Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Election Time is Near: Use these Guidelines to help form Questions for the Candidates

How Do You Create a Great Superintendent?
For Boards of Education & the Communities at Large
Standard I: Leadership and District Culture
Indicators: A Superintendent should know and be able to:
  •   Formulate a written vision statement of future direction for the district.
  •  Demonstrate an awareness of international issues affecting schools and students.
  •   Promote academic rigor and excellence for staff and students.
  •   Maintain personal, physical, and emotional wellness
  •   Empower others to reach high levels of performance
  •   Build self-esteem in staff and students 
  •   Exhibit creative problem solving
  •   Promote and model risk taking
  •   Respect and encourage diversity among people and programs
  •   Manage time effectively
  •   Facilitate comparative planning between constituencies
  •   Conduct district school climate assessments
  •   Exhibit multicultural and ethnic understanding
  •   Promote the value of understanding and celebrating school/community cultures
Standard 2: Policy and Governance
Indicators: A superintendent should know and be able to:
  •  Describe the system of public school governance in our democracy
  • Describe procedures for superintendent-board of education interpersonal and working relationships
  • Relate local policy to state and federal regulations and requirements
  • Describe procedures to avoid civil and criminal liabilities
Standard 3: Communications and Community Relations
Indicators: A superintendent should know and be able to:
  • Articulate district vision, mission, and priorities to the community and mass media
  • Demonstrate an understanding of political theory and skills needed to build community support for district priorities.
  • Understand and be able to communicate with all cultural groups in the community.
  • Demonstrate that good judgment and actions communicate as well as words
  • Develop formal and informal techniques to gain external perception of a district by means of surveys, advisory groups, and personal contact.
  • Communicate and project an articulate position for education
  • Write and speak clearly and forcefully
  • Demonstrate formal  and informal listening skills
  • Demonstrate group membership and leadership skills
  • Identify the political context of the community environment
  • Formulate strategies for passing referenda
  • Persuade the community to adopt an initiative for the welfare of students
  • Demonstrate conflict mediation
  • Demonstrate school/community relations, school business  partnerships, and related public service activities
  • Identify, track and deal with issues
  • Develop and carry out internal and external communication plans
Standard 4: Organizational Management
Indicators: A superintendent should know and be able to:
  • Define processes for gathering , analyzing and using data for informed decision making
  • Demonstrate a  problem-framing process
  • Define the major components of quality management
  • Develop, implement, and monitor change processes to build capacities to serve clients
  • Discuss legal concepts regulations, and codes for school operations
  • Describe the process of delegating responsibility for decision making
  • Develop a process for maintaining accurate fiscal reporting
  • Acquire, allocate, and manage human, material , and financial resources to effectively and accountability ensure successful student learning.
  • Use technological applications to enhance administration of business and support systems
  • Demonstrate financial forecasting, planning and cash flow management
  • Perform budget planning, management, account auditing, and monitoring
  • Demonstrate a grasp of practices in administering auxiliary programs, such as maintenance, facilities, food services, etc.
  • Demonstrate planning and scheduling of personal time and organization work
Standard 5: Curriculum Planning and Development
Indicators: A superintendent should know and be able to:
  • Develop core curriculum design and delivery systems for diverse school communities
  • Describe curriculum planning/futures methods to anticipate occupational trends and their educational implication for lifelong learners
  • Demonstrate an understanding of instructional taxonomies, goals, objectives, and processes.
  • Demonstrate cognitive development and learning theories and their importance to the sequencing of instruction
  • Demonstrate an understanding of child and adolescent growth and development
  • Describe a process to create developmentally appropriate curriculum and structional pracrices for all children and adolescents.
  • Demonstrate the use of computers and other technologies in educational programming
  • Conduct assessments of present and future student learning needs
  • Develop a process for faculty input in continued and systematic renewal of the curriculum to ensure appropriate scope, sequence, and content
  • Demonstrate an understanding of curricular alignment to ensure improved student performance and higher order thinking
Standard 6: Instructional Management
Indicators: A superintendent should know and be able to:
  • Develop, implement, and monitor change processes to improve student learning, adult development, and climates for learning
  • Demonstrate an understanding of motivation in the instructional process
  • Describe classroom management theories and techniques
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the development of the total student, including the physical, social emotional, cognitive,  and linguistic needs
  • Formulate a plan to assess appropriate teaching methods  and strategies for all learners
  • Analyze available instructional resources and assign them in the most cost-effective and equitable manner to enhance student outcomes.
  • Describe instructional strategies that include the role of multicultural sensitivity and learning styles.
  • Exhibit applications of computer technology connected to instructional programs
  • Describe alternative methods of monitoring and evaluating student achievement based on objectives and learning outcomes
  • Describe how to interpret and use testing/assessment results to improve education
  • Demonstrate knowledge of research findings on the use of a variety of instrructional strategies
  • Describe a student achievement monitoring and reporting system
Standard 7: Human Resources Management
Indicators: A superintendent should know and be able to:
  • Develop a plan to assess system and staff needs to identify areas for concentrated staff development
  • Demonstrate knowledge of adult learning theory and motivation
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of comprehensive staff development programming to determine its effect on professional performance.
  • Demonstrate use of system and staff evaluation data for personnel policy and decision making
  • Diagnose and improve organizational health/morale
  • Demonstrate personnel management strategies
  • Understand alternative benefit packages
  • Assess individual and institutional sources of stress and develop methods for reducing stress (e.g. counseling, exercise programs, and diet).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of pupil personnel services and categorical programs
Standard 8: Indicators: Values and Ethics of Leadership
Indicators: A superintendent should know and be able to:
  • Exhibit multicultural and ethnic understanding and sensitivity
  • Describe the role of schooling in a democratic society
  • Demonstrate ethical and personal integrity
  • Model accepted moral and ethical standards in all interactions
  • Describe a strategy to promote the value that moral and ethical practices are established and practiced in each classroom and school.
  • Describe how education undergirds a free and democratic society
  • Describe a strategy to ensure that diversity of religion, ethnicity, and way of life in the district are not violated
  • Formulate a plan to coordinate social, health, and other community agencies to support each child in the district
Integrating, Implementing, and measuring the Standards
The Commission realizes that few if any aspiring or practicing superintendents will develop complete mastery of all eight of these standards.  In reality, the standards should be used as a guide for ongoing professional development for anyone preparing for or currently holding a superintendency or other central office position.

