NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — In an end-of-year review presented to West Essex Regional Superintendent of School Barbara Longo and members of the board of education during their board meeting on Monday night, guidance director Lisa Hulse detailed many new initiatives that were implemented during her first school year as the director.

Hulse spoke of the need to inform freshmen, sophomores and their parents of what would be required during their high school careers in order to be ready to meet graduation requirements and to introduce the process and timeline that must be met in order to successfully apply to colleges.

Individual board members confirmed the success of the newly instituted ninth-and 10th-grade parent guidance nights. Board member Maryadele Wojtowicz commented that this was “a phenomenal year and the department was very much on top of everything dispensing grade-related information.”  

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Longo stated that the goal was to provide more grade-level informational sessions in order to simplify the process.

Board members echoed Hulse in commenting on the success of the newly approved summer guidance counselor hours that were available for incoming and returning high school students. On July 11, a meet-and-greet was held for newly appointed guidance counselors Jonathan Sibilia and Kimberly Greulich.

During Hulse’s presentation, she stated that this year’s goal was to increase and improve communications among stakeholders by methods including, a new school profile on the district web page, on-going newsletters, E-blasts and the creation of a departmental Twitter account. The board was informed of the success of FAFSA night with more than 100 in attendance, as well as the success of senior-parent college information night with more than 100 college representatives attending.

A summary of the student-outcome statistics for the Class of 2018 indicated that of the 260 graduating seniors, 14 students will be attending a two-year college (representing 5.4 percent of the class) and 221 students (85 percent) will be attending a four-year college. One student will be entering the military, and the remaining students will be either attending a vocational training school or have sought employment immediately upon graduation. 

According to Hulse, compared to the Class of 2017, the 2018 statistics reflect a 7-percent decrease in the number of students attending a two-year college and a 4-percent increase in the number of those who plan to attend a four-year college.

In other news during this meeting:

The board unanimously accepted a 2018-2019 IDEA Consolidated Formula grant award in the amount of $302,895.

The New Jersey Department of Education notified the board that state aid would increase by $111,062. The board approved $55,000 of that new aid to be utilized for technology services/security, and the remaining $56,062 will be directed toward supplies/technology.

Board vice president Cynthia Egan apprised her colleagues that construction of the locker rooms is on schedule, but that the lockers are currently on back order. 

The next board of education meeting will be held on Aug. 27.

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