West Essex School Board Plans Innovative Changes to Reading Program

In a recent meeting, the West Essex School Board discussed impactful changes to the Middle School reading program, an initiative to teach students about credible sources, and ongoing efforts to improve the school climate.

The board shared plans for a significant overhaul of the Middle School reading program. This program transformation involves converting the full-year English class into four separate quarter-long courses designed to provide students with a more diverse and engaging literary experience. Additionally, the popular senior elective on true crime is now extended as a standalone honors elective to both juniors and seniors, responding to the course’s high demand and interest among students.

The librarians’ role in educating students on evaluating credible sources was another key topic of discussion. In an era where information is abundant, the ability to discern and utilize credible sources is crucial. The librarians collaborate across all subjects, employing tools such as Newsguard to assist students in recognizing bias and ensuring the information’s reliability.

The English supervisor’s presentation highlighted the department’s initiatives, notably the “No Place for Hate” campaign and Comic-Con’s reintroduction, which aim to cultivate a positive school climate and culture. The presentation underscored the importance of engaging students in the “learning zone,” a concept central to the department’s approach to education.


Moreover, the board celebrated the accomplishments of a current student and an alumna who have excelled in research and film production, respectively. These achievements underscore the district’s success in nurturing students’ talents and aspirations.

The assembly also covered the visit from actor Daras Wallace, who portrayed Frederick Douglass, and the school’s participation in Read Across America week. Peer leaders played a role in promoting West Essex and peer leadership during this week by visiting elementary schools.

In addition to academic discussions, the board acknowledged student achievements in sports and extracurricular activities. It noted the successful “Hoops for Hearts” fundraiser and plans for NJ GPA testing for juniors. The board also discussed upcoming field trips, including one to view a total eclipse, and the “Night of Knowledge” event aimed at enhancing parents’ and students’ understanding of school programs.


The student board representative contributed to the meeting by promoting the “We Compliment You” initiative and announcing upcoming events such as field trips and the school musical, which contribute to a vibrant school environment.

All these discussions took place amid the regular governance processes, with the board voting on motions related to finance, buildings and grounds, curriculum, personnel, and miscellaneous matters. Notably, the meeting invited public comments on non-agenda items, but no comments were offered before the adjournment.

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.

Damion Macioci
School Board Officials:
Michielle Kupferberg, Kim Codella, Dawn Farese, Linda Fishman, Julie Rosen, Stacey Gold, Laura Drago, Mark Feldstein (Account)

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