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Westfield Board of Education Discusses Service Animals, Curriculum Updates

Alexandria Addesso

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 • 10:44pm

WESTFIELD, NJ -- Approval for the first readings of new policies and new curricula were discussed at the brief Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night.

Three new policies pertaining to the utilization of service animals were discussed. Each of the three individually pertained to teaching staff, support staff and pupils, respectively. The use of service animals was initially suggested by a student in the district, but at the possibility of teachers and staff also showing interest the two other policies were added.

“We morphed the policy to fit those interests as well,” said board member Gretchen Ohlig.

The person responsible for the use of a service animal--teacher,support staff or pupil’s parent--must execute the release of Liability and Agreement Governing the Use of a Service Animal. This limits the use of a trained service animal as a guide animal, hearing animal, assistance animal for someone who is mobily or health-impaired and/or a seizure response animal.

All service animals must meet the licensing requirements of Westfield and always display their proper tags. Also required are all up-to-date vaccinations and health records. The control requirements for the animal include always being on a leash except if the animal is “working," the animal must be fully controlled by the staff member or student and the animal must be as unobtrusive as possible. The animal must also follow public etiquette rules, such as not being able to sniff people, avoid excessive public grooming and not block aisles or passageways.

Also approved for a second reading was the updating of curricula in several courses in the subjects of social studies and world languages. Psychology through Film and Literature was one of the social studies courses discussed.

“This class seems very interesting,” said board member Rosanne Kurstedt. “The curricula needed to be changed to reflect current practices in the profession.”

At the high school level Italian III, III honors and IV honors were discussed for updates. Students taking Italian language courses showed such enthusiasm and excelled so much that some had suggested a foreign exchange program.

Although Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan’s usual reports were moved to the next board meeting, she did mention the state’s program observations from last June.

“Due to the fact of the holidays and that board members could not attend,” said Dolan, “we will be postponing those reports.”


Dolan mentioned that even though no major changes were needed according to the state’s evaluation, they did suggest different wording in some documents and accounting.

Changes in the already approved 2014-2015 school year calendar were brought up. Particularly mentioned was moving spring break to the week after Easter to accommodate those observing Passover, but changes will further be gauged at a future meeting.

The meeting was adjourned by 8:09 p.m. The next board meeting will be on Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at 302 Elm St.



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