Important Information from the Westfield Board of Education
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 • 8:48pm
Synopsis of the Aug. 27, 2013 Board of Education Meeting:
OPENING OF SCHOOL
We look forward to welcoming our students to school on Tuesday, September
3rd. Students are still registering daily. As you may recall, over the
last few months the Board has approved many retirements. We have filled
all positions and are fully staffed. Class schedules and placements are
complete and have been sent to parents. Students have attended summer
programs in our district this year – many more than in previous years.
This is partly due to the very successful STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering and Math) camp that ran for two weeks in July. It was a joy to
watch children engaged in STEM and the wonder that was created. We also
offered programs to help students maintain and strengthen their academic
skills. These programs were largely funded by federal grants.
Orientations have been held for students new to Westfield and for those
advancing to another school within the district. Orientations also were
held for our new teachers through the New Staff Institute in the district.
All teachers and administrators will be part of a new evaluation system
this year. On August 29 we will train over 500 teachers as we review data
and develop Student Growth Objectives. Our technology initiative expands
as we make available 350 new computers for student use. Installation of
our own optic fiber network this summer will ensure better speed and
expandability while saving money on monthly network costs. We are
beginning training on our new website which should be launched early next
Again, I welcome new and returning families and staff to our schools and
wish you all a wonderful school year. Remember that schools are closed
for religious observation on Thursday, September 5, and Friday, September
The Board approved 64 personnel items. The Human Resources Department has
been particularly busy this summer and I thank Barbara Ball and her staff
for all their work.
The Board approved resolutions authorizing the submission of project
documents to the NJ Department of Education to apply for ROD (regular
operating district) grants for facilities projects, including air
conditioning and technology infrastructure upgrades. Business
Administrator Dana Sullivan explained that it was worthwhile to apply for
the state grants while the opportunity is available and prior to the
deadline of September 4.
Ms. Sullivan reported that a number of projects were completed this summer,
including painting, replacing floors, upgraded heating systems, replacing
ceiling tiles and drop ceilings, and installing lockers and bleachers. We
also are in the process of replacing boilers at Edison Intermediate School
and the bleachers in the gym at Edison are scheduled to be installed
September 9. The Jefferson School field restoration project, which is in
conjunction with the Town, is now out to bid. Funded in part by a grant
pursued by the town, work is expected to take place in October.
Regarding this summer’s roof projects, Ms. Sullivan reported that the
roof work at Washington and Roosevelt schools will be substantially
complete by end of this week. The Westfield High School, which is a more
involved project involving many roofs, is a little delayed mostly due to
weather. Roofers will not work when school is in session, but will do so
beginning 3:30 PM and continue working through weekends until they finish.
There should not be interference with students or after school activities.
We are anticipating an October completion date.
LONG RANGE PLANNING
Ginny Leiz, Chair of Long Range Planning, announced that the Committee will
be meeting soon to review the district’s strategic plan and to discuss
The Board approved for first reading the following policies: 0168 –
Recording Board Meeting; 2464 –Programs for Gifted Pupils; 5516 –
Students’ Use of Personal Technology; and 9713 – Recruitment by Special
The Board approved for final reading the following policies: 0165 –
Voting; 5466 – Graduation and Yearbook Fees; 6112 – Reimbursement of
Federal and Other Grant Expenditures; and 6362 – Contributions to Board
Members and Contract Awards.
The Board approved for final reading to repeal the following policies
(since 0151 replaces them): 0153 – Annual Appointments, and 0154 –
Annual Motions and Designations.
Four HIB incidents were affirmed; one was reversed upon appeal.
CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAMS
The Board approved for final reading the following curricula:
Language Arts – Journalism I and Print Journalism
Mathematics – Algebra II/Algebra II Advanced/Algebra II Honors
Science -- General Biology, Earth Science, and Physics II AP-C
Rosanne Kurstedt, Chair of CIP, announced that the Committee will meet on
Ms. Sullivan announced that the district has the opportunity to receive
$2.7 million in State grants for roof work that is to be completed on our
schools next summer. By law, the original bond referendum approved by
voters in December 2012 needs to be replaced by a new one to confirm the
Westfield community’s acceptance of the State aid. If approved by
Westfield voters, the amount of local monies needed for next summer’s
roof work will be reduced by 40%.
The Board unanimously adopted a resolution to move ahead with the
replacement bond referendum, which will be included on the November 5, 2013
ballot – during the general election.
Ms. Sullivan explained that in June we learned of the release of additional
grant funds for school facilities projects. These had not been available
for years. Applications for the remaining roof projects were immediately
submitted, and this week we received written approval from the State
confirming our eligibility to receive the $2.7 million. Ms. Sullivan
stated that there is no downside to the referendum.
