NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — At the start of Monday’s West Essex Board of Education meeting, board president Cynthia Egan announced that the administration has resolved an issue raised by parents and students during the Sept. 9 board meeting regarding the West Essex High School (WEHS) Junior Prom.
The ACT, a standardized test similar to the SAT that can weigh heavily on college acceptances, is offered nine times from June 2019 through July 2020. Prior to the last board of education meeting, the WEHS Junior Prom had been scheduled for Friday, April 3—the night before the ACT exam being offered on Saturday morning, April 4.
Since that board meeting, where several parents raised concerns about the prom, Superintendent Damion Macioci said administrators have reviewed all the options and that “all input and feedback was taken into consideration.”
Moving forward with a “precedent-setting” decision, the superintendent announced that the administration has determined that proms will now be held on Thursday evenings, as Thursday offer more venue opportunities and fewer conflicts with weekend activities.
Prior to making this decision, the district also confirmed that at least 10 nearby schools also hold proms on Thursday evenings, according to Macioci.
Stating that the “best option was to address academic concerns,” Macioci noted that the administration contacted several venues in its attempt to address the issue.
The WEHS junior prom has now re-scheduled the West Essex junior prom for Thursday, April 2, and students will be permitted to begin their next school day at 10 a.m. instead of the usual start time.
Approximately 20 parents and a few students in the room on Monday were not supportive of the process or the final decision.
Some parents felt that their suggestions had “fallen on deaf ears” and that their concerns were only “placated” after attending a meeting with the administration.
Speakers also objected to a Thursday-night event stated that when they contacted the venue, Legacy Castle, they discovered that two Fridays in March and one Friday in April are currently available and would not conflict with the ACT.
On Sept. 13, WEHS Principal Caesar Diliberto sent the following notice to the school community explaining the change:
“The Junior Prom date, originally April 3, caused some concern because the ACT test is offered on Saturday, April 4. Administration recognizes the importance of such tests and avoids conflicts whenever possible.
“After careful consideration, administration has decided to make an adjustment to the prom date. The West Essex Junior Prom is now scheduled for Thursday, April 2 at 6:00 p.m. at The Legacy Castle. Any students who attend the prom may arrive at school by 10:00 a.m. on Friday.
“The move from a Friday to a Thursday is precedent setting for future West Essex Prom dates and beneficial for many reasons including academics, safety, scheduling flexibility and facility availability.”
To read more from this board of education meeting, where the superintendent congratulated board members for receiving their Board Certification from the New Jersey School Boards Association, click HERE.