Important Information from the Westfield Board of Education Meeting March 5
Friday, March 8, 2013 • 4:31pm
Of the Westfield Board of Education meeting on March 5, 2013
By Superintendent Margaret Dolan
TENTATIVE BUDGET APPROVED
The Board approved the tentative budget for the 2013-2014 school year
using the 2013-2014 recently received state aid figures. It is then
submitted to the Executive County Superintendent of Schools for approval in
accordance with the statutory deadline. The budget represents $92,022,250
for total expenditures in the General Fund, with taxes to be raised at
$86,360,677. Business Administrator, Dana Sullivan, presented budget
highlights to the Board, including:
• State aid increased $1 more than in 2012-2013
• Average state aid is $5,881 per student in NJ, while Westfield is
receiving about $450 per pupil
• 92% of the Westfield school budget is dependent on local property tax
• The State is requiring the Board to return $75,230 of previously
awarded State grants
• The Board Finance Committee reviewed options for establishing the
budget at various percentages of increase, and determined that a 2%
increase was necessary to maintain the programs of the district and
continue goals for student achievement
• Tax levy increase is below the State adjusted CAP by $479,294
• The budget continues funding for technology, STEM and literacy
initiatives and for mandated programs
• The budget maintains curricular and co-curricular programs, existing
class size guidelines, and facilities
• Additions to the budget include:
o School Resource Officer
o Guidance Restructuring at WHS
o 2 Hockey Coaches, 1 Freshman Girls Volleyball Coach and increased time
for assistant trainer
o Edison School (to provide sufficient resources for enrollment increases)
: 0.4 custodian, 4.4 teachers, 1 Resource Room teacher
o Westfield High School – 0.2 Mandarin teacher
o Special Education – 1 self contained class at RIS and 1 at Wilson; 2
• Westfield per pupil spending is below the state average –
efficiencies, conservation and shared services will continue
Next budget meetings of the Board will be held Tuesday, March 19, at 302
Elm Street, and on Thursday, March 21, at WHS auditorium. Both will begin
at 7:30 PM.
Maureen Mazzarese, Coordinator of Counseling K-12, provided an update
regarding the focus and developments in the department:
• The Counseling Department recognizes the importance of individual
student planning in all areas (academics, career, and social and emotional
skills) -- delivered responsibly and in a timely manner. The objectives are
based on a developmental concept which is needs based and student
• Major objectives set last year have been realized:
o Connections with colleges and universities continue to be expanded. Our
counselors have made personal visits to 65 colleges so far and on their
return, they share information with other counselors. On College Night, on
the heels of Hurricane Sandy, 176 colleges attended. In addition, 111
college reps have come to WHS for informational sessions. More than 1000
students met with college representatives. Ms. Mazzarese and Mr. Buckner
attended the National Association of School Counselors symposium, where
they talked to representatives from colleges (300 colleges present) and
with counselors from around the country.
o The college application process is more efficient. Prior to Hurricane
Sandy, counselors worked day and night to ensure that our students’
information was submitted to colleges on time.
o Paperwork has been reduced in order to spend more time with students and
use counselor time effectively and efficiently.
o Technology is streamlining data and reports through Naviance and
o A Career Exploration package is designed for 10th graders and Naviance
is used for career selection and counseling.
o Parents have more access to the parent portal in Genesis. The counselors
have prepared an earlier than usual Senior Parent Night, continue to
sponsor Financial Aid Night, and partner with the PTSO to host speakers.
The Junior Conference is being restructured to engage parents in small
o Support for students in social and emotional areas continues to be
provided. WHS is in its fourth year of a program, in conjunction with the
NYU Child Study Center, to teach positive coping skills and promote
interpersonal success and healthy friendships. Almost all of our counselors
have been trained in this intervention program thus far. Bimonthly sharing
of counselor research occurs within the department as well.
• This has been a difficult few months, particularly at the High School,
which has experienced the deaths of two students. Our counselors have
helped students, staff, and parents work through our grief and begin to
Ms. Mazzarese also discussed the counseling services provided at the
intermediate and elementary level.
The 3 elementary counselors make important contributions to the school
climate by providing the earliest interventions so that problems can be
addressed quickly and efficiently. They also represent their schools as
HIB (Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying) representatives.
