Board of Education Accepts Nearly $159,000 in Spring Grants From Summit Education Foundation; Principal Negotiations Go to Mediator
Friday, May 11, 2012 • 7:18am
SUMMIT, NJ—Nicole Blomfield and Debra Trisler of the Summit Education Foundation presented a list of grants totaling $158,656 at Thursday’s school board workshop meeting.
The board then unanimously voted to accept the grants, which include:
- $78,565 for an extended day program for those in kindergarten to fifth grade who score partially-proficient on standardized tests. Students and their parents will sign a participation contract to insure consistent attendance. The program will run for two days a week from 3 to 4:30 pm in each elementary school. Time will be divided between leveled guided mathematics instruction and language arts literacy activities.
- $2,000 for the Washington School program, “100 Years Represented in Art,” in celebrating the school’s 100th anniversary this year. Artist-in residence Caren Frost, will work with students to create and install a mural in the school.
- $1,937 for classroom stability balls at Franklin School. Funds will be used to purchase a teaching package, four teacher balls and four pumps. The balls, to be used as seats in the classroom, are aimed at helping students focus better on instruction and become more physically fit by engaging core muscles and strengthening them.
- $3,254 for “Family Technology.” Each elementary school will offer two evening technology sessions designed to facilitate learning experiences for students with their parents.
- $1,026 for “Supporting Literacy Through RAZ,” that will pilot a one-year subscription to the RAZ interactive book program to support literacy instruction in first grade. Each book has a read-to-me component, vocabulary builder and online assessment piece. The program will be used to support students and reinforce literacy skills throughout the school year and summer months when skill loss is at its highest.
- $3,191 for “Family Math” through which each elementary school will offer three family nights designed to facilitate learning experience for students with their parents. Families will participate in hands-on learning activities that foster cooperation and critical thinking skills.
- $9,344 for INSPIRE magazine to give sixth to eighth graders an opportunity to create art, write, organize, publish, and critique their own and their peers’ literacy and visual work.
- $2,595 to offer a new class in broadcast media at Summit High School. The grant will enable the purchase of “Class on Demand,” a full set of online tutorials, a digital SLR camera kit for still and video and daily subscriptions to print versions of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Star-Ledger.
- $8,015 for “Hybrid Model for Virtual School Pilot,” which will feature preparation of a series of instructional podcasts across five different subject areas. Teachers will be able to use these video lessons as reinforcement or to explore “flipped” instruction—introducing content in a virtual environment with discussion and questions taking place in the classroom the following day.
In other business, Board President Michelle Stevenson announced the school body’s negotiations committee met last Friday with the bargaining unit for principals in the Summit district but the two groups were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract. She noted the negotiations have been turned over to a state mediator.
Stevenson added talks have not yet begun with the administrators’ bargaining unit.
Director of Human Resources Kenneth Shulack said the teachers who are members of the Summit Education Association are scheduled to vote on their new contract next week, after which the board will vote on ratification of the agreement and then its terms will be made public.
The school body on Thursday approved reappointment of a number of non-tenured staff members and school aides for the 2012-2013 school year, with salaries to be finalized when the SEA agreement is ratified.
Also approved were the appointment of May Beaubrun as a part-time behaviorist and Rachel Wohl and Stacy Dinburg as behaviorists for the next school year, with their salaries also contingent on ratification of the teaching staff contract.
Superintendent of Schools Nathan Parker announced that the taskforce studying overcrowding at Franklin School is expected to submit a report on recommendations for short-term solutions to the situation by June 12.
A list of longer-term solutions is expected to be generated by October 1, Parker said, and that list will be narrowed down further, with a final decision expected by January 1, 2013 so it can be implemented by the following school year.
Responding to an announcement by Ed Mokuvos, board operations committee chair, that the board is expected to have almost $1.2 million in its fund balance by the end of the year, School Business Administrator Louis Pepe said some of the funding possibly could be used to buy furniture for the Franklin School Media Center in anticipation of a renovation.
When more definite numbers become available, Pepe added, school officials will have to decide how much of the figure will be used to pay for the settlements with school bargaining units. Because the amounts of the settlements were not known when this year’s budget was planned, he noted, an exact figure could not be placed in the budget.
He said it did not make much sense to plan for the library renovation until the board decided how it was going to handle overall Franklin renovations related to the overcrowding issue.
Three quarters of the fund balance was generated by the fact that school staff members now are making greater contributions to the cost of their health plans, according to Pepe.
The $1.2 million figure will amount to about 2 percent of this year’s budget, he added. This is the goal for which the board has been aiming.
In other business, the school body approved this year’s professional learning plan after a presentation by a number of school staff members led by Assistant Superintendent Julie Glazer.