Letters to the Editor

Important Information from the Westfield Board of Education

SYNOPSIS Of a Westfield Board of Education meeting on February 11, 2014


Board President Richard Mattessich presented certificates to members of the
Westfield High School Gymnastics team in recognition of their outstanding
season.  The team finished 3rd in the state overall and also earned a State
Sectional title which had not been won since 2006. Under the coaching of
Melissa Greenwald and Amanda Diaz, the WHS gymnasts completed their season
with 9 wins and 1 loss and a county championship.


Audrey Zavetz, Principal of Lincoln School -- the Early Childhood Learning
Center of the Westfield Public Schools – provided a summary of the first
year of the school’s Wrap program.

•       Currently there are two programs: one during AM kindergarten for 20
afternoon students and the other during PM kindergarten for 20 morning
•       All 40 children remain for lunch.
•       The Wrap is tuition based and runs 5 days a week.
•       Busing is provided to students from our north side schools.
•       Students take part in project-based science and math activities,
reading and writing workshop, and fun center-based activities.
•       Each day is divided into whole group, small group, and free choice

Based on the strong interest of Westfield parents and an available
classroom, the program will be expanded next year (2014-2015) to include
two AM Wraps and two PM Wraps. At the present time there are designated
spots for 80 children as well as a current waitlist of approximately 30

 Mrs. Zavetz introduced the Wrap Coordinator Michele Rickles, who provides
the students with experiences that enrich the kindergarten curriculum. She
meets frequently with our Kindergarten teachers to be mindful of what the
students are learning, and she creates lessons that enrich those skills.


An Update on Genesis – the web-based student information system – was
presented by Assistant Principals Scott Lipson (Franklin Elementary), David
Duelks (Edison Intermediate), Brian Gechtman (Roosevelt Intermediate), and
Mary Asfendis (Westfield High School).

They described the reports that are available through the parent portal,

•       A student summary which expands at the secondary level to provide a
course schedule and name of counselor;
•       An attendance calendar, which includes tardy and excused or unexcused
absences, and at the secondary level, also notes individual class
attendance, and visits to the nurse or guidance office.
•       A Gradebook that is accessible to parents, which provides grades
received at all levels.

In addition to parents’ use of Genesis, administrators utilize Genesis
tools, as in maximizing the efficiency of scheduling classes.   Several
reports – including those required by the State – are created through
the data system. Since the 2010-2011 school year when Genesis was first
implemented in Westfield, teachers have been managing student information
by using the system.

A partial pilot program this year at Westfield High School is employing a
Genesis tool called Turnstile, which aims to monitor the departure and
return of upper classmen during Open Lunch.  This combined with the
attendance feature will help assist the school to determine the whereabouts
of more than 1,800 students, particularly in the event of an emergency.


The Board accepted with regret the following retirements, with the last day
of employment on June 30, 2014:  Anne Marie Petriano – Tamaques School
1st Grade – a Westfield teacher for 34 years; David Shapiro – Edison
School Instrumental Music – teaching in Westfield for 41 years; and
Kathleen Wildstein – Lincoln School Pre-K – teaching in Westfield for
36 years.  In addition, Richard Salls – Wilson School 4th Grade teacher
– retired on January 31, 2014 after 13 years in Westfield.  Eleanor
Cheress – Jefferson School Lunch Aide – retired on December 6, 2013,
following 14 years of service.  We wish them all a wonderful, healthy

The Board approved the agreement between the Westfield Association of
Educational Secretaries (WAES) and the Westfield Board of Education for the
period of 7-1-12 through 6-30-15.


Business Administrator Dana Sullivan reported that the district has
received approval for 36 out of the 62 grant proposals to the State.  The
Facilities Committee will move forward with recommendations to the Board.

Rich Mattessich thanked the Maintenance Department for its good work in
snow removal.


Ginny Leiz, Chair of Long Range Planning, announced that the committee will
meet to discuss enrollment projections.


The Board approved for first reading the following policies:  2200 –
Scope of Curriculum; 2210 – Curriculum Development; 2220 – Adoption of
Courses; 2310 – Instructional Grouping; 2330 – Homework; 2362 –
School Library/Media Centers; 2412 – Home Instruction due to Health
Condition; and 8220 – School Day.  The Board approved for first reading
to abolish policy 2414 – Programs for Pupils at Risk.
The Board affirmed my decision on four HIB incidents.


