East Brunswick Public Schools

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East Brunswick Public Schools
Type and location
Grades K-12
Address 760 Route 18
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
District information
Superintendent Dr. Victor Valeski
Business administrator Bernardo Giuliana
Schools 11
Students and staff
Enrollment 8,320 (as of 2011-12)[1]
Faculty 633.5 FTEs
Student-teacher ratio 13.13:1
Other information
District Factor Group I
Website http://www.ebnet.org
Ind. Per Pupil District
Spending
Rank
(*)
K-12
Average
 %± vs.
Average
1A Total Spending $19,169 64 $18,891 1.5%
1 Budgetary Cost 14,029 42 14,783 -5.1%
2 Classroom Instruction 8,447 40 8,763 -3.6%
6 Support Services 2,356 54 2,392 -1.5%
8 Administrative Cost 1,432 49 1,485 -3.6%
10 Operations & Maintenance 1,600 48 1,783 -10.3%
13 Extracurricular Activities 154 16 268 -42.5%
16 Median Teacher Salary 62,675 37 64,043
Data from NJDoE 2014 Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending.[2]
*Of K-12 districts with more than 3,500 students. Lowest spending=1; Highest=103

East Brunswick Public Schools is a comprehensive community public school district serving students from Kindergarten through twelfth grade in East Brunswick, in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States.

As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's 11 schools had an enrollment of 8,320 students and 633.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.13:1.[1]

The district is classified by the New Jersey Department of Education as being in District Factor Group "I", the second-highest of eight groupings. District Factor Groups organize districts statewide to allow comparison by common socioeconomic characteristics of the local districts. From lowest socioeconomic status to highest, the categories are A, B, CD, DE, FG, GH, I and J.[3]

Awards and recognition[edit]

East Brunswick is the only district in the State of New Jersey having eleven schools designated Blue Ribbon School / National School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education.[4] Schools that have been recognized as Blue Ribbon Schools are Irwin School (1989–90), East Brunswick High School (1990–91), Lawrence Brook School (1991–92), Churchill Junior High School (1994–95), Hammarskjold Middle School (1994–95), Bowne-Munro School (1996–97), Murray A. Chittick Elementary School (1998–99), Warnsdorfer Elementary School (2000–01), Frost Elementary School (2010–11), Central Elementary School (2011–12), and Memorial Elementary School (2012–13).[5]

The district was selected as one of the top "100 Best Communities for Music Education in America 2005" by the American Music Conference.[6]

Students from all schools, particularly EBHS, have garnered state and national honors in academics, athletics, and the arts.

Superintendent of Schools[edit]

The Superintendent is Victor Valeski, whose planned appointment was announced by the East Brunswick Board of Education on March 2014, and became effective July 1, 2014.

Superintendent of Schools Jon Kopko served from 1989 through 2000. Superintendent of Schools Jamie Savedoff served from July 2000 through March 2003. Superintendent of Schools Jo Ann Magistro served from 2003 through 2013. Interim Superintendent of Schools Patrick Piegari served from 2013 through 2014.

Board of education[edit]

The East Brunswick Board of Education has nine elected members. Every year, on election day in November, three of the nine members are elected to serve a three-year term of office. The Board meets approximately twice a month from April through February and weekly in March. Board members also serve as members of and chair individual committees in addition to regular meetings.

Current Board of Education Members include Dr. Brad Cohen-President, Holly Howard-Vice President, Vicki Becker, Susanna Chiu, Laurie Lachs, Kevin McEvoy, Curt Philipczak, Meredith Shaw and Todd Simmens.

School facilities[edit]

East Brunswick Public Schools' facilities consists of 11 school facilities and one administration building; in addition, the East Brunswick Public Library serves as a repository for public examination of all curricula as well as serving as an important education-related resource for the community. Schools in the district (with 2013-14 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[7]) are:[8][9]

Elementary schools (K-5)
  • Bowne-Munro Elementary School[10] (212 students)
  • Central Elementary School[11] (426)
  • Murray A. Chittick Elementary School[12] (453)
  • Robert Frost Elementary School[13] (423)
  • Irwin Elementary School[14] (459)
  • Lawrence Brook Elementary School[15] (426)
  • Memorial Elementary School[16] (499)
  • Warnsdorfer Elementary School[17] (440)

As a rule, students in grades 1 through 5 attend the elementary school closest to them.

