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.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

ATTENTION PARENTS: ARE YOU AWARE OF THE FACT THAT YOU MAY OPT OUT OF "STAR RENAISSANCE" TESTS?


DID YOU KNOW THAT YOUR CHILDREN ARE BEING TESTED IN KINDERGARTEN?
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THAT?
WHAT IS THE VALUE IN THAT?
WHAT DOES IT DO TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR FIRST GRADE?
YOU MUST BEGIN TO QUESTION SUCH THINGS. NEW MANDATED TESTING IS COMING, BUT THIS IS NOT PART OF IT. THIS SMACKS OF CHILD ABUSE. WHY STRESS OUT OUR CHILDREN AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE? OTHER DISTRICTS ARE NOT DOING THIS.

IS THIS ANOTHER WAY TO SEGREGATE THE CHILDREN BASED ON INFORMATION THAT THEY HAVE NOT EVEN BEEN TAUGHT? CHILDREN WHO DID NOT GO TO PRE-SCHOOL ARE BEING SHAFTED. SOME OF THESE KINDERGARTEN CHILDREN WERE DENIED PRESCHOOL. THINK ABOUT IT. STAR RENAISSANCE TESTING IN QUARLES SCHOOL SHOULD STOP. THE TEACHERS MUST BE GIVEN A CHANCE TO TEACH THEM SOMETHING FIRST. IS THIS TESTING DESIGNED TO TEST TEACHERS? THAT IS CRAP. THERE ARE MANY OTHER METHODS FOR DOING THAT.

PARENTS: BE AWARE OF THE FACT THAT YOU MAY OPT OUT OF STAR RENAISSANCE TESTING WITHOUT ANY PENALTY WHATSOEVER. TESTING OF CHILDREN PRIOR TO 3RD GRADE IS PURELY A DISTRICT INITIATIVE. IT IS A QUESTIONABLE DISTRICT INITIATIVE. THIS TESTING IS NOT MANDATORY. IT IS AN ILL PLANNED EXPERIMENT. WE ARE IN THE PETRY DISH AGAIN.

                                "HOW ARE THE CHILDREN?"

Monday, November 25, 2013

Calling All Student Filmmakers...!

President Obama has an assignment for you.

He would like to see your work in The White House.

Click the link below and find detailed instructions on how to
participate in the first ever White House Film Festival.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/filmfestival?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=email265-graphic&utm_campaign=filmfest

In the Absence of Equity...


Is there conflict of interest?


Recently, the President of our Parent Advisory Council questioned the lack of equity on Dwight Morrow High School Campus.

She asked the Board of Education again why
there is little or no equity on the campus.

She pointed out the fact that some Board Members
have been there long enough to understand how
the question should be answered.

There was silence.

Two Board members have been forbidden from voting
on any and all personnel issues. Our Board President
took credit for eliciting this Advisory Decision from
the School Ethics Commission. He said  that a parent 
had asked a question about "conflict of interest" during 
the Candidates forum.

5 Members of our Board of Education have children
who attend our Vocational & Technical Program
at the high school. 

Why is it not a conflict of interest for these same 5 Board Members
to vote on issues concerning the Vocational & Technical Program?

On Thursday, November 21, the Board voted unanimously to approve
5 field trips spending nearly $6,000.00 for students in the Vocational 
and Technical Program. No trips were presented or approved from 
students in our Comprehensive High School.

The little ones from Quarles were charged 11 bucks a head 
and they will be traveling to Paramus, NJ on a bus we own. 
So the district could not pay the $11 admission for the 55 pre-schoolers?

Oh, the price of gas, so exorbitant.

Equity is a Half Eaten Pie...!

And there are no more plates or chairs at the table...


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Where do we begin...?

I have not posted in a long while. I have been accused of only publishing negative stories and "gotcha" articles and information.

I stopped publishing. Writer's block set in and I started to question myself. That is over

                                                      How are the children?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

At Long Last....You Can't Miss This...

Goals and Objectives for the District...

For the Superintendent?

Important  Special Meeting October 3, 2013
Greico School
50 Durie Avenue

http://www.epsd.org/site_res_view_folder.aspx?id=980f01c7-1a90-43f1-b26a-9b1a544c6a93



Meanwhile.....

Does your child's teacher have a contract yet?




              How ARE the children?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Our Schools Are In Crisis: Degradation, Delta T and Mission One

 Monday, August 19, 2013, there will be a Special Meeting of the Englewood Board of
Education. 8 pm @ Grieco Elementary School.

