Happy New Year! I want to thank the Township and my fellow Board members for the honor and privilege of serving as the President of the Woodbridge Township Board of Education this past year. We began the calendar year learning remotely and virtually but since March, with few exceptions, we have had continuous in-person instruction. For nearly two years, our students, parents/ guardians, and our staff have handled the uncertainly, health protocols, and new ways of doing just about everything, with tremendous poise and resolve. I cannot thank you all enough for making my job and the administration’s job more manageable.
Unlike the class of 2020, the district was genuinely pleased to offer graduating seniors the traditional and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities of Senior Prom, graduation, and Senior Awards Nights once again with their peers and proud families looking on.
Since July, the Board has remade its central office leadership team (COLT) with a new superintendent, two new assistant superintendents and elevated the part-time position of Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to a full-time role and a member of the COLT. This fall, in addition to returning to full-time, in-person instruction, the district implemented numerous new course offerings, a first-of-its-kind Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) policy, and a new college partnership with Kean University.
This year the district continued to advance planned capital improvement projects from the 2017 and 2020 referendums. The new Ross Street Elementary School #11 in downtown Woodbridge was fully completed. Many of the core projects of the March 2020 Bond Referendum began construction, including the classroom and gymnasium additions onto Elementary Schools 25 and 28, the hallway connectors at Elementary Schools 22 and 24, and the remodel of the JFK Memorial High School fieldhouse. Electrical upgrades and HVAC system replacements and upgrades at select schools have already been completed, including the massive and long overdue $11.5 million HVAC replacement at Woodbridge High School.
Our district’s financial position remains strong and will only get stronger with another scheduled State Aid increase forthcoming and three rounds of federal stimulus appropriations which has afforded the district with two summers of free learning acceleration programs and capital maintenance funds. In spite of this past fall’s food service failures, I am excited for the future of our new dining vendor who I believe will be a valuable new partner to our district.
The month of January is generally quiet with the conclusion of the 1st semester. As of submission, my fellow Board members will elect a new President and swear in its newest member, Jenny Perez of Avenel, at the January 6 Reorganization Meeting. Behind the scenes, the administration has begun crafting the new fiscal year budget that the Board and