Thursday, May 31, 2012

Suggestion Box EPSD: The Expectations Described Here...

...should apply to every single student in the 3rd grade, not just the ones in this program. 
This is not Education Reform. 

Do you have a child going into the 3rd grade next year? Click the link below and fill out an application. Every child should have the opportunity to experience a program that has high expectations.

                                           How are the chldren?

Do You Understand the New Jersey 2011 - 2012 School Report Card?

Trenton, NJ - The Department of Education today released Report Cards for each public school in the state for the 2010-11 school year.

The Report Cards are released annually to provide user-friendly information to the public about school performance. The information in these Report Cards also provides useful data to educators and districts to help develop local improvement plans.

Based in part on these results, the Department of Education has already begun interventions in Priority Schools - the lowest-performing 5 percent of schools in the state over the past three years - with full support to begin in September through the state's new Regional Achievement Centers.

The Report Card contains information in the five areas below.
 1. School environment
 2. Student information
 3. School performance
 4. Staff information
 5. District financial data

Beginning next school year, the Department will develop and publish new school performance reports for every school in New Jersey to replace the current bifurcated School Report Card and NCLB Report Card publications.

Through these reports, the Department will set specific school and subgroup performance targets for both language arts and math, and will report annual progress towards meeting those goals. In addition, the reports will include a number of new data points including;

  •  progress towards closing achievement gaps, 
  • comparison to "peer schools" with similar demographics, 
  • growth as measured through Student Growth Percentiles on state tests over time,
  • and additional college and career readiness data points. 

These public reports will help districts and schools to:

  • engage in local performance management by setting local performance goals, 
  • identifying strengths and weaknesses, 
  • and developing local plans to focus on areas of low performances in their districts.... 

The School Report Cards for the 2010-11 school year can be found at the link below: 

The full press release is here:

Guide to the New Jersey Report Card 2011:

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Suggestion Box EPSD: Branding & Yet Another Broken Promise

This year makes 42 years since the South building on the Dwight Morrow High School Campus was named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Hall. It was the year I graduated from high school. We called it King Hall. Isn't it about time that those letters appeared on the outside of the building facing the street? Paint is quite reasonable these days. Another promise gone and drying  up by the wayside like a raisin in the sun.

You would not believe how much such a seemingly small thing can do to help healing begin. 

                               How are the children?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

13 NJ Students Honored by NJ State Board of Education

May 16, 2012

Our students ARE capable of
achieving as as well as those
from any other town in NJ.
Trenton, NJ – Thirteen students from high schools and a middle school were honored today for outstanding academic and community achievements by the New Jersey State Board of Education in Trenton. Accompanied by their Executive County Superintendent, the superintendent of their district, local school officials, family and friends, the students were formally recognized for academic success as well as leadership qualities and volunteerism both at school and within their communities.

Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf said the students represent some of the finest young people in the Garden State. “Through self-discipline and determination, kindness and conscientiousness, they have proven to themselves, their families and their teachers that they have the qualities necessary to achieve success in school and in life,” Acting Commissioner Cerf said.

State Board President Arcelio Aponte said students are selected on the basis of scholarship, stewardship and leadership. “The students honored today by the State Board of Education represent the best and brightest in New Jersey’s public schools,” said President Arcelio Aponte. “Their achievements in the classroom, on the athletic field and in their communities exemplify the level of dedication, talent and motivation that can be found in classrooms throughout the state.”
Students who received honors are listed below. To see the award presentation photos click here.
Atlantic County - Ceili Burdhimo, Egg Harbor Township High School
Bergen County - Alexandra Schulsinger and Scott Nolasco, Northern Highlands Regional High School
Cumberland County - Megan Hallquist and Steven Cirri, Cumberland Regional High School
Essex County - Tevan Denis, Essex County Vocational-Technical Schools, Bloomfield Tech Campus
Gloucester County  - Sarah McAlister, Delsea Regional High School
Hudson County - Mervy Michael and Christian Ugaz, Union City High School
Middlesex County - County Hansel Rodriguez, North Brunswick Township High School
Ocean County - Andrew Ruff, Point Pleasant Borough High School
Somerset County - Courtney Smith, Bedminster Township School
Sussex County - Brandi Braico and Brittany Vrindten, Glen Meadow Middle School

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Jersey Language Programs Honored by NJ Department of Education

Trenton, NJ - The NJ Department of Education today honored ten New Jersey districts for their outstanding second language programs. The districts, which were recognized at a ceremony in the Rutgers Student Center in New Brunswick, will serve as models of best practices in world languages programs and bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for English language learners.

