WEST CALDWELL, NJ – Completing the next phase of the five-year curriculum plan, as well as an analysis of the short-term and long-term options for facility and staffing needs required to implement a full-day kindergarten program and in-district special education services, were among the major 2016-2017 district goals approved by the Caldwell—West Caldwell Board of Education at its Sept. 19 meeting at the Harrison School in West Caldwell.

Dr. James Heinegg, superintendent of Schools, described the four areas that the board wants reviewed in the five-year curriculum plan, which include: the implementation of 6-12 language arts, science and world languages; revising K-5 science and social studies; evaluating 6-12 mathematics; and developing and supporting pilot projects that focus on meeting the academic needs of all learners.

“There should be an a greater effort to support staff in developing Professional Learning Communities, as well as providing them with extended professional learning opportunities in the Next Generation Science Standards, Elementary Reading/Language Arts, and Secondary Mathematics,” Heinegg said in explaining the second major goal.  

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In addition to looking into expanding special education services and developing a full-day kindergarten program, another major goal is to identify and implement further cost efficiencies and appropriate sources of revenue.

“Another major goal is to develop a draft document of the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan based on the 2016 School Community Survey, current educational research, and input from stakeholders about future needs and concerns,” said Heinegg.

During Monday’s meeting, the board also gave its approval to designate and observe Oct. 3-7 as a Week of Respect in the Caldwell-West Caldwell School District.

“Our schools will join with those around the state to have activities that emphasize that students should always show respect for others,” said Heinegg. “This includes anti-bullying programs.”

In response to a question about transgender rights for students in the district, Heinegg said that the board has adopted most of the New Jersey state law that ensures that students who identify as transgender are treated with respect and have rights regarding their decision on what locker rooms and bathrooms they choose to use.

One of the highlights of the meeting was the board’s recognition of William McNamara for his efforts to save a woman’s life. Heinegg presented a plaque to McNamara, a senior at James Caldwell High School, for saving the life of a resident in the community through his use of CPR.

“I was at a party with friends when someone called out that a neighbor needed CPR,” said McNamara, who is a trained Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). “I ran over to the neighbor’s house, and saw the woman lying on the floor. She wasn’t breathing. When I administered CPR, she started breathing again.”

During public comment, Heinegg was asked whether it is time for Caldwell and West Caldwell to consider redistricting issues.

“There is no need for redistricting due to the steadiness of the student population over the years,” Heinegg said in response. “We have been around the 2,600 student number for a very long time, and our demographic study predicted that we will be at about 2,625 students in five years.”