South Brunswick School Board Addresses Dyslexia Education and State Testing Issues

In a recent South Brunswick School Board meeting, the board tackled issues, including state funding cuts, the expansion of preschool programs, and a plan to make South Brunswick a dyslexia-friendly district. The meeting also saw discussions on student achievement data, standardized testing concerns, and the district’s performance.

The board dedicated a significant portion of the meeting to discuss dyslexia education. The board discussed three laws passed by New Jersey, including measures mandating two hours of dyslexia training for appropriate personnel, requiring K-12 screening for dyslexia indicators by the end of the first semester of second grade, and recognizing dyslexia as a specific learning disability under the code of law. Board member Lisa Rodgers emphasized their dedication to making South Brunswick a dyslexia-friendly district. The board’s plan includes adopting structured literacy programs, implementing a careful dyslexia screening process, and using instructional technology, such as Google tools, to support students with dyslexia.

In addition to the legislation, the board also focused on providing resources and training for staff members to support students with dyslexia. They aimed to provide differentiated support for staff members, offering a wide array of resources such as decodable texts, audio books, and online platforms. The board also addressed accommodations during testing for students with dyslexia and the use of the Student Support Team (SST) process to identify struggling students and develop plans for support.

The board also addressed the impact of state funding cuts and the need to raise awareness about these changes. They revealed that they had received an email from Senator Andrew Wicker regarding a bill allowing districts facing funding cuts to exceed the 2% spending cap without a vote. A committee was tasked with working on this bill and potentially attending a hearing.

In relation to the preschool program, the board announced plans to increase the number of students and explore a mixed delivery model with a third-party provider. The board expressed a desire to reach families outside the school district who may be interested in preschool.

During the meeting, Superintendent Scott Feder and Suzanne Lebor presented the district’s goals and assessment results, including data from the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment (NJSLA) and Advanced Placement (AP) program. While they highlighted the challenges of standardized testing, they noted that South Brunswick students’ average SAT scores exceeded both state and national averages.

However, the state’s testing and assessment system was scrutinized due to potential inaccuracies in evaluating the district’s performance. The board members discussed the need for more data and a larger sample size for fair comparisons. Superintendent Feder acknowledged the state’s new emphasis on standards and the need to address any discrepancies.

Dr. Smitha Raj discussed the criteria for shortlisting potential partners for a Pre-K program, emphasizing factors such as classroom space, capacity to grow, and location. The meeting concluded with a public comment period, where concerns were raised about the recent board election and the behavior of candidates. A suggestion for an Ethics Committee for board elections was made, while another resident requested an update on the subscription busing issue.

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:
Scott Feder
School Board Officials:
Lisa Rodgers, Dr. Smitha Raj, Julie Ferrara, Laura Hernandez, Deepa Karthik, Alisha Khan, Raja Krishna, Mike Mitchell, Barry Nathanson

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