It is extremely important to attend this meeting and witness how our School Board handles the question of approving or not approving another year of very expensive substandard service. 

Doesn't it just make one tingle all over to learn that our Board of Education had prior knowledge of the fact that the quality of services provided by

the "independent contractors" would not be of the same quality as from the outsourced employees.

 From northjersey.com
At Thursday’s meeting, Board Vice President Harley Ungar said, “We all expected a       degradation of quality” as a result of the outsourcing, but that the issue is to find out “how deep that degradation is.” - See more at:   
President Haughton accepts plaques
from the alumni class of 1963

 Degradation is the act of lowering something or someone to a less respected state. A president resigning from office is a degradation .

The "Outsourced" Secretaries, lunch aides, bus aides, and teacher aides were mostly women with families to support. A man who objects strongly to public employees forming unions found it deplorable that most of the workers were single women with children who had the nerve to have a union, tenure and medical benefits. He said this to me, a retired teacher who was a single parent and the member of a union. (It should be noted here that only the secretaries earned tenure)

Englewood Public School District  firmly embraces the concept of doing as they please regardless of the law. Click here and Read the law about paraprofessionals in Title I Districts signed January 16, 2010. 
1. The Legislature finds and declares that as school districts that 
receive federal funding under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. s.6301 et seq.) come under greater pressure to meet standards and demonstrate higher student performance, teachers in those districts are being forced to focus more on curriculum and student test preparation.  In response to this pressure, the paraprofessionals that assist teachers are assuming greater responsibility for supporting students in the classroom and the school environment. Paraprofessionals perform a critically important role in providing a thorough and efficient education to the State’s public school students. It is therefore fitting and proper to establish measures to enhance employment stability and promote professional development for these individuals..... 

Henry Pruitt works on his ipad
during a School Board Meeting?
Let us remember that 70% Free and Reduced Lunch Students do make a Title I School District. So There is instability and degradation here. 3rd graders must know how to type by the spring of 2014. They will be given a literacy test in varying forms on the computer. They should know the 10 Finger Typing Method by then. We need well trained Teacher's Aides.
why are we embracing a situation that was known to degrade the quality of services to our students? We are a Title I district.

We have instability. Deltat T, the Referral Company is paid $18.00 hour. The actual "independent Contractor" gets only $10 pr hr. The Referral Company pockets 8 bucks for every hour that each "Independent Contractor" works. Wow! The Referral Company gets almost half of
Mr. Henry Pruitt, do you know that
it is against the Open Public Meetings
Act to use your electronic
device while the meeting is in
session.
what the "independent contractor" makes.  Disgusting. The independent Contractor must now pay Social Security, State and Federal Income Taxes, out of that 10 bucks..What about healthcare? Persons working with our children should be healthy and stable. What are the chances of an Independent Contractor spreading a disease in one of our schools? This same "independent contractor" is not paid for vacation, sick days and no unemployment is taken out unless they arrange for it themselves. We have people working with our most vulnerable children that would fare better working for MacDonald's. We have unstable 
and unhappy people who may not even have passed a criminal 
background check. They have certainly not passed the praxis. 
We have instability..

Frequently asked questions about Paraprofessionals

After School Program
On August 8, 2013 we watched the School Board raise After School Fees for the people they just fired in 2012. They argued back and forth on this topic for almost an hour. All they had to do was change it right there by putting the slide back in the sliding scale. It was really embarrassing.

After questioning persons in other towns about the policy when charging parents with more than one child, we learned that the general practice is to reduce the price for each additional child.

Regular    $250.00 monthly per child
Reduced  $200.00 monthly per child
Free        $200.00 monthly per child

It was decided that the rates would be published this way and adjusted if the need arises. If you feel that the fee schedule above is out of your range make the call.   (201) 862-6254 
Click here for more information: Remember that the first month's fee is due at registration and is payable by money order only.

                                       How are the children?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Our Schools Are In Crisis...But...

Our Schools are in crisis, but there are a few good things happening. We have made some gains.

Englewood Tackling Waiting List For Pre - School  was the northjersey.com headline on Thursday, July 25, 2013. Some of us thought it was too good to be true and crossed our fingers.
Thursday, August 8, 2013 we were assured that the space had been found to allow more children than ever before to attend preschool.

It is a win-win for parents of Englewood preschoolers. It had been announced that at least 47 children might find themselves attending Quarles Early Childhood Development Center in September. At least 51 families across the City may now begin to put together uniforms for their preschoolers.

