NORTH CALDWELL, NJ — Although school is out for summer, the administration and members of the West Essex Board of Education (WEBOE) are already in full preparation mode for September’s school opening.
Board President Cynthia Egan announced during Monday’s meeting that the board is currently interviewing applicants to fill the remaining term of Roseland board member Dawn Smith, who recently vacated her seat. According to Egan, the board expects to appoint a new member by the next WEBOE meeting on Aug. 19.
Also during Monday’s meeting, newly appointed Superintendent of Schools Damion Macioci, a longtime West Essex administrator, recommended for his first administrative position to be filled. The board unanimously appointed Kimberly Westervelt to take over Macioci’s most recent position as the assistant principal of West Essex Regional High School.
Prior to the board meeting, a meet-and-greet event provided an opportunity for parents and community members to meet Gina Donlevie, who has replaced Vee Popat as the middle school principal as of July 8.
The board noted that the first meet and greet was well attended and that there will be other opportunities for parents to meet Donlevie prior to school’s opening in September. Information will be available on the district’s website.
In other district news, Lisa Hulse, West Essex Director of Guidance, presented her annual update to the board and public.
According to Hulse, the guidance department’s usage of the Naviance program has provided students, parents and counselors with many more opportunities to access all pertinent information as students prepare for the college application process.
Hulse noted that guidance counselors are in the office and available to students every Wednesday during the summer. On Aug. 1, all counselors will be on hand as the common application process begins in order to give West Essex rising seniors “a head start” on the process.
To date, 18 students have already registered for the workshop, according to Hulse. Email blasts will be sent continuously throughout the summer apprising all with information regarding these processes.
Board member Judith Amorim Dias offered congratulations to Hulse and Ryan Gupta, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, for creating opportunities for the students who have already taken SAT and ACT tests so that “kids with solid scores by August may apply when the open common application process begins.”
Post-graduation information was also discussed on Monday.
Board member Anthony Rubinich inquired whether the department has been able to track the outcomes of graduating students while they are enrolled in college—specifically asking whether they are typically graduating within four years or longer periods of time.
Hulse responded that one of the programs within the Naviance system was an “alumni tracker,” but that there is currently only data on the class of 2018. She said that it will take a few more years to start attaining data related to the completion times of colleges.
Guidance initiatives such as College Fairs, Freshmen/Sophomore Parent Nights, Junior Parent Night, Senior Parent Night, FAFSA Workshops, Instant Decision Days, Common Application Workshop, College Admissions Panel and Move Up Day were all reviewed for the year. On this topic, Hulse noted that there has been a significant increase in attendance for the College Fair.
During board member reports, Rubinich discussed his attendance at a recent workshop for Cyber Security and Schools presented by the New Jersey School Boards Association.
“To the extent that we are responsible for classified information on students, I suggest there be an assessment to determine the strength of district’s firewalls and the difficulty there is to breach the system,” said Rubinich.
The next board of education meeting will be held on Aug. 19.