These guidelines were freely lifted from the following:
Molalla River "BoardWatch" Website - suggested readings from the NJDOE website.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February 28: Board Meeting Updates: The Budget

Dr. Carlisle is back. Only 5 community members were in attendance. We expected to see a budget, but we did not. What we did see was an Election/Budget Checklist* Dr. Carlisle showed a power point where he corrected some misinformation given in last Thursdays State of the District's Library Media Centers. It seems the number of books to students was not reported properly. It seems we are more aligned to the National Average (of 20 to 1) than was reported in the presentation. 

Dr. Carlisle also mentioned that class size would have to change for next year. This was very interesting since this board of education hired the staff that made the district overstaffed. They were not forced to hire all of the new teachers. Dr. Carlisle merely recommended them. They approved and did the hiring that put us in the situation that we are facing right now. Many of the new hires were told when presented to the Board that they quite possibly were not going to be rehired. The knew they were taking a job for one year only.

Bells and Whistles - Dr. Carlisle spoke about bells and whistles and how we would have to adopt a simpler plan for the future. A lot of credit was given to the Board in that they are trying to streamline the Budget. Well, they do not get accolades here. Those of us who were in attendance on certain occasions have noticed the change in Dr. Carlisle since he arrived. He did make too many promises to too many people. He was allowed. That change came because of what he is mandated to do by our board of education. We have watched them waste money much too often. They  have placed the district in the situation that we now face. It was NOT encouraging to hear Dr. Carlisle suggest that the new BA has been working closely with the Board to formulate a budget. At least 2 of the most powerful Board members have been there too long. They are in charge of Finance, Academics and Facilities. They are a large part of the problem. If we must depend on them to help with the Budget, we are doomed. I hope that the New BA will call upon an entity that should have been used long ago to help with the budget and other very important matters.

