Proposed Budget Makes Class Size Top Priority for Westfield Public Schools
Salaries and benefits comprise 80 percent of budget
The following is Westfield Schools Superintendent Margaret Dolan's synopsis of the Westfield Board of Education meeting held Tuesday, Feb. 19 taken from the district's website:
2013-2014 PRELIMINARY BUDGET
The budget is preliminary since we have not yet received information on state aid, which is expected on February 28. State aid has dropped dramatically since 25 years ago when it represented 11% of our budget. In 2012-2013 state aid was 3.89% of our total budget. This year there is new state software for budget purposes, of which we have received only a portion. For planning purposes, districts have been told to assume that state aid will remain at the same level. With state aid as an estimate (assuming the same amount as last year), the $96,402,166 preliminary budget includes:
There will be three more public meetings on the budget – March 5, 19 and 21. The Public Hearing, at which time the Board is expected to adopt a final budget, is scheduled for March 21.
ASSESSING STUDENT GROWTH IN FINE ARTS
Dr. Linda King, Supervisor of Visual & Performing Arts, gave a presentation entitled: Measuring Student Growth in Westfield’s Visual and Performing Arts (Curriculum Mapping, Benchmarks and Assessments). This included a detailed explanation of the on-going department initiative to apply curricular concepts and consistently monitor student growth. This is being done in accordance with the theories of Kim Marshall, whose teacher evaluation model was recently adopted by the district and is currently being piloted by Dr. King.
RECOGNIZING STUDENT MUSIC AWARDS
Board President, Richard Mattessich congratulated Westfield High School students accepted to the 2013 Central Jersey Music Educators Association (CJMEA) Region II Ensembles: Clayton Beyert - Wind Ensemble; Jonathan Clancy and Alex DiFabio, Symphonic Band; and Francis Wong, Orchestra. These students auditioned among hundreds of other students from throughout the Central New Jersey Region. The Region II Orchestra performed on Sunday January 6 at Montgomery HS in Skillman, NJ. On Sunday, January 13, the wind/percussion students performed with their respective ensemble at Montgomery High School. On Saturday, January 19, these students auditioned for the New Jersey All-State Ensembles with hopes of joining the best musicians in the state at the New Jersey Music Educators Association Conference.
Mr. Mattessich also congratulated the following WHS students for being accepted into the 2013 Region II Chorus among 600 students who auditioned: Anna Bloomfield, Isabella Gelfand, Aidan Hughes, Hasitha Kakileti, Maddie Kevelson, Katherine Ko, Megan Pinna, and Melanie Snyder.The students performed on January 27th at the Monroe middle school.
The following students were recognized for being chosen in the very select All Eastern Choir: Liz Griesmer, Allie Hecht, Michael Kirkland, Matthew Lynn, and Jack Mustard. They will perform at the National Association for Music Education Conference in April. Cindy Xiao, violinist, will represent WHS and NJ in the All Eastern Orchestra.
John Brzozowski is the WHS choral teacher, Chris Vitale instructs the band students, and Raymond Wojcik teaches the students in the orchestra.
The Board approved for second reading the following policies: 2240 – Controversial Issues; 5308 – Pupil Health Records; 5331 – Management of Life-Threatening Allergies in Schools; 6111- Special Education Medicaid Initiative (Semi) Program; 6510 – Payroll Authorization; 6830 – Audit and Comprehensive Annual Financial Report; 7422 – School Integrated Pest Management Plan; 2415.04 – Title I – District-wide Parental Involvement; 5111 – Eligibility of Resident/Nonresident Pupils; 5465 – Early Graduation; and 8464 – Missing Children.
The Board affirmed my decision on a HIB investigation.
The Board accepted, with gratitude, the following gifts:
AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORTS
Ginny Leiz attended the Recreation Commission meeting which included discussion of improvements to Jefferson School’s field and the possibility of upgrading Tamaques Park tennis courts.
At the Union County Educational Services Commission, Mrs. Leiz learned that there may be County students available for free technical support work in the summer.
Rosanne Kurstedt attended both the Franklin and Roosevelt PTSO meetings, where fundraising and Board of Education topics were discussed.
Gretchan Ohlig attended the Library Board meeting. The Library had provided space for students to study for mid-terms. She also was present at the PTC/PTO Presidents meeting, where the district budget was discussed and representatives from the Recreation Commission reviewed communication procedures with the schools.
Lucy Biegler attended the PTO meeting at Tamaques, where teachers presented helpful information to parents on the literacy initiative.