The Board approved for second reading the following curricula:  World
Language:  Latin III, Latin III Honors, Latin IV, and Latin IV AP.

The Board approved a total of four field trips and three overnight trips
for students to attend curriculum-related events.


The Board approved a resolution to enter into an educational cooperative
pricing agreement that includes several counties.
The Board gratefully accepted the following gifts:  A Klaus Mueller Etude
Cello with case and bow from Madeleine Lee to the Fine Arts Department; and
$5000 from the Westfield Theatre Guild and $2000 from the Westfield High
School PTSO for a new light board for the High School auditorium.

Ann Cary, Chair of the Board’s Legislation Committee, reported that New
Jersey Commissioner of Education Christopher Cerf is resigning his position
at the end of this month.


Mitch Slater, Chair of the Technology Committee, asked the Board to again
consider his recommendation to implement a district Facebook page. He
acknowledged that the district’s Twitter feed has been a useful
communication tool. Board Vice President Rosanne Kurstedt said that the
Board can discuss his recommendation in the near future.



On February 10, Westfield High School was very pleased to welcome Mr. Evo
Popoff, Assistant Commissioner and Chief Innovation Officer of the New
Jersey Department of Education and Ms. Takecia Saylor, the DOE’s newly
appointed Director of School Innovation.  They witnessed first-hand
examples of how technology is infused into the curriculum when they visited
9th and 11th grade English/Social Studies interdisciplinary courses and
Project 79 classes.  At the end of his visit, Mr. Popoff remarked, “The
excitement I witnessed from the students and their engagement in their
learning was impressive.  Additionally, the willingness of the teachers to
rethink what teaching and learning should be in today’s world is a model
for what education should look like.” The Assistant Commissioner also was
provided with information regarding the school’s technology initiative in
a meeting with Adam Pizzi - Master Technology teacher grade 8 –12, Mary
Asfendis – Assistant Principal, and Principal Peter Renwick.

Westfield High School earned the Premier Delegation Award at the Model UN
Conference in January. This award, presented at the annual conference held
in Hershey, PA, is bestowed upon the one delegation whose delegates perform
the best at the conference, who excel at embodying the core values of the
YMCA, and who complete all required paperwork and preparation on time. The
conference was attended by students throughout New Jersey, Delaware,
Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. A total of 162 students from Westfield High
School participated in the Model United Nations conference where “they
displayed tremendous skill, knowledge and passion winning commendations as
well as awards,” according to Daniel Farabaugh, co-advisor of  the WHS
Model UN along with David Della Fera.  Individual awards at the Conference
included Premier Diplomat - David Gruskin; Outstanding Country Research -
Anthony Pirrone, Lucia Liu, and Elizabeth Fox; Outstanding First Year
Delegate - Emily Holtzman, Eli Wirtshafter, and Madeline Levy; and
Outstanding Youth Secretariat - Andrew Zale. The presiding officer at this
year’s conference was Julia Napolitano, and Edward Dellarso was elected
to serve as presiding officer in 2015. Five Westfield High School students
were selected to attend the Conference on National Affairs, which is a
conference in the summer where delegates from all 50 states participate in
a simulation. They include:  Andrew Zale, Brian Mandel, Julia Napolitano,
Samantha Gruskin, and Astha Dutta. The club is run in conjunction with the
Westfield YMCA. The purpose of Model UN, according to the organization, is
to be an educational experience that helps today’s students become
tomorrow’s leaders, discover their passions, and change the world.

Westfield High School announces that 6 students achieved perfect scores in
October and November 2013 on SAT and ACT standardized tests widely used for
college admission criteria.  They include Sophia Goldschmidt, ACT
-Mathematics; Dane Huber, ACT - Science; Andrew Stockwell, ACT - Science;
Griffin Mooney, ACT - Mathematics; Conor Martinson, ACT  -Reading; and
Jorge Ledesma, SAT  -Writing.


Susan Marie Terra of Westfield High School is one of 7 New Jersey science
teachers chosen as a Bayer-National Science Teacher Association Fellow for
the 2013-2014 school year.  She is among a select group of 200 science
teachers across the country who will participate in a host of
science-related activities and professional learning opportunities designed
to promote quality science teaching, enhance teacher confidence and
classroom excellence, and improve teacher content knowledge. As a
Bayer-NSTA Fellow, Ms. Terra will receive online training, web seminars,
and financial support to attend and participate in NSTA’s 2014 National
Conference on Science Education in Boston.  A teacher of environmental
science as well as of forensic science, Ms. Terra has stated that she hopes
to accomplish many things this year as a Fellow, including creating
relationships with other teachers to share ideas, building a toolbox of
resources that are student-centered and infuses technology in a way that
make learning exciting, and most importantly, having her students be
successful in her classes and beyond her content area.