More Waste - We paid the New Jersey School Boards Association $26,000.00 last year for services that we did not use. I contacted the NJSBA to find out why we paid them this money. The answer was that the amount represented the annual dues and that these dues are based on the number of students in the district and must be paid even if we do not use their services.  I was given a list of services that are provided by the New Jersey School Board Association. After further investigation, I learned that we have not used the services of the NJSBA since before Dr. John Grieco was made Superintendent. The kids always referred to Dr. Grieco as GANGSTA. Well, the gangsta is no longer here and we want our board of education to follow the law. It is evident that the Board needs the counsel, services and the proper direction provided by the New Jersey School Boards Association. We are paying for the services and support and we want them utilized. 

NJSBA - Our board is mandated to have a liaison to the New Jersey School Boards Association. (18A:6-45, 46,47,48) Most towns have a Delegate and an alternate. Candidates for School Boards and Board Members.

What is the difference between the Englewood Public School District and the ones listed below? Easy, they follow the laws of the state of New Jersey. They use the services for which the taxpayers in their districts pay. They all have active liaisons/Delegates to the NJSBA.  We must demand that our board does the same. It is the Law. We do have recourse if they refuse.

Teaneck, the Delegate is the School Board President, 
Dr. Ardie Walser and the alternate is Dr. Henry Pruitt
Bergenfield School District

Mountainside School  District
Marlboro Township
West Windsor - Plainsboro Regional School District
Fairfield School District
New Brunswick Public Schools
Washington Township Public Schools
hunterdon Central Regional
New Jersey Association of School Administrators - We hope our Administrators are active members in this organization also.

Important 2012 School Board Candidacy & Election Dates

                                           How are the children?

Teacher Evaluation Pilot Program to be Evaluated by Rutgers Graduate School of Education

Department of Education Partners with Rutgers University to Conduct External Evaluation of Excellent Educators for New Jersey (EE4NJ) Teacher Evaluation 

Trenton, NJ - The New Jersey Department of Education announced today that it has selected Rutgers University Graduate School of Education to conduct an independent evaluation of the Excellent Educators for New Jersey(EE4NJ) teacher evaluation pilot program currently underway in 10 districts across the state. The evaluation will be used to identify successes and challenges in implementing a new educator evaluation system and will inform statewide rollout of a new evaluation framework in the 2013-14 school year. 
For more information:

New Jersey Educator Effectiveness Task Force Report

11 districts that participate in the teacher evaluation pilot program

Alexandria TownshipHunterdon
Monroe TownshipMiddlesex
Ocean CityCape May
Pemberton TownshipBurlington
Red BankMonmouth
West Deptford TownshipGloucester
Woodstown-Pilesgrove RegionalSalem
Newark (to be funded through a separate grant)Essex

Monday, February 27, 2012

Board of Education Meetings: Let The Sun Shine In

The Privilege of the Floor 

For months now, the board president has required that the public sign in upon arrival if they wish to speak. This sign in sheet is then collected and he calls members of the public to the microphone where they are allowed 3 minutes to address the board. Depending on how well liked by the board the speaker is, the clock may be stopped. Every meeting, members of the audience seem to mistake the sign up sheet as an attendance roster. (Smiling) We are so conditioned. The announcement is made detailing the purpose of signing the piece of paper and people from all over the room get up and remove their names from the paper. During the course of the time allocated for public input, board members interject and burn up some of the time. No notice is given that this time is deducted from the time given to the public to speak.
Suggestion: Deduct the time used by board members during privilege of the floor
Suggestion: Create a formal sign up sheet entitled "Privilege of the Floor sign up sheet" or something to that effect. Make a bunch of copies and use one each meeting. This is an educational institution, after all.

Open Public Meetings Act -  Otherwise known as The Sunshine Law
This is a link to  A Guide to the Open Public Meetings Act"The Open Public Meetings Law, which is commonly referred to as the “Sunshine Law”, was enacted in 1975.  It establishes the right of all citizens to have adequate advance notice of all public meetings and the right to attend meetings at which any business affecting the public is discussed or acted upon. – N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 to 10:4-2"
Minutes of such meetings are very important and must also be made available to the public. Events at such meetings are memoralized in the minutes and become the official permanent record. Few, if any of the EPSD minutes are presently available to the public. We hope that the board understands that minutes and agendas are not part of the records that they may destroy. It is possible to consult minutes from as far back as the 1930's.
Dr. Carlisle was absent and no explanation was given. It was odd that there was so much budget discussion in the absence of the person generally responsible for it. The Superintendent's report was replaced by several presentations. 

