One of the top priorities highlighted during the recent Bogota School Board meeting was the need to improve science scores, which were below the state average at all levels. Superintendent Damian Kennedy expressed concern about the district’s performance in this subject area and acknowledged the importance of focusing on science education moving forward.
Kennedy presented the testing results for the NJ SLA and DLMS, revealing that the participation rates for these assessments were over 90%, with science having the highest participation rate of 97%. In terms of English Language Arts (ELA), the district outperformed the state, particularly in 9th grade, where 72% of students met expectations compared to the state average of 52%. However, the district’s math performance was on par with the state.
In response to the science scores, the board members discussed various strategies to improve middle school performance in algebra and geometry, as these subjects were directly related to the science curriculum. They proposed reviewing scheduling to minimize disruptions in ELA and math when students are pulled out for other programs, such as ESL, music, and gifted and talented programs.
Additionally, the board members emphasized the need to provide ample time for instruction and suggested making algebra a two-year course starting in eighth grade. They also highlighted the success of a math program in a third-grade classroom, which resulted in 76% of students passing the state assessment. The board decided to implement this program in all K-7 classrooms and explore additional math instruction opportunities such as after-school and summer programs, as well as virtual tutoring for students and parents.
In addition to academic matters, the school board members also addressed traffic safety concerns near the schools. A board member expressed worries about left turns made by parents despite clear signage, which could lead to accidents. The board had hired professionals to conduct a traffic study and was seeking recommendations to enhance safety. They acknowledged the need for community involvement and education to improve traffic safety, especially considering the upcoming redistricting that may bring additional challenges.
The board members discussed the possibility of involving the police department to address the traffic issues. While the police couldn’t issue tickets, they expressed their willingness to cooperate and emphasized the importance of finding a balance between ensuring children’s safety and maintaining traffic flow. One board member mentioned the fear of crossing the line between the Board of Ed and the police department, but believed that increased involvement would lead to mutual support.
Further topics discussed during the meeting included the availability and maintenance of the newly constructed Bixby playground, the introduction of the Planning and Zoning Board’s 18 to 21 program for young adults with special needs, and the recognition of chairperson Bisi Ruckett for her dedication and negotiation skills.