By J. L. Shively
September is here again bringing with it a crisp, new school year full of innovative ideas and exciting memories to reflect upon in the Millburn School District.
In a nutshell the reflection with the most impact is the upcoming vote for the Millburn Referendum, states Millburn Superintendent Christine Burton.
According to the Millburn Referendum website the BOE will be holding the vote for this Referendum on Tues., Sept. 27. This vote will ask Millburn District residents to authorize the District to raise funds to finance a number of school improvements.
Burton summarizes these improvements to include the reacquisition of the Washington School, formerly the Millburn Regional Day School, to be used as a fifth grade school and the renovation of media centers at the elementary, middle and high schools.
Many health and safety improvements for the school will correspond with this referendum as well, Burton notes.
Another highlight from the previous year Burton mentions is the consistent relations with parent and student groups which was the result of student planning. These groups were “an initiative to alleviate student stress,” says Burton.
Using data from the high school to see what are the most prominent catalysts for stress, educators, parents and students alike are given an open window of communication to institute a method for lessening that stress, explains Burton.
In the past school year there were many opportunities for Millburn District students to attend workshops and listen to speakers who visited the schools. The focus of these workshops were to assist students in finding ways to identify stress and create a forum to which students can rely on to help alleviate and understand difficult situations surrounding them.
“A number of topics we touched upon are near and dear to our heats; we have to educate the community on them and make them aware of things that are going on in their child’s lives,” says Burton.
Creating a consistent educational forum for students about stress and other difficult issues such as drugs and alcohol is an objective that will be continuing on into this school year.
Looking forward into this coming year it would be important to note the change in administrative staffing. Burton expresses excitement for the new team which is becoming acclimated to the unique Millburn School District while also recognizing the excellent support she received from the administrators who have retired.
“They were a great group of people with a lot of wisdom and experience,” says Burton.
One of the most exciting assets of the new school year will be the continued development of communications between the administrative offices and the community. This will also include an overhaul to the district website as well as the potential for a district app which could allow for immediate access to district information.
Burton also explains initiatives “for opportunities for two way communications,” allowing the community closer contact with their district administrators as well as different venues for feedback from the community.
“Parents are a great resource we could be tapping into,” Burton says, expressing that educators and administrators are only able to see one side of a student’s life. By opening lines of communications parents will be able to give educators an understanding of their student’s lives outside of school and therefore help improve on ways to better enhance their children’s lives.
Another great resource which will be implemented with grades six to 12 will be the use of Google Classroom, which is a process already implanted in some classrooms in the district. This tool gives educators an opportunity to create a virtual classroom for students to use as a resource for notes, assignments and as a way to open the lines of communication between teachers and students.
Overall Burton expresses a message of welcome to students, staff and new staff members to a district she states is a “great place to work each and every day,” while also offering words of wisdom to get the year rolling, “keep moving the district forward; we have to move forward or else we are moving backward. How will you be moving forward this year?”
For more information about the referendum visit the website at https://sites.google.com/a/millburn.org/millburn-referendum.