Middle school’s counseling model is a prime example of team based work
and collective thinking. The driving forces include character – the
importance of kindness and anti-bullying, community and service. There is
also serious academic counseling in course selection and academic
HONORING STATE CHAMPION
Peter Fagan, Westfield High School senior, was presented a certificate of
achievement from Board President, Richard Mattessich. Last Spring, Peter
won the Union County Pole Vaulting championship and the Watchung division
of the Union County Conference. He finished second at the Sectional
Championship and 2nd at the Group 4 State Championship. This winter, he won
the Group 4 State Championship by completing a 15 foot Pole Vault
performance which tied the Meet record. Peter had also captured the
sectional Pole Vaulting championship and he finished 3rd at the State Meet
of Champions. Peter then placed second at the Eastern States Championships
last Monday and will compete at the New Balance Indoor Nationals on
Saturday in New York City. He is also a team captain for the spring
The Board accepted with regret the retirements of:
Linda Ulanet, Special Services ELL, serving the students of Westfield for
25 years. She will retire as of June 30, 2013.
Debra Stern, Franklin School – Media Specialist, serving Westfield
students for 20 years. Her last day of employment will be June 30, 2013.
Larry Kohl and Marie Kohl, both lunch aides at McKinley School for the
last 4 ½ years, whose retirements are effective February 15, 2013.
We thank all our retirees for their dedication to the Westfield Public
Dana Sullivan, Business Administrator, presented a report on projects
scheduled for 2013-2014 within the maintenance reserve account, as well as
projects completed in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013. The projects planned for the
summer of 2013 amount to $1,260,950 and include replacing Edison School
boilers and gym bleachers; replacing WHS lockers; replacing ceilings,
lighting, and floors, HVAC System upgrades, classroom renovations, gym door
replacements, and step and sidewalk repairs throughout the district. Also
included is replacement of Jefferson Elementary School field which will be
funded for the most part by a grant awarded to the Town, with the Town and
School Board sharing the balance of the cost.
The Board affirmed my decisions on 9 HIB incidents.
CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAMS
The Board approved for first reading the following 4 curricula:
Science: Forensics; also Exercise Science and Sports Studies. Science
Department Chair David Stoneback explained that the courses will meet
requirements for high school graduation while expanding the electives
offered in Science. He introduced Carol Wenk, who co-authored the
Forensics curriculum with Dana Philipps. Ms. Wenk noted that the emphasis
will be applied to problem solving, real world scenarios, will function as
an interdisciplinary course, and will provide students with introductions
to career paths. The course is offered at other high schools in the area.
Dr. Stoneback also introduced Science teacher, Christopher Tafelski, who
authored the Exercise Science and Sports Studies curriculum. It will be
considered a survey course that will include anatomy, physics, health and
Social Studies: Advanced Placement Psychology; African American History
The Board gave approval for Dana Sullivan, Business Administrator, to be
authorized to solicit bids and quotes for the facilities projects presented
for the 2013-2014 plan for a total estimated at $1,260,950.
Ginny Leiz and Gretchan Ohlig attended the PTC general membership meeting
in February at which school security was discussed, including the current
use by the county of schools as polling places. Mrs. Leiz also was present
at the Garden State Coalition of Schools Board of Trustees meeting, where
the topics included State aid and the subcontracting bill.
The National School Boards Association has named Jeanine Gottko one of "20
to Watch" Leaders in Advancing Education Technology. Jeanine is a Master
Technology Teacher for Kindergarten through 5th Grade here in the Westfield
Public Schools. Ms. Gottko is one of only 20 education leaders from across
the country being recognized for her ability to inspire colleagues to
incorporate innovative technology solutions that contribute to high-quality
learning environments and more efficient school district operations. In
selecting Ms. Gottko for this honor, the National School Board Association
stated: “The 21st century learning environments thrive at Westfield’s
elementary schools, as Jeanine Gottko supports teachers in and out of their
classes, in professional development sessions, and through her online
resource blog as part of a $1.2 million technology initiative. By ensuring
technology was effectively incorporated into the district’s other grant
on literacy, her work serves as a model for others.” The National School
Board Association also explains that “The '20 to Watch' honorees offer
school board members and other leaders real-world stories that help them
evaluate the intersection of policy and practice when it comes to today’s
emerging technologies.” Along with this honor is the opportunity for Ms.
Gottko to attend the Consortium for School Networking's Leadership in San
Diego, where she will share innovative ideas with educators from around the
country. Ms. Gottko has a long history with the Westfield Public Schools,
and is a Westfield High School graduate and was hired in 1998 as a teacher
at Franklin School. We are proud of her accomplishments as a student,
teacher, and role model, and applaud her enthusiasm for teaching and her
dedication to preparing our children for the 21st century.
The Westfield Public School District is now accepting applications for the
Preschool Program for the 2013 – 2014 school year. Located at Lincoln
School’s Early Childhood Learning Center, the integrated program, which
uses the Creative Curriculum for Preschool, is comprised of general
education students and students who have been found eligible for special
education. General education students will be selected for this program by
lottery. Preschool classes will meet Monday through Friday, from 8:45 to
11:15 a.m. for the 3 year old morning session and from 12:30 to 3:00 p.m.
for the 4 year old afternoon session. Applicants must be residents of
Westfield and three or four years of age before October 1, 2013.
