New Providence Board of Education Discusses District Enrollment
Wednesday, February 27, 2013 • 6:59am
NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - The Board of Education meeting, originally scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 28,
was rescheduled for Monday evening, Feb. 25, at the New Providence High/Middle School Media Center. All members were present, including William Dibble, Robert Dinerman, David Hasenkopf, Ira Krauss, Adam Smith, Susan Vogel and John Wolak.
Dr. David Miceli, superintendent, reported on district enrollment and kindergarten registration. Currently, enrollment at Roberts Elementary School is 649 students, enrollment at Salt Brook Elementary School is 650 students, enrollment at New Providence Middle School is 356 students and enrollment at New Providence High School is 617 students. Forty-two students are enrolled out of district, for a total of 2,314 students. Kindergarten registration for the District is scheduled for March 5.
In response to a general directive to move polling locations away from the public schools, it was reported that Borough Clerk Wendi Barry has submitted a letter to the BOE indicating that New Providence is proposing relocating all Borough polling locations to the Senior Center and the fire department.
Following Miceli’s report, Sandra M. Searing, director of Curriculum, Instruction and Supervision, led off a Curriculum Report on the student iPad program. During the first week of February, the high school hosted orientations sessions for parents, and issued to all juniors, sophomores and freshmen new 32 GB iPads, complete with many applications and software that tracks all software running on the notebooks. Searing explained that with the state's Core Curriculum Standards evolving and soon to be set, New Providence is redesigning its curriculum to include them.
The district undertook an extensive analysis of various platforms for use by the students, and determined that the iPad was the best tool to allow the district to align its Common Core Standards with the state standards. A goal of the iPad deployment is to insure that district students are college-ready and equipped with tools to allow them to be prepared for the workplace in future. Several department heads followed Searing in presenting how their departments are using the functionality of the iPads to provide varied learning tools and interactive capability for presentation and retrieval of information.
An added benefit of the iPads is the ability to have an online calendar/agenda and organize one’s notes,
annotating text, etc.
Principal Paul Casarico, Math Department Head Karen Gartner, Science Department Head Jon Keaney and History Department Head Byron Tracy all discussed how the iPads are used in their departments to include Common Core and enhance learning. Two students, who are current users of the iPads, demonstrated how the iPads facilitate note taking and organization, and schedule/agenda applications in their own personal use at school.
The board applauded the district and the high school faculty, staff and students for a very smooth and impressive rollout of iPads to over 450 students, and high school teachers.
In other business, a group of concerned elementary school parents voiced their dissatisfaction with class size in
some of the elementary school grades. At Salt Brook, several parents voiced concern specifically about the class sizes in the fourth grade classes, and it was noted that the sixth grade classes at Roberts School are also at or near capacity.
Parents asked the board and the superintendent to consider “creative solutions” to easing this high student-to-teacher ratio, noting that it could be agreed that class sizes of 26 and 27 students with one teacher is really too much to ask of teachers as well as a difficult situation for anyone to handle effectively. One mother noted that one section of 4th grade at Salt Brook has 17 ten-year-old boys in a class of 27 students, saying this really is not an ideal situation.
Both Miceli and Board President Wolak noted that they were aware of this situation and the concern on the part of the parents. They voiced their intention to continue discussion and investigation of the issue, working with the Principals of the elementary schools, Jeanne Maier of Salt Brook and Gina Hansen of Roberts, and it was understood that parents want to continue the dialogue about this issue until an acceptable solution can be reached and communicated to the parents.