OUR 108th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 0299 FIFTY CENTS 2324407
The Westfield Leader — Serving the Town Since 1890 —
Thursday, January 14, 1999 USPS 680020 Periodical – Postage Paid at Westfield, N. J.
Published Every Thursday
INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX
Business ........ Page 16 County .......... Page 2 Editorial ........ Page 4
Mountainside Page 3 Obituary ........ Page 8 Religious ....... Page 9
Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 11
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
County Anticipates Dredging of 11 Lakes; Searching For Contaminants in Echo Lake By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
Last June, when the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders introduced the initial cost of $606,000 to fund the restoration of 11 lakes in Union County, Upper Echo Lake, which is located nearest to Mountain Avenue and Route No. 22 in Mountainside, was the first project on tap.
F. X. Browne, Inc. in Lansdale, Pennsylvania was the consulting firm
which was selected by the county to design a plan to restore Echo Lake.
The firm was also chosen to refine Briant Pond in Summit; Cedar Brook
Lake in Plainfield and South Plainfield; Green Brook Lagoon in
Plainfield; Milton Lake in Rahway; Nomahegan Lake in Cranford; Rahway River Lake and Lagoon in Rahway; Meisel Pond in Springfield; Warinanco Park in Roselle, and Seeley’s Pond in Berkeley Heights and Scotch Plains.
According to Dr. Frank Browne, President of F. X. Browne, Inc., the 11 lakes must be carefully analyzed for their chemical, biological and ecological condition and composition.
He revealed that 44,000 cubic yards of sediment would be dredged from the upper portion of Echo Lake. Before this occurs, however, approximately three feet of sediment would be removed from the bottom of the lake to be tested for possible contaminants.
Dr. Browne noted that this would increase the lake’s depth and allow for five to six feet of water to be added to the lake. He observed that the lake is currently two to three feet deep and would otherwise be considered to be a swamp.
He estimated the final cost of the
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Raritan Valley Coalition Commission Looking To Continue Efforts of Improving NYC Commute
Brentano String Quartet Offers Instruction To WHS Students Following Free Concert By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
This past Tuesday students poured into Room 121 at Westfield High School to hear the Brentano String Quartet perform in a free concert sponsored by the Arbor Chamber Music Society and later gathered into small working clusters for instruction with quartet members.
Instrumental Music Instructor, Raymond Wojcik, announced that
the audience was about to enjoy the second installment of the Westfield High School Instrumental Program which works in conjunction with the Arbor Chamber Music Society.
Lenore Davis, Artistic Director of the Music Society, introduced the members of the quartet: Viola, Misha Amory; Second Violin, Serena Canin; Celo, Nina Lee; and First Violin, Mark Steinberg. She revealed that the group, which first formed in 1992,
had just completed a performance in Australia.
Mr. Steinberg asked students to raise their hands if they were string players. He offered a brief and detailed history regarding the origin of string quartets and the difference between the viole and the popularity of the violin.
He cited that the viole, a string instrument which was primarily played during the 16th and 17th cen turies, produced high and low tones,
while the violin became popular for its volume and loudness. He also added that musicians who used violes had no vibratos.
The first selection from the string quartet was written by Purcell, a composer from the 1680s. This composition contained no vibrato, as noted by one of the students in the audience.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 3
PREPARING FOR DREDGING… Echo Lake in Echo Lake Park in Mountainside is one of 11 lakes in Union County which will be sampled for contaminants and sediment by F. X. Browne, a consulting firm in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The lake samples will be examined by a laboratory and categorized according to their contamination levels. County officials will receive a report to determine if the lake may be dredged. An estimated five to six feet could be added to the lake depth after dredging.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
A year has passed since NJ Transit Commissioner John J. Haley, Jr. named 1998 “The Year of the Raritan Valley Line,” a declaration he made in response to commuter complaints detailed in an extensive report by the Westfield Raritan Valley Line Commuter Commission (RVLCC).
In Union County, the Raritan Valley Line includes the towns of Plainfield, Fanwood, Westfield, Cranford, and Roselle Park.
While some improvements were made on the line during 1998, it is now 1999 and many of the most egregious problems persist, among them: difficult transfers and missed connections at Newark Penn Station for New York commuters, inaccurate and nonexistent announcements, poorly placed information monitors, and a long wait between trains during the peak evening rush for commuters leaving the city, according to an RVLCC spokesman.
