Bloomingdale BOE to Focus More on Education
Board agrees to reconstruct meetings to include work sessions.
Bloomingdale Board of Education Member Sheldon Bross feels that the board's conversations during meetings often have little to do with education and more with "the business of education."
Bross and his colleagues on the board decided Monday night they want to change that and agreed to restructure future board meetings to include work sessions where board members could interact with teachers, administrators and the public and go into more detail about agenda items. The inclusion of work session meetings could likely happen in late August, some board members said.
Bross brought up his concerns about how infrequently educational matters are discussed during meetings as new business before the board.
"It seems like with everything going on, education's pushed in the background," he said, later adding, "Perhaps the failure in the past was lack of leadership from us? I don't know what the reason is."
"There should be two boards of education: a board of education that deals with the business of education and a board of education that deals with the education of education," he said.
Bross said he feels that the Borough of Bloomingdale is not looked upon favorably for its school system.
"I'd love to hear people say, 'I'm moving to Bloomingdale because they have a great education system,' and we can't say that," he said.
Martha B. Day School Principal Cheryl Mallen was in attendance at the meeting and said she agreed with Bross. Mallen commended the board on action taken earlier in the meeting to hire a Curriculum Supervisor for the first time in the district. Interim Superintendent Dr. Terrance Brennan said the 12-month position will pay a salary of about $80,000.
The board approved a job description to be written for the position Monday. Once hired, Brennan said the person who fills the position will be responsible for developing curriculum in all subject areas, with a particular focus on language arts.
Mallen said the school principals are constantly working to develop curriculum for the kids and looking at what other districts are doing, but that she sees a huge benefit in having one person bring curriculum concepts together for the district.
"That is a huge, huge step in the right direction," Mallen said. "You just made, single-handedly, the best move, in my opinion to raise the bar."
Board Member Cathy Gurbisz said she felt the board having work sessions instead of just two regular meetings per month may also help bring more of an emphasis on education to the board.
"We go through the voting rather quickly and I think it leaves out the public," she said.
Gurbisz said she would like to see the board work more with district staff as a team and Walter T. Bergen School teacher Maureen Jacobs, who was sitting with the public, said she felt many teachers would be interested in the opportunity.
"I would love to be involved with something that we can improve," she said.
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