By this fall, roof work on Westfield High School, Roosevelt Intermediate
School and Washington Elementary School will be complete. Next summer, the
rest of our school buildings will be scheduled for roof replacement. If
the November 5 bond referendum is not approved by Westfield voters, the
December 2012 bond will remain in effect and the $2.7 million of State aid
will not be obtained to offset the cost of next summer’s roof projects.
Again, law requires that this is contingent upon Westfield voters approving
the $2.7 million in State aid through a new replacement referendum. This
is a wonderful opportunity to reduce Westfield residents’ financial
commitment and to receive state aid that has now been made available to
For more information about this opportunity, please visit
A Westfield parent expressed her concern about understanding of the
Anti-Bullying law. She made recommendations to the Board, including a
request that more information should be made available to parents. Board
President Rich Mattessich and I agreed that the law is complex and that
information is important. We have held sessions regarding anti-bullying
for both parents and students and will continue to do so.
WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL
Westfield High School Academic Rankings - The Star Ledger has published its
academic rankings by county of high schools in New Jersey. Westfield High
School again ranked as the top performing comprehensive high school in
Union County. The information appears in the September issue of the Star
Ledger’s magazine, Inside New Jersey. Congratulations to Westfield High
School’s students, parents, staff and administration!
Athletics - Congratulations to the Westfield High School Girls’
Volleyball team who has been selected to receive the “Teens for the Cure
Award” by Susan G. Komen of North Jersey at an appreciation dinner on
September 11th. The team’s Pink Out, which is a volleyball game turned
into a fundraiser, raised $20,000 this year for breast cancer research and
awareness. The team was inspired to begin the tradition when their coach,
Bev Torok, was diagnosed with the disease. Ms. Torok continues to coach
the team and will also be in attendance at the award ceremony.
Sandy Mamary, Supervisor of Athletics, informs us that Westfield High
School has achieved second place in the prestigious Shop Rite Cup ranking,
which awards schools on both championships won and good sportsmanship.
Westfield High School was just 2 points below the first place team in its
division. Congratulations to all our hardworking student athletes and
Westfield High School Graduation - The video of the Westfield High School
commencement exercises of the class of 2013 is available for viewing on the
district’s video website at https://vimeo.com/72492722. The video is
also being aired on WHS-TV36 every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
For exact programming schedules, check www.westfieldnjk12.org/tv.
IN THE NEWS
This summer we have been featured in two different school administration
publications. Paul Pineiro, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum,
Instruction and Program, was interviewed for the national magazine entitled
District Administration. Mr. Pineiro discussed the districts’ "Walls to
Windows" technology initiative.
I was invited to submit an article in the Community Corner section of On
Target which is an online publication by the New Jersey Association of
School Administrators. The article focused on good citizenship and respect
and appeared in the June/July issue.
The School District’s calendar of events and directory of school
information has been mailed to the homes of our students. Parents will find
that there is a new section of the calendar on the inside front page which
describes many of the accomplishments of the past school year. We are
proud of these accolades and look forward to another year of achievement.
Several teachers in all 6 elementary schools in Westfield honed their
skills by attending a 4-day Summer Literacy Institute. Led by McKinley
teachers Dana Passananti and Stephanie Willis, the teachers reinforced and
extended their mastery in implementing the school district’s Readers and
Writers Workshop model of literacy instruction. In addition to attending
informational and discussion sessions, both veteran and new teachers
commented on the value of collaborating with grade level colleagues and
practicing with district students during mini lessons and one-on-one
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHTS
Back to School Nights for parents and guardians of children in Westfield's
schools will be held from September 17th through October 3rd. Attendees
are encouraged to check individual school websites for any changes to the
schedule which is also posted at westfieldnjk12.org.
Building principals, assistant principals and front office staff in the 10
Westfield Public Schools attended security training on August 14 in
preparation for the new school year. Similar training is scheduled for
teachers. Michael Weissman, Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel
Services and Lead Coordinator of the district’s Emergency Preparedness
Committee, arranged the training which was conducted by the district’s
security consultant. The purpose of the August 14th training was to
provide Westfield Public School front office staff with concepts and ideas
for maintaining a secure and safe environment, and for improving
observation, detection and reporting skills. Procedures were discussed in
dealing with various emergencies and in implementing the appropriate
responses, including lockdowns. School personnel also were reminded to be
aware of suspicious behavior and to be vigilant when visitors request entry
into the buildings.
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
Students will begin school on Tuesday, September 3. We welcome all our
current and new families to our schools. Schools will be closed Thursday,
September 5, and Friday, September 6, for religious observation.
NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING - Tuesday, September 17, at 7:30 PM.
Have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend!
Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools