At Wednesday night’s meeting at , the found out the results of their annual self-evaluation survey and discussed both board-specific and district-specific goals for the next school year.
Susan McCusker of the NJ School Boards Association presented the findings from the survey, which was completed about a month ago by board members. She observed that the board-superintendent relationship was highly rated, followed by policy, student achievement and finance. Those categories earned scores above 3.0, which McCusker said is considered to be positive.
“When I see boards that have placed a lot of importance on the board-superintendent relationship and rated themselves highly on that, I know that you’re probably working well as a team with your superintendent and that in general you’re probably encountering success,” she said.
While still above 3.0, the lowest-rated categories involved planning and finance.
“I think [finance] reflects a little frustration with what’s going on in the area of finances state-wide; money is tight and this is a tough area – that’s my guess,” McCusker said.
When it came time to identify board-specific goals for the next school year, members agreed on the following:
- Enhance our understanding of monthly financial goals
- Participate in training activities in negotiation and salary guides
Initial district-specific goals for next year are:
- Enhancing language arts achievement in a subgroup to be identified based on a thorough analysis of student achievement data (NJASK)
- Enhance community relations: Follow up the community planning meeting of Feb. 9 with two meetings of River Edge stakeholders for the purpose of reporting progress toward goals and gathering input
- Facilities: Identify the potential uses and their associated costs of the Capital Reserve Fund
Tova Ben-Dov, superintendent of River Edge schools, briefly mentioned the federal government’s new calculation method for determining high school graduation rates. The new formula produced results lower than what was previously recorded in North Jersey, something Ben-Dov said has superintendents of the high school districts upset and saying that it doesn’t show the whole picture.
Ben-Dov went on further to discuss changes in testing that will be eliminated in the next few years.
“They’re going to eliminate the HSPA (High School Statewide Assessments), the alternative HSPA and eventually the NJASK,” Ben-Dov explained. “The target date is 2014 to eliminate [testing for grades] 5-8 and then the year after that 3 and 4. All of that will be replaced with end-of-unit testing.”
Ben-Dov said the changes come as a result of statistics showing that students in two-year and four-year colleges are showing signs of academic struggles.
“They feel that the end-of-unit assessments take the place of those standardized ones and will be much more specific to the student’s ability to perform based on what the student was taught,” she said. “And then the schools will have an opportunity to give students the proper remediation while they're still in school and not come to a point where they’re all graduated and now they can’t make it at a two-year college.”
IN OTHER NEWS:
- The NJASK began this week for grades 5 and 6 and next week is grades 3 and 4.
- The River Edge ESL Program was selected as a model program for the state of New Jersey. The official awards ceremony will be May 15 at Rutgers.
- A sixth-grader at Cherry Hill Elementary School won third place in a poetry contest as part of an upcoming Teacher Appreciation Luncheon, which is a Bergen County initiate.