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Reflections: Partners in Student Achievement

October 6th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

 WORKSHOP: ”…intensive educational program…that focuses especially on techniques and skills in a particular field
(http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/workshop)  © 2015 Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

From October 27 through 29, the “particular field” will be school governance and the “intensive educational program,” Workshop 2015. This year’s event will provide an unparalleled training experience for local school board members, their administrative teams, and other key personnel.

The real beneficiaries, however, will be our students. Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: A Year of Promise

September 1st, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

September 1, 2015

With every new season comes a sense of promise. You see it at training camp for the football team, pre-season practice for the soccer team, and cross-country training.

The same is certainly true of our academic programs. Set aside the “butterflies in the tummies” of kindergartners, and a new school year rings with enthusiasm. Each teacher puts his or her best foot forward; the superintendent and administrative team are excited to see the plans developed for the new year go into effect; parents hope and believe that their children will grow academically and emotionally; and our students are at their best—ready to learn and to begin a new journey with past experiences no encumbrance.

Welcome to the new school year!

Off and on for the past several decades, we’ve heard from the “faultfinders,” with their Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: Good News from Washington (It’s True!)

July 23rd, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

For education, summer is normally downtime for news. Earlier this month, however, developments in Washington provided an exception, and a positive one.

After more than a decade, both houses of Congress approved versions of legislation to reauthorize the nation’s education law, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The reauthorization legislation will replace the current version of ESEA, “No Child Left Behind,” Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: Appreciating the Work of Our Teachers

May 8th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Comparisons between K-12 education and business have to be viewed cautiously. Business and education are very different types of enterprises. But in at least one significant way, they are similar: The quality of personnel is of greatest importance in both sectors.

No matter how sophisticated or extensive a school district’s resources or how carefully developed its policies, without the skill and commitment Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: The Evolving Role of Parents

April 28th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

During my early years as a school district superintendent, a mother came into my office with a request: “My daughter is blind – blind from birth. And I would like her to attend school in a general education setting.”

Well, the child study team told me there was no way Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: An Update on Pension Reform

April 14th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

In Sunday’s Star-Ledger, correspondent Samantha Marcus reported that the state’s Pension and Health Benefit Reform Commission has entered phase 2 of its work— Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: Art for Our Students’ Sake

April 6th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Two major issues have been on our minds recently: PARCC and Pension Reform. NJSBA has been addressing these topics and will continue to do so. But for this installment of my Reflections column, I want to take a momentary break from these issues and address another educational subject, one that is close Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: Collaboration Benefits Student Achievement

March 18th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

It is a concept that even the youngest students learn, starting in kindergarten: Work together and you accomplish more.

Research by a Rutgers University professor shows that, in school districts where union and management work collaboratively, where there are formal processes such as site-based decision-making, leadership teams, and joint learning opportunities, students achieve at higher levels. And these findings apply to school districts across the economic strata, Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: The Future of Pensions, Our State and Our Schools

March 9th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Last week, when Governor Christie devoted almost his entire budget message to pension reform, he was not exaggerating the importance of the issue. The public employee pension system can and will affect New Jersey’s economic health and the quality of life. The pension system impacts everything from the state’s ability to finance needed public works projects to its annual budget, including state aid to education, and consequently, the operation of public school districts.

What the governor placed on the table, “A Roadmap to Resolution,” the report of the New Jersey Pension and Health Benefit Study Commission, is Read the rest of this entry »

Reflections: Showcasing Your District’s Best Practices

January 15th, 2015

By Dr. Larry Feinsod

Last night, I had the privilege of participating in a meeting of several NJSBA past presidents along with our current leaders. The board of education experience in the room spanned almost 50 years. The advice and guidance of the former presidents was impressive. In a technical sense, by drawing on their vast experience, the former presidents shared “best practices.”

Indeed, experience is often the best teacher…and it doesn’t have to be your own. This brings me to my next point.

Nearly every board member, superintendent, and business administrator can point to a program, practice or initiative in his or her school district that is successful and from which their colleagues throughout the state can benefit. We see that at our annual Workshop, in the new Sustainable Jersey for Schools program, and many other venues.

Now, NJSBA is launching a new initiative, A+ Ideas, Programs and Practices, which is a unique opportunity Read the rest of this entry »