A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Board Approves 09/10 Schools Calendar

Principal Michele Ruscavage hosted the Matawan-Aberdeen Board of Education's monthly action meeting last night at Matawan Regional High School. Everyone remarked on the glistening condition of the school's rooms and corridors, a great improvement over previous years. One board member remarked to me after the meeting that the high school not only physically gleamed but had turned around in many ways, all in large part due to Ms. Ruscavage's leadership.

Many teachers attended last night's board meeting to see three of their popular colleagues -- John McCabe, Enid Lassman, and Steven Hutnik -- recognized as they head for retirement after years of dedicated service at the high school. A number of parents were there to see their children honored for achievements in the arts, in sport, in the classroom, and in the greater community.

Among several items on its agenda, the school board approved the 2009-2010 calendar, which features a school opening on Wednesday 2 September 2009. When you make your summer vacation plans, keep in mind that the school year will begin nearly a week before Labor Day this fall.

The board also approved a five-year $25,000/yr contract with RealTime Information Technology to provide an Internet system that will facilitate "real time" Internet communication between teachers and parents regarding student progress.

The personnel report indicated that two new mathematics instructors -- TBD at the high school and Concetta Kelly at the middle school -- are to serve through the end of this school year to cover gaps caused by a resignation, a rescission, and a maternity leave.

Matthew Bratsch stepped down from his position as student representative on the board last night. Bratsch said he felt he could contribute more to change at the school from outside the system. He took a seat in the audience and soon took the public podium to speak to the availability of books in his English classroom. The board engaged the topic and agreed to look into it.

The board agreed to look into public concerns over whether the board is adequately notified of changes in the professional certification status of school district employees.

Note that the next meeting of the school board has been rescheduled for 30 March 2009.

Members of the public had little time to review too few copies of the agenda before voting ensued last night. The personnel report alone was eight pages long. One parent who found the table empty of agendas rose to an issue that was already scheduled to be addressed. The board ought to seriously consider setting a deadline for papers that will be considered at board meetings and then make the agenda and all papers available online several days prior to the event. For sunshine laws to be effective, public hearings must facilitate proper debate.


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