RP BOE Meeting (February 3, 2009)

On February 3, 2009, in BOE, Video, by RP Citizens

The superintendent and Board of Education members were present with the exception of Nancy Kinloch, Judi Laganga, Barney Leinberger, and Michael Genovese. The meeting started at 6:30 pm and went immediately into closed session to discuss matters regarding agenda items 5 and 7. The open session was started at 7 pm.

Public Portion

  • There was no member from the public who wished to speak.

Awards

  • An award was presented to Paris Montes (4th grade) for her artwork which was published in the 2009 Crayola Art Exhibition Book.
  • An award was presented to Olivia Zhou (3rd grade) for artwork which was selected to appear in the 2009 NJ Art Educators Calendar.
  • A Certificate of Recognition was presented to Ken Iachio on behalf of the Dad’s Club. Mr. Iachio thanked the board for their recognition.

Superintendent’s Report

  • The superintendent turned the meeting over to the Professional Development Committee which was represented by Frank Ferlazzo (Director of Curriculum, Instruction, Technology and Funded Programs) and James Salvo (Principal of Robert Gordon Elementary School). The committee presented its plan in order for the BOE to approve 2009-2010 Professional Development Plan for Roselle Park. This plan needs to be submitted to the county and the state by April 2009 in order to meet state requirements and guidelines. The plan was distributed to the Board of Education as Mr. Salvo discussed the training needs of the district with regard to QSAC (Quality Single Accountability Continuum). One major change in the plans requirements from the state is that status quo developments will no longer be accepted and changes are expected to be made on how training is conducted. It will be a sustained on-going process throughout the school year. It will not be a one-day training that will not be revisited throughout the year. The committee is requesting of the BOE to add eight (8) half-day training sessions to the school year. This will satisfy all the mandates as well as the training requirements. The training sessions are proposed to happen on a monthly basis in order to maintain any training throughout the school year. Mr. Spagnoletti asked if there is an opportunity, if the board approves the plan, to make some adjustments later on. Mr. Ferlazzo responded yes to that question. He added that the plan will be sent to the county for review and sent back for revisions. The plan is not finalized until the state approves it.
  • Mr. Spagnoletti stated that there was one (1) recommendation from a board member regarding the report – the recommendation is to have any acronyms spelled out the first time they are used for the benefit of the general public.
  • Mr. Balaban asked regarding textbook review. e wanted to know if textbook reviews are district wide. Mr. Ferlazzo responded that the textbooks are reviewed using the five-year curriculum revision plan. Two years ago the process was started with the K – 8 math program; last year a review was conducted on Language Arts; this year high school math will be reviewed – all textbook studies are predicated on the budget.
  • Mr. Ferlazzo added that allowing staff different choices on which workshops to participate in during the sessions was beneficial in having a successful session. Mr. Salvo added that a lot of presentations were done from in-district which pooled resources and expertise from within the district to allow for more learning.
  • Mr. Iachio asked is there was a chance that the eight (8) half-days submitted in the plan could be removed by the county or the state. Mr. Ferlazzo stated that was not likely since regulations require that the training guidelines be satisfied. Mr. Iachio stated he was not a fan of half days but that they are better then full days of training.
  • Mr. Iachio asked regarding page 10 of the report and reading benchmarks. Mr. Salvo stated it was related to reading level assessments.
  • Mr. Iachio stated he could not be able to vote on the plan due to having a family member in the school system.
  • Mrs. Panetta stated that the development plan is a huge undertaking and that she would like a report from the committee to monitor the success or shortcomings of half-day sessions. She stated that the report can come before the entire board or the curriculum committee. Mr. Ferlazzo stated that the development committee keeps track of every workshop that is conducted and that the evaluations done so far can be shared with the board.
  • President Cindea states that she is happy about the plan. She served on the curriculum committee before and heard over and over that it is important for professional development to have educators meet with each other. She stated that she looks forward to seeing the tremendous benefits that will results from the plan.

The Superintendent’s Report was concluded. Mr. Bundy from the Dad’s club arrived and was asked to come to the microphone and speak regarding the Dad’s Club and the award presented. He thanked the board for their recognition.

The floor was then open to other members of the public wishing to speak.

  • Mr. Alan Gatto spoke regarding an issue he wanted to address in private but was not able to speak with the superintendent nor anyone on the board. He received a phone call from board attorney Ms. Machado and he was told that she would present notes from their discussion to the board but that she recommended that the board not respond to Mr. Gatto.  Ms. Machado clarified the statement made by Mr. Gatto. She stated that her recommendation was that the board not respond to hi publicly; her advise was not that the board not respond to him at all. Mr. Gatto stated that his son was a member of the Board of Education and he knew that a full-time teacher could waive their right in order to speak publicly but he wanted to know if that extended to substitute teachers. Ms. Machado stated that even if the person wished to waive that right, she, as the board attorney, would protect that right for the board.
  • Elisabeth Qersdyn went before the board and wanted to know if the eight (8) half-day training sessions would extend the school year by adding more days. Mr. Spagnetti stated that there is a state law which states that there must be a minimum of four (4) hours to qualify for a full day of school. Since the half-day sessions days would have a half-day which would be longer than the minimum, the school days would not be extended.

Agenda Items

  • Agenda Item 1. Mr. Balaban asked if there could be clarification on section 5331P to specify personal and/or family physician. Mr. Spagnetti stated that the language in the state law was the model that was followed in adopting the agenda item but that it would be looked into. The agenda item was moved, voted on, and carried.
  • Agenda items 2 through 8. Mrs. Panetta spoke on item #3 and stated that she will miss the teachers who are retiring. The items were moved, voted on, and carried with Mr. Iachio abstaining from agenda item #6.
  • Agenda items 9 through 11. Mr. Spagnoletti stated that agenda item #9, student #50 is an incoming student to the district. The items were moved, voted on, and carried.
  • Agenda items 12 through 19. Mr. Balaban wanted to thank teachers who bring in grants for the district. The items were moved, voted on, and carried with Mr. Iachio and Mrs. Rinaldi abstaining on item #16.
  • Agenda item #20 was moved, voted on, and carried.

Committee/Liaison Reports

  • Mr. Balaban stated that the Aldene PTA meeting was moved to February 23, 2009.

Continuing Business

  • Mr. Spagnoletti spoke on the Cracker Barrel meeting which was held last week. It was the best attended meeting in the last few years and there was a lot of exchange between the parents and the members of the board who were in attendance.

New Business

  • President Cindea wanted to thank all board members who handed in their evaluations for the superintendent. Mrs. Panetta stated there was a glitch with e-mail attachments but that it has been corrected. Mr. Cindea stated that the BOE is obligated to complete the Superintendent’s Evaluation by April 1, 2009. The board started in January to get a head start. The evaluations should be due by February 18, 2009 so that they should be compiled and sent to the BOE members for review. The evaluations should be discussed on February 24, 2009 and completed by March 3, 2009. Mr. Iachio asked if he would be allowed to perform an evaluation since there might be a conflict of interest due to the fact that a family member has the superintendent as a direct supervisor. Ms. Machado stated she would look into that for Mr. Iachio and for Mrs. Rinaldi.

The meeting was once again opened to the public with no one coming forward to speak.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 pm.