By: Julie Maxwell Allen & Colin Stephenson
In its reorganization meeting, Jan. 9, 2017, the Glen Rock Board of Education chose member Bryon Torsiello as its new president and Sharon Scarpelli as its vice president. Both members were voted to their respective positions unanimously. Scarpelli was chosen after member Eileen Hillock was nominated for the position but declined. In addition, members Theodore Jadick, Sanjiv Ohri, Kevin Brennan, Hillock and Sheldon Hirschberg were sworn in to new terms.
In other business, regular travel reimbursements for board members was reduced from $750 to $500, board member Rona McNabola was chosen to represent the board at a statewide meeting of the NJSBA, and the Board of Ed calendar was approved, with the modification of replacing the wording “The first Monday and Tuesday nights’’ with “as put forth in Appendix A.’’ This is due to the many exceptions in the BOE calendar.
In the public portion of the meeting, resident Hugh Bases complained about the amount of homework that is given to students, especially when there is homework given over vacations. Too much homework puts a lot of stress on students, he said, and he suggested the board should “put in hard-wire policies that give families a real break from all academic and athletic activities in the district.’’ He proposed a 10-day break “to rest and recharge.’’
Bases’ wife, Dr. Randi Asher, added that the board should continue to consider the recommendations of its consultant, Dr. Denise Pope, on ways to reduce stress among students. She talked about the importance of playtime and downtime for students and families and suggested the district adopt a homework policy of giving students 10 minutes of homework for each grade level, so, 10 minutes for first-grade students, 20 minutes for second-graders, and so on.
Board member Elizabeth Carr said she “wholeheartedly’’ agreed with Asher that the homework policy needs to be addressed. McNabola pointed out that, as far as getting a break from athletics, the board does not set the athletic schedules, as those are set by the NJSIAA, the governing body for high school athletics in the state.
Superintendent Dr. Paula Valenti, in her report, complimented all the schools on their holiday performances, taking time to praise the art teacher at Coleman School for using Egyptian hieroglyphics. She talked about her book study — the next book is “Waking up White,’’ by author Debbie Irving, she said, adding that the next discussion of the book will be held Feb. 20, from 7-8:30 p.m. in the GRPS Central Office Conference Room. Valenti said the book’s author will be visiting April 20 at the Dario Valcarel Media Center in Glen Rock High School.
Valenti also praised “Cosmic Goose,’’ the robotics team at Glen Rock High School, which placed well in their first competition at Wayne, and said the Community School calendar is complete and registration is ongoing.
The next Board of Ed meetings will be held Jan. 23, a Committee of the Whole meeting. The next regular Board of Ed meeting will be Jan. 30.