EDUCATING OUR YOUTH
Alarming statistics indicate that over 74.6% of children enrolled in the Elizabeth Public School District are economically disadvantaged. As a result, a majority of these children appear to have inadequate educational resources necessary for their growth and development.
To combat these alarming facts, a major shift in educational policy must occur to help our children succeed. Through four key elements of this campaign – fiscal responsibility, safer schools, community partnerships, and quality education for all children – we believe that we will begin to see a turnaround with these numbers.
Taking Steps Toward Improving Our Educational System
If the Elizabeth School District is to be an effective urban district in New Jersey, it is important that we are managing our funds correctly. In the past few years, our school board has paid out over $6 million to district employees to settle charges ranging from discrimination to wrongful termination. Elizabeth has also spent more on legal services than any other school district in the state- over $5.6 million- according to an analysis of audited figures reported to the New Jersey Department of Education. As a result, the way in which we decide to spend our money is a central component in determining how successful our schools will be. As opposed to spending money recklessly, we must focus on ways of effectively using our funds to increase academic achievement.
Key elements to support fiscal responsibility include:
- Minimizing Administrative Costs
- Balancing the educational budget
- Ethical Employment Practices
- Structure Capital Costs Effectively
It is incredibly important that our students are learning in a safe environment. Recent studies of our educational system have shown that violence within our schools is on the rise. As a result, one of our goals for the Elizabeth School District is to promote safety within our schools. The last thing a student should fear for is their safety.
Key elements to support safer schools include:
- Fully training and equipping the Security Department with annual training.
- Creating safety seminars for families and children in conjunction with the police department
- Annual Job reviews for ALL Security Personnel.
- Increased vigilance and discipline for Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying issues and reporting.
- More Charar Education Programs in schools
- No Tolerance Policy for Violent incidents
- Streamlined communication between schools and parents when incidents occur
- More transparency on Violence reporting
Families must be engaged on every level. Board members, administrators, faculty and staff must work closely to ensure that families experience a welcoming and family-friendly environment, in order to have a high level of family participation. In addition, it is essential that we create and sustain stronger community relationships with faith based institutions, local government, community agencies and local businesses. Relationships such as these will build stronger support for families and their children.
Key elements to support Community Involvement include:
- Investing in stronger PTA programs
- Implementing family strengthening programs
- Connecting immigrant families with agencies that offer courses in English as a Second Language
- Ensuring that all schools have qualified Parent and Community Liaisons
- Creating flexible schedules so that families can participate in various programs
- Implementing a Family Resource Center that will include social services, referral programs, financial literacy programs, employment and training services, crisis management, technology training, along with programs to helping families understand education today
- Allowing for schools to be adopted by a local businesses or entrepreneurs.
- Ensuring that schools become community schools that are open to the public after school hours and on weekends
- Providing additional community outreach programs
Quality Education for ALL Children!
How do we seek a quality education for all children in Elizabeth? Each school must have adequate staffing and resources. Students must be encouraged to embrace continuous learning. In addition, a stronger emphasis must be placed on special needs education. Oftentimes, we leave our special education population out of the educational debate. We must implement policy that positively effects this population as well.
Key elements to support a quality education for all children include:
- Utilizing all Title I funds to ensure that our children’s needs are met
- Updating curriculum and supplies to support students with special needs
- Ensuring there is a curriculum in place for the inclusion of all children including students in special education
- Meeting the proper nutritional requirements for all schools which include breakfast, snacks and lunches