In a recent Fort Lee School Board meeting, the board celebrated noteworthy student achievements while also wrestling with pressing issues regarding school infrastructure and maintenance.
In a significant highlight, Dr. Kravitz, the superintendent, shared a report detailing various student achievements and upcoming events. Notably, Veronica Hawk and Annelisa Abdul, two students from Fort Lee High School, received $3,000 in scholarship funding for the Cyberstart America cybersecurity programming competition. Further, the school’s combined choirs and marching band were selected to represent New Jersey in the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., marking their return to the stage after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Fort Lee High School Academy of Finance (AOF) was another standout from the superintendent’s report. The AOF’s successful year culminated in a certificate presentation acknowledging their highest level of achievement from the National Academy of Finance. During this segment, three AOF teachers, Josie Messieri, Bob Harris, and an absent teacher, received certificates of appreciation from the Board of Education for their remarkable efforts. The Advisory Board’s speech underscored the importance of the AOF program, which provides paid summer internships and workplace experiences for students.
However, the meeting wasn’t only about celebration. Tanya Byers King, a board member, advocated for greater acknowledgment of high-achieving students. She suggested the district look into implementing an honor roll system to motivate these students, emphasizing, “We have a very high performing District in many ways… it’s a little disheartening when you look at your child’s report card… and it doesn’t say like you made it or in nothing there’s no acknowledgment at all.”
Also at the forefront were infrastructure and maintenance concerns. Parent Taya Jason raised several issues relating to school upkeep and inspection, specifically mentioning potential hazards like exposed nails on benches. She called for more transparency about new facilities’ planning and construction, a sentiment echoed by other attendees in discussions about school renovations.
A debate ensued when Howard Lipoff, a teacher at the Intermediate School, voiced concerns about insufficient air conditioning. Despite board representatives confirming ongoing efforts to air condition all buildings, Lipoff’s complaints highlighted the immediate discomfort for students and staff.