Letters to the Editor

Important Information from the Westfield Board of Education

Syopsis of Board of Education Meeting of May 6:


We celebrated National Teacher Day and saluted the 600 teaching staff in
our Westfield Public Schools who work to guide our students to become
critical thinkers and good citizens.  It was fitting that on this day we
recognized the 2014 recipient of the Westfield Rotary Club’s Philhower
Fellowship, Coral Venturino, fourth grade teacher at Wilson Elementary
School. I congratulated Mrs. Venturino on receiving this significant honor
bestowed on her by the Rotary and based on glowing letters of nomination
from parents and students. She was presented with a resolution by Board
Vice President Rosanne Kurstedt at the Board of Education meeting held in
Wilson School’s auditorium.  Congratulatory remarks were also made by her
principal, PTO, and students who also sang a song in her honor.  Mrs.
Venturino began her career as a teacher here in 1990 and stated that she is
renewed each day by the “magic of children.”  She thanked her students
for always giving their best and pledged to give them her best as well.


Rosanne Kurstedt presented certificates of achievement to Westfield High
School State Champions:

The Medley Relay of Caroline Baldwin, Gwyn Devin, Erika Daniel, and Sarah
Cronin took first at the NJ Meet of Champions with a winning time that set
both the school and state record.  The relay qualified as All-American and
ranks as #39 in the event in the entire country. Caroline Baldwin won two
individual events at the NJ Meet of Champions.  She becomes the first
repeat winner in two individual events in Westfield history.  In the 50
Freestyle Caroline set the state record and qualified her as All-American.
She ranks #14 in the country in the event.  Caroline won the 100 Backstroke
and set the school record in the event.  She qualified as All-American and
ranks #19 in the country.

Gabby Stravach placed 1st in both the 1600 and 3200 at the North II Group
IV State Sectional Championships and set a new school record for winter
track in the 1600.

Nick Velez is the NJSIAA Region 3 Wrestling Champion. He finished his
senior year with a record of 33-5 and wrapped up his high school career
with 95 wins.

The Boys Swim team finished their season with a record of 15-1 and as the
Union County, Sectional, and NJSIAA Public A State Champions.  Their state
championship marked the 25th in the history of the program and the most in
state history.  This team finished the year ranked #2 in the state. They
powerpointed over 5000 by National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association
standards, which is the first time that has ever happened. Their coaches
Jeff Knight, Mike Schwebel and Ashley Westra  agree that the team’s
efforts and their success is borne from the team-first mentality that they
Congratulations to our student athletes, and we wish them continued


I presented the Board with a review of the 2013-2014 goals:
1.      Implement the Marshall Teacher Evaluation Model  - We have provided
training and resources for our teachers and administrators; conducted
hundreds of observations; conducted surveys of teachers; met with other
districts (e.g., Summit and Millburn) who are utilizing the same model; and
recommended staff appointments based on evaluation data.

2.      Develop and Use Benchmark Assessments to Measure Growth of Student
Performance – We have provided resources and professional development
regarding student goals for teachers; established growth targets; and are
tracking progress and adjusting instruction.  We will review results and
determine attainment levels.

3.      Implement New Digital Tools and Media to Improve Communication between
the School District and all Stakeholders as called for in Westfield’s
Strategic Plan - We launched our new website on April 21, 2014.  Last year
we selected the new website provider with off-site hosting and social media
capabilities; assigned a project manager to the new site; determined design
and content; and investigated the expanded use of social media.  Throughout
the year we developed and implemented systematic training for over 500
staff members.

All goals reflect our mission:
The Westfield Public School District, in cooperation with family and
community, prepares all students to reach their highest potential and to
become productive, well-balanced and responsible citizens in a global
society through educational programs that respect individual differences
and diversity.


The Board accepted with regret the retirement of Thomas Hornish –
Westfield High School Social Studies – whose last day of employment will
be June 30, 2014.  We thank Thom for his 41 years of teaching the students
of Westfield and for his significant volunteerism.

The Board affirmed my decision on two HIB incidents.

The Board approved two field trips which align with curriculum.


The Board accepted a gift from Julie Billings of $175 for a Pearl Bell Kit
to the elementary music department.


Mrs. Cary announced that she will not seek a fourth term on the Board of
Education in November.  She announced her intentions now since potential
candidates for the Board need to submit their signed nominating petition to
the County office in Elizabeth by July 28.  Mrs. Cary stated that while
serving on the Board requires a time commitment, the benefit of knowing
that Board decisions have a positive impact on children is worthwhile.  She
also mentioned the value of learning more about the district and meeting
new people in town who serve on the Board and who are active in the
schools.  I thank Mrs. Cary for her many years of service and for her offer
to speak to any residents who are interested in serving on the Board.  The
election will be held in November.

The public is invited to attend the 30th annual Westfield Public School
District’s Fine Arts Show, which will be held in the Westfield High
School varsity gymnasium at 550 Dorian Road from May 13 - 15.  Hundreds of
art creations by students representing all 10 public schools and grades
will be on display.  On Tuesday, May 13 and Wednesday, May 14, the artwork
can be viewed from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., and in the evening from 7:30
p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Visitors are also welcomed on Thursday, May 15, from
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING – will be Tuesday, May 20, 7:30 PM at 302
Elm Street.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for 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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