Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Will Your High School Senior Be College and Career Ready?

Trenton, NJ -The Department of Education today announced the formation
of the College and Career Readiness Task Force, a group of K-12 and
higher education practitioners and business community representatives
that will have two main responsibilities: clearly articulating the
knowledge and skills that students should master to be "college and
career ready," and ensuring that New Jersey has the appropriate
graduation requirements and high school assessments in place to evaluate
the mastery of these readiness standards. The task force will submit its
recommendations to the Department of Education by December 31, 2011. 

"Our number one priority is to ensure that students across the state of
New Jersey are not only graduating from high school, but that when they
do, they are truly ready for college and a career. When you have over 90
percent of students who matriculate to Bergen and Essex County Community
Colleges requiring remediation before they can begin college-level work,
we clearly are not hitting that mark," said Acting Commissioner
Christopher D. Cerf. "In order to ensure that we are aligned with our
colleagues in higher education, we are bringing together practitioners
from both fields to clearly define the knowledge and skills that
students need to be ready for college and a career."
For more information about the task force:

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Welcome Home!
We invite you to share the stories of your lives while here at DMHS. We would also like to know about your lives since you left the halls of our 
Alma Mater. What have 
you been doing?

                    Please submit a digital image or 
from your years at Dwight Morrow High School 
by sending it as an attachment to: 

The Celebration in honor of the 
80th Anniversary 
will be held on Saturday, 11/19

"Through the Years" Museum & Timeline:  4-6pm
                           Light Buffet: 6-7:30pm
A Retrospective:  7:30-9:30pm
All activities will be in the main building. 
 The Retrospective will take place in the 
Dizzy Gillespie Auditorium.

The students of the present
look forward to seeing you as
we all celebrate 80 years of
Dwight Morrow High School.

If we all stand together as equals,
all of the children will be fine.

Maroon & White
         Use the email address above to let us know 
you are coming home.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Jersey's School Choice Program Expanded with 3,126 more available Seats

Christie Administration expands educational choice by offering 3,126
interdistrict choice seats in 71 school districts Deadline for parents
to submit a letter of intent to apply for 2012-13 school year is
November 1

Trenton, NJ - Furthering the governor's commitment to increasing and
improving educational opportunities for children and families, the
Christie Administration announced that more than 3,000 families will be
able to select the public school option that best fits their children's
needs in the 2012-2013 school year. This fall, 3,126 new seats are being
offered by 71 school districts approved to participate in the
Interdistrict Choice program, which allows students the option of
attending a public school outside their district of residence without
cost to their parents. There are currently 1,878 students in the
program in the 2011-2012 school year.

"All children, regardless of where they are born, should have the same
hope and opportunity that comes with attending a school that works best
for them. The Interdistrict Public School Choice program empowers
parents to make the best educational choices for their children, so they
have the best chance for a successful future," Acting Education
Commissioner Chris Cerf said. "This program also allows districts to
maximize enrollment and more efficiently use space in their schools."

Any student in the state is eligible to enroll in the Interdistrict
Choice program, regardless of whether or not their home district is
participating. Transportation of up to 20 miles, or funds to pay for
transportation, will be provided by the district of residence to a
student going to a choice school. If the school is outside of the
20-mile radius, transportation will be the responsibility of the
student, parents or guardians.

Parents who would like their child to take part in the program may
obtain an Intent to Participate form from the NJDOE website at
and return it to their home district by the November 1, 2011, deadline.
Applications may be obtained by contacting the choice school districts
directly and are due by December 1, 2011.

District participation in the program is optional. The decision to
apply to participate is made by the local board of education. The
district then sends an application to the Department of Education for
processing and review. This year, Elsinboro Township District in Salem
County and Franklin Township District in Hunterdon joined the program.

The choice school sets the number of openings per grade level. If there
are more students requesting admission to the school than there are
available openings, the school chooses the students by lottery. Any
school-age student who is a resident of New Jersey is eligible to take
advantage of this program.

