Return to School Plan…

July 22, 2020

 

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Last night, at the Board of Education meeting, the Board approved the 2020-2021 Return to School Plan. We will post the plan later this week but below is a brief overview:

  • Students will attend school on a split-schedule with early dismissal.
  • Half of our students will attend school on A Days (Monday and Tuesday) and half of our students will attend schools on B Days (Thursday and Friday). All students will learn from home for a distance learning day on Wednesday. Principals will assign students to either an A Day schedule or a B Day schedule. If you have a preference, please communicate it directly with your school principal. We will make every effort to accommodate you.
  • Students, when not in school, will participate in distance learning activities from home. For example, on Monday and Tuesday, all B Day students will participate in distance learning. On Thursday and Friday, all A Day students will participate in distance learning. On Wednesday, all students will participate in distance learning activities. A schedule of class times and activities for distance learning days will be shared once they are finalized
  • Some students enrolled in specific special education programs or reading programs may be eligible to attend school on both A Days (Monday and Tuesday) and B Days (Thursday and Friday).
  • Student attendance on distance learning days is mandatory and will be checked daily.
  • Grading rubrics, modified during the spring, will return to their traditional pre-pandemic status.
  • Masks or face coverings will be mandatory in school and on the bus.
  • Social distancing will be required in school and on the bus.
  • Back to School Night will be switched to a virtual event this fall.
  • Parents will have the option of selecting a 100% distance learning option for their child. This option will have no in-school days.

 

Please note, this plan is subject to approval by the Executive County Superintendent and may be changed due to additional Executive Orders. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Stay safe and healthy.

 

Best,

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Budget and Calendar Update…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Last night at the Board of Education meeting, the Board approved the 2020-2021 school budget. Due to a large reduction ($1,972,723) in State Aid, our total budget decreased by 0.28% and our general fund decreased by 0.38%. The budget is responsive to the dynamic needs of our District and is significantly under the State and Regional limits for administrative spending. Compared to our Regional (north New Jersey) peers, approximately $1,000,000 extra was appropriated towards classroom spending. The entire presentation can be found on our website.

The Board also approved a change to the 2019-2020 school calendar last night. Due to four (4) unused snow days, the end of the school year has been moved up by four (4) days. The new calendar is summarized here:

  • All schools will have early dismissal on June 17, 18, 19
  • Thursday, June 18: Macopin Promotion 7:00p.m.
  • Friday, June 19: Last Day for Students and Staff
  • Friday, June 19: WMHS Graduation 6:45p.m.

Please note that the graduation activities are subject to Governor Murphy reopening the buildings. In the event that does not happen, we will communicate alternative plans to our families.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

COVID-19 Update…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Today our staff and students finished their preparations for our first-ever distance learning initiative, which will last for a period of not less than two weeks. Schools are scheduled to re-open on Monday, March 30. If you have questions about one of your child’s assignments, teachers will always be your first point of contact. Building principals and subject area supervisors are available to support you as well during these next few weeks.

As mentioned in previous messages, breakfast (8:00am – 9:00am) and lunch (12:00pm – 1:00pm) will be made available for pickup at WMHS using the side entrance, nearest the gymnasium. To limit travel, you may pick up both meals at the same time. Additional information will be shared regularly during the next few weeks. Lastly, all field trips through April 15 are canceled.

Thank you again for your support and commitment to our school community during these trying times.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

COVID-19 Update…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

I am writing this to keep the school community informed about our plans for a potential health-related school closing. In the event that schools are closed, our students will continue to receive instruction via alternate methods. These include online platforms and apps such as Google Classroom, ALEKS and many others. In addition, teachers may send home more traditional assignments such as worksheets or writing journals. If schools are closed, all class trips during that time period shall be cancelled. At this time we are also reviewing all field trips, both in and out of state, and will determine if they are still in the best interests of our school community. In the event of a cancellation, we will make every effort to get families full refunds but, in some instances, this may prove to be beyond our control.

