The Asbury Park Public Schools together with the
College & Career Readiness Institute
Students from Asbury Park Middle School visited Ghana on Nov. 9. Thanks to technology made available from Polycom, it didn’t take 10 hours, but rather they were able to teleconference at the speed of light in the comfort of the school’s Media Center.
“Polycom Foundation donates equipment to non-profits that support children and can leverage technology at the same time,” said Laura Owen, Polycom Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. “We use this to expand distance learning opportunities. It’s really about connecting children.”
With mock passports in hand, approximately 50 Asbury Park middle-schoolers traveled more than 5,000 miles to Agona, Ghana in West Africa as part of a partnership through Oiada International. Oiada, a non-profit organization, has been providing educational and cultural programs that compliment schools’ core curriculum since 1997. They began partnering with Polycon in 2009 to engage students in distance learning programs.
During the visit, Asbury Park students shared a cheer, presented a banner and provided history on Asbury Park and the State of New Jersey. As an added bonus, they met Ghanaian King Terpor V of Agona, Ghana.
Educators tout the benefits of live, video conferencing as it offers face-to-face, real-time opportunities. It also helps students realize that they share the same challenges, fears and circumstances as their peers throughout the world.
In addition to the live chat, Asbury Park students collected school supplies that will be distributed to St. John’s Catholic Junior High School in Abrem, Agona Ghana. This was part of an ongoing effort to demonstrate school pride, social responsibility and teach the students that they can make an impact, according to Eric Jones CEO of Oiada International.
“Superintendent (Lamont) Repollet’s vision and desire for something greater than he was already seeing in the Asbury Park School District connected the two,” said Jones, who has partnered with the district for the past two years. “He wanted to have his students have a global experience by teaching them to make an impact in their community and ones thousands of miles away.”
Dr. Jeffrey Toney, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Kean University, was onsite to witness the exchange.
“We support global education. My hope is to build links,” said Toney, noting the university has a campus in Wenzhou, China. “What Asbury Park is doing here is innovative and our university community can benefit from connecting with them.”
Asbury Park Mayor John Moor and Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton also stopped in to offer support for the district’s global initiative.
“This is just unbelievably great to see technology being used in the (school) district,” Moor said. “You can tell by the expression on the children’s faces how successful this project is.”
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Seat Belts & Air Bags
Seat belts save lives! Seat belts are the single most effective safety device in vehicles today. The National Highway Traffic
Safety Association (NHTSA) estimates that seat belts save more than 11,000 lives each year, and reduce the risk of fatality and serious injury by 50 percent when used by drivers and front-seat passengers. Air bags save lives! The NHTSA also estimates that since the introduction of air bags in 1984, they have contributed to savings more than 10,000 lives.
The combination of an air bag in addition to a lap and shoulder seat belt system reduces the risk of serious head injury by 81 percent compared to a 60 percent reduction for seat belts alone. Below are a few important safety tips for riding in vehicles with air bags:
Infants should NEVER ride in the front seat of a vehicle with passenger side air bags.
Children ages 12 and under should always be restrained in a child safety seat or a safety belt and should always ride in the back seat.
Safety belts (both lap and shoulder) should be used with air bags.
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Please contact Mr. Lew Griffin with any questions, concerns or applause.
Johnny Smith is known as the "super dad" at Barack Obama Elementary School.
He regularly shows up to speak with teachers and administrators about his 10-year-old son, helps with homework and walks him to school each day to make sure he's safe.
In a place where things often don't add up for student-athletes, simply multiply the bullet points on the new mission statement by the potential impact on young lives, divide it by the program's recent history and the result is that Tim Fosque has the most important job in the Shore Conference.
Shore area schools are rolling out 21st century learning tools and practices for the new year. School officials say they spent the summer working on plans to improve their classrooms and better prepare students for the real world.
In public school classrooms across New Jersey, students and their teachers are looking less and less alike. The state’s teaching force remains mostly white despite a growing number of minority students, an Asbury Park Press analysis found.
The Asbury Park High School football team took to weeding Thursday morning at Interfaith Neighbors’ Kula Urban Farm and around the Springwood Avenue Center that houses Kula Café and the Senior Center. The community service endeavor was a collaboration between Interfaith Neighbors and the school district’s College and Career Readiness program, with guidance from the city’s Environment and Shade Tree Commission’s Director Tom Pivinski.
I’ll never forget the joy, pride and stress I felt after I was appointed Superintendent of Schools in Asbury Park, N.J. last year. After taking in the congratulatory comments and well wishes of getting a new job, I stole a few minutes that evening to reflect on what I had accomplished and the experiences I had gained on my journey of self-actualization. Abraham Maslow defines self-actualization as "the desire for self-fulfillment, namely the tendency for the individual to become actualized in what he is potentially.” During my moment of reflection, I realized that I had reached the pinnacle as an educational leader by being appointed the new Superintendent of Schools.
As I prepared for my first public meeting, the thoughts of someone raising his or her hand and asking me, “What’s next? What are your plans?” began to dominate my mind. Now that I have the job, the expectation is that I will “Know What To Do” and that people will be expecting me to “Lead” on day one. It did not matter if I was the new Superintendent of Schools, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Director of Special Education, or Building Principal; the expectation would be for me to live up to my resume and cover letter immediately.
Facing the district stakeholders for the first time was stressful as well as exciting. It was a defining moment in which the success of my speech would help shape the district and community’s perception of their new Chief School Administrator. My most pressing concern prior to delivering the speech was this: Which approach should I choose that will garner me credibility, respect, and trust? I opted to employ a systematic approach to lead my learning organization. A systematic approach is one that is repeatable and learnable through a series of step-by-step procedures. I named my approach A.C.E. -- an acronym for Assess, Create, Execute.
Assessment is the process of collecting and evaluating data from varied sources in order to gain a better understanding. I used a mixed-method approach to assess my school district by collecting quantitative data (formative/summative assessments) and gathering qualitative data (interviews/focus groups/observations) in hopes of understanding the community as a whole, culture and climate of the district, and the internal/external challenges of student achievement. The process was very beneficial. It allowed me to use that rich information to support existing assumptions and develop a better understanding of the challenges ahead.
According to Peter Senge (1990), “learning organizations are organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.” What are your mission, vision, values, and goals? Creating a plan of action is essential when establishing SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goals. The strategic planning process should include all stakeholders when developing an action plan, which establishes high expectations and creates diverse strategies intended to produce desired outcomes.
The execution of the strategic plan is the most difficult aspect of the process. All well-conceived strategic plans that are not implemented are just dreams or wish lists. There are two components that are essential to the execution process -- deployment and reflection. Deployment is the implementation of the strategies. Reflection is the assessment of the strategic results. I call this process Plan, Do and Check.
As I look back on that stressful moment of seven months ago, I recall standing in front of the large crowd in the auditorium delivering my first public speech in my new district. I felt comfortable. Subconsciously, I guess I knew I would A.C.E. this next chapter in the journey of my new self-actualization.
Presently, I have completed the Assess process of my systematic approach and created action pillars to guide our learning organization. Those pillars are: Rebuild, Retool and Restore. Now I am halfway through my Create process of “Building A Brighter Future.” This systematic approach and subsequent experiences have taught me that leading an organization begins with understanding the essential questions of a learning organization: Where are we now? Where are we going? How will we get there?