[Live Stream] Collingswood Board of Education Meeting 6/24/2019

This meeting included a recap of the annual efforts from the District’s Equity Committee, an update on Library Advocacy, the district’s communication plan, and an upcoming ballot question to raise the budget for Mental Health Services in Collingswood Schools.

The Complete Agenda May Be Found Here: http://go.boarddocs.com/nj/colps/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=BCDLUX527633

Committee of the Whole Highlights

Update on Board Goals:

  • Equity
  • Communication/ Community Engagement

Ms. Henry says that there was an audit done in Communication:

  • Collingswood is a close community with close relationships
  • Diversity is a strength in communication
  • Community Groups should be a part
  • Parent communication is important
  • The community wants to be engaged- Areas of note from the BOE report:
    • public forum examples: emergency communication plans, audited messages
    • the BOE believes that communication is balanced and accurate
    • The staff would like to know when educational opportunities are available
  • The calendar on the website does not fit all needs
  • Solid branding is needed: consistent messaging, wording, and method should be worked on
  • This is an ongoing area of growth, the idea of hiring a professional was suggested but the board elected to not allocate funds for this objective at this time.
    • A consultant from Camden county could be an option
  • Develop in August and implement in September, with new board members coming in in the new year with another audit each year in June.
  • Dr. Oswald feels that over the summer is a better time to work through the plan for communication.
  • President Henry asked if there were any other Board members interested in joining the 3 person committee for the community communication committee.

Interest in Policy and Board members receiving more training for Board professional training.

  • Dr. Oswald wants to keep it focused.

Dr. Oswald gave a summary of the Equity Committee Meetings from this past school year

  • The Equity Committee included Community members, parents, teachers, Board members, and Administrators.
  • They started meeting in October with Brainstorming

Mental Health services ballot question
(coming in November 2019) stemmed from the Equity Committee Meeting discussions

What Mental Health Services would look like:

  • Training for staff for Level 1
  • Level 2 is additional support like talk groups
  • student and family support like in-school services or at home for families in need

Keep an eye out for more updates about this November Ballot Question to fund this program as an ongoing budget item

Identified high-need services:

  • anxiety
  • lack of resiliency, coping skills
  • self-concept, social anxiety
  • trauma-based issues, grief/loss
  • parents and grandparents (caregivers) who are dysregulated

Educational Foundation

There are costs for activities in schools are a cost which can prove to be a barrier for students. The education foundation could help with

  • AP testing costs
  • model UN
  • various cultural trips for students
  • Music and arts trips at all grade levels
  • May provide support for those students “just above” free/reduced lunch level
  • Transportation issues

Addressing Elementary School Inequities

Elementary Inequities

  • school report cards
  • demographics
  • achievement and growth scores
  • chronic abenteeism

Possible solutions:

  • grade-level schools, need to consider the pros and cons
  • addressing problem within the current “neighborhood school” structure
  • consideration of two new, larger schools in town


Student voice was a component of the Equity committee and also outside of that group
They looked at insights on connections with adults in school, with peers in school, with school itself/ sense of belonging

Recommendations include

  • continuing Equity Committee work
  • Student Voice Work
  • Mental Health Services to promote restorative growth.

Library Advocacy Update:

11.18 is a shared services with Oaklyn for a school media specialist- this is for the Elementary level

Curriculum Committee Highlights

12.09 the restorative practices will be focused on as well as visual learning for Continuing Education for our faculty and staff

Other Highlights:

Ms. Miller requested that communication starts soon for the half-day schedule being the first Wednesday of each month so that families may plan

Personnel Committee Highlights:

  • 13.62 Online Curriculum. Algebra I has a lot of content, the online course follows Algebra 1 and provides additional learning opportunities for the students to refresh their learning for Algebra 2 (It was taken off of the agenda, Dr. Oswald requested that it is brought back onto the agenda)
  • Dr. Oswald would like for this to be implemented at this meeting rather than wait until the August meeting of the BOE so that the students can have access to it this summer. The content would be similar to the packet.
  • All items were approved.
    • Ms. Saverino no on 13.49

Policies With 2nd Readings Highlights:


Public Comment Highlights:

  • RL – says that the report on the equity committee was appreciated. Thanks to the board, the staff at the end of the year. That school is more about learning, it is growth in their journey. As Commissioner- thank you as partners in the parks, to keep students safe, the library, recreation. The Borough benefits in us working together.
  • DP – Outdoor recess in the winter months. Hopefully a plan to get the kids out a little bit more even in the cold weather.
    • Response: The Committee decided that it would not be beneficial to make a policy, that is was based on the advisement of each building’s administrator.
  • DP – Follow-up question: Is it fair to say that the kids will be getting outside more in the coming school year?
    • Response: inconclusive
  • JR – Clarification that the Media Specialist is for the Elementary Level
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.