The Bogota School Board convened on August 29th to discuss an array of topics underscoring the district’s plans for future improvement.
Superintendent Damian Kennedy opened the meeting by detailing the district’s successes, particularly its triumph in the County Superintendent of Schools assessment for the second consecutive year. “This is really a great testament to our district, to our board, to our teachers, and our administrators,” Kennedy said. Additionally, the superintendent announced that the district had scored over 90 percent on the NJ GPA, surpassing the state average by 10 percent. While English Language Arts (ELA) scores displayed “tremendous growth,” there was an acknowledgment that math scores still needed improvement.
These academic achievements were complemented by the board’s emphasis on sustainable transportation. An announcement about the district’s first electric school bus was made.
On the fiscal front, the board celebrated the procurement of a Healthy Meals Grant worth $150,000. Spearheaded by Mr. Chang, the grant aims to bolster kitchen facilities and introduce a Farm to Table initiative. While the kitchen will be at one location, board members confirmed that serving trays and other items would be used across other schools in the district.
The board also discussed algebra and geometry readiness in grades eight through ten, revealing a new strategy. Algebra 1 will now be a two-year class beginning in eighth grade, with tutoring and summer instruction available for students who struggle. Meanwhile, the number of students tested for English as a Second Language (ESL), now termed Multi-Language Learners (MLL), has increased, prompting the board to allocate budget for field trips and real-life experiences for these students.
Thomas Coleman, from the law firm of Chasing Lamparello Mallin & Capposela, was appointed as the new board attorney. The appointment comes as the Bogota community grapples with changes due to the approval of a school district referendum. This could be crucial, given that the board is already in talks with architects about impending projects, tied to a previously passed referendum, that promise to shape the future educational landscape in Bogota.
During the public comments section, various community members, including educators and parents, weighed in on the issues. Linda Matrakis, a sixth-grade math and science teacher, inquired about the status of a new middle school nurse. The board confirmed that they were working through bureaucratic challenges to make her a full-time staff member. Maryland Arias Arguello, a parent, inquired about opportunities for parent-teacher interactions, to which the board responded that back-to-school nights were planned for September.