Janis E.  Dismus Library
Library System - Audrena Campagna  gave the "State of the Union of the District Library Media CenterI always find it interesting that the one person who earned hero status in Englewood, during his lifetime, is the same person who put and end to the library system in  the Englewood Schools. He said we did not need books. The speaker is relatively new to the district and does not know this history. The presentation was overlong even though we are all glad to have a semblance of our libraries back.

The Technology Presentation - Introduces the Janis E. Dismus GEEK Club
Cute Club. A fine show of solidarity. A more original name would have been even more impressive. (I still wear my Best Buy GEEK SQUAD T-shirt.) It is hoped that all of the students are encouraged to develop expertise on the computer. Good things are growing at the middle school because they have a principal who demonstrates that he has faith in their abilities. The students are beginning to show a good deal of pride in their school. Perhaps they will be allowed to keep this new source of inspiration. Anyone of these GEEK clubers probably has more computer know how than the man the City of Englewood claims the district is putting in charge of the new Interlocal Agreement that boasts shared services of Internet and Technology with the Englewood Board of Education. I would also like to know if anyone is considering that there are an awful lot of families in the district that do not have access to the Internet. The assumption seems to be that everyone has Internet/computer access. The district seems to have already gone paperless.

Teacher of the Year Awards - 2nd Mile Award - Lisa Finn-Bruce presented teacher of the year awards to a teacher from each district school. I had secretly hoped that the name of this award would be changed once it became evident that this is the name of the infamous Jerry Sandusky's nonprofit organization that was used in some rather unscrupulous ways. Well, who am I to say? Perhaps it does not bother people who have not kept up with the news.

When the Pomp and circumstance was over secretaries and teachers spoke about the School Board's decision to "Outsource" valued personnel. The outsourcing is rumored to include all paraprofessionals, secretaries, nurses and believe it or not, the Child Study Team. The Staff had compelling arguments, but alas, to no avail. It is obvious that the board has already made the decision. The same over staffing and overspending that has brought the district low threatens to change it forever. One speaker reminded the board that many of these services were outsourced without success in the past. There are few words to describe how the idea of "outsourcing" familiar, caring personnel for indifferent strangers will affect the children and the over all climate of the district. It speaks to the pitiable state of the district's financial affairs.
It should be noted at this time that the decision to RFP (Request for Proposal) the outsourcing got a unanimous vote from the board of education. Every single board of education member voted in favor of the outsourcing search. I would not be surprised if in the 11th hour the board decides not to outsource the Child Study Team. Everyone will be so grateful that they will forget about the other positions and feel the board has actually given them something. Rather like Gov. Christie and the aid to NJ Education. None of these positions should be outsourced.  It is time for healing, not further tearing.

Broken Spirits
A student from the Academy spoke passionately about his feelings of being let down by the Academy. He was very clear in his opinion that the students on the entire Dwight Morrow High School Campus were not being challenged, encouraged or inspired by anyone. He thinks that too many of them are being told that they can't. He was concerned and suggested that he did not want his little sister to attend school in  Englewood in the present circumstances. He turned to the audience without discrimination and told them that their children could achieve great things if only someone believed in them. I gave him a standing ovation, because he spoke more honestly than any student who has come before the board. I paraphrased his speech here, but I was thoroughly impressed by the fact that his comments were not scripted by adults. He spoke from the heart. As always, an establishment adult rushed to his side. (Mr. Elbert, principal of the high school) That much independent thought is not encouraged. I was especially touched by this young man's speech because of what I carried in a shopping bag. It was an extra large #58 Jr. Raider Football jacket that I found in a mud puddle on my street. The jacket probably cost the owner well over $200. Where it was found is symbolic of what the young man was speaking. Spirit, confidence, self esteem and pride are in low supply among our district students. It is good to see that Janis E. Dismus students have developed a strong sense of pride in their school. We need to clone that and send it throughout the district.

