BOE Meeting Headlines

News and Views from the June 3, 2019 BOE Meeting

June 3, 2019

Attendees at the Board of Education meeting on June 3, 2019, heard from South Mountain School Principal Mr. Scott Wolfe things the ways they are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the reopening of the school.

South Mountain School Showcase

Superintendent's Report

*** Classroom Sections Update

I want to share with the Board and the public the process we undergo in determining sections at the elementary level. Principals and teachers work together to put the best mix of students together in each class with the goal of creating the class that is best for all students. At the district level, starting in January I am constantly monitoring our registration numbers at each school and grade. Our registrar, Pawel Migaj, keeps me informed of new and pending registrations and inter-district moves all spring and summer long. I have to balance the needs of each school and grade with budgetary implications, state mandates and our class size guidelines. There are decisions regarding staffing that must be made at this time of year as per contract. The timing may not always be ideal, but we can and do make changes such as adding new sections and teachers. We weigh the decision as a result of not only the number of students who have registered, but also the number who let us know that they will be leaving the district. Please know that student and teacher well-being is always at the core of our decision-making.

***Anti-bias language/acts

The work that we have been doing in the district around cultural diversity and global awareness and Future Ready Schools has included an emphasis on eradicating hate speech and anti-bias language from our schools. To give you an idea of what this means, when a person calls another person an ethnic slur, when a person is cavalier about using a term in a joking way, or when a person makes a comment that demeans a person’s ability; these are hate and/or anti-bias acts. I along with the Board of Education and the district staff are committed to these important efforts and have already taken the following measures toward sending the message that hate speech and anti-bias language has no place in the Millburn Schools. We have made changes to Policy and Regulation 5600 Student Discipline and Code of Conduct that not only clearly defines a bias- related act, but also updates the consequences for first and second offenses in addition to potential consequences that may result from a HIB determination. We have let staff know of the changes to the policies and regulations and will continue with cultural diversity and global awareness training for staff in order to share strategies and responses to such egregious language or acts. The next phase of our work is to articulate this information to parents and students. The Student Handbooks across the district are currently being updated and this messaging will be a focus during our Back to School communications. This work will be successful as the entire school community understands the imperative of sending the message of how we talk and how we act matters. We need your support in spreading the mantra that kindness and respect live in Millburn.

***Science Research Symposium

Millburn Science Research students will be holding this week their annual symposium on June 6th, at the HS Media Center from 7 - 8 pm. Science Research is a three-year independent study course in which students conduct an original science research project and compete in state, national, and international competitions. For our seniors, this is the culminating event of three years of dedicated research into a real-world problem, investigating solutions while working with and being guided by a mentor from an outside university or research lab. Sophomores and juniors will share the status of their projects. Stop in to learn from our amazing students about the work they are doing in all fields of science.

***International Biology Scholar

HS Senior, Beatrice Han achieved an International Biology Scholars designation and ranked approximately in the top 2% of the contestants in the University of Toronto 2019 National Biology Competition. Additionally, Agnes Han was in the top 8% and Eric Xu was in the top 14%. There were 1,366 eligible contestants from 92 schools outside of Canada. The top 15 (1%) were designated International Biology Scholars with Distinction. The next 4% were designated International Biology Scholars.

***New Jersey Science League Results

We received notice today from the New Jersey Science League congratulating the Millburn High School teams for their outstanding achievement in this year’s Science League competition. 9 of our 10 teams placed in the top 10, “an extremely enviable position,” according to the League. Their achievement is not an accident or simply good luck, but the result of strong leadership from the teachers, coaches of the teams and students who were willing to reach beyond what is completed in class.” Congratulations to Prisha Mehta who ranked #1, individually as a member of the 3rd ranked Biology 1 Team; Helen Liu was #1 in AP Environmental Science, whose team also ranked #1 in NJ, and Benjamin Hu, #1 in Earth Science (#1 Team in NJ).

***MHS Academic Awards Program

Last Friday I had the chance to participate in the senior academic awards ceremony. The seniors were honored with a variety of awards, scholarships and recognition for all of their efforts this year. I had the opportunity to present the Essex County School Boards Association Unsung Heroine award to Victoria Werner.

***Athletic News

Girls Track: Miriam Wolk advanced to the NJSIAA meet of champions.

***Essex County Scholar Athletes

Several organizations honor student-athletes during this time of year. Congratulations to our 2 Essex County Scholar Athletes:

Kate Repka (field hockey, track and pole vault)

Evan Molka (football, baseball and track)

***Millburn’s NJSIAA scholar athlete

Millburn’s NJSIAA scholar-athlete for 2019 is Helen Liu (Field hockey)

Business Administrator's Report

Big picture

In addition to approvals for annual contracts that appear on the agenda, Business Administrator, Cheryl Schneider noted several generous donations from our PTOs:

** Approval of furniture being purchased for the Middle School media center through the generous donation of the Middle School PTO previously accepted by the Board.

***A donation for a new lighting and sound system in the gym and multipurpose room at Hartshorn Elementary School by the Hartshorn PTO.

**The purchase of FM sound systems at Glenwood Elementary School by the Glenwood PTO.

Thank you so much to our PTO families for the continuous support of the schools and programs.


Ms. Schneider explained the review and selection process for the Before and After School Services being recommended to the Board this evening:

"A resolution is being considered this evening for the Before and After Care Services at Deerfield, Hartshorn, South Mountain, Wyoming and Washington Elementary Schools. After review of five proposals that were submitted for consideration, administration is recommending an agreement with AlphaBEST Education to offer these services in our schools. The intention is not a replacement of the SAM program. The SAM program will continue to operate at Glenwood School and will continue to be available for all district parents. Transportation will continue to be available from the other schools as it has in the past. The AlphaBEST program is offering an additional option to families at the other five elementary buildings.

Administration was approached this past winter and requested to consider soliciting before and after care services on a district level by the PTOC. Individual PTO’s were considering seeking a vendor to offer these services as they felt a growing need in their schools for building-based services.


Comments & Questions


Public Comment at Monday's meeting came from parents whose children participate in the SAM program at Glenwood School in response to the announcement that the school district would be offering expanded opportunities for Before and After School programs at our elementary schools. (Read more in the BA report above.)

Want more? Questions?

Find additional Business, Policy and other AGENDA items from the 5/20/19 meeting. You can always read minutes from Board Committees here.

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