The Interdistrict School Choice Program was signed into law by Governor
Christie on September 10, 2010. Details on the program can be found

A list of schools participating in the program can be found here:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Our Schools Are In Crisis: Is Help on The Way?

In this morning from the State Department....

Vincent K. Tibbs Early Childhood
Trenton, NJ - The Department of Education today submitted the state's application for the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge to the US Department of Education. This application would help to improve the quality of programs for over 75,000 low-income children from birth to age five in non-Abbott school districts across New Jersey. To advance this initiative,Governor Christie signed Executive Order 77 establishing the Early Learning Commission, which is charged with recommending improvements to the quality of, and access to, early learning and development programs in the state by coordinating early childhood education, health, and development programs across Departments and expanding New Jersey's Quality Rating Improvement System. This Commission will be chaired by the Commissioner of Education and include the Chairperson of the New Jersey Council for Young Children and representatives from the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Department of Human Services.

"We are committed to ensuring that we prepare all students, regardless of zip code, for success in college and career. In order to do that, children must first be ready for kindergarten," said Acting Commissioner Christopher D. Cerf. "Through close collaboration with the Departments of Children and Families, Health and Senior Services, and Human Services, and stakeholders from across the state, we have developed a proposal that we believe will truly transform early learning and development programs in New Jersey and will strengthen early literacy skills. While the application now is out of our hands and we can't control whether we win this competition, we can control the steps we take to begin to move this from a plan to reality. We are already hard at work with partners from across the state to lay the groundwork for this new system."

The Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge application builds on the success of the existing State Preschool Program to provide support and oversight to ensure that over 75,000 low-income children from birth to age five in early childhood centers throughout New Jersey all benefit from a high-quality program. The plan does not create new early existing programs serving low-income students across the state.

The application is based around four major priorities:

1.Improve the quality of existing early learning programs by expandingNJ's Quality Rating Improvement System. NJ's Quality Rating Improvement System sets standards for high-quality early childhood programs,assesses program quality, and provides training and technical assistance operators to improve. First piloted by the Build New Jersey Partners for Early Learning (Build NJ) consortium in 2007, NJ's Quality Rating Improvement System sets high standards for programs in six key areas: program and learning environment, family engagement, health and safety, professional development, personnel, and business practices. Through NJ's Quality Rating Improvement System, participating early childhood programs will receive a state quality rating, which will serve as "Consumer Reports" for parents in evaluating early childhood centers for their children.

2.Improve educator effectiveness in existing early childhood programs.
In order to ensure that all children are served by high-quality staff, the plan will offer participating educators training in comprehensive early childhood curricula and assessment systems through regional trainings. In addition, the state will focus on increasing the number of early childhood educators with core knowledge and greater credentials by providing tuition assistance and support to existing educators to obtain early childhood credentials.
Thumbs up for playtime.

3.Increase family access to information.
In addition to providing families with program quality information through NJ's Quality Rating Improvement System, which will help parents make informed decisions when selecting early childhood programs, the plan will create county-level councils that will engage parents and community members about the extent to which NJ's Quality Rating Improvement System works for families.

4.Improve use of data to strengthen programs and child performance.
plan will connect data systems across state departments through the creation of NJ-EASEL (New Jersey Enterprise Analysis for Early Learning), which will improve tracking of individual children and programs. In addition, it will enable a study to ensure that NJ's Quality Rating Improvement System effectively differentiates quality of program and the development of children. Lastly, the plan will capture children's competencies and skills upon entry to kindergarten to better understand how well current programs are preparing children for kindergarten.

The development of the Race to the Top -
Early Learning Challenge application was a collaborative effort across state agencies, led by the Department of Education. The DOE coordinated over the last several months with leaders from the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Human Services, and the Department of Health and Senior Services. In addition, the application has received letters of support from stakeholders across the state including school districts, higher education institutions, early learning and development organizations,community-based organizations, legislators, foundations, professional associations, and families.

The Executive Order can be found HERE

"How are the children?"

