Construction of the two-story addition to Edison High School is moving along nicely and it is worth reviewing at this point what this science wing will mean to the school and to the entire district. Instruction in science will be able to advance into the 21st century with these new facilities at one of the school system’s oldest buildings.
Once again, we were reminded of the excellence of the music programs in the Edison Public Schools. The district’s two high schools were among 12 from the state chosen to perform at the New Jersey State Band Gala 2013 yesterday at Rutgers University. This was an occasion for the wind ensembles from Edison High School and J.P. Stevens to shine. This annual competition is the culmination of competitive preliminaries.
If your polling place is in a school building, you will see something new when you go to vote tomorrow. The BoE arranged some time ago to have an armed Edison police officer on duty at each site. The officers, paid by the Board, will be present in school buildings when the polls open at noon and remain on the premises until after school is dismissed. Voting will take place between noon and 9 p.m.
March 6, 2013You have probably heard about the STEM subjects—science, technology, engineering, and math. Most likely, you think of these subjects in connection with students in secondary school and college. But the foundation for studying the STEM subjects is laid in the primary grades and youngsters who get an early grounding in these areas will have an advantage in the later grades.
The school system will take a major step when it opens a Science and Engineering Academy in the fall to serve students who want to pursue a rigorous college-preparatory program. The Academy, to be housed at Edison High School, will accept on a selective basis 24 entering ninth-grade students from throughout the school district.
The new gifted and talented (G&T) program is off and running strong. A total of 542 students, 15 percent of all the district students in third grade through fifth grade, qualified for the program. They leave their regular classes for two hours of instruction each week.
Edison’s elementary schools had a mixed record of achievement on the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) administered in 2011. In fact, elementary schools across the state, along with those in Edison—for reasons that have yet to be explained--did not score particularly well on these examinations.
September 12, 2012 There is a great deal of discussion about an academic achievement gap that exists among ethnic groups in American schools, but another sort of gap gets far less attention. Female students in high school trail male students in achievement on many SAT subject-area tests. It is true both nationally and in Edison’s two high schools.
Response to Intervention (RTI), an instructional approach that is growing in use around the country, represents a chance to individualize instruction for pupils who are lagging in their achievement. In some cases it identifies those who may be candidates for special education and can in some instances avert the need for special services by allowing children to catch up with their classmates.
A full-blown Spanish program will be restored to Edison’s elementary schools next month. The program was severely reduced for the 2010-11 school year as a result of fiscal pressures and remained that way in 2011-12. It will serve children from grades one through five with each student having a 40-minute session taught by a Spanish-speaking teacher once a week for 40 minutes.
Summer is a time when the school system gets ready for the coming academic year. For Edison, this will mean the installation of more than 800 computers in schools throughout the district. Some computers replace ones that have grown obsolete and others supplement what already existed in certain buildings.
During the school year just ended the district ran a pilot program to let certain elementary schools gain experience in teaching Singapore Math. This is an approach that focuses on problem solving. Instead of the usual wide curriculum that tries to cover many math topics and often does so insufficiently, Singapore Math delves into fewer topics and covers them more thoroughly. The emphasis is on deep understanding.
Actions this week by the state have focused attention on attainments by high school students throughout New Jersey. First came the announcement that high school students will eventually need to pass as many as 12 end-of-the-year tests to earn their diplomas. Then, the State Department of Education released statistics that recomputed graduation rates, showing that in most cases New Jersey’s high schools—including both of them in Edison--have lower rates than the schools reported.
My colleagues on the school board honored me last night by voting to give me another term as president. I will strive to fulfill their confidence in me. This board has made great strides in the past two years and I’m confident that it will continue to serve the students of the Edison Public Schools in exemplary fashion. Our work is cut out for us despite the progress that the board and the school system have already made.
So, what do middle-schoolers have on their minds? A group of school board members and administrators met last week with some sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders at Herbert Hoover Middle School to find out what they think about a number of issues affecting their school lives.
The preliminary school budget for 2012-13, on which the Board of Education will hold a public hearing on March 26, continues to restore features of the program that were reduced or eliminated during the difficult financial period in 2010 and to build upon the excellence of Edison’s existing academic program.
