The River Edge School Board recently convened to discuss various matters affecting the district. At the forefront, the district proudly announced a significant grant win from Sustainable New Jersey, totaling $137,558, designated for tree planting on school campuses. This award stands out as one of the highest amongst K-12 districts in Bergen County.
In-depth discussions took place regarding the success of the Summer Academy and Extended School Year (ESY) programs. The Summer Academy, as presented by Mr. Werner, provided a blend of 43 extracurricular and 24 academic classes. The academy not only included courses ranging from acting and CrossFit to math intervention and English language arts, but it also boasted an impressive 87% student growth rate. Feedback from board members accentuated the importance of not just growth but maintaining skills to avoid the “summer slide”.
The Extended School Year program, elucidated by Dr. Jeffery, primarily supports students at risk of summer regression. The initiative strives to uphold the momentum students garner during the regular academic year. It is worth noting that students in this program, especially from special programs like Building Bridges and Building Connections, enjoy individualized attention, an asset to their continued success.
Various extracurricular summer activities were also showcased, ranging from bubble experiments and food tasting sessions, like “Whip It Up Wednesday”, to field trips designed to emphasize skills like motor coordination. The intertwining of the ESY and Summer Academy was praised by board members for its synchronized schedule and seamless integration.
Logistical challenges, especially around school drop-offs, were broached with urgency. Members shared experiences from other districts and proposed innovative solutions, like a “pop-up coffee stand”, to mitigate traffic during peak hours.
Amidst academic achievements and operational challenges, the district faced a significant hurdle – the lack of a certified Spanish language teacher. Despite ongoing recruitment efforts, finding a suitable replacement has proven daunting. The state mandates Spanish instruction for K-6, putting pressure on the district, especially when considering the broader vision for world language curriculum.
Policy reviews, specifically around HIV and Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB), were highlighted. A parent academy was proposed to bring families up to speed with recent changes in the HIB process and laws.