I left to take someone home. Upon my return, I noticed that the board had not gone into closed session. They rambled on. It was very  unusual. There were less than 10 people in the audience. Half of them were employees of the district. When this was over Glenn Garrison made a suggestion. He voiced concern that since St.  Cecilia is a religious institution we might want to name the section of the campus that we are renting. He thought that it should be named for someone who had attended St. Cecilia. (Why? We are paying them a healthy monthly rent.) He suggested that we name the facility The Vincent Lombardi Educational CenterSo what would Vincent Lombardi think of what has been done to the morale of the sports  program? How would he take to the fact that the stadium has been gutted beneath to serve other than the football team? The locker room is not large enough to hold the entire team at one time, especially if wearing full gear? It is four classrooms.   Is this a permanent facility? What are our long range plans there?

                                               How are the children?

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Race To The Top: Is the Englewood Public School District ready to climb aboard this ascending vessel?

Department of Education announces that 372 districts and charter schools have signed up to take part in the state's $38 million Race to the Top award  
Participating districts and charter schools will split $19 million federal dollars to advance statewide reforms 

For Immediate Release
Contact: Justin Barra
Allison Kobus

Date: February 24, 2012

Trenton, NJ - The Department of Education today announced that 372 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) have signed up to take part in the state's $38 million Race to the Top award. Half of that money, or approximately $19 million, will be split among participating districts based on each LEA's relative share of funding under Title I. The other $19 million will be used by the state to advance the state's bold education reform agenda. An "LEA" is any district or charter school in the state.

New Jersey was awarded approximately $38 million in December as part of the US Department of Education's Race to the Top 3 (RTTT3) competition. As part of its RTTT3 application, New Jersey selected four objectives in line with the administration's education reform agenda: 

1. Development of model curriculum and assessments for all core content subject areas to support the adoption of the Common Core State Standards 

2. Development and rollout of an online Instructional Improvement System (IIS) that will serve as a platform for teachers to access the model curriculum and other supports like formative assessments and instructional tools 

3. Implementation of the state's new teacher evaluation system and the creation of a principal evaluation pilot program 

4. Expansion of high-quality school options by strengthening the Department's charter authorizing practices 

 For more information click here:

Is the Englewood Public School District ready to climb aboard this ascending vessel?

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Department of Education Awards $1 Million to 12 Districts for Outstanding Performance with Students with Disabilities

Department of Education Awards $1 Million to 12 Districts for Outstanding Performance with Students with Disabilities Also Announces First Ever $1 Million "Special Education Recognition Award" Competition Available to All Schools in 2012-13 School Year Through award, the Department will identify and disseminate successful practices across the state.

For Immediate Release...
Contact: Justin Barra
Allison Kobus
Date: February 17, 2012

Trenton, NJ - In order to highlight the importance of achievement for New Jersey's students with disabilities, the Department of Education today awarded $1 million to 12 districts that demonstrated both high growth and proficiency with their special education student population. In addition, the Department announced a $1 million competitive grant for individual schools that improve student performance for students with disabilities in the 2012-13 school year. 

This award will both encourage districts to explore innovative and proven modelsto serve students with disabilities and to disseminate those successful practices across the state. The funding comes from a portion of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) available to support state initiatives for students with disabilities. "We developed these awards to shine a spotlight on the needs of our students with disabilities, and to make sure that we as educators work tirelessly to improve their performance," said Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf. "By highlighting 12 successful districts last year and developing a competitive grant for next school year, we hope to learn from those that are most successfuland scale their practices across the state." The 12 awards announced today were granted to 12 districts that showed strong performance with students with disabilities in the 2010-11 school year. 

These districts did not know that they were eligible for an award until the announcement today. To identify districts, the Department created 5 different groupings of K-12 districts based on poverty level to ensure that districts serving all demographics were represented. The Department also created a sixth grouping of high school districts. The Department then looked at districts that met the following criteria: 
o The number of classified students enrolled was greater than 100 
o The number of valid test scores (NJASK 3-8, APA and HSPA) was greater than 50 in LAL and Math 
o The district classification rate reported in the fall of 2010 was no more than one percentage point above the state rate (which includes approximately 2% for students eligible for speech-language services and 14% for all other disabilities) 
o The district classification rate for specific learning disability (SLD) and speech-language impairment(SLI) combined was no more than one percentage point above the state combined rate as reported in the fall of 2010 (approximately 9%) In K-12 districts, the Department used a combination of absolute proficiency rates and growth to identify districts.

The Department identified proficiency in both math and language arts literacy (LAL) on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) and the Alternate Proficiency Assessment(APA. The Department identified growth throughout the year on the NJASK in grades 4 - 8, identified by the district's mean student growth percentile (SGP) for students with disabilities. This combination of growth and proficiency rates ensures that districts receive credit for how much their students improve throughout the year.

 In the high school districts, the Department identified successful districts based on achievement on the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) and the APA. The Department is only able to calculate student growth percentiles for the NJASK. A list of the selected districts can be found at the end of this press release. Districts can use these funds in compliance with IDEA requirements to provide special education programs and services to students with disabilities. Through this award, districts will be able to implement enhanced services and expand successful programs leading to improved student results for students with disabilities.

"While certainly these districts are not the only ones to show results for students with disabilities, we hope that this announcement today spurs dialogue so that we identify and learn from successful programs across the state," said Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf.

In conjunction with this award, the Department also announced the first ever $1 million "Special Education Recognition Award"available to all schools in the 2012-13 school year. The Department will award IDEA funds to up to 20 schools that demonstrate improved achievement and/or growth in mathematics or language arts literacy. Schools that wish to compete for the award will complete an application in the spring of 2012. Each applicant will identify a grade or grade range that is tested by state assessments (3-8 and/or 11) and implement supplementary instructional strategies or programs, services, and/or educational technology for the purposes of improving achievement in mathematics or language arts for students with disabilities.

In their application, schools will identify how growth will be measured in the school or classroom, such as through a curriculum-based measurement or other classroom-based measure. In the spring of 2013, achievement results and other performance documentation from eligible districts will be reviewed by an external panel of experts who will make the final recommendations for awards in the summer of 2013. The Department will release an application with additional details in the coming weeks. 

"Through the Special Education Recognition Award, we will reward schools that are truly successful in improving outcomes for some of our most vulnerable students, and to identify innovative and successful practices to share with all of our schools," said Acting Commissioner Cerf. "As educators, we must work to continuously improve our programs and strategies to help all of our students graduate from high school ready for college and career." 

A list of districts awarded grants for the 2010-11 school year are below:
District County Award Poverty level - 0-5%
North Caldwell, Essex $50,000
Green Brook Township, Somerset $75,000

Poverty level - >5-15%
Lincoln Park Borough, Morris $75,000
Madison, Morris $100,000

Poverty level - >15-30%
Totowa, Passaic $75,000
Dennis Township, Cape May $50,000

Poverty level - >30-60%
North Bergen, Hudson $100,000
Lodi, Bergen $100,000

Poverty level - >60%
Dover Town, Morris $100,000
Fairview, Bergen $75,000

High School District
No. Hunterdon/Voorhees Reg High,Hunterdon $100,000
Northern Valley Regional, Bergen $100,000

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Achievement GAP: Are too Many Carbs Eaten off Styrofoam Plates Causing Neurological damage in Your Child?

We are what we eat?
It really is time to OCCUPY your child's school lunch program. Styrofoam plates have been outlawed in many school districts across the country. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have both stated that styrene is possibly carcinogenic and harmful to humans and aquatic life. (carcinogenic=cancer causing) One of the risks is to the central nervous system. Depression, headaches, dizziness and neurological problems has been indicated after prolonged use. Harmful chemicals leach out into the hot food when it is served on these plates. If you lift up the hot macaroni and cheese you find the shape or imprint on the plate beneath. In the past, I have refused to eat at Boston Market, because the one time I did eat there the styrofoam plate melted and blended with my roasted chicken. It was quite disgusting. I notice that the food is not served on those crazy cheap trays anymore

Don't we have more than enough problems with behavior and inattentiveness to risk that the school lunch tray may be contributing to neurological problems in our children? A child eats a hot breakfast and a hot lunch off styrofoam from pre-k to high school. Is that what we call prolonged exposure? Is styrene a factor entangled in the Achievement GAP in America? Are our children being addicted to carbohydrate filled lunches and poisoned by their lunch trays? 
WebMD - 8 New Cancer Causes - Notice that the first new agent determined to cause cancer is styrene.

Portland students push district to abandon styrofoam lunch trays

STYRENE: Increase your knowledge of this potentially dangerous product on which your child's food is served daily. Use the resources below to determine the dangers of your child's lunch plate and your styrofoam coffee cup.

Alternatives to Styrofoam - All are Biodegradable and do not contain toxins harmful to humans or wildlife.

The Zero Waste Lunch..........  What a magnificent contradiction this district manifests on so many levels. Go Green. Environmentalists. How many styrofoam trays is EPSD adding to the dump every single day? Styrofoam trays never rot or break down. They are forever. They will harm any wildlife that attempts to consume bits and pieces.

                                How are the Children?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Plagiarism: Is "Practice What You Preach" a Dead Concept?

N.J. Department of Education
100 River View Plaza
P.O. Box 500 Trenton, NJ 08625

Governor Chris Christie, Acting Commissioner Cerf:

It has been 4 months since we emailed Mr. Gilmartin a very important document concerning the state of our school district. There have been few changes in our district that may be considered for the better. Dr. Carlisle has NOT been evaluated. He has NOT sat down with the board and created goals and objectives tailored for the Englewood Public School District. Instead of following the instructions given in the QSAC, he simply copied verbatim the goals and objectives of Miller Place and the Brandon School district from 5 years ago. It  is our understanding that he must be evaluated based on whether he has achieved the goals agreed upon by he and the Board of Education. Many of New Jersey’s low achieving students have been lost in that chasm referred to as the Achievement GAP.  

A Governor's TASK FORCE has been created and charged "to provide the State Board and policymakers with recommendations for a statewide strategy to close the academic achievement gap by addressing proven correlatives of poor academic achievement. It will examine the themes of access; culture/climate;expectations; and strategies." We saw that as a ray of hope, because it meant that someone at the State Department was listening or was at the very least, aware. Yet, Dr. Carlisle has seen fit to cut & paste goals & objectives from districts that have no Achievement GAP and very few low achieving students. Our children deserve goals and objectives based on data collected regarding their educational experiences in our school system. The goals of  the Englewood Public School District should not emulate those of some out of the way mostly Caucasian town in New York state.

Miller Place Union Free School District Goals     

Englewood Public School District Goals 2011 - 2012 - presented on January 12,2012

Question:  How can the 5 year old goals of a district that has 91% White students, 2% Black Students, 3% Hispanic students and 3% Asian students have the EXACT SAME GOALS recently presented by Dr. Carlisle to our Board of Education? Examine for yourself the single digit percentages of students performing below standards. (3rd - 9%, 4th - 5%, 5th - 4%, 6th - 3%, 7th - 1%, and 8th - 2%)  Then check out the categories, such as "Improved Communication and Heightened Professionalism"? COPIED VERBATIM! 

It is also evident that the "Improved Student Achievement" goals found in the EPSD document have also been extracted from this same set of goals.  Two of Miller Place Union Free School District's 5 year goals mirror our current goals - EXACTLY!  Is it a surprise that the goals for "Providing a Safe and Secure Environment for Learning" and "Responsible Financial Stewardship" were also lifted, VERBATIM from the "Maximizing Quality and Value" wording used in the Miller Place Union Free School District's goals?

We have a few questions:
1. Why was Dr. Carlisle allowed to present the district goals to our community for the first time after being in the  district for a full year? (Posting online is like the United States Postal Service. The outside postage machine stamp will be accurate. Regardless of the (1/19/2011) date indicated on the PowerPoint, it is a simple thing to ascertain the actual date that the goals and objectives were really posted. We have documented inquiries requesting them.
2. Why do the goals of the district lack the specificity required of his predecessors and current building administrators? Pay close attention to the one that says he intends to promote up from within. Gee.

3. Why was it acceptable to state that board members "had a long day at work" as an excusable reason not to fulfill his responsibility to the community. We were not privy to the email that he sent out to Board Members containing the goals? Besides, they were supposed to create them together.
4. Why is it that no one on the current board CAUGHT A BLATANT PLAGIARISM OF IDEAS that are so central to the operation, educational health and Vision of our district? Why have they allowed this to happen?
5. Why is it that the goals were placed on the district website inaccurately stating that:
"These goals were presented to the Board of Education at a public meeting in January 2011”...Dr. Carlisle could not get through the first slide without the assistance of the PowerPoint that contained what was supposed to be the goals that he created in January of 2011

Goal 3. A. Develop proactive hiring and staff retention strategies, with a special focus on nurturing leadership "up from within."  
            B. Identify and address priority renovation...(Now does that sound familiar?)
We have referenced the Governance Section of the QSAC.  F. Annual Evaluative Process. F1, F2, F3,F4, F5, F6, F7, F8, F4. The School board's annual evaluation of the CSA is based on the adoption of goals and performance measurement that reflect that highest priority is given to student achievement and attention to subgroup achievement.