What an honor it was! Rutgers University selected six outstanding high school bands to perform at its 2012 Mid-Atlantic Wind Band Festival, an event that recognized the premier groups from throughout the region on February 16 and 17at the university’s Nicholas Performing Arts Center. And, believe it or not, two of the six bands were from Edison, from our two high schools--Edison High and J.P. Stevens.
It is interesting how many teachers seemed to decide on their career at an early age, frequently driven by a passion for teaching even though they had not yet reached college. Some others, though, took a more circuitous route to the classroom, not realizing until much later that they wanted to teach. Teachers in Edison discussed these various motivations in the biographies that they provided in connection with the competition for the district’s Teacher of the Year.
Consider these statistics: Students coming out of high schools in the United States and pursuing undergraduate college degrees in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) take longer to complete those degrees and are more apt to switch majors than students seeking degrees in many non-STEM fields. In other words, according to the UCLA Higher Education Research Institute, majoring in a STEM field is a struggle for all too many American undergraduates who are not adequately prepared.
AVID is coming to Edison High School (EHS). So, what is AVID? It is a very successful, non-profit college preparedness program that serves the students in the middle, the ones who are most likely to get the least attention as other resources are focused on the highest achievers and the lowest achievers. AVID (stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination) will begin at EHS next September, with most of the rest of this school year devoted to planning.
A charter school that proposes to draw students from Edison and New Brunswick has filed its fourth application for recognition with the New Jersey State Department of Education. Authorization of this school, Tikun Olam Hebrew Language Charter High School, would not be in the best interests of Edison’s taxpayers nor its public school students. It is up to residents of Edison to register their opinions on this proposal.
As some of you already know, the state has a new Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, enacted by the Legislature and now in effect. The new regulations take a stronger position against harassment, intimidation, and bullying involving schoolchildren (HIB). While there were already regulations affecting bullying, it took a series of incidents to trigger them. Now, a single incident will bring the regulations into play. Furthermore, the new regulations pertain to certain incidents off school grounds, as well as those at school—whenever a school representative is made aware of the alleged incident.
Singapore is a tiny, densely-populated country in southeast Asia with about the same size population as Chicago and Houston combined. Singapore also ranks consistently among the highest-scoring countries in the world in the scores that its students attain on mathematics assessments.
Our district was slow to move into the age of technology, but now it is doing so with a vengeance. Innovations that are already in place, those that will occur with the opening of school, and those scheduled for the near future hold promise of making the Edison Public Schools a leader in using technology.
A portion of the education of Edison’s children occurs outside the usual school day. These experiences tend to complement what happens in public school in that they reinforce and extend knowledge, build study habits, and sometimes expose youngsters to topics that they would not otherwise encounter.
Contrary to popular belief, Latin is not a “dead” language. It is very much alive here in Edison and in schools elsewhere in the country. In fact, the school system wants to hire another Latin teacher to work more than a halftime schedule. Latin enrollments in Edison have been growing for the last four years.
It is traditional at many schools for students to make class trips, especially in conjunction with their graduation or promotion from the school. This has been the practice each spring for more than a decade for eighth graders at John Adams Middle School (JAMS), who are on the verge of going on to J.P. Stevens for high school.
The primary grades are, for the most part, when children learn to read. They grow familiar with the sounds of letters and blends of letters so that they can decode and pronounce words that are at first little more than squiggles to them. They begin to derive meaning from what they read. Teachers prod them to construct sentences. They create their own simple stories. Often, their teachers make “word walls” on which new words are added as students’ incipient vocabularies expand and they borrow some of those new words for their own writing.
I am honored to be re-elected president of the BoE by my colleagues. I appreciate their confidence in me and I am humbled by the awesome responsibilities of the position. As I said in a presidential address last year, we have no greater responsibility than educating other people’s children with other people’s money.
One reason that New Jersey requires schools to teach about the Holocaust is so that young people will know of the horrors that can occur when tolerance disappears. This week at Herbert Hoover Middle School, two witnesses provided students with the living truth about those events.
It was beginning to look as if summer school would become an economic casualty, never again offered by the Edison school system as it sought to save money. But then the state declared that school districts could charge students to attend summer school, a practice that was previously prohibited.