19/20 and 20/21 Calendars, HIB info…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

At the Board of Education meeting held last night, the Board approved the District calendar for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021; these calendars are posted on our website. Please note, due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather-related closures, these calendars are subject to change.

Also, 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 as well as the role of the Board of Education. 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 that:

  • a reasonable person should know will physically or emotionally harm the student or damage the student’s property, that the actions would place a student in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm to his person or property, or
  • has the effect of insulting or demeaning the student or groups of students, or
  • 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 my office.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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Parent Conferences and the Kinsa FLUency Program…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

As marking period one winds down, I wanted to send a brief note reminding parents of our Parent/Teacher Conferences on November 19 and 20. At this meeting, you will be able to review your child’s progress across all subjects. In addition to your child’s first report card, academic progress can be measured by other assessments and metrics including:

  • Star Math Assessment: students in grades 2-8
  • Fountas and Pinnel Benchmark Reading Assessment: students in grades K-6

Second, we are already hearing reports that the dreaded norovirus (stomach bug) is here and we would like to share some elements of universal precaution that the school district is taking at school and offer some suggestions as to what parents can do at home to minimize risks. At the end of each day, we remind our teachers and students to clear their desks off so our custodians can sanitize each desk. In addition, we ask students to wash their hands before and after snack and before and after lunch as well. The newest protocols from the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encourage students to “cover their cough” with their elbow and to wash their hands after for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water after sneezing. Lastly, I encourage all parents to sign up for the Kinsa FLUency program (K-8). The deadline for registration is today, October 29th. Please visit kinsaforschools.com for more information. This is your last opportunity to receive your free smart thermometer.

 

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

2018 PARCC Report…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Last spring, West Milford students in grades 3-11 completed the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) in math and English language arts (ELA). This data is being used to inform lesson planning and assist in the delivery of instruction this school year. Since 2018 was the fourth year of the PARCC, we believe we can look at our assessment scores as part of a larger trend. This longitudinal data is as helpful to schools as the Individual Student Report is to parents. I am proud of our students, teachers, and administrators for partnering with parents to make 2017-2018 a great year for West Milford. In comparison to 2015, our students’ scores increased in 7 out of 9 grades in ELA and in 8 of 9 grades in math. Some highlights are below:

  • Grade 4 ELA +14.5%
  • Grade 7 ELA +19.8%
  • Grade 10 ELA +18.1%
  • Grade 5 Math +15.6%
  • Grade 8 Math +11.0%
  • Algebra I +5.9%

The full report can be found on our website. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Best,

 

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Revised 2018-2019 Budget…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Last night, the Board of Education re-approved the 2018-2019 school budget with a reduction of $816,489. Below is a brief summary of events:

  1. During October and November of 2017, the District Administration met to craft a budget for each school and department.
  2. During January and February of 2018, the Board of Education worked in committee to develop a fiscally conservative budget.
  3. On February 20, 2018, the Board of Education held a special meeting to discuss the budget.
  4. On March 15, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Education informed us that our state aid for the 2018-2019 school year would be $15,012,248.
  5. On March 20, 2018, the Board of Education approved the Preliminary 2018-2019 Budget. This budget was sent to the Passaic County Executive County Superintendent’s Office.
  6. On April 10, 2018, the Preliminary Budget was approved by the County Office.
  7. The District then published copies of our budget in local newspapers including The Record, The Trends, and The West Milford Messenger and advertised for our Public Hearing on the Budget.
  8. On April 24, 2018, the Board of Education held its annual Public Hearing on the Budget and the budget was approved by the Board of Education. This budget included staff layoffs in multiple categories including administration, teachers, secretaries, custodians, etc.
  9. Prior to the statutory deadline of May 15, the Board of Education rehired staff for the 2018-2019 school year. These hires were based, in large part, on the state aid figure of $15,012,248.
  10. On July 11, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Education, notified the West Milford Township Public Schools that our state aid for 2018-2019 will be lowered to $14,195,759, a reduction of $816,489.
  11. On July 24, 2018, the Board of Education re-approved the adjusted 2018-2019 school budget in the lower amount.

 

Although we do not yet have specific numbers, we are anticipating additional – and larger – cuts in state aid over the next six budget years.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Macopin School – May 25…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Last night, the Macopin School administration was made aware of an inappropriate social media post made by a Macopin student. We are working with the West Milford Police Department and other professionals to manage this situation and are unable to comment beyond the brief notifications that have been sent home already.

We opened our schools today without incident and with very few students absent. We would like to thank all the students who came forward and shared this post with our staff members. We instruct our students that, “if you hear or see something, say something” and they all informed a trusted adult. Lastly, I would also like to thank the WMPD for their efforts last night and again today. They are truly “all in” for our children.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Student Safety…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Recent events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas have required us to rethink our District visitor policy. In addition to being reviewed at School Safety Meetings and Administrative Council Meetings, this was discussed at a recent PTA/PTSO meeting in your child’s school this spring. Our schools have received black and gold containers that will be placed outside of the front door of each school. Parents wishing to drop off forgotten items such as lunch, phys. ed. clothes, musical instrument, etc. will be asked to leave the item (labeled with child’s name) in the container. The item will be delivered to the student at our earliest convenience. This change is designed to reduce the number of visitors in our buildings and make our schools safer. Moreover, parents wishing to visit a school for a conference are asked to make an appointment not less than 24 hours in advance. This, too, will help us manage our buildings in a safer and more transparent manner. We understand that emergency situations arise and these will be dealt with on a case by case basis. We appreciate your anticipated cooperation in this matter. This new policy will be effective on Tuesday, May 29.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Bus Safety…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

The tragic Paramus bus accident last week has left us all a bit unsettled. I would like to reassure our parents that, although accidents by their very nature can happen anytime and anywhere, our bus drivers have an outstanding safety record. We transport approximately 3,300 students to/from school daily and handle countless athletic and field trips. Our busses undergo semi-annual inspections and safety checks are performed daily, before and after every trip. Our Transportation Supervisor has recently met with our drivers and aides and reviewed all of our safety protocols and procedures. We stress to our drivers that safety is our primary concern and arriving safe to the destination is more critical than arriving on time. Moreover, our drivers have the ability to communicate with our Transportation Department Dispatcher and Supervisor at all times.

 

If you have any questions about bus safety, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools