Crystal's Corner

May 20, 2016

Welcome to new BOE member Michele Bowes! We appreciate your time and service.


Now that the May 19 EVENT is behind us, we can move on to more important things. Tom and Andrew were our in-house Secret Service. They were at Lawrence Intermediate School (LIS) in time for parent pick-ups before 2:30 and other modes of transportation dismissals. Reports are the LIS dismissals went off without a hitch. Tom and Andrew said the teachers and other staff members worked together to see that everyone got out safely and efficiently. At last night's Staff Recognition Dinner, I commended Cindy, Amy and the LIS staff for their dedicated efforts to make this happen.


Tom and Andrew stayed on Eggerts Crossing Road in front of LIS and district trucks blocked each of the driveways. Tom related there was a large police presence and vendors selling masks, shirts, caps, etc. There were protesters and supporters but not massive groups.

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GOAL #1: STUDENT GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT

Lawrence High School (LHS) junior James Gordon Gow earned 3rd place in the 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Phoenix, Arizona, the world's largest international pre-college science competition! Over 1700 high school students from 77 countries were awarded the opportunity to showcase their independent research on an international stage, where doctoral level scientists reviewed and judged their work.


James won 3rd place in the Cellular and Molecular Biology category for his presentation on the research he's been conducting at Rutgers University for the last four years titled, Testing Valproic Acid and Surfactant Regulation as Potential Therapeutics for Nitrogen Mustard Injury. See this press release from the Mercer Science & Engineering Club.
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I believe you received an email from Kerry Roche, the LHS principal's secretary, inviting you to Senior Awards scheduled for Thursday, June 9 at 7PM in the LHS auditorium. If you plan to attend, please RSVP directly to Kerry at kroche@ltps.org so they'll reserve a space for you.


The third annual Lawrence Middle School (LMS) Arts Festival was May 17. LTEF helps fund the special event. Take a look at the program.


Several pieces of art, a few of which are below, were displayed in various areas.


Gary Suabedissen, a retired music educator, worked with the LMS concert band as the school celebrated the arts. Hear part of a performance below. The concert band competed at Hershey Park today...haven't heard any feedback yet.

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LMS 7th grade chorus performs at Arts Festival.
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The Girls Track & Field Team clinched the Patriot Division Title last night with a win over Robbinsville. Their record is 7-1 and they have several more championship meets to go.


As LHS students reported at the last BOE meeting, the Boys Lacrosse Team won the Patriotic Division a couple weeks ago.

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Lawrence High School (LHS) juniors Anjali Agarwal and Aanchal Aich took 1st Place in Business Services Operations Research at the 2016 DECA International Career Development Conference in Nashville, Tennessee!


During the school year student DECA club members take part in the organization's competitive events program, allowing them to compete for local and regional titles. The competitions are designed to simulate real-life business scenarios and test students' academic understanding and skills development. The top state and provincial winners put their talents to the test during the program's final round of competition, the International Career Development Conference, where members vie for international honors. Over 17,000 students attended this year, DECA's largest conference to date.


LHS Business Academy leader Diane Schneck is the club advisor.


Read more in this press release.


L to R below: Aanchal Aich and Anjali Agarwal

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Congratulations to Lawrence Middle School (LMS) students Emily Giuliano (gr. 8) and Alisha Shahriar (gr. 7) for winning 1st and 3rd places in Division 3 of the 2016 New Jersey School Bus Safety Poster Contest! This year's theme was #STOP ON RED. The annual contest is sponsored by the School Transportation Supervisors of NJ (STS NJ).


As a 1st Place winner, Emily will receive a $100 gift card; Alisha will receive a $50 gift card as 3rd Place winner. STS will present the cards at its meeting on June 10.


L to R below: Emily Giuliano and Alisha Shahriar

Twenty-five Lawrence Township Public Schools (LTPS) students competed at the New Jersey State History Day competition held at William Paterson University on May 7. Out of the 25, 14 students received honors for their outstanding individual and group performances. The 2016 National History Day theme is: "Exploration, Encounter, Exchange in History."