The department began this recognition program in 2004. "Helping English Language Learners master English proficiency skills and helping all of our students learn second languages is crucial to ensuring all of our students are ready for the demands of the 21st century," said Acting Commissioner of Education Christopher Cerf. "We are pleased to recognize these outstanding programs and educators, which will serve as exemplars for others to learn from and model."

The outstanding programs were selected based on criteria developed by the New Jersey Supervisors of World Languages and the Statewide Advisory Committee for Bilingual and ESL Education, with assistance from the New Jersey Department of Education. Programs were selected based on their demonstrated success in developing students' second language skills and their implementation of effective programs and instructional practices that led to student achievement in a second language.

These criteria included teacher instructional skills, use of standards-based curricula, and support for the program by the school leadership and the community. The model programs were selected from a field of applicants by panels of educators and department staff that reviewed applications and visited the programs. Each program will serve as a resource center for other districts over the next two years. Educators visiting the centers will have opportunities to observe exemplary practices in second language teaching, learning and assessment.

Administrators and teachers will also be able to discuss issues of mutual concern with staff from the centers, as well as the potential for collaboration on their second language programs. Plaques commemorating the selection of the districts as model programs were presented at today's ceremony.

The four districts receiving awards for world languages are:

  • Englewood Public Schools, Bergen County- Elementary Immersion World Languages Programs 
  • Fair Haven School District, Monmouth County- World Languages Program 
  • Princeton Public Schools, Mercer County- K-12 World Languages Program 
  • West Windsor-Plainsboro Public Schools, Mercer County- K-12 World Languages Program

The six districts receiving awards for bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs include: 

  • Clifton Public Schools, Passaic County- K-12 ESL Program with Bilingual Support Program 
  • Howell Township Public Schools, Monmouth County- K-8 ESL Program 
  • Linden Public Schools, Union County- K-12 ESL Program 
  • River Edge Public Schools, Bergen County- K ESL Program 
  • Roselle Public Schools, Union County- 1-4 Bilingual Program in Harrison Elementary School
  • West Windsor-Plainsboro Public Schools, Mercer County- 6-12 ESL Program  

Monday, May 14, 2012

What is Juneteenth?

What is Juneteenth?

On January 1, 1980, Juneteenth became an official state holiday through the efforts of Al Edwards, an African American state legislator. The successful passage of this bill marked Juneteenth as the first emancipation celebration granted official state recognition.  Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Edwards has since actively sought to spread the observance of Juneteenth all across America. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. 

"Today Juneteenth commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement. It is a day, a week, and in some areas a month marked with celebrations, guest speakers, picnics and family gatherings. It is a time for reflection and rejoicing. It is a time for assessment, self-improvement and for planning the future. Its growing popularity signifies a level of maturity and dignity in America long over due. In cities across the country, people of all races, nationalities and religions are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Sensitized to the conditions and experiences of others, only then can we make significant and lasting improvements in our society."

Community members sell fish and chicken dinners with refreshments. 2011
For years, school children were taught that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with his Emancipation Proclamation. i remember sitting in my seat imagining that very tall man in the black magician's hat hitting a gavel on a sturdy wooden podium and exclaiming FREE the slaves. I conjured up daydreams of happy people shouting joyfully for days in celebration of free. In reality the word was quite slow in getting out. The "Emancipation Proclamation" was signed in 1863. It took 2  1/2 years for the word to get out.  Soldiers were still fighting and killing each other in places and slaves were still very much still slaves. Southern plantation owners profited for two and a half years from the freed slaves NOT having the information that would set them free. June 19, 1865, General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas with the news that the slaves were free. Two and a half years after the signing of the paper, men and women were still performing free labor, dying and being owned. I don't know about you,  but I can imagine that day. FREE! FREE! FREEEEE! FREEDOM! 

