June 21, 2012

School, BOE: Chaperones Allegedly Partied on Fifth-Grade Trip

The Verona School Board said it will tighten its rules about chaperoning class trips after a group of fathers supposedly held a party in a cabin during a fifth grade camping trip.

H.B. Whitehorne Middle School Principal Yvette McNeal emailed details of the incident in a letter to parents of all fifth graders earlier in the week. Additional details were learned at Tuesday night’s meeting, including information the fathers, who were supposed to be chaperoning the 10 boys, left them without a chaperone while they lit fires and drank alcohol at another cabin during a five-hour party.

June 12, 2012

Verona Township and BOE Perfect Together

The Verona Township Council and Verona Board of Education commended each other for their unique working relationship at last night’s joint meeting at the Verona Community Center.

“Most towns do not have the kind of relationship we have in Verona,” stressed board of education President John Quattrocchi, who presented a review of the relationship and the benefits the community receives as a result.

In most towns the council and the board of education operate in complete isolation, he asserted, whereas in Verona the two overlap.

April 16, 2012

Verona High School to offer College Courses

Starting this summer, high school students from Verona and surrounding towns can enroll in one of three college-level courses being offered by the district.

For the first time this year the district is bringing the Summer Enrichment Academy (V-SEA)program to the high school where students in 10th through 12th grades have the opportunity to not only take challenging courses, but also to earn college credits.

Through partnerships with area colleges, the high school will offer a history course, an English course and a culinary course, all of which can be taken for high school credit, college credit or both with the program’s duel enrollment option. And the best part is students can get a college education not to mention credit at a fraction of the price it would cost on a college campus.

March 28, 2012

Final Budget Presented for Verona Schools

Tuesday night, Verona Schools Superintendent Steven Forte presented the final $32.865 million 2012-13 school budget at the district’s board of education meeting.

The budget represents a 2.37 percent increase, or $248,347, over the current budget, Forte said, which will be used to maintain existing staff and academic programs, fund curricular enhancements, support strategic goals and address some needed facility repairs.

March 28, 2012

Verona Superintendent Hosts Forum on Schools

At last night’s forum held at H.B.Whitehorne Middle School, Superintendent Steven Forte lauded the district’s accomplishments, presented the school board’s budget and offered his vision for the future.

Forte began the evening by recognizing Verona High School’s impressive ranking, 53, out of 322 high schools in the state, and touting the district’s award-winning music program and comprehensive world language program. He noted these factors contribute to a well-rounded individual, which is a quality not reflected in standardized test scores.

Forte was also pleased with the significant rise in the number of students enrolled in advanced placement courses this year. Students in the program now number 260 up from 180 last year, he said.

While Forte seemed impressed with the schools’ achievements thus far, he is not one to remain content for long.

March 13, 2012

Verona School District’s Next Challenge: After-Care

Verona School District Superintendent Steven Forte considers himself a “very competitive person,” something that makes any undertaking he’s involved with a personal challenge.

Forte’s next challenge is looking into the possibility of moving the district’s current after-care program now run by the Montclair YMCA under the control of the district, something he believes the district can run better and maybe even turn a profit.

In the short time Forte has been at his post he has taken on the issue of extended kindergarten, arranged for college courses to be taught at the high school, sought to overhaul the district’s technological infrastructure and is now contemplating taking control of the after-care program.

Up to the challenge

These issues, rather than appear daunting to Forte, pose challenges, and he seems up for it.

March 1, 2012

Verona School Board Avoids Cuts to School Instruction With New State Aid

The last time the Verona Board of Education met, Vice President Joseph Bellino observed they were looking at “dire cuts.”

But last night he told the board state aid figures release last week will provide the district with an additional $222,523 for the 2012-2013 budget.

“We will not have to make the proposed cuts,” Bellino stressed. “We are grateful we don’t have to go through with them.”

While $186,300 still remained to be slashed from the budget, Bellino noted the reduced spending will not impact the schools or the student body. He explained the district found savings, totaling the amount of spending cuts needed, in insurance costs, teacher retirement and moving the school board elections to November.

But programs previously suggested for the chopping block have only been granted a temporary reprieve.

October 24, 2011

Child’s Self-Control Plays a Role in Future Success

It turns out, everything you need to know to be successful in life you learn in preschool. I heard that on NPR the other day. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed for me. I flunked out of preschool. I couldn’t hack it. I cried all day until the teachers called my mom to pick me up.

But for the next generation, this is good news. Just about every kid today spends at least a little time in preschool before graduating on to kindergarten. And, it is at that tender age their future success can be determined according to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, conducted by a team of researchers who tracked a group of 1,000 people from birth until age 32, found a relationship between the level of self-discipline demonstrated at an early age and troubles later in life. In fact, preschoolers who struggled with self-control were more likely to have a criminal record, more likely to be poor or have financial problems and more likely to be single parents.

October 5, 2011

Best-Selling Author and Educator to Speak at Montclair Co-op

This Thursday, October 6, the Montclair Cooperative School will host best-selling author of “Queen Bees and Wannabes” Rosalind Wiseman at its first free community event of the academic year. Wiseman, an internationally recognized expert on children, teens, parenting, bullying and ethical leadership, will speak on Navigating the New Realities of Girl World and Boy World.

With the recent release of the fully revised and updated edition of her original ground breaking book, Wiseman addresses the massive transformations in the adolescent landscape over the last several years. Her original book unveiled the realities of teen life from frenemies to bullying and formed the basis for the movie “Mean Girls.” The new edition investigates how changes in technology and media have impacted that reality.

September 14, 2011

The Boy Crisis

Dr. Warren Farrell hugs Dean Ada Beth Cutler calling her "the dean of mothers and the mother of deans."

Many might be unaware of the boy crisis in America, but Montclair State University alumnus Dr. Warren Farrell is determined to change that. As Chair of the Commission to Create a White House Council on Boys to Men, he is looking to bring the nation’s attention to this quiet crisis.

Last week he returned to his alma mater to discuss the troubling topic as part of the lecture series presented by the College of Education and Human Services.

Dean Ada Beth Cutler opened the lecture, “Boys to Men: Transforming the Boy Crisis into a Boy Opportunity,” by introducing Farrell as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders. He’s been named such by the Financial Times as well as been featured repeatedly in ForbesThe New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal and on such programs as “Oprah” and “Larry King Live.” He has authored many books including two award-winning, international best-sellers, “Why Men are the Way They Are” and “The Myth of Male Power, and currently, he is co-authoring the book, “The Boy Crisis,” with John Gray, author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”

“His work is considered provocative, controversial, thoughtful and engaging,” Cutler announced before turning the floor over to Farrell.

“I’m going to start out in the provocative mode,” Farrell laughed. But he then went on to reveal some startling statistics and discuss the historical socialization of men, which he said has left them unprepared for and ill-equipped to deal with changes in the modern world.