BOE Candidates on Vaccine Mandates for Staff and Mask mandates for students [Yoni Bak]

This is a guest post from reader and group member Yoni Bak.


Vaccine Mandates and Mask Requirements

I reached out on facebook to the candidates for BOE about their positions on vaccine mandates for staff and mask mandates for students. I asked in a neutral way to try & get their honest opinions. Presented without comment are the responses I received from Victoria FisherLori FeinYassine S. Elkaryani & Rachel Schiffman Secemski.

 

Continue reading “BOE Candidates on Vaccine Mandates for Staff and Mask mandates for students [Yoni Bak]”

Breaking: Victoria Fisher’s Running Mate Officially Out Of BOE Race

As previously reported, Mr. Shamiq Syed who submitted petitions with Teaneck Board of Education Trustee Victoria Fisher and Jonathan Rodriguez, was preliminarily removed from the BOE race when it was determined he may not have met the one-year residency requirement.

Since that time, Mr. Syed provided various documents to support his claim / establish proof of residency.

Among the items received by the county were:

  • “Notice to Vacate” his prior residence (in Weehawken)
  • A bill of lading for the shipping of a motor vehicle (Porsche 911) from Vancouver to Teaneck in September 2020
  • 2 Paychex reports mailed to Teaneck
  • Information relating to purchase of a property in Teaneck by Mr. Syed’s father (including various financial documents associated with the sale)
  • Certifications from Mr. Syed and his family members

Continue reading “Breaking: Victoria Fisher’s Running Mate Officially Out Of BOE Race”

UPDATE: Meet the 2021 BOE Candidates

Subject to certification by the County Clerk, the preliminary list of BOE candidates for the 2021 November election appears below:

If you’re a candidate and would like to participate in a “virtual” Meet & Greet to introduce yourself to Teaneck Today membership, please let me know. A formal invitation to all candidates will be going out as well.

  • DENNIS KLEIN [BRIDGING GAPS]
  • DARRYL F. GREENE
  • ROMAINE L. HASSANAH
  • RACHEL SECEMSKI
  • YASSINE ELKARYANI
  • LAURA E. FEIN [KIDS COME FIRST]
  • VICTORIA FISHER* [TRUST EQUITY ACCESS]
  • JONATHAN RODRIGUEZ [TRUST EQUITY ACCESS]
  • SHAMIQ SYED [TRUST EQUITY ACCESS]

* Indicates Incumbent

(three positions are open and brackets listed were chosen by the candidates)

UPDATE:

Please note that while Mr. Sahmiq Syed submitted an adequate number of petitions, he has been disqualified for not meeting the minimum residency requirement of living in Teaneck (1 year).

Board of Ed incumbent Victoria Fisher acknowledged in a social media post yesterday that the “campaign won’t be easy”.
Apparently, this is the first setback for the “Trust Equity Access” team.

 

The Future Former Administration of the Teaneck BOE

If you missed it while you were poolside or having bbq and watching the fireworks, I’d completely understand.

While most of us were celebrating the 4th of July, the BOE sent out a notice informing the public that a special meeting would be held tonight, July 7th.

The notice, says:
There will be only one item for discussion this evening (TBD) and public participation (virtual/live) will be kept to 1 hour. Formal action may be taken.

So, that’s…. informative?

Rumors started swirling, almost immediately.  Some said the Superintendent, who was just granted a five-year contract last year, would be tossed out.

Turns out, the rumors were accurate:

Why? Continue reading “The Future Former Administration of the Teaneck BOE”

Civil Rights Lawsuits Filed: South Orange / Maplewood Parents Demand Schools Open

Parents are willing to put up with a lot, but they will not sacrifice their children on the altar of public education.

Public schools have never been perfect.  From education gaps to special education costs, our schools have always faced issues to a degree that isn’t seen in most private educational settings.  But those were problems we knew and were dedicated to addressing.

We addressed them in schools.

But now? Continue reading “Civil Rights Lawsuits Filed: South Orange / Maplewood Parents Demand Schools Open”

UPDATE: Unofficial 2020 General Election Results for Teaneck

UPDATE: The unofficial results have been updated as returns are coming in.  The post has been updated to reflect the new unofficial stats.


While ballots may still be counted for the next 10 days, as mail arrives, here are the unofficial counts from Bergen County for Teaneck.

Official Link to updated results (11/4/20)

Official Link to results (11/3/20)

Here is a breakdown of turnout by district.  I made this based on information received from the County.  It’s subject to change and I can’t verify the accuracy of the information.  It also may not count those recently registered to vote.  But, it’s the best I have at the moment.

 

 

 

District Voted Registered Turnout
1 863 1,118 77.2%
2 1,047 1,471 71.2%
3 1,040 1,321 78.7%
4 963 1,226 78.5%
5 719 964 74.6%
6 861 1,143 75.3%
7 873 1,176 74.2%
8 1,123 1,362 82.5%
9 1,054 1,366 77.2%
10 1,190 1,552 76.7%
11 1,029 1,387 74.2%
12 1,378 1,776 77.6%
13 873 1,179 74.0%
14 1,159 1,596 72.6%
15 856 1,262 67.8%
16 560 788 71.1%
17 1,015 1,350 75.2%
18 1,136 1,453 78.2%
19 982 1,224 80.2%
20 726 901 80.6%
21 1,109 1,441 77.0%
22 850 1,103 77.1%
23 795 1,122 70.9%
Total 22,201 29,281 75.8%
Voted Registered Turnout
Dem 13,419 16,320 82.2%
Rep 2,933 3,721 78.8%
Una 5,710 8,987 63.5%
22,062 29,281 75.3%
Election Summary 11-5-20

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.

April 3 COVID-19 Update from Dr. Irving

April 3, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians, Students and Staff,
The last three weeks have been challenging, exhausting, and extremely informative. This describes what I have heard from many parents, and how our staff – including me – have described our current reality. The good news is that a well-deserved spring break is upon us and when we “return”, we will begin a very different educational approach using Google Classroom.
In my last communication to you, I mentioned that beginning Monday, April 13, we will move to a virtual learning platform with specific class/subject schedules Monday – Thursday. Fridays will be used as a review or testing day.  However, next week is also an important week because there will be some informational sessions and opportunities for you to get prepared for our new virtual learning schedule.  All of the information that you will need will be posted on our COVID-19 Update section of our website (a green button on the left hand side of the homepage –   https://www.teaneckschools.org/COVID-19.aspx). Please bookmark this page as it will become a very important resource for you as we move forward.
Here is our go-forward plan:

Continue reading “April 3 COVID-19 Update from Dr. Irving”

Teaneck Schools Closed Indefinitely beginning March 16, 2020 – Important COVID-19 Update from Superintendent

Dear Parents & Guardians,

Out of great concern for the health and welfare of Bergen County residents and all school staff during this Coronavirus/COVID-19 health crisis, the Bergen County Executive has called for ALL school buildings in this county to be closed, indefinitely, beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020.

On behalf of Teaneck Public Schools, I am appreciative of this decision.  Although we currently have no presumptive positive cases in the District, we will close all of our school buildings next week. Our district office (at the Glenpointe – 300 Glenpointe Centre “East” building – 7th Floor) will remain open with limited staff each day. In the likely event that we will need to close our school buildings beyond the coming week, I will communicate that to you by the end of next week.

IMPORTANT EXPECTATION:  During this difficult time, all school districts are required by the NJ Department of Education to continue to educate our children through a “learning from home” protocol.  To that end, please be aware of the following important actions that we are taking:

Continued Education

Over this weekend, you will receive an email from our Curriculum & Instruction staff outlining how to access your child’s lesson plans/assignments – by grade – via our district website:  https://www.teaneckschools.org

Middle school and high school students will be expected to work “virtually” (through the internet) and will be guided by their teachers in “Google Hangouts” throughout this process.  All of our middle and high school students were provided a Chromebook to take home.  If you do not have internet access at home, please contact your child’s school principal on Monday, March 16.  They will be in the school building on that day from the hours of 11am-1pm to print home instruction packets for families.  After Monday, you will not be able to enter the school buildings. If needed, you can visit the District Office at the address above.

For all other grades, the lesson plans provided will help guide you through the daily, two hour per day requirement.  For our parents with children of special needs, you will receive further information from our Special Services department this weekend.

The email you will receive will provide more specifics and will even include “how to” videos.  Just know that our expectation is for your child to complete their daily assignments. It is best to complete these over the next one to three weeks; but please note that in order for your child to receive credit for these instructional days, they MUST complete all assignments by the end of this school year. Also, if you have any questions at any time, you should contact your child’s teacher via their district email address and expect a response within 24 hours.  If you do not receive a response within that timeframe, please let your school principal know and he/she will ensure that you receive an immediate response.

Afterschool & Evening Activities

While our school buildings are closed, there will be no afterschool or evening programs – including our before and aftercare (SACC) program.  High school athletics will be suspended unless otherwise notified by our Athletics Director.  The March 18th Board Meeting is our one exception – it will take place as scheduled (beginning at 7:30 pm).  Any special recognition ceremonies previously planned for this meeting will be rescheduled.

Food Services

Although the school buildings will be closed, we will be distributing box lunches to any district family in need.  Beginning Monday, March 16, you can come to Teaneck High School from 11 am – 1 pm to pick up a boxed lunch.  There will be a tent area by the Cranford gym (facing the back parking lots).  You will be asked for your child/children’s names.  Our focus is on the health of our children.  This includes ensuring they receive a nutritional meal!

COVID-19 Resources

As we all continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines on preventative measures such as washing our hands and “social distancing”, if you have any questions, please visit the following websites:

https://www.nj.gov/health/

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Additionally, Teaneck Township is providing its residents with a resource to obtain information about the Coronavirus/COVID-19 by sending an email to covid19@teanecknj.gov. A member of the Teaneck Health Department will answer your question(s) as quickly as possible.

Moving Forward

By Friday, March 20, I will let you know about our plans for the following week. Parents and guardians should continue to make childcare plans as I expect that we will likely be closed.  Our faculty have prepared lesson plans for this second week and will be working on lesson plans for a possible third week of school closings.

I realize this is an extremely difficult time and will present great hardships for our families. I appreciate your patience and cooperation as we work together to stay healthy while continuing the critical work of educating our children.

Thank you Teaneck parents and guardians!  I truly appreciate each and every one of you.

–  Dr. Christopher Irving, Superintendent of Schools