ORGANIZATION OF THE BOARD

Business Administrator/Board Secretary Dana Sullivan opened the meeting with the results of the annual school board election on November 5, 2019.  Michael Bielen, J. Brendan Galligan and Amy Root were elected for three-year terms while Robert Garrison was elected for a two-year unexpired term and Brian Morrissey for a one-year unexpired term.  The Board unanimously re-elected Peggy Oster as Board President and Amy Root as Board Vice President.  Board members agreed to abide by the New Jersey School Boards Association’s Code of Ethics, which they read aloud, and approved reorganization resolutions in order to continue conducting official business.

STUDENT-ATHLETE RECOGNITION

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On behalf of the entire Board, Mrs. Oster recognized Westfield High School senior William Loggia as 2019 Cross Country Sectional Champion.  Will captured the title last October with a personal best time of 15 minutes, 49 seconds which is a WHS school record on that course.  It is Will’s second consecutive sectional title.

UPDATE ON RECENT TENURE DECISION

District labor attorney Derlys Gutierrez and I provided a brief explanation of the two-year process that resulted in last month’s ruling by a state arbitrator in favor of tenure charges brought against a teacher by me and the Board of Education.  The arbitrator’s decision supported the employee’s dismissal. This legal proceeding was not an easy one.  Throughout these past two years, I have relied heavily on the Westfield Police Department and, whenever there was a specific concern, I reached out and received the necessary support to make sure our students and staff would remain safe. The Board, staff members who agreed to testify in the tenure case, and I are now named in a federal lawsuit. This means that we cannot openly communicate or answer questions.  Please know that we will continue to act to safeguard all students and staff throughout the district.

UPDATE ON 2019-2020 DISTRICT GOALS

I presented an update on the 2019-2020 District Goals which were developed in line with our Strategic Plan.  We are progressing on this year’s three major goals which include:

Improve clear and timely communication with parents and other community stakeholders.

We created an e-newsletter, The NEWS Letter, that addresses current issues affecting the Westfield Public Schools community. We are using varied means of communication to increase visits to the district website and to the district’s Facebook page and Twitter feed as definitive sources of information about Westfield Public Schools. We use social media, PTO newsletters, and other means of communications to encourage parental attendance at the monthly meetings of the Parent Teacher Council at which a Board representative and I provide brief overviews on current events and answer questions.

Provide increased awareness of security and safety protocols to insure that members of the school community understand the procedures in the event of a crisis.

We used a variety of communication methods to inform the school community prior to the start of the 2019-2020 school year of updated security protocols and procedural improvements.  The district’s Crisis Communications Plan is posted on the district website and has been shared with the school community through a multi-channel effort; we are working on one-page visuals to supplement the Crisis Communications Plan. Our administrators, teachers, secretaries, paraprofessionals and custodians continue to receive training on security protocols throughout the year.

Clearly communicate the information necessary for Westfield community members to understand the options and challenges relative to implementing full-day kindergarten in the Westfield Public School District.

We have established a web page on the district website that provides background and other information/resources illustrating the options and challenges for implementing full-day kindergarten. We also have created a Communication Action Plan and stand ready to provide community engagement opportunities should the Board decide to go forward with a referendum.

FACILITIES

Mrs. Sullivan reported that all of the replacement interior doors at the high school and intermediate schools are installed and can be operated manually; contractors continue to work after school hours to connect select doors to the district’s communications system. Renovation work on the high school television studio also continues; additional equipment is being ordered based on the recent generous donation from Marvel Studios President (and WHS alumnus ) Kevin Feige.

POLICIES

The Board approved for first reading the following policies:

0169 Board Member Use of Electronic Communication and Social Networks (Bylaws)

1110 Organizational Chart (Administration)

1320 Duties of the Business Administrator/Board Secretary (Administration)

1400 Job Descriptions (Administration)

The Board approved for second reading the revised 2020-2021 School Calendar and the 2021-2022 School Calendar.

The Board approved for second reading the following policies:

0146 Board Member Authority (Bylaws)

0151 Organization Meeting (Bylaws)

0152 Board Officers (Bylaws)

0167 Public Participation in Board Meetings (Bylaws)

0168 Recording Board Meetings (Bylaws)

2418 Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 – Students (Program)

5330 Administration of Medication (Pupils)

The Board approved the Uniform State Memorandum of Agreement Between Education and Law Enforcement Officials for the 2019-2020 school year and the Memorandum of Understanding Between the Westfield Board of Education and the Westfield Police Department.

