Teaneck Today

Teaneck is town with a unique and proud history. I’ve created this blog to provide a place to exchange ideas and share visions for how to solve the challenges facing the town in a manner that brings diverse groups of people together.  Contributors are welcome.

Please join us and help Teaneck live up to its promise.

I also created a Facebook Group where residents can bring up and discuss topics about the Township: Teaneck Today

Feel free to click the link, join and share with your neighbors.

Teaneck Schools Admin: Remember the Rubric, Forget the Rationale – “Mandating” Chaos in Pre-K

The Teaneck School system is blindly applying Pre-COVID regulations designed specifically for “in-class instruction”, to “virtual classrooms” — and it’s actively harming education.

Teachers are being told to limit instruction time to 15 minutes based on a rule that’s meant to ensure that teachers don’t plop kids in front of a screen in a center or large child care facility.

It was written before the days of COVID (in 2012) and has nothing at all to do with distance learning.

Mandating 15 minute intervals, especially as parents struggle with a constant stream of links, creates chaos for the virtual classroom.

Teachers need to be given the opportunity to design their lesson times and breaks, as fits the situation.


It’s September and schools have started up here in Teaneck.  As most families are acutely aware, this year will be like no other that preceded it.

For families with Kindergarten and Pre-K students, like mine, it’s far more difficult.

We received an email from our daughter’s Teacher at Bryant school.

It reads:

“We are mandated to stick to 15 min. intervals of screen time/ live instruction.” (emphasis added)

The Bryant School Remote Learning Plan contains similar language:

“In accordance with NJ DOE guidelines, children between 2 and 5 years old shall be exposed to no more than 15 minutes of screen time, and no more than 60 total minutes of combined home and school screen time.” (emphasis added)

Misinformation and Obfuscation

All class instruction is virtual.  If there is no “school screen time”, is there merely an hour max of instruction per day (in the home)?

I made an inquiry to the district as to to the source of this “mandate” and I also emailed the principal.

Principal Davidman provided the information rather quickly and we spoke for about half an hour yesterday.

The “mandate” doesn’t exist and it’s certainly not new or related to virtual education.

This requirement is created by Teaneck and stems from the CFOC Guidelines (Caring for Our Children, (CFOC) is a collection of national standards that represent the best practices, based on evidence, expertise, and experience, for quality health and safety policies and practices for today’s early care and education settings)

Her email in response to my querry can be found here:

It reads:

Children between 2 and 5 years old shall be exposed to no more than 15 consecutive minutes of screen time, and no more than 60 total minutes per day of combined home and school screen time.
– Caring for Our Children, includes the recommendations for early care and education facilities of three national organizations, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education,https://nrckids.org/CFOC. P. 67 third edition (CFOC3)

Does the CFOC actually say this?

Indeed, the words appear (it’s up to CFOC4 now, so if you click the link, it’s on page 70) in section 2.2.0.3.

But here’s the rub – this is not the scenario the recommendation applies to.

After each section, the CFOC lists the following:

  • Rationale
  • Comments
  • Type of Facility

These are areas, where they explain the reccomendation.

Here’s what it says (again, page 70-71 in the CFOC4):

Rationale:

To best develop their cognitive, language, motor, and social-emotional skills, infants and toddlers need hands-on exploration and social interaction with trusted caregivers (1). Digital media viewing do not promote such skills development as well as “real life”. (emphasis added)

Comments:

Digital media is not without benefits, including learning from high-quality content, creative engagement, and social interactions. However, especially in young children, real-life social interactions promote greater learning and retention of knowledge and skills.  When limited digital media are used, co-viewing and co-teaching with an engaged adult promotes more effective learning and development.

Because children may use digital media before and after attending early care and education settings, limiting digital media use in early care and education settings and substituting developmentally appropriate play and other hands-on activities can better promote learning and skills development. (emphasis added)

TYPE OF FACILITY:

Center, Large Family Child Care Home

Did you catch that, too?

They remembered the rubric (screen bad), but for got the rationale (because in-person instruction is better!)

