - Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson township Police Director/Capt. Thomas Wain are asking the public for help in the investigation of what is being considered a bias crime.

Detectives assigned to the investigation released that the following information based on the preliminary and ongoing investigation, which continues to evolve as investigators interview ...

Loaded Gun and Drug Paraphernalia Found in Warren Traffic Stop, Prosecutor Says

SOMERVILLE, NJ –  Two men were charged with possession a handgun, hollow bullets and drug paraphernalia after a motor vehicle stop in Warren Township on Saturday,Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson, Somerset County Chief of County Detectives John W. Fodor and Warren Township Chief of Police William Keane announced on Thursday. 

Martin Harris, age 33, and David ...

Down the Shore: Registration Now Open for NJ State Police Basic Boating Safety Course at the St. Francis Community Center May 1 and 3

April 18, 2018

BRANT BEACH, NJ - Are you ready for sun and warmth?  Spring and summer fun is not that far away even though the weather has been so cold recently.

The St. Francis Community Center is offering a Basic Boating Safety Course in May.  Registration is open for the course that is being held on Tuesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 3 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM at the St. Francis Community Center, 4700 ...

TAPintoTravels Area Teens Invited to the First Meeting of Aviation Explorer Post 523

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Exploring helps young people make more informed decisions about future careers and learn about different jobs within a particular field. 

In that vein, Aviation Explorer Post 523 will hold its first meeting for young men and women, ages 14-20, on Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m., at DM Airports, 8 Airport Road in Morristown. Future meetings will ...

Nightmare Commute for Raritan Valley Line Commuters Monday

UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Raritan Valley Line commuters spent more than three hours trying to make their way home from New York City on Monday following the breakdown of a train near Union Station during rush hour.

At 9:47 p.m., NJT tweeted:

Raritan Valley Line westbound train service is operating on or close to schedule following an earlier disabled NJ Transit train near Union ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...