STEM ACTIVITIES FOR NATIONAL ENGINEERS’ WEEK
All next week, our secondary schools will be engaged in activities designed to raise awareness about integrating the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Edison and Roosevelt Schools have prepared design challenges for students which culminate on February 28 with labs that will determine the effectiveness of their designs. At Westfield High School, Math and Science teachers have over two dozen activities planned. In addition to the activities, students will also enjoy guest speakers from a wide range of STEM fields including: neuroscience, genetic engineering, cryogenics and Chemistry. All the elementary schools have STEM activities planned in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, February 16, the Emergency Services Unit of the Westfield Police Department and administrators from our School District participated in an Active shooter drill at Westfield High School. The goal was to help school staff understand what to expect when law enforcement responds to a threatening situation at a school. Following an informative presentation, the staff in attendance participated in building exercises. This information will be shared with all administrators. We very much appreciate the continued cooperation of our local enforcement officers in our mutual goal of providing safety in our schools.
Lincoln School will hold an additional registration date on Thursday, February 28, from 1 – 3 PM for children who will become eligible for kindergarten in the 2013-2014 school year. This applies to all children who are residents of Westfield reaching the age of 5 on or before October 1, 2013. Please call for an appointment at 908-789-4455. Information regarding documents that are required at registration is available at www.westfieldnjk12.org/lincoln.
INTERMEDIATE – FINE ARTS
Congratulations to the following Intermediate students, who were accepted into the Central Jersey Music Educators Association Region II Ensembles. At Roosevelt Intermediate School, Erica Lawrence will participate in the Concert Band and Jack Butera, will be in the Percussion Ensemble. At Edison Intermediate School, Alistair Kapadia, Dale Beyert, Sofia Gonzalez-Nolde, and Arthur Xiao have been selected to the Concert Band.
Congratulations to these Intermediate students for making the Central Jersey Music Educators Association Region II Orchestra: At Roosevelt, Charlotte Perez, Mira Yang, and Jane Krause; and at Edison, Amy Liang and Soo Min Chung.
Selected to the Region II Chorus for intermediate schools were Edison 8th grader Lucy Hale and RIS 7th grader Leah Andrews.
Justin Elbert and Christopher Hoerrner - 5th place Biology Blitz;
Esther Nam and Nick Walker - 5th Place Anatomy;
Jack Mieselman and Tommy Riley - 6th Place Disease Detectives;
Victoria Napolitano and Juliana Yang - 5th Place Dynamic Planet;
Angus Applegarth and Aaron Coleman - 4th Place Mission Possible;
Avery Wenta and Aaron Coleman - 5th Place Shock Value; and
Victoria Napolitano and Shannon Pyle - 6th Place Write it, Do it.
Congratulations to all of these students and their teacher, Jeffrey Robbins, as they progress to the state competition at Middlesex County College on Tuesday March 12th.
· Efforts continue by our faculty and students who are aiding those affected by Hurricane Sandy. In Monica Gundrum’s second grade class at Tamaques School, students raised $545 in the Give a Hand, Wear a Band bracelet sale for the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.
· The WHS Community Service Club served dinner to approximately 150 individuals at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Bay Head on Jan. 25 and again on Feb. 15. They also sat with children and adults and talked with them at length as dinner was served. According to WHS Community Service Club Advisor, “Our students were incredible.” The service club also is going to deliver meals and toiletries to homeless individuals and other families in need in Newark on Feb. 23 and March 16 through our work with Bridges Outreach.
· On Jan 27, the Boys and Girls Swim Teams both earned the Union County Championships. Senior Ellie Reinhardt, Juniors Sarah Cronin and Caroline Baldwin and Freshman Gwyn Devin broke the County and Westfield High School records for the 200 yard freestyle relay. On February 19, both the Girls and Boys Swim Teams competed for the State Semi Final and won! They will swim for the State title on Saturday on The College of New Jersey.
· Peter Fagin tied the Group 4 State Indoor Track Meet Record with a 15 foot pole vault height to win the State Title on Saturday, February 16. This is also a school indoor record.
· Last week, four Westfield High School student/athletes signed letters of intent to perspective colleges and universities. They include: Meghan Reilly - Javelin, Lehigh University; Jake Heroux -Boys Soccer, Loyola; Shane Kronick - Boys Soccer, Penn State; and Henry Smith - Boys Soccer, Gettysburg.
NEXT BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING will be held Tuesday, March 5, at 7:30 PM at 302 Elm Street. We will continue our discussion of the 2013-2014 school district budget.
Margaret Dolan, Ed.D.