February 2013 Message

February 2013

These are exhilarating times for the Piscataway School District – the class of 2026 is enrolling in Kindergarten, our 8th grade students are preparing for transition to high school, and our seniors are finalizing plans to enter college and the global community. 

As we pass the halfway point of the school year, there are several initiatives underway that will steer the district in new directions.

  • Piscataway is part of a NJ pilot that is implementing a new teacher evaluation model that is designed to provide meaningful feedback to teachers and principals as they strive to improve student achievement. In our district, teachers are evaluated in four areas of practice: planning and preparation, classroom environment, instruction, and professional responsibilities. The pilot districts, including Piscataway, are identifying strengths and challenges as New Jersey moves to statewide reform in teacher appraisal.
  • The Board of Education is engaged in a comprehensive search for a permanent Superintendent of Schools. A series of meetings was held with community members, parents, teachers, principals, and others to help identify district needs and leadership qualities of the next Superintendent. 
  • On a Saturday in late January, the Board and Administration met for six hours to discuss enrollment projections and consider future facility needs. At certain grade levels, class sizes have risen steadily and the district’s demographer predicts continued growth. This conversation will continue.   
  • Concurrently, Piscataway is developing a new Strategic Plan, which serves as a “roadmap” in guiding student achievement and reaching district goals for the next five years.  With input from parents, district staff and administration, as well as the community at large, our next Strategic Plan will define how we meet the needs of our school community, from educational programs and fiscal resources, to personnel and facility needs. 
  • All schools are updating their security and emergency plans, refining procedures, and conducting monthly drills that include lockdowns and evacuations.  Recognizing that schools are community facilities, Piscataway works closely with our Police Department to provide as safe an environment as possible for your children.

During this time, rest assured that I am committed to the continued growth and academic progress of all students, from infants and toddlers at Children’s Corner PreSchool, to our amazing seniors at Piscataway High School. 

With hopes for an early spring,

Teresa M. Rafferty