Crystal's Corner

February 5, 2016


Once again our musically-talented students are recognized. The Central Jersey Music Educators Association (CIMEA) has tapped Lawrence Middle School (LMS) students Andrew Yuen (gr. 7) and Kaitlyn Malyszka (gr. 8) for Intermediate ensembles.

Andrew will perform on the cello in the chamber orchestra, the highest orchestra for which one may be selected. He is a member of the LMS orchestra under the direction of Melissa Clark. Kaitlyn will play the bass clarinet in the Concert Band. She is a member of the LMS Concert Band directed by Ron Taglairino.

In preparation for March concerts, both students will attend rehearsals with fellow middle school students from around the region, who also auditioned and were accepted into these select ensembles.

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Last fall the Signum Quartet from Germany visited the U.S. for one week and worked with LTPS in conjunction with Princeton Symphony Orchestra on the quartet's unique #quartweet project. Some of our third graders became young composers and wrote music pieces of no more than 140 notes, paralleling a tweet's maximum length. The #quartweet project and one of our student's compositions (Maako Fangajei LES - "The Car Race Dance") premiered on national German TV (a little past 24.20 mark in video). Note "@LTPS1" (our Twitter list handle) on screen in background of TV set in video. The program is in German, of course. Listen to a member of the quartet describing the project and the piece recorded here in LTPS.
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It's BOE Retreat time! Earlier this week, Beth in Tom's office confirmed Wednesday, February 24 at 6PM in the Tech Center. This session will speak to the below objective in our strategic plan.

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 dedicated Monday AM to the budget and the strategic plan.

The words of the week were: instructional rounds, with a focus on questioning. I was in multiple classrooms via five separate rounds involving four schools and one or more principals, assistant principals or supervisors per each round.

Personnel met on Wednesday and CIAPD met on Thursday. We'll probably receive feedback at the BOE meeting.

Parents are invited to attend a Community Resource Panel information session on Friday, February 12 from 3-4:30 p.m. in Lawrence High's library. Several community agencies in the area, including Catholic Charities, the Lawrence Community Center, Princeton House, Recovery Associates and others will share services they offer to children and families in short presentations and a question and answer period.

A 3:00 am wake up call to do weather patrol and conference with Mercer Supts isn't going to stop me from extending the day/night with some professional learning. This weekend I was one of four Superintendents selected to participate in NJEA's 3-Day Teacher Leader Summit. It's a little daunting sitting next to NJEA Vice President, Marie Blistan and over 100 NJEA members. We've been going strong since 7 pm learning about organizational constructs that support teacher leadership. According to the Chaordic Theory, the most effective leaders/innovators teeter between a world of chaos and order with a healthy balance of control. Hmmm....that sounds like me.
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Monday afternoon Andrew, Lana and I met with Steven Prentiss regarding templates for our website redesign. I believe Steven spoke to CIAPD this week about it. Our current website is hosted by SchoolWorld, which is one of many entities bought out by Blackboard. Blackboard is phasing out SchoolWorld and will get to a point when Blackboard no longer supports SchoolWorld. We are in the initial phase of the project and plans call for switching over to the new site July 1...with lots of detailed work and training in the interim.

LIS student Abigail Duncan (gr 5) , along with help from the LIS student council, collected enough donated sweaters through a month-long drive to make 64 caps for people going through chemotherapy.

At an event held at PEAC Health & Fitness in January, Abbie, her family members, and about 25 other LIS students and parents donated time to cut and sew sweaters to make caps. At right is Abbie working on a cap and below are the 64 caps. The items made with care will be distributed to cancer patients at Capital Health Hopewell and Princeton Medical Center. Do our students give back to the community or what?!?

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Starting at 5PM Friday evening through midday Sunday, I'll be at the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal for the NJEA Teacher Leader Summit, in response to their request for me to participate. NJEA covers expenses. Info gleaned here should fit with with $30,000 grant I received for teacher leader positions.


Finance met this week. Michael's Diner was glad to see the group again. I anticipate we'll hear a report at next week's BOE meeting.

LABTA cancelled the February 9 negotiations meeting and Judy now is polling for a new date.

Click on the "Corner Meeting Table" link below to view upcoming meetings.


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

  • 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