Beth Daugherty for BOE
Friday, October 25, 2013 • 1:41pm
I’ve lived in Maplewood and South Orange for 22 years with my husband, Paul. We have 4 children, 3 of whom graduated from Columbia High School in the last 4 years, and our youngest is a junior there now. Having been involved with the schools in numerous parent-leadership positions since 1996, I have a deep understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in our school system. I first joined the Board of Education in 2007 because of a commitment to make sure every student receives an excellent education and opportunities to reach their potential.
I’ve been on the Board now for 6 ½ years and its President for the last 2 ½ years. During this time I have pushed for improvements that benefit every student. We have overhauled curriculum in language arts and math, provided more students access to rigorous classes, provided more professional learning opportunities for our teachers, and increased the use of technology system-wide.
My track record is one of measurable success. Student test scores are rising. The percentage of students taking Advanced Honors and AP courses at the high school has increased. And our students receive state and national recognition in academics, the arts, student publications, athletics, robotics and other endeavors.
Externally our progress has also been noted. Over the last several years, NJ Monthly has increased Columbia High School’s ranking in the best public high schools in NJ from 89th to 47th, putting CHS in the top 15%. And earlier this year, US News and World Report ranked Columbia High School 36th in NJ out of 395 public high schools.
While I am proud of this progress, I also know that there is still much work to be done, and that is why I am running for a third term. I want to make sure that every student is truly engaged in the classroom and inspired to do their personal best. Teachers must receive the professional learning opportunities they need to reach and challenge a wide range of learners. And it is critical that parents are engaged and informed.
Most importantly, I want to make sure that resources are allocated wisely in order to keep our educational system strong while being responsive to the taxpayer burden. Strong schools are vital to our community and our future. Our enrollment numbers are growing – a sure sign that our schools and community are thriving. I will continue to work with the administration to look for efficiencies in classroom scheduling, administrative costs, health care options, shared services, energy usage, and transportation services. I will also explore partnerships and support grant opportunities to bring additional revenue into the District, such as the $1.5 million physical education grant that our District recently received.
I’m excited to be running on a slate with David Giles and Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad. As a team, we provide proven leadership, experience and fresh ideas, as well as the right balance of accountability and partnership with the administration to continue leading our District in the right direction.