Supt. Explains Changes in Gifted and Talented Program

By JULIA BONAVITACOLA
For Union County HAWK

GARWOOD — The Garwood Board of Education met on Monday to discuss the progress of the Garwood school district. During this meeting, board members addressed the changes that are coming for the Gifted and Talented program.

Board of Education member Denise Ridente gave the committee report on education and personnel. She said that the state had changed the Gifted and Talented program since the board’s last meeting. “It will be more an enrichment program. Students will be accepted based on assessment. We are changing the name of the Gifted and Talented program to reflect that. The elementary-school program will be called…Primary Enrichment Program (PEP) and the middle-school’s Gifted and Talented program will be Garwood Enrichment for Middle School (GEMS),” said Ms. Ridente.

During the superintendent report, Dr. Teresa Quigley, Ed.D., addressed questions from board members about what the changes meant for Garwood. She said that the board is no longer required to approve a curriculum for the Gifted and Talented program as the curriculum for the new enrichment program is embedded into the program itself. She also said that the program will be mostly the same for the middle school but will feature small changes for lower grades.

“For the upper grades, it’s still the same format…[In the lower grades], that’s where more of the enrichment is coming, so that will be a little different,” said Dr. Quigley. She said that the elementary-school kids will be pulled out of class for the enrichment program. “They’re just going to get more time…The lower grades didn’t have as much time,” the superintendent remarked.

The changes to the Gifted and Talented program come over a year after Governor Phil Murphy (NJ-D) signed a law in January of 2020 to promote equal access to these opportunities for all students.

The meeting on Monday also featured the first appearance of Marci Krasny as the board secretary. She takes over this role from Dr. Denis Frohnapfel, who attended his last meeting last month.
Board President Ralph Trentacosta introduced Ms. Krasny to the people in attendance and welcomed her to the board. She also gave a brief description of her experience.

“I’ve worked in Hunterdon County as well as Monmouth County as a BA. I was a high-school teacher over at Cranford High School for around 17 years…I am thrilled to come to Garwood…I love the localness, I love the small feeling, and I love being in the school with the children,” said Ms. Krasny. She said that any questions can be directed to her at her office and that she looks forward to working for Garwood.

Mr. Trentacosta also brought up the idea of streaming the board meetings. Other board members mentioned that the board cannot keep recordings of the meetings based on the language of the bylaws.

“I think that goes to old policy bylaws on old tape recordings…that’s just an old thing that needs to be addressed also,” stated Mr. Trentacosta. He also said that there would be no problem with livestreaming, as it would be similar to the way that the public was able to watch meetings while they were all online.

The policies that need to be passed for this to go into effect had the first reading at the meeting, and any issues regarding language of the policies as it stands will need to be figured out over the course of meetings left in the year.

The earliest that board of education meetings could be livestreamed through the board website would be in January of 2022.

The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 16, at Lincoln School.

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