We embrace the uniform idea for Englewood students. We have also found online places where uniforms may be purchased wholesale. We encourage everyone to join the uniform initiative. Talk to other parent and compare prices. It might be a good idea to speak to parents of older children and begin to recycle uniforms kept in good condition.

Check your information packets from EPSD for uniform information.

Online Wholesale uniform Merchant sells bulk: (Check out the bulk rate..Little ones grow fast..The box includes more than one size.)


 My 16 year old granddaughter and I are preparing to sew the bottoms of the uniforms. We are using the sites for suggestions of style. She is interested in fashion and this is as good a place as any to start. She is excited at the prospect of sewing the uniforms of her little sister and brother.  Wish us luck. The machine has been collecting dust.


12th Annual Back-To-School Block Party


Saturday, July 27, 2013

On The Subject of Delta T

Rumor about town is that the referral Companies Delta T and Mission One have already called their employees and advised them that they will be returning to work in September. We realize that they may have been assured that this delay and subsequent evaluation is a mere formality to satisfy a minority of Board Members and some Community Members.

As a Community, we must all weigh in and ask that:

  • Criteria for Rehire of Delta T include some indication that our Board and Administration has higher Expectations for persons working with the Special Needs Children in the Englewood Public School District.
  • Please email the Board Members and ask that they require proof and documentation that each "independent contractor" has at least 60 college credits and has been certified by the Executive County Superintendent
  • Criminal Background Checks - They should also make sure that each "referral Agency" has been fingerprinted, vetted and cleared
  • The 2 items listed above shall have priority over the concept of whether the "outsourcing" saved a few dollars a head or NOT.


The one and most important thing that we must all remember and bring to the attention of our elected officials is that although Delta T is a vendor, they are not providing widgets or lawnmowers. They are providing "independent contractors" to work with our most vulnerable children. This means that Mark deMontagnac was right and it is a personnel issue. Some Board members do not wish to admit when they were wrong. It is very selfish of these people to continue to deal with Delta T as if they are vendors supplying inanimate objects for sale.

Board Members must be made to understand that we understand that these "independent contractors" must still be held to a standard. That standard includes the mandate that they have at least 60 credits and have a credential from the County Executive Superintendent. Otherwise we might as well get a few seniors in high school to do the job of babysitting. (Englewood may have abolished the title Paraprofessional, but the state has not)

They must also be vetted and pass a criminal background check prior to being hired and sent into our schools. We all know that this is not the case. Each person reading this post has a responsibility to write to our Board and demand that they ask Delta T for the Credentials of each "independent Contractor"

Left to their own devices, we all know they will deal with the idea of money alone. This last past Board meeting was the only Board meeting in the last 10 years that I have attended where the subject was education and achievement. It was refreshing. We all know that is because HP was not in attendance. Write the emails and letters to the board asking that they demand to see the credentials of every single "independent contractor." 

If they are not willing to do this they do not have the best interest of the children as priority and the district will continue to fail.


                                               " How are the children?"

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Apartheid Education is alive & Well: Final Exams Are Taking Place on Only One Side of the DMHS Campus

The Academy@Englewood Program is having Final Exams 

June 17 - 20. No Finals are being given in the North Building.

This means that only one half of the high school is being 

engaged in the academic process these last weeks of school 

before summer vacation. What is up with that? Final exams 

are not a punishment. They may be considered a 

preparation for college. Another thing, what type of 

preparation are today's 10th graders being given to prepare 

for the HSPA?


How do we get it across to these folks that bringing in a 

"best practice" to only one side of the campus is making the

achievement gap much wider? Oh, I forgot, there are some

folks who will welcome a designation of PRIORITY SCHOOL

 on our high school. They are still not getting the point that 

the entire campus is a focus school. They CAN YELL DMAE 

all they want, but DMHS is still a FOCUS SCHOOL and all of 

the teachers, administrators, students and parents are 

impacted by this designation. 


Another thing. now that the "equity and excellence" money is

all gone there are some serious problems in this district. I 

for one, take strong exception to my tax dollar being spent 

on a system of APARTHEID EDUCATION.



APARTHEID EDUCATIONAL PRACTICES MUST BE REJECTED 

IN THE ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT!

