Education

Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting Aug. 30

DISTRICT AND BOARD GOALS

Over the last several months, District and Board Goals for 2016-2017 were developed based on the objectives in our newly established 5-year Strategic Plan.  One of the key initiatives of the plan focuses on resiliency.  Over the course of any school year, and just this summer, our school community has faced some unexpected tragedies.  Beginning with our In-Staff program next week, we will first work with staff to help them become resilient, and in turn, share those resources with our students and parents throughout the year.

We will develop a more coordinated parent outreach program.  We will begin by meeting with a group of parents to find out what topics would be of help and how best to reach them.  It is important that we understand what we can do to make programs available and make best use of time that parents have available.

There will be an increase teacher utilization of online course management.  Over 70 participants attended technology courses this summer.  Elementary teachers will receive professional development in various levels of technology at our September 7th In-Staff program.  We will continue to support our teachers throughout the year.

Sign Up for E-News

The Board also has set goals for 2016-2017 focusing on communication within the Board as well as governance.  The Chair of each Board committee is expected to circulate minutes of meetings to all Board members.  In addition, a workshop focused on Governance will be held to emphasize what are responsibilities of Board members.
 

ANTI-BULLYING BILL OF RIGHTS ACT – SCHOOL SELF-ASSESSMENT REPORT

As required by the New Jersey Department of Education, every public school must conduct self-assessments by the school safety team to demonstrate compliance to the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act.  Anti-bullying specialists and other members of the safety teams in each of our schools performed self-assessments representing the period of July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016.  The NJDOE developed 8 core elements of the assessment, the results of which I presented publicly.  The 8 core elements include the assessment of: 

  • HIB Programs, Approaches or other Initiatives
  • Training on the BOE approved HIB policy
  • Other staff instruction and training programs
  • Curriculum and instruction on HIB and related information and skills
  • HIB personnel
  • School-level HIB incident reporting procedure, which are very specific according to law
  • HIB Investigation Procedure, also very specific according to law
  • HIB Reporting

The rating categories for each of the elements range from 0 – 3.  The vast majority of our ratings were a 3 (exceeds the requirements) and some 2’s (meets all requirements).  We continue to look at ways to make improvements, and most importantly, to address incidents and emphasize how to treat one another with respect.  Our students learn from us – from teachers, administrators, from how the Board conducts itself, and from their parents. 

The Board approved the submission of the School Self-Assessment reports to the NJDOE.  The state will issue final grade reports later this year.

PERSONNEL

The Board approved the appointments at Westfield High School of Derrick Nelson as Acting Principal and Mabel Huynh as Acting Assistant Principal effective August 31, 2016 -  February  1, 2017.   Dr. Nelson has done an excellent job working with our staff and our students.  Mrs. Huynh has served 14 years as a Chemistry teacher and brings her knowledge and experience to this position.  They both expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to expand their roles to further serve the High School community.

FACILITIES

Business Administrator Dana Sullivan reported that the new clocks and PA systems have been installed in all of the schools.  These projects, as well as the integrated new fire alarm system, are part of the recent bond project.  Fire alarms in Jefferson, McKinley and Franklin are being replaced this year, Roosevelt and Westfield High School have new alarms, and the balance of the schools will be equipped with new alarms next year.  Also as a result of the successful bond, WiFi upgrades were installed in all the elementary schools and two boilers have been replaced at Jefferson and Wilson Elementary Schools, which will be fully operational prior to October 15. In addition, a handicapped accessible lift is now in place at McKinley and an operable door has been replaced in the WHS gym. The solar panel installation on five of our schools will take place during non-school hours, and we should expect to see savings in our energy costs at end of this school year.   Our maintenance crew took on many projects this summer including the replacement of lights and carpet, painting, cleaning, and concrete work repairs.  The Board noted its appreciation of the maintenance and custodial staff in ensuring that the schools are ready for students and staff in September.

POLICIES

The Board approved for first reading the following policies:  3152 – Withholding an Increment (Teaching Staff Members); 3212 – Attendance (Teaching Staff Members); 3230 - Non-School employment (Teaching Staff Members); 3232 – Private Tutoring (Teaching Staff Members); 3233 – Political Activities (Teaching Staff Members); 4212 – Attendance (Support Staff Members); 4230 – Non-School Employment (Support Staff Members); 4240 – Employee Training (Support Staff Members); and 4437 – Military Leave (Support Staff Members).