Recognizing that a direct, oneseat ride to Manhattan is probably a generation away, Raritan Valley Rail commuters and the RVLCC say that
in addition to improved communications and better train scheduling, the most immediate way NJ Transit can help Raritan Valley Line riders is by providing sameplatform eastbound transfers at Newark.
The RVLCC has determined that achieving sameplatform transfers will be the group’s number one priority for 1999.
“If we can’t have a oneseat ride any time soon, NJ Transit should at least provide a oneplatform ride,” said Michael Einbinder, a founding member of Westfield RVLCC.
“Navigating the crowded stairwells at Newark is a nightmare, especially since the announcements and monitors are so bad we never really know where to find the New York train. Track 1, 2 or A? Every morning is a guessing game,” he said.
Mr. Einbinder noted that when he began commuting a decade ago, sameplatform transfers were the rule and not the exception.
“They provided the service before. They should be able to do it again now,” he said.
Westfield Mayor Thomas C. Jardim, founder of the Raritan Valley Line Commuter Commission, responded that, “Good communications and efficient transfers are immediate needs and achievable shortterm goals. But the ultimate goal remains Raritan Direct, a oneseat ride to New York.”
Mayor Jardim noted that two groups are currently working toward this goal – RVLCC, as well as the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC), begun by Congressman Bob Franks, who represents the Seventh District including Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood and Mountainside.
Westfield Schools Plan Closing on January 18
WESTFIELD – All Westfield public schools and school offices will be closed on Monday, January 18, in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ’s birthday.
Students whose winning essays were selected by the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association will be announced during the Interfaith Service on January 18 at 1 p. m. at the First United Methodist Church in Westfield.
Judge Brennan Begins Term on Town Bench
William A. Burke for The Westfield Leader TAKING COMMAND... Westfield Municipal Judge William L. Brennan sits behind his desk in the judge’s private office at the Municipal Building.
William A. Burke for The Westfield Leader JOINING THE BENCH... William L. Brennan takes the oath as Westfield Municipal Judge from Union County Superior Court Judge Edwin W. Beglin, Jr., as his wife, Cathy, and his children, left to right, Kate, Natalie and Nicholas (partially blocked), hold the Holy Bible. Looking on are his parents, William and Colette Brennan of Spotswood.
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
Promising to be “faithful and impartial,” William L. Brennan was officially sworn in last Friday afternoon as Westfield’s newest municipal judge, filling the slot left by the resignation some 18 months ago of Judge Marion S. Mogielnicki after serving only eight months on the bench.
Judge Brennan brings over 15 years of legal experience to his new post, including five years as Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, the second largest District Attorney’s office in the nation.
In this office, he worked in the homicide, sex crimes and investigations bureaus, and tried over 25 violent felony cases as the Supervising Trial Attorney with the District Attorney’s office’s Supreme Court Bureau.
Since June, 1988, he has been a partner in the firm of Callan, Regenstrenstreich, Koster & Brady with offices in Shrewsbury and New York City, handling personal injury insurance defense from pleadings through trial.
Judge Brennan noted that he will be joining a court that has an experienced prosecutor, Rafael J. Betancourt, and public defender, Michael Diamond.
“We will run a very thorough and efficient court,” he explained.
Noting that he was “humbled by the experience” of being selected as Westfield Municipal Court, Judge Brennan quickly asserted to onlookers, which included many family members and friends and colleagues, “not bad for a kid from Jersey City.”
“One of the aspirations, I think, of an attorney is to eventually sit as a judge,” he said.
Promising not to make “sweeping changes” to the Westfield court, Judge Brennan said he was instead looking more toward carrying on the “excellent tradition” of town’s municipal court.
A graduate of Seton Hall Univer sity in South Orange with a degree
in political science and the Fordham University School of Law, in the Bronx, where he received his law degree in 1983, Judge Brennan was originally interested in holding political office in Westfield.
He ran on the Democratic ticket in 1994 with mayoral candidate Anthony M. Laporta and current Third Ward Councilman John J. Walsh. Judge Brennan was defeated that year in his race against Gail S. Vernick for a seat representing the First Ward. Prior to that, he was a councilman in Rutherford from 1990 to 1993 before moving to Westfield.
More recently he had helped Mayor Thomas C. Jardim organize the Westfield Expenditure Review, Solid Waste Advisory and Raritan Valley Commuter Commissions.
