In the weeks that followed the state’s school closure and stay-at-home orders, the New Jersey School Boards Association pivoted from providing in-person training to mounting a full schedule of virtual training, including Facebook Live programs, Conversations on New Jersey Education podcasts, and webinars. These programs enable members to continue their professional development while NJSBA’s in-person events are not being held.

If you missed the programs when they were live, know that all have been recorded and archived for viewing and listening at members’ convenience. Below are some of the more popular offerings of the last several weeks.

BlogTalkPODCASTS: Conversations with Educators on the COVID-19 Front Line

Download or listen to podcasts.

Ray Pinney, NJSBA director of member engagement and longtime host of the podcast, “Conversations on New Jersey Education,” shifted focus in March and began a series of interviews with teachers and administrators on the challenges of educating students during the pandemic. Recent programs include:

Teaching Physical Education A discussion with the Middlesex County Teacher of the Year, Jennifer Olawski from New Brunswick.

Food Distribution  One of the biggest challenges many school districts faced when schools closed was the need to continue to distribute meals to students. Mark Gengaro, director of climate and security for Clifton Public Schools talks about how the district has dealt with the challenges of social distancing and shifting circumstances.

Teaching AP Classes Even teachers with superb technological skills have difficulty moving from in-classroom to virtual instruction. Katherine Porter, who teaches AP history at Pinelands Regional High School discusses the challenges.

The Role of the Principal  What is the role of the building principal when instruction is not occurring in the building? What are the challenges facing principals in making sure instruction is delivered, and the social-emotional needs of the students are met? Dr. Paul Christopher, principal of Class Academy High School in the Monmouth county Vocational school district talks about these and other issues.


Access the events, select “Videos” from the menu at left, and scroll through “Latest Videos.”

Legal Update (originally held May 7) NJSBA attorneys Kathleen Asher and Katrina Homel shared responses to frequently asked legal questions during the current crisis. Topics covered included labor and employment issues such as employee leaves of absence.

Wellness Series with Alisha DeLorenzo (held on a series of Fridays)  This licensed counselor and former social-emotional coordinator for Asbury Park schools has done a series of interactive weekly sessions to explore mindfulness, stress reduction, social emotional learning and leading and parenting through a pandemic.

I-STEAM and Sustainability Lessons  John Henry, NJSBA’s STEAM and sustainable schools specialist, has held a weekly series of programs on various topics, including the new STEAM Tank “At Home” Challenge focused on collaborative design.


Access the webinars, and scroll down to the desired program.

CARES Act Update Good News! The CARES Act’s Education Stabilization Fund monies for elementary and secondary school responses to COVID-19 have made their way to New Jersey. This program features a conversation with Elizabeth Evans, senior grants development consultant for education, the Grants Office (NJSBA’s Grants Support Program), with the latest updates.

Effective Board Communication: It Isn’t as Hard as You Think The most effective school boards operate in an atmosphere of respect, and promote open communication among its members. NJSBA Field Service Representatives Jesse Adams and Terri Lewis lead a discussion on how to effectively communicate both at school board meetings and in the community.

Policy? Regulation? Bylaws?  NJSBA staffers Jean Harkness, policy consultant; and Mary Ann Friedman and Kathy Helewa, field service representatives, review the importance of being a policy-making board and how bylaws direct board governance. Gain a better understanding of the difference between policy, regulations, and bylaws. A sample Code of Conduct for Virtual Meetings will also be discussed for  board consideration.

Janet Bamford is NJSBA’s manager of communications and publications.