In the event of a school closing, all students receiving free or reduced price lunch will be able to pick up their meals at a central location – West Milford High School. Breakfast will be distributed daily between the hours of 8:00am – 9:00am and lunch will be able to be picked up between the hours of 12:00pm -1:00pm. To limit travel inconveniences, families will have the option of picking up both meals at the same time.

Lastly, if your child attends an out-of-district school including private schools, Passaic Tech, etc., we will not be transporting them to/from their schools during the time period we are closed.

I understand these are difficult times, but you should be reassured your child(ren)’s needs are being met by the most professional and hard-working staff in the State and we will not let you down. I trust that when this is all over, our community will echo the words of Winston Churchill and say that this was our finest hour. Additional communications will be forthcoming as we have new information.

Thank you for your support and understanding. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office or your child’s principal.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

State Aid and the 20/21 Budget…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Late last month, we were provided with State Aid figures for the 2020-2021 school year. The District’s State Aid for 20-21 is being reduced by $1,975,723 and will result in cuts across all our schools and in all of our programs. The State Legislature is offering four opportunities for community members to speak out against this proposed budget. You can click here for these times and dates. Moreover, our representatives in the State Assembly and State Senate can be reached here:

State Senator Joseph Pennachio:

170 Changebridge Road, Unit A1, Montville, NJ 07045

973.227.4012

State Assemblywoman Betty Lou DeCroce:

90 East Halsey Road, Suite 380, Parsippany, NJ 07054

862.701.5156

State Assemblyman Jay Webber:

160 Littleton Road, Suite 204, Parsippany, NJ 07054

973.917.3420

We are working with our representatives in both houses of the State Legislature and they are very aware of the unique problems we face being affected by the new State funding formula (S-2) and also being 100% located within the Highlands Act. I should also note that our representatives in the State Legislature all voted “No” on S-2 in 2018. We will have additional budget updates forthcoming later this month and also in April.

Lastly, we are in communication with the State regarding Covid-2019 (Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China). The best recommendations are to use universal precautions (cover coughs and sneezes, wash hands thoroughly, stay home if you are sick, clean and disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces, etc.). Additional information can be found on the New Jersey Department of Health website.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying…

Dear WMTPS Community,

There has been some confusion regarding incidents of Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) and I would like to take a moment to clarify the District’s obligations. New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act is commonly referred to as the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) law. HIB is defined as an act or communication motivated by a characteristic (e.g. race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) that occurs on school grounds, on the school bus, at a school sponsored event, or even off school grounds in certain circumstances. This act must meet all of the following requirements:

  • a reasonable person should know that this action will physically or emotionally harm the student or damage the student’s property and that the actions would place a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his/her person or property, or
  • the action has the effect of insulting or demeaning the student or groups of students, or
  • the action interferes with the student’s education, or is severe or pervasive enough that it causes physical or emotional harm to the student.

However, not all altercations or incidents that occur between students fall under that aforementioned definition. During a conflict, name-calling, threats and other conduct that might look like bullying can occur, but there is a distinction between a “conflict” and “HIB.” Conflict is considered mutual, meaning all participants play some part in initiating, continuing or engaging in the disagreement. Bullying, on the other hand, is one-sided, and an investigation of any alleged HIB must reveal that the action meets all of the legal requirements in order to be substantiated.

A common misconception is that if a HIB investigation is unsubstantiated, no discipline occurs. This is simply not true. Although not all incidents will fall under the strict definition of HIB, this does not mean that the situation will not be dealt with appropriately. All conduct infractions are subject to the Student Code of Conduct.

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact your building principal.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

McCormack Field and Track Renovation….

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

I am writing to discuss the potential McCormack Field and Track renovation. Artificial turf was installed at McCormack Field ten years ago and, according to our insurance consultants, it is presently in its end of life phase. Our Board is working collaboratively with the Mayor and Town Council to repair both the turf field and walking/running track. It is important to note that the budget process for the Board of Education will not be completed until April 28, when the Public Hearing on the Budget is presented at Westbrook School at 7:00pm.