From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.

"Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day.  It is a moment in time taken to appreciate the African American experience.  It is inclusive of all races, ethnicities and nationalities - as nothing is more comforting than the hand of a friend." 
"Juneteenth serves symbolically, and in reality, as a reference point from which to measure and appreciate the progress and contributions made by African Americans to this society."
"Juneteenth is a day on which honor and respect is paid for the sufferings of slavery. It is a day on which we acknowledge the evils of slavery and its aftermath.  On Juneteenth we talk about our history and realize because of it, there will forever be a bond between us."
"On Juneteenth we think about that moment in time when the enslaved in Galveston, Texas received word of their freedom.  We imagine the depth of their emotions, their jubilant dance and their fear of the unknown."
"Juneteenth is a day that we commit to each other the needed support as family, friends and co-workers.   It is a day we build coalitions that enhance African American economics." 
 "On Juneteenth we come together young and old to listen, to learn and to refresh the drive to achieve. It is a day where we all take one step closer together - to better utilize the energy wasted on racism. Juneteenth is a day that we pray for peace and liberty for all."    

Local Celebrations 
The Jabari Society is hosting 3 Events as part of the 3 Day Juneteenth Celebration 2012

Juneteenth 2011
  1. Carnival @Depot Square Friday, June 15th - Sunday, June 17th   Entertainment & Open Mic Vendors,
  2. Juneteenth Social Affair: Friday, June15th 9pm - 1:00 am @Club 201, Corner Palisade Ave. & Armory Street, Englewood - Buffet and DJ $20 donation
  3. Parade - Saturday, June 16th - 10:30  The Parade begins at the monument, proceeds down Palisade Avenue and ends in Depot Square. 

Joe Hoyle/Parade Coordinator at (201) 615-2983

The African American Advisory Committee
After the Parade on Saturday, June 16th, many of you might 
want to check out the Celebration given jointly by the African 
American Advisory Committee and the Board of Chosen 
Freeholders of Bergen County. 

Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
in the Kelly Ingram Park,
Birmingham, Alabama
From 10 am - 6 pm they invite you to Juneteenth "Celebrating Freedom, Unity and Black Women in American History and Culture."

The Bergen County Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument Committee is spearheading a movement to build a life size bronze monument of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 
bridge that connects the Fairleigh Dickinson Teaneck and Hackensack Campuses. Professional Artists are working on submissions to compete for the job of creating the monument.

The Juneteenth Celebration presented by the African American Advisory Committee will take place at Bergen County Overpeck Park at Ridgefield Park. Entertainment, Food, Games, Cultural & Historical Displays, Vendors, Family Reunions, Music and Tour of Historical Gethsemane Cemetery.

For Information & to become involved, please call
Theodora Lacey: 201-833-9180
Arnold Brown: 201-745-6975

The NJ Legislative Bill A145 was sponsored by Assemblyman Jerry Green from District 22 (Middlesex, Somerset, Union)  A link to the law:  

Every teacher in every district in the State of New Jersey should integrate some information into the curriculum about Juneteenth. The addition of one lesson is a good place to start for all citizens who love FREEDOM and care about the youth of tomorrow.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tell Englewood Board of Education that It Shall Put the Children First!

The news that EPSD and Bergen Academy must pay 2.3 million dollars to children that they failed to protect was not welcomed by Englewood taxpayers. We live here. We know the depths from which this insidious neglect rises. Money is steadily flowing out of the district. How many lawsuits must a Board of Education lose before the realization that they are doing something wrong becomes plain to all?