In preparation for taking over the Westfield bench, Judge Brennan has been visiting other municipal courts in Union County to keep a keen eye on how municipal judges run their court rooms.
Citing his experience as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn and as a civil litigator, Judge Brennan said, “I always have been very interested in the way a judge runs a court room and handles a particular trial.”
“I am going to try to bring my personality and my way of doing things to the position and I am confident that we will get the job done,” Judge Brennan stated.
Cases that come before the Westfield municipal court involve everything from violation of traffic laws, such driving while intoxicated, shoplifting, domestic violence and drug cases as well as disputes amongst neighbors.
“So, you get a real mix,” Judge Brennan noted.
Calling municipal court a court “that really belongs to the people,” Judge Brennan said he will always be sensitive to the fact that many defendants will be before a judge
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
LONGESTSERVING BOARD OF EDUCATION MEMBER HIGHLIGHTS PAST 12 YEARS
Susan Jacobson Announces Decision Not to Seek Reelection to School Board By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
Susan L. Jacobson, a member of the Westfield Board of Education for 12 years and a former board President, Vice President and Financial Committee Chairwoman, announced Tuesday that she would not pursue reelection to the school board when her current term is up.
Mrs. Jacobson, currently in her fourth term, has earned the distinction
of being the longestserving Board of Education member in Westfield since 1877.
In a prepared speech which she delivered to her fellow board members and an attentive audience, Mrs. Jacobson stated, “The past 12 years have been exciting, interesting, at times frustrating, but always rewarding.” She continued, “Being a member
of this BOE has helped me learn about educational issues and develop a deep respect for those working in the field of education. I have also learned how teamwork and cooperation lead to success.”
“As a BOE member, I have tried to do what I felt was best for the board, the staff, the community, and, most of all, our students,” she revealed.
Mrs. Jacobson recalled her support of the foreign language immersion program in elementary schools, and the significance of libraries as the hubs of technology in schools, as some of the issues that she strove to pioneer during her tenure.
She also cited the community’s change of viewpoint regarding the past defeat of the family life curricuCONTINUED
ON PAGE 10 William A. Burke for The Westfield Leader A BETTER COMMUTE... The Westfield Raritan Valley Commuter Line Commission will continue its efforts this year to improve the commute from the Westfield Train Station to New York via Newark.
Page 10 Thursday, January 14, 1999 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
County to Test Echo Lake For Possible Dredging
Echo Lake project would tally $1.4 million.
Dr. Browne outlined the procedure which his consulting firm must follow in order to successfully analyze the needs of the lake. The first process will include meeting with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
During six months to one year, representatives from F. X. Browne would then organize and collect a sampling of sediment, commonly known as soil particles, which may contain pollutants.
These samplings would be delivered to a laboratory for analysis and separated into categories which would then determine the feasibility and direction of the dredging project.
If there is a low content of contaminants in the sediment, the sediment may be disposed of on park or residential land. If it is high, the sediment must be taken to a nonresidential area for
dispatch. If there is a high contamination level, the sediment must be transferred to a landfill of waste facility, thus making the project unfeasible.
Dr. Browne stressed that once it has been determined where the sediment will be transported, his firm will be able to continue with the next phase of the project – deciding which dredging method is suitable for Echo Lake.
Three standard techniques would entail the use of a large clamp to uproot the sediment; a liposuction or vacuum method to absorb the debris, or a complete bulldozing of the lake.
F. X. Browne would compose a detailed report about its discoveries and a dredging design for approval by the county. Dr. Browne stated that he hopes to present this report as early as March.
Certain permits may be required, according to Dr. Browne. He listed “stream encroachment,” “wetlands crossing,” and “lake drawn down” permits as possible permits that would be essential before beginning the project.
Chief of the Bureau of Park Operations, Daniel J. Bernier, stated that he anticipates the completion of the Echo Lake project to occur “within the next couple of years.” He added that the next lake to be dredged has yet to be determined and has not been prioritized.
The restoration of the 11 lakes was included in the annual capital bond ordinance which appropriated $38.93 million for projects.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Mr. Steinberg outlined some of the “virtues of writing for a string quartet” for the students. He stated that the blend of sounds, different pitches and sounds, and varied sensibilities culminate into what can be considered “a conversation” between the members of a quartet.
He observed that the relationship between the members of a string quartet brings different personalities to each piece or composition.
