Middletown School Board Advances Facilities and Curriculum Development

In a recent Middletown School Board meeting, strides were made in the advancement of facilities and curriculum development, addressing the long-range facilities plan, and enhancing the educational program.

The master facilities assessment was a focal point of the meeting, with board members engaging in discussions about the progress and the necessity for substantial findings and community involvement. Updates were provided on the assessment work, which is important for identifying program needs and facilities issues at each school within the district. The long-range facilities plan is being updated based on this assessment, and a final report is expected by the end of the school year. Concerns were raised about the time and resources being allocated to the project.

Curricular advancements were also at the forefront of discussions, particularly the elimination of early release days for elementary schools in December and the restructuring of parent-teacher conferences based on feedback from a parent survey. The district is exploring ways to alter the Middle School elective structure.

In terms of infrastructure and technology, the board approved a contract for purchasing equipment for the Harmony playground, partially funded by a grant. The playground equipment’s condition sparked debate, with concerns about the timing of the grant application. Additionally, the board is working towards district certification under the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program and discussed the flat facilities budget for 2024-2025, which includes no significant maintenance or capital projects.

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The development of social opportunities for special education students was underscored by the special services committee’s initiatives. These include expanding the UniFi cheer program and introducing the “Athlet Allies for Autism” club. The creation of a centralized landing page on the district website for all clubs and activities is a step towards curating and coordinating social opportunities for special students, emphasizing inclusivity and accessibility.

Student achievements were celebrated, with Middletown South’s academic team and the film “Panic” being recognized for their accomplishments. The induction of 39 students into the South chapter of the Science National Honor Society and the successful winter sports season were also notable. Additionally, High School North students were acknowledged for their achievements in various competitions and programs, including the hockey team’s mayor’s cup victory and the boys basketball team’s conference tournament win.

The finance committee tackled the sale of Fort Monmouth Property and potential budget strategies for the upcoming year.

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The co-curricular aspects of the meeting included the search for a football coach at High School South and the cancellation of the Ski Club trip due to low enrollment. The technology segment addressed cybersecurity initiatives, device replacement, and infrastructure improvements, including the implementation of Turnstile kiosks in secondary schools.

The meeting commenced with a note of appreciation from the superintendent for the school community’s cooperation during weather-related emergency days. The board proposed adding “floating emergency days” to the school calendar, which would be used as days off if not needed for emergencies. This proposal aims to avoid extending the school year unnecessarily.

The board’s meeting covered a range of other topics, from student achievements and extracurricular activities to committee reports and ongoing district projects. The discussion on the winter Benchmark assessment revealed that the district’s performance exceeded both state and national comparison groups. Moreover, the meeting also touched upon the need for long-term principal substitutes, upcoming school events, and a proposal to request proposals (RFPs) for district vendors. Public comments included announcements about school events and fundraisers.

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Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Superintendent:
Jessica Alfone
School Board Officials:
Frank Capone, Jacqueline Tobacco, Leonora Caminiti, Kate Farley, Joseph Fitzgerald, Joan Minnuies, Caterina Skalaski, Gary Tulp, Deborah Wright

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