Agenda: Honoring Teacher of the Year, Reviewing Oversight of Two Districts

John Mooney | October 6, 2015 | Education
Annual award at center stage, but State Board will also hear presentations on Newark and Jersey City local control, plans for release of PARCC scores

state seal
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015

Time: 10 a.m.

Where: New Jersey Department of Education, 1st-floor conference room, 100 River View Plaza, Trenton

What they are doing: The State Board of Education agenda is short of formal votes, but there will still be plenty of action.

Topping the list is the annual announcement of the New Jersey Teacher of the Year, selected from among 21 county award winners.

But the livelier discussion may come in separate presentations: one regarding the latest progress (or not) in Jersey City toward returning the school district to full local control and the other, by Superintendent Chris Cerf, on Newark’s progress toward that same goal.

In addition, there will be presentations on the planned release of PARCC scores in the coming weeks, the new statewide Week of Respect in schools, and the Christie administration’s broadband initiative.

Teacher of the Year: Always a ceremonial high point in the year, the board will celebrate the 2015 New Jersey Teacher of the Year. Selected from winners for each county, the yet-to-be-identified state winner will receive a paid sabbatical leave to travel across the state and share his or her expertise and insights.

State control: The board will get a double-dose of where the state stands regarding control of its two largest districts: Newark and Jersey City.

First, the board will hear from Newark superintendent and former state education commissioner Chris Cerf on his first year leading the district and what’s happening in the promised transition to local control.

There will then be a presentation on how Jersey City – under state control longer than any other district in New Jersey — has fared in the latest round of state monitoring, and whether it will gain or lose any local controls. The district is already the furthest along in regaining control, albeit after nearly 30 years.

PARCC update: The state is just weeks away from seeing the first results of the controversial PARCC testing. State officials will explain how scores will be reported for each student, as well as scores for each school, district and the entire state will be released to the public. First to be released will be the the statewide scores, likely in the next couple of weeks, officials said.

Other business: The board will also hear a presentation on Week of Respect, a new state-mandated event promoting bullying prevention and community building in schools. Old Bridge school leaders will give a presentation on their district’s programs and experience.

The board will also hear about a new state initiative in which districts are coordinating the purchase of broadband Internet, saving districts tens of millions of dollars statewide, officials said.

Public testimony: While it won’t be voting on any code this month, the board will hear public testimony on two specific proposals. One involves proposed new code for bilingual education; the second has to do with expanding the scope of the Camden Educational Services Commission.