The Board of Education came together on Monday, January 16, for their first meeting of the year. All board members were in attendance except for Adele Wildermuth.

Although there was a small crowd, there was much to talk about at the meeting. Assistant Superintendent Jeanne Howe, standing in for the Superintendent, Patrick Tierney, reported on the good news and progress occurring in the schools of the Jefferson Township District. Among the many exciting activities going on in each school, Howe highlighted a few of them.

In Stanlick, students are participating in a mock trial involving the big bad wolf with guest appearances from various faculty members. In addition, 40 fifth graders at Stanlick participated in a workshop for play writing, and some of their plays will be entered into a contest as well.

At Cozy Lake, the students are performing a play called Home Sweet Home, which focuses on the importance of the environment in a fun and creative way.

At the Jefferson Township Middle School, the Battle of the Books is underway where students team up, read books, and compete to see which team knows their books the best. This competition not only encourages reading in general but expanding into various genres as well.

Lastly, at the Jefferson Township High School, the Habitat for Humanity organization is receiving an award on January 29 to recognize the contributions they have made. Another organization at the high school, DECA, is raising money for New Eyes for the Needy, a charity that helps provide prescription eyeglasses to those in need.

After her report about the activities going on at the various schools in the district, Howe presented an Electronic Violence and Vandalism Report. The report included any incidents of bullying that had to be reported to the state electronically. The data collected showed a decrease in the amount of incidents during the same period of time (between September and December) over the course of the past two years. The incidents decreased from 11 and 31 incidents in the past two school years to seven incidents this year.

The board members then went through a regular procedure of passing certain standard motions, including approving financial obligations and approving the 2017-2018 school year calendar, which can now be found on the school website.

In the school calendar, there are ten early dismissal days set into place as a part of a new program being implemented. In this program, students will be dismissed early while teachers, starting from 2nd grade, will be brought together to train for the PARCC and learn how to better prepare their students for the test.

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To end the meeting, some of the board members commented on some of the school activities that they found to be particularly interesting. Stacey Poulas noted that the middle school band is performing at an upcoming New Jersey Devils’ hockey game. Both Melissa Senatore and Michael Stewart commented on the success of the Dunks for Disabilities fundraiser that occurred Friday, January 13 at the Jefferson Township High School gymnasium.

On a final note, Jill Van Ness admired how the community came together to raise money for the Graham family who recently lost their home in a fire. In just a little over a week, over $30,000 was raised for them through www.gofundme.com. The Lake Shawnee Clubhouse was used as a drop-off location as well where many donated various items to the family. Observing how well the community worked together, Van Ness stated, “If we come together, we can do great things.” With that final message, the meeting adjourned.

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