Middle schools
High school
  • East Brunswick High School[20] serves grades 10-12 (2,238). The flagship school of the district located on a hill at the intersections of Cranbury and Summerhill Roads.
Jon R. Kopko Administration Building
  • The East Brunswick Public Schools Administration, renamed in honor of long-time Superintendent of Schools Jon R. Kopko upon his retirement in 2000, is situated at 760 Route 18 North. Government-access television Board of Education meetings are held in the Administration building and are televised by EBTV to Comcast Cable TV subscribers within the Township.

Expansion[edit]

In 10 years 1994 through 2004, the number of students served by East Brunswick Public Schools grew by 1,850 students, the equivalent of 60 to 75 new classrooms (on the basis of 25 to 30 students each), reflecting the population growth in East Brunswick as a whole. This growth led to overcrowding at elementary schools, necessitated busing to transport students to schools when there was no existing facility near their home and required the use of trailers at the Middle School to accommodate the influx of students. With additional property zoned for residential use, school population was expected to grow in the years ahead.

In the State of New Jersey, schools are funded primarily by property taxes, which increased at a rate of 7% annually from 2000 to 2007. Rapid rises in property taxes tend to cause seniors and empty-nesters to sell their existing homes to families with children, which led to further increases to the school-age population.

In December 2004 following a public campaign in its support, voters approved a $106.1 million referendum for the additions and improvements at Central, Lawrence Brook, and Hammarskjold Middle Schools.[21] Previous bond referenda in 1994 and 1995 had failed to obtain voter approval. For 2004, an additional ca. $54 million believed necessary for renovations at other East Brunswick School facilities (which would have brought the total to $160 million) was deferred.

Of this sum, $24.7 million was to be contributed by the State of New Jersey. The rebuilding of Hammarskjold Middle School was planned to cost $66.5 million, of which $12.3 million was to have come from the State. Central School renovation and expansion were planned to cost ca. $20.7 million, of which $6.4 million was to have come from the State. Lawrence Brook School renovation and expansion were expected to cost ca. $19 million, of which ca. $6 million was to have come from the State.

Decommissioned facilities[edit]

Several older prewar school facilities in East Brunswick have been decommissioned. They date from the period before the rapid expansion of East Brunswick in the 1960s and provide a glimpse of how the Township appeared before the burgeoning residential build-outs of the 1950s and, on minimum-1/3 acre plots, of the 1960s. Each of the latter phases of development is readily visible upon driving through the Township. The few prewar school structures that remain are readily identifiable as red-brick, two-story buildings and several still stand. Extant structures are The McGinnis School (Dunhams Corner Road and Hardenburg Lane) and The Weber School (Riva Avenue and Hardenburg Lane – now sold). The McGinnis School, last utilized for instructional purposes in 1977-78, was opened in 1926. In April 2007 Mayor William Neary was quoted as stating the Township would accept no less than $260,000 for the facility. It was announced in January 2015 that on January 25, 2015, the building would be demolished. The property has been purchased by Torah Links of Middlesex County. They are set to build a new facility there in the coming months.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Anne Milgram, Attorney General of the State of New Jersey
  • Josh Miller, CFL and NFL player, most notably a punter with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots
  • Heather O'Reilly, professional soccer player, US Women's National Soccer team member, 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist, 2-Time NCAA Women's Soccer champion at the University of North Carolina
  • Dave Wohl, former NBA player with several teams including the 76ers and Nets, NBA assistant and head coach, and currently employed as an assistant GM with the Boston Celtics.
  • Michael Barkann, an award winning sports host, anchor and reporter for Comcast SportsNet (Philadelphia) and The USA Network.
  • Jesse Eisenberg, an award-winning actor who starred in movies such as The Social Network, The Squid and the Whale, and Rio

