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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This article originally appeared on NJEA.org
The Assembly today overwhelmingly passed A-3801, a bill to slow down and study the implementation of PARCC, Common Core and the new educator evaluation system.  The bill, which passed 72-4 with one abstention, calls for the establishment of a task force to study those three related issues and to ensure that they are implemented correctly.
NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer hailed the vote.  “The support for this bill from both sides of the aisle indicates just how serious the issues with rushed implementation are.  We have been calling for a smarter approach for months.  This bill would allow the New Jersey Department of Education to slow down and correct the problems that have emerged as we have tried to implement all of these major changes simultaneously.  We urge the Senate to follow suit quickly, and urge Gov. Christie to sign the bill into law.”
The Senate version of the bill, S-2154, is scheduled to be heard for discussion only by the Senate Education Committee this Thursday, June 19. NJEA urges all members to contact members of the Senate Education Committee to ask them to support the bill and send it to the full Senate for a final vote.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The NBEA Legislative Action Team (LAT) chair, Mike, is looking for people to join an LAT Committee.

If you are interested in becoming more involved in planning LAT activities in the coming school year then please email Mike @ lat@newbrunswickea.com for more information.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

It's time to Attend, Connect, and Take local action (ACT)!

The NJEA is sponsoring the current ACT initiative and all members are encouraged to participate. It is time to protect public education! The NJEA is seeking and fighting for fair implementation of new teacher evaluation systems and standardized tests, getting the state of NJ to keep its pension payment promise, and passing a responsible state budget with new revenues.

Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Attend a lobby day - Pledge to attend one of the following days:
    • June 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30
    • Meet at NJEA HQ, 180 West State Street, Trenton (Parking located in back of building on Calhoun Street)
    • Breakfast/briefing at 9:30 am followed by State House visit.
    • Please remember to wear business/professional attire for legislative meetings
  • Connect
    • On NJEA.org get updates and send a letter to you legislator
    • NJEA Mobile - Text 'UNITY' to 738674
  • Take Local Action
    • June 11 - Wear ORANGE and go to NJEA.org to send a letter to your legislators about keeping the pension promise
    • June 17 - Wear RED and go to NJEA.org to send a letter to your legislators about fair implementation of new teacher evaluation systems
    • June 24 - Wear GREEN and go to NJEA.org to send a letter to your legislators about passing a responsible budget for the state of NJ.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


Teachers at Paul Robeson Community School in New Brunswick are using the universal language of dance to open doors of communication with the school’s community. The goals of program is to provide a fitness program, develop team building skills, build confidence and encourage parental involvement. Exercise also energizes the children and enhances their brain power. This project is funded by the Frederick L. Hipp Foundation.

Congratulations to Carlotta Nortman Marini, physical education teacher, for her outstanding program and positive impact on the children of New Brunswick.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Originally Published on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 on NJEA.org

By Dr. Stefani Hite

No matter which teacher practice evaluation instrument a district is using, now is the time of year when educators are taking a look at the standard or domain dealing with Professional Responsibilities (Standard 1 in McREL, Domain 4 in Danielson, Domains 3 and 4 in Marzano, and Standard 6 in Stronge).

Causing anxiety for supervisors and teachers alike, this is the “backstage” work of teaching — very little of it can be seen when one visits a classroom to conduct a walk-through or an observation. This is an evaluation area dealing with participating in the professional community, leading and collaborating, and practicing in an ethical manner. For many years, teachers have been evaluated on these criteria in a binary fashion: satisfactory or not. Now, state legislation requires the criteria to be examined and rated on (minimally) a 4-level rubric.

The problem is most of the models for evaluation systems are rather generic when it comes to describing a teacher’s professional responsibilities. In schools where the rubrics have not been further developed to provide concrete local exemplars of effective and highly effective practice, both supervisors and teachers may be perplexed about what constitutes enough data for analysis and exactly what those data represent.

Here are a few DOs and DON’Ts for both teachers and evaluators to keep in mind:


  • DON’T make the Professional Responsibilities Standard all about the collection of lots and lots of artifacts. This leads to the “shopping bag” syndrome where teachers have so little guidance, they throw massive numbers of documents into shopping bags to bring to their end-of-year conferences. Or worse, supervisors confuse highly effective practice with enormous quantities of paper.
  • DO select several thoughtful and meaningful examples of professional responsibilities that represent a pattern of practice throughout the year and consider how they positively impact student learning experiences.
  • DON’T forget that ratings of “highly effective” shouldn’t be unattainable. Keep in mind that the rubrics for most models seek extensive practices, demonstrations of leadership, and meaningful contributions in order to achieve a highly effective rating.
  • DO keep these standards in perspective. Both “effective” and “highly effective” professional practices result in positive learning environments for students.

It’s important to keep in mind that there are a tremendous number of teachers that put forth mighty efforts on behalf of their students. When it comes time to evaluate their professionalism, those teachers’ efforts should be acknowledged and honored.

Dr. Stefani Hite is former teacher and administrator who now consults with schools, districts, learning associations, and state departments to further educational practice with a strategic focus on encouragement and support of professional growth.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Negotiations Team, along with Nancy Grbelja (NJEA UNISERV REP), met with representatives for the board on April 28, 2014. Superintendent Richard Kaplan, Mr. Jannarone, and Mr. Robert Clarke, the board's paid negotiator were present.

The meeting was scheduled to start at 4:00. The board met privately before sitting down with the NBEA at 6:00. The meeting concluded at 8:35.

The board presented the NBEA with their proposed contract changes. The meeting was productive as the board explained their proposal and rationale for their position.

An additional meeting was held on May 14, 2014. It began at 6:10 and concluded at 9:15.

In addition to those present at the April 28, 2014 meeting, Ward Bauman and Ed Marko, insurance brokers for the district were also in attendance. Melissa Vega, NBEA insurance chairperson, was also present.

Insurance plans, premiums, and coverage were discussed. The remainder of the meeting focused on discussion of the board's proposal.

The next meeting is scheduled for May 20, 2014.