Liliana Saumet
Liliana Saumet read this statement to the Englewood Board of Education on May 10, 2012. I stood by her side. She was stopped by the Board President when her 3 minutes were up. I yielded my 3 minutes to her. She was stopped anyway. Mr. Jefferson, the owner of the organization, Circle of Colors, was not stopped as he countered her statements in flowery words about how well the board and Dr. Carlisle are doing. Mr. Jefferson is paid well with the taxpayer's money and he speaks up against the stakeholders. He is afraid that change will render his highly questionable relationship with EPSD null and void. (By the way, it should be noted here that Mr. Jefferson is NOT an Englewood Resident)

Liliana Saumet:
"What I find more disturbing is that the superintendent and the board at the time, first allowed an administrator to tutor kids when he was not supposed to especially behind closed doors.  Secondly, I don’t know how a person that did not speak Spanish can tutor non-English speaking children. 

 What is more disgraceful and appalling is that the teachers and staff members that brought this up to the corresponding parties were fired.  The main concern for the superintendent and the board of education at the time was to maintain this buried as deep as they could, so it would not hinder the negotiations for the academies.  Additionally knowing that people who were and are members of the current board did nothing to rectify the situation, instead helped conceal the evidence is shameful.

Unfortunately, like I have stated before the only victims are again the children.  With this payoff the children will be denied help and activities that would enable them to succeed in life,  For the victims, yes they are getting pay, but no one knows the extent of the mental damage done to these kids.  Unfortunately for me, I know, since my sister was sexually molested as a child and today at age 45 she continues to live with the after effect of what was done to her.   I wonder, if board members and superintendents take an oath of protecting the children and making sure that the schools are safe institutions for them, were the Academies worth these children’s pain? What assures us parents and community members that this will not happen again? How many times situations similar to this will be swept under the rug so the district does not get a bad reputation and gets the desired grants?

 At the beginning of the school year we were told that changes were going to be implemented at the high school to unite the gap between the two sides.  However, every since that Dwight Morrow students spoke, I have not been able to put out of my mind what he said.  Therefore, I started doing some research and I am very concerned with what I found.  I spoke to a group of approximately 30 students, some from the academies, most from the regular school.  I have also talked to some staff members and the results are the following.

The opinion between the students is basically the same, the school has gotten worse with the fights, the drugs, food is really bad, some teachers don’t want to teach, and they play movies all the time for them to watch.  When I asked about motivation, one told me what’s that? My only motivation in the morning is for the school day to end as fast as possible; I cannot cut school or quit because my mom will kill me.  Another one said, to sum it up, no one cares. Then I asked about the unity between the two sides and I was told, yeah right the academy kids get everything.  

I was also told of an incident that a professor did not like the personal opinion of a student about a debate in class and just walked out. Some of the teachers are unhappy, they cannot cross educate between the regular school and the academies anymore, basically is like being in two different schools.  If we have unhappy teachers, we will have unhappy and bored students and as a result low test scores and a decrease in graduation rate.  As of April’s reports the total suspensions at the high school were up to 103 and the school year is not even over.  So what is the problem? Why haven’t the changes worked? Is it due to bad kids or lack of strong leadership? Have we given up on the non-academy children?

When I was younger I struggled in school, my mom was told by the teachers that I had a learning disability.  My mother, in her desperation wanted to know how bad it was and had me and my super smart 10 year old sister  IQ’s tested, I was 9.  To everyone amazement I not only scored 20 points above my sister, but I was considered gifted.  My teachers were surprised, but they did not want to step out of the box and continued the same teaching techniques.  

But my sister in her small wisdom realized that I learned differently, and took it upon herself to make me succeed.   At first her methods included blackmail (such as if you get an A I will not tell mom you were playing soccer with the boys), extortion (the payment usually good grades on my part) and rewards (I got the TV for the whole weekend if I made honor roll); at the end I just did it because I wanted her to be proud of me.  All in all she turned me into an A student and helped me develop techniques to compensate and be able to learn.

When we grew up and went to college, I still had to overcome a lot of challenges.  I wanted to know why for me things that people found hard were easy and the simple stuff   such as learning how to tie my shoes was so hard, why like my son calls it I have a squirrel personality and why I have to do things in a certain way.  At age 23 I was diagnosed with a form of autism, similar to aspergers, the Dr. did not know how I developed the skills I had to cope on my own.  But I knew, it was the love of a 10 year old for her sister.  

In conclusion, I really think it is not that complicated, if we work together, Forget all the mumble jumble, the politics, the tenures and instead surround our kids with teachers that can step out of the box and love what they do. If we surround our kids with strong leaders that would oversee, evaluate and motivate those caring teachers, we will have motivated and successful children.  It is not that hard. If a 10 year old did it why can’t we? At the age of 8 I learned how to tie my shoes."

                                                   And how are the children?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Our Schools Are In Crisis: Shall


18A:6-45. New Jersey School Boards Association established
There is established a body corporate and politic, with corporate succession, to be known as the "New Jersey School Boards Association." All boards of education of the various school districts in this State shall be members of the association.
  L.1967, c.271; amended by L.1970, c. 104, s. 1, eff. June 19, 1970.

18A:6-46. Delegates to state association
Each of the district boards of education shall select annually one of its members as a delegate to the association.
L.1967, c.271; amended by L.1970, c. 104, s. 2, eff. June 19, 1970

18A:6-47. Powers and duties
The association may investigate such subjects relating to education in its various branches as it may think proper, and it shall encourage and aid all movements for the improvement of the educational affairs of this State.
L.1967, c.271; amended by L.1970, c. 104, s. 3, eff. June 19, 1970.

18A:6-50. Expenses of delegates; dues 
For the purpose of defraying the necessary expenses of the association, the various district boards shall pay the necessary expenses incurred by its delegates, and shall appropriate annually such sums for dues as may be assessed by the association at any delegates meeting. The assessment of dues shall be made upon a graduated scale and shall be made only upon two-thirds vote of the delegates present at such delegates meeting, after notice of the taking of such vote shall have been given to each district board in writing at least 60 days before such delegates meeting. However, the dues assessed any board of education shall not be increased for any year by more than 33 1/3% of the dues assessed that board during the preceding year. Dues shall be payable by the custodian of school moneys of the school district to the treasurer of the association. 

     L.1967, c.271; amended by L.1969,c.89,s.1, eff. June 17, 1969; L.1970,c.104,s.5, eff. June 19, 1970; L.1973,c.120,s.1, eff. May 9, 1973.

The Membership dues for Englewood Public School District were $26,000.00 for last year.
Public Domain Google Clip Art
I was present at the last 2 re-organization meetings. 2 years in a row the law was ignored. At no time within the last 2 years has this board designated a Delegate to the New Jersey School Boards Association as required by law. I have last year's agenda and this year's agenda. No resolution. No appointment of a Delegate. 

Sign the petition below. Your signature may be kept private. For the welfare of all the children the board SHALL be made to follow the law. If you live in Englewood and would like to sign a paper petition that will be sent to Governor Christie & Acting Commissioner Cerf and Secretary of Education for the US, Arne Duncan, please email and make arrangements.

Training and Technical Assistance Grant Opportunity

TO: New Jersey Afterschool Training and Technical Assistance Provider Agencies,
Interested Parties and Organizations
FROM: Barbara Gantwerk, Assistant Commissioner Division of Student and Field Services
SUBJECT: Solicitation of Interest for 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Training and Technical Assistance Grant

The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) is soliciting letters of interest from New Jersey based agencies to provide statewide training and technical assistance to improve the quality of forty-eight (48) 21st Century Community Learning Centers programs (21st CCLC) in New Jersey. 

The 21st CCLCs offer academic remediation and enrichment activities in tandem with a broad array of other opportunities including arts, cultural, youth development and physical activities to students and their adult family members when school is not in session. 

The provision of services through 21st CCLC programs is intended to: increase students' academic achievement, encourage positive student behavior, engage adult family members of participating students and develop collaborative relationships to ensure participants' access to all available resources through coordinated efforts. 

The duration of this project will be 3-5 years. The anticipated period for the first year of the project is September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2013. Continuation will be based upon documented need for continued or expanded project services, NJDOE priorities and available funding. Through a Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO), NJDOE intends to provide training and technical assistance that not only helps the 21st CCLC grantees fulfill program requirements, but also builds the capacity of the program staff which in turn will enhance the quality of the program. 

