Barnegat School Board Focuses on Pre-K Success and Student Support Initiatives

The Barnegat School Board’s recent meeting spotlighted the district’s commitment to early childhood education and student welfare, with a detailed presentation on the Pre-K program’s success and the announcement of a significant donation for confidence closets. The board also delved into the upcoming budget process, acknowledged outstanding achievements within the district, including staff and student commendations, and addressed public concerns regarding the school calendar and instructional time.

The Pre-K program’s achievements stood front and center during the meeting. The program, recognized as a four-star rated initiative by Grow New Jersey Kids, provided insights into its comprehensive approach to early childhood education. The presentation highlighted the program’s success in preparing students for kindergarten, with data showing an increase in literacy and math skills among participants. The curriculum, professional development, classroom evaluations, and interactions between staff and children were discussed, emphasizing the rigorous standards the program meets to maintain its high rating. The program’s impact includes its expansion to 26 general education classrooms and five PSD classrooms, serving a total of 349 students, and its focus on family events and community outreach efforts.

In addition to the Pre-K program’s accomplishments, the meeting acknowledged the Real Media Program, a collaborative effort between the district and the Barnegat Communities that Care Coalition. The program aims to prevent adolescent substance use through student engagement and reflection. Students participating in the program were praised for their leadership in various aspects, including military involvement, classroom behavior, and community service. The winners of the program had their public service announcements displayed.

Student and staff recognition was another focal point of the meeting. Commendations were given to the winners of the Upstander Awards, who demonstrated notable leadership qualities. Athletic teams and individual students were also acknowledged for their performances in sports such as wrestling, girls bowling, and girls track. The district celebrated the achievements of its staff, including a school resource officer and a teacher recognized for their dedication to student safety. Furthermore, the board announced a significant donation aimed at establishing confidence closets across the district, providing basic necessities to students in need.

The Finance Committee touched upon the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for food services, the budget calendar, and the new budgetary Genesis School F accounting system. The upcoming budget process was announced as a means to enhance and expand the district’s offerings, with a member expressing appreciation for the district’s ongoing improvements.

Public engagement during the meeting reflected concerns about the school calendar’s structure, specifically regarding half-days and their impact on instructional time. The board responded by outlining the current calendar structure, which included three half-days at the start of the year, four professional development days, and four half-days at the end of the school year. A discussion ensued about the potential loss of instructional time due to increased half-days.

Other committee updates included the Buildings and Grounds Committee’s review of the facilities use plan, underground storage tank remediation, and transportation updates. The Education Committee discussed the extended school year program, the ELA Freckle pilot program, and the Comprehensive Technical Course (CTC) survey. Additionally, the Governance Committee covered school year calendars, the annual submission of the School Safety and Drug-Drug Free Schools (SSDS) report, and the memorandum of agreement between education and law enforcement officials. The Personnel Committee’s discussion focused on hiring new staff across various positions, including power professionals, custodians, a transportation mechanic, and several coaching positions for the spring season.

The board also discussed artificial intelligence and its use in Barnegat schools. The meeting concluded with the board entering an executive session to discuss personnel matters, legal matters, and Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) incidents. Following the executive session, the board approved the HIB report and a separation agreement for an employee, as well as accepted the resignation of another employee. The meeting was adjourned with a motion that was passed unanimously.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Brian Latwis
School Board Officials:
Scott Sarno, Doreen Continanza, Sandra Churney, Carol Geene, George Fedorczyk, Bruno Iamonte, Bonnie Levy, Regina Tarnowski, Stephen J. Brennan (Board Secretary/Business Administrator)

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