Parent and taxpayer response

JUST SAY WHEN ...TO ANYONE SAYING YOU HAVE NO SAY IN YOUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION. We are Citizens for Public School Education. We are Board Watchers. We want a Board of Education that follows the Law, because following the Law works for everyone. The purpose of this site is to help close the controversial Achievement Gap that is the subject in many educational arenas. Teachers are invaluable when dedicated individuals and are entrusted to encourage, nurture, and teach each child to achieve to the best of his/her individual abilities. Principals, Superintendents, Business Administrators, Support Staff, School Board Members, Attorneys and everyone else in the district must be dedicated to making certain that teachers have whatever they need in order to perform at their best. Teachers must be willing to go the extra mile like millions have done before them. This blog promotes an active, accurate & objective telling of history that includes ALL cultures and their literary, cultural and historical contributions to building America. We are Board Watchers.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Highlights: Englewood Board of Education Meeting August 18, 2011

The meeting started at 6:30. I arrived late, others in our group were in attendance since the beginning. The board had taken a break in order to go across the street and inspect the work on Winton White Stadium.We sat with a 30 page agenda wondering how we were ever going to get through all of the items. One board member was absent. Dr. Carlisle's Superintendent's report was shortened slightly. He omitted the section where he is usually unfriendly to the public. He gave an update on the work beneath Winton White Stadiuim. Richard Bennett, supervisor of the stadium project was introduced.

Beneath the Stadium
7,200 square feet of useable space.
Wetlands: This lush green
area  will  soon be
4 locker rooms for multiple team sports,
Offices for Coaches and  trainers
An autonomous room independent of rest of the building.
An independent training room.
A first aid room,
A snack bar
A press box in the stands to facilitate filming of games
The facility is supposedly 80% complete. He spoke of a shortage of materials as a reason for apparent delays. It seems they were keeping us on a need to know basis with this project. When my grandchild complains of not having paper and books, I need to know. How about you? Thank your luck stars that there is no 3 tier parking garage.

Singapore Math Training & The Responsive Classroom
Driven by Data: A Practical Guide to Improve InstructionDr. Carlisle spoke briefly about the Singapore Math program and invited parents and community members to attend the next training session to be held 8/29 - 9/2. This link contains important information for parents who might want to help kids keep up at home. It is intended for homeschooling parents. He introduced Lisa Finn Bruce and referred to her as his partner. She talked about The Responsive Classroom Program. She mentioned social interaction of students, a morning meeting, encouraging positive teacher language and a positive approach to student discipline. We have included links to the Responsive Classroom site in other posts, click here to visit.  Become familiar with the site. It contains information that will  help you understand what is going on in your child's school.

The Reading Assignment
Dr. Carlisle gave the school board a reading assignment. Driven By Data.  He gave each board member a copy of the book to read. (I wonder who paid for the books. At least one remained on the table when the BOE adjourned and left the room.) Just in case they were not sufficiently insulted, I was insulted for them. He continues to train the Board of Education. They continue to ignore the fact that they are required by state law to have one of the school board members be a liasion to the New Jersey School Board Association. This is where they are required by law to get their training, not from a CE Chief School Administrator who needs a mentor simply to function in the position he holds. Why is the BOE allowing this? Why was this book presented to them in the public meeting? What is he trying to say to us? Don't get me wrong, the book seems like a good reference for teachers, principals and even Superintendents. The fact remains that the school board members are systematically resisting the New Jersey School Board training that is mandated by state law. This book is clearly NOT a training manual for school board members. It makes a good resource for Dr. Carlisle.

Containing the Children -
Dr. Carlisle spoke of a fence being down somewhere on the DMHS campus and how important it was to keep the kids in. It sounded rather like they were being imprisoned, so he said they were just being kept inside the fence. Funny, I've never thought of DMHS as being fenced in. That wide open front lawn gives the welcome appearance of an open campus. Motivate them with a challenging curriculum and teachers who care and they will be inspired to stay in without coersion.

Superintendent's office & Deans
It was announced that his office is now on the 2nd floor of DMHS and that there are now Deans. These Deans were described as quasi-administrators, which is problematic since the word administrator implies dominion over teachers. Real Administrators must have additional certifications. This is no surprise since only one of EPSD's staff members has been publicly identified as highly qualified. Teaneck was marked down on the QSAC because they have Teacher Deans. They are in no way considered administrators, quasi or otherwise. Oh, and I thought we already had hall monitors. I take it Englewood teachers are not assigned hall duty. Lucky, Lucky. More time for preparation?