Football coach prayer controversy[edit]

On October 7, 2005, shortly after being informed by Superintendent of Schools Jo Ann Magistro that he would not be permitted to join his football team in prayer as he had done in the past and that some parents had complained about the prayers, East Brunswick High School coach Marcus Borden resigned from his position.[22] Borden, also a tenured Spanish teacher,[23] had by then had a 23-year career with East Brunswick Public Schools. District spokeswoman Trish LaDuca told the East Brunswick newspaper Home News Tribune that "[a] representative of the school district cannot constitutionally initiate prayer, encourage it or lead it."[22] The East Brunswick football team lost its game in a shutout on the day Borden resigned. Following Borden's resignation, nearly 100 players, parents, and coaches arrived at his house on a rainy day pleading for his return. Borden agreed and received pro bono legal representation the next week.[24] He filed a lawsuit against the district on November 23 that year alleging that it was violating his constitutional rights; lawyer Ronald Riccio represented Borden.[25]

Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh of the United States District Court for New Jersey ruled in July 2006 that Borden could bow his head and bend his knee when the team captains (i.e., students) lead the players in prayer.[26] However, this decision was overturned on April 15, 2008 by a unanimous decision in the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in which Judge D. Michael Fisher concluded that "a reasonable observer would conclude that he is continuing to endorse religion when he bows his head during the pre-meal grace and takes a knee with his team in the locker room while they pray."[27]

Special education[edit]

Special education is a key component of the education provided by East Brunswick Public Schools to eligible students.

East Brunswick Public Schools provides such services in compliance with the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and related State of New Jersey Statutes. Accordingly each eligible student is educated in a least restrictive environment (LRE) according to an individualized education plan (IEP) drafted by his or her child study team (CST) consisting of school personnel and parents. Eligibility determinations are made every three years. Special services may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, educational aides, and other services as appropriate and called for. A Director of Special Education, currently Sharon Weber-Oleszkiewicz, manages East Brunswick Public Schools' program of providing special services. At the district level, the Director is supported by a Supervisor of Elementary School Special Education, a Supervisor of Secondary School Special Education, and a Supervisor of Autism Spectrum Program.

Special education is supported at the schools by individual professionals including specialists (math, reading, and speech), special education teachers, teacher resource personnel, teacher aides, and child study team personnel (a category which may include psychologists, learning disabled teaching consultants, and social workers). These individuals come into direct contact with those students who require special services.

Students receiving special services may be eligible for participation in an extended school year (ESY) program by which they attend instructional classes during the summer.

Pre-school and kindergarten students eligible for special education services receive instruction from an early age and full-time kindergarten (conventionally, East Brunswick Public Schools offers only half-day kindergarten).

There are multiple resources and support groups available to parents of disabled children. For example, the State of New Jersey operates the Division of Developmental Disabilities. The East Brunswick Special Education PTA (SEPTA) offers a valuable website. Another organization of value for those interested in autism-spectrum disorder is COSAC (Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community), and yet another is ASPEN (Asperger's Syndrome Education Network).

Individualized Education Program (IEP) process[edit]

East Brunswick Public Schools has a commitment to special education.

The processes mandated by IDEA, while saving the educational lives of many affected students, also pose many challenges to educators and parents. The IEP process can be lengthy. A child requiring special services needs a substantial investment in time on the part of the parents, the child's greatest advocate. Parents need to consider outside evaluations and consult with others. Parents may refer to the published curricula made available by East Brunswick Public Schools at The East Brunswick Public Library. East Brunswick Public Schools uses "leveled reading" terminology to specify reading skills. Leveling schemes are highly technical. One scheme by which, e.g., "Level J" is an end-of-first-grade reading level, is the Fountas and Pinnell "Benchmark Assessment" System. Achieving a properly defined plan, it is important to conduct a full and proper evaluation. The individualized aspect of the IEP is critical.

Educating a special needs child is a project. Project planning is a discipline in industry and government. It can be challenging to provide the ongoing monitoring of progress and support of course-correction activity that is required to provision a high-quality planned educational program to eligible students.

It is the that IDEA guarantees the services needed by special students. It is wise for parents to familiarize themselves with relevant portions of the IDEA text. Alternatively one may team with an advocate who can, potentially, attend the IEP meetings with parents.

Administration[edit]

Core members of the district's administration are:[28][29]

  • Dr. Victor Valeski, Superintendent[30]
  • Dr. Evelyn Ogden, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Assessment
  • Louis Figueroa, Assistant Superintendent of Student Activities/Services
  • Bernardo Giuliana, Business Administrator
  • Beth Warren, Director of Special Projects & Community Relations
  • Danielle Ruggiero, Director of Human Resources
  • Debra Gulick, Director of Staff Development, Evaluation and Support
  • Sharon Weber-Oleszkiewicz, Director of Special Education

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b District information for East Brunswick Township School District, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  2. ^ Taxpayers' Guide to Education Spending April 2013, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed April 15, 2013.
  3. ^ NJ Department of Education District Factor Groups (DFG) for School Districts, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed December 7, 2009.
  4. ^ Awards and Accomplishments, accessed May 23, 2006[dead link]
  5. ^ Blue Ribbon Schools Program: Schools Recognized 1982-1983 through 1999-2002 (PDF), United States Department of Education. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  6. ^ Best 100 (101!) Communities for Music Education in America, 2005, accessed December 12, 2006
  7. ^ School Data for the East Brunswick Public Schools, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed August 19, 2014, 2011.
  8. ^ Schools, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  9. ^ New Jersey School Directory for the East Brunswick Public Schools, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  10. ^ Bowne-Munro Elementary School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  11. ^ Central Elementary School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  12. ^ Murray A. Chittick Elementary School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  13. ^ Robert Frost Elementary School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  14. ^ Irwin Elementary School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  15. ^ Lawrence Brook Elementary School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  16. ^ Memorial Elementary School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  17. ^ Warnsdorfer Elementary School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  18. ^ Hammarskjold Middle School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  19. ^ Churchill Junior High School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  20. ^ East Brunswick High School, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  21. ^ Staff. "Referendum’s approval in E.B.’s best interest", East Brunswick Sentinel, December 9, 2004. Accessed November 22, 2011. "The $106.1 million project that is on the ballot would provide a new, larger Hammarskjold building, and more classrooms at the Lawrence Brook and Central elementary schools.... Local taxpayers’ share of the cost, at $81.4 million, is a lot to swallow. And it does arrive on the heels of some lofty school tax increases to support the operating budget and recent construction projects that relieved overcrowding at the junior high and high school levels.... Enrollment has increased by nearly 1,000 students at the K-7 level since the mid-1990s; class sizes range from 25 to 30 depending on the grade level; and many of the schools, at 40 to 50 years old, need renovating.
  22. ^ a b via Associated Press. "Coach resigns after high school bans pregame prayer", ESPN, October 11, 2005. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  23. ^ McKenzie, Doug. " EBHS coach’s resignation sparks nationwide debate; Borden steps down after being told not to pray with his team", East Brunswick Sentinel, October 13, 2005. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  24. ^ Grossfeld, Stan. "An issue of fair pray", The Boston Globe, November 7, 2006. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  25. ^ Schmidt, Michael S. "Coach Sues Over Right to Pray With Team", The New York Times, November 23, 2005. Accessed August 19, 2014. "The East Brunswick High School football coach who was barred by his school district in New Jersey from praying alongside his players has filed a lawsuit alleging that the district's action infringed on his constitutional rights."
  26. ^ Finley, Bill. "Coach Is Allowed to Pray With Team", The New York Times, July 27, 2006. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  27. ^ Kelley, Tina. "Coach in New Jersey Cannot Pray With Players", The New York Times, April 16, 2008. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  28. ^ Central Office Administration, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  29. ^ New Jersey School Directory for Middlesex County, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed August 19, 2014.
  30. ^ Superintendent's Message, East Brunswick Public Schools. Accessed August 19, 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°25′26″N 74°22′44″W / 40.423893°N 74.379025°W / 40.423893; -74.379025