At its March meeting, the New Jersey State Board of Education heard updates and took action on the following items:
- Gifted and Talented Month —The State Board recognized March as Gifted and Talented month in New Jersey. The resolution noted that the New Jersey Department of Education has established a gifted and talented advisory committee to assist the NJDOE in ensuring that services are provided to gifted and talented students. The resolution also recognized the importance of collaboration among local districts, advocacy organizations and the NJDOE when meeting the needs of these students.
- Resolution in Recognition of Social and Emotional Learning Day in New Jersey — The State Board passed a resolution recognizing March 10, 2023, as SEL day in New Jersey. As part of its resolution, the State Board noted social emotional learning is the process through which all young people and adults acquire and apply the knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop healthy identities, manage emotions and achieve personal and collective goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain supportive relationships, and make responsible and caring decisions. The State Board also recognized the importance of implementing the New Jersey Social and Emotional Learning Competencies to promote safe, supportive and challenging learning environments in schools.
- New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education Presentation — The commission presented to the State Board on its mission to promote Holocaust education in the State of New Jersey. As part of that mission, the commission surveys the status of Holocaust/Genocide Education and designs, encourages and promotes the implementation of Holocaust and genocide education and awareness. The Commission also provides programs in New Jersey and coordinates designated events that will provide appropriate memorialization of the Holocaust on a regular basis throughout the state.
- New Jersey Student Learning Standards Update, English Language Arts and Mathematics – The NJDOE gave an update to the State Board on its efforts to update the learning standards in English language arts and mathematics, which the NJDOE hopes to implement by September 2024. The standards will clarify and bolster critical expectations in K-5 Foundational Reading skills by enhancing the performance indicators. The standards will create K-5 foundational writing expectations to complement K-5 foundational reading expectations. The standards will also modify redundant standards that were repeated across multiple grade levels.
- Religious Holidays —The State Board discussed its annual resolution of religious holidays, which permits students to take an excused absence for the observance of a religious holiday. This year, Sikh holidays will be added.
- Equity and Equality in Education —The State Board of Education approved publishing in the New Jersey Register a proposal to update the regulations concerning equality and equity in education. The proposal will clarify the expectations and responsibilities of each district board of education in providing equal access to educational activities and services. the NJDOE is proposing updated definitions and provisions, shifting to asset-based language aligned to applicable laws and nationally recognized evidence-based practices regarding educational equity. The proposal will also streamline and consolidate language throughout the chapter for clarity, alignment and accountability. The rules will ensure that equity training is comprehensive, appropriate to all stakeholders and adequately address inequities.