In a recent convening, the Englewood School Board, under the guidance of the New Jersey school board’s representative, Mr. Matt Lee, discussed their vision for the school district’s next five years.
The Board, represented by members including Angela David, Eric Montano, Ronique Hicks, Henry Pruitt, William Feinstein, and David Matthews, saw the Superintendent, Dr. Marnie Hazelton, emphasize the critical nature of these deliberations. Dr. Hazelton believes that this goal-setting will not merely commence the upcoming school year but will set the tone for the strategic trajectory of the next half-decade.
A discussion arose concerning ‘core goals’ and ‘focus goals’ from the previous year. It was agreed upon that the board should maintain a distinct delineation between district goals, pertaining to everyday school operations, and board goals, which center on enhancing the board’s procedures and functionality.
Echoing the importance of collective contribution, the board highlighted the integral roles played by various stakeholders, including the community and educators.
Dr. Hazelton, in a nod to the holistic approach to education, introduced the concept of a “portrait of a learner”. She cautioned against narrowing the academic focus solely to subjects like math and English Language Arts, noting a concerning absence of a social studies curriculum at the elementary level. Furthermore, the board, reflecting on past challenges like leadership shifts, emphasized a need for clarity and measurability in their goals.
Safety remained a paramount topic throughout the meeting, with board discussions of recent cybersecurity breaches in other districts. With ransomware threats looming large, the board recognized the importance of creating robust systems to ensure the safety and security of their network and student data.
However, the discussions weren’t without their disagreements. As the board delved deeper into the achievements of the past academic year, differences surfaced regarding the efficacy of curriculum or instructional leadership goals. There was a consensus on the importance of ensuring a tailored, rigorous education for “all” students, though the term’s inclusivity became a matter of debate.
Pruitt stressed the significance of leadership and district culture, recommending that these areas be infused into the goals. This call for a holistic approach was echoed by others, like Hicks, who proposed enhancing district-wide systems to boost operational efficiency.
Budgetary discussions revealed a commitment to fiscal responsibility. The board emphasized the significance of aligning their goals with budgetary priorities, underscoring the importance of using funds efficiently, given past challenges. Dr. Hazelton stressed timely finalization of goals to meet compliance, even if in “draft” form initially.