At its March 6 meeting, the New Jersey State Board of Education took action and heard updates on the following items:

Career and Technical Education (CTE) Certification The NJDOE is proposing changes to the certification regulations for career and technical education teachers to address the growing scarcity of CTE teachers statewide. The proposed changes include:

  • Eliminating the requirement that employment experience be within 10 years of the certification application.
  • Allowing up to three years of teaching experience to count toward the four years of occupational experience.
  • Providing a pilot program for a “CTE Teacher Bridge Pathway” that would allow teachers who currently hold a standard instructional certificate in another content area to qualify for a CTE certification. The NJDOE has received a grant from the federal government that will provide funds to help defray the costs of the bridge program.

Graduation Data and Overview of Performance ReportsThe New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) staff discussed school performance reports that were released on March 12. This year’s reports will include an emphasis on student growth, career and technical education and discipline reports. NJDOE staff also gave a brief update on graduation rates and pathways, noting that the four-year graduation rate increased to 90.9 percent statewide and that certain districts have seen great improvements in their graduation rates in recent years.

Religious Holidays The State Board of Education began discussion of the religious holidays calendar for the next school year.  By law, the Commissioner of Education must prepare a list of religious holidays on which it shall be mandatory to excuse a student. Boards of education, at their discretion, may add other days to the list for the schools of their districts.

New Jersey Student Learning Standards The NJDOE is reviewing and revising the state’s learning standards.  The department is actively engaging stakeholders in the review through the connected action roadmap process. The NJDOE plans a spring 2019 kickoff event at the College of New Jersey.

Appointments The State Board also approved the following appointments within the NJDOE: T. Itunu Balogun, director, office of media relations and strategic outreach. Ashley Bencan, director, office of strategic operations. LaVar Young, director, office of civic and social engagement. Carmen Cusido, director, office of public affairs. Susan Kutner, director, office of school facility planning. Bernard Piaia, director, office of school facility projects. Jane Griesinger, director, office of career readiness. Beverly Plein, director, office of standards. Anthony Wright, director, office of innovation. Gilbert Gonzales, director, office of assessments. Jessica Merville, director, office of performance management. Tanisha Davis, director, office of recruitment and preparation. Kelly Williams, director, office of student support services. Dominic Rota, director, office of special education policy and dispute resolution and Kathy Ehling, director, office of fiscal and data services.