North Brunswick School Board Focuses on Improving Academic Culture & Recognizing Student Achievements

At the recent North Brunswick School Board meeting, focus was placed on improving the academic culture and practices within local schools while recognizing and rewarding student achievements. Notable events included the recognition of Julie Mercier as the Middlesex County Teacher of the Year and a discussion of initiatives aimed at improving student attendance and interaction. The Board also reviewed and discussed various district plans, including a proposed ELA task force and science pilot program for K-4 multilanguage learners and special education.

During the meeting, the Board presented Julie Mercier, a teacher from NBTHS, with recognition as the Middlesex County Teacher of the Year. The resolution, acknowledging her leadership and contributions to the educational community, was passed unanimously. Dr. Paragi N. Patel, a School Board member, lauded Mercier’s dedication and leadership. Mercier expressed her gratitude and acknowledged the support she received from the school and the Board.

Principal Steven Wen presented the MBTHS graduation rate and AP testing scores, highlighting the school’s efforts to improve and stabilize the graduation rate while maintaining a high percentage of students passing AP exams. He stressed the importance of initiatives to improve the school’s academic culture and practices and to address negative student interactions.

Subsequently, Superintendent Janet Ciarrocca shared several initiatives happening at the high school to improve student attendance. A pilot Home Room was launched in grade 10 for chronically absent students, which has already shown promising results. The school is also using a PBIS reward system to incentivize improved attendance, offering rewards such as movie screenings and breakfast events to students showing attendance improvement.

Further initiatives to improve student interaction and academic culture were discussed following the review of the school climate survey results. The survey results highlighted the need for improvement in these areas, leading to the development of teacher training programs, revamping of the Positive Behavior Support Program, and creation of videos promoting positive student interactions.

The Education Committee revealed plans to establish an ELA task force committee for K-4 multilanguage learners and special education, as well as a pilot program for the science department for the same grade range. The Business Operations Committee addressed various ongoing projects, such as the high school’s HVAC system, the middle school solar project, and playground equipment for elementary schools.

The meeting also included updates on open positions within the district and revised job descriptions. The Human Resources Committee reported on these matters, and also had the first and second reading of updated policies. A board member’s report on a recent Middlesex County School Boards Association meeting was well-received, with topics such as polling locations in schools and the new sick leave law being discussed.

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.

Janet Ciarrocca
School Board Officials:
Richard Liguori, Hayley Toth, Zaire Ali, David Brockman, Jason Carter, Coleen Keefe, Elesia James, Dr. Paragi N. Patel, Steven Wen, Rosa Hock (Board Secretary)

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