Three project entries (5 students) from Lawrence Middle School (LMS) qualified to represent New Jersey at the National History Day (NHD) competition, June 13-16, at the University of Maryland, and 2 additional LMS project entries (7 students) were awarded Alternate status:


National Qualifier Individual Performance: Hope Perry (The Statue of Liberty: The Exchange that Inspired Hope in Millions)


National Qualifier Group Performance: Grace Neuger & Saloni Sharma ("What a Girl Can Do:" The Exploration of Feminism in the 1940's)


National Qualifier Group Exhibit: Riddhi & Disha Bharj (Sir Edmund Hillary: Exploring the World in the Clouds)


Alternate Award Group Documentary: Ben Wiggins, Ian Wang, & Nick Zhou (NASA: Exploring a New Universe of Possibilities)


Alternate Award Group Exhibit: Tucker Simpson, Jack Collins, Ean Dauer, & Devon Meth (The Tuskegee Airmen: Exploring New Frontiers for Black Americans)


Lawrence High School (LHS) received its first National qualifying award in the Senior Group Exhibit Division:


National Qualifier Senior Group Exhibit: Anusha Aggarwal & Cassidy Stoneback (Dorothea Dix: Voice for the Mad). Only 2 Senior Group Exhibits from 3 regional competitions were chosen to compete at Nationals.


Students who qualify for Nationals are in the top point 5 percent (.5%) of students who began their NHD journey in March at a regional level. G&T Specialist Priscilla Taylor is the LTPS National History Day mentor.



Back row L-R: LMS students Riddhi Bharj, Hope Perry, Grace Neuger, Disha Bharj and Saloni Sharma. Front row L-R: LHS students Anusha Aggarwal and Cassidy Stoneback

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Lawrence Middle School (LMS) cast members from the Wizard of Oz production helped give chronically ill, seriously ill, challenged and abused children a fun send off to Disney World on the May 3 Sunshine Foundation Operation DreamLift. Read more in this article at nj.com.

You may have noticed that some events initially scheduled to be held in Lawrence High School (LHS) recently were moved to alternate locations. This is because air conditioning is being installed in the LHS auditorium.


In the wee hours of a recent Saturday, a crane lifted the HVAC unit to the LHS roof. The project is due to be complete by mid-June.


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Lawrence Intermediate School (LIS) 5th grader Nathan Cheung won 2nd place at the Philadelphia Open Chess Tournament on March 25-27! Nathan won a grand total of $2508.83 by winning 5.5 out of 7 games and increased his chess rating 1592 to 1669.


In a gesture of gratitude to the LIS staff for encouraging kids to play chess, Nathan generously donated $200 worth of chess supplies (chess teaching boards, clocks, tripods and tournament medals) to the LIS chess program.



In addition, Nathan started his own YouTube chess lessons called Chess with Nathan.
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Talk about fast! Congrats to the LHS Cardinals Girls Track & Field Team which placed 2nd at the Mercer County Championships last weekend. Clinching top spots in their events, Mercer County champions are:

Kelsey Holt-100 meters & 200 meters (on right)


4x100 Relay: Kelsey Holt, Mijah Collier, Sataya Gordon & Dominique Peters


Speaking of Dominique Peters...


Dominique recently signed her Division III Celebratory Signing Form to honor her intention to play basketball and run track for Rowan University next year.


Photo--standing L to R: David Adam (principal), Dana Williams (varsity girls basketball coach), Tim Collins (varsity girls track coach), Al Jennings (assistant girls track coach), Gregg Zenerovitz (acting athletic director) Seated L to R: Dionne Springer (mother), Victoria Springer (sister), Dominique Peters, Dillon Peters (brother), Marcus Springer (brother) Picture taken by: Sam Pastorella

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GOAL #2: CULTURE OF LEARNING FOR ALL

Dr. Morana was not able to get the Chinese delegation's visit to LIS changed from afternoon to morning on May 19 so I cancelled the visit to LIS. We instead focused on making arrangements for student and staff dismissals in light of the Trump/Christie political event at the Armory.