STAND AND GIVE EVERYTHING BUT UP!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Englewood School Board: 2013 - 2014

The Englewood School Board has been Re-Organized...
The feeling of enlightenment at the School Board meeting on Thursday, April 25th made me think of what "Juneteenth" must have been like those many years ago when the slaves were declared officially free. People were hugging each other and smiling as if released from shackles. There was no sliding against the wall afraid of hidden cameras recording every move. There was applause, courteous attention paid during privilege of the floor, happy laughter and the meeting ended before 10 pm. For the first time in over 10 years we are set on the right course. We started off the year in compliance with New Jersey law. We have a Delegate to the New Jersey School Boards Association. We even have a Delegate to the Bergen County School Boards Association. Now comes the really hard work. We need goals and objectives for the district that may be used to evaluate the Superintendent. We need a Superintendent with a contract that is in compliance with the statues of the State of New Jersey. We need an updated Policy Manual with codified policy. We also need a well-trained Board of Education that makes sure the school district is well ran.

Howard Haughton,
President
 I am a results-oriented Chief Financial Officer with more than 20 years of private and not-for-profit experience. I sit on various boards and have served Boards of Directors of Fortune 500 companies and not-for-profits. My professional and community-related experience uniquely qualifies me to serve our school district and ensure continuous improvement in educating our children, improving board governance and striking the right balance with the administration. I have been a resident of Bergen County for 40 years, of which 15 of my most recent years have been as a resident, homeowner and taxpayer of Englewood, NJ. My wife, Alicia and I have three children in the Englewood public schools. I have the distinct pleasure of serving as the president of an education fund that awards scholarships to students in Englewood and the surrounding areas. I believe in high standards – academically, socially and athletically. Every child may not excel in all three of these areas; however, our school district must provide our children with the tools and the unwavering support to excel in their pursuit of a craft, trade, profession or higher education. We must, and if elected, I will lead the charge to provide these tools and encourage achievement of these standards in a responsible, well-planned and intentional manner that is fiscally sound and that our community can support.  

Harley Ungar
Vice President
Harley Elizabeth Ungar is a 13 year Englewood resident and homeowner and the mother of three young children. She received a BA from Harvard University and an MBA from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management. For the past eight years, Harley has worked as a key staff member at Teach For America, the national non-profit organization focused on closing the academic achievement gap in public schools.  At TFA she has been involved with teacher selection and placement, fundraising, school leadership cultivation, and analyzing teacher effectiveness, "She recently worked on the publication of  A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn't in Providing an Excellent Education For All. Harley is passionate about educational equity and excellence, and is hoping to bring her management experience and relentless pursuit of results to our schools.

Junius "Jeff" Carter
My family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when I was 8 years old. I attended college at Tennessee State University and  graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. After college, I married my current wife, Alesia. We moved to Los Angeles, California where I was employed as an Electrical Engineer for The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. While in Los Angeles we had three boys, Junius IV, Edward and Malcolm.   After ten years in Los Angeles I made a career change to purchase a fast food restaurant (McDonald's) in 1992 and relocated to the New York/New Jersey area. We moved to Englewood in May of 1993 and became active participants in the community.
Over the last twenty years I have been very involved with the children of Englewood. On and off during that time I coached for the Englewood Junior Raiders youth football program.  Both my wife and I have been active participants in the Englewood schools from 1993 through 2006. We have been either individual PTO Chair persons or Co-Chairs for nine years or assisted the administrators, teachers, parents and students during other years. We have worked to enhance the educational experience of students at both Cleveland Elementary School and Janis E. Dismus Middle School. My wife and I have always stressed the value of education to our boys.

Molly Craig-Berry
I believe that I am able to offer the professional skills, personal experiences and relevant leadership that are required to continue to move The Englewood Board of Education mission forward. Being a resident of Englewood for 14 years made me realize we need to improve where our children are on the education ladder. We can do so by providing resources that are appropriate for student needs, and provide varied educational options that work for all families and students. We have to invest in quality instruction, meaningful activities, student involvement, and social participation in order to bring about success for our children and community. We need to operate efficiently in order to provide these resources during these economically challenging times. For the past six years, I have managed an independent Graphic Design business. As an involved parent I work for my children and for all the children of our community to continue to have services from our city and schools and to utilize them.


Mark DeMontagnac
Mr. DeMontagnac is a 16 year  Englewood resident and homeowner and the father of 3 children: a son enrolled at Janis Dismus, a daughter at McCloud, and a 4 year old starting Quarles in the fall. Mark holds a BS degree in Construction Management from Syracuse University and has over 26 years of construction experience. Mark currently works for the NYC School Construction Authority where he is actively involved in the city's current $9.3 billion new and capital improvement school plan. he volunteers as the Assistant Scout Master of Boy Scout Troop #28 and is an assistant coach for the Englewood Little League. Mark would be instrumental in oversight of necessary capital improvements in our schools, helping to generate considerable savings in renovation and maintenance 

I have been a resident of Englewood for 44 years. My son and daughter attended the Englewood Public Schools and graduated from DMHS.  I retired from the EPSD in 2010. The last 31 years of my teaching career were in the Englewood Public School System. My classroom experience was in regular education and special education. The last 10 years I served as the Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant on the Child Study Team.