Although many refer to McCormack Field as “the football field,” it is used by our Phys. Ed. Department and a large portion of our community. A partial list of groups that use these facilities:

  • Youth Travel Boys Soccer
  • Youth Travel Girls Soccer
  • Youth Recreation Boys Soccer
  • Youth Recreation Girls Soccer
  • Men’s League Soccer
  • Youth Girls Field Hockey
  • Youth Boys Football
  • Youth Girls Cheer
  • Youth Boys Lacrosse
  • Youth Girls Lacrosse
  • Junior Highlander Boys Track and Field
  • Junior Highlander Girls Track and Field
  • Coed Special Olympics Track and Field
  • Men’s Rugby
  • WMHS Football
  • WMHS Cheer
  • WMHS Dance Team
  • WMHS Boys Soccer
  • WMHS Girls Soccer
  • WMHS Field Hockey
  • WMHS Cross Country
  • WMHS Marching Band
  • WMHS Color Guard
  • WMHS Boys Track and Field
  • WMHS Girls Track and Field
  • WMHS Girls Lacrosse
  • WMHS Boys Lacrosse
  • Youth Summer Sport Camps
  • WMHS Summer Sport Camps

 

Our walking/running track is also in dire need of repair and is scheduled to be included in this project as well. The track provides a safe (and level) space for our community members to exercise. Lastly, we have multiple studies indicating there are no health risks associated with the rubber infill on the field. Injuries, however unfortunate, suffered during athletic events on McCormack Field are consistent with the sport being played.

 

To summarize, the Board of Education is working collaboratively with the Mayor and Town Council to provide much needed recreation space for our entire community. Additional updates will be provided as soon as practicable.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

District of Character Award…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

On January 31, 2020, the West Milford Township Public Schools received word that it was one of only three districts in the state of New Jersey to be chosen as a State District of Character.

Each year, Character.org certifies schools and districts at the state level that demonstrate focus on character development which has a positive effect on academic achievement, school climate, and student behavior. West Milford was chosen as a recipient from amongst 197 applications. This honor as a State District of Character remains for a period of five years.

 

“We could not be more proud of this accomplishment and district recognition! To be named a State District of Character is the culmination of a multi-year goal that has involved every stakeholder in our community. It has been our privilege to create a culture and climate that values the development of a deliberate effort to build better citizens and a community of character,” said Daniel Novak, Director of Education.

 

The criteria utilized for selection of this prestigious honor is based on Character.org’s  11 Principles of Character which includes providing students with opportunities for “…moral action, fostering shared leadership, and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort.” I would like to thank all our stakeholders – students, teachers, administrators, support staff, and parents for their unwavering support of our schools. We look forward to continuing to serve this community in the most child-friendly manner possible.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Macopin Middle School…

Dear WMTPS Community,

Last night at the Board of Education meeting, the Board voted to move the sixth grade class (current fifth graders) to Macopin School in September, 2020; the presentation from last evening can be found on our website. Though this realignment has been investigated for over 30 years, we most recently began discussing this in June and formed multiple sub-committees to discuss specific areas (academic, scheduling, transportation, etc.) that needed additional review. The sub-committees finished their work in early December and a recommendation to make this transition was made by me at the meeting last night.

I would like to thank all of the volunteers (Board of Education members, administrators, teachers, parents, and community members) who volunteered for one or more sub-committees this past autumn. We will continue our work through the winter and spring and further develop our plans to make this transition as seamless as possible.

If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me. Lastly, I wish you all a joyful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

 

Best,

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

2019 Standardized Testing Report…

October 30, 2019

Dear WMTPS Community,

Last night at the Board of Education meeting, the administrative team presented the annual Standardized Testing Report to the Board and to the community. These assessment results from the 2018-2019 school year revealed that our efforts to continually improve are paying hefty dividends. Some highlights include:

  • Math scores district-wide increased by 7.9%
  • English language arts scores district-wide increased by 8.0%
  • Math scores higher than the State average in 6 of 9 grades
  • English language arts scores higher than the State average in 6 of 8 grades
  • Five Year Trend: Significantly higher passing rates in every grade for both math and English language arts

Our goal this year is to build on these successes. If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools