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Roxbury Board of Education Wrap-Up from December 18th

NEWS RELEASE 

Roxbury Board of Education Wrap-Up from December 18th

-	The Board recognized the Dave Ramage, James Monaghan, and Patricia Miller for their service on the board at their last meet  

Roxbury, NJ (December 20, 2017) - The Roxbury Board of Education held its December Board of Education meeting on Monday, December 18th in the Lincoln/Roosevelt Auditorium. 

Board President Leo Coakley started off the meeting with a brief moment of silence following the pledge of allegiance for the passing of Al Monroe, a transportation aide and husband to long time bus driver, Sandra Monroe. “We will stand for a moment after the pledge to honor him.” Monroe passed away over Thanksgiving break. 

-	Teresa Rehman, director of technology presents technology updates to the Board Staff members and the public had a chance to hear two presentations at the beginning of the meeting. The first was on technology updates presented by the director of technology, Teresa Rehman. Rehman along with Ruth Davis, Jeff Swanson, and Dominick Miller were presented certificates and a banner at the last board of education meeting on November 20th for reaching Future Ready status at the middle and high school. 

Rehman shared that the next step would be to meet with the Digital Learning Teams at those schools to review the Future Ready report which details some of the schools strengths and ways the schools can improve. The report provides detailed exemplars and areas for growth in leadership, education and classroom practice, and technology support and services. 

Rehman announced, “Future Ready will now have different certification levels going forward. Both schools are will be at the bronze level. The new certification process will give each school two more levels to strive towards above that.” 

“We are also going to pursue certification at Lincoln/Roosevelt School as they are now almost a full year into their 1:1 initiative for sixth grade. Ruth Davis has been working a lot with the teachers doing mini-PD sessions so they’re already on their way to integrating the technology into the classroom.” 

Professional development is a large component of the Future Ready status and Roxbury will continue its PD to that end. Roxbury has for the last three or four years held summer professional development trainings called “Get Tech-Cited” on technology. Last summer’s session of mini-workshops were followed by lesson design time and presentations of lessons. “It was great to see how everyone was utilizing the tools that they had learned in Google Classroom and to see the collaboration used during that time.” 

Lincoln/Roosevelt School will have ongoing PD sessions based on needs experienced in the classrooms like organizing Google Drive and interactivity in Google Slides. 

Rehman also mentioned that she conducted a K-4 elementary needs assessment survey to begin to develop ongoing mini-PD sessions at that level that Anne Napoliello, a computer technician and certified teacher, can assist with to support the classroom technology in the K-4 schools. 

“Another big professional development initiative over at the high school is what we call Teaching Above the Line using the SAMR Model of technology integration that we adopted a few years ago. We had the opportunity to meet with a lot of the teachers at the high school and work with them on the ideas they had and how they wanted to integrate technology into the classroom.” The technology department provided assistance with lesson implementation in the classroom when needed or just observed lesson implementation. 

Mini-PD sessions have begun at the high school. All of these sessions are on a voluntary basis and staff sign up for sessions that interest them. A session was held on video editing in Adobe Spark this past November and another is scheduled for January on comic strip design. 

Roxbury’s professional development goes beyond its borders. Rehman along with Davis have attended different programs as presenters. Recent presentations were at the Pequannock Summit on building interactive lessons with interactive slides and videos, the Morris-Union Jointure Commission on the Future Ready certification process, and at the NJ Educational Computing Cooperative again on building interactive lessons with slides and videos. 

The district is also using technology to integrate data and reporting. The technology department worked with the elementary district supervisors to design a new K-5 standards-based report card using the past marking period data. Beth Percevault and Karen Amico from the technology department are also working on creating a centralized registration process for new students, with the majority of information to be completed online prior to coming in to register. Part of this centralized registration process has new families coming to one location to register their children. This will occur at Roxbury High School beginning mid-to-late January with the individual schools following up on missing components. 

The last part of Rehman’s presentation touched on the Google Educator certification. All four elementary school teachers participated in this self-paced online Google training to learn how to integrate Google Tools in the classroom. Once the training was completed, each teacher took a three-hour exam to become Google Certified Educators. 

