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Email: gscschools@gmail.com
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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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2-4-13 Excerpts from - The Bridge, Feb 2013 New DOE Monthly Newsletter for Educators
Updates included: Evaluations Update, Keeping NJ Schools Safe, Common Core Q&A, Career & Technical Education in New Jersey Addressing Current and Future Needs

Excerpts from - The Bridge/Feb 2013 DOE Monthly Newsletter for Educators

Evaluation Update

On March 6, 2013, the Department of Education plans to propose regulations to the State Board of Education which will provide rules for educator evaluation and professional development as outlined in the TEACHNJ Act. These regulations are scheduled to become effective at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year and will include greater details about several elements of evaluation, including:

  • Calculation of the annual summative ratings for teachers, principals, assistant principals, and vice-principals;
  • Observation requirements for teachers;
  • Objective measures of student achievement for teachers of subjects and grades tested by the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge ("NJ ASK") as well as for teachers of non-tested grades and subjects;
  • Measures of practice and student achievement for principals;
  • Mentoring;
  • Individualized professional development;
  • Corrective action plans; and
  • The role and duties of the School Improvement Panel.

When the proposed regulations are presented to the State Board, the Department will launch a statewide outreach initiative to communicate information about evaluation requirements for 2013-14. Over the course of several weeks, we will conduct regional presentations, post a variety of resources on our website, and provide opportunities for educators and others to share questions and feedback. Materials for various audiences (teachers, principals, etc.) and on various topics (evaluation system overview, student achievement and teaching practice measures, training, etc.) will be available for districts to tailor and use. Any educator interested in providing input on topics to include in this outreach initiative should send an email to educatorevaluation@doe.state.nj.us.

Keeping New Jersey's Schools Safe

After the tragedy at Newtown, schools across the country are looking at their safety and security procedures and making adjustments. While New Jersey has security requirements as strict as any other state in the nation, we still see that there is room to strengthen what we already do. Schools in the state are required by NJ STATUTE 18A:41-1 to conduct drills for each of the following situations, a minimum of two times per year: active shooter, evacuation, bomb threat and lockdown. This is in addition to a fire alarm drill that must be conducted every month.

Schools have been performing security drills for several years now, and the NJDOE has been planning over the past several months to conduct a small number of unannounced visits to districts. The purpose of these visits is two-fold: 1) to see whether the current laws are having the desired effect or if we need to course correct, and 2) to use the opportunity to provide targeted support to individual schools and share anything we learn with others across the state. While visiting schools and evaluating drills, security teams will run through a checklist that addresses a series of questions. Do people know what they are doing? Are they moving with a sense of urgency? Are the doors locked? Was it all done in a timely fashion? Because the entire purpose of the visit is to provide technical assistance and support, there is no report or consequences from the visit, just an opportunity for collegial collaboration.

Refresher courses will be held across the state this spring for school administrators. Guidance for schools around varying the time of day for the drills and conducting drills with neighboring schools will also be provided. You can find more information about security drills and the state regulations at: http://www.state.nj.us/education/schools/security/drill/

Common Core Q&A

Q. What is the Department doing to support the alignment of New Jersey's preschool standards with the State's adopted English Language Arts and Mathematics Common Core Standards for K-12?

A. The Department's Division of Early Childhood Education is in the final stages of updating New Jersey's preschool standards for English language arts and mathematics.

The process included a review of other state's standards, review of the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and for Mathematics, and consultation with national experts. Academic rigor was carefully balanced with research findings on young children's particular developmental needs, including play and social skills. Activities and long-term projects that integrate traditional "subject" areas are re-emphasized, along with the importance of a hands-on, learning-by-doing approach.

The updated standards will provide New Jersey with a stronger bridge between learning outcomes for children birth through three and the standards for those attending K-12 schools. They will continue to serve as a significant resource to guide high-quality preschool program curriculum implementation for all three- and four-year old children in the State, regardless of language, background, or diverse needs.

The draft revised standards and webinars will be available for viewing in early March on the DOE's Division of Early Childhood Education webpage at: http://www.state.nj.us/education/ece/

Career & Technical Education in New Jersey Addressing Current and Future Needs

The NJDOE is happy to celebrate Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. The theme for this year is "Career and Technical Education Works!"

Over the past decade, Career and Technical Education, formerly known as Vocational Education, has adapted to address our changing economy and the educational needs of students. This is more than just a change in name; it signifies CTE's evolution to provide opportunities for all students in college and a wide variety of career choices. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 requires states to provide rigorous opportunities for students that include academic and technical skills to prepare students for success in high-wage, high-skill or high-demand careers.

This chart reflects the shift in philosophy from a purely vocational approach to one that prepares students for both college and career:

Currently, there are over 91,000 secondary students enrolled in CTE programs at 153 comprehensive high schools and 21 county vocational school districts in New Jersey. Approximately 30,000 secondary students are served in county vocational school districts, but the majority are enrolled in CTE programs at comprehensive high schools. CTE programs are organized by 16 career clusters encompassing 79 career pathways. The career clusters of Business Management & Administration and Arts, A/V Technology and Communications currently have the largest enrollment. In the 2011-2012 school year, 5,104 CTE students earned college credit while in high school with the majority of credits earned in Health Science, Business Management and Administration, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. To learn more about CTE programs in New Jersey please visit our webpage. http://www.nj.gov/education/cte/

Communications High School Student Helps Promote CTE Month!

We are proud to congratulate Julie Prascsak, a senior studying Visual Communications at Communications High School (CHS) in Wall, NJ who won a national poster design contest sponsored by the Association for Career and Technical Education. Inspired by a blueprint, her poster, seen above, will be used by schools around the country to promote CTE month this February.


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608