The new school year is no longer quite so “new,” and I’m pleased to say we’re making progress on multiple fronts, both in and outside our classrooms. We’re a school district on the move, and New Brunswick’s students are reaping the benefits.
Following are a few of the highlights from the first several months of the 2017-18 school year:
In September, our district became a participant in Sprints’ 1Million Project, where 300 of our eligible high school students received a free smartphone, tablet, or hotspot device so they would have online access at home. Our arrangement with Sprint runs for a full five years, and the company will contribute additional devices each year. Thank you to the administrators, tech team and teacher, Ms. Guarino for leading this effort.
We’ve recently received Future Ready Schools certification for Lincoln Annex School , which recognizes our district’s commitment to modernization and helps district leaders and teachers develop personalized learning outcomes for our students. We will begin the work with the teachers and administrators to help transform the school and eventually the entire district into places where educators are empowered and students take charge of their own learning.
On November 18, our high school will host EdCampNJ 2017. This remarkable event may draw as many as 1,000 educators and administrators from across New Jersey and other states to our school district. It will be highlighted by person to person and hands-on exchanges based on participatory and connected learning. It’s ultimately about educators getting together and discussing the things that really matter to them. It’s laid back and fun, but at the same time it’s a serious opportunity to learn alongside peers. EdCamp is all about educators getting together to discuss what really matters to them. A follow-up session, also at our high school, will be held on January 20.
Related to testing, both on the PARCC exam and other standardized tests, our scores are increasing. They’re not yet where I’d like them to be, but we’re moving in an upward direction. I’m delighted by how hard our students, teachers and administrators are working.
Speaking of teachers, we’re continuing to invest in them, with an emphasis on consistent, relevant professional learning. Their level of skill and preparedness will ultimately help determine the quality of education our students receive, and we are doing everything possible to ensure our teachers have everything they need to excel. We do have more to do, but I am satisfied with work we have embarked on the past two years.
We’re also investing in our teachers and administrators through our New Brunswick Aspiring Leaders Program. We initially created a cohort for classroom teachers, just last year, and this year we’ve expanded with a new cohort for vice principals and supervisors who aspire to become building principals. The cohort for administrators kicks off next month, and I expect it will have extremely positive results.
We in New Brunswick Public Schools have much to be proud of and enthusiastic about. I’m pleased about what we’re developing and I look forward to serving you as superintendent for the next five years. Our district is making progress toward educational excellence, and we will continue to prepare, empower and inspire our students to be engaged in their own learning, their environment and the world.
Dr. Aubrey Johnson,
Superintendent of Schools