Middlesex School Board Advances Mental Health Support for Students

In a recent Middlesex School Board meeting, the board discussed its commitment to mental health support and innovative educational practices, particularly at
Von Mauger Middle School.

A standout feature of the discussion was Mauger Middle School’s emphasis on mental health support. The board highlighted the integral role of guidance counselors in observing classroom interactions and building trust with students. Each student at the school is assigned a counselor, ensuring a personalized and accessible support system. These counselors are not only trained to identify students struggling with mental health issues but also provide immediate support for those feeling overwhelmed. The school’s approach allows students to take breaks and engage in conversations with counselors, offering a nurturing environment.

In addition to mental health, the board discussed the introduction of virtual reality headsets at the school, a move aimed at enhancing learning experiences. This initiative, driven by middle state grants, is part of a broader strategy to integrate technology into education, making learning more engaging and interactive. The school also organizes career days through its library, exposing students to various professions and broadening their horizons.

The school’s philosophy, articulated by Principal Maer, focuses on developing students into “good scholars, good friends, and good humans.” This holistic approach is evident in their efforts to build a respectful community that acknowledges the diverse backgrounds of middle schoolers. The school has implemented a proactive stance against bullying, with teachers trained to spot signs and a system for students to report incidents. Confirmed cases of bullying lead to disciplinary actions and educational measures, ensuring a safe and inclusive environment.

The meeting also recognized Alisa Manino as the Employee of the Month for her exceptional contributions at Mauger Middle School. Manino was praised for her hard work, passion, and commitment to excellence, embodying the school’s values and dedication to student success.

Superintendent Dr. Roberta Freeman expressed gratitude for a productive time in Atlantic City, hinting at the implementation of new ideas in the district. The board reviewed reports from various committees, including the Weison Reports and Borough Alliance Committee and the Viola Community Advisory Panel. These discussions covered topics like recycling, proper disposal of hazardous materials, and the Pride program, which addresses drug and alcohol issues and promotes safe driving among teens.

The board’s legislative officer and NJSBA delegate, Shar, discussed the transition of her responsibilities due to district changes and advocated for Janette Jon’s inclusion in the New Jersey School Board’s special education committee. She also briefed on the upcoming delegate assembly, highlighting resolutions from various counties.

Miss Aaron Gomez, representing the Middlesex Public Library Board, encouraged visiting the Legacy Lawn at the library to see the veterans’ display, which will also feature in the Memorial Day Parade.

Administrative matters were also addressed, including the approval of minutes from previous meetings and various appointments. Public communication was encouraged, with guidelines for addressing the board laid out. Committee reports were presented, including from the Personnel Committee, chaired by Ms. Janette Deus, and the Education Committee, chaired by Mr. Brenda Perry. The Facilities and Finance Committee, chaired by Mr. Sharon Scher, discussed budgetary matters and facility upgrades.

The meeting concluded with an opportunity for public comments and a motion to adjourn, with the next public meeting scheduled for December 13, 2023. The board president thanked everyone for their participation and extended Thanksgiving wishes.

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Dr. Roberta Freeman
School Board Members:
Todd Nicolay, Patricia Reynolds, William Coyle, Jeanette DeJesus, Danielle Parenti, Brenda Perry, Shannon Quinn, Elyse Robbins, Sharon Schueler

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