Carol Feinstein
While working for EPSD, I served as the President of the Englewood Teachers Association. Outside of the schools, I have trained at the Kettering Foundation, (a non-partisan, non-profit organization that works to increase civic engagement to reveal how communities work and change.) I trained and facilitated sessions for the Harwood Institute, who conduct Town Hall meetings to find grassroots solutions for communities to get more involved in their schools. I served on the NJ Supreme Court District Fee Arbitration Committee for 5 years. In terms of community involvement, I serve as a Commissioner on the Englewood Housing Authority and was on The Englewood City Council. Currently I am a Field Representative for NJEA in Region 15 Cranford, NJ. 

Providing education to all students that meets their unique needs is a priority for me as a Board Of Education member. Providing the tools that the staff needs to provide that education is another goal. The involvement of parents is crucial and they need to feel welcome in the school community. The Board of Education needs to be more proactive and less reactive. 


George Garrison III
Mr. Garrison is a 16 year resident and homeowner. He has four children attending the Englewood public schools. George is a Governor's Scholar and graduate of the Plainfield, NJ public schools and Howard University's School of Engineering. George, an Insurance Consultant, manages the Medicare Department for NYC's largest healthcare provider. He is an Englewood Jr. Raider football coach and a volunteer with Aging in America, where he offers his expertise and guidance to assist seniors in our area. George is the current President of the Englewood Board of Education and Chairman of the Budget Committee. As Board President, George oversaw the board's passage of the budget for the 2011 - 2012 school year with a 0% increase to the tax levy, while not cutting jobs or programs. A committed and invested leader, George remains eager to continue to raise the bar for academic excellence while maintaining fiscal responsibility.



Devry Pazant
Devry Pazant grew up in Teaneck. He has lived in Englewood for the last 10 years with his wife, Marsha, and their daughters Chloe and Kyra. Chloe graduated from the Acadmies at Englewood and is now a senior majoring in journalism at William Paterson University. Kyra is in the eighth grade at Janis E. Dismus Middle School.

After graduating from Virginia State with a BA in political science, Devry was the District Executive of The Boy Scouts of America where he focused on training. fundraising and membership. Devry has more than 25 years of banking experience and is currently a vice president and branch manager at TD Bank.

Devry is a dedicated volunteer who is committed to serving his community.  He is a Trustee at Community Baptist Church. He is on the Board of Directors for the Community Chest of Englewood-Tenafly and Vicinity, on the Board of Directors of Bergen PAC and a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Hackensack Rotary.

Devry is committed to improving education in Englewood by fostering communication between parents and the school board, enhancing the relationship between teachers, parents and the board, as well as using his financial expertise and advocacy efforts to optimize Englewood's school system for every child in every classroom.

Henry Pruitt III

I have chosen to seek a third term to serve the students and citizens of Englewood as an active member of the School Board. My wife and I have been Englewood homeowners for over 20 years, and all three of our children went through the Englewood Schools. My wife, Tracey, is a graduate of DMHS, and is very active with the PTOs. As a technology executive, I managed multi million dollar budgets, led global teams, and made tough tradeoffs to deliver on goals with limited budgets. This experience highlighted the value of education and the need to prepare our children to be successful in a global workforce. I frequently attend conferences and seek out opportunities to learn more about better utilizing technology to improve education and reduce the Achievement Gap. I made several significant contributions to improve education over the past six years and served as President, VP, and head of several committees. We improved accountability, raised academic standards, enhanced educational programs, and changed the culture of our schools. We also upgraded our facilities, by building Grieco, doubling the size of McCloud, installing a new football field, and are currently in the process of moving our district offices and Eagle programs out of the Liberty school. This was accomplished with two years of a 0 percent increase in the tax levy, and a proposed 1 percent increase this year. During my next term, I plan on continuing to work collaboratively with the district administration, teachers and the community to further enhance the education of all our children.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Our Schools Are In Crisis: Assess Where we are: Put the Train Back on the Track with a Destination...

The proposed Mission and Vision statements below were created with the input of Englewood public School Administrators and Teachers. We would now like to solicit input from the community.

