‘Dramatic Changes’ to Regional District

Adapting to new regulations from the state Department of Education, several positions are being eliminated while others are being created.

The West Morris Regional High School Board of Education took initial steps Monday that will transform the district’s administration.

The changes are in line new rules from the state Department of Education designed to restructure school administrations to provide better teacher  evaluations and student outcomes.

“Theses are dramatic changes,“ said Superintendent Mackey Pendergrast.

The local changes are in line with those taking place in New Jersey and across the country, he said.

The changes at West Morris include the elimination of lead teachers and the creation of a new position, assistant superintendent. The board narrowly approved the overall scheme at its April 16 meeting, and the votes taken Monday addressed the mechanics of the changes.


One vote abolished the positions of director of curriculum, director of staff development and technology facilitator.

A second vote established the positions of: district supervisor of English; district supervisor history; district supervisor of mathematics; and district supervisor of science.

Board members Marcia Asdal of Chester and Jamie Button of Mendham Township, who both had opposed the overall plan, followed suit and voted against these two changes.

All changes are scheduled to take effect July 1.

Pendergrast said that having one district supervisor for the subjects would allow better coordination between the district’s two high schools and the positions will be advertised as required.

According to Pendergrast, he expects qualified candidates to come from both inside and outside the district.

The changes will save about $100,000 because of the elimination of the lead teacher positions, Pendergrast said.

These changes are part of a state overhaul of teacher evaluations. The current system has been under heavy attack by Gov. Chris Christie and state Legislators.

The state education department implemented a pilot program in several districts this school year. It is following education reform directives from the federal government.

The new teacher evaluation system will be implemented in all districts in 2013-14, and the 2012-13 school year will serve as a preparation and capacity-building year, the department said.

Based on lessons learned from pilot districts, the statewide Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee and national research and models, the department  will offer two options to districts in 2012-13. Districts may either apply to participate in a new pilot program of the teacher evaluation system or they may take specified steps to prepare for implementation in 2013-14,

 The goals of the new program, according to the department, are:

Establishing a universal vision of highly effective teaching practice based on a common language and clear expectations;

  • Implementing teacher and principal practice measures that yield accurate and differentiated levels of performance;
  • Providing teachers with timely, actionable, and data-driven feedback;
  • Providing teachers and principals with targeted professional development opportunities aligned to assessment and feedback to support their growth;
  • Providing district administrators with improved tools by which to measure principal effectiveness;
  • Using multiple measures of performance data to inform personnel decisions.

The ultimate goal is to increase achievement for all students by ensuring that every New Jersey student has access to a highly effective teacher, the department said.

Jennifer Simon May 01, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Eliminating teachers and adding an Assistant Superintendent and Supervisors? Really? How does this help the students?
SpecialEd May 01, 2012 at 08:41 PM
It's not eliminating teachers, it's eliminating the stipend/tag of "lead teacher" and putting a more managerial structure to the programs. In case you were on the fence about the wisdom of it, Button voted against it and cleared that up for us.


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