BOE Reports & Notes

  • BOE President's Report August 27, 2014

    Posted by Donald Webster, Jr. at 8/27/2014 8:00:00 PM

    State/Federal Issues
    We continue to monitor education related bills that may affect Manchester.  Recently, the Governor vetoed a proposed new law from the legislature that would severely restrict a district’s ability to generate cost savings through the award of third party sub-contracts for non-education related services such as maintenance, food services and custodial services.  The ability of districts to sub-contract helps to reduce our budgeted expenditures and ultimately the cost to local taxpayers.  We thank the Governor for his decision to reject this counter productive legislation.

    Activities in Our Schools
    Over the summer I had an opportunity to visit most of our schools.  Heavy duty cleaning is taking place in all of our schools as well as selective replacement of flooring, school security upgrades, painting, major maintenance repairs & upgrades, new fencing at the Whiting School and the refinishing of the High School basketball court surface.  Kudos to the district’s Buildings and Grounds Department for all their hard work.  The Summer Jump Start and Special Ed Programs were held during July and attendance was very good.  In addition, the Administrative and Secretarial staffs have been working very hard behind the scenes planning and preparing for the start of the new school year.  School opens for students on September 4.

    NJ School Boards Association Activities (NJSBA)
    I participated in an Executive Committee Meeting in Trenton on 8/26.  At this meeting we discussed legal, personnel, financial, the Workshop 2014 Conference, the Centennial Celebration this year and the upcoming Board of Directors Meeting Agenda.  2014 marks the 100th Anniversary of the creation of NJSBA by the state legislature.

    Next Meeting
    The next regular meeting of the board will be held on September 17, with the public portion of the meeting beginning at 7:30 PM at the Ridgeway Elementary School.

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  • BOE President's Report July 23, 2014

    Posted by Donald Webster, Jr. at 7/24/2014
    State/Federal Issues
    We continue to monitor education related bills that may affect Manchester.  Recently, the Governor signed a new law that requires districts to offer athletic opportunities for disabled students.  Ocean County is fortunate to already have in place a Challenger League Program that fosters athletic participation and competition among disabled students around the county.  Manchester Twp. currently participates in this program and will continue to do so. 

    Legislation to slow/delay the implementation of Common Core, PAARC testing and the impact on teacher evaluations has stalled in the legislature.  The Assembly has passed a bill to create a study group to evaluate these issues before proceeding with full implementation, but the Senate has not introduced any legislation. The Governor has just recently announced a modification to the teacher evaluation process as impacted by PAARC testing and he has also called for the creation of a study group chaired by Commissioner Hespe to consider common core, teacher evaluations and PAARC testing issues.  However, PAARC testing will go forward next year as planned along with the Common Core and the new teacher evaluation system will continue to be used in a modified format.
     
    Activities in Our Schools
    The d
    istrict Strategic Planning Committee finished up its work and delivered to the Superintendent its findings and recommendations for review and approval by the board of education.  The plan will be released shortly. 

    I worked with some of the staff at the Whiting School to help maintain their school garden by doing some general landscaping, mulching and watering over the last couple of weeks.  The garden looks good and the school can be very proud of it.  Thanks to the district Grounds Department for doing some much needed tree pruning at the site. 

    I also participated in the annual Manchester Twp. Education Foundation (MTEF) Golf Outing at Eagle Ridge GC on 7/14.  Although we had a rain-shortened event, it was very successful.  The Board of Education would like to thank the foundation officers and volunteers, the many business and individual sponsors, the golfers and dinner attendees for all their support of the foundation and students in Manchester. 

    Finally, I attended the 37th Annual Shore Conference High School Football Classic at Brick Twp. High School on 7/17.  Manchester had four (4) recently graduated seniors playing in the game.  Our players did very well and were instrumental in the outcome of the game ultimately won by Ocean County 17-14.
     
    NJ School Boards Association Activities (NJSBA)
    I attended the initial Strategic Planning Committee Meeting for the association in Trenton on July 15.  At this meeting we discussed the timeframes for the process, individual steps that will be necessary, surveys we plan to do and we began to review the strengths and weaknesses of the association and some of the new initiatives that we may want to consider for the future. The new strategic plan will cover the time period 2014-2017.
     
