At the most recent Board of Education meeting November 22, BOE President Mary Shaughnessy announced the candidacy of Nicholas J. Dotoli for the position of Director of Human Resources/Labor Relations for the Bloomfield School district.
Currently the Bloomfield School District attorney, Dotoli previously served as an aide to the New Jersey Assembly Education Committee and as a policy advisor to the State Commissioner of Education. He said he had carefully considered what value he would add to the current administration.
Aspiring to “fiscal accountability and clean operations functions that I think every school district in this type of economy, [deserves]," Dotoli said his goal "is to make sure the schools are run very well.”
“I am extremely humbled and at the same time flattered with the amount of trust and confidence that this administration has placed in me, bringing this nomination before the board tonight,” he added.
Board member and former BOE President Joseph Lopez said, “I have only positive things to say about Mr. Dotoli. Separate from being a professional, he’s a good man. I think Bloomfield would be well served by having Mr. Dotoli work for us.”
Several presentations were also made during the course of the evening.
Carteret School Principal Baltz introduced the Accelerated Reader program, designed to increase test scores by working with students’ individual level of literacy mastery.
Carteret’s Basic Skills teacher Amy Konzelmann and Media Specialist Emily Griesbach discussed the program's finer points and presented a video of a teacher using it in the classroom.
Afterward, in another a well-organized presentation, Carteret School “cub reporters” interviewed members of the board for the first issue of the Carteret Cub Newsletter. The students impressed the board with some thoughtful – and pretty tough -- questions.
“Hi, my name is Caroline. Will there be more computers and library books budgeted for Carteret this year?” (Surprised laughter from the audience was followed by applause.)
Bing answered, “Yes, we do have those budgeted . . . one of the Board’s goals is to make this a , where when you walk into a classroom – in every classroom --you’ll have a Smartboard and a video projector,” he said, adding that some classrooms are already using IPads and Nooks as well.
“Hi, my name is Victoria. Besides organized sports, is the Board of Ed looking into any wellness programs that will help the students keep fit?”
BOE member Dr. Paula Zaccone replied that the board had passed two resolutions: one, the Coordinated School Health Model to organize programs around the common theme of wellness, and two, a School Health Council that provided a forum for experts in the field to come together and address school health issues.
Bing added that there were three upcoming meetings scheduled: a “promoting wellness throughout the district” meeting December 6th, a “how to keep the staff healthy” meeting December 9th and, on December 12th a meeting with Clara Moss Hospital to expand their wellness and physical fitness program and implement it in the Bloomfield public schools.
“Good evening, my name is Nina Kabakibi,” said another student. “Are there plans to build more classrooms in the schools in Bloomfield?”
“That’s one of the issues we’re dealing with, Sweetie,” replied Bing. “We’re getting more and more students in the school district and running out of rooms to put them in. That’s one of the things on our agenda in the next couple of months."
Applause again. Board of Education president Mary Shaughnessy praised the students, calling their questions “sensational.”
After the Q & A ended, Patch spoke with a few of the Carteret Cubs who said they intended to be real reporters when they grew up.
“We actually get to write and talk to people personally,” marveled fifth grader Sydney Bragg, who said she found the interviews “very exhilarating.”
When asked about the issue of overcrowded classrooms, Kabakibi said she had thought of the question herself.
“A lot of new children are coming [to Carteret School],” she said. “We need more desks. There aren’t enough classrooms for students.”
“It’s gotten a little crowded,” agreed Bragg.
Newsletter supervisor Amy Konzelmann said the questions and responses would be published in the upcoming issue of the Carteret Cub Newsletter, a project supported by the Bloomfield Education Fund.
During the public portion of the meeting, a parent echoed the students’ concern by asking the board when the Franklin school trailers would be operational.
The trailers, or in response to space shortage at Franklin School. Though the original plan was to begin using them as extra classroom space beginning December 1, Bing said they would not be ready by then. “That was our original plan but that's not going to happen,” he said. “The deadline now is after the holiday break.”
Meantime, Bloomfield psychologist Dr. Monty Helfgott addressed the board regarding a Montclair State University child study project at The study was conducted with Brookdale teacher Jason Triano and funded by a Dodge education grant.
Helfgott also discussed another project, “Electronic English Enrichment,” a grant-funded teacher study group at Fairview School that aims to provide language enrichment for students from families where English is their second language.
“We are visionaries for the future of Bloomfield Public Schools,” declared Helfgott.