The second selection was written by Hyden, a composer who was responsible for the creation of 83 string quartet compositions.
Mr. Steinberg asked the students to describe some of the “overriding characteristics” which comprised the Hyden piece.
Some of the distinctions cited were the contrast in dynamics, a light and witty attitude, and the echo and accents in the piece.
Students were able to obtain a sneak preview of the Brentano String Quartet’s performance of Schubert’s G Major “String Quartet D. 887” which will formally take place on Sunday, January 17, at 4 p. m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Westfield.
According to The composition was the final string quartet written by
Schubert in 1826, according to Mr. Steinberg.
“We actually like to play string quartets by people who are still alive,” Mr. Steinberg jokingly told the students.
Prior to the performance of the piece, he made students aware that the composition would alternate from major to minor chords. He compared these variations to the difference between good and evil, and ways of hearing and feeling.
After the quartet’s completion of Schubert’s piece, Mr. Wojcik invited the members of the quartet to divide into clusters with the students for further musical instruction.
According to Ms. Davis, the instruction is a unique aspect of the partnership between the Arbor Chamber Music Society and Westfield High School. She concluded that the students do not just enjoy a performance by the quartet, but benefit from their valuable coaching and instruction as a part of the program.
The Westfield Foundation and The Bergen Foundation have been responsible for underwriting the music program and partnership.
Brentano String Quartet Instructs WHS Students Board of Ed Analyzes
Standards in Core Content Curriculum
Parker Greenhouses Recognized as Top Atlantic City Vendor
By JOHN PELLUM
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
SCOTCH PLAINS – Since it was founded 50 years ago, Parker Greenhouses, located at 1325 Terrill Road in Scotch Plains, has maintained standards of excellence which have been recognized from the White House all the way to the Far East.
The familyowned business, headed by Richard Parker and Steve Parker, President and Vice President, respectively, has been honored in its home state, as well.
Most recently, Parker Interior Plantscape, the interior and exterior landscaping end of the business, was officially designated as “Allied Member of the Year and Number One Vendor of the Year” by the Greater Atlantic City Hotel/ Motel Association.
The Association, which has been in existence for 55 years, represents all of the casino hotels, as well as most major Atlantic City properties. It purchases more than $1,800,000,000 per year from hundreds of vendors.
Parker Interior Plantscape will receive its award as top vendor during an upcoming black tie affair at the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino.
A 14acre establishment, Parker Greenhouses was founded by the owners’ parents in 1948. The business has done landscaping for many different fourand fivestar hotels and Atlantic City casinos.
The company, which has been awarded contracts totaling more than $30 million, has been hired for projects in Boston, Maryland, Washington D. C. and Japan, according to the owners.
Parker Greenhouses is currently working on the largest interiorscape and the first interior bamboo project in Hong Kong.
Through the years, the Parkers have been reaping the benefits of their strive towards perfection in their work.
The greenhouse has been the recipient of 40 different awards, including one presented by former First Lady Barbara Bush and another bestowed several years later by present First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Parker Greenhouses is the largest
John Pellum for The Times TOP VENDOR... Richard Parker, right, and Steve Parker are shown inside the greenhouse of their business, Parker Greenhouses of Scotch Plains. Parker Interior Plantscape, which is the interior and exterior landscaping arm of the business, was recently recognized as “Allied Member of the Year and Number One Vendor of the Year” by the Greater Atlantic City Hotel/ Motel Association.
privatelyowned interior plantscape in the United States and probably the world, according to its owners.
The Parkers said they pride themselves on the quality of their material, their level of service, rapid response, creativity, personal interest in customers’ needs and efforts in helping to promote the industry. All of these factors, they believe, contributed to their selection for the Greater Atlantic City Hotel/ Motel Association award.
The Parkers have also made contributions to their industry by serving as frequent interiorscape speakers and by helping to write the American Landscape Contractors Association Guide to Interior Plantscaping.
Richard Parker called the guide “the Bible of the Interior Horticulture industry.”
Despite all their awards and success, Richard and Steve Parker say their number one concern is still and will always be the quality of plants which encourage people to shop.
“With all the awards and recognition we have received, you would think that people would know that we are open to the public, but a lot of people are unaware of that, unfortunately,” said Steve Parker.
Parker Greenhouses business office hours are 8 a. m. to 5 p. m. on weekdays. The Farm and Garden Center is open from 7 a. m. to 5 p. m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; from 7 a. m. to 7 p. m. on Thursdays, and from 9 a. m. to 4 p. m. on Sundays. Customers may call (908) 3225555 for adjustments, seasonal hours or directions.
WESTFIELD POLICE BLOTTER TUESDAY, JANUARY 5
· A Summit Court resident reported the theft of a cellular telephone valued at $100.
· Elizabethtown Water Company reported that a company vehicle was damaged while parked on South Avenue.
· Corey Statum, 29, of New Brunswick was arrested and charged with two counts of issuing a bad check and two counts of uttering a forged instrument (check) at a Clark Street bank, according to police. He was being held in lieu of $3,500 bail.
· Edwin Lopez, 32, of Perth Amboy was arrested at an East Broad Street pharmacy and charged with shoplifting and possession of a hypodermic needle, according to police.
Authorities also discovered Lopez was wanted on warrants out of Woodbridge and Perth Amboy for receipt of stolen property, and on contempt of court warrants out of Perth Amboy and Metuchen. Bail on the Westfield charge was set at $275.
· Maria Riberio, 50, of Newark was arrested on Lawrence Avenue on charges of driving while intoxicated and refusal to take a breath test, authorities said. She
posted $1,000 bail.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 8
· Martin Hirschfeld, 42, of Livingston was arrested and charged with leaving threatening telephone messages on the answering machine of a Westfield resident during September and November, authorities said. He was released on $1,000 bail.
· Richard Creter, 33, of Garwood was arrested and charged with burglary and criminal mischief in connection with a breakin which occurred December 29 at an automobile repair business on South Avenue, according to police. Nothing was discovered to be missing from the establishment. Creter was held in lieu of $10,000 bail.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 9
· Laquanda White, 19, of Roselle was arrested and charged with shoplifting clothing valued at $74.98 from a North Avenue department store, according to police. She was released on $275 bail.
MONDAY, JANUARY 11
· Miro Kamenik, 37, of Morganville was arrested on East Broad Street and charged with driving while suspended, his third offense, police said. He posted $1,000 bail.
School Board to Discuss New Calendar on Jan. 19
WESTFIELD – The Westfield Board of Education will analyze the 19992000 school calendar during its regular Tuesday, January 19, board meeting.
The board approved the calendar for first reading on December 14. The calendar proposes that schools would open on Wednesday, September 8. Schools would close on Thursday and Friday, November 11 and 12, for Teacher Professional Days.
The calendar would also include school closings for Monday and Tuesday, February 21 and 22, for Presidents’ Weekend and Friday, April 21, to Sunday, April 30, for Good Friday and Spring Vacation.
The last day of school would be tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, June 20.
The final calendar will be available in the schools, the Superintendent’s Office and the Office of School and Community Relations once it is approved.
MidTerm Exams Slated For High School
WESTFIELD – Westfield High School students will take their midterm examinations from Monday, January 25, to Friday, January 29.
The second semester of the 19981999 school year will begin on Monday, February 1.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
for the first time and, thus, might be a little nervous.
“Sometimes I think we who do this for living lose sight of that,” Judge Brennan explained. “I want to make sure that everyone in the court room is extremely respectful to the litigants. I want them to feel they have had their day in court.”
Those who are determined to be guilty, he said, will have to be dealt
with “appropriately.” As judge he will have some flexibility in handing down fines, community service, probation and, when needed, the length of jail sentences.
The town’s court is also beginning to see cases evolving from Westfield’s new exterior property maintenance code or people who are not having their garbage collected as required under law.
“The key (as a judge) is being open minded, objective and above all else to try to reach a just determination on every case,” Judge Brennan emphasized.
He said all witnesses, whether it be police officers or the defendants, will be judged as to their credibility in each case. Judge Brennan noted that it is important for a judge not to have any “preconceived notions” regarding a particular witness or case.
Judge Brennan thanked all those town officials who have assisted him in his transition to the bench, especially Judge Jeffrey M. Gechtman who has filled the judge vacancy since September 1997, when Ms. Mogielnicki resigned.
Mayor Jardim was unsuccessful in getting Judge Gechtman approved as the permanent judge a little over a year ago. The Republicanled council defeated the appointment. Mr. Gechtman, thus, continued to serve in an acting capacity.
“He has been superb and so generous with his time and his advice and that was especially important to me,” Judge Brennan said.
Prior to Judge Mogielnicki, Edward J. Hobbie had set on the bench for 14 years prior to not being reappointed by Mayor Jardim and the council in 1997.
“The position has had a rough stretch,” admitted Judge Brennan.
Union County Superior Court Judge Edward W. Beglin, Jr., a resident of Westfield, administered the oath to the new town judge.
Noting the “excellent” judges in municipal court throughout Union County, Judge Beglin said Mr. Brennan will have the support of his judicial colleagues.
Westfield First Ward Councilman Carl A. Salisbury added that the new judge will “make a terrific judge and great leader of the court.”
“Hopefully, my term will be successful. It certainly will not be from lack of effort,” Judge Brennan concluded.
William L. Brennan Begins Tenure on Westfield Bench
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
lum and adoption of a new family life curriculum in 1998, as well as the 1994 rejection of a bond referendum and overwhelming adoption of the 1998 referendum.
Vital curriculum changes, new uptodate policies, opportunities for staff development, technological advancements, and budget support and preparation were some of the other highlights of her years on the board, Mrs. Jacobson noted.
“Probably the most important event in which I participated during my tenure on this board was hiring our new superintendent. I am very proud that it was during my presidency, the board saw the wisdom in hiring Bill Foley. I would like to think that this is my legacy to our community,” she reflected.
Mrs. Jacobson said she will not seek reelection “because it is time for new people to have an opportunity to serve.” She observed that there are members of the community who are “remarkable
people” and deserve a chance to serve on the board.
Before receiving a hearty standing ovation, Mrs. Jacobson stated, “I now ask my fellow board members to keep working to find the right answers and do not be afraid to ask the hard questions. Realize that being part of a team means success only if you are willing to be team players.
“This is an exceptional board and I am confident that you will continue your efforts to keep Westfield schools a source of pride for our community,” she said.
From 1992 to 1993, Mrs. Jacobson served the board as Vice President. She was reelected to serve in the same capacity from 1993 to 1994, and from 1994 to 1995.
She was elected as President of the Westfield Board of Education for 19951996, and was reelected to serve in the same position from 1996 to 1997 and from 1997 to 1998.
Mrs. Jacobson is currently the Chairwoman for the board’s Budget and Finance Committee. She is also a member of the LongRange Planning Committee and the Town Relations Committee, and serves as an alternate for the Curriculum, Instruction and Programs Committee.
She additionally is a Liaison for the Union County School Boards and the Tamaques Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization.
“When I ran for my first term, I was ballot number eight in a field of 13 candidates,” recalled Mrs. Jacobson. “As you can see, nothing is impossible.”
By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
During Tuesday’s meeting of the Westfield Board of Education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. William J. Foley expressed his discomfort and concern regarding the Core Content Curriculum Standards which were adopted by the State Board of Education in May of 1996.
These standards, which are currently being contested by the majority of local school districts in New Jersey, would encompass workplace readiness, visual and performing arts, comprehensive health and physical education, language arts literacy, mathematics, science, social studies and world languages, and would serve as the foundation for curriculum, instruction and assessment in the state.
The state has proposed that fourthgrade students be assessed by the Elementary School Proficiency Assessment. Eighth graders would be evaluated by the Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment, and students in the 11th grade would be tested by the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA).
These tests or evaluations would officially replace specific credit and course requirements, and high school students would be required to pass all parts of the HSPA in order to graduate.
Dr. Foley added that state testing, which has occurred since the early 1980s, has not truly challenged Westfield students.
According to the Superintendent, the annual report from the Federal Department of Education reported that schools in states such as Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa with no state testing compare favorably with Japan and Singapore. He added that states in the south which have elaborate testing programs have low ratings.
Westfield High School Principal, Dr. Robert G. Petix, stated that many students will be able to test out of courses with the state tests.
“I think it (the high school) is going to be less of a place of learning than it is now,” Dr. Petix noted. “We are experimenting with the education of our students. Diplomas will be regarded with less respect.”
He stated that he believes the state’s standards are creating “a minimalist education.”
“I think it is a disaster. It will have a major impact on Westfield,” Dr. Petix argued.
The state has also mandated CrossContent Workplace Readiness Standards which would help students develop career planning and workplace readiness skills; use technology and information; apply critical thinking, decisionmaking and problemsolving skills; utilize safety principles, and demonstrate selfmanagement skills.
Regarding these standards, Dr. Foley stated, “They seem pleasant enough, not controversial. They seem reasonable.”
However, the Superintendent is concerned about how these standards were constructed and developed by the state. He believes that the technological aspect of the standards “should support what the schools are doing academically.”
Dr. Foley also stressed that the critical thinking skills and decisionmaking skills are already included in the current curriculum. Regarding the term “selfmanagement skills,” he expressed confusion about whether this refers to career skills or life skills for students.
“It (the standards) sounds like a good idea. But, I worry. What might be good for some school districts may not be good for Westfield,” Dr. Foley explained.
“These standards are the coin of the realm. They will determine who graduates and on what basis,” he said. He questioned if the standards are “good enough,” as they would require more resources, an increase in instructors, and greater commitment of time and resources.”
Dr. Foley stated, “These standards, I think, are not totally illconceived. But, I am concerned about what will happen in Westfield as these standards begin to take control.”
School board member Ginger L. Hardwick observed that New Jersey exports mores students to colleges and universities than any other state. She believes that the Westfield school district is being penalized for the “exceptional education” it provides.
She noted that the standards will “force the board to make cuts at the high school.”
Board member Susan L. Jacobson asked Assemblyman Richard H. Bagger, who attended the meeting, to help the board fight to keep education important, instead of swaying toward “mediocrity.”
“I keep seeing methodology squeeze districts like Westfield to become average,”
she stated. She implored Assemblyman Bagger to not allow graduating students to become “robots,” without knowledge of great books and history.
Assemblyman Bagger applauded the board’s leadership in investigating and analyzing the state’s standards. “We need a district like Westfield to work closely with to establish standards.”
He revealed that he would work with the board to establish standards that “won’t impede excellent things” in the Westfield community.
Assemblyman Bagger added that the state’s mandated SchooltoWork Initiative may not be as much of a concern or issue for the board, saying it will most likely be vetoed or abolished.
However, the board considered proposed language to express its formal opposition to the initiative.
As proposed by the state, the initiative would obligate school districts to develop and execute a career planning process. Students would be required to select a career major based upon their preparation and education prior to the 11th grade.
Finally, students would be instructed to dedicate one day per week to a volunteer activity, community service or employment opportunity during the 11th and 12th grades.
This mandate would also make school districts solely responsible for student safety and welfare at a work site. The district would additionally be required to furnish transportation to and from the student’s place of employment.
Board members stated that they would like to develop stronger language to express their opposition, and include a paragraph in their resolution stating their intention to contact Governor Christine Todd Whitman, State Commissioner of Education Leo Klagholz, the State Board of Education, the New Jersey School Boards Association, parent support groups, and other officials with their concerns.
The school board will also analyze a resolution to oppose the state’s proposal to eliminate four years of English, three years of mathematics, one credit in world history, two years of natural or physical science, and one year of fine arts. These courses would be replaced by a single state test – the HSPA.
The proposal would also mandate that special education students who meet the requirements of their IEP (Individual Education Program), but fail to pass the HSPA, receive an annotated diploma indicating that “the student has met alternate graduation requirements, including alternate levels of achievement as individually determined and established in the student’s IEP.”
The board will discuss formal language to construct resolutions for opposition to these standards at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, January 19.
Concerned citizens may express their views to the New Jersey Board of Education (NJBOE) on January 19 from 6: 30 to 8: 30 p. m. at Hunterdon Central High School, or on Thursday, January 28, from 6: 30 to 8: 30 p. m. at Atlantic County VocationalTechnical School in Mays Landing.
Those who would like to deliver a speech to the NJBOE must submit a formal written copy of their speech prior to each meeting.
Further information may be obtained by calling (609) 6250004.
Susan Jacobson Will Not Seek Reelection to BOE
Vanderbilt University Announces Dean’s List
WESTFIELD – Elizabeth Ann Mlynarczyk and Michael L. Fisher, both of Westfield, were recently named to the Fall 1998 Dean’s List at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.
To qualify, students must have a grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale for the semester.
Elizabeth Ann is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Peter J. Mlynarczyk.
Michael is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Steven D. Fisher.
Piano Keyboard Organ Accordion Strings Woodwinds Brass Voice Guitar Drums
Lessons for the Learning Disabled
Kindermusik classes for ages 2 to 7
Riverwalk Plaza 34 Ridgedale Avenue East Hanover, NJ 07936 (973) 4280405
281 Main Street Millburn, NJ 07041