WMHS Principal…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Last night, Paul Gorski, WMHS Principal, was approved as the new Principal of Fair Lawn High School, effective July 1. I would like to thank Mr. Gorski for his dedicated service to our students, our staff, and our community. West Milford’s loss is most certainly Fair Lawn’s gain. Under Mr. Gorski’s leadership, WMHS has expanded the quality and quantity of its programs for students, both curricular and co-curricular. Academically, WMHS has experienced a steady rise in student achievement, captured in publications such as NJ Monthly Magazine, where the school’s ranking has risen almost 40 places since 2010! WMHS is a New Jersey State School of Character and home to many award winning students and staff.

Moving forward, we will advertise for this position and convene a committee of stakeholders to participate in the interview process; our goal is to have a smooth transition. We will continue to update our school community as this unfolds.

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

 

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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2018-2019 Preliminary Budget…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Earlier this week, the Board of Education passed the 2018-2019 preliminary budget. This budget is fiscally responsible, with an overall increase of 1.21%, includes staff layoffs consistent with enrollment trends, and achieves all the budget guidelines developed in the autumn. In particular, this budget stays within the confines of the tax levy cap, funds staff professional development, and is crafted using zero-based budgeting principles. Additionally, this budget funds a growing robotics program at WMHS, a multisensory phonics program for students in K-2, and a new math series for students in grades 6 and 7. The Board will continue to look for efficiencies between now and the Public Hearing on the Budget (April 24).

 

If you would like to discuss this matter in greater detail, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

12:50 Update…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Earlier today, our student council leadership organized a brief, controlled, and peaceful demonstration inside our school to honor the victims from Majory Stoneman Douglas High School. Later this same day, a small group of approximately 15-20 high school students exited WMHS to stage an additional, more political, protest in the parking lot. To help protect their wellbeing, the students are being observed by school administrators.

The District currently uses the Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education to help our students learn the vital aspects of this program. One of these principles requires schools to, “…provide students with opportunities for moral action”. We believe that we accomplished that from 10:00-10:17 this morning. Additionally, the District uses Project Adventure to further offer comprehensive social and emotional learning for our students. By now our students are familiar with the Full Value Contract. An integral component of this contract, “…recognizes the need for individuals and the group to accept responsibility…” Accordingly, the students who exited the building will be disciplined according to our student code of conduct. As student discipline is a private matter between the families and the school, we will not share specifics about this student discipline.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Student Leadership…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Earlier today, students at both Macopin School and West Milford High School participated in a national movement designed to honor the victims of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Today marks one month since that tragedy and I am proud of our students, in particular our student council leadership, for creating such a moving tribute to their peers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Their message – No Politics. No Hate. Just Love. We Are The Future – was inspiring to all. At WMHS, students who elected to participate exited their classrooms at 10:00 and sat silently in the hallways for seventeen minutes, one minute for each person who lost his/her life. At Macopin, the process was the same except the students sat silently in the auditorium. The students who participated were all respectful and at 10:17, they began to make their way back to their classrooms. Due to the unique set of circumstances that inspired the walkout and also due to the courteous and responsible nature of the children who participated, none of the students will be disciplined. At approximately 10:20, our school day resumed as regularly scheduled. I would also like to thank the West Milford Police Department for their assistance this morning. As a precaution, we asked for police support outside of both schools this morning and they were able to assist us.

 

If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

School Safety and PTA Visits…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

The event in Parkland, Florida has left us all searching for an answer to the question, “How can we make our schools safer?”  This spring, I will be visiting a PTA meeting in every school to meet with families and listen to their concerns and ideas about school safety. The dates are below:

  • Apshawa – Thursday, March 15,
  • Westbrook – Wednesday, March 21
  • Marshall Hill – Wednesday, April 4
  • Upper Greenwood Lake – Monday, April 16
  • Macopin – Friday, April 20
  • Maple Road – Wednesday, April 25
  • High School – Wednesday, May 9
  • Paradise Knoll – Thursday, May 10

 

The Board of Education is in the process of completing its budget for the 2018-2019 school year. We are looking for ways to efficiently budget money to provide for an increase in school safety. Please know that many of the improvements that we make are shared with administration, but not necessarily with the entire school community. I look forward to seeing you at these meetings.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

February 28, 2018…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

At the Board of Education meeting last night, I mentioned some of the safety and security protocols that are implemented daily/weekly/monthly in our schools. As a part of this discussion, I mentioned that every threat is taken seriously by our staff and investigated. Earlier today, a student at the High School reported to a staff member that there was some graffiti on the bathroom stall indicating a potential bomb threat at either Macopin or the High School. A shelter in place was announced and the building was swept for devices. As a precautionary measure, the WMPD was contacted and they responded, as they always do, promptly and with our students’ best interests in mind. I would like to take a moment to thank the responding officers for their professionalism and assistance today.

The investigation revealed that the threat was not credible and classes resumed approximately 30 minutes after the shelter in place was called. Our students remained calm throughout the incident but if you feel as though your child was traumatized, please inform a teacher or administrator and we can facilitate the offering of counseling services and/or mental health resources. Lastly, I would like to thank all the parents who did not call or email the school during this activity. This allowed us to focus our efforts on our students in both buildings.

If you have any questions about this matter, feel free to contact me.

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Mid Year Budget Update…

Dear WMTPS Community,

 

Earlier this week, the Board of Education held a special meeting to discuss and review the budget process for the 2018-2019 school year. The first draft of the budget (General Fund) reveals a modest increase of 1.25%. This process began in October with staff meetings and will not finish until the Board adopts a budget at the Tuesday, April 24 Board of Education meeting. This meeting, also referred to as the Public Hearing on the Budget, will complete the budgeting process. The Board will continue to meet to discuss all of the variables that will affect the final budget that is advertised in the newspaper, approved by the Board, and submitted to the Executive County Superintendent.

The budget that is approved is a statement, in financial terms, of the district’s educational priorities. This budget serves as a management tool that projects and balances the district’s revenues and expenses, gauges efficiencies, and is a reflection of the community’s values. Specifically, it emphasizes and funds neighborhood schools, small class sizes, and includes an investment in professional development for our staff. Earlier this autumn, the Board’s Budget and Finance Committee developed a set of Budget Guidelines that will help inform the budgeting process. These guidelines reflect a commitment to zero-based budgeting principles and a strong desire to stay within the confines of the tax levy cap, per State law. Moreover, these guidelines also signal a commitment to continue to align the budget process with district goals and to operationalize staffing reductions with respect to student enrollment trends.

There are many different variables that will affect the final 2018-2019 budget. Some of these variables (in particular, State Aid and Health Benefits Cost) are still unknown and we are using estimates until we receive final confirmation regarding these line items. These estimates are likely to change and as they change, the budget will be amended. To summarize:

  • The budget (General Fund) as of February 23, 2018 is projected to rise by 1.25%
  • The Board of Education is committed to serving taxpayers and families to create the best, most efficient education for our children.
  • Additional Board of Education meetings will be held on Tuesday, March 20 (Preliminary Budget Hearing) and Tuesday, April 24 (Public Hearing on the Budget). Both of these meetings will be held at 7:30p.m. in the Westbrook School Media Center.

 

If you have any questions about this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

 

Best,

 

Alex Anemone, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Barbara Francisco

Business Administrator