This is a rule that’s meant to ensure that teachers don’t plop kids in front of a screen in a center or large child care facility.  It’s written before the days of COVID (in 2012) and has nothing at all to do with distance learning.

If the teacher’s find that kids can’t handle that much instruction time, of course, it is appropriate to modify the schedules accordingly.  But, to pretend that a  recommendation on extraneous screen time is a mandate during virtual learning is detrimental to our kids, and onerous on parents & teachers.

And the teacher’s know it’s impossible:

Yet, we are told this is a “mandate” from the State of NJ.

Well, if this is a mandate, I mandate you read this and share it, because something is not right in Teaneck.

HOW TO VOTE IN THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION

  1. Mailing your Vote-by-Mail Ballot, which will be sent by Bergen County to all Active, Registered Voters in early October. If you choose this option, we recommend you do so as soon as you fill out your ballot – postage will be paid for! (If you do not receive a VBM ballot please contact any of the election offices ASAP).
  2. Dropping your Vote-by-Mail Ballot in one of many secured, monitored locked drop boxes throughout Bergen County. There will be a drop-box located at the Teaneck Municipal Building – 818 Teaneck Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 at the North Entrance between the Tax Collection Box and USPS Mail Boxes. (See a list of secured drop boxes here:  List of Secure Drop-Box Locations
  3. Dropping your Vote-by-Mail Ballot at your assigned polling location on Election Day – November 3, 2020 up until 8PM. You will have to submit your ballot directly to a poll worker and sign your name in the registration book.
  4. Dropping your Vote-by-Mail Ballot directly to the Bergen County Board of Elections office at 1 Bergen County Plaza in Hackensack, NJ. Please call the office ahead of time so they can arrange a safe retrieval from you (201-336-6225).
  5. If you wish to not participate in the VBM Process, Voters who are NOT ADA Disabled will be able too go to their assigned polling locations on November 3, 2020 from 6am-8pm and fill out a provisional ballot as a way to cast their vote. Please remember to practice social distancing and wear a face covering if you choose to do this option.
  6. Those who are certified ADA Disabled will be able to go to their assigned polling location on November 3, 2020 and utilize an ADA accessible polling booth as a way to cast their ballot.

 

Below please find the polling locations/district allocations for the 2020 Presidential General Election:

TEANECK

  • 1, 2 TEANECK HIGH SCHOOL CRANFORD PL GYM
  • 3, 4 TEANECK HIGH SCHOOL CRANFORD PL GYM
  • 5, 6 TEANECK HIGH SCHOOL CRANFORD PL GYM
  • 7, 8 TEANECK HIGH SCHOOL CRANFORD PL GYM
  • 9, 10 WHITTIER SCHOOL 491 WEST ENGLEWOOD AVE MULTI PURPOSE ROOM #114
  • 11, 12 WHITTIER SCHOOL 491 WEST ENGLEWOOD AVE MULTI PURPOSE ROOM #114
  • 13, 14 BRYANT SCHOOL 1 EAST TRYON AVE ****CAFETERIA
  • 15, 16 BRYANT SCHOOL 1 EAST TRYON AVE ****CAFETERIA
  • 17, 18 BRYANT SCHOOL 1 EAST TRYON AVE ****AUDITORIUM
  • 19, 20 THOMAS JEFFERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL #5 655 TEANECK ROAD ****AUDITORIUM
  • 21, 22 FIREHOUSE #3 370 TEANECK ROAD
  • 23 FIREHOUSE #3 370 TEANECK ROAD

*A notice will be sent to your registered address from Bergen County notifying you of your assigned polling location. If you do not receive this notice in the next few weeks please contact any of the election offices for guidance.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above information, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office or any of the election offices:

Contacts:

Bergen County Clerk, Elections
(201) 336-7020 electionsclerk@co.bergen.nj.us

Bergen County Board of Elections
(201) 336-6230 , elections@co.bergen.nj.us

Bergen County Superintendent of Elections
(201)-336-6115 , soe@co.bergen.nj.us

Township of Teaneck Township Clerk’s Office
(201) 837-1600 x1025 , clerk@teanecknj.gov

For more information:

https://www.teanecknj.gov/news/post/10118/

https://www.teanecknj.gov/news/post/9976/

If you are unsure if you are registered to vote, please reach out to any of the above offices for confirmation.