Please read the statements below. If you would like to make a suggestion or comment, please email them to Rosandra Cece.

• The mission of the Englewood Public School District is to provide educational excellence in a safe, engaging, and challenging learning environment that empowers all students to demonstrate mastery in the Common Core State Standards at all grade levels.

• The vision of the Englewood Public School district is to provide life-long learning that yields success and creates and environment in which students are able to integrate information and learning that will prepare them with vital 21st Century and career skills.  

(Taken from the Englewood Public School District website. http://www.epsd.org

*******************************************************************************
We already pay these people to help. The New Jersey School Boards Association. They are under utilized by the school district. Perhaps as we learn more, we will be able to steer our Board Members to information outside of the district. We cannot continue to use the same old ineffective strategies that have historically failed us and our children.

Even more information is available from the National School  Boards Association.

My 2 cents...We must know where we are before we may go anywhere... Assessments must be made...

I am not impressed. Mission statements should include measurable objectives. What is mastery? Have you checked out how broad the Common Core State Standards are? The average parent/community member knows nothing about the Common Core State Standards and that they are not as vigorous as what we had before in the NJCCCS. (New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards) Did our Governor accept the Common Core to get the dollars attached? Does anyone else remember that he was highly resistant in the beginninG? Common Core State Standards are more general and were created to insure that all states have a similar road map to follow. It is what each state decides to do with these very general benchmarks that makes a difference. Individual School Districts have a great deal of freedom when writing the curriculum that incorporates the standards. That is of utmost importance. How do the Common Core State Standards look in the classroom? That is what really matters.

In order to make an informed statement about that Mission Statement, a parent must have knowledge of the extremely broad based Common Core. Also, to even include that means that one is pandering to the creators and supporters of the Common Core.

Take a look at some sample Mission Statements from around the Country. You will note that not one school mentions the Common Core. What is the purpose in that? To coin a phrase from a movie, "the core is more like guidelines", if a school was involved in delivering the pertinent information all along, it is not necessary to pander thus. I call it lazy. Is that laziness trickling down to our students? 
http://www.missionstatements.com/school_mission_statements.html


The sample Mission Statement below is a bit overlong, but it reminds me of something that Englewood should embrace if the school leaders are truly interested in bringing about change. This does not take Rocket Science. We assess the real problems in the district. We know that our high school has been designated a FOCUS School. (contrary to what most folks think, this is a national designation. The states just give the schools the unwelcome tag.) We know the dangers of this school becoming a PRIORITY School.

We also know that the problems that have caused the school to be so designated did NOT begin in the high school. Problems just become bigger and more noticeable when students step onto a campus strangled by apartheid educational practices. These Practices begin in the 3rd grade with the Ivy Program. Every child in the District must be held to the same high EXPECTATIONS as Ivy students. A lot of talk has gone on about the Asian population out distancing everyone else in the district in terms of achievement. Let us just say for the sake of this argument, we conduct a study/survey without School Choice Students.
  • Is there a common denominator among children who all live in Englewood? For instance, do children who attended preschool have higher literacy and math skills? 
  • Do children who attend preschool fare better on standardized tests? 
  • Are the low income students who are traditionally shut out of preschool in Englewood scoring lower in Math and Literacy?
  • Do students who read before 1st grade maintain an advantage throughout school life?
  • Do Ivy Students score higher on tests in 8th grade and 11th grades? 
  • Are Ivy students better students than non-Ivy? Do they score higher on the SAT?
  • Do Dual Language students fare better on tests? 
  • Do "Point of Entry" students who are involved in the Dual Language program fare better on tests than those who are not in this program?
  • Do houses named for Ivy League schools inspire students to achieve? Is this model working? 
  • How closely does this middle school model adhere to the suggestions given by the highly successful  retired Blue Ribbon Principal who was paid $600 per day as a consultant?
  • Are all students accepted into the Academy up to the vigorous standards? How vigorous are those standards? Should admission to the Academy be changed to reflect admission criteria of successful Academies across the state?
  • Will a strong Campus inclusive Student Government improve student relations in the high school?
  • Does the current configuration of the entire district in terms of where each grade level attends school affect student learning and achievement? Is it time to reverse this model to perhaps:
  • Pre k Quarles (then maybe that pretend lottery may be thrown away and all Englewood eligible children may take advantage of preschool.)
  • K- 2 Grieco
  • 3 - 5 McCloud
  • 6 - 8 Middle
  • 9 -12 HS 
Is it time to call the Referendum experiment a failure and move on? Are we forever flying a plane as we build it?

