I want to remind you of the upcoming meeting on October 30, 2018, at 7:00 pm, in the Cranford High School Auditorium, to discuss the Reimagining Cranford Public School District proposal. It is the first of several meetings that will be held to engage in conversation about whether this initiative reflects our values and desires for our students.
The upcoming meeting will take place as follows:
October 30, 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm at CHS auditorium
Presentation Topics: K-2 buildings with full-day kindergarten, comprehensive grade 3-5 school, comprehensive middle school, high school career academies, budget, and Q&A.
As we continue to engage in discussion around this topic, we want to ensure that everyone has ample opportunity to be informed, share thoughts, and have questions answered. We are confident that this can be accomplished through the combination of large community and school-based meetings, Board of Education Meetings, continued correspondence, and ongoing dialogue. As for the upcoming community meeting on October 30, several stakeholders were consulted to determine the most productive way to deliver information while providing time for individual input. Collaboratively, here is what has been planned:
After the presentations have concluded, each person will have the ability to provide immediate feedback, comments, and questions through a shared public document that will be able to be viewed by all. This process will enable everyone to participate, including those, who may not be comfortable speaking publicly. The feedback will be used to drive the scheduled smaller school meetings, future community meetings, and additional correspondence.
We also realize that there are some who are looking forward to speaking publicly on the matter and we would like to afford them this opportunity as well. Therefore, after all feedback has been received electronically, an hour will be allotted for the community to provide comments / ask questions. Each participant will have a minute and a half so as to give others an opportunity to speak.
Please know that there will be many additional opportunities to speak publicly if so desired. Critical to this process is to hear from you, the community.
Remember, the Reimagining Cranford proposal will not move forward if the community is not in favor of it. The proposal can only be implemented if the community decides to vote for funding the capital costs associated with the plan through a referendum. While we feel there are a lot of benefits in the proposed plan, this is not and will not be a superintendent or Board of Education decision --it will be a community decision. All feedback and viewpoints are welcome!
As we look to Tuesday’s meeting, below please note a new list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and responses.
Again, we look forward to engaging you in conversation about this proposal.
Reimagining Cranford Public Schools Proposal
Frequently Asked Questions
Providing students with full-day kindergarten is something that has been requested by the community for many years in Cranford. A full-day program would provide wonderful benefits for our students. You can read about some of the benefits here: https://www.nj.gov/education/ece/k/FullDayK.pdf. Currently, 92% of the districts in NJ offer students full-day kindergarten and a bill requiring New Jersey school districts to provide full-day kindergarten was introduced earlier this year.
While exploring full-day kindergarten options, the idea to Reimagine Cranford Public Schools emerged. Not only would the proposal provide full-day kindergarten in a fiscally responsible way, it additionally addresses many topics that have been repeatedly brought up by various stakeholder groups. See some of the benefits in the pamphlet located here.
Was the plan to Reimagine Cranford Public Schools part of the Strategic Plan or Strategic Planning Process?
No, the Reimagining Cranford proposal was not a part of the strategic planning process. While many of the areas that were identified as areas of growth during the strategic planning process are addressed through the Reimagining Cranford proposal, such as equity/inconsistencies, full-day kindergarten, social-emotional learning, postsecondary partnerships, and college and career readiness, the Reimagining Cranford Public Schools proposal was conceived separately from the strategic planning process to address these opportunities.
Who approves this proposal?
You, the community, will decide whether this proposal represents what we want for our children. The capital costs associated with this proposal can only be approved through a referendum and that would be voted on by the community, not by the superintendent or the Board of Education.
What will be a part of the referendum?
If the community desires to move forward with the Reimagining Cranford proposal, currently, the referendum would include 4 additional classrooms and additional bathrooms at Hillside Avenue School as well as interior renovations at both Hillside Avenue School and Orange Avenue School. Additional proposed referendum items could include:
Updated Science Labs @ CHS
Updated Media Centers Districtwide
Enhanced Performing Arts Spaces Districtwide
Explored accessibility options @ CHS
Explored AC options
**We would partner with various stakeholders to develop the complete list
Will I know all information pertaining to the referendum prior to a referendum vote?
Yes!!! If the community wants to move forward with this initiative, the District would work in collaboration with stakeholders to build/design the programs at each of the schools. All information from this collaborative effort, including all fiscal information, will be provided to the community prior to any potential referendum vote.
Opportunities for Athletics / Performing Arts?
Several members of the community have expressed a concern that there could be fewer opportunities for students in the arts and in sports if there was only one comprehensive middle school. This initiative is intended to provide greater opportunities, not fewer. We are committed to not reducing options for students. Moreover, stakeholders should be involved in deciding how to best provide options for students and in what manner. Although Middle School sports is not overseen by the School District, we would reach out to our community partners to engage them in conversation about what works best for our community.
Would you bus students who are under 2 miles from a school in grades 3-8?
The original plan was to provide busing for students K-8 who live over 2 miles from their proposed school. However, based on community input, we are now seriously exploring the cost for providing busing for all students K-8 who would be attending a cross-town school.
Is this plan in response to the proposed development at 750 Walnut Avenue?
This proposal was not created as a response to the 750 Walnut Avenue development. If 750 Walnut goes through, as it is proposed, it would create a great hardship on the District. Nevertheless, this plan would put the District in a better position to deal with the influx of ongoing housing projects as the District would be unified, grades 3-12. It is important for the District to be forward thinking. The Birchwood development is already here and currently being built. Although this proposal will not accommodate what is currently being proposed at 750 Walnut (it seems likely that a whole school would have to be built), it does, at the very least, set us up better for the future.
Does this eliminate the neighborhood school model?
No, the neighborhood school model will still exist at the K-2 level. In fact, on each side of town, there will be only three grade levels that change to the opposite side of town. Our community is approximately 4 square miles, which may be, in part, what contributes to that small and welcoming community feel no matter where you are.
What will the District do to mitigate traffic?
If the community is supportive of the proposal moving forward, the District will engage a professional traffic engineer and work in partnership with a newly created Cranford Transportation Task Force to ensure safety and minimize the impact on the community.
Additionally, it has been suggested that busing could alleviate traffic issues in Cranford. According to the American School Bus Council, “every school bus on the road eliminates approximately 36 cars.” It could also make pick-up/drop-off a much smoother process as there would be designated bus pick-up/drop-off zones at the two additional schools that would have busing.
What are High School Career Academies?
Learn more about CTE (Career Technology Education) here: Career Academies. Additionally, “CTE provides students of all ages with the academic and technical skills, knowledge and training necessary to succeed in future careers and to become lifelong learners. In total, about 12.5 million high school and college students are enrolled in CTE across the nation. CTE prepares these learners for the world of work by introducing them to workplace competencies, and makes academic content accessible to students by providing it in a hands-on context.” CTE programs are ranked among the finest schools in the State and Nation. Creating Career Academies at CHS would not restrict students from following a traditional CHS pathway should they so choose.
We have a high achieving district, “Why fix what is not broken?”
We have a great school district, but it is our duty and responsibility to work collaboratively to always enhance our school community. “Achieving success is hard; staying successful is even harder.” --Frank Sonnenberg. Additionally, this proposal focuses on enhancing social-emotional opportunities as well as academics.
How are we getting the word out about this initiative?
We want everyone to be a part of the conversation regarding this proposal. In addition to holding meetings with groups, such as the Parent Teacher Council, the Joint Action Committee, and District faculty, we have also scheduled the following meetings:
Tuesday, October 30, CHS @ 7:00 pm
Wednesday, November 28, CHS @ 7:00 pm To be rescheduled
Monday, December 17, CHS @ 7:00 pm
Individual school meetings will be held:
Tuesday, November 13, WAS @ 7:00 pm
Thursday, November 15, HAS @ 7:00 pm
Monday, November 19, LAS @ 7:00 pm
Tuesday, November 20 - OAS @ 7:00 pm
Tuesday, November 27 - BPS @ 7:00 pm
Thursday, December 6, BAS @ 7:00 pm *This date changed from the original meeting scheduled for Dec. 3.
Tuesday, December 4, CHS @ 7:00 pm
**Please note that the presentation portions of these meetings will be taped and available through TV35
Additionally, we send out all correspondence to TapInto, the Local Source, and TV35. We have also dedicated an area of the Cranford Public School website to this initiative: https://www.cranfordschools.org/domain/1414
We are arranging a meeting with the senior citizens center and we are also working with the Newcomer’s Club to arrange a meeting with their organization as well as similarly focused organizations.
Our goal is to engage the community in this dialogue about what is best for our children. If you or someone you know is not receiving information from the district, please email email@example.com and we would be happy to add them to all future correspondence.
Since that communication, I have received feedback from numerous community members that the addition of meetings at each individual school would afford a greater opportunity for all to be heard and ensure each localized school community receives the information they desire.
Again, we look forward to engaging you in conversation about this proposal.