During its May meeting, the State Board of Education heard the following updates and passed the following resolutions:
- State-Operated School District of Paterson Annual Report – Eileen Shafer, the first female superintendent in Paterson’s history, gave a report on the progress of the district. There are 28,000 students in the district, which includes 3,400 special education students. The district has an 84% graduation rate and a 92% attendance rate. As of September 2018, the district is offering art and music in every elementary school. Paterson also has seven community schools which offer free health clinics. The district is in the second year of a two-year transition to local control. The NJSBA is assisting the district to develop its next strategic plan.
- Resolution in Honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month – The New Jersey State Board of Education recognizes that many students have communications disorders and acknowledges the significance that the ability to communicate plays in building personal and societal relationships as students grow and mature. “Better Hearing and Speech Month” is a time to raise awareness about communication disorders and to encourage children and families to receive appropriate screenings and evaluations. It is also a time to acknowledge the hard work of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists, acknowledging the contributions they make that remarkably affect the lives of students in New Jersey.
- Religious Holidays – Any student absent from school because of a religious holiday may not be deprived of any award or of eligibility or opportunity to compete for any award because of such absence. Students who miss a test or examination because of absence on a religious holiday must be given the right to take an alternate test or examination. The commissioner, with the approval of the State Board of Education, is required to prepare a list of religious holidays on which it shall be mandatory to excuse a student. The list, however, is to be a minimum list. Boards of education, at their discretion, may add other days to the list.