Chatham School Board Plans for Inclusive School Holidays

In a recent Chatham School Board meeting, members discussed changes and updates relevant to the district, with the incorporation of Lunar New Year and Diwali as school holidays in the 2024-2025 calendar being among the most prominent topics. Further, the board addressed the reconfiguration of K3 schools, kindergarten enrollment figures, and the upcoming school show “Les Miserables,” which is expected to generate considerable interest.

The decision to close schools for Lunar New Year and Diwali starting in the 2024-2025 academic year represents a substantial shift toward inclusivity, acknowledging the cultural and religious significance of these festivals for many students and families within the district. This move aligns with broader trends in educational settings to embrace a more diverse celebration of cultural events.

In addition to the calendar adjustments, the superintendent reported that kindergarten registration numbers have reached 27, with 65 students expected to attend Lafayette Avenue School as third graders next year. This change in enrollment allows the district to consider offering full-day kindergarten for all families.

The reconfiguration of K3 schools was another central point of discussion, with presentations from principals detailing the collaborative planning efforts for the 2025-2026 school year. The reconfiguration aims to provide more student choice in kindergarten schedules, extend lunch and recess time for kindergarteners, and introduce Flex periods for first and second graders. These changes are designed to create a more dynamic and responsive educational environment for the youngest learners. The board expressed enthusiasm for the reconfiguration plans, which also included discussions on potential partnerships and support for before-school academic programs.


Delving into curriculum updates, the meeting addressed the revised progress reports for K-5, with a focus on enhancing foundational skills in English language arts and mathematics. The presentation on this topic highlighted the importance of decoding and encoding in language arts and the need to separate measurement and data into distinct domains in math.

The board also discussed the logistical and financial implications of a recent law change affecting the timing of elections and budget votes. There was a mention of the possibility of moving the School Board elections back to April, which would align with the state’s budget calendar. Moreover, the board requested detailed information on the cost of running elections and explored the possibility of mail-in voting.

Security and infrastructure updates were provided by the business administrator, who outlined the installation of security vestibules and summer roof projects. Specific details were given about construction work at Milton Avenue School and the middle school. The student liaison contributed to the discussion by sharing updates on student activities, including the district Coral Festival, the PTO senior fashion show, and the NJ GPA testing for juniors. Notable student achievements such as the state championships in fencing and swimming, the girls basketball sectional championship, and the robotics team’s county competition win were celebrated.


The Personnel Committee engaged in discussions about paraprofessional benefits and the challenges of recruiting teachers, emphasizing the need to make the profession more attractive. The Curriculum Committee reported on changes to New Jersey learning standards and the relocation of third-grade students to Lafayette Avenue School. In the realm of finance, a grant approval for the High School TV film broadcast studio was noted by the Finance and Facilities Committee. Issues of security, traffic, and open communication were brought up by the Policy and Planning Committee and the Borough Council liaison.

Public commentary included concerns from a technology department member about salary negotiations and inquiries from a parent about the cost of full-day kindergarten, to which the board assured that tuition details would be forthcoming. The meeting concluded with a second public commentary session, during which no further comments were made.

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.

Michael LaSusa
School Board Officials:
Ann Ciccarelli, Susan Ross, Chris Delsandro, Jill Critchley Weber, Michael Ryan, Lata Kenney, Sally Allen, Yinglu Zhang, Dr. Emily Sortino (District Anti-Bullying Coordinator)

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