At its September meeting, the State Board of Education heard testimony from Interim Commissioner Kevin Dehmer. A story on Dehmer’s testimony before the Senate Budget Committee is available here.

The board also heard updates or took action on the following items:

Special Education Regulations —The State Board readopted with amendments the regulations concerning special education services in school districts. In addition to updating terminology used in the regulations, the NJDOE also clarified that students with disabilities will participate in each content area of the general statewide assessment in accordance with the Standards and Assessments regulations in N.J.A.C. 6A:8 except for students who are participating in the alternate assessment for students with disabilities.  Additionally, the regulations clarify that students with disabilities, like all students, will not be required to participate in repeated administrations of the high school assessment components.

Resolution in Recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the League of Women Voters —The State Board recognized the work of the League of Women Voters. The State Board recognized the League, in part, for vigorously protecting and strengthening voting rights and access, free and fair elections, civil rights for all including children and minorities, community health, public education for all people, and resource protection and conservation.

Virtual Learning Toolkit —The commissioner announced that the N.J. Department of Education released a Virtual Learning Toolkit: Resources for Families and Schools.  This toolkit is designed to assist parents and schools navigate the challenges of COVID-19 and remote instruction.  The toolkit covers six areas: Devices and Hardware – Information about computers/tablets; Connectivity and Broadband – Information about internet service and Wi-Fi connectivity; Software and Learning Platforms – Video conferencing, software, and operating system support; Training and Professional Learning – Information about engaging students through hybrid and remote instruction; Tech Support and Digital Literacy – Supports using technology and troubleshooting information; and Funds and Financial Support – Possible funding resources for schools.

Resolution to Extend the EdTPA Qualifying Scores for Novice Teachers to Receive Certification and Handbook Alignment —The State Board extended the cut scores used for the performance assessments for teacher candidates through August 2021.  The State board also established that the candidates seeking the Teacher of Students with Disabilities (TOSD) endorsement could now use the Special Education Handbook. They previously had to use the handbook aligned to their initial or primary certification area, as the Special Education handbook was not listed as an allowable handbook. Provisional TOSD teachers found that the Special Education handbook was more appropriate for specialized settings. The special education handbook provides another option for preservice and in-service teachers to select the most appropriate handbook for their classroom setting. Special education teachers in specialized settings may be unable to meet the expectations of the content area handbooks.

Katzenbach School for the Deaf – The State Board accepted donated personal protective equipment of face masks/shields and desk shields for the school totaling over $4,000 in value.