The North Arlington School Board, in a meeting convened on May 15, 2023, introduced important measures targeting educational improvement, staff welfare, and infrastructure development across the school district.
The meeting, attended by key Board members and the Director of Curriculum & Instruction, Samantha Rodriguez-Torrento, prioritized a discussion around the integration of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into district goals. The UDL approach promotes individualized teaching methods catering to the unique learning needs of students. While there were concerns regarding the possibility of reduced teacher involvement in planning, the Superintendent reassured that teachers and principals would receive adequate support.
As part of their ongoing efforts to streamline teaching resources, the Board also ratified the introduction of a new district-wide phone system. The Superintendent further unveiled plans for a new playground at Roosevelt Elementary School.
The meeting also saw the Board approve an array of staff leaves under the FMLA/NJFLA guidelines. Notably, Erin Jaloudi, a teacher at Anthony Elementary School, was granted leave from December 2023 to March 2024, and Amy Richards, a Speech Language Specialist, will be on leave from April to June 2023. Furthermore, staff salary listings were addressed, with a promise to provide singleton contract salaries upon request.
The Board confirmed several significant contracts and purchases in a bid to enhance the district’s educational infrastructure. Key among these was the approval of a 5-year program for “Wonders 2023” and “Elevate Science” for grades K-5, costing $235,069.44 and $169,548.08 respectively.
Facility upgrades were also addressed, with the Board sanctioning a $331,804.19 upgrade to the district phone system and approving the installation of vape detectors at North Arlington High School and Veterans Middle School, costing $48,374.05.
Staff salaries and placements for the 2023-2024 school year were among the other key items discussed. The board passed resolutions outlining the step and educational levels of tenured certificated staff, with salaries ranging from $53,900 to $106,850 depending on tenure and education level.
In other highlights, a contract was approved with Bergen County Technical Schools to provide site technician services and technology support. Furthermore, the Board ratified a contract with West Bergen to provide mental health services to students and approved the 2023-2024 Professional Development and District Mentoring Plans.
Among the policy changes, policy 6660 regarding the Student Activity Fund was endorsed while policy 2363, related to the use of privately-owned electronic devices by students, was abolished. The Board also approved a resolution to distribute unexpended balances from the student activity accounts of earlier classes to the Classes of 2023 and 2024, acknowledging the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on these funds.
The meeting culminated in the recognition of life-saving actions by Maria Fernandez, a school nurse, who administered CPR to an unresponsive staff member.