Speak Out Against The Five Year Plan

Support your local High School students by calling, writing or visiting the School and speaking to the Principal about abandoning a program that falls short of encouraging students to graduate from high school in 4 years. Students in surrounding schools know that they have the option of graduating in less than 4 years as long as they have the required credits.  An assembly will give the decision importance and let students and parents know that you acknowledge them. They need encouragement.

The Englewood School District should abandon a current 5 year plan that has caused some students to lag behind in accumulating credits towards graduation. In recent years freshmen have been urged to sign a contract agreeing to complete 130 credits in 5 years. 

This is another way that the students at DMHS have been let down by the district. Students in the Academy program agree to complete a very rigorous career based program in 4 years. The disparity in the expectations for these 2 groups is unacceptable.

This contract is signed without parental presence.and without consulting the parents, I was told  that the program was supposed to begin in the 8th grade,. The Student Handbook says differently. On page 13. Parents did   not even get a copy of the document. The description of the program, clearly states that, "upon entering high school..." High school begins in 9th grade in Englewood. 

It is time for Englewood to stop making excuses. 
It is time for the segregation in the high school to end. 
It is time to provide the equity and excellence in education for all students that was promised when the Academy was formed. The 5 year plan has left students in a real fix. Now we have a Credit Recovery Program that requires those same students that the district has failed to pay for summer school or to pay for the courses that recover the credits needed for graduation. 

Parents must begin to realize that they cannot trust the system. Parents must call for an assembly at the high school where the Administration will inform students that the program has been discarded. The illegal contracts must be destroyed. It is time for everyone to embrace the truth. The Administration, staff and parents must encourage students. Students should feel they have the support of the community and that graduating high school is not such a difficult feat. We must find a way to motivate students so they will want to go to school

Someone whom I love very dearly told me recently that she would be willing to go to a 9th period if it meant that she could take Art or something fun in school. Is anybody listening?

                                               How are the children"

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Are Our Schools In Crisis?: Adversity Lives In Silent Hearts

October 11, 2011 the Englewood City Council and the Board of Education met jointly. It was an interesting meeting where both groups basically did not impress this writer or each other. The highlight of the evening was when the 4th ward councilman spoke up about the missing conversation on the specifics of educating the City's children. He wanted to know where the reading specialists were. He wanted to know why more attention is not being paid to raising the scores of Dwight Morrow High School students. He was concerned that expectations are much lower than they were when he was president of the Board of Education. He was not blowing the horn for Englewood City and he was not blowing it for the Board of Education. He was experienced, concerned, candid and passionate about the education of Englewood children. He suggested that Dr. Carlisle still has his bags packed.

Janis Dismus newly stocked Library
The old man spoke as if he had been present at the very long board meetings that we attend regularly. Since February, I have witnessed the 4 hour closed sessions.  I have participated in the 30 minute 'privilege of the floor'sessions. Our questions and our comments are clearly only tolerated. Upon examination of the recorded minutes, one finds only questions that they don't mind answering. My questions concerning mentoring, certifications and participation in the New Jersey School Board training programs are no where to be found. You will also not find question posed by Curtis Caviness about Workshops with the School Board Association in which the Englewood Board of Education and Dr. Carlisle is supposed to develop objectives for the district that reflect the CAPA Review and the QSAC. Both are assessments of the District done by the state. Whenever questions are answered, we must wait nearly a month to get unsatisfactory answers. It is a charade. I don't know why I expected these proceeding to be different. We were still only allowed 30 minutes, 3 minutes per taxpayer and only allowed to speak once.

Martin Luther King Jr. Hall Commons
First, we were surprised to find a regular agenda for the board of Edcation section of the meeting. Earlier that day we noticed that the BOE meeting originally planned for October 20, had been cancelled. We sat down to learn for the first time that this was our meeting. The City Council was simply a guest at our board meeting. Even though it was a joint meeting, we were still allowed only 30 minutes of 'Privilege of the Floor'. The Sunshine Law is forced into darkness whenever the EPSD has a board meeting. Privilege of the floor last 30 minutes and closed session lasts nearly 4 hours in total. 

