Friday, January 29, 2021

In Person Learning?

 Back to School?

Perhaps it is time that we all stop pretending that air quality in Schools was perfect pre-Covid. It was more than we teachers who referred to certain Schools as "sick buildings". Now we are forced to clean it all up, because it will not just be the children with existing respiratory problems who will suffer. Now "poor air quality and circulation" can cause illness and death in more people. Have we forgotten that we were forced to bring in the County Hazmat Team to force remediation in at least 2 buildings in the past? Some of us remember Legionnaires Disease and how it was nurtured in poorly maintained HVAC systems, in the elegant Bellevue-Stratford Hotel.

Has the Right to Know been made available to teachers and Community Members so they can check to see what has changed since March of 2020? Have ducts been cleaned, new filters installed, etc. All over the country big businesses, like Pritchard Industries, Inc. have been making millions of dollars per school District. I have never been impressed by their work. Do they test their employees? Things have certainly changed since we learned that the virus is aerosolized. Last I checked our agenda, they have not missed a check.

If the nexus of the virus is in the Community, the teachers need to be vaccinated and gradually moved back into the classrooms before adding students to the equation. It makes little to no sense to say that children are not getting and spreading the virus. Most of the children have been "out of Community Circulation" since March of 2020. It is the adults who have been exposed. Will that scenario change once schools are open? Oh and, has it even been discussed that there is no vaccine for children under 16?

The Board of Education must also demonstrate that they, themselves, trust that the buildings are clean, sanitized and safe, by meeting in person for BOE meetings. Follow the CDC Guidelines and set the example.

NJ Right to Know

What We Do
The Community Right to Know program performs the following functions and supplies the following services:

  • Collects and stores chemical inventory information
  • Assists emergency planners and first responders by providing them with information about on-site chemical hazards 
  • Provides compliance assistance
  • Investigates complaints and notifications of unauthorized activities
  • Conducts inspections
  • Issues enforcement documents, both formal and informal, which may include assessed penalties
  • Find more information on submitting your annual CRTK Report. There are also links to various documents and reports you may find useful

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

My open letter to EPSD about The Zone. 

Please share.

I am writing to urge you to take decisive action, to lead--and find a way to support The Zone for the 2020-2021 school year. Now is not a time to reduce the mental health and community supports for students and faculty.

I understand that Trenton is in crisis and has no good choices to make. However, Trenton does not know what we know, which is that Englewood Public Schools were in crisis before the pandemic. I know this because through the leadership of Mariam Gerges and Liz Corsini, along with Sanetta Ponton, I helped lead hours of workshops for DMHS faculty and administrators last year.
We heard first hand how difficult the conditions in the school were, their struggles in reaching students, and their desire to lead their colleagues in creating a better climate in which students, regardless of their traumas, could learn and thrive. We were having these conversations and workshops in August, September, January and February. What will those discussions sound like over Zoom this year?

I can assure you that the kind of professional development and coaching that your faculty and administrators received last year through these workshops would have cost EPSD thousands of dollars--but you got it "free" from Bergen Family Center, The Zone and the community members like Sanetta, Flat Rock Brook and me--who will do almost anything for Englewood's children. Most importantly, EPSD got all this expertise for "free" because the community knows the value that Bergen Family Center brings--and when called upon by them, we show up.

Now it is time for EPSD to show up for The Zone. I assure you that your students and faculty cannot survive, let alone thrive, without the support that The Zone and its committed staff provide. They pivoted seamlessly to the virtual world, and connected with students in a matter of days. In fact, there were moments on the weekly community calls that Sanetta organized, when it became obvious that Bergen Family Center knew more about some of EPSD students than the district did itself. You need The Zone, we all know you do.

Find the money--in the paper clip and toner budget, in the snacks for professional development budget--find the money. 

Step up and lead. The times demand it.


Lynne Algrant

Former Council at Large and Former President of the Englewood City Council

Saturday, November 2, 2019

The Great Equalizer

The Key to a great Board of Education, that functions the same for
all children and upholds the Constitution and the laws of the state of New Jersey is an informed Community. 

Our task is not an easy one. 

Many people are intimidated by the process and the title these people share. 

Remember that board members are just like the rest of us when they are not seated at that long table. 

The Law is the great equalizer. It protects the rich, the moderately rich, the middle class and the folks who are struggling to make the ends meet. It protects the homeless and it protects the undocumented children. It is supposed to treat all the same regardless of the size of the bank account or the address.

Board Members
Must follow the Law. 

They Shall follow the Law. 
Laws have been ignored. 
Laws have been broken.
Too many have looked the other way.

An Englewood School board member entered directly into a contract with the Englewood Board of Education.

No member of any board of education shall be interested directly or indirectly in any contract with or claim against the board, nor, in the case of local and regional school districts, shall he hold office as mayor or as a member of the governing body of a municipality, nor, in the case of county special services school districts and county vocational school districts, shall he hold office as a member of the governing body of a county.

We the people have the power,
 to call them out legally
 when they refuse to comply
 with the Laws of the state of New Jersey.

The next Englewood Board Meeting has been re-scheduled to 
November 14, 2019 @ Grieco School
                            Click this link for the Agenda.

Monday, October 14, 2019

It is Almost Time to Get Out There and Vote

Right to Left, William Feinstein, Suzanne Mullings & Samuel Trusty

"...As an alumnus of the Englewood School System, I have a vested interest in the welfare of Englewood’s educational condition.
I want the children of Englewood to find the same delight in their educational experience that I had the opportunity to experience. I will dedicate time to advocate for our children and their future by improving the educational foundation the district provides to ensure our children are viable participants in the national workforce..."
Suzanne Mullings - Candidate for Englewood Board Education

"...We need school board members who will work for all our children. I will fight to ensure that every child receives the highest quality education. I will work to create an environment and culture that is conducive to teaching and learning, creating a positive experience for all students, teachers, administrators and parents. We need change to restore competence and confidence to the Englewood Public School District..."
William Feinstein - Candidate for Englewood Board of Education

Bill Feinstein is not new to the City, the School District or the race for equity in our Schools.

"... As a board member and policy maker my number one priority will be to ensure we are Providing EVERY child with the BEST education to prepare them for success.    
While doing that, we must also balance the interests of all stakeholders including, Our Students & Parents, our Teachers & Administrators and The Englewood Taxpayer.  I look forward to your questions and to discuss the future of the Englewood Public Schools..."

Claiming a future for our Children

I am very passionate and committed to the success of the Englewood Public Schools. I was fortunate to receive a great education that prepared me for the world outside of Englewood and I want every child today to receive that same great education and experience. As a community we have a responsibility, to ensure that each child is given that same opportunity from day one. We must put a very strong emphasis on early education. When a child falls behind in the early grades, it becomes extremely difficult, if not sometimes impossible, for that child to catch up.