Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of Westfield Board of Education Organization Meeting Jan. 9

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ORGANIZATION OF BOARD 

Business Administrator Dana Sullivan acknowledged Lynn Benner, Kent Diamond and Peggy Oster, who were elected to three-year terms on the Westfield Board of Education on Nov. 7, 2017, and sworn into office prior to the start of the Jan. 9, 2018 meeting.  Ms. Ohlig was nominated to continue as president of the Westfield Board of Education. Peggy Oster was nominated to resume the role of vice president. The board was unanimous in electing Ms. Ohlig and Mrs. Oster to their positions. The board agreed to abide by the School Board Association Code of Ethics, which they read aloud, and approved reorganization resolutions in order to continue conducting official business.
 

UPDATE ON 2017-2018 DISTRICT GOALS

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I presented an Update on the District’s 2017-2018 Goals, which were developed in line with our strategic plan. We are progressing on this year’s three major goals, which include:

  1. Transition the district and schools to a new website platform by September 2018.
     
    • A committee headed by Chief Technology Officer, Brian Auker, reviewed sites from other districts, gathered input by user groups, developed criteria and vetted eight vendors. Edlio was selected as the new platform with training beginning early this year, a test site available this summer, and an official launch before the 2018-2019 school year begins.
       
  2. Determine feasibility and community support for full day kindergarten by May 2018.
     
    • The district analyzed enrollment trends (remaining stable), facility options (at or near capacity), increased costs (a bond and a second budget question), community input (mixed), and the uncertainty resulting from new property tax legislation. The recommendation of the long range planning committee of the board on Dec. 5 was to not move ahead with asking residents to support full day kindergarten at this time.  Instead, the district is looking for ways to expand Lincoln School’s Wrap program, which currently offers a limited lottery-based extended day to kindergarten children.
       
  3. Provide additional in-district programs for students with special needs
     
    • Based on suggestions from parents and educators, we have addressed needs for students by expanding elementary and secondary level programs with experienced staff, appropriate in-district classrooms, and professional development.

PERSONNEL

The Board accepted with regret the retirement, effective June 30, 2018, of Nicoletta Leitch – Human Resources Secretary.  We thank Mrs. Leitch, who has been with the district since 1989, for her service to the district, and we wish her well in her upcoming retirement.

 

POLICIES

 

  • The board approved for first reading the following policies: 5111 Eligibility of Resident/Nonresident Pupils (Pupils), 5306 Health Services to Non-Public Schools (Pupils), 5320 Immunization (Pupils), 5830 Pupil Fund Raising (Pupils), 7100 Long Range Facilities Planning (Property), 7102 Site Selection and Acquisition (Property), 7130 School Closing (Property), and 9220 General Fundraising (Community).

 

 

  • The board approved for second reading the following policies: 5310 Health Services (Pupils), 5310.1 Health Examinations (Pupils), 5410 Promotion and Retention (Pupils), and 5420 Reporting Pupil Progress (Pupils).

 

  • The board affirmed my decision on a HIB incident.

 

  • The board approved the Memorandum of Understanding between the Westfield Board of Education and the Westfield Police Department for the 2017-2018 school year.

 

 

CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAMS

  • The board approved for second reading :

Health:

     Intermediate Health Education

 

  • The board approved for first reading the following curricula:

Science:
Exercise and Sports Science

Forensic Science

 

Industrial Arts:

Engineering & Design *

 

* Laura Doyle, who taught at Roosevelt for 12 years and went on to earn a Master’s degree in Integrative STEM education, described the new engineering and design course at Westfield High School. Following months of researching different programs and curricula, “Engineering Your World,” developed by the University of Texas, was determined to provide a good starting point for students as it models what actual engineers do. It is anticipated that there will be two sections offered to 10th, 11th and 12th graders in the new school year.

  • The board approved district field trips to correlate with curriculum.

 

FINANCE

 

The board gratefully accepted the following gifts from the Westfield Coalition for the Arts: $2,212 from to purchase a new Fox 51D Bassoon for the Edison Intermediate School Bands; $2,779 to purchase a new Yamaha YTS-480 Tenor Sax and a Yamaha YEP-321S Silver Plated Euphonium for the Roosevelt Intermediate School Bands; and $3,250 to purchase a new Yamaha YBB641 Tuba for the Westfield High School Bands. The Board gratefully accepted a gift of $25,000 from the McKinley School PTO to be used towards the upgrade/renovation of the McKinley School playground, and a gift of $18,700 from the Franklin School PTO to be used to purchase 60 HP Chromebooks and two charging carts.

LIAISON

Amy Root reported that at the last meeting of the Parent Teacher Council, six academic supervisors described their roles in the district and the objectives of their departments. The supervisors were invited by the PTC, and the visit provided the sharing of information and an opportunity for discussion which was welcomed by both the parents and the administrators. Mrs. Root also announced that the Special Education Parents Committee will hold a meeting on Thursday, Jan, 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Edison Intermediate School Library.
 

