In a recent meeting, the Closter Board of Education unveiled the successful outcome of a Bond Referendum supporting infrastructural improvements in local schools. With 543 votes in favor and only 153 against, the community showcased a trust in the Board’s vision for the future of education in Closter.
Vincent McHale, the Superintendent, presented the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) Self-Assessment Report and gave an overview of both Hillside Elementary and Tenakill Middle Schools. Beyond the Bond Referendum, one of the highlights was the securing of a $47,940 “Trees for Schools” grant, aimed at tree-planting initiatives in the district. Furthermore, McHale detailed a grant proposal in the works, aimed at intensive tutoring for third-grade students struggling in English and math.
Both schools also exhibited signs of positive engagement with students and the community. Diane Smith, the Principal of Hillside Elementary, reported an enrollment of 619 students, while William Tantum, Principal of Tenakill Middle School, highlighted a current enrollment of 570 students. Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the commencement of the academic year. Smith spotlighted the introduction of “Hillside Helpers,” a commendable initiative where fourth-grade students lent their assistance during Back to School nights. Tantum, on the other hand, drew attention to the book “Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus,” which is being incorporated into student activities that align with the Week of Respect.
The financial aspect of the district’s operations also saw substantial movements. Under the leadership of Ms. Chris Kwon, the FINANCE AND PHYSICAL PLANT COMMITTEE approved several motions. Most notably, a significant $128,000 donation from the Closter PTO was acknowledged, showcasing the community’s unwavering support. Discussions around funds from a pink bracelet sale, designated for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and snack sale proceeds marked for student council activities, also garnered attention.
Meanwhile, the CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION COMMITTEE, helmed by Dr. Lukshmi Puttanniah, approved plans for the upcoming academic year. One of the talking points was the planned trip for Tenakill Middle School’s fifth grade to the Buehler Challenger Center in Paramus, NJ, described as an aeronautics center offering space simulations.
Lastly, under the guidance of Ms. Magaly Salamea-Cross, the PERSONNEL AND MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE approved a series of motions. One standout discussion revolved around a decision wherein, for the first time, a Tenakill student would volunteer at Hillside’s academic support program.