[Live Stream] Collingswood Board of Education Meeting 2/25/2019

Highlights from this meeting included a presentation from the buildings and grounds, a discussion about gifts and donations for the district and schools being applied equitably, and the updated Transgender student policy.

Part I

Part II

The Full Agenda May Be Viewed Here: http://www.boarddocs.com/nj/colps/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=B9LHWL498502


Committee Of The Whole Highlights:

There was a lengthy discussion of item 11.18 The Kathleen Ann Joyce Education Foundation Donation of technology items for Zane North Elementary

From the Agenda:

Move on the recommendation of the Superintendent to accept a monetary donation from The Kathleen Anne Joyce Education Foundation to purchase the following for the Zane North Elementary School students in Grades K, 1, and 2:

  • 75 – Lenovo L7300E series ll” chromebook touchscreens
  • Licensing fees for 75 chomebooks Factory set up fees to personalize the chromebooks to the Collingswood Public Schools standard;
  • 20 Elecder i36 Children’s Adjustable Headphones in either blue or green; and
    4 Pro32 charging carts.

From The Board of Education Members:

  • Mr. Stauts made a comment about item 11.18- a donation of laptops to lower grades at Zane North Elementary.
  • Mr. Waugh pointed out that it is up to the Board in how the donation is used
  • Ms. Kaiden shared her point of view on whether the gift can be applied equitable.
  • Ms. Kaiden wants for the board to come up with a plan for how donations may be applied equitable.
  • Dr. Oswald is saying that this ship has probably sailed. That looking ahead there could be a set of guidelines that help to make the donors happy as well as meet the needs of the district.
  • Ms. Henry shared that her point of view is that it will be ongoing work to apply resources with equity in mind.
  • Dr. Oswald pointed out that some schools tend to have streams of goods and funds that may need to be part of the consideration.
  • Ms. Miller says that the goal should be overall gifts to the district instead of to individual schools
  • Mr. Connor shared his thoughts that we should be looking at goals of maybe decreasing screen time and that more of a plan should be developed.
  • Dr. Oswald explained that the laptops are usually used in classroom centers or as part of a class where some materials may be consumed online. The technology does not influence the district’s curriculum.

Equity Committee Update:

  • Ms. Kaiden provided an update on the Equity Committee meeting or February.
  • Issues shared by students with the committee included topics like Mental Health and Transportation

Other Meeting Highlights:

  • Upcoming Events in March includes the Hall of Fame Banquet
  • Ms. Hibbard from Nutri Serve introduced herself to the board.
  • The audit will be available on the website on 2/26/19
  • There is talk about bringing the Chromebook 1:1 initiative to the Middle School

School Facilities Presentation Highlights:

  • Maintenance includes Cleaning, Maintenance, Grounds, Security, etc
  • Collingswood hosts a student summer work program. The students help the staff with things like painting, cleaning, carpentry, projects, grounds, HVAC, and technology.
  • The N at the entry of Mark Newbie Elementary was part of the summer work project
  • Collingswood participates in shared services with Oaklyn, Stratford, Mt. Ephraim, Bellmawr, Audubon, Brooklawn
  • Coming up for future projects will be the stadium, the Panther, TV studio desk, Elementary Signs, Science wing roof replacement
  • The bleachers are under construction
  • Soon the Signs for the Elementary Schools will include the mascots
  • Stadium demolition means that the practice space was expanded
  • The Middle school got a new power distribution panel


  • The science wing roof is a 25-year roof and there are issues with leaks so it is time for a replacement.
  • There is a recommendation to resurface the track

First Public Comment highlights

  • A resident asked about if there is an increase in number of students enrolling into charter schools.
  • The track resurfacing will be determined after a work session
  • The rough estimate of donation for technology is $25,000 from the gift from The Kathleen Anne Joyce Education Foundation (See Committee of the Whole Highlights)

Policy First Readings:

There were no first readings of policies at this time

Policy Second Readings:

0141.2 Board Member and Term – Receiving District – Revised
2415.06 Unsafe School Choice Option – Revised
2422 Health and Physical Education – Revised
2431.3Practice and Pre-Season Heat-Acclimation for School-Sponsored Athletics and Extra-Curricular Activities

