Teaneck School Board Seeks to Boost Enrollment, Expand Career Opportunities

In a recent Teaneck School Board meeting, the overarching discussions centered around strategies to increase summer school enrollment and the introduction of technical education opportunities to enhance students’ career readiness. However, a state mandate imposing a quarterly renewal of volunteer fingerprinting could pose a significant challenge to these efforts.

Summer school enrollment took the spotlight as the superintendent reported an overall increase in attendance, with a remarkable surge in high school registrations from 75 to 171. However, a troubling decline in enrollment at Whittier Elementary School, from 60 to 34, triggered concern among board members. The superintendent vowed to investigate the decrease and stated plans to start the enrollment process earlier next year, allowing parents more time to sign up for summer programs.

In the pursuit of enhancing career readiness, the board also unveiled an initiative to offer career and technical education opportunities for students. The program aims to establish partnerships with businesses and offer internships and externships, equipping high school graduates with credentials and experience for higher-level entry into the workforce.

While progress is underway in increasing enrollment and broadening education opportunities, the board faces a potential hurdle in the state’s new mandate requiring volunteers to renew fingerprinting every three months. This could impact the ‘Bergen reads’ program scheduled for this summer at Lowell School. The board acknowledged the problem and is exploring designating volunteers as employees for fingerprinting purposes, which could bypass the need for frequent renewals. However, the legal implications of this workaround need to be validated before implementation.

Board discussions on personnel matters highlighted the importance of communication and stakeholder involvement in school district operations. A new role, the “Director of Partnerships Outreach and Special Projects”, was introduced to foster better district communication. Dr. Klein emphasized the necessity of keeping the board updated on communication plans, current trends, and stakeholder input. However, the approval of the personnel item related to this role was postponed until July 12th amid unresolved questions.

The meeting concluded with the board acknowledging the successful recent graduation at Teaneck High School and the need to involve parents and students in deciding graduation timings. The current decision is for future graduations to occur at 6 PM, although this decision is open for reconsideration in future board meetings.

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