May 5, 2016 Board of Education

Meeting Highlights: May 5, 2016

Curriculum. A Student Show Case, organized by Principal Mary Donohue and many faculty for highlighting students in a “well-rounded curriculum” of the Harding School, formed the basis of the curriculum presentation at this Board meeting. Show Case presentations included two poetry readings by 7th graders, presentation of two songs from the elementary school play, two selections by a section of the Harding jazz band, songs by middle school students, a reading that is being prepared for a public speaking contest in early June, and a display of art work. In the realm of science and technology, four students demonstrated the prosthetic hand that they had designed and constructed with the school’s 3-D printer. This curriculum activity is associated with the national volunteer program E-Nable ( to provide such prosthetic hands for those in need. The curriculum presentation at the May 23rd Board meeting will be from the District Curriculum Committee. Faculty in the several academic subject areas will give reports.

Personnel. The Board approved the assignments and salaries of 29 tenured and certified staff for the 2016-2017 school year. The faculty, their assignments, and their salaries (public information) can be accessed and downloaded at ( under the tab for the Board May 9th agenda. The Board discussed the evaluation of non-tenured faculty in its Executive Session. Tenure in New Jersey can now only be acquired after four years of teaching and evaluation.

Board Action. The Board approved the Harding District’s Comprehensive Equity Plan for the three-year interval 2016-2019. This Plan describes the District’s policies for compliance with hiring and evaluation, and meets all requirements of the New Jersey Department of Education. As a follow up to the results recently obtained from the survey of Harding graduates at Madison High School, the Board will initiate additional initiatives to understand the results and to enable further processes for transition to high school. Superintendent Matt Spelker will also communicate with Madison school administration regarding some recent fiscal issues that Madison is facing and that have been reported in the press.

Facilities and Finance. Business Administrator Robert Brown reported that the winning (and lowest) bid for the milling and paving project of the school complex was Fischer Contracting, Inc., at $132,450. Nine bids were received, with costs ranging from the low bid to about a factor of two higher than the lowest. The Board approved the award of the contract with the understanding that there are not any material defects in the bid.

Highlights – April 11, 2016

The highlight of the meeting was the presentation by School Principal Ms. Donohue of an important revamping of the school curriculum to re-emerge as the Rubicon Atlas. Significant elements are:

  • Web-based teaching aide replaces “hard copy” curriculum guide
  • Costs about 5K/yr
  • Fully implemented by the end of school year 2017
  • Teachers can show students examples of what their work should look like
  • Parents can go online and see the course content of the subjects their students/children are taking
  • Doesn’t generate a lesson plan but provides links to resources, illustrations, & etc.

The Superintendent reported on the success of the Senior Breakfast held the previous week which was attended by over 60 seniors. Aside from the tasty breakfast, elements of the school play and other activities were presented which gave the seniors the feeling that the younger generation is being well prepared as they progress through the steps in their elementary education.

The Business Administrator reported that the contract for repaving the school parking lot was out for bid with indications that there would be a good number of responders for a competitive result. Work would be undertaken during the summer recess. (Note: the purpose of this brief report is to help Harding residents connect with the School by highlighting significant items addressed by the Board and is not “meeting minutes.” Minutes are filed by the Board Secretary and placed on the Harding School website for all to view, generally about a month after the meeting date.)