Thomas J. Morgan Gymasium
The unopposed candidate for 3rd ward councilperson spoke. It was difficult to determine what he was talking about. He rambled. A representative from Bergen Performing Arts Center gave the Board of Edcation praise. What else would he do? David Matthews, a former board member blasted the board of education saying they were ingratiating themselves and patting themselves on the back. He said they were making sure that they supported Carlisle, because they had to justify firing a superintendent in order to hire him. He was concerned that not one board member mentioned the fact that Mr. James Olobardi has given his 60 day notice. Mr Olobardi is resigning. Mr. Matthews said that the Board members were all lining up to kiss Don Carlisle's pinky ring. Dr. Carlisle's abrasive, bullying style is reminiscent of the old Don. The board was stoic to a member, but there was visible irritation on their faces while listening to Mr. Matthews. I would hate to work for a man who threatens to outsource everyone's job on a regular basis. He rules through fear, intimidation and the concept of divide and conquer.

Dizzy Gillespie Auditorium
How much $ for  Letters? How much did the
Thomas  J. Morgan  Letters cost?
A parent brought up the 5 year plan and alluded to the fact that 9th graders had told her that they signed a contract promising to finish high school in 5 years. The Student Handbook for the high school does describe this five year program. It does not however, include the fact that students will sign a contract without the presence of their parents. It does not mention that the parents will not be given a copy of this paper. It was said that this 5year plan was planned to begin in the 8th grade. This is highly unlikely since the Handbook specifically states that "upon entrance into the high school" freshmen would begin to participate.

Former blue ribbon principal
who reorganized the
middle school.
A positive.
There was a good deal of support from the community for Lamar Thomas. Mr. Thomas is in charge of the middle school. He, Carmen Macchia and Rosemary Seitel are at the helm of the newly reorganized middle school. Mr. Macchia introduced the new model for the middle school in the spring. It has been divided into 4 teams. Each team is named for an American Ivy League University. Harvard University, Yale, Princeton, Columbia. The newly hired principal form New York has declined the position leaving the position of Principal open.

This was no doubt the most positive aspect of the evening. A community came forth to speak up for the appointing of Lamar Thomas to the job as principal of Janis Dismus. A large number in attendance had come in support of Lamar Thomas and to hear his report on the Middle School. It is important to the community to promote from within. A show of confidence in Mr. Thomas was evident. There are some of us who think that the Ivy League University names for the teams were highly unnecessary and merely mask a more intricate tracking system than was in place before reorganization. We shall see.

Janis Dismus Honor wall 
Two students spoke in defense of their school as if they had been told that someone bad mouthed it. It was good to hear them defend the school. It was not good that they felt that it was necessary to defend the schools against the public. They were defending it from the wrong group of people.

The BOE adjourned into private session promising Mr. Thomas that they would hear his presentation after closed session. 2 hours later, and hours after most of you were snoring in your beds, they returned. Carlisle made a smart remark about the fact that we were all still there. Mind you. He instructed a subordinate and the subordinate did as he was told and waited with his family and the remnants of his cheering squad. Mr. Thomas was told that he would present at the next board meeting. Dr. Carlisle blamed Mr. Olobardi for the lateness of the hour.

Quote displayed in DMHS
main office last year.
This morning, I read an article in that made me wonder if this newspaper has rattled loose in the years following the advent of the Internet and the blog. Some Journalists are finding it difficult to adjust to the technological world of the news. After reading the article, I watched the video footage of the actual board meeting. Were we even at the same board meeting? Giving her the benefit of the doubt, I will suggest a tape recorder next time. That is if there is a desire to get it right, to get at the truth. What ever happened to the journalist that presented both sides of the coin. She left out every single important question that was posed at the meeting. If a question or a concern did not have a happy face and a smile in it was not included. Go on Ms. Hayes, earn that check. I hope you sleep well at night.