2610 Educational Program Evaluation – Revised
4219 Commercial Driver’s License Controlled Substance and Alcohol Use Testing – Revised
5111 Eligibility of Resident/Nonresident Students – Revised
5337 Service Animals – Revised
5600 Student Discipline/Code of Conduct – Revised
5611 Removal of Students for Firearms Offenses – Revised
5612 Assaults on District Board of Education Members or Employees – Revised
5613 Removal of Students for Assaults with Weapons Offenses – Revised
5756 Transgender Students – Revised
7440 School District Security – Revised
8461 Reporting Violence, Vandalism, Harassment, Intimidation, Bullying, Alcohol, & Other Drug Offenses – Revised
8561 Procurement Procedures for School Nutrition Programs – Revised
8860 Memorials – Revised

Highlights from Policy Second Readings:

    • Ms. Kaiden pointed out an improvement in the policy for transgender students.
    • Mr. Stauts requested more consistent language for service animals in policy 5337
    • Mr. Stauts also expressed an opinion on the policy for transgender students
      • Video Posted below:
        Below what I can hear, a transcription of sorts of what Mr. Stauts says from 1:46 – 2:14″The other one is Transgender Students… I know what the state says about Transgender Students (and uh) Their rights and privileges under the (constitution?)… but I personally have extreme difficulty with a young man coming into school trying to be a girl.. and… and being allowed to use girls locker room and restroom… (unclear)”

Because I was surprised by the nature of Mr. Staus’s Comment regarding the Transgender Student Policy, I had also requested additional documents via OPRA (request here)

  • Emails between Board of Education Members discussing the details in the writing of the original version and all revisions of Collingswood Board of Education Pupil Policy 5756 TRANSGENDER STUDENTS between 2/1/2014 and 2/25/2019.
  • All Board of Education Meeting Minutes from first and second readings of Policy 5756 TRANSGENDER STUDENTS From October 27, 2014-February 25, 2019
  • Minutes from any executive sessions that include discussion of Policy 5756 TRANSGENDER STUDENTS.

The file may be viewed here: http://collingswoodeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Transgender-Student-Policy-Discussion-JR-3.19.pdf

Highlights From Public Comment:

  • A resident shared a concern about Libraries in elementary schools. In Particular the Tatem library
    • Dr. Oswald offered that the funding in libraries for staff has been moved to technology. There still has been funding in materials for libraries and classroom libraries.
    • Dr. Oswald shared comments on when the public asked for more nurses, more nurses were added. That the district is responding to things like mental health, etc.
  • Mark Newbie Elementary will have preschool classroom put into a space that is in an empty classroom- which will be a one year solution.
  • A Garfield parent repeated a concern on the importance of elementary school libraries.
    • How can the district and the schools and caregivers work together to provide equity for access to the resource that is a school library?
    • Ms. Kaiden responded with that the Board is prioritizing based on need and budget. Also that in Technology, they are teaching research skills.
  • A back and forth over the challenges that exist with the resources like libraries ensued.


The Next Meeting of the Collingswood Board of Education is scheduled for Monday, March 18, 2019 at 6:30pm (required date for budget submission) at Zane North Elementary All Purpose Room

Jen R

Jen R

Jen Rossi, Vice President Jen Rossi moved to Collingswood with her spouse in 2012. She is a graduate of Georgian Court University with a Bachelor's Degree in Education and Fine Art. She has a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing in Elementary Education (K-5) and as a Teacher of Fine Art (K-12). After a part-time floating position and substitute teaching, Jen returned to the corporate world. Professionally Jen is a Digital Marketing Manager for a privately owned insurance brokerage, providing important information on how to reduce the risks in today's business world: ranging from slip and fall injuries to computer network hacks. Getting the information in the hands of people who need it with the help of guidebooks, webinars, instructional videos, blog posts, social media alerts, and online courses. With this background in education and knowledge of the process for communicating important information to anyone willing to hear it, Jen focuses her energy on making a big impact with small things- making life a little more convenient, helping people get informed, keeping things practical and timely, and encouraging achievable goals for success. In her free time, Jen loves upcycling, improving, and otherwise repurposing materials to the delight of family, neighbors, and Etsy customers. She looks forward to running down questions and getting helpful information into social feeds and inboxes of members of the Collingswood community.