A Mission Statement is a giant waste of time when elements of it cannot be integrated into the daily lives of students, teachers, staff, and administrators in the school district. It is meaningless to throw together a set of aspirations/words that will never be dealt with ever again. The Goals and Objectives for the district on which the Superintendent's Annual Evaluation is based should grow out of the Mission and Vision Statements. That is, in Districts designed to work.
"Mission Statement: The multi-ethnic community, parents, business partners, administrators, students, and staff work together to create an academic, physical, emotional, social, and safe environment where everyone can learn and respect one another. We care about ourselves and others to create, support and maintain powerful, engaged learning in the Arts and Sciences. We dare to use innovative techniques to enhance life long learning through technology, the multiple intelligences, varied instructional strategies, and interdisciplinary units. We share our cultural backgrounds to nurture growth responsibility, and productivity by celebrating our diversity within a positive school-wide atmosphere and by promoting sportsmanship, school spirit, and pride in ourselves through our daily studies and our educational accomplishments. href="http://www.missionstatements.com/school_mission_statements.html
101 Elementary School Mission Statements
Vision And Mission
A Mission Statement is a reference point or a reminder. It helps teachers and school leaders stay on track so they are always cognizant of where they are going... Administrators and faculty across the country are making an effort to design a creed that identifies the goals, policies, and aspirations their school communities seek to achieve...
 "We do refer to the mission and belief statements when we are discussing or debating programs and decisions," says Toy. "Our school organization tends to reflect our mission and belief statements. I have it posted in my office to remind me of the context for the many issues and decisions I work through each day." http://www.educationworld.com/a_admin/admin/admin229.shtml
Look at our/Englewood's proposed Mission Statement again. What did you learn about where the district is going? Did you learn anything about the makeup of the district? Did you learn anything about the challenges that have been identified? 

Check out Lake View Public School's Mission Statement and Vision Statements and the integration of Wayne State University. They both appear to have been written with real live people in mind.

BELIEF STATEMENTS: SOUTH SEVIER MIDDLE SCHOOLSEVIER SCHOOL DISTRICT

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/107042/chapters/Developing-a-Vision-and-a-Mission.aspx
  • We have our Mission and Vision Statements. 
  • Our Long Range District Goals and Objectives grow out of and are reflected in these statements. 
  • Then we have have our short term goals and objectives for the district. (yearly)
  • Then we/Principals School Leaders have goals and objectives for each school for each school year.
  • Then the Teacher must have goals and objectives for each course, each unit, each lesson
All of this ties together. If not, the train will forever remain wrapped around that mountain of no direction and the district goes nowhere. Hello Mission Control, we have stagnation.

Sample Vision Statements for School Districts:  This link includes some very good sample Mission and Vision statements that only require the names of the schools be inserted. Note the language in both the Mission and Vision Statements. These statements are about real people, real children and include desires that may be measured by simply looking at how the school population achieves academically, interact socially with each other, faculty, administration and the community at large. The writers have embraced and agreed upon what they think students should be able to do when they emerge from their schools. http://www.cadott.k12.wi.us/blog/MrZBlog/Vision-Mission%20Examples.pdf

I used to tell the 9th graders that came into my classes that they were there to be changed, because growing up is all about change. Where do we go from here?  We have not embraced a destination. We have not even assessed where we are. We have been disingenuous with ourselves. What is up with that? Is stagnation the super objective? Okay, there it is, my 2 cents as a Community person and a grandparent of 3 children who must attend Englewood Schools.

                                             How are the children?

                                      

Friday, May 3, 2013

ATTENTION...ATTENTION!!! Scholarships Available!

Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) Scholarship Fund
Deadline to apply: May 31, 2013
The Shawn Carter (Jay-Z) Scholarship Fund offers scholarship 
opportunities to any under-served student across the United States Please share.

Scholarship Notification Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation APPLICATION 


DEADLINE is May 31, 2013 Eligibility Requirements Qualified applicants must be a high school senior, college student, and/or between the ages of 18-25, pursuing studies at a vocational or trade school. 

All applicants must be a US Citizen and complete the on-line application no later than the published deadline date, which is May 31, 2013. The Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation is unique in that it offers scholarships to single mothers, children who attend alternative schools, students who have earned a GED, students with grade point averages of 2.0 and students who have previously been incarcerated, etc. but desire a higher educational opportunity. This group is generally not the recipients of college and is typically ignored by the Board of Education. The Shawn Carter Foundation offers scholarship opportunities to any under-served student across the United States who desires a higher education. 