Our Administration must remember that facts beneath the good press  must stand up to examination. If Small Learning Communities never got off the ground in DMHS, admit it and move on. If the district made a boo boo in establishing a 5 year plan that discriminates against half of the campus, move on. Get past creating a fake persona that the district cannot possibly live up to under close examination. Glad ragging in the newspaper at this time is unseemly.

Cons - criticism: unhappy people
-boy hit by bus, please change route...........Unhappy taxpayer
-the five year plan - contracts signed by minors without parents.....2 unhappy taxpayers
-Credit Recovery Program - (is the illegitimate child of the 5 year plan)...many unhappy people
-The unresponsive board....Mr. Popkin is correct and unhappy again
-ingratiating of board to Carlisle....Mr. Matthews is an unhappy taxpayer
-resignation of Business unhappy situation...He is a good honest man...can't have that...
-Reading of a statement to board about libelous remarks from Dr. Carlisle,
 -scandalous remarks made by and to PTO leaders about another taxpayer (PTO is monopolized by board
   of education wives)
-bringing students of all groups and schools together in some type of activity...was a feel good suggestion that
  did not get any response at all. The population of the schools are segregated. Adults don't want to mix
  children up.
-complaint regarding the fact that pre k and kindergarten children are learning 3 languages at once
-Grieco failed AYP...perhaps this has something to do with the fact that Quarles children are being short
 changed. Their reading and writing has been watered down drastically. Is inclusion working in Quarles working?
-complaint of mistreatment of football son, verbal abuse by coach, complaint about no locker rooms
-Board needs training
-Board wasted money on Carlisle's friend who conducted the retreat in September. The NJSBA Field Service Representative normally does this. It is part of the $26,000 that we pay them yearly. They wasted money when they hired him to attend a closed session in September. He does not belong in closed sessions.

Pros- the desire to retain Lamar Thomas as principal of the middle school
-support of community
-Carlisle said it would be unlikely that any candidate for principal would want to come into Englewood. He said Englewood was shooting itself in the foot with all of the negativity. (He is new. He does not understand that Englewood shot itself in the foot in 1985 when they sued the state frivolously wasting taxpayers money. He is merely witnessing the spread of the infection and the rot.) Oh, I forgot, that is a negative statement.

The two high school students spoke up for their school. This was positive even under the circumstances. The Bergen PAC man spoke favorably of the Board. He will have his pay off down the line. Most of the comments were not warm and fuzzy. Click on the link below and read's Utopian article. This article was sanitized.  It is a load of crap that was probably retouched by the Public Relations person who follows Dr. Carlisle around to his various assignments. We have the videotape. The public deserves the truth. One day the situation presented in this article may be a reality. Now it is only a dream created by the people being interviewed and a reporter who merely parrots. In an older time it would have been called Propaganda or yellow journalism. Where is the Bergen Evening Record? It has disappeared into the Internet and lost its very soul.

How are the children?

Friday, October 14, 2011



Me encuentro de nuevo en la misma disyuntiva,y solo puedo preguntarme,que si en realidad las personas encargadas de dirigir la educacion de nuestros hijos en nuestras escuelas en Englewood,están trabajando para nuestro bien o nuestra mejoría?. o solo están allí para hacernos creer que las cosas van bien,implementando cosas nuevas para nosotros como este plan,que por no entender la definición o el propósito del mismo.nos quieren mantener en silencio.y apantallar,diciendo.Traemos cosas nuevas al distrito y todavía se quejan! Queremos innovar y se siguen quejando?.Pero usted se ha puesto a pensar a costillas de quien y con interés de que. es que lo hacen?