In addition to training sessions and technical assistance, the selected agency will assist the department in addressing program quality, sustainability and networking. The selected agency would be required to fulfill the following activities: 

 * Provide technical assistance and training to all 21st CCLC program grantees and other eligible entities within New Jersey in an effort to increase the quality of afterschool programs throughout the state;
 * Facilitate professional learning communities within 21st CCLC programs, especially around the following themes: STEM, career awareness and exploration, visual/performing arts and civic engagement;
 * Foster the development of 21st CCLC grantee partnerships with key stakeholders including school-day administrators and staff, parents, and collaborators; * Collaborate with state 21st CCLC evaluator to administer evaluation trainings to ensure appropriate use of data, including surveys;
* Assist the 21st CCLC programs in the implementation of action research to encourage continuous quality improvement;
 * Assist in the development, continuity and expansion of quality 21st CCLC programs through on-site quality visits;
 * Provide training sessions on best practice strategies for intentional planning, aligning with the school-day, creating a youth-centered environment, effective management, summer learning, engaging parents and families, local evaluation methods and designing program staff professional development;
* Design and plan professional learning experiences that are relevant, interactive and based on current national research;
* Promote the use of a guided-inquiry approach to support the development of participants' 21st Century skills;
* Use nationally recognized quality standards for afterschool in developing trainings, workshops and conferences; and It is the intent of the department to select an agency that has documented experience in:
 * Developing, coordinating and conducting capacity building training and technical assistance for afterschool program providers through various methods, such as on-site, remotely and web-based;
* Supporting sustainable practices in out-of-school-time programs that enhance or improve students' academic performance;
 * Administering and managing a federal grant program;
* Accessing national resources to provide technical assistance of high quality and based on current national research; and
* Facilitating networking opportunities for out-of-school-time program providers throughout New Jersey.

 Interested agencies should respond to this solicitation with a request to receive the Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO) for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program Training and Technical Assistance project. 

Only those agencies who respond will receive the NGO. A maximum of $160,000 per year is available to implement this project. The final program budget will be determined based upon the approved program scope and related activities.

Interested agencies must submit their responses to the following address by May 30, 2012: 
New Jersey Department of Education
Division of Student and Field Services
Office of Student Support Services
c/o Haydee Y. Perez-Livingston
100 River View Plaza, Second Floor
P.O. Box 500 Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0500

If you have any questions regarding this solicitation, please contact
Ms. Haydee Y. Perez-Livingston, program coordinator,
Extended Educational Services Unit, Office of Student Support Services at (609) 292-5935.

Thank you for your attention to this solicitation.
c: Christopher Cerf
Andrew Smarick
Dave Hespe Susan
Martz Anne Corwell
David Joye
Haydee Y. Perez
Robert Schilling

The Science Achievement GAP: Got Food!?

New Jersey Students Continue to Outperform the National Average on 2011 NAEP Science Exam, But Substantial Achievement Gap Remains 

Trenton, NJ - According to results released today for the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science exam, New Jersey students continue to outperform the national average in science but have the 9th highest achievement gap between low- and high-income students in the country.

Based on these results, the Christie Administration is reaffirming the need for new science standards for the state, which are already being developed with New Jersey's participation through a state-led partnership. "As these results today demonstrate, New Jersey students continue to do well by nearly every objective measure compared to the rest of the country, but we still have more work to do to ensure that every student in New Jersey has the knowledge and skills necessary to be ready for the demands of the 21st century," said Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf. "

New Jersey is a lead partner in developing the Next Generation Science Standards along with 25 other states to ensure that we set high standards and help all of our schools implement those standards in the crucial area of science."

For more information:

A High School group earning credits in Agriculture towards
high school graduation
is concerned with the Science involved in feeding
the population of the world in the future.

In Partnership with NYC High School, Cornell U. Builds and Enhances Sustainable Agriculture Technology
Agriculture Scholarships
Agricultural and Natural Resources
Outstanding High School Nutrition Program

Is this a joke? I wonder who did this evaluation.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Give Your Favorite Teacher A Shout Out At the NJ State Department of Education

Christie Administration Celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week by Recognizing and Applauding the Contribution of New Jersey's Educators

To all Teachers:
Have a great week!
Trenton, NJ - The Christie Administration today kicked off National Teacher Appreciation Week with two new website features and a video address from Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf to celebrate and recognize the work of New Jersey's 130,000 educators. National Teacher Appreciation Week is an annual event that begins on May 7, 2012. "Every day I am asked what the secret is to ensuring every child in New Jersey graduates from high school ready for college and career, and I always have one simple response - outstanding teachers," said Acting Commissioner Cerf. "I began my career as a high school history teacher, and I can honestly say that I never worked harder or felt more rewarded than I did during those four years. We as a state should make sure that we celebrate outstanding educators every day for their work with our children and for developing the next generation of leaders."

Stand up for our children.
Protect them
when others fail.
To kick off National Teacher Appreciation Week, the New Jersey Department of Education launched three new pages on its website. 

* Video address to New Jersey's teachers: Acting Commissioner Cerf recorded a short video address to New Jersey's educators.

*Teacher Memory: This is a new feature of the state's website where New Jersey residents can submit a memory of their favorite teacher, either past or present. These memories will be reflected on the Department's website to demonstrate the important contribution that teachers make in each of our lives, even many years later.

*Teacher Spotlight: Each month, the Department will feature a different outstanding New Jersey teacher to recognize and reward their contribution in the classroom. The first teacher to be featured in this series is New Jersey Teacher of the Year - Jeanne DelColle.

"The research is very clear that the quality of the teacher in front of the classroom is the most important in-school factor affecting student achievement," said Acting Commissioner Cerf. "That is why this administration has invested so heavily in making sure that we are able to recruit, retain, reward, and support outstanding educators that make a difference every day in our children's lives." Among Governor Christie's education reforms, the Department of Education has launched the following initiatives over the past year to ensure that New Jersey has the best educators in the country and that those educators have the tools they need to be successful.

 * Teacher evaluation: This year, the Department launched the first year of a pilot program to develop a more meaningful teacher evaluation system that will help all teachers, regardless of experience, constantly improve their practice. This new evaluation system will support teachers not only by providing more regular and consistent feedback, but also by tying professional development opportunities directly to their evaluation. Through the first two pilot years, this new system is being developed with the support of hundreds of educators on the ground across the state.

 * Model curriculum: As educators across the state work to implement the new Common Core State Standards in math and English over the next two years, the Department of Education is in the process of developing a model curriculum that will serve as an optional resource to educators to help them turn the new standards into classroom instruction. This initiative is being led by the Department of Education with the support of current educators, and the first draft of this curriculum is currently posted on the Department's website. Through feedback from teachers, this model curriculum will be ready to launch by September.

 * Data: Through continued investment in the state's longitudinal data system, NJSMART, the Department continues its work to provide timely and actionable data to educators to help them succeed.

                                        How are the children?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

District and School Graduation Rates, Reinforcing Need for New Graduation Requirements

Christie Administration Releases District and School Graduation Rates, Reinforcing Need for New Graduation Requirements

Trenton, NJ - Reinforcing the need for new graduation requirements not only to increase the number of high school graduates but to ensure that students who do graduate from high school are college and career ready, the Christie Administration today released district and school graduation rates along with graduate pathway information. "As we look at these new graduation rates across the state, the question we must continue to ask ourselves is not only whether students are graduating from high school, but whether we are truly preparing them to be ready for the demands of the 21st century. These results reinforce the need for the new end-of-course assessments not only to increase the number of high school graduates, but to increase the number of graduates ready for college and career," said Acting Commissioner Chris Cerf. "We should approach these results with both confidence and humility - we continue to be among the leaders in the nation, but we can still do more to make sure every child, regardless of zip code, has an equal opportunity in life." 

District and state level graduation rates:
Graduate pathway information:
Release is here: