Superintendent's Message

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SEPTEMBER 2018 MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT

As educators, we never cease musing on the dynamic power of schooling.  David Leonhardt of the New York Times speaks to the importance of schools, “Education is the most powerful force accelerating economic growth, reducing poverty, and lifting middle class living standards.  Well-educated adults earn much more, live longer, and are happier than poorly educated adults.”  Researcher Mike Schmoker (2018) expands on Leonhardt’s position, noting, “If Leonhardt is even half right, educators face a moral obligation to act on the best evidence-based practices that will ensure record proportions of students receive a quality education.”

Educators take the moral obligation Schmoker speaks of with the gravitas it deserves.  We prepare for the first day of school, and each day thereafter, with great care.  Administrators and teachers collaborate on the provision of instruction borne of best practices grounded in research proven to support students as they continue on personalized learning journeys.  This summer, the administrative team focused on identified goals as they tackled the critical work of establishing a strong foundation for another successful school year.  Here are a few noteworthy items to review as we begin:

BalanceThe NJDOE has identified Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies for all students and our district is committed to compliance with these critical mandates.  SEL instruction is shown to reduce high-risk behaviors, increase student attendance, reduce code of conduct infractions, and positively impact student achievement.

ConstructionFacility improvements continue and our buildings reflect significant change, including: window replacement projects at all schools; districtwide solar energy project scheduled to begin this fall; reallocation/renovation of instructional classrooms at MPHS; new main office/secure entrance at Godwin; and acoustic panels and ceiling baffles to be installed in the gym at Highland. The buildings and grounds staff have worked tirelessly to prepare for September…painting, repairing, and landscaping efforts have resulted in clean and welcoming school environments.   

New JerseyGovernor Murphy’s administration has taken the first steps to transition away from PARCC to a new generation of statewide testing; New Jersey students lead National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—fourth graders tied for first nationwide in reading and math; a panel of tax experts have recommended the elimination of nearly half of the state’s school districts—all districts on the recommended list for elimination are K-8 districts; and the Senate has advanced several new school bus safety measures.

As we look ahead to our collaborative work, one of the most important measures parents can take is to remain in touch with administrators and teachers throughout the school year—remember, we are all just one phone call or email away.  We also hope you will frequently access the district website for the digital calendar of events and school and teacher web pages.  Finally, we look forward to seeing you at the many back-to-school events and activities scheduled this year at our schools…celebrating students for their academic and extra-curricular achievements makes for wonderful memories.  On behalf of all in our district, please accept my best wishes for a happy and healthy 2018-19 school year!


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Sincerely, 

Dr. Marie Cirasella

Dr. Marie Cirasella


 

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