Important Information from the Westfield Board of Education
Saturday, October 19, 2013 • 3:17pm
Synopsis of Board of Ed Meeting of Oct. 15:
I was truly overwhelmed at the Board meeting to receive so many good wishes
from colleagues, former and current Board members, and those who
represented parents and students in Westfield. As I accepted the award as
Union County Superintendent of the Year from Judith Rattner (President,
Union County Superintendents Roundtable) and Richard Bozza (the Executive
Director of the Association of New Jersey School Administrators), I made
it clear that I was accepting the honor on behalf of all the adults and
children who make this school district a success. As a public school
district, we welcome every child. We want every one of them to reach his
or her highest potential – from those with unbelievable strengths to
those who are specially challenged. Over 99% of the class of 2013
graduated, and over 95% are furthering their education – most enrolled at
4-year colleges and universities. Our students succeed with the help of
adults who support them. I am among many of them, and I am grateful to be
part of the Westfield team.
NOVEMBER 5TH BOND REFERENDUM UPDATE
Business Administrator Dana Sullivan presented a Bond Update to the Board,
reiterating the tax advantage to Westfield residents of the November 5th
replacement bond proposal. Approval of the referendum results in Westfield
receiving approximately $2.7 million in state aid, resulting in a $2.7
reduction in tax obligation to local taxpayers. If the November referendum
is not approved, the roofs will still be repaired -- but without state aid
and at no reduction in taxes, and the previously passed referendum
(December 2012) will remain in effect. As part of Mrs. Sullivan’s
presentation, the sample referendum ballot was shown on a slide to prepare
Westfield residents for what they will see in the voting booth on November
5. Although the wording is quite long, the essence of the ballot is to
“obtain financial aid from the State. . .this bond proposal will
supersede the bond proposal approved by the voters on December 11, 2012.”
Mrs. Leiz reminded us that the school bond referendum will appear as the
third public question on the ballot on November 5.
Mrs. Sullivan announced that on Wednesday, October 30, from 7 – 8 PM, she
and I will be at Roosevelt Intermediate School’s cafeteria meeting room
(301 Clark Street) to meet with the public to provide information and
answer questions regarding the bond.
ANNUAL WEEKS OF RESPECT & VIOLENCE AWARENESS
The Westfield Public School district’s Code of Conduct is based on
respect for self, respect for others and respect for community. The state
proclaimed October 7 - 11 Week of Respect and October 21 – 25 Violence
Awareness Week in the public schools. We provide guidance, programs and
training throughout the year to emphasize the importance of respect.
I invited one of our students, 9th grader Alexandra Jackman to our October
15 Board of Ed meeting to share her efforts in promoting respect,
particularly in regard to autism awareness. Alex showed an excerpt from
her video, A Teens Guide to Autism, which she created as a Teddy Roosevelt
Scholar project while in 8th grade. Alex has been volunteering with special
needs individuals for four years. The video she created, which is
available at http://youtu.be/p9-l19CKISg, is a revealing, informative,
sensitive, and extremely well done view into the life of those with autism
and how others react to them. It is a fine example of respect for others.
The New Jersey DOE requires a report twice a year on Violence, Vandalism
and Substance Abuse as well as Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB).
Also required are very specific numbers based on definitions that are
consistent for all public schools in New Jersey. During the period of
January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013, the district reported the following: 17
Violence, Vandalism and Substance Abuse and HIB incidents of which 19
students received short-term suspensions and one police action taken; 45
investigations into HIB, with 6 confirmed cases. During our HIB
investigations, an incident is judged based on the Anti-Bullying Bill of
Rights. The investigation is conducted by an Anti-Bullying Specialist. The
school’s principal reviews the investigation and makes a determination.
That determination is sent to me; I review the report and meet with the
Board of Education. The Board votes on my recommendation and parents are
notified of the outcome. It is a very thorough process. Each school has
one or more anti-bullying specialists and there is a district anti-bullying
coordinator appointed each year. We undergo a lot of training in the
process, and we continue our efforts in this important area.
Dana Sullivan reported that 100% of the base layer of roof is installed at
the High School. About 50% of the cap sheet is installed and the remaining
cap sheet is scheduled to be installed by the end of October.
The Board approved for second reading policy 0155 – Board Committees
CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAM
Paul Pineiro, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction & Program
(CIP), presented a Curriculum Update. He explained that our curricula
undergo a five-year renewal plan, which encompasses 236 curricula in 13
content areas. The plan represents the blueprint and foundation for
delivery of instruction in the district and provides a roadmap for each
course. Considerations such as changes in state and national standards,
state assessment practices, new technologies and innovations, and
compliance with requirements of state and federal monitoring are taken into
consideration during the periodic reviews. The district’s Instructional
Council reviews elements of the draft curriculum guide. Mr. Pineiro and
the Board of Education’s CIP Committee are updated on the effectiveness
of new curriculum. Data is gathered to measure the effectiveness of the new
curriculum’s implementation. Many resources to helpful links are
provided to help ensure careful alignment of the curriculum to the most
up-to-date standards, all to benefit the quality of instruction in the
The Board approved the 2013-2014 Nursing Plan and several field trips for
Finance Chair Mark Friedman reminded the public that absentee ballot
information is available at
The application for the ballot must be received by the County Clerk not
later than 7 days prior to the election (October 29).
Further information is available at www.westfieldnjk12.org/novbond
The Board gratefully accepted from the Westfield Coalition for the Arts a
gift of $150 to McKinley School for a guest conductor to spend a day
rehearsing with the 5th grade chorus.
Rosanne Kurstedt reminded the public of the Education Fund’s annual
ROCKTOBERFEST at the Crossroads, 78 North Avenue in Garwood on Saturday,
October 19, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Three different bands will perform
(including some teachers who are band members) as funds are raised to grant
requests for classroom enhancements to our schools. You can purchase your
tickets at www.westfieldnj.com/edfund or at the door.
Ginny Leiz reported that she attended the Union County Educational Services
NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING - Tuesday, November 12.
PLEASE MARK THESE DATES:
Wednesday, October 30, from 7 – 8 PM, at Roosevelt Intermediate
School’s cafeteria meeting room (301 Clark Street. Mrs. Sullivan and I
will be on hand to provide information and answer questions regarding the
Please remember to vote on Tuesday, November 5. Information on the school
bond “replacement” referendum is at www.westfieldnjk12.org/novbond.
Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools