Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Meeting on May 22, 2018


Board President Gretchan Ohlig opened the meeting with recognition of our high school and intermediate school student musicians selected to perform in state and regional vocal and instrumental ensembles.  Ms. Ohlig said that each was chosen after rigorous auditions, often competing against hundreds, in some cases, more than 1,000 other student musicians from the region or across the state.



I thanked the Westfield Foundation for its generous Bogaert Fund Grant to be used for an Innovation Classroom at Westfield High School to support and expand our engineering and technology curricula as well as our Robotics Team. I also praised district staff involved in the grant project, calling it “a true team effort.”

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Additionally, I provided an overview  of the 2017-2018 Student Safety Data System (SSDS), a State-mandated report formerly known as the Electronic Violence Vandalism Reporting System (EVVRS).



The Board approved a number of personnel items.   Board Vice President Peggy Oster acknowledged district Human Resources Specialist Barbara Ball for her extensive efforts in recruiting and hiring qualified staff to replace retiring personnel.



The Board approved a resolution to name the Kehler Stadium concession stand after the late Westfield Cross Country/Track and Field coach Thom Hornish.  Ms. Ohlig thanked the Friends of Westfield Track for its support while the president of the organization praised Coach Hornish and thanked the Board for passing the resolution.



Long Range Planning Committee Chair Amy Root reported on the committee’s May 8 meeting, noting “good dialogue and discussion” about the nature of the district’s Strategic Plan as well as student and staff health, welfare and resiliency.



Policies Committee Chair Brendan Galligan reported on the committee’s May 22 meeting which included discussion of the district’s facilities use policy and code of conduct.



The Board approved for second reading the following Social Studies curricula:


  • Advanced Placement Psychology
  • Psychology through Film and Literature


The Board approved a district field trip correlated with curriculum.



The Board accepted with gratitude the following gifts:

  • A Klaus Mueller Etude Violin and a Klaus Mueller Etude Cello with cases valued at $900 from Hillary Kaplan to be used by the Music Department;
  • A Samsung color printer and toner valued at approximately $350 from James Kennedy for Roosevelt Intermediate School;
  • A grant from the Union County Kids Dig In! “Plant a Seed” Award for 2018 of garden supplies to the following schools with an estimated value as follows:
    • Jefferson School - $1,250
    • McKinley School - $1,250
    • Washington School - $890
  • A grant from the Westfield Foundation Bogaert Fund for an Innovation Classroom at Westfield High School in the amount of $93,757.93.
  • A gift of $12,501.47 from the Wilson School PTO to be used for the cosmetic renovation of the Wilson School faculty kitchen.


Ms. Ohlig thanked the Westfield Foundation and the other charitable persons and organizations for their generosity.



Technology Committee Chair Peggy Oster reported that, at the committee’s meeting on May 18, Chief Technology Officer Brian Auker presented a review of technology improvements across the district and provided an update on the status of the new website with an anticipated date of June 1 for a test site to be completed for district personnel training.



Board member Michael Bielen reported that the Westfield Memorial Library committee plans to review its tutoring policy.





On May 10, sixty Westfield High School students were inducted into the National Honor Societies for Spanish, French, Italian and Chinese, with 26 excelling in French, 14 in Spanish, 11 in Italian and 9 in Chinese.  Congratulations to all inductees for this prestigious honor and to the entire World Languages team.


Congratulations to the following Westfield High School students who achieved a top score of 36  on portions of the April 2018 ACT standardized tests.

  • Ian Gurland, 10th grade - Math
  • Julianne Aronson, 11th grade - English and Reading
  • Brianna Hatch, 11th grade - Science, STEM, English & ELA
  • Jennifer O’Connell, 11th grade - Reading
  • Brooke Sullivan, 11th grade - Reading



Members of the Roosevelt Intermediate School Kindness Club set up a station at Westfield’s 30th Annual Spring Fling Street Fair on May 6 to raise money for “No Kid Hungry,” a national campaign run by the non-profit organization “Share Our Strength.”  The Kindness Club raised $476.10, the equivalent of donating 4,761 meals to children facing hunger in the United States.



Reminder:  The deadline for Westfield residents interested in considering a three-year term on the Board of Education is July 30at 4 p.m.when nominating petitions are due at the County Clerk’s office in Elizabeth. The three board members whose terms are expiring are Robert Garrison, Gretchan Ohlig, and Charles Ostroff.  More information on the board election process can be found under the Board section of the district website.



Westfield Public Schools and offices will be closed on Monday, May 28 to observe Memorial Day.  Please remember that the town’s parade -- in which many of our students will participate -- begins at 9 a.m.



The next meeting of the Westfield Board of Education will be on Tuesday, June 12 at 7:00 p.m. at 302 Elm Street. It will be the reorganization meeting of the Board.  We also will recognize the intermediate and high school teachers and staff-of-the-year. A complete agenda of the meeting will be available on Friday, June 8 under the Board section of the district website.

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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