The Board approved for first reading a revised calendar for the 2014-2015 school year. After the November 12 Board of Education meeting in which the calendar was approved for first reading, we received feedback from parents, the high school administration, and members of the Parent Teacher Council (PTC). It was suggested that we move the majority of spring break after Easter, starting with Good Friday on April 3, 2015 through Friday, April 10. It allows for families to better celebrate Easter and Passover. It was also recommended that we move high school graduation to Tuesday, June 23, 2015, instead of Monday, June 22. In order to prepare for graduation, thousands of chairs are rented and set up the day prior to the event. It would be more economical and safer to set up on Monday than on Friday and over the weekend. The new calendar also helps with the schedule for final exams. Thank you to the parents and staff who provided input to the original proposal.
The Board approved for first reading the following policies: 3337 (Teaching Staff Members) – Service Animals; 4337 (Support Staff Members) – Service Animals; and 5337 (Pupils) – Service Animals. These policies resulted from a student who had a need for a service animal.
The Board affirmed my decision on 5 HIB incidents.
CURRICULUM, INSTRUCTION & PROGRAMS
The Board approved an overnight field trip for the Model UN club to participate in the Model UN annual conference.
The Board approved for first reading the following curricula: Social Studies – Psychology through Film and Literature; Personal and Financial Literacy. World Language – Italian III, Italian III Honors, Italian IV Honors, and Spanish 3, 4, and 5.
The district received a positive report from the NJDOE regarding its standard review of school funds that were disbursed through federal programs. We have received no financial penalty for any of the findings, since the recommendations were not substantive. We will review and address the findings and bring a final report to the Board.
The Board gratefully accepted a gift from the Westfield Coalition for the Arts of $6,735 to Edison Intermediate School Music Department for the purchase of 10 new cellos.
The Board approved a resolution to appoint Brown & Brown Metro, Florham Park, NJ, for professional insurance broker services. Finance Chair Mark Friedman explained that it is important to find the most competitive rates for our health insurance in particular.
Lucy Biegler attended the Washington PTO meeting at which teachers Elizabeth Reilly and Liz Martin presented for parents a sample of a very informative reading and writing workshop. Students participated in the workshop, which provided a very realistic view of what is being taught in the classrooms.
WESTFIELD HIGH SCHOOL
Congratulations to Hi’s Eye -- Westfield High School’s Student Newspaper.Once a finalist and now a winner, Hi’s Eye, our High School’s student-run weekly newspaper is one of only three in the country receiving the distinguished Pacemaker Award from the National School Press Association for newspapers of eight pages or less. The Pacemaker, which the National School Press Association launched in 1927, is judged and awarded based on coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design, photography, art and graphics. The other two winning high schools are from Ohio and California. In total, there were 350 submissions for Pacemakers nationwide. Hi’s Eye has been an integral part of Westfield High School since 1935. Current Advisers are Nicole Scimone and Rosemary DiBattista.
- Here is a wrap up of the fall season in athletics:
- Gymnastics won the sectional meet and placed 3rd in the entire state.
- Girls Cross Country finished 5th in the state and 3rd in the section.
- Boys Cross Country finished 2nd in the state and 2nd in the section. All three of these varsity teams won their Union County tournaments as well.
Congratulations to all of our student athletes on combining the challenges of academics with the rigor of athletics.
- Congratulations to 7 Westfield High School seniors who have signed a national letter of intent with universities to continue their dedication to academics and sports. Our student athletes include: Sarah Cronin – Girls Swimming, Brown University; Karli Sottung – Girls Soccer, US Naval Academy; Mary Randazzo – Girls Lacrosse - University of Massachusetts; Alexis Kardias – Girls Lacrosse, University of Southern California; Anna Tanji – Girls Lacrosse – College of the Holy Cross; Caroline Baldwin – Girls Swimming, University of North Carolina; and Michael Ionta - Baseball, St. Peter’s University. (This marks 13 consecutive years in which a WHS catcher has been accepted by a Division I university).
The entire student body at Edison Intermediate School in Westfield participated in Mix It Up Day on November 22, joining more than one million students across the country to help break down social barriers and to encourage an inclusive school community and learning environment. The day’s events included an assembly, teacher-facilitated discussion groups, and team building activities. Nationwide cafeterias are the focus of Mix It Up because that’s where a school’s social boundaries are most obvious. During Edison’s lunch periods, student leaders led games and conversation to encourage their classmates to move out of their comfort zone and sit with someone new. Students and staff alike commented on how the school-wide events encouraged unified and strengthened relationships throughout the building.
- On Saturday, December 7th at 7pm, the chorus from Franklin School will perform with the New Jersey Festival Orchestra at the Home for the Holidays concert, a seasonal stroll of timeless classics, sentimental wintertime favorites and symphonic melodies. The performance will be held at the Presbyterian Church in Westfield. For tickets and information go to www.njfestivalorchestra.org or call 908 232 9400. There is a special offer for all students K-12.
- School-wide and town-wide contests are underway to encourage service to the community. The contests are being hosted in coordination with the Westfield Municipal Alliance, WHS Dream Team, Westfield Public Schools Parent Teacher Council, Prevention Links, The Union County Department of Human Services, the Division of Planning, and the NJ Governor’ Council of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. There is a poster competition at the elementary level, a poetry contest at the intermediate level, and a public service announcement challenge for high schoolers. Flyers have been sent to the schools and information will be included in PTO newsletters prior to the December deadlines.
The Westfield Public Schools will be closed in commemoration of the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday and Friday, November 28th and 29th. There will be a four hour session on Wednesday, November 27th.
NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING - Tuesday, December 10.
May you enjoy a safe and happy holiday weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!
Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools