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10-19-16 Education in the News

Star Ledger--How big is too big? N.J.'s 25 largest high schools

WAYNE — New Jersey's largest public high school is about to get a lot bigger.

Passaic County Technical Institute, a sprawling vo-tech high school, already has more than 3,300 students from around the county taking classes in more than 200 classrooms in Wayne. Under a new plan, the massive school will build an addition to house a new STEM academy for another 1,200 students who want to study science, technology and math.

The $30 million addition will make Passaic County Technical Institute one of the largest high schools in the country, with 4,500 students on a multi-building, 55-acre hilltop campus. That is twice as many students as Drew University, Caldwell University and more than a half dozen other nearby colleges.

Is it too big? 

Diana Lobosco, the school's superintendent and chief administrator, said there are plenty of challenges when running a super-sized school, including coordinating busing, student activities and sports teams. The task of coordinating the schedules for thousands of students as they change classes and move between buildings multiple times a day is monumental.

"Since we are both an academic and career and technical education school, we are, in essence, two schools in one. (That) makes the scheduling more complex and challenging," Lobosco said.

But, mega schools have many big benefits, including "extraordinary school spirit," Lobosco added.

New Jersey had 34 public schools with 2,000 students or more students during the 2014-15 school year, according to enrollment figures in the latest available School Performance Reports compiled by the state Department of Education.


Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com| October 19, 2016 at 7:00 AM, updated October 19, 2016 at 7:10 AM


NJ Spotlight--Beleaguered Christie Holds Town Hall in Friendly Territory

But even in suburban New Providence some question his ‘Fairness Formula’ to equalize state aid to schools

The town hall setting has been Gov. Chris Christie’s best and certainly most famous format, where he gets to indulge the masses and show off his improvisational and political skills.

But as Christie’s second term enters its last year and he remains beleaguered under the weight of a failed presidential bid — not to mention the Bridgegate trial — even these forums have not gotten any easier.

Yesterday, Christie held yet another town hall at a senior center in New Providence, this time around his “Fairness Formula” proposal for New Jersey’s schools. The governor appeared to be trying to burnish his image at a time when it is anything but gold.

While protests are hardly foreign, he heard some clear pushback yesterday on some core pieces of his message about public schools,


John Mooney | October 19, 2016


Education Week--Shooting Reignites School Safety Concerns

Boy, 6, dead in wake of teen's gunfire

A shooting at an elementary school rocked Townville, S.C., leaving a 6-year-old dead and two other students and a teacher injured.

But school leaders say the situation that unfolded late last month could have been worse if not for practices that limited the alleged 14-year-old shooter's access to the building and the students inside. Those included self-locking external doors, visibility inside the building, and staff members prepared to respond to an active shooter, Anderson District 4 Superintendent Joanne Avery said in a letter to parents.

The shooter, who police say shot and killed his father before arriving at the 285-student Townville Elementary School, began firing from the playground as children were coming outside for recess.

"Immediately upon those shots being fired, our students were led to safe locations by the teachers," Avery said. "The doors were secured, and the shooter was denied access to the building and our students. Administrators and teachers at Townville Elementary followed all district procedures by immediately placing the school on lockdown and taking children to secure locations."


By Evie Blad|October 11, 2016



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