Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Project kicks off next week with school leaders.
Residents interested in helping set the direction of Warren Township schools in coming years will have a chance to join in a strategic plan under development, next month. The public's participation won't begin until a meeting in late October, under a schedule outlined at Tuesday's Board of Educaiton meeting by Superintendent Tami Crader. Crader said the process begins with an orientation meeting Sept. 12, followed by an Oct. 8 session with district staffers. Public input sessions would begin in "late October," Dr. Crader said. She also told board members they will need to determine areas they may be interested in for the process, with some members needed for a steering committee, others needed to observe and provide feedback from the …
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Warren schools have an unprecedented number of projects underway at once. So far, it's working out well.
Following an update on the status of the different projects underway at Warren schools this summer at Monday's board of education meeting, Business Administrator Patricia Leonhardt said she's never seen a district undertake so much at once. She also noted the projects are proceeding on schedule, and for the most part, under budget. The presentation by Tyler Tripelhorn, the distirct's supervisor of buildings and grounds, gave board members a look at the bathrooms being rebuilt at Woodland School and the middle school, the paving work undertaken at Mt. Horeb and Woodland schools, and the solar panels being installed on the roofs at Angelo L. Tomaso School and WMS. Tribelhorn also discussed the work done to restore the Home Arts room at WMS…
Monday, August 13, 2012
Board member Don Huber says the board needs to approve individual contracts.
A resolution approved at Monday night's Warren Township Board of Education meeting sparked a lengthy discussion on possible changes to board procedures. The resolution approved a list of outside professionals for the 2012-2013 school year, but board member Don Huber said he wasn't comfortable giving a green light for unlimited payments to approved professionals without the board exercising further oversight. "What we're saying is anyone on this list, any time we need their services, the administration will be able to do so without coming back to the board," Huber said. He added that while he doesn't doubt the professionals are qualified, he feels not voting on a further resolutions setting contract limits would be "really relinquishing …
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Trying to align dates among area schools isn't easy.
This month, the school boards for Watchung Hills Regional and its four sending district will be approving calendars for the upcoming school year, and caps some occasionally confusing and complicated considerations. The starting dates aren't in question: anxious kids go back to school Sept. 5 in Green Brook, but the district has already discussed changing it to Sept. 6, the same as all of the other districts. But the other end of the calendar may get some changes, since Christmas and New Year's fall on Tuesdays, squeezing in the required 180 days of school puts the end of the year at a potentially problematic place. "The reason we are scheduled so late is because many of the holidays or breaks fall in mid-week," WHRHS Superintendent Frances…
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Board seeking information on what parents think is the right balance for school meals.
The Warren Township Board of Education conducted its annual review of the district's nutrition policy at Monday's meeting, engaging in a lengthy discussion of the notable exceptions to the nutrition policy: Food Days and classroom celebrations. The discussion touches on many key issues for parents: how can we be assured kids are eating properly when in schools? How do the school PTOs select and organize the meals offered? The board plans to collect some additional information about the programs and celebrations but is almost certain to return to the issue in the coming months. We wondered what readers made of the discussion—do you think the board needs to be more restrictive with the Food Day offerings, which include fast food vendors …
Monday, July 16, 2012
Policy review hits on weaknesses in school offerings.
Warren schools have a strict nutritional policy, based on tough federal guidelines to meet the nutritional requirements of children. And Warren schools have "Food Days" in each school, where students can choose from Burger King cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets...or take them both. "I heard one school is serving McDonald's biscuit breakfast—and that can't be nutritious," Warren Township Board of Education Vice-President Mildred Spiller said during a spirited discussion of the board's nutrition policy at Monday's meeting that highlighted the "loopholes" created by school celebrations and the PTO's fundraising Food Day programs. The policy sets guidelines for the meals the district serves, but allows the PTO-operated Food Days to determine …
Monday, July 9, 2012
Superintendent of Schools Tami Crader shows what the district has done—and how students are responding.
The Warren Township Board of Education meeting of June 25 included a briefing by Superintendent Tami Crader on the status of the district's implementation of the 21st Century Learning. The district completed its first year with the new methodology iplemented, and Dr. Crader's review included several updates on how well students have adapted to the new style of teaching, as well as gains in test scores shown.
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
District to change tests after discovering a loophole for test takers.
Warren schools will no longer use the Screening Assessment for Gifted Elementary Students test to determine which students are prepared for accelerated studies—because some parents have been purchasing the test ahead of assessments to prep students. Warren Township Superintendent Tami Crader made the announcement at the June 25 meeting, recommending the board instead use a test known as the "Cognitive Abilities Test" or CogAT. Dr. Crader recommended the change after discovering the publisher of the SAGES test sells the test to the public—and some parents have apparently purchased copies in hopes of helping their kids get into the district's REACH program. "Our REACH teachers...have used SAGES for years, but SAGES is now dated, the norms …
Friday, June 22, 2012
Fact finder's report posted on district website.
After more than two years in negotiations, Warren Township's Board of Education and education association grabbed a chance to settle a contract, with teachers slated to receive increases totaling 9 percent in four increments. The increases are from the fact finder's recommendation, which specifies a 2.4 percent increase backdated to Feb. 1, 2011; a 2.3 percent increase on Nov. 16, 2011; and future increases of 2 percent on Sept. 1 and a 2.3 percent incease on Sept. 1, 2013. "While the above recommended increases will disappoint each side, although in different ways, I believe they make a reasonable, affordable and workable package," fact finder Jean Hattigan wrote. The report notes the increases are "responsive to the Board's budget …
Monday, June 18, 2012
New system will offer better connections for students, teachers
The need for Warren schools to update its computer network systems has been building for a while, but the pressure for a fix finally pushed the Board of Education into action. The board approved a plan to replace the current system with a high-speed wireless network at the June 11 meeting. Office Solutions, Inc., will install the system, which will include a tiered-access system allowing for controlled levels of access to the Internet, with costs not to exceed $85,000. Although the board has been planning on the upgrade, pressure for action had been growing from some unlikely lobbyists, according to Superintendent Tami Crader. "I am literally getting complaints from kids every day," Dr. Crader said. "They use it all the time, so they have …