Englewood School Board Tackles Teacher Shortage, Special Education Resources, and Student-Driven Recycling Initiative

In a recent session, the Englewood School Board dealt with a range of pressing issues, from an ongoing teacher shortage to the need for special education resources. Board members also lauded a student-led initiative aiming to bring recycling to every middle and high school classroom.

Mr. Feinstein, responsible for the Human Resources report, painted a worrisome picture of the district’s recruitment struggle amidst a competitive market, with 37 open positions looming as the new school year draws near. However, he expressed confidence in the administration’s efforts to fill these vacancies timely.

Simultaneously, the Finance Committee announced an increase in aid, but a looming need for additional special education resources and a potential special education audit underscored financial challenges ahead. The committee also touched upon an unexpected delay in the school cafeteria expansion due to missing electrical components, putting its fall opening in jeopardy.

One bright spot in the meeting was a student’s sustainability initiative to introduce recycling bins in every middle and high school classroom. This proposal was met with enthusiasm by the board members, one of whom encouraged other students to come forward with their ideas, remarking, “We want to again get more students who have a passion for something and we want to help you.”

The board also underwent an important self-evaluation process led by Matt Lee, a representative from the New Jersey School Boards Association. This comprehensive review scrutinized their performance across various categories such as policymaking, student achievement, finance, and board-community relationships. The self-assessment indicated areas needing more focus or training, including understanding their roles and improving team cohesion.

One significant concern was the accuracy of violence, substance, and weapons reports. The board called for better training or clarification to ensure these reports’ reliability and accuracy. The discussion sparked critical questions about the data’s validity and the need for accountability in such crucial matters.

Amidst all, the board supported the need for a consistent process in reporting incidents and other board functions to ensure clarity and accuracy. There were lively discussions about remote learning tools, curriculum planning, meeting attendance policy, and relations with other local schools.

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