Both Roosevelt Intermediate School and Westfield High School teams earned
awards at the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s regional Science
Olympiad competitions, and earned invitations to the state tournament at
Middlesex County College in March.  Roosevelt placed 9th overall with the
following events earning special distinction: Biology Blitz, 6th place -
Noah Plotkin & Andrew Stahl;
Dynamic Planet, 6th place - Andrew Dazzo & Benjamin Outen; and Shock Value,
2nd Place - Timothy Storms & Steven DiMaria.

Westfield High School brought a total of 37 WHS students  in two teams to
the competition and garnered an 8th place finish in the competition out of
19 teams competing. The following events earned medals for WHS students at
the NJIT competition:
We've Got Your Number, 3rd place - Alex Beals & Mark Gillespie; Circuit
Lab, 4th place - Mark Gillespie & Alex Mossawir; Mission Possible, 4th
place - Andrew Annitsakis & Sophia Palia; Elastic Glider (team 2), 4th
place - Jack McKinley & Pat Woods; Dynamic Planet,  5th place - Jessica
Doyle & Sophia Palia; Scrambler, 5th place - Andrew Annitsakis & Alistair
Kapadia; and Elastic Glider (team 1), 6th place -Matthew Cohen & Michael

McKinley School held a very successful Family Science Night on January 23.
It was a collaboratively planned Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
“expo” which brought McKinley community professionals to the school to
present exhibits in their field of expertise.  All grades were invited to
peruse the 20 exhibits, ranging from a 3-D printer, to “Technicolor
Cabbage,” to banana surgery, and a centrifuge station.  The event was
planned over the course of five months by a teacher/parent committee and
was staffed by Roosevelt students who are participants in Roosevelt’s
Independent Study program. McKinley Principal Marc Biunno said that there
were 3 rules of Family Science Night: Open your mind!  Ask questions!  Have


On February 4th, Westfield High School Junior Lil Scott scored her 1,000th
point in the basketball victory over Rahway.  She is only the fourth in the
history of Westfield High School girls’ basketball to attain this

National Letters Of Intent were signed this month by Westfield High School
students Matt Luppino – who will be joining Duke’s boys cross country
team, and Alik Morgan who will be playing soccer for Central Florida.

Congratulations to Westfield High School’s Sebastian Rojas who has
qualified for the Individual state bowling tournament.

Congratulations to Elena Scarano, who led the Westfield High School Blue
Devils Softball Team in 2013 to its first Union County Tournament trophy
since 1998.  She received the Banyasz Brothers Memorial Award for Most
Valuable Scholastic Softball Player at the 78th Annual Hot Stove League
Baseball Dinner on Feb. 9. The awards event was sponsored by the Union
County Baseball Association (UCBA), in cooperation with the Union County
Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Union County Department of Parks and
Recreation. Scarano, a right-handed pitcher, was named Union County
Softball Player of 2013 by the Star-Ledger.

Congratulations to seventh grader Jasper Lemberg who won first place for
the second consecutive year in the Geography Bee held at Roosevelt
Intermediate School in Westfield.  And also continuing his winning streak
was Colby Chen, seventh grader at Edison Intermediate School, who earned
first place in the National Geographic school-based competition.
Roosevelt Intermediate School will be presenting this year’s spring
musical, 13 (The Musical).  Cast and crew of 73 members, directed by
Kimberly Jonny will be performing on:  Friday, March 7th at 7:30 pm,
Saturday, March 8th at 7:30 pm and Sunday, March 9th at 2:00 pm.  Costs of
tickets are: $8 in advance, $10 at the door.  For ticket information,
e-mail RooseveltTickets@gmail.com or call 908-789-4560.

On Wednesday, February 19, the PTC Special Education Committee will hold a
meeting at 7:30 PM at the Edison Intermediate School Library. Guest speaker
Hillary Freeman, Esq. will discuss the topic: Decoding the Alphabet Soup of
Special Ed:  What is an IEP? VS 504? VSI&RS? There is no admission charge
and the meeting is open to the public and to educators.

THE NEXT BOARD OF ED meeting will be held Tuesday, March 4, at 7:30 PM.

Have a safe weekend,

Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

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