The Board affirmed my decision on a HIB incident.

As mentioned earlier, the Board approved the 2015-2016 School Self- Assessment regarding the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act. 

CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAMS

The Board approved for second reading the following curricula:

  • Practical Arts – Westfield High School
    • Business &  Personal Law
    • Child Growth & Development
    • Modern Foods
    • Television Production 2

 

  • Computer Technology – Intermediate
    • Computer Technology 1
    • Computer Technology 2
    • Project Technology
       
  • Science
    • Intermediate Science
       
  • Science – Westfield High School
    • Chemistry Concepts
    • Chemistry 1
    • Chemistry 1 Honors
    • Organic Chemistry
    • Physics 1
    • Physics 1 Honors
       

The Board approved several anticipated field trips to correlate with curriculum.
 

FINANCE

The Board gratefully accepted a gift of $9,200 from the Westfield Coalition for the Arts to purchase five new Baritones for the Westfield High School Marching Band.

PUBLIC COMMENT

A parent raised a question regarding the placement of her child in a mathematics class at the intermediate school level.  She urged the Board to review the district’s procedure of not permitting parent overrides to determine course placement at the intermediate school level.  Board President Gretchan Ohlig, who was one of five individuals from the district who had previously addressed the topic with the parent, explained that there are criteria that are driven by data. Although those criteria were not met, the student has been offered another option which has been successful for other students.  Ms. Ohlig also assured the parent that the Board will have a conversation regarding the override procedure.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL RANKINGS

Newsweek ranked Westfield High School #67 in this year’s list of top high schools in the nation. In that same ranking, Westfield High School placed second in open enrollment high schools in New Jersey.  Newsweek used school performance data from the National Center for Education Statistics to narrow down the list of 15,819 schools. The methodology included factors such as graduation rate, college enrollment, Advanced Placement enrollment, weighted SAT and ACT scores, ratio of counselor to student, and holding power as measured by changes in 9th-grade to 12th-grade enrollment rates.  In the September issue of New Jersey Monthly, Westfield High School ranked No. 8 on its list of top 100 public high schools in the state.

BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHTS

Back to School Nights begin September 15th and will be held through October 6th.  The dates and locations are posted on the district and individual school websites.  In addition, the schedules of various orientations for students, parents or families are also posted.  We welcome our families to a new rewarding school year!

NEW STAFF ORIENTATION

Today marked the second day of Westfield’s New Staff Institute, which is held every year as an orientation for new teaching, support and administrative staff in the district.  New staff will received additional support throughout the school year during 9 meetings scheduled through the New Staff Institute.   They also will have the valuable advice of their individual mentors. 

STEM CAMP – ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL SUMMER

STEM Camp celebrated its 4th year this summer with more than 340 girls and boys who are entering grades 3 through 8. They participated in hands-on, real world activities with a workshop for every interest.  To read more about the activities and see photos, please check the “In the News” section of the district website. 

SCHOOL BEGINS SEPTEMBER 8

School begins for students on Thursday, September 8th.  Teachers will report on September 6th and will attend an In-Service on September 7th.

NEXT BOARD OF ED MEETING

The next Board of Education meeting will be held Tuesday, September 20, at 7:30 PM at 302 Elm Street.  The agenda will be available on the Board website on Friday, September 16.

I look forward to welcoming our students, staff and families to a new school year!  Enjoy the last days of summer.

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.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Westfield

Five Arrested, Firearm Seized in Cranford Motor Vehicle Traffic Stop

July 17, 2018

CRANFORD, NJ - Five people were arrested when a stolen gun loaded with hollow-point ammunition was discovered inside a car that was pulled over for a seatbelt and brake lamp violation, according to Cranford Police.

On July 14, 2018 at 9:52 p.m., Patrolman Brian Trotter stopped the 2001 Mercedes Benz on Raritan Road near the intersection of Coleman Avenue. After an investigation ...

More Traffic, No Solution – Letter to Governor Phil Murphy

July 17, 2018

Dear Governor Phil Murphy,

From the mid-1970s, when I was age 12, I’ve had this vivid memory of watching my parents participate in a peaceful demonstration against the construction of a 12-story hotel complex just behind our backyard. In fact, on Wednesday, September 29, 1976, the local newspaper ran an article with a photo showing my mother and her protest placard. The memory of that ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_ba9c4627da28fb176206_mini_magick20180618-30381-9jxo6y

Tue, July 17, 6:00 PM

Westfield Presbyterian Church, Westfield

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Education Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_ba183db7fcc1f0f9f274_1d4v9034a

Wed, July 18

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Westfield Area YMCA Wellness Wednesdays

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_6bb3683d2a03ed40d943_scan0046

Thu, July 19, 7:30 PM

Mindowaskin Park, Westfield

Free Swing Band Concert in Mindowaskin Park

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Police Blotter: Car Scratchings, Car Burglaries Continue & More

July 11, 2018

July 2, 2018 11:37 p.m.

Chad Doriral, age 32, of Brooklyn, NY was arrested for possession of CDS pursuant to a motor vehicle stop. Subject was processed and released on summons.

July 3, 2018 11:08 p.m.

Divine Kennedy, age 19, of Newark, NJ was arrested on the strength of an outstanding warrant for his arrest from Westfield Municipal Court in the amount of $1,000.00. Further investigation ...

Westfield Memorial Library Presents Keepsake Box Craft for Adults and Talk on NY Skyscrapers

July 17, 2018

The Westfield Memorial Library is excited to offer a craft for adults on Wednesday, Aug. 1 at 2 p.m. and a program on the Skyscrapers of New York at 7 p.m. The library is located at 550 East Broad St.

The craft is the creation of a keepsake box, presented by librarian Marsha Bryant. The library will provide a tin box and other decorating supplies for each participant. Using paint, ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

Understand NJ's Shared Responsibility Act

Last year, the President signed legislation that repealed the “penalty tax” for not having health insurance for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2019.

 

On May 31, Governor Murphy signed into law the “New Jersey Health Insurance Market Preservation Act,” which establishes a “shared responsibility tax” for state residents without ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...

26 Homes Sold July 8-15 in Westfield and Surrounding Towns

There were 26 homes sold between July 8 and July 15 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside`

TOWN          ADDRESS    STYLE            RMS   BRS BTH   GAR   Sale Price

Cranford  115  Bryant Ave ...

Dog Found in Garwood

UPDATE: Reunited with owner.

ORIGINAL POST: Dog found on Pine Avenue in Garwood. He was given food and water. Garwood police now has him. Sweet and friendly. Contact the Garwood Police Department.

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You

EMOTIONAL EATING: FEEDING YOUR FEELINGS

Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

What Is Your Bottom Line?

This week's Parshah (Torah reading) is the Parshah of Pinchas the Zealot: the courageous young priest who stood up against idolatry and immorality and, in the end, saved Israel from a devastating plague.

While Pinchas' radical response made him a hero worthy of having a Torah section named after him, we wouldn't necessarily suggest to our children ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

ELL Summer Experience at Westfield Public Schools

Westfield students representing six different languages recently enjoyed a weeklong summer camp focused on providing meaningful enrichment activities for students to continue their English language acquisition while having fun.

The ELL (English Language Learners) Summer Experience ran from July 9-13 at Wilson School, welcoming students in grades 1-4 whose native languages are Russian, ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper Welcomes Stephen A. Timoni to Firm

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper P.C., announced that Stephen A. Timoni has joined the firm in its Westfield office. Stephen will focus his practice in the areas of Corporate and Health Care Law.

“Stephen brings additional depth and experience to our firm. He has tremendous experience in complex corporate, M&A and health care areas of practice. We anticipate that Stephen ...

NJ Residents Take Action Against White Supremacist Fliers Found Around Bridgewater, Bedminster, Other Local Areas

July 17, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Residents of Bridgewater, Somerville, Morristown and surrounding communities are mobilizing for action after they found posters around town promoting Identity Evropa, which the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled a white supremacist group.

According to Bridgewater resident Stacey Friedlander, a member of the “Not In Our Town – Bridgewater/Raritan” ...

Obituaries

Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more