Are our Laws guidelines that districts may choose not to follow whenever they like? Is this what is meant by giving districts more leeway towards being creative? Is this the reason NJ is requested a NCLB wavier? This Candidate for Superintendent has spent a full year making sure that he gets his money. He moved his office to the high school. He refers to the high school campus as 2 schools that need attention. So we have "the Cinderella Stepchild School" and the CTE one that the district promotes to outside towns as a School Choice. We have enough problems with division already. We have an apartheid system already. We don’t need more of that. The classroom next door to his office shares the same light switch as his office. The students are unable to view a movie without lights, because the lights in his office will go dark if they darken the classroom. His move to the high school is an impediment to learning. 

The Board of Education makes light of the QSAC in board meetings in front of us. Go to the videotape.  Are our Laws more like parley, and are guidelines for Englewood only?

We know how a student's academic life is altered once plagiarism has been proven. What happens to a Superintendent under the same circumstances? We deserve better. The "ugly truth" about this is that all of this information was ascertained without rigorous investigative research. We simply googled it. Is “practice what you preach” a dead concept in New Jersey Education?

We, the Citizens 4 Public Education believe that it is fair to openly question why our board is willing to publicly defy our Governor for an uncertified Superintendent who does not respect the children of Englewood enough to at least try to "MATCH" up our goals to districts with like challenges.
We, the Citizens 4 Public Education believe that it is also fair to openly question why the New Jersey State Department of Education is allowing a board of education that is 'persistently flouting the Laws of the State of New Jersey' to go on with business as usual.
We, the Citizens 4 Public Education openly question why the State Department of Education is NOT enforcing the Laws in Englewood, NJ? Do our children deserve any less than other towns?


Lucy Walker 
of Citizens 4 Public Education

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The New Accountability System: Why was Englewood City LEFT OFF?

Why was Englewood, New Jersey left off  the New Jersey Department of Education's List of Priority, Focus and Reward  schools? The 3 categories are described below. Have Englewood students been Left Behind, Again?

In developing a new accountability system, the Department of Education will create three tiers of schools, which will be identified using both growth and absolute proficiency. These schools will be identified during the summer, and interventions will begin in the 2012-13 school year:

A. Priority Schools: The Department will identify the lowest-performing five percent of Title I schools across the state using proficiency, growth, and graduation rates. Any non-Title I school that would otherwise meet the same criteria will also be designated as a Priority School.

B. Focus Schools: The Department will identify at least 10 percent of Title I schools as Focus Schools. These schools will be selected from Title I schools that are not categorized as Priority Schools and will be identified based upon achievement gaps between subgroups and low performance or graduation rates among particular subgroups. Any non-Title I school that would otherwise meet the same criteria will also be designated as a Focus School.

C. Reward Schools: The Department will identify Reward Schools based on high proficiency levels or high levels of growth, including progress toward closing achievement gaps. This will allow for a range of schools from across the state to attain Reward status, regardless of their absolute starting point.

Excerpts of Data gathered from North

5 Bergen ..................Bogota -  Bogota Jr   Sr  High Sch 
6 Bergen ..................Cliffside Park  - Number 6 
7 Bergen ..................Hackensack - Hackensack High 
8 Bergen ..................Hillsdale - George G White 
9 Bergen ..................New Milford  - David E  Owens M S 
10 Bergen ................Paramus - East Brook Middle 
11 Bergen ................Rochelle Park - Midland  No 1

At first glance, I assumed it was because it is impossible to be a School Choice and be a Priority or Focus School at the same time. It goes without saying that we are no where close to being a Reward School. That can't be the reason because Bogota is also a School Choice.

You may add that to the things that make you go Uhmmmmm....!

New Jersey Leads the Way with Call for Statewide

 Accountability System to Turn Around Failing Schools

New Jersey Department of Educations List of Priority, Focus and Reward Schools