At its May meeting, the New Jersey State Board of Education heard updates and acted on the following items:
- Better Hearing and Speech Month in New Jersey —The State Board passed a resolution recognizing May as Hearing and Speech month in New Jersey. The board noted that “many students have communication disorders and acknowledges the significance that the ability to communicate plays in building personal and societal relationships as students grow and mature.” The board also said that the resolution recognizes the hard work of audiologists, speech-language pathologists, and speech, language, and hearing scientists and the contributions they make that remarkably affect the lives of students in New Jersey.
- Resolution in Recognition of Physical Fitness and Sports Month in New Jersey — The State Board of Education also passed a resolution recognizing May as Physical Fitness and Sports Month. The State Board noted “schools can promote physical activity through comprehensive school physical activity programs, including recess, classroom-based physical activity, intramural physical activity clubs, interscholastic sports and physical education.” The State Board also “strongly supports efforts to increase physical education, physical activity and participation in youth sports.”
- New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission — The New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission gave a presentation on the role of the commission, which is to give assistance and advice to the public and nonpublic schools in New Jersey with respect to the implementation of Italian and Americans of Italian heritage cultural and educational programs. The commission also develops curriculum guidelines for the teaching of subjects and topics concerning and relating to the culture, history and heritage of Italians and Americans of Italian heritage, among other duties.
- Religious Holidays Calendar — The State Board adopted its religious holidays calendar for the 2023-2024 school year. State law requires the commissioner of education, with the approval of the State Board of Education, to annually prescribe a list of religious holidays on which it shall be mandatory for school districts to excuse students for religious observance. The list, however, is to be a minimum list. Boards of education, at their discretion, may add other days to the list for the schools of their districts.
- NJGPA cut scores — In a close vote, the State Board of Education approved the cut scores for the New Jersey Graduation Proficiency Assessment and the cut scores for the alternative assessments. State law requires New Jersey to establish a program of standards for graduation from secondary school, which shall include, but not be limited to the development of a statewide test in reading, writing and computational skills to be administered to all secondary school pupils as provided herein, and clear and explicit statewide levels of proficiency in reading, writing and computational skills to be demonstrated as a minimum requirement for high school graduation. The cutoff scores for the English Language Arts and Mathematics sections of the NJGPA will be 725. For the cut scores on the alternative assessments, please click here.
- Special Education — The State Board began discussions on rules that would clarify that physical therapy may be provided by physical therapy assistants under the supervision of a certified physical therapist. Additionally, the board discussed rules to allow for the provision of related services through telemedicine or telehealth, or through electronic communications, which include virtual, remote, or other online platforms, as appropriate and as required by the student’s IEP. Additionally, the proposal sets forth the conditions for when related services can be provided to a student with a disability who is unable to attend school due to a temporary or chronic medical condition, or when a school building or school district is closed or/and the school district has implemented its program of virtual or remote instruction, or the student requires a mandatory period of isolation/quarantine for at least five days because the student has contracted a communicable disease or has been exposed to a communicable disease.