NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — During his final report prior to his first school year as Superintendent of West Essex Regional Schools, Damion Macioci announced at Monday's West Essex Board of Education (WEBOE) meeting that practices have already begun for student athletes and band camp is in full swing as the student body prepares to return for the 2019-2020 school year. 

Macioci also noted that new teacher training—led by Director of Curriculum Ryan Gupta—is currently orientating the district’s 17 recently hired members of the teaching staff.

At the middle school, an open house is being held on Aug. 22 for incoming seventh graders and newly transferred eighth graders, and a parent information night will be held on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. According to Macioci, backpacks and Chromebooks will be distributed at that time and peer leaders will be on hand to help acclimate the new students.

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“The pace picks up as senior parking decals and Chromebooks are distributed,” said Macioci, expressing his excitement for the week of Aug. 26. “Entering freshmen orientation will take place with upper classmen acting as peer leaders. Returning staff are to report on Aug. 28, and the first day of classes will be Sept. 3.”

In other news, the WEBOE announced that the district received a report from the Commissioner of Education designating West Essex Regional as a high-performing district. The determination came after completion of a self-assessment monitoring system known as the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC), which is established by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE). 

According to the board, West Essex greatly exceeded the NJDOE’s 80-percent mandated threshold of the five key components assessed to determine school district effectiveness. These included: Instruction and Program; Fiscal Management; Operations Management; Personnel; and Governance.

As part of Monday’s regular agenda, the board adopted its 2019-2020 district goals, which are set forth to improve student growth and achievement; to enhance safety and security; and to strengthen communication among stakeholders.

Also approved were the high school and middle school’s 2019-2020 student handbooks as well as the district’s professional development plan for the school year.

In preparation for the new rotating drop schedule—which will begin in the middle school and is similar to the existing schedule at the high school—the board approved the amended addendum to the Collective Negotiations Agreement with the West Essex Education Association regarding teaching hours and teaching load for middle school teaching staff.

The board also approved with “deepest regret but with four years of fondest memories of dedicated service” the letter of resignation for retirement purposes, effective Aug. 30, from Linda Mellinger as a 12-month secretary assigned to the middle school.

Board member Judith Amorim-Dias, who also serves as president of the Essex County School Board Association, announced that Macioci has been asked to serve as the keynote speaker for the county association’s monthly meeting discussing safety and security on Sept. 18.

“The New Jersey School Board Association has recognized his efforts and is looking forward to his lecture,” she said.

The next board of education meeting will be held on Sept. 9.