Superintendent's Forum Well Attended and Insightful

School Superintendent Terri Sinatra was hoping for a turnout of at least 100 and last night's forum attendance didn't disappoint.  With at least that many interested parents and teachers providing small-group feedback to administrators on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of the district, there were more than a few take-aways to evaluate and consider as goals, programs, and budget allocations are decided upon.
The issues presented by each of the six discussion groups were similar; consistent concerns became apparent:  Is our curriculum developmentally appropriate and does it address core skills and provide for effective transitioning into the next grade level? Is there too much reliance on parents and at-home work and instruction? Are our teachers consistent?  Can we leverage programs and experiences from similar districts?  How are our teachers hired and evaluated?  With what criteria do we want to judge our performance?  Are we providing enough to the "middle student?"  Is tracking appropriate in the earlier grades?  ... and much more.

The strength's discussed were consistent as well.  Most people are grateful for teachers who show sincere devotion to the students, see the benefit of committed parents and a community that supports the district, understand that students feel safe in school and know that is due to a concerted effort on the part of administrators as well as a good working relationship with the police, and believe the schools are very good at balancing security with a friendly, welcoming environment. And all acknowledged that a small district is easier to steer and change than a larger one would be.  Many other strength's were noted as well. 

Mrs. Sinatra said that the school district's website will provide an opportunity for feedback from members of the community interested but unable to attend the forum. We will post a link to the site once that is up.  The date of the next forum has not yet been determined but will be announced shortly.


Thank you for the summary and it served to highlight alot of key points. I would like to add that there was a unaminous voice from each focus group that the present half day kindergarten is a WEAKNESS. Aside from the obvious educational limitation, many in attendance agreed that the present half day kindergarten is simply wasted money. Additionally, one of the identified strengths that Metuchen carries with it is the community and family involvement. The present half day kindergaten only serves to hamper this "strength" as many families do not share together in the Metuchen public school kindergarten experience. The family bonds that flourish when our youngsters share classes together are splintered throughout public and private kindergarten programs. Let's apply the Scolastic Mission Statement to ALL of our public school children to include Kindergarten. Thank you again for all of your time with, as it definitely matters to us all.

I think the forum was great first step. Going forward I think it would be wise for the district to consider getting further input maybe even some scheduling some sessions per school. I would hate if we just made a knee jerk reaction and did not look at all the places that could use improvement and then prioritize them- or thought an item brought up at the forum was related to a school where there is no problem.

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  • nitnylion: Thank you for the summary and it served to highlight read more
  • Anonymous: I think the forum was great first step. Going forward read more

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