    Next Meeting
    The next regular meeting of the board will be held on August 27 with the public portion of the meeting beginning at 7:30 PM at the Board Of Education Offices on Route 539 in Whiting, NJ
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  • BOE President's Report June 18, 2014

    Posted by Donald Webster, Jr. at 6/19/2014 12:00:00 PM

    State/Federal Issues
    We continue to monitor education related bills that may affect Manchester.  Recently, the Governor signed a new law concerning student-teacher interaction and contact via social media.  Manchester currently has such a policy in place and we will review it again in order to insure that the provisions of our existing policy meet all of the requirements of this new law. It should also be noted that the legislature has introduced several bills that would slow down/delay the implementation of the Common Core Standards in our curriculum, student PAARC testing, and the use of the PAARC test data results for inclusion in the new teacher evaluation system.  The proposed legislation would create a study committee to review the implications of all of these issues before a formal rollout.  It is not clear if there is enough support in the legislature to delay the rollout of these items that are all to take full effect beginning in September of this year.

    Activities in Our Schools
    I participated, along with Mrs. Walter, in several meetings of our district’s Strategic Planning Committee on May 19, June 3 & June 11.  The purpose of these meetings was to review additional responses to our sub-committee survey questions.  We also continued to work on developing the major goals for our school district over the next three (3) years and we discussed the work being done on the Action Plans needed to accomplish those goals.  The committee is made up of teachers, administrators, parents, BOE, PTA and community members.  Mrs. Walter and I are representing the BOE.  A report from the committee is expected to be presented to the BOE in July for approval, so that the goals can be worked on beginning in the fall of this year. 

    I attended the Manchester Twp. Elementary School (5/22) and our High School (5/15) Spring Concerts.  The performances by our students were outstanding and both events were very well attended by parents and community members.  I also attended the Ocean County Superintendents Student Recognition Breakfast in Toms River on May 29.  Now in its 23rd year, this program seeks to recognize the best and brightest students in our county from each high school district.   Selected students are provided with a scholarship award to help further their education.  I also attended, later that day, our Senior Awards Recognition Program at the high school.  This year’s Senior Graduating Class has many very talented, highly motivated and high achieving students.  Numerous awards and scholarships were distributed to our students by various individuals and organizations at this event.  On June 12, I attended the Regional Day School Graduation celebration.  The graduation was very poignant and well attended by parents and our staff.  I also had a chance to stop by the district Visual and Performing Arts event at the high school also on the 12th.  This event, in its first year, was created to highlight the talents of our students in the performing and visual arts.  The event was well attended by students and parents.

    NJ School Boards Association Activities (NJSBA)
    I attended and chaired the association Audit Committee Meeting in Trenton on May 16.  At this meeting we approved internal funding transfers, reviewed travel spending by the Officer’s, Executive Director and association staff for FY 2013-2014, and we adopted a provisional travel budget for the 2014-2015 budget cycle.  I also attended the Board of Directors Meeting that same evening.  At this meeting we discussed the upcoming Strategic Planning Process for the association.  We also reviewed the Executive Directors Performance Evaluation and his proposed compensation plan for FY 2014-2015.  On May 17, I attended the semi-annual Delegate Assembly at the Mercer County College Conference Center. At this meeting I presented to the delegates the Annual Financial & Audit Reports for the Association.  I also served as the moderator for the last half of the meeting after the Association President had to leave the assembly early for a special event.  On June 5, I attended the NJSBA Legislative Day Program in Trenton.  At this program we heard presentations from association Governmental Relations Staff, had a panel discussion with our state legislators on relevant education issues and heard a keynote address by Congressman Rush Holt on education issues from the federal perspective.

    NJ School Insurance Group Activities (NJSIG)
    I attended the NJSIG Trustees Meetings in Jamesburg on May 28 and June 18.  At these meetings we approved the bill lists and claim payments, reviewed and approved the financial reports of the group and adopted a series of routine professional services contracts.   I also participated in a Finance Sub-Committee meeting where we interviewed potential Claims Auditors for the Group for the FY 2013-2014 Claims Review Cycle.

    Next Meeting
    The next regular meeting of the board will be held on July 23 with the public portion of the meeting beginning at 7:30 PM at the Board Of Education Offices on Route 539 in Whiting, NJ.

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  • BOE President's Report May 14, 2014

    Posted by Donald Webster, Jr. at 5/15/2014

    State/Federal Issues
    We continue to monitor education related bills that may affect Manchester.  Recently, the Governor signed a new law concerning student-teacher interaction and contact via social media.  Manchester currently has such a policy in place and we will review it again in order to insure that the provisions of our policy meet all of the requirements of this new law.