Each year, every school district establishes a Memorandum of Agreement with local law enforcement which is a useful tool and helps to ensure a good working relationship.  The Memorandum of Understanding outlines New Jersey legal guidelines for police access to school district live streaming video surveillance.

The Board affirmed my decision on three HIB incidents.

CURRICULUM,  INSTRUCTION AND  PROGRAMS

The Board approved district field trips and overnight field trips as correlated with curriculum.

The Board approved for second reading the following curricula:

English

Journalism I

Journalism II

Journalism III

School Library Media, Grades K-12

Practical Arts

Financial Literacy

TV Production – The Morning Show (New Curriculum)

The Board approved voluntary Student Teacher/Intern candidates for the 2019-2020 school year.

FINANCE

The Board accepted with gratitude the following donations:

A gift of $250 from Ms. Randi Nathanson-Berger to be used toward supporting programs dealing with mental health issues at Westfield High School.

A gift of $500 from Mr. Richard Cheng to support the Special Services programs at Westfield High School.

A gift of $562.50 from the Westfield Coalition for the Arts to go towards travel expenses for the Westfield High School Chorale’s performances at Temple Emanu-El and St. Joseph’s Church on 12/15/19.

 A gift of $9,830 from the Jefferson School PTO to purchase 30 HP Chromebooks, 30 HP EDU Google Chrome Consoles and one Datamation Systems Charging Security Cart.

In response to a question from Board member Gretchan Ohlig, Mrs. Sullivan noted increased tuition costs for the Integrated Pre-K Program at Lincoln School and to subscription busing.  Mrs. Sullivan stated that, after years of charging the same price, the increase is necessary because costs to the district for both services has continued to rise.

A recording of the entire Board of Education meeting can be viewed on the district website at www.westfieldnjk12.org.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL

Every year, hundreds of students prepare and audition for the Central Jersey Music Educators Association regional orchestra, band, and chorus.  Congratulations to the following students who have been selected to perform this month in the Region II ensembles:

Region II Band

Alexander Cha, 11th grade, Clarinet

Conor Daly, 10th grade, Trombone

Patrick Gallagher, 10th grade, Tuba

Ian Gurland, 12th grade, Mallet Percussion

Max Tennant, 12th grade, Trumpet

Aprina Wang, 11th grade, French Horn

Region II Orchestra

David Criscuolo, 12th grade, Percussion

Amy Xiao, 10th grade, Violin

Region II Chorus

Olivia Alpizar

Daniel Andrade

Blake Baretz

Aprameyo Chakravarty

Russell Cohen

Roselyne Garabete

Sam Horvath (5th place in region)

Zaria Katz

Sarah LaMonica (2nd place in region)

Sam Laitman

Joshua Madera (Tied for 5th place)

Mason Marino

Finn McGurn

Matthew Meixner (1st place in region)

Katherine Miles

Vincent Mora

Aishik Palit

Rachel Seiden

Eden Wilcomes

Ryan Williamson

Congratulations also to WHS band directors Christopher Vitale and Trevor Sindorf, orchestra director Craig Stanton and choral directors John Brzozowski and Maureen Francis.

Congratulations to the following Westfield High School students for perfect scores on subject areas of recent ACT and SAT tests:

October ACT

Juniors Emma Hanley (Science ), Sophie Tananbaum (Reading), & senior Greta McLaughlin (Reading)

November SAT

Junior Aprina Wang (Math) and senior Etan Zeller MacLean (Math Level 2)

Congratulations to the following Blue Devil football players on signing National Letters of Intent to play in college:

William (Will) Kessler, Georgetown University

Declan McCauley, College of the Holy Cross

Henry (Hank) Shapiro, Lehigh University

In March, 12th grade guitarist Stephen Park will travel to Indiana to perform with the 2020 Jazz Band of America, a national ensemble comprised of the best high school jazz musicians in the country.  Congratulations to Stephen and jazz band director Trevor Sindorf.

ELEMENTARY

Washington School proudly presents The Wizard of West Bizarre,  loosely based on the classic film, The Wizard of Oz.  This original production reminds us not to take for granted all of the wonderful things we find in home communities like Westfield.  The Washington School Show has been an annual tradition since 1948, written, directed, produced and performed solely by parents, with the exception of one number performed by Washington teachers.  Performances are Friday, January 24 at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, January 25 at 1:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at Roosevelt Intermediate School.  Tickets are $14.50 and can be purchased at https://wes.booktix.com.

DISTRICT

Mental health and wellness is the important focus of a new speaker series at Edison Intermediate School, sponsored by the Edison counselors, nurse/health educators, and the school resource officer.  A November presentation by Sean Foley of Prevention Links on the overuse of smartphones and other technology was well attended.  Next up, on Thursday, January 23, is Screenagers, Next Chapter: Uncovering Skills for Stress and Resilience, a 60-minute film to help young people thrive in our screen- and stress-filled world.  Each presentation begins at 7 p.m. in the Edison auditorium and is open to the public at no cost. A discussion and Q&A will follow the screening.   Information on how to register for the January 23 presentation is available on the school website at edison.westfieldnjk12.org.

Save the Date as the Roosevelt Intermediate School counseling team prepares to host a presentation on “Suicide Awareness and Intervention” on Thursday, February 20 from 7-9 p.m. with speakers from Caring Contact and the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council.  This important presentation will be held in the Roosevelt auditorium at 301 Clark Street in Westfield.  Information on how to register will be available soon.

On Wednesday, January 22, the PTC Special Education Committee will host "Ask the Expert: A Special Education Interactive Panel Discussion,” beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Edison library. Parents will have the opportunity to ask experts a variety of questions; please submit questions to westfieldspecialedparents@gmail.com by January 19. More information can be found in the Community Flyers section on the district website at www.westfieldnjk12.org.

The next meeting of the Parent Teacher Council will be held on Wednesday, January 22 at 10:15 a.m. at 302 Elm Street.  The PTC is the umbrella organization for all ten of the Westfield School PTOs. At these monthly meetings, the PTO presidents meet with the PTC board, the Superintendent, and a Board of Education representative.  All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend. 

 

Happy 2020 from the Westfield Public School District.  We encourage you to visit the district website often at www.westfieldnjk12.org for recent news, district and Board of Education information, family resources, curriculum by department, school-specific pages, and much more.  On the website, you’ll find the district’s Crisis Communication Plan; Board agendas, meeting schedule, videos, and member information; the Superintendent’s Synopsis of board meetings, along with district videos;  academic calendars; information on school closings and security; and resources on mental health and wellness, Social and Emotional Learning, and other valuable information.  Use key words in the search button to help locate information and be sure to notify mmcgann@westfieldnjk12.org if there’s something missing or incorrect.   For those parents who use social media, please like the district Facebook page @westfieldpublicschoolsnj and Twitter feed  @westfieldnjk12.  Thank you!

 

KINDERGARTEN AND FIRST GRADE REGISTRATION

This is a reminder that the Westfield Public School District is conducting kindergarten registration this month for all children who are residents of Westfield and will reach the age of 5 on or before October 1, 2020. First grade registration also is being held for children who are residents of Westfield and will reach the age of 6 on or before October 1, 2020 and have not yet attended the Westfield Public Schools. The registration schedule and forms are posted on the district’s website at www.westfieldnjk12.org on a quick link entitled “Student Registration” in the upper right hand corner.

 

SCHOOLS CLOSED

All Westfield Public Schools and offices will be closed on Monday, January 20 in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. On that date, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Westfield will observe its 33rd annual Interfaith Service at 1 p.m. at The Presbyterian Church at 140 Mountain Avenue in Westfield.  The theme this year is Moving Our Community Forward in its Journey Toward Racial Justice.  The guest speaker will be the Reverend Dr. Mark Boyea of the First Congregational Church. Student winners of the annual essay, poetry and art contest will be announced at the ceremony.  Prior to the service, the public is invited to join the annual processional walk to the church, beginning at 12:30 p.m. from the MLK memorial on the South Avenue Circle.

 

NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING

The next meeting of the Westfield Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m. at 302 Elm Street.  The complete agenda will be available on Friday, January 17 on the Board section of the district website.