One of the key questions asked by the Foundation when students apply for a scholarship is: What are your plans to give back to the community?. 

CLICK LINK TO APPLY TODAY!!! 
http://www.shawncartersf.com/apply/ 


This scholarship is open to the public.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Reorganizing the Englewood Board of Education

The Climate:
The feeling of enlightenment at Thursday night's School Board Meeting made me think of what Juneteenth must have been like those many years ago when the slaves were declared officially free. People were hugging each other and smiling as if released from shackles. There was no sliding against the wall afraid of hidden cameras recording every move. There was applause, courteous attention paid during privilege of the floor, happy laughter and the meeting ended before 10 pm. It is hoped that the meetings lasting until 2 and 3 am are a thing of the past. My old Supervisor used to joke that the average person has no more than 2 hours of meeting time in his/her brain and when that is over they shut down. It has been suggested that the Board begin to have workshop meetings for the hashing out and another meeting where action will be taken. This is said to have shortened meetings in other districts.

Positives: Organizing the Board of Education

  1. This was the first time that each resident actually got a signed certificate certifying the election before the swearing in of the new Board members. Last year, the Community objected to the swearing in ceremony that took place before the election was certified and we never saw a certification document.
  2. Thursday night's reorganization events were very different. After each new Board Member was sworn in there was thunderous applause and standing ovations. I have not seen the Residents of Englewood so happy to welcome new members to the School Board. (The meeting was not just attended by 4th Ward Residents.) There were a lot of items to be voted on, that did not appear on the Reorganization agendas the last 2 years. One wonders about the reasons behind that.
  3. Howard Haughton was unanimously elected President of the Board and Harley Ungar was elected Vice President. Haughton took charge of the meeting and  proceeded quite differently than Presidents in the recent past.
  4. This was also the first time in over 10 years that a Delegate to the New Jersey School Boards Association was selected. Devry Pazant is the Delegate to NJSBA. It will be good to hear the report on the activities of the Delegate Assembly which will be held on May 18th of this year.
  5. It was the first time that a Delegate was also selected for the Bergen County School Boards Association.  George Garrison III volunteered for this appointed position.
  6. It should be noted here that members of the Community thought that Dr. James was Molly Craig-Berry until they heard the absent Board Member's voice on the conference call. It has been noted more than once that it is very confusing to have the Assistant Superintendent at the Board table. Dr. Carlisle and the Board Secretary/BA are confusion enough, but it is understood why they are there. Dr. James and the Board Attorney should be relocated to another position, perhaps at the table with the Administrative Assistants or in that vicinity at a table of their own. 
  7. It was the first time that anyone challenged the appointment of the full time Board Attorney who is a member of the Weiner/Lesniak Law Firm and makes over $140,000.00 per year. It should be noted that it is not mandatory or necessary to employ a full time Attorney.
    52:13D-16. Certain representations, prohibited; exceptions - Some of us feel that there is a Conflict of Interest in this Law Firm being involved in Public Education in this manner since a state Senator is obviously in control of much more than 1% of the revenue from the actions of said firm. It gives the appearance of impropriety, especially when members of this law firm represent entities in finding loopholes to avoid compliance with the law.  Parsippany and Englewood are just 2 School Boards that demonstrate or display appearances of impropriety.  Our Board Attorney advised both Englewood and Parsippany and both School boards found themselves in situations contrary to state law. Parsippany's Mayor came out against this and in favor of the People. Our Mayor has remained mute on this subject even when questioned.  It has always been a concern that the Attorney sits at the Board table with his voice in our President's ear during all Board Meetings as if he is the 10th Member of the Board of Education. In order to function in that capacity, the Board and the Attorney have to satisfy some very different requirements.

  8. It was very good to see the people treated with respect by the new President of the Board.  He pointed out publicly that the new members had not gotten the agenda prior to that morning. Dr. Carlisle pointed out that they did not get the information because it was about personnel and it would have been unethical to give them the information before they were sworn Board Members.
Well, Dr. Carlisle, that is the reason that type of action should not be included in the agenda of the very first meeting of the new school board. Make a note of it. After careful examination, there are many things on the reorganization agenda that should not have been voted on by new Board Members since you did not get the agenda to them in a timely manner. They never had time to review many items that are germane to the operation of the district. To the people who put this reorg agenda together, nice try, but no cigar. The people are learning.
                                             "How are the children?"