Administrator of the Year Awarded to School Librarian as Board Focuses on COVID-19 Learning Gaps and AI Integration

In a recent school board meeting, Mrs. Donna Cales, the school librarian, was recognized for her award of Administrator of the Year from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians. The board also acknowledged students with perfect scores on statewide assessments. Further, they addressed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on learning, particularly in mathematics, and the potential for leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in education. The board also recognized the rising population of Multilingual Learners (MLS) and discussed strategies to support them.

Mrs. Donna Cales was recognized for her exceptional work, receiving the Administrator of the Year award from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians. Her dedication to the library program has been vital to the school community, a sentiment echoed by the school librarian, Miss Ith M. Yelan, and the board members who expressed their pride in Mrs. Cales’s accomplishments.

The board also honored students who achieved perfect scores on statewide assessments. Superintendent, Michael Romagnino, commended these students for their hard work and dedication while also acknowledging the efforts of the parents, teachers, and the Board of Education.

Romagnino went on to provide an overview of the district’s testing achievements, highlighting the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education, particularly in mathematics. He pointed out that the pandemic cohorts, which included students from second to fifth grades during the pandemic, continued to underperform in state testing. The loss of in-person instruction during these years, he argued, had a significant impact on their education.

To remedy the situation, Romagnino emphasized the need for a comprehensive approach, including additional resources to bridge the digital divide and increased focus on students’ mental health. He also stressed the potential of leveraging AI in education to personalize learning experiences, provide 24/7 support, automate administrative tasks, and facilitate global access to quality education. Romagnino urged the district to embrace AI and teach students how to use this technology safely and responsibly.

One of the major challenges discussed during the meeting was the influx of students with limited English proficiency. The board acknowledged the profound impact this has had on the district, especially in the lowest and highest grade levels. One member suggested using an AI translation tool to facilitate communication with these students.

Board members also discussed a range of other topics, including ongoing capital projects, upcoming audits, and the district’s strategic growth plan. The board also expressed appreciation for the work done by the central office staff, particularly in putting together an excellent budget and being mindful of taxpayer concerns.

The meeting concluded with committee reports and updates on various projects and activities, including the recent success of the volleyball team which qualified for the states with a record of 21 wins and 6 losses. The board congratulated the team and wished them luck in the upcoming competition.

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