Crystal's Corner

May 1, 2015

Now that the calendar has flipped to May, it drives the reality home that this school year is disappearing fast.


This Corner covers the past two weeks. You heard some of the info at the BOE meeting.

PROPOSED STUDENT GOAL #1: ACADEMIC, TOTAL CHILD/WELLNESS & 21ST CENTURY

Tonight is the second annual Shark Tank competition hosted by the LHS Business and International Studies Academy. It's at 7PM in the LHS auditorium. The entrepreneurs and the sharks as well as supporting local businesses are identified in the link below.
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Yesterday we received the final copy of The Lawrence Ledger. Contained within is an article about LES music teacher Dan Beal and the creativity he is inspiring in his students with iPads and an app. LTEF funded the initiative. Read "Music teacher finds a way to get kids jammin'" below.
Yesterday our LHS Transition Services student workers hosted a Job Application Workshop at the Dare to Dream Conference at Mercer County Community College. The workshop included a short presentation, a game in which participants identified the do’s and don’ts of filling out job applications, practice job applications from over 10 local employers, job application review with the LHS Job Coach, a Tips for Filling out job applications magnet and a life-sized practice job application. As LHS special ed teacher Stacey Zegas related, "Throughout the workshop our students exhibited a strong sense of professionalism, teamwork, communication, problem solving and social skills as they worked with the other Dare to Dream Conference attendees. Our students were awesome!" See photos below.

PROPOSED STAFF/FAMILY GOAL #2: CULTURE OF LEARNING

Congratulations to Andrew Zuckerman...make that Dr. Andrew Zuckerman...as he has earned his doctorate!


April 20th found me in Meg Leventhal's 5th grade classroom for a book talk. It was a fun outing as I made it very suspenseful for the children...and the teacher! I involved Cindy Westhead as the Population Police. The book was Among the Hidden.


Yesterday morning was a session of the NJ School Development Council's Professional Learning Series. The session was entitled "The Impact of Culture on Education: It's Role in Student Success & Achievement." I always come away from these sessions having learned something but yesterday's was particularly dynamic. "Literacy" was an agenda topic and a particularly powerful part was entitled "Counselors, Counseling, Teaching" by Dr. Peter Donnelly and was about cultural bias. I was part of the agenda also and presented on "Leadership Matters." I took Jon Dauber, Cliff Williams, Barbara Beers, Damian Bariexca, Maureen Hayes, and Cindy Westhead with me. And as frequently happens, our team shined. Willa Spica was present and she commented that she was proud to say she was from Lawrence.

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PROPOSED GOAL #3 COMMUNITY GOAL: ENGAGEMENT, OPPORTUNITIES & SERVICE

Over the course of the past two weeks, I presented our budget at LIS and LES PTO meetings and answered a variety of questions. Parents are quite curious as to why the LTEA contract isn't settled. Obviously they just hear one-sided rumors.


As part of the communication/action plan for the changes in leadership of LHS and LIS, the two principals held voluntary faculty meetings at their respective schools on April 23 to share the news with their staffs. After that meeting, the principals sent a communication to their parents, informing them of the change and relating next steps. We shared the news more broadly in yesterday's QuickNews. We've posted the position internally and plan to interview late next week. We want to have someone for the LIS principal position for the May 13th agenda.

PROPOSED GOAL #4 FISCAL GOAL: MAINTENANCE, CONSERVATION & INNOVATION

The Decision and Design Team (DDT) met with the architects April 28 to learn generalities of five possibilities for turf placement as well as constraints to consider. The team will receive copies of the layouts and then will compile their feedback of the pros and cons for each scenario. Once that's done, the team will again meet with the architects who, in the meantime, will do some more definitive work.

PROPOSED SUPERINTENDENT GOALS & PGP ACTIVITIES

COA met on April 20 to discuss staffing plans in consideration of upcoming retirements, transfers, and resignations. We developed the communication/action plan for LHS and LIS principal changes. Additionally, this week I met with support personnel as part of staffing and responsibility planning.


Later that afternoon, Andrew and I met with LMS leadership re: an ongoing situation with a student and parent.


April 21 I held my monthly meeting with the assistant principals and this week was my monthly directors' meeting. The afternoon of the 21st, I worked with LMS on their schedule.


April 22 I met with Erin and a parent and led the second round of interviews to fill the BF principal's secretary position. The outcome: Wednesday night you approved my recommendation of Donna Delgado, currently working in Student Services, for the position.


The NJDOE is permitting districts to use their own evaluation tool for administrators providing the State approves it. A small group of principals, assistant principals and supervisors worked with me to refine a system I developed for evaluating administrators. I finished the evaluations and sent the system to the State last week for approval. The new LTPS-personalized rubrics will replace the current McREL Principal Evaluation Rubric. Today, I received notification from NJDOE that all three rubrics (principal, assistant principal and supervisor) were approved!


Prior to the April 23rd agenda setting, Kevin, Mike, Laura and I met with NJSBA rep Jesse Adams about the need for separate BOE and Superintendent goals and evaluations. Jesse will conduct a BOE training on the Superintendent evaluation tool, ethics and governance on May 13 from 5-6:15 p.m. in the Tech Center. Following that will be our executive session and regular BOE meeting. Beth will be in touch to confirm.


Last night was the second negotiations session with LTPSA. Our next meeting is set for June 15.


Please mark your calendar for the LHS graduation: Thursday, June 25 at 7PM at the Sun National Bank Center. It will be here in a flash!

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