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Madison School Board Hears Counseling Update

Liz Keill

Thursday, June 26, 2014 • 6:00am

MADISON, NJ – Brett Levine, supervisor of School Counseling, provided the Board of Education with an overview of the Class of 2014 at its meeting Tuesday night.

Levine described highlights of the past year, including college admission goals and multiple evening programs for parents--some for students with disabilities.

“In all, we had about 14 during the year, most than most nearby schools,” Levine said. “Our philosophy is to provide individualized information, more than advice. We meet with each student and look at his or her strengths.” Levine stressed the open door policy and “not letting bureaucracy get in the way.” The goal, he said, is to consider the social and emotional well being of the student.

The counselor also shared statistics regarding college applications, noting the importance of essays and SATs. For the class of 2014, he said, 78 percent of students submitted 10 or more applications. “It’s a big gamble, but you should put your hat in the ring,” he said of the admissions proces. Teachers provided 392 recommendations.

Of the graduating class, he said, 12 percent would attend two-year colleges and 84 percent, four-year colleges. The spectrum of colleges is broad, with 24 applying to County College of Morris, 26 to Montclair State University, 27 to the University of Delaware, four to Lehigh, Scranton or Villanova, and seven to Rutgers. Also represented were Amherst, Yale, Tufts,  Boston, Bucknell, Drew and Skidmore. Some students applied as far away as Wisconsin, Alabama and Arizona. Syracuse and the University of Vermont were also represented. Internationally, Montreal, McGilll and the University of Rome were on the list, as well as Annapolis and West Point. The high school arranged for 200 college conferences with students.

“We’re working on readiness and awareness from K-12,” he said. In addition to academic strengths, social and emotional growth is encouraged. The mission statement focuses on upstanding character, performing at the highest level and becoming responsible in society.

In terms of AP scores and rankings, Levine, said, “The school speaks for itself.”

In other matters, resident Steve Wells asked about stipends and the disparity between sports and other extracurricular activities. Board President Lisa Ellis said, “We don’t have the freedom to negotiate a position.”

Resident Tom Pescula said he would like to develop a Spanish language after school offering. He will follow up with Director of Curriculum Matthew Mingle.

The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22.

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