CRANFORD — Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 335 were honored at the Cranford Board of Education (BOE) meeting on Monday. The board passed a unanimous resolution recognizing November 8 to 12 as Veterans’ Education Awareness Week. Veterans who attended the BOE meeting included Jay Boxwell, Post Commander William Hinkle, Jim D’Arcy, Mark Schwartz and Braulio Liranzo.
Post No. 335 was finally able to open its hall after the pandemic shutdown in early 2020, said Mr. Hinkle, allowing members to celebrate their annual Veterans Day breakfast there. Six students from Orange Avenue School in Cranford read essays at the breakfast that were “excellent and outstanding,” Mr. Hinkle said.
“We are so proud to honor and thank all military personnel that served in the U.S. armed forces,” said Superintendent Scott Rubin, Ed.D.
The board also passed a Memorandum of Agreement and Salary Guides for the Cranford Education Association (CEA) from July 2021 to June 2024. The three-year agreement raises teacher salaries 3.0 percent for 2021-2022, 3.1 percent for 2022-2023, and 3.15 percent for 2023-2024. BOE member William Hulse abstained from the vote; all other BOE members voted in favor.
Brian Niemsyk, vice president of the CEA and a member of the negotiating team, thanked board members for their partnership and their time during the negotiations. He also said the Memorandum of Agreement received “an overwhelming yes vote” from the membership. BOE member Kristin Mallon, who was a member of the board’s negotiation committee, thanked the CEA members for their efforts as well.
Dr. Rubin said the district plans to meet in early December with the referendum steering committee. He emphasized that busing will not be a part of any referendum planning, nor will any of the more controversial items that had been presented previously. The planning will be based on the results from a township-wide survey, where 71 percent of respondents supported facility enhancements such as updating science labs and modernizing library/media centers. Roughly 65 percent of respondents supported full-day kindergarten if the program could stay at neighborhood schools, Dr. Rubin added.
BOE member Nicole Sherrin-Kessler updated the board on preliminary iReady fall assessments results. “In a normal year, 90 percent of our students are on grade level, according to iReady, and it’s 87 percent this year,” she said. Ms. Kessler said the similar result is a “credit to our staff” and their work over the past 18 months.
Ms. Kessler also said there are changes in progress for certain classes and programs, which she hopes the subject supervisors will be able to present in detail at future board meetings. One change is for the Social Studies World History class, which Ms. Kessler reported has been taught with a “Euro-centric approach,” which the district is looking to expand to a more global approach.
The Honors Senior Seminar for English/Language Arts will move to a more personalized approach, where students will have more choice to “own their own learning,” which is something students have asked for, added Ms. Kessler. There also is a partnership with Rutgers that will allow students to get college credit for an expository-writing class. Students will be allowed to see their grades before deciding if they want to pay for the college credits, “which is such a cool thing,” said Ms. Kessler. It was a sentiment that was echoed by the board’s high-school student liaison, Gianna Pantastico.