The winners of the Manchester Township Middle School Geography Bee were recognized at the March 14, 2017 Board of Education meeting. MTMS teacher, Robert Morris, who coordinates the contest, introduced the winners: Adrienne Biscardi, 1st Place; Katarina Durham, 2nd Place; and Alexander Peluso, 3rd Place.
BOE News & Reports
MTHS Principal Dennis Adams and Vice Principal Stacie Ferrara gave a presentation at the February 2017 Board of Education meeting about proposed new courses at the high school.
Jill Ocone, English and Journalism Teacher at Manchester Township High School, has met the requirements to achieve the designation of National Certified Journalism Educator. She was recognized for this achievement at the February meeting of the Manchester Township Board of Education.
The Manchester Township PTA awarded 17 Mini-Grants totaling $5,000 to Manchester Township School DIstrict staff members at the February 15, 2017 Board of Education Meeting.
We continue to monitor education related bills that may affect Manchester. Proposed bills in the NJ Legislature include:
- S2396: This bill requires the state to pay the educational costs of a student who resides for more than one year in a homeless shelter outside the student's district of residence
- S-990: This bill as amended, provides that beginning in the 2017-2018 ninth grade class, the State Board of Education will require that the high school graduation requirement on financial literacy include instruction on available state and federal tuition assistance programs.
At the Federal level, all draft rules created under the Obama Administration related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced No Child Left Behind, have been formally repealed by an act of the US Congress. It is not clear what the road ahead will look like for the regulations related to this new federal law or when they will be enacted. Our State Department of Education is proceeding with the final process to develop the State Education Plan that is required by the law and they expect to submit the plan to the Federal DOE by the end of March. It is not clear what will be done with these state plans. Hopefully, stakeholders including local boards of education have not wasted their time and energy this past year working to help come up with these plans only to have them discarded by the new administration.
Manchester School District
On 3/2, I participated in the Read Across America Celebration (Dr. Seuss Day) by reading a book to students at the Whiting School. The students were all very engaged and respectful. They also were very inquisitive with their questions after the reading of the book.
NJ School Boards Association
On 2/24 and 2/25, I participated in the NJSBA Nominating Committee Process in Trenton. Eight local board members interviewed for four available State Officer Positions. Four of the individuals were recommended by the committee and their names will be placed into nomination. The recommended candidates will be voted upon at the 5/20 Delegate Assembly by the state-wide membership.
On 3/1, I attended the Middlesex County School Boards Association Unsung Heroes Program. This event recognized 62 middle and high school students from around Middlesex County who have overcome significant obstacles/hardships in their young lives or who have made major humanitarian contributions to their local communities. It was a very humbling and heartwarming experience. Ocean County holds a very similar event on an annual basis in late spring.
On the afternoon of 3/3, I attended the association's Audit Committee Meeting. At this meeting we approved a formal contract proposal from our Audit Company to complete an evaluation for the next accounting cycle. We also reviewed the Fund Transfer data from the last two months. Later that evening, I Chaired the Board of Directors Meeting. At this meeting, we heard reports from the Executive Director and the State Officers. We also approved the Association's 2017-2018 Budget. For the 8th straight year, there will be no increase in member dues. Finally, we approved an administrative fee funding transfer from the Alliance for Competitive Energy Services Program (AEES) that provides our members with discounted electric and natural gas pricing to the Educational Leadership Fund of NJ (ELFNJ) for professional development training programs for board of education members. We also formally authorized the expansion of the NJSBA TEC Program for the discounted purchase of technology goods and services from participating vendors by local boards of education.
On 3/6, I attended the iSTEAM Task Force Meeting of Sustainable Jersey for Schools at the Headquarters of the NJ Principals and Supervisors Association in Monroe Township. The purpose of the meeting was to begin the process of developing action items and best practices for the Schools Certification Program. Later that day, I participated in the National School Boards Association State Presidents Conference Call, where we heard an update on the upcoming national convention in Denver, talked about information related to pending actions and recent announcements by the new US Secretary of Education, and discussed concerns about the implementation of the ESSA law given that the Obama Administration proposed regulations have now been repealed by Congress.
On 3/7, I attended and spoke at a NJSBA Business Partners Program Meeting for prospective new members in Trenton. Later that evening, I attended the Ocean County School Boards Association Meeting in Lakewood. Mary Walter, Ocean County President, presided over this meeting. At the meeting, we heard a presentation on current legal issues involving local school boards and listened to an update on various government relations matters.
Finally, on 3/10-3/12, Mary Walter and I attended and participated in a New Board Member Orientation Weekend Training Program in Princeton. Seventy-five (75) new board members underwent an intensive training program designed to acclimate them to their new roles and responsibilities, explain legal and ethical laws they are subject to, and provide them with practical information and real world experiences on how to navigate the challenging and often-complicated arena of local school board governance.
The next meeting of the Manchester Township Board of Education will be held on April 26 at the Ridgeway Elementary School beginning at 7:30 PM. This meeting will include the Public Budget Hearing for the district's proposed 2017-18 school budget.