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Agenda: State Board of Education

At the final meeting of the year, the state board takes some time to celebrate superstar teachers and administrators.

Date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Time: 10 a.m.

Place: NJ Department of Education, 1st floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton.

What they are doing: The last meeting of 2011, this one has been saved for some year-end honors and roundups. Topping the list will be acclamations for some of the state's superstar teachers and administrators. More sobering, the board will also hear the good and the bad on the state's benchmarks of achievement for the year.

The winners are: The following will be honored by the state board for their achievements as educators this year, both individually and collectively. The awards, some previously announced, are bestowed by a variety association and organizations.

  • NJ Principals of the Year: Zina Deurbig, Howell High School, and Tracey Stevens, Mt. Olive Middle School.

  • NJ Superintendent of the Year: Roy R. Montesano, Ramsey.

  • Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award: Frank Iannucci, math and computer science teacher, West Orange High School.

  • New Jersey Blue Ribbon Schools: Lincoln Elementary School, Ridgefield Park; New Providence High School; Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School; Terence C. Reilly School No. 7, Elizabeth; Tewksbury Elementary School, Califon; Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Hawthorne; and Watchung School, Montclair.

Still a long way to go: Much of the state board's meeting will also be devoted to updates on where things aren't so strong. It will be the Christie administration's first extended comments and discussion of its application for a federal waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act, including new rules for school accountability statewide and tougher conditions and supports for the estimated 200 lowest-achieving schools. The board also has created a subcommittee that is exploring theb achievement gap across the state, not just in urban schools. The committee is chaired by Michael Nettles, senior vice president of ETS, and includes state officials, university academics, and district educators.

Quote: "We think it's all in our urban cores, but this is statewide problem and some districts with the more prestigious zip codes also have very large gaps," said Arcelio Aponte, the board's president.

Not ready for prime time: The state board was to discuss the latest data on 2011 graduation rates, ever a contentious topic as the administration revises how schools are to calculate the percent of students getting a diploma. But the item was removed from the agenda, since officials said the work is still not completed. Also waiting is a final count on the number and percentage of students who needed the Alternative High School Assessment (AHSA) last year to graduate.

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