    The recent revelation that state budget revenues will not meet their targets for the current fiscal year has legislators discussing whether or not the recently released school state aid numbers will need to be changed for 2014-2015.   Although a final announcement on the state budget has not been made, there is talk about deferring additional state-aid payments from the current year to next year.  Such an action could create cash flow problems for the district this year.  In addition, further reductions to the aid numbers for next year could adversely affect planned programs, services and staffing levels for our district in the coming school year.

    Board of Education Self-Evaluation
    In accordance with the provisions of the NJ Accountability Regulations and the Quality Single Accountability Continuum (QSAC), the members of the Manchester Township Board of Education have completed a Self Evaluation process that covers the areas of Planning, Policy, Student Achievement, Finance, Board Operations, Board Performance, Board/Superintendent Relationships, Board/Staff Relationships and Board/Community Relationships as they relate to the function of our board of education.

    Overall, the members believe that the board is generally functioning very well in the areas reviewed in the Self Evaluation. Our board members continue to work together as a team with the primary focus being on the advancement of student achievement for all students. This past year all board members completed their State mandated training requirements.  Board members actively participated in school and community sponsored events.  They were also active in advocacy efforts at all levels of government.

    With respect to possible areas for improvement, the board would like to review additional curriculum data on why program changes are being proposed and where/how these changes will benefit student achievement.  We believe we need to increase accessibility and training on district policies for staff, administrators and parents.  We would like to allow for more time/opportunities for discussion among board members about district educational issues prior to our public meetings.  We also want to try to foster a better communication process between the board and administrators and teaching staff regarding each school’s unique needs and challenges.  See the full report.

    Activities in Our Schools
    I participated, along with Mrs. Walter, in another meeting of the district’s Strategic Planning Committee on April 30.  The purpose of the meeting was to finalize the survey questions from all of the various sub-committees.  We also continued to work on developing the major goals for our school district over the next three years and we began to work on the Action Plans needed to accomplish those goals.  The committee is made up of teachers, administrators, parents, BOE, PTA and community members.  Mrs. Walter and I are representing the BOE. 

    NJ School Boards Association Activities (NJSBA)
    I attended the Passaic County School Boards Association meeting in Paterson, NJ on April 28 as the State Officer Representative from NJSBA.  The meeting included a legislative update and a presentation on school security.  I participated in the NJSBA Executive Committee Meeting in Trenton, NJ on May 6.  At this meeting we reviewed and approved personnel, financial and administrative matters related to the association. 

    I attended the Ocean County School Boards Association Student Recognition Program on May 1 at the Frog Pond Elementary/Middle School in Tuckerton, NJ.  The program is intended to recognize students from each Ocean County School District who have over come significant challenges or obstacles in their lives.  They are, in affect, our unsung heroes.   I also attended the Ocean County School Boards Association (SBA) Meeting on May7 in Lakewood, NJ at no cost to the district.  At this meeting we heard a presentation on the use of social media in our schools and various legal considerations.  Mrs. Walter and I were also recognized by the NJSBA Board Training Academy for completion of optional training programs.  Mrs. Walter received the Certified Board Leader Award for completion of 60 training credits beyond state mandated training and I received the Master Board Member Award for completion of 40 credits beyond state mandated training.

    I attended the Atlantic County SBA Meeting on May 8 in Galloway, NJ.  At this meeting we heard a presentation on the use of technology in the classroom (flipped classroom).  On May 12, I attended the annual NJSBA/ASAH celebration of Special Education Week in Princeton, NJ, which recognizes the achievements of New Jersey’s special needs students and the dedication of their parents and teachers.  Finally, on May 13, I attended the Cape May County SBA Meeting in Cape May Court House.

    NJ School Insurance Group Activities (NJSIG)
    I attended the NJSIG Trustees Meeting in Jamesburg on 3/26/14.  At the meeting we approved updated group policies, the bill list and claim payments, and the financial reports of the group.   I also participated in a Finance Committee meeting on May 14 where we reviewed proposed contracts, group finances, and policy and claims issues affecting the Insurance Group.

    Next Meeting
    The next regular meeting of the board will be on June 11th with the public portion of the meeting beginning at 7:30 PM at the Ridgeway Elementary School.

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