Rehman shared this is important as we head into our fifth year of 1:1 and the district will be replacing close to 3,000 Chromebooks over the next two years. Many of these replaced devices will go down to the elementary level for grades two through five. 

Superintendent Loretta Radulic expressed her gratitude for Rehman’s accomplishments in technology stating, “Teresa Rehman has been instrumental in moving our technology forward. You hear about districts starting an initiative, if you don’t have that person, that champion who’s really going to focus on that initiative and keep it moving forward and keep it in everyone’s mind, those kinds of things tend to fall apart. So she’s been instrumental in making sure that we continue keeping the district moving forward with technology.” 

-	Board member Rich Alexander holds math manipulatives as part of the Guided Math presentation The second was a presentation by Kelly Curtiss, the K-6 Applied Sciences Supervisor and three district teachers, Jacqueline Sheplak-Lewis (Lincoln/Roosevelt - Grade 5), Tricia MacEwen (Lincoln/Roosevelt - Special Education), and Stephanie Friscia (Jefferson - Grade 4) on the Guided Math Conference. 

Chuck Seipp, Assistant Superintendent started off saying, “Thanks to all the elementary math teachers and Kelly Curtiss. The district embarked on Readers Writer Workshop initiative years ago where we tried to make the reading process one where students could engage with content and it's interactive to really explore their learning. So in order to support the way the teachers are delivering mathematics instruction support and the way our students are learning it, Mrs. Curtiss has worked with the teachers, which is really where this presentation came from because they all went to a workshop got so excited about what it offered them that they prepared this presentation. They tried to integrate that workshop model in allowing the students to engage with the content with them collaboratively into math which makes a lot of sense because now students have a simpler pedagogical approach to reading, writing, and math. At any rate, this is an exciting opportunity for us because it has already started to break off into other ventures to bring in other trainers to work on the math initiative of running records. It is an exciting way to align the way we teach so that teachers don’t need to learn multiple approaches, students don’t need to shift gears every time we change content and the big thing, the most exciting is the feedback from teachers, it has supported their ability to engage with content collectively with students in a better way.” 

-	Kelly Curtiss explains use of number lines for higher grade levels Curtiss explained that the teachers and herself attended a two-day conference on Guided Math and was very appreciative of the board for supporting her and the teachers with this professional development opportunity. “We really got a lot out of it.” 

She went on to say, “Guided Math is a strategy for instruction and it is a way to organize the lesson for mathematics that best supports our students and their needs for differentiation.” She explained how the structure of a balanced math instruction is broken down in terms of how much time is spent as a whole group versus small group differentiated instruction. 

Classes should begin with warm-ups of number talks and number sense routines to activate prior knowledge leading to whole group mini-lessons based on grade level standards content. A class is then broken into small groups where the differentiation begins. “You’re working with students, not necessarily on grade level but where their instructional level really is which could be below or above grade level depending on the needs of the students.” 

While the teacher is working with one small group, the rest of the students are engaging in workstations, formerly known as work centers. “We are changing the focus to workstations because they are very purposefully designed for those students at their ability level. A significant amount of time is spent at the leveled workstations as studies have shown the amount of time students spend at stations at their ability level, the more they are going to grow so that’s a significant amount of time.” 

-	Stephanie Friscia, Jefferson School Grade 4 teacher explains differentiated guide math workstations Curtiss went on to provide sample warm-ups of number talks that can be used on multiple grade levels based on where the students are at in their learning such as “What do you see” pictures. These types of activities get students talking number sense without using the words addition, subtraction, etc. For instance, Curtiss used a picture of six kittens and said, what do you see, are the kittens same or different. Students would respond by saying four kittens are the same and two are different. This is all part of the learning process in learning number sense. Another picture used for higher-grade levels was that of different triangles and she explained that students would be asked which one didn’t belong and how it relates to fractions. 

Moving on, Curtiss related how manipulatives are used during mini-lessons to create concrete and visual representations of mathematical concepts such as the beaded number lines as learning tools. 

-	Tricia MacEwen and Jacqueline Sheplak Lewis explain exit tickets and closure routines Workstations and math manipulatives are used to collect data to form groups for running records and fluency groups. Curtiss shared how using Dr. Nicki Newton’s running records would be used for math assessments as well as student self-assessments to help align programs to meet the students’ needs. 

Friscia described different ways she has organized workstations in her classrooms to differentiate instruction. Sample guided math workstations included rotation, project, and free flow stations each with its own purpose and applicable grade level. She has made sure to implement the use of student data folders that allows her to focus on where her students need assistance. 

Daily lessons, as always, would wrap up with a closure. “Because brain research shows we remember the most of what we heard first and last, so we make sure we have a closure routine where we summarize that lesson for the day,” said Curtiss. 

Sheplak-Lewis and MacEwen provided sample exit questions and rubrics used in their classes. Two samples of their exit tickets simply posed the same questions to all the students like three things you learned from the lesson, two questions you still have, and one idea that stuck with you. “This formative assessment technique engages all students and provides that all-important evidence of student learning for the teacher. The exit ticket is a great in-class assessment tool that can also help plan instruction.” 

Another sample closure routine that MacEwen explained was an exit slip that can be used by different types of learners. This exit slip allowed students to draw, write, list, web, or question what they learned during the lesson to assist the teacher in future planning of instruction. 

Curtiss shared in closing, “I’ve seen some really great things happening in our classrooms. A lot of teachers are already implementing this but by going to this conference allows us to improve our practices to take it to the next level and we look forward to possibly bringing Dr. Nicki in for future professional development training.” 

In addition to these presentations, the following reports and information were received.

  • Student Representative’s Comments – Ryan Roumes shared that juniors recently were inducted into the National Honor Society and that NHS collected and delivered gifts for ten local senior citizens. The flocking fundraiser to support the RHS mini-THON continues and over the weekend, Roxbury Sound and tubas were on the ice at Rockefeller Center where Roxbury students joined over 500 musicians as they performed together for the holidays. He also shared that this week is spirit week at the high school leading up to Thursday’s Pep Rally for winter sports.
  • -	The Board recognized the Dave Ramage, James Monaghan, and Patricia Miller for their service on the board at their last meet Board President’s Comments – Leo Coakley extended his gratitude to Patrick Hachey and the four students who sang the Star Spangled Banner over the weekend for Wreaths Across America hosted by the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. He also shared on a personal note, thanks to all of the Roxbury family and community for their outreach and support from the passing of this wife, Rita Coakley. Coakley also shared brief points on each one of the board members, James Monaghan, Patricia Miller, and Dave Ramage, who were there for their last meeting.
  • Superintendent’s Comments – Loretta Radulic echoed Coakley’s comments regarding the departing board members sharing that this is a volunteer position with no pay and long hours. She appreciates the work of each of the board members leaving us and extended her thanks to the presenters from earlier in the evening. Radulic gave numerous kudos to the music staff and reminded everyone that the strings concert was Tuesday night and the Winter Concert for 5th and 6th grade would be Wednesday night. She gave a shout out to Ray Henricksen and Kate Katz for sharing with her the video of the band highlights they created and gave a shout out to Jeff Conrad and the band for their Hurricane Harvey efforts that were noted in Halftime Magazine. Radulic also congratulated Kendra Haughey, Juliana Osterman, and Ava DiPasquale on winning the My Favorite Book Contest sponsored by the Roxbury Women’s Club. She also commented on the success of the SAIL Parent Academy using Title I funding and complimented the Roxbury wrestlers on their toy collection for Roxbury Social Services.
  • Business Administrator’s Comments – Patricia Wilson shared that the budget for next year is well underway and that the Finance and Facilities committees will hold multiple meetings in January and February to further go over the budget. Wilson also gave an update on a matter that was brought up at the last meeting regarding the security vestibule at Eisenhower Middle School, “The doors and windows have been repaired at EMS.”
  • Community Relations Report – Rich Alexander said the committee met on December 12th and recapped the fall events, provided an update on the Sustainability initiative, is awaiting price quotes for a few different programs, and there was general discussion on how the district could help support the Roxbury Alumni Association.
  • Education Committee Report – Ron Lucas shared that the committee met earlier that day and will be having updates to the HIB policy and that the ACT is now instituting a Pre-ACT similar to the PSAT and how the district would assist in implementing this change. He also talked about the Algebra I and Algebra 2C courses and how the district will have to address them in regards to the graduation requirement. Lucas also touched on the new science test and how it has yet been determined which grade levels it will effect going forward. He also commended Seipp and the Parent SAIL Academy for their successful evening and how three more sessions are coming soon and that the district is also looking to hold an ESL parents night in April.
  • Facilities Committee Report – Jim Monaghan shared that at their last meeting on December 12th they met with the new director of Buildings and Grounds who officially started Monday, December 18th and provided him with a laundry list of summer projects in the works.
  • Finance Committee Report – Carol Scheneck said the committee met on November 20th and December 18th and are reviewing the regulation changes for the facilities proposals along with the budget. Scheneck went on to say that Patricia Wilson had met with all the administrators regarding the budget and Buildings and Grounds is working on theirs, and will be scheduling meetings in the coming weeks to prepare for the coming year’s budget.
  • Personnel Committee Report – Margaret Casola said the committee met the Wednesday prior to the board meeting to discuss all personnel resolutions on the agenda and personnel matters affecting the district.
  • Negotiations Report – Leo Coakley shared that the Teamsters and administrators settled awhile back and that the Roxbury Education Association has had “amicable meetings but no agreements as of yet” and that the REA wants to go to mediation and has filed for an impasse.
  • Sustainability Committee Report – Joe Mondanaro, the Assistant Business Administrator shared that the next filing deadline for Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification application is January 18th and that Sustainable Jersey for Schools PSEG grant deadline is February 9th. He shared that the NJSBA is holding a free workshop on March 15th to offer professional development on the Sustainable Schools initiative. Mondanaro also provided an update on the waste audit conducted at Nixon School and how the district’s green team has met with the elementary principals and the district applied sciences supervisors to discuss action items and the ongoing process of the schools and district’s certification application. 

After the committee reports, the Board approved numerous resolutions under Finance, Education, Policies, and Personnel. 

Highlights from each section are:

  • Finance – The Board approved 43 travel requests for staff to participate in continuing education workshops and programs in the coming months along with the memorandums of understanding and agreement with the Roxbury Township Police Department and Law Enforcement officials. The Board also approved the emergency operations crisis plans, the amendment to the application for the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) grant, and the submission of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) grant. In this section, the board also approved the resolution to hold two special board of education meetings on Tuesday, January 9th and Tuesday, January 23rd to conduct board member training. No formal action will be taken at these meetings.
  • Education – The Board approved the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) Report for November 2nd through December 11th. In addition, approval was given for 19 educational field trips and 4 overnight field trips. The board approved ten courses for revised curriculum writing including Language Arts Grades K-5 as well as Creative Writing, Graphic Novel, Journalism, and Online Skills.
  • Policies – The Board approved the first reading on Policy 5116 on the Education of Homeless Children. This revised policy had one word changed in it.
  • Personnel – The Board accepted the five leaves of absences, appointments of two leave replacements, and the appointments of hourly employees. Additional resolutions for mentoring, extracurricular appointments, student interns, substitutes, salary adjustments, and community school personnel were approved. 

To view all the resolutions from Monday night’s meeting along with past approved minutes, please visit https://www.roxbury.org/domain/43

The next Board of Education meeting will be Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lincoln/Roosevelt Auditorium. This meeting is open to the public. 

PHOTOS ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Public Schools)

PRESENTATIONS ATTACHED (courtesy of Roxbury Public Schools)

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For more information, contact: Roxbury Community School/Community Relations Coordinator Ann Rhodes at arhodes@roxbury.org or 973-584-7699. 

ABOUT ROXBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Roxbury Public Schools is a K-12 school district preparing the children of today for tomorrow. As a dynamic and thriving district, in partnership with a supportive and collaborative community, Roxbury Public Schools inspires and empowers all learners to flourish as ethical and global citizens in the 21st century. The district serves students throughout Roxbury Township, New Jersey, including the areas of Landing, Kenvil, Succasunna, Ledgewood, Mount Arlington, Port Morris, Flanders, and Wharton. Connect with us online at www.roxbury.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RoxburyPublicSchools.