You may also utilize the new State website to register to vote online: https://voter.svrs.nj.gov/register

Fall 2020 Rodda Center Class Flyers / Brochures Now Available

The Fall 2020 class brochure along with the flyers are available now in the Rodda Center lobby. Classes are limited, will be held outside, and will follow all Covid-19 guidelines.

Please see flyers for details.

If you have any questions, please call our office at (201) 837-7130

Mayor Dunleavy on Advisory Boards: Clearing up misconceptions

At the August 11, 2020 meeting of the Township council, ordinance 15-2020 was adopted, which modifies some provisions for Council’s advisory boards.

In the video below, Mayor Dunleavy provides the reasons for the changes and current state of the Council’s Advisory Board operations.

I want to thank the Mayor for spending the past two years, meeting with all Advisory Board chairs, Township staff and others to create this new framework, which will bring additional clarity and productivity to the boards and how public input shapes the decisions council makes.

Anyone interested in applying to serve on an Advisory (or Statutory*) Board may click here: Application for Township Boards
(* The ordinance above only applies to advisory boards, statutory boards are governed by State statue)

Suez Service Work Schedule for July, 2020

SUEZ Work Schedule

Please be advised that SUEZ will be working on Test Pits, Saw Cutting, and Services throughout the Township over the next 2 weeks beginning Monday, July 20th.

You can find this information on the Township Website here: Suez Work Schedule

You can find the same information on the map and chart below (enter address to search)

Continue reading “Suez Service Work Schedule for July, 2020”

Do Not Disturb: How to read an ordinance

In the State of New Jersey, Municipal governments are given powers from the State legislature.  If we are not specifically given a power, we can’t legislate it.

Of course, the State can also yank back powers and if the State lege chooses to act differently than a municipality, the local ordinance is superseded and can no longer be enforced.  An example of this could be seen in Teaneck’s “hands free phone ordinance” or the “requirement for fences for certain above ground pools”.  No matter how wonderful the local population may find the rule, once the State acts in a specific area, the local rules fall.

The question recently came up about whether or not the local “noise” ordinance is enforceable here in Teaneck.

I think this is a good opportunity to share with the public how I look at questions like this, so you can see how the process works out.

First and foremost — what is the ordinance? Continue reading “Do Not Disturb: How to read an ordinance”

Save the Date: Teaneck Council Reorganization on July 1, 2020

On Wednesday, July 1st, 2020 at 6:00 pm, the Teaneck Council will hold the semi-annual reorganization meeting at the Teaneck Town Hall.
(Agenda available here: Reorganization Agenda)
We will be swearing in Mark Schwartz, Karen Orgen & Mike Pagan.

In addition, Council will elect the Mayor & Deputy Mayors, among others.

For those that may not be familiar with the way the Teaneck Council operates, I’d like to offer some additional information:

How does our system work?
Teaneck utilizes the Council-Manager form of Government under the Faulkner Act.  What that means in practice is that residents choose their council-members “at-large” (i.e. you vote for everyone, as opposed to a ward system like neighboring Englewood) and the Council as a body, once elected and seated, chooses a mayor from among the council-members (as opposed to municipalities where the Mayor runs separately). Continue reading “Save the Date: Teaneck Council Reorganization on July 1, 2020”

[UPDATE] Above Ground Pool Information [update #1]

As I mentioned in the previous post, many residents have requested information about above-ground pools in light of COVID-19 altering summer plans.

In the past few weeks, I had meetings with the manager, the zoning subcommittee, the building department supervisor and code officials.

Note that fence and setback requirements represent serious and potentially deadly safety issues.  While a permit is not required, you must comply with them.

Here’s the latest:

Temporary Pools (no standing water)

  • No permits will be required for temporary pools that will be emptied at the end of each day.

(However, they must still comply with regulations., including fence and setback requirements. — see below) Continue reading “[UPDATE] Above Ground Pool Information [update #1]”