WEST CALDWELL, NJ — Even with a start to a new school year like no other, the school board carries on and continues to focus on curriculum and preparations for the students.  

During the Board of Education conference meeting that was held on Sept. 14, Superintendent Dr. James Heinegg reported at the next meeting the board will be approving new curriculum that complies with new state law mandating public school districts present curriculum on LGBT and Disability awareness and contributions of individuals will be integrated into the curriculum. 

New James Caldwell High School courses will include introduction to keyboard, guitar and music theory, digital photography II and revised Grade 6-8 mathematics and Grades 6-12 Social Studies and English curriculum with connections for disabilities and LGBT awareness.

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Once approved by the board, Oct. 5-9 will be designated as the “Week of Respect” and “School Violence Awareness Week." 

Heinegg reported that the registration for the SAT test scheduled for Oct. 3 has been overbooked. Heinegg explained that due to the pandemic opportunities for taking the test in the Spring were canceled and since that time registrations for taking the exam have been unprecedented.  At present the district is soliciting feedback to garner interest for James Caldwell High School to offer the exam solely for its seniors.  Heinegg confirmed the testing coordinator at the High School is seeking to rectify the situation.  

Business Administrator Thomas Lambe reported that a “Bridging the Digital Divide” grant received in the amount of $52,570 from the federal government will be used to purchase 226 more Chromebooks, along with Google licenses.  Lambe reported that revenues brought into the district total approximately $100,000 for transporting students to out-of-district placements from neighboring school districts, that Caldwell-West Caldwell was already transporting their own students to.  He noted that there will be additional revenues if athletics resume and transportation is required as the district also will transport students from the West Essex Regional School district.

It was confirmed that the district is still planning to begin the hybrid model on October 7th as the staffing issues have been rectified. Lambe reported that the bandwidth for the district has been doubled and the technology team is working on resolving outstanding issues.  There is an expected shipment of Chromebooks due at the end of September.

During public comment, a caller asked if a decision had been made regarding Mayor Kelley and members of the borough council’s request to change the “Chiefs” logo. Heinegg stated that a decision will be announced during the next meeting scheduled for Sept. 21.