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Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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3-5-14 State Board of Education to appoint David Hespe today...Anti-Bullying Reports Released
Star Ledger - NJ Board of Education meeting Wednesday to discuss charter school regs, religious holidays...‘The New Jersey State Board of Education meets this morning for the first time since the appointment of new Education Commissioner David Hespe, who was nominated last month to succeed Chris Cerf…Cerf, who was praised last month at what was expected to be his last meeting, will be in attendance...’

The Record - Most schools grade well on bullying prevention

NJ Spotlight - NJ Schools Earn Good Marks for Compliance with Anti-Bullying Law...But ‘grades’ listed in annual state report cards are determined by school districts themselves

Star Ledger - NJ Board of Education meeting Wednesday to discuss charter school regs, religious holidays   The New Jersey State Board of Education meets this morning for the first time since the appointment of new Education Commissioner David Hespe, who was nominated last month to succeed Chris Cerf…Cerf, who was praised last month at what was expected to be his last meeting, will be in attendance.’

By Peggy McGlone/The Star-Ledger The Star-Ledger
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 05, 2014 at 6:01 AM, updated March 05, 2014 at 6:45 AM

The New Jersey State Board of Education meets this morning for the first time since the appointment of new Education Commissioner David Hespe, who was nominated last month to succeed Chris Cerf.

Hespe’s appointment and the renewal of the state’s charter school regulations are on the agenda of the meeting, set for 10 a.m. in Trenton.

Also on the agenda is a presentation on an Early Learning Challenge Grant and a resolution regarding religious holidays for the 2014-2015 school year. The board is also expected to discuss amendments to rules involving educational services for homeless students.

Cerf, who was praised last month at what was expected to be his last meeting, will be in attendance. The board must approve Hespe as an assistant commissioner before he can become acting commissioner later in the month. He must be confirmed by the Senate before assuming the permanent position.

Beginning at 2 p.m., the board will hear testimony from the public. That testimony was originally scheduled for last month but we postponed because of a snow storm.

The Record - Most schools grade well on bullying prevention

 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

BY  LESLIE BRODY

Most North Jersey schools gave themselves good grades for their efforts to prevent bullying, according to state data released Tuesday.

As part of the 2011 anti-bullying law, schools had to gauge themselves on a range of factors relating to how well they met the requirements of the law, such as staff training, student instruction and techniques to investigate incidents. Most schools gave themselves scores of at least 50 out of 75 possible points, with many scoring themselves in the 60s or 70s.

Local school boards and principals had to approve the grades, which were compiled by the "school safety teams" in each school.

The top grade in Bergen and Passaic counties went to Franklin Avenue Middle School in Franklin Lakes, which gave itself a perfect 75. District superintendent Frank Romano said the school had launched the well-known Olweus Bullying Prevention program in recent years and the district had no substantiated bullying incidents among the district's 1,430 students in the last reporting period.

"I could see how someone would say it's hard to believe, but it's actually true, and we take it very seriously," Romano said. He noted that the program focuses on building students' sense of empathy and encouraging bystanders to intervene.

The lowest self-assessment went to Paterson's School of Business, Technology, Marketing and Finance at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex, which gave itself a score of 27. Paterson spokeswoman Terry Corallo said the academy was under different leadership when the self-assessments were submitted.

"We now have new leadership in place for this specific academy and for the entire JFK building," she said by email. "The principal of operations' role, now led by David Cozart, is more closely aligned to the efforts addressing day-to-day school culture, and we believe Mr. Cozart is making significant strides in the short time he has been there."

Each school's grade must be posted on its website by March 18. A release from the state education department encouraged schools to use the self-assessments to improve their anti-bullying efforts, and said state officials will use them to guide further training.

Email: brody@northjersey.com Twitter: @lesliebrody

NJ Spotlight - NJ Schools Earn Good Marks for Compliance with Anti-Bullying Law

John Mooney | March 5, 2014

But ‘grades’ listed in annual state report cards are determined by school districts themselves

 

Tucked deep within the state’s anti-bullying law is a requirement that New Jersey’s districts be graded on whether their schools are following both the letter and spirit of the legislation.

More than two years after the bill was signed, those grades – based on a scale of 0 to 75 -- are starting to be released and posted for the first time on individual schools’ websites.

Related Links

Anti-Bullying Questionnaire

Atlantic County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Bergen County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Burlington County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Camden County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Cape May County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Charter Schools Anti-Bullying Report Card

Cumberland County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Essex County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Gloucester County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Hudson County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Hunterdon County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Mercer County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Middlesex County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Monmouth County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Morris County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Ocean County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Passaic County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Salem County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Somerset County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Sussex County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Union County Anti-Bullying Report Card

Warren County Anti-Bullying Report Card

But it is proving to be a generous grading curve, to say the least, as it relies entirely on districts judging themselves – resulting, not surprisingly, in pretty high marks.

In the scores released by the state yesterday, two-thirds of schools gave themselves a score between 57 and 75, the highest quartile. Less than 1 percent gave themselves less than a 19, the bottom quartile.

Sorted by the state’s 21 counties and with a separate category of charter schools, the scores for every school are available in accompanying links.

State officials said it is a start and will hopefully continue to spur community discussions about ways to improve the climate in schools and address the scourge of bullying.

“We know that safe school environments are a crucial component of high-performing schools,” said outgoing state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf in a statement yesterday.

“We have worked closely with districts on reducing bullying incidents and creating safer schools, and we are look forward to continuing that process.”

The school districts complete the assessments through a 20-page questionnaire distributed by the state Department of Education, asking schools to certify that they are adhering to the law.

The law requires every school to have training in place for all staff, to assign personnel and others to develop anti-bullying programs, and to follow a strict protocol for investigating accusations of bullying.

The eight categories in the report cards are:

1. HIB Programs, Approaches and Other Initiatives (maximum 15 points)

2. Training on the Board-Approved HIB Policy (9 points)

3. Other Staff Instruction and Training Programs (15 points)

4. Curriculum and Instruction on HIB Related Information and Skills (6 points)

5. HIB Personnel (9 points)

6. School-Level HIB Incident Reporting Procedures (6 points)

7. HIB Investigative Procedures (12 points)

8. HIB Reporting (3 points)

Not all were satisfied with the inaugural run of the grading system, with some critics saying that as long as the department allows schools to grade themselves, they are not likely to get an accurate picture.

The districts already self-report the numbers of incidents of bullying and other school violence each year, leading to wide fluctuations.

"I'm appreciative of the department’s effort and the difficulty of creating a grading system from scratch, but it’s a ridiculously inadequate grading scheme,” said Stuart Green, director of the New Jersey Coalition of Bullying Awareness and Prevention.

“A system that relies solely on self-report by school administrators is not a meaningful way for these issues to be assessed, as years of (self-reporting violent incidents) has richly demonstrated.”

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828



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