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Regular meetings held at The Hickcok Meeting Room, Summit Public Library, 9:15 a.m.

January 12, 2016 regular monthly Speak Up Summit meeting recap

In attendance: Melanie Wilson, Laura Coburn, Andrea Stein, Lisa Campbell, Meghan Terry, Serena Healy, Kathy Clark, Terese Usme, Luz Bazalar, Paola Acosta, Celia Colbert, Torie Bligh and Patty Schneider-Smith

At the very start of the meeting, the email came through confirming that Stacy Grimaldi was named officially as the principal of SHS, and we were all happy about that.

We discussed logistics for the upcoming State of the District meeting, to be held on January 23 at the Elks Club.

Discussion on the Board of Education report:

  • Parking for SHS students:  the SHS parking committee is hoping that now that the building of the lot on the Lower Field is no longer being considered that Common Council will work more closely with the PTO to possibly institute parking on Kent Place Blvd.  There was some discussion about how if they paint numbered spots that violation of such could not be enforceable by police but would have to be more of an “honor system” between the students, and would not preclude the homeowners from using the spaces.
  • FDK Lottery:  there is a possibility for up to 160 slots.  158 children applied.  There will definitely be spots for 120 and the decision on how many more classes to make will be made soon by June Chang.  They can go up to 22 students per class.
  • Budget:  looks tight this year.  Health care costs have gone way up.  Presentations by various department heads (sports, special ed, curriculum, etc.) will be given over several BOE workshops and meetings.  We discussed the importance of the attendance of those Common Council members who sit on the Board of School Estimate to attend this meetings.
  • Classes:  there was discussion that several new AP and Honors classes might be added for SHS next year, such as AP Psychology, Exercise Science, and Honors science classes.  These are dependent on the budget.
  • PARCC scores are out.  Summit has received comparisons with how we did in relation to the state of NJ and in relation to the other five PARCC states, but not how we compared to specific NJ school districts.  The elementary level scores might be a decent representation of how our kids are doing, but because so many kids at the high school either opted out or did not take the test seriously, the scores might not be a good indication of where we are as a district.  We had a discussion about why any high school student should sit through the PARCC test if this is how they are perceived.  The students’ time would be better spent studying or even sleeping, particularly since now there is no threat of financial backlash against the district for higher refusal rates.  Julie Glazer will be giving a test score presentation at a BOE meeting.

We discussed problems with report cards in the elementary schools.  This is a discussion that has been repeated every few years for decades.

Lastly, we discussed how the journalism, broadcast and media students should be better utilized.  We have a beautiful, high-tech TV studio and there is not enough programming.  We discussed a regular news show for the district.

After the State-of-the-District meeting, the next regular meeting will be held on February 23 at 8:30am at 175 Colonial Rd.

We are still looking for a school rep from Lincoln-Hubbard school.