Pero que tan bueno es?El permitirle a un joven estudiante de secundaria que coja su tiempo. Para graduarse en el tiempo que desee, o mejor dicho.extenderle de 4 anos,que es el tiempo en el que debería de graduarse.A 5? No es justo darle a los jóvenes formularios que ellos deben de firmar por su propia cuenta en la escuela,cuando no tienen siquiera el conocimiento,ni el consentimiento de sus padres,Como es este caso.Por supuesto que el joven va a dar la respuesta quizás esperada por quienes lo promueven.pero ellos se olvidaron de una de las partes mas importantes." SON MENORES DE EDAD y NOSOTROS,LOS PADRES",Nosotros entendemos y aceptamos?.

quiero invitarles a que se sigan empapandose de sus derechos y el de sus hijos.siguiendo los enlaces,que les ofrezco.y recuerden que por nada del mundo piensen que,todo lo que nos envía o proponen las escuelas es cierto,correcto o lo mejor para nuestros hijos.Investiguen,indaguen,Informense.que para eso existen personas como nosotros.Para enseñarles el poder de estar informados.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Are Our Schools In Crisis?: What is a Pep Rally?

How do you justify a charge of $5.00 for attendance at a Pep Rally? Is the purpose of  this to generate school and team spirit or to make money? How do you use a Pep Rally as a fundraiser? What kind of message does this practice send to the students? What did our students get for their 5 bucks? Did they get a banner to wave, a little football, a whoopie cushion? The purpose of a pep rally is to engage the entire  school in support of the team in hopes that everyone will attend the game to support the players and the school. We want more people from the home team in attendance than from the visiting one. Don't we?

Go Raider Nation!
Most schools have the pep rally the last period of the school day. It is generally held the last day of school before the game. Attendance is mandatory for students, teachers and some staff. Classes file into the gym or stadium by grade and they sit together with their banners and cheer on their teams. The band plays, cheerleaders and color guards perform. There is loud music, an MC and even little competitions to see which grade is able to make the most noise in support of the team. The rally before the homecoming game is usually the most impressive. The team members are presented to the entire school population amid a great deal of noise and fanfare. The football players enter fully dressed in playing gear and are escorted onto the floor or field by cheerleaders holding each arm. The guys are in their glory and get a chance to bask in the love of their school and classmates. This is a psyche up technique that has proven effective since the very advent of athletic games. It is thought to boost player performance on the field, because it makes the players feel special and supported by their school. The excitement generated at the pep rally encourages students and everyone else to purchase tickets to the game.

Okay, the Homecoming Game. That word, Homecoming. What is the purpose of "Homecoming Games?" Doesn't that mean that alumni are coming home for the signature game of the season?

"Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back former residents of an area or alumni of a school. It most commonly refers to a tradition in many universities, colleges and high schools in North America. It usually includes activities for students and alumni, such as sports and culture events and a parade through the streets of the city or town." Wikipedia

Does the student body know the origin of homecoming? Perhaps they should learn. Maybe the knowledge of its origin would let them understand why it is such a strange thing to have 2 sets of homecoming kings and queens for 1 high school. Need we even mention that there will still be two sets of homecoming Kings and Queens. One set for the South building and one set for the North building. In effect the $5 admission charge further enforces the separate and apartness of the school. What about the fact that the newly renovated locker rooms are too small to hold the football team? The lockers have not even been installed yet. What was the real purpose for renovating beneath the stands? 

Why was this pivotal game the 4th one of the season? Aren't these games traditionally closer to the end of the football season?  This game also follows Rosh Hashanah.  What is up with the scheduling of sports events? The Pep Rally cost more than the culminating event, which is the homecoming game. Word on the street (and according to the line item on the board agenda) is that the gigantic tent and sound equipment used for graduation this year was rented through the athletic budget. Now is there really such a shortage of money?

My granddaughter wanted to be involved so I agreed that she could help decorate the halls for spirit week. On Wednesday, I asked how the pep rally went and she said I don't know. There was a flyer that said it would be on Friday and would cost $5. I was sure that she was mistaken. She was busy doing her homework all day today. She is afraid of the stigma that is being placed on DMHS students. You know the one. The one that claims that DMHS students do not do homework and do not care about school.

"It is amazing what a winning football team can do for a school district." 
Dr. Donald Carlisle