District Reopens Search for New West Orange High School Principal

Arthur Alloggiamento, West Orange High School principal, talks during the West Orange school board meeting. The district honored the principal and other teachers who will be retiring this year on Monday. Credits: Edward Kensik
Members of the district's Response to Intervention (RTI) present their plan to the West Orange trustees at the school board meeting on Monday.            Credits: Edward Kensik
This is one of several pieces of art called Face Jugs on display at the Liberty Middle School in West Orange. Credits: Edward Kensik
The cast members of "Little Shop of Horrors" performed at Monday night's school board meeting at Liberty Middle School. The musicial was performed last month at the school. Credits: Edward Kensik
The cast members of "Little Shop of Horrors" performed at Monday night's school board meeting at Liberty Middle School. The musicial was performed last month at the school. Credits: Edward Kensik

WEST ORANGE, NJ - The board of education reopened the search for the replacement for Arthur Alloggiamento, the West Orange High School principal who will retire in September.

School Board President Laura Lab said at Monday night's school board meeting that the trustees wanted to get more candidates to fill the position.

"We asked that the search reopened since there were not enough candidates for something of this magnitude," said Lab during the meeting at Liberty Middle School. "We had a very limited selection at this time. It was nothing against the candidates in the first round of the process."

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West Orange School Superintendent Anthony P. Cavanna said that there are four candidates in the running from the first search and that three more were expected to be interviewed on Tuesday night.

On the same night that the board announced a new search for the head of the high school, the trustees and the district honored Alloggiamento and several other district teachers and staff members who were retiring after this school year. "It was a dream fulfilled for me and I wanted to be a principal of an excellent district," said Alloggiamento.

In addition the West Orange committee for Response to Intervention (RTI) presented their plans for the future to the school board.

Connie Salimbeno, director student support services and Terry Granato, NCLB Title 1 Program Manager, discussed the pluses of the RTI program that stresses catching behavioral and learning difficulties in the early grades.

According to the committee, the goals include identifying students not making adequate progress in the core curriculum, intervening of students that academic or behavioral difficulties, make sure all the students receive research-based instruction and utilize tools in monitoring the progress of the students.

"We're really trying to catch the younger students," said Salimbeno who added that they have not forgotten the older students.

Based on a three-tier model, the committee used national figures that 80 percent of the students are on the main or universal level while 15 percent of the students are in the targeted level and five percent are in the intensive level.

Cavanna added that students are not set in one level but it fluctuates. "Students move in and out of the tiers," said Cavanna. "It's not like they stay in the same tier all 12 years."

School board members wanted to find out from the committee what the percentages for the three levels were in West Orange rather than using national numbers.

Granato said that the program is to catch any problems early on. "We're using a proactive intervention," said Granato. "Our premise is that all children can succeed and will succeed."

Both said that if the students are caught in the early grades that they won't fall into the gaps. "We're going to forestall the later issues and have strong learners," said Salimbeno. "We're going to catch the struggling learners."

Some of the problems might relate to students who come from families where the main language is not English.

The RTI program will work with the teachers for most of the students. The remaining students will be taken out of the classroom for extra help.

In addition the board approved by a vote of 4-1 the literary resources for the West Orange Model for Literacy Instruction which goes along with the RTI program. The trustees who voted for the plan said that it was necessary to move ahead with this program while the lone board member who voted against it, Megan Brill, said she wanted to wait until the district put a literary arts supervisor in place before going ahead with the instruction program.

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