Culinary Arts Program 
This course of study is not in the budget. A kitchen must be created in which the class will be taught. I am not saying that this should not be taught, but that the teacher must be certified and the course must be approved. So did anything get State approval yet? The Title must be approved by the state. The course and curriculum must also be approved. Where is the curriculum? Who is going to write it? Will there be a curriculum? The teacher that this program was tailor made for must also go back to school and earn the 30 credits towards the standard certification that is required. She has 2 years to accomplish this. The taxpayer is basically going to pay for the training of an unqualified person to become qualified to teach while the person is teaching our children. We hope that the district is going to put together a mentoring program to train this teacher as well as all of the other new hires that do not hold standard certifications. Parents, remember that NCLB allows you to  legally question the certification of your child's teacher without repraisal. It is way past time to ask questions. Do you have any questions?
Family and consumer sciences: Foods, nutrition and food science: This endorsement authorizes the holder to teach nutrition, individual and family food preparation, food science, managing time and resources related to food preparation, and exploration of careers in foods and nutrition related occupations.
6A:9-9.1 Authorizations – general - pages 124 - 125
Special Education & Alternative School
He alluded to  the fact that Special Education students were coming back to the district. Exactly what does this mean? He also said that they were moving right along with the Alternative School for middle school students. This school already has 16 students with 2 parents saying no to the idea. Has this school been approved by the state yet? State law says an Alternative School must be housed in a separate facility and have different staff and administrators than the regular school. It has very specific instructions for Alternative Education Programs. Has the program been approved by the state? Is our board of education leaving itself open to 16 lawsuits?
6A:16-9.1 Establishment of alternative education programs
6A:16-9.2 Program criteria
6A:16-9.3 Student placements

Spending the money
21 new hires were presented to the board of education. Dr. Carlisle made his same excuse about not being able to find African American teachers.This writer wonders where the money is coming from since these new hires were not included in the budget. They are also not included in the Master Schedule. It was August 18th. Surely the Master Schedule has already been made. The schedule is generally made in May or June. Where are all of these new teachers going? Approximately 35 teachers left at the end of the year. Those 35 were replaced long ago. These are extras. Where is the money coming from? Are they even needed?

The Threats Continue
To top it off  he threatened the new young teachers. He said that if anyone decided to take a job closer to home after accepting one in Englewood that  he would call the new Superintendent and tell what they did. Now was that necessary? Dr. Carlisle is known for making threats. The nurses spoke up for themselves at a meeting and at the next meeting he threatened to outsource nurses. This is an interesting almost Chief School Administrator we have here. We are losing state aid in order to keep him and pay him over CAP. He talked about an Assistant Superintendent search, but I see no evidence that a search is being conducted. I was impressed with only one new hire. He stayed until the board adjourned for private session. I shook his hand and thanked him for staying. "It is my duty to stay," he said.

East lawn of Grieco Elementary
directly across the street from
the proposed 4,100 sq. ft shed.
This is also a flood zone.

Invasion of the Wetlands
Dr. Carlisle spoke briefly about the planned maintenance shed to be constructed on the "Wetlands" in back of the Little League Field. We will hear more of this since the proposed location is within the flood zone as designated by the State. Check this list of flood areas in the City of Englewood. Durie Avenue Park is the location of Grieco Elementary school, which is in the midst of the flood zone. They have already constructed a massive building on green space in the middle of a flood zone. Now they are all set to destroy the most lush greenery in all of Englewood. I wonder how the Little League Sponsors will feel when they are informed of the fact that some of their customers are getting their basements flooded so the little ball players will have a bathroom in a maintenance shed? What ever happened to providing a high quality porta john? Little League Baseball is a seasonal sport. It rains all year long.

Privilege of the floor -
The public was given 30 minutes to speak. The time had been decided upon before the meeting.The board president limited the number of people who could speak to 10, giving each person 3 minutes on the clock. The first speaker was not an Englewood resident. She spoke on behalf of the JCC of Tenafly. The first 4 speakers spoke about this music program. Mr. Matthews questioned the feasibility of paying someone (friend of a board member) over $25,000.00 to find speakers who will speak for free during a lecture series. Ms. Matos wanted to know why the older buildings at Quarles are still not air conditioned. She also asked the board to help fund the After School Program. The author reminded them that each new hire with a CE or CEAS must be issued a provisional certificate within 20 days of this handshake and acceptance of employment. They were reminded that they must also have a mentoring program in place in order to train these novice teachers. The $26,000.00 sign at DMHS was questioned. The board was asked to reinstate the music program that was abolished by resolution years ago. This present board did not seem to have knowledge of any resolution regarding the music program.

It was after 1am when the board returned to the floor. Many of the items that included surpurfulous spending were removed from the agenda. These things were to be revisited at a later date. Mr. Stephen Brown surprised everyone by voting NO on the $26,000 sign at DMHS. I was impressed when he said that his answer would always be no. Glenn Garrison was visibly upset by the vote to table the vote on the sign. He suggested that the Academy was the only thing that they marketed about the Campus and that it should even have a different address than DMHS.

This author has noticed that McKay Park has 2 lovely Little
League Baseball fields. One is even rather modern in that it is
covered with state of the Art turf .
The one above is destined to be underwater more often
than now once the massive shed is constructed adjacent to it.