At its April meeting, the State Board of Education took action and heard updates on the following:

  • Career and Technical Education (CTE) Endorsement—The State Board discussed proposed amendments to address the limited availability of CTE teachers and how the restrictive eligibility requirements for the endorsement under the current rules also impacts current New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) initiatives. The department has set aggressive goals to increase the number of CTE programs, particularly in identified in-demand industries. Additionally, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development is working on initiatives that will result in a significant increase in the demand for CTE teachers during the next five years. An increased demand on the already limited supply of CTE teachers in the state poses a CTE program crisis, which could force school districts to close more CTE programs due to a lack of certified teachers. The proposed amendments will offer more flexibility for candidates for the CTE endorsement, which will result in an increased pool of candidates while maintaining the high-quality professional standards for educators and ensuring that educators are well prepared to teach and lead in the classroom. The department anticipates that the proposed amendments will increase equity of access to CTE programs and educational programs and opportunities for students interested in vocational-technical career paths, and contribute to the expansion of the state’s economy.
  • Sick Leave for Private Schools for Students with Disabilities—The State Board approved regulations concerning sick leave at approved private schools for students with disabilities. Under the current regulations, payments for unused sick leave in excess of 1 % of the individual employee’s contracted salary amount during the fiscal year in which the payments are made are deemed non-allowable costs. Based on a 35-hour workweek, 1 % of current salary equates to 18.2 hours of earned unused sick time, so the current rule does not provide the same level of flexibility to employers as the new sick leave law passed in October 2018. Therefore, the department proposes to amend the percent set forth in the regulations to 2.2 % of the individual employee’s contracted salary amount, which equates to approximately 40 hours for an employee working a 35-hour workweek.
  • Updates to NJQSAC –The State Board approved amendments to the N.J. Quality Single Accountability Continuum to specify that the review of a school district’s social studies curriculum will monitor whether the Amistad Commission and Holocaust Commission mandates are included. Mandates can be met in content areas other than social studies. However, being out of compliance with either mandate results in the loss of all points for social studies.
  • Updates to Filing Requirements —The State Board approved amendments to the regulations governing how disputes are to be filed with the commissioner. The proposed amendments will reduce the procedural requirements when filing documents with the Office of Controversies and Disputes and will allow parties to submit documents to the department electronically.
  • Teacher-Leader Regulations—The State Board approved regulations creating a teacher-leader endorsement.  This voluntary teacher leader endorsement will recognize that a teacher has formally gained knowledge, skills, and competencies to lead his or her colleagues and the profession. The teacher leader endorsement will further professionalize education and give teachers the opportunity to advance their status and influence, all while remaining in the classroom with students, where research shows they have the greatest impact on student outcomes.
  • Resolution in Honor of School Library Month In recognizing the importance of school libraries, the State Board noted that school libraries contribute to developing a culture of innovation and creativity for students by delivering personalized learning experiences for students through its use of collaborative work spaces and an environment that allows for reading and learning, investigation and research, and the lifelong pursuit of knowledge.
  • New Organization Chart and Appointments – The State Board approved a new organizational chart for the NJDOE and approved appointments.  These included:
    • Kim Walker, deputy assistant commissioner, Division of Executive Services
    • Bulisa Ky Sanders, Equal Employment Opportunity officer
    • Jamar Purnsley, director, Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance
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