I opened the Board meeting on a somber note, announcing the death of sophomore student Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel. Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over his death. We extend our condolences to the Uziel family. I noted that school counselors are available for all students or staff who may wish to discuss their feelings about this tragedy. Additionally, an article entitled “Death and Grief: Supporting Children and Youth” can be found on the district website under the Parent Resources tab.
On behalf of the Board of Education, Board President Gretchan Ohlig presented Certificates of Recognition to students for extraordinary achievements in academics, athletics and the performing arts. Ms. Ohlig noted that, given our district’s strong record of success in all of these categories, it was not surprising that we had many students to honor.
The Board approved a number of personnel items, including the hiring of teachers and paraprofessionals to adjust for enrollment changes and to replace staff members who are leaving the district.
Facilities Committee Chair Gretchan Ohlig reported that there is still no decision from the Appellate Division regarding the Kehler Stadium bid dispute. Board member Kent Diamond and Ms. Ohlig also praised the fiscal responsibility of the school district and the Board that allowed for projects such as the Kehler renovations to be funded by capital reserves rather than taxpayer dollars.
LONG RANGE PLANNING
Long Range Planning Committee Chair Amy Root reported that the committee is focusing on three areas: wellness and social/emotional learning, ensuring the consistency of the new district website, and continuing the efforts to build an alumni relations database. Mrs. Root noted that central staff and administrators will attend workshops on social/emotional learning over the summer.
The Board affirmed my decision on three HIB incidents.
CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION AND PROGRAMS
The Board approved for first reading the following curricula:
Elementary Language Arts
Family & Consumer Science
AP United States Government & Politics
The Board approved for second reading the following curricula:
Geometry/Geometry Advanced/Geometry Honors
World Languages, Grade 6
World Languages, Grade 7
World Languages, Grade 8
The Board accepted with gratitude the following donations:
- A gift of $13,455.80 from the Westfield High School PTSO for painting and wood refinishing of the auditorium.
- A gift of $5,000 from the Albert Anthony Kayal Foundation for a guest speaker at Westfield High School.
At the request of Ms. Ohlig, the Board agreed to delay a vote on the appointment of an auditor for 2018-2019 while the full Board continues to review the proposals. Ms. Ohlig noted that this is part of the Board’s effort to review the district’s professional service vendors and stated that the district’s current auditor will remain in place for 2017-2018.
The Board heard from a resident who requested clarification on whether the Kehler Stadium renovation project included lighting. Board members Ms. Ohlig and Brendan Galligan reiterated that lighting is not a part of the project.
- Westfield High School juniors Julia Hollosi, Matthew Leone, Jeffrey Yang and sophomore Julia Tompkins received perfect scores of 800 on the May 2018 SAT Math Level 2 section. Sophomore Ian Gurland earned a perfect score on the May 2018 SAT Chemistry section. Congratulations to all.
- Westfield third graders recently received top honors for three mock court cases they submitted last year and presented this year at the New Jersey Bar Foundation Law Fair. Out of 84 entries submitted, our third grade students (now fourth graders) in the Gifted Program won 1st Place, 2nd Place and Honorable Mention in the 3rd Grade category of the Law Fair competition. Congratulations to our three mock trial teams and to their adviser Esther Van Riper, gifted education teacher for students in grades three through seven.
- All students in the Westfield Public Schools will follow an early dismissal on Thursday, June 21 and Friday, June 22. The last day for all students will be this Friday, June 22. As recently announced by Westfield High School principal Dr. Derrick Nelson, the commencement ceremony for graduating seniors has been moved to Kehler Stadium and will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, weather permitting. In the event of inclement weather, the indoor location will be the WHS gymnasium.
- The next public meeting of the Westfield Board of Education is scheduled for Tuesday, August 28.
Have a wonderful summer.
Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Westfield Public Schools – A Tradition of Excellence
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