ANNOUNCEMENTS
 

WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL

Three Westfield High School 11th graders achieved the highest score possible on the November SAT and October ACT standardized tests, bringing the total of perfect scores so far this school year to 34.  Congratulations to Julia Hollosi – ACT Science and STEM, Kevin Li – SAT Math, and Jenna Miller – ACT English. Westfield High School Principal, Derrick Nelson congratulated the students today, citing their outstanding achievement on the tests which are widely used for college admission criteria. 

WHS MUSIC
 

  • Congratulations to the Westfield High School Wind Ensemble for being selected to perform at the New Jersey Music Educators Association Annual Conference held at the East Brunswick Hilton in February 2018. Through both written and audio recording submission, the group was selected as one of three in the state to perform at the conference. The ensemble is under the direction of Chris Vitale and Trevor Sindorf.
  • Westfield High School instrumental music teachers Chris Vitale, Trevor Sindorf and Craig Stanton announced the students who were selected to perform in January in either the region band or orchestra as a result of auditions held in December.  Every year hundreds of students in Central New Jersey prepare and audition for the CJMEA Region orchestra and band.   Our congratulations to:

Wind Ensemble and Orchestra students: Brooke Walden - Piccolo & Flute and Aprina Wang - French Horn.

Symphonic Band: Andy Zhao – Clarinet, Kailey Zhao  - Bassoon, Amanda Latowsky - Alto Clarinet, Kenneth Meyer - French Horn, Max Tennant – Trumpet, Michael Charlton – Timpani.

Symphonic Band & Orchestra:  Lucy Ritter  - Battery Percussion.

Orchestra: Junlin Yi – violin, Kevin Li - violin, and Kelly Eagan – bass. 
 

·         Congratulations to seven students in the Westfield High School Chorus, who auditioned in December and accepted into the 2017-2018 CJMEA Region Chorus from hundreds of students who auditioned:

Mixed Chorus: Olivia McElheny, Catherine Moore, Nicole Player, and Matt Siroty.

Treble Chorus: Charlotte Fountain-Jardim, Charlotte Geary and Abby Rothenberg

We applaud their accomplishments and those of their vocal instructors John Brzozowski and Maureen Francis.

ATHLETICS

Congratulations to Westfield High School Blue Devils Football Coach Jim DeSarno, who has been named Coach of the Year by the New Jersey Coaches Association and Sectional Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations.  We on the Board of Education will have the opportunity to congratulate Mr. DeSarno and his entire team for their incredible season -- culminating with the state championship -- at our next meeting on Jan. 23.

 

PARENT AWARENESS EVENT

The Westfield High School PTSO is hosting a free event, Hidden in Plain Sight, on Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 7:15 p.m. at Westfield High School Cafeteria B, located at 550 Dorian Road. The targeted audience is parents and caregivers of high school and intermediate school students. This is planned as an important learning opportunity taught by New Jersey-based DEA Special Agent Timothy McMahon.  Agent McMahon, Public Information Officer with the Drug Enforcement Administration, has years of experience that he will share in a hands-on experience through a simulated room in which drugs are frequently hidden.  He also will discuss substance abuse trends, signs and symptoms in an effort to provide resources for parents and community members to help keep children healthy and drug-free.  For more information, please contact the Westfield High School PTSO at whsptso@westfieldnjk12.org
 

 

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

The public is welcome to attend this year’s Washington School show with performances on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 1:30 and 7 p.m. at Westfield High School, 550 Dorian Rd. Tickets are $13.50 and can be purchased from https://wes.booktix.com./ This family-friendly musical – The Show of Shows -- is the PTO’s largest fundraiser each year, raising funds for resources in the classrooms, teacher grants, school enhancements and additional programs to enrich the educational environment for the school’s 300+ students. It is written, directed, choreographed, produced and performed solely by parents, with the exception of the ever-popular teachers’ dance number.

SCHOOLS CLOSED MONDAY, JANUARY 15

All Westfield Public Schools and offices will be closed Monday, Jan. 15, in commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On that date, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Westfield will observe its 31st annual Interfaith Commemorative Service at 1 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 414 E. Broad St.  The speaker will be Union County Freeholder Linda Carter. The theme this year is “Bridging the Divide: Race in America.”  The student winners of the essay, poetry and art contests will be announced at the ceremony. Marchers will assemble at the Martin Luther King monument on the South Avenue Circle to proceed to St. Paul's at 12:30 p.m. The public is invited to participate in both the march and the service.

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING

The next meeting of the Westfield Board of Education will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Westfield High School’s Auditorium, 550 Dorian Road.  The complete agenda will be available on Friday, Jan. 19, on the Board of Ed website and in the Business Office at 302 Elm Street.

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