Recent days found me:


  • meeting with the LIS cabinet;
  • meeting with the Personnel Committee;
  • working on the strategic plan;
  • attending the Mercer County Interim Executive County Superintendent's Roundtable;
  • meeting with supervisors and central office administrators about supervisor evaluations;
  • meeting with administrators about opportunities for summer work;
  • revising the Guidance evaluation rubric;
  • meeting with Lana's secretarial group to review their evaluation rubric now that it has administrators' input;
  • meeting with the two Student Services supervisors to finalize their evaluation rubric;
  • leading the monthly Administrative Council meeting;
  • participating in the monthly Leadership Council meeting;
  • participating in three second round interviews;
  • attending the LHS cabinet meeting,
  • lunching with LTEA president Michele D'Angelo (we're aiming to meet monthly);
  • attending the Executive Committee Meeting of the New Jersey School Development Council (of which I just finished a two-year term as president and was re-elected to the same office) at Rutgers;
  • attending agenda setting and the BOE meeting; and yes, once again...
  • PAPERWORK!


Jeff from Comegno's office and I attended a PERC hearing on May 10 about the Unfair Labor Practice claim. The hearing consumed the entire morning. Fortunately we reached an agreement and waited to receive the official typed copy that both sides hopefully will sign. Jeff sent the typed agreement back to PERC because there was a typo in the document (BA instead of BOE). This was an easy fix...right?


Today while I was having lunch with Michele as part of our mutual collaboration agreement, I received an email from Jeff that the LTEA amended the original ULP (again) and added two additional counts. For the third count, it would appear that the LTEA is not waiting for Step 4 of the grievance procedure and has submitted the "Spanish Curriculum Work" for review as an unfair labor practice. The fourth count added was a claim that markings and comments on Michele's annual evaluation were "both off-base and demonstrably untrue...due to the Director of Special Services holding D'Angelo's union position and work against her." Jeff is contacting the NJEA and PERC to discuss this further. I will provide additional details during executive session next week.


Many thanks to Jo Ann for accompanying me to the Governor's Teacher/Educational Services Professional Award program at ETS last Friday. Although it was a gloomy day, spirits were high and everyone seemed to enjoy a special time.

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Photo L to R: (Front Row) Amy Reif, Wendy Offery, Lisa Adams, Elizabeth Mayo, Maria Raimondo, Karen Palmer (Back Row) Patricia Murphy, Vincent Damiano, Kathlinda Saretzky, Jennifer Gwenn Andahazy, Alexandra Gonzalez, Michael Werynski, Crystal Edwards, Gabrielle Casieri, Melissa Clark, Jo Ann Groeger


The annual Staff Recognition Dinner was last night at Mercer Oaks Country Club. Many thanks to Jo Ann and Pepper for attending. Prior to the dinner, Judy sent an email to the entire staff, informing them this will be the last recognition dinner. Several people...many LTEA members...asked "Why" last night. When we related the LTEA leadership has told us they no longer want to be involved (and they provided some of the funding, thus making it affordable), LTEA members who asked were quite surprised. In spite of that, it was a wonderful evening and we honored those who have dedicated so many years to our children.


Lawrence High School (LHS) science teacher Debra Randall received a recognition award from the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) for being an outstanding teacher who motivates student interest in science.


Ms. Randall was nominated for the award by a former student who is a college scholar in the field of chemistry/chemical engineering and who received an internship at a SCI facility. In addition to a certificate award, Ms. Randall received $1,000 to use for classroom purposes.

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GOAL #3: LOCAL & GLOBAL COMMUNITY

I led the last Direct Link meeting of this school year on May 10.


I met with members of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education to discuss the proposed federal government changes in the teacher preparation programs. One change would require colleges/universities to include a community involvement component as a part of their teacher prep/certification requirements. In addition to completing the "student teaching" requirements, candidates for certification would have to complete required field work in the school community. Rutgers GSE is developing a "Students, Community and Social Justice" field experience which would provide teacher candidates with hands-on experiences working with groups in the community. Rest assure that we will develop our own menu of LTPS community involvement experiences for pre-service teachers...tutoring, Saturday programs, ESL classes for parents, after school music lessons, family cooking, and college essay reviews are just a few of the things we could offer in partnership with our local universities. We see this as an opportunity for pre-service teachers to participate in meaningful work that would actually benefit the district. I'll keep you posted as I look into this partnership further.


Lana attended the last NJ School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) meeting today at Rowan U. She learned our "Thank You" video earned first place in the NSPRA 2016 School Communication Awards program in the video category. You may recall that Lana and Steven shot footage for this email about this time last year and Steven edited the video over the summer. We showed the video to staff on Opening Day and subsequently shared it with the community. Refresh your memory.

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GOAL #4: FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

After an intensive search and several rounds of interviews, we have a candidate to recommend (new business) for the Director of Student Services. The candidate will be present on Wednesday at 6:15 pm for an informal pre-meet with any BOE members who want to show up a little earlier. The candidate will also join us for the first 10 minutes of executive session at 6:30 pm. A special thank you to the teachers, staff members, administrators and parent who assisted with the selection process. We are keeping the name confidential as the candidate is currently employed and in the process of notifying her district.


Tom:


  • submitted the 2016-17 budget to the County;
  • certified the tax levy;
  • began getting bids for the demolition of LHS science rooms to be renovated (casework has been purchased...we need to award plumbing and installation);
  • notified staff about the change in medical coverage to Horizon and when the change will occur (he had a conference call today with Horizon and Arthur J. Gallagher [our broker];
  • requested a quote for soil clean-up of fields 2 & 3 (field 1 clean-up will be done at time of turf project on the field);
  • will go out to bid for stadium field turf on Monday; and
  • will bid field 1 soon.
Click on the "Corner Meeting Table" link below to view upcoming meetings.

SUPERINTENDENT GOALS & PDP ACTIVITIES

Just a reminder that I have given every BOE member "view only" access to the Google folders that were once only visible by the Personnel committee. I will update these documents as needed. Please use the links below to access them w/your Google accounts and/or the accounts you use to access other committee agenda information. You can access this information at any time that is convenient for you. Please let me know if you cannot access the information.


Click on the link below:

Goal 1: Strategic Plan

Goal 2: Evaluation Systems

Goal 3: NWEA Reading

Goal 4: Instructional Rounds

Goal 5: Community Participation


Below is the schedule the Personnel Committee agreed on with regard to my evaluation procedures:


Superintendent Evaluation Protocols

  • July 17, 2015: Merit Goals submitted to ECS

  • August 20, 2015: Merit Goals approved by ECS - letter in Supt Eval Folder

  • Nov 3, 2015: 1st Evaluation & Merit Goal Update w/Personnel Committee

  • Feb 3, 2016: 2nd Evaluation & Merit Goal Update w/Personnel Committee - postponed

  • Mar. 2, 2016: 2nd Evaluation & Merit Goal Update w/Personnel Committee

  • May 4, 2016: 3rd Evaluation & Merit Goal Update w/Personnel Committee

  • May 5, 2016: Supt to complete electronic submission

  • June 8, 2016: BOE meeting w/o Supt to finalize report

  • June 17, 2016: Supt to receive written report

  • June 22, 2016: Full BOE meeting w/Supt to discuss report

  • June 30, 2016: Submit to County Office BOE resolution for merit bonus - NJDOE

  • July 15, 2016: BOE pays merit bonus for prior year - NJDOE