Crystal's Corner

December 18, 2015

This is the last Corner of 2015. Where did the time go?

Wishing you all wonderfully warm and relaxing holidays and best wishes for a fabulous New Year!


Good news steadily rolled in this week about staff and students and I'll share it throughout this Corner.

LHS senior Richard Liu received acceptance this week into Princeton University.

'Tis the season for winter concerts and students at each school spread holiday cheer. Some concerts were done by specific grade levels, some were choral, and some were band and orchestra...all part of the evidence of why we receive NAMM recognition as being a top music community.

You may recall when Dylan Meyers, an EP student, shared with the BOE a couple years ago that she won an award for the Flat Stanley book she made about the Holocaust. She brought her book to the BOE meeting. On November 30, Dylan received an invitation to meet with people from the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. After being interviewed by a committee, she learned her book is being accepted into the museum and the museum will sell copies of her publication. What an honor! Proceeds will go to the museum.

The New Jersey Department of Education has chosen LHS senior Yuhui (Camelia) Wu as Chief State School Officer candidate to represent New Jersey in her application to the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. Camelia was selected for this distinction, along with other select New Jersey students, on the basis of her high academic achievement and outstanding student accomplishments.

The U.S. Presidential Scholar Program is a state and national recognition program. Students chosen as U.S. Presidential Scholars receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D. C. in June, meet various dignitaries, and receive the U.S. Presidential Scholars medallion at a White House ceremony. Students will be notified in mid-April of their semi-finalist status.

L to R below: Dave Adam, LHS principal; Camelia Wu; Marjorie Cobin, LHS guidance counselor

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Spring should burst in a bright yellow display all around the LIS sign next year as 6th graders planted daffodil bulbs this week. Kale's Nursery provided the bulbs via an LTEF grant to beautify LIS and as a continuation of the LIS garden grant written about five years ago.
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This afternoon Slackwood third graders in three individual classes became detectives within a Special Investigation Unit. Super Sleuth Edwards led the detectives through the crime scene and solving the mystery by examining torn pieces of skirt, fingerprints, a boot print, hair, sweater fibers, and a fingernail. Principal Billy had asked a few administrators to separately give examples of how to teach like a pirate. View here the official investigation document.


Jametta Holloway, LHS social studies teacher, learned she's been chosen as a Fellow in the Woodrow Wilson HistoryQuest Program. The program focuses on new ways to work with game-like learning in the classroom. WW HistoryQuest has components that will run throughout the 2016-17 school year, however the main one is the Summer 2016 WW HistoryQuest Institute July 17-23 at the ETS Chauncey Conference Center. Lodging is onsite for everyone who wants to stay in Princeton.

COA met Tuesday, the Administrative Council met Wednesday and the Leadership Council met Thursday. An agenda item at each meeting was the complexity of the retro pay. It's important the administrators are aware of this as, based on the questions we've received from LTEA members, it doesn't appear the association's general populous was given much information about details of the settlement. I think many LTEA members will be surprised by their retro pay.

At Leadership I reviewed the NJDOE's administrators' evaluation leadership rubric and asked the administrators to use it as a self assessment for my second round of observations with them.

Judy and I met with the LTEA Roundtable on Wednesday. Other than their pushing for additional time on one of the steps in observation procedures, the meeting was basically benign.

In between meetings I reconnected with a back load of paperwork.

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Last week I mentioned my participation on a panel at the NJ School Development Council meeting at Rutgers. At the Thursday meeting the panel addressed Recruiting/Hiring/Retaining Educators of Color. Nancy DiTomaso, author of The American Non-Dilemma, was the guest speaker. The event was attended by Superintendents and HR Directors from across the state.

The LHS STEM Academy presented "A Journey Through Time," an interactive science night, to over 130 elementary school students from across the district on December 11. LHS student groups created themed activities and stations that taught scientific discoveries and advancements during different time periods. Favorite activities included learning how catapults work, discovering how the Black Plague was able to spread, and about developments in the field of aeronautics.

LMS is offering a service opportunity for middle school students on the January 18 Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Day of Service when schools are closed. They are inviting the community into LMS as some students and staff will be on hand to offer free student-led lessons on how to use Google, smart phones, and fun Web 2.0 tools. They’ll also be involved in various community service projects, such as writing letters to soldiers and seniors, sorting Troopons, and knitting/crocheting hats for infants. All activities are free and open to the public.


Work on the complex retro pay continues.


Over the past months, I have made sure to share information regarding my goals and PDP activities via several different formats:

(1) Strategic plan goals are discussed during committee meetings - much more detail about merit goals are shared during Personnel Committee meetings.

(2) Some Information about merit goal #1 (strategic plan) is included in the sections above in this newsletter.

(3) Personnel Committee members have access to Google folders for each goal where I share specific information, timelines, and progress.

(4) I report out on the same information during the BOE meetings.

While sharing this information is important and is needed by the BOE to determine whether the agreed upon goals were met, it is often redundant and not a productive use of my time to keep rewriting the same things in multiple places. Therefore, 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 5, 2016: 2nd Evaluation & Merit Goal Update w/Personnel Committee

  • May 6, 2016: 3rd Evaluation & Merit Goal Update w/Personnel Committee

  • May XX, 2016: Supt to complete electronic submission

  • May XX, 2016: BOE meeting w/o Supt to finalize report

  • June XX, 2016: Supt to receive written report

  • June XX, 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

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I hope your holidays turn out like the twin on the left rather than the one on the right.