Board of Ed Candidates Answer CQE Question #2

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Question #2

What do you believe are the Metuchen School District's strengths? Are there areas in our schools where you'd like to see growth?

Rose deVries:

I think the District's strengths are our community groups, and caring staff, all of whom value an academic and co-curricular program.

The areas where I see room for growth in the District are in technology, high school course offerings and sports safety. The district is in the process of updating the technology infrastructure, which includes improving wireless capabilities throughout the district. AppliTrack online software is being used to recruit job applicants. These are some of the areas where technology has been improving and where I am confident the growth will continue.

High School course offerings that were recently added are three Advanced Placement (AP) courses: Statistics, Environmental Science and Government and Politics. I am advocating to add Advanced Placement Psychology, and the Curriculum Committee is continuing to advocate for Advanced Placement French and German languages.

The Athletic Department has implemented the ImPACT, http://www.impacttest.com/, concussion software program, that I advocated for, at the high school for all student athletes. Now I would like to see ImPACT fully implemented at the middle school for all students in grades 5-8 and for all students in the high school.

Jonathan Lifton:

Metuchen School District's strengths have always stemmed from our goal to educate the "whole" child; to support and promote not just academic excellence but also excellence in art and music, extra and co-curricular activities, and public service. These priorities are an extension of our community, and are a wonderful expression of what makes Metuchen a special place. Over the last three years we have made progress on many of the issues that I raised when I last ran for the board. We have added resources and restructured the guidance department, increased the availability of AP classes and increased the AP differential, extended our half day kindergarten program, and hired a new Superintendant that is focused on student achievement and excellence. Our current district goals are extremely ambitious and we are making good progress. One of the areas of concern continues to be raising the level of rigor and expectation for all students. Edgar Middle School has been designated afocus school due to the wide disparity in the performance of our highest and lowest performing sub-groups. There is clearly work to be done to raise the level of our lower performing students. This is and will continue to be a focus of the board and the administration,

Michael Stern:

As a whole, we live in a pretty caring and supportive community that places a high value on education. Overall, I think the Board has worked rather well with our educators and community in raising our standing in the State compared to other districts with a lot more money and resources. I'm looking to keep that going but also bring the perspective of a person who has been out there in business as well as a former military pilot who had the opportunity to see a lot of the world but eventually came back home to the same small town he grew up in and spent his formative years. Not only do I want to expand children's languages and IT abilities, I want us to focus on developing leadership and character amongst our kids. They need to come into direct contact with the world outside of Metuchen as much as they can. I'd like to try to bring in more unique learning opportunities with private and public partners both here and abroad,


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