Applications for the lottery are available on the Lincoln School’s
website at www.westfieldnjk12.org/lincoln . During school hours,
applications may also be obtained in person at Lincoln School, the Office
of Special Education Services and the main office of any of the elementary
schools in Westfield. All applications must be returned to Lincoln School
no later than 4:00 p.m. on March 20, 2013. The lottery drawing will be held
at Lincoln School, 728 Westfield Ave. on March 21, 2013, at 2:00 p.m.
Parents of applicants are welcome to attend but need not be present at the
drawing. All applicants will be notified of their acceptance status by
phone and mail. All children currently registered in our 3 year old program
do not need to take part in the lottery. They will automatically be
admitted with an updated application form. Children who are not selected
for the program will be placed on a waiting list. Special education
students are included in the Preschool Program as determined by the
District Child Study Team. Please check Lincoln’s website for the
tuition fee and other details or call Lincoln School at (908) 789-4455.
The Westfield Public Schools are celebrating the nationally acclaimed
Youth Art Month with colorful and creative displays throughout the downtown
area. Paintings, drawings, sculpture, and painted furniture designed by
approximately 300 students from Westfield’s ten public schools are
displayed by 40 downtown merchants as well as The Westfield Memorial
Library and the RMC Studios in Garwood, who volunteered their window or
display space for the month of March.
The public is invited to the school musicals scheduled for this month. At
Roosevelt Intermediate School, on March 8 & 9 - Seussical the Musical will
be performed at 7:30 PM, and on March 10 @ 2 PM. At Westfield High School,
the musical, Bat Boy, will be performed on March 14, 15 & 16 @ WHS, 7:30
WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL
On February 27, the Westfield High School PTSO held an informative parent
meeting to discuss the responsibilities and possible liabilities and
consequences of unintentionally or intentionally hosting underage drinking
in one’s home. PTSO Co-President, Ingrid McKinley, provided a
fact-filled Powerpoint that set the framework for the evening’s
discussion. Prepared questions by PTSO Board members as well as open
questions from the parents in the audience were addressed by a panel of 7
experts that included: Peter Renwick, Principal; Sandy Mamary,Athletic
Director; Maureen Mazzarese, Coordinator of Counseling K-12; Westfield
Police Chief, David Wayman; Lieutenant John Ricerca of the Juvenile Bureau
of the Westfield Police Department; Tony Prieto, Westfield Town Prosecutor;
and Daniel Sloan, Personal Injury and Criminal Defense attorney. In
addition to discussions on laws and school regulations that evening,
information on insurance liabilities was provided in the Powerpoint which
is available on the WHS-PTSO website at www.westfieldnjk12.org/whsptso
Scroll down to the WHS PTSO News Section.
The Special Education Parent Committee will once again host the Awareness
Expo at Edison Intermediate School from 7 to 10 PM on Wednesday, March 21.
Details on the list of presenters are available on the PTC Special Ed
website and will be announced in the local media.
STEM Day was held on February 28 with an array of activities as well as
guest speakers. Here are just a few examples: Franklin School tackled
oil-spill containment; Roosevelt Intermediate’s 8th grade students worked
as one whole class unit to use circuitry science in various contexts; and
Edison Intermediate School designed life-saving floatation devices. At
Westfield High School students worked on mousetrap-powered cars, soda
bottle bioreactors, rollercoaster physics, bridge dynamics and many other
applied science activities. In addition to design activities, guest
speakers from university and corporate backgrounds presented on cryogenics,
medical practice and physics. The STEM Committee will meet in two weeks to
debrief on the day’s activities and to discuss moving the district from
awareness to ongoing integrated implementation.
April 1 is the deadline for nominations for the 21st annual Charles
Philhower Fellowship award designated for a full-time elementary teacher in
the Westfield Public Schools. Letters of nomination are invited from
interested citizens, parents, students and Westfield public school staff
members and should be addressed to: Charles Philhower Fellowship Committee
of the Westfield Rotary Club, c/o Office of the Superintendent of Schools,
302 Elm Street, Westfield, NJ 07090, or e-mailed to
email@example.com. Nominations should specify ways in
which the teacher has demonstrated outstanding teaching, interest in
children and continued pursuit of professional growth. The teacher must be
a full-time faculty member in grades K – 5 in the Westfield Public
Schools for a minimum of five years. The Fellowship recipient will be
honored at a Rotary luncheon and at a Westfield Board of Education meeting,
both scheduled for May 7, and will receive a Rotary grant to further
professional growth or to enhance classroom activities for students.
NEXT BOARD of Education meetings will be held Tuesday, March 19 and
Thursday, March 21. The March 21 date will be the Public Hearing on the
2013-2014 school budget.
Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools