Crystal's Corner

January 29, 2016

Winter greetings! I hope you didn't have trouble digging out from the blizzard. I was negotiating planes, trains, and automobiles, trying to get back into New Jersey from Phoenix. They finally got us back to PA...not the airport out of which we flew...and my husband and I dug our way into our home.

Kudos to our custodians and buildings and grounds crew for their hard work clearing parking lots and walkways to have us ready to open on Monday. Those areas, however, are not our only considerations when deciding whether to close or have a delay. Some back roads within our community and our staff's communities were not clear, there was concern about buses' ability to negotiate some of the narrowed streets and areas for turns, and some sidewalks and bus stops were piled high with snow and didn't allow for students to safely walk to school or wait for a bus. While one person's street may look clear and vehicles are moving as normal, other areas may present unsafe conditions.

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The week of January 11 found continued work on the strategic plan.

As usual, Lawrence High's DECA members dominated at the Regional Conference on January 8 at Kean University. View here to read article and view full list of winners.

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Great news! We learned this week there are three LHS seniors who are candidates for the 2016 Presidential Scholars Program. Students are Robert Liu, Brian Mark and Monica Wu. Now the candidates and the school must submit multiple materials by the February 25 deadline to apply for the program.


It's BOE Retreat time! Tom will poll everyone (again) to try to get a date for the BOE retreat. Later this afternoon, Kevin and I will discuss the retreat format, goals and anticipated outcomes. The retreat also gives us the opportunity to work on one of the objectives under District Goal #2:

Objective 2.5: Plan, develop, implement and assess the effectiveness of a comprehensive professional development plan that offers high quality, well-organized, integrated and ongoing professional learning opportunities for all BOE members that support our strategic plan’s Goal 1: student growth and development.

I met with a principal on January 12 to review a possible schedule change, conducted an observation of an administrator that evening, and met with another principal on January 13. I'll begin the second rotation of instructional rounds with individual administrators next week.

The BOE meeting was January 13.

Routine monthly meetings for central office administrators (COA), Administrative Council and Leadership Council were held within the last three weeks.

In the January 8 Corner, I mentioned the main topic of conversation at that morning's monthly Mercer County Interim Executive Superintendent's Roundtable was transportation. The County BA invited other Mercer districts to attend the special transportation focus group Tom Eldridge and Ed Treadaway were hosting January 26. The East Windsor BA and transportation coordinator, WW-P coordinator, and Mercer County rep who deals with transportation attended. Additionally four people from Dapper Bus and Pepper, Glenn, Andrew, Erin, and Lana were on hand. I anticipate a report at the February BOE meeting.

Immediately following a meeting I had with another district's assistant superintendent who I'm mentoring, Jay Billy, Maureen Hayes, Damian Bariexca and I attended the NJ Superintendent's Study Council Seminar "District Successes in Using Social Media and the Latest Legal Decisions on Student and Staff Misuse" at Seton Hall on January 14. The founder and CEO of K-12 Insight and managing principal of Laura Bishop Communications were the main speakers.

The morning of January 28 found me at Rutgers for an executive committee (which I lead) meeting of the NJ School Development Council.

Even though I was unable to attend the Techspo conference which Steven, Damian, Vince and Andrew attended...I managed to show up any way (see pic below).

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As I forecast in the January 8 Corner, January 12 was a big night for the high school as it opened its doors to the community, specifically for future freshmen and their families. The event was very well attended and multiple positive comments were shared including, "This is just like what a private school would do."

The same night Alyson hosted an informational session entitled "Understanding Athletic Recruiting in the 21st Century." This also was very well attended as the LHS library was packed.

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Erin led her second Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) of the year the evening of January 28. Both student services supervisors as well as five child study team members were on hand to meet with three parents who attended. A few cancelled late in the day. Many thanks to Jo Ann and Glenn for also attending. Approximately 10 parents attended the first PAC meeting in September. The last PAC meeting is set for June.

Also mentioned in the January 8 Corner was the then upcoming Middle School's Day of Service on January 18. It too was a big success as about 80 students, staff, and community members came out for free student-led technology sessions and community service projects, such as writing letters to soldiers and seniors, sorting Troopons, and knitting/crocheting hats for infants. View photos from the special day.

We are now registered as a Sustainable Jersey School District! Although we weren't quite ready to apply for the more aggressive certification distinction, next steps will be discussed at the upcoming Community Relations meeting. In addition, congratulations to Slackwood and LIS for being recognized by New Jersey Safe Routes to School Recognition program which supports schools and communities efforts to increase the number of students who walk or bike to school. I submitted a letter of support on their behalf and hopefully we will be eligible for grant funds.
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We began focused work on this goal the week of January 11.

Tom is enmeshed in budget preparation after weeks of gathering input from all account managers.

The BOE negotiations committee is scheduled to meet with LABTA on February 9. In anticipation of the meeting, the negotiations committee received a copy of all LABTA positions and current salaries as well as several comparative salaries for similar positions in other Mercer County districts.


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 XX, 2016: 2nd Evaluation & Merit Goal Update w/Personnel Committee

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

  • May XX, 2016: Supt to complete electronic submission

  • May 25, 2016: BOE meeting w/o Supt to finalize report

  • June XX, 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