Blood passes evaluation as supt.


It took several months longer than it was supposed to, but the chief school administrator of Kearny public schools has passed her statemandated evaluation.

The Kearny Board of Education concluded, in a formal vote, last Monday, Sept. 21, that Schools Superintendent Patricia Blood achieved the goals she set out to accomplish for the 2014-2015 school term.

Because three board members – president James Doran Jr., Barbara Cifelli-Sherry and Sebastian Viscuso – have relatives who work for the school system, they were – by state regulation – “conflicted” and, therefore, not permitted to take part in the private deliberations on evaluating the superintendent’s goal declarations, explained board vice president Cecilia Lindenfelser, policy chair.

However, those members were permitted to vote on the superintendent’s evaluation, Lindenfelser said.

Lindenfelser said that the “non-conflicted” board members had previously reviewed the superintendent’s goals with Blood and that representatives of the New Jersey School Boards Association had compiled the results of that review.

“Now we will vote on whether my summary report [on Blood’s evaluation] reflects the majority opinion of the full board,” she concluded.

The resulting vote was unanimous, with the exception of absent member Samantha Paris. However, Lindenfelser said that Paris had participated in the process and agreed with the majority.

Questioned further about the process, board counsel Ken Lindenfelser told The Observer that the evaluation was to have been concluded by the end of the school year, June 30, 2015, but because the process is somewhat convoluted, it took the board longer than expected to complete.

“The board is committed to making sure it’s done in a timely matter next time,” he said.

The attorney said he could not talk about how the board came to its conclusion because those discussions are confidential. However, he did provide a document revealing that Blood’s goals for 2014-15 were these:

• Develop a survey of World Languages program for all sixth-graders for implementation in 2015-16, thereby exploring three languages in preparation for choosing their desired course of study in grades 7 and 8.

• Complete a review and update of all policies and regulations before the start of the 2015-16 school year.

• Work with administrators and teachers to achieve a 5% increase in the percentage of students showing high growth on the NJASK test from 2014- 15 to 2015-16.

• To have students in grades 3 to 8 demonstrate improved “lexile” levels (attaining increasing levels of complexity) over the course of the school year as measured by Achieve 3000.

• Increase parent communication via Genesis Parent Portal and email listserv and to achieve a 5% increase in the number of parents using the portal to review grades, homework, interim reports, report cards, attendance and emergencies.

Blood’s employment contract runs through June 30, 2019.

In other business, Viscuso, who chairs the facilities committee, said the final part of the high school reconstruction project should be bid out “in a few weeks. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we have enough money to finish the job.”

The board agreed to pay King Mechanical Installations of Hackensack $61,236 for the installation of water sprinkler systems in the garage and gym of the high school’s South Building as sub-contractor for Brockwell & Carrington on the Noise Abatement Project for which B&C was terminated for convenience and for which the firm never received payment.

The board also accepted Blood’s recommendation to implement a federally-funded after-school ESL/Immigrant Tutoring Program for Limited English Proficient students in language arts and math and to create a federally-funded outreach program for immigrant students’ parents.

It also voted to accept a bequest from the estate of Dr. Robert Johnson of which 4 to 5% of the trust will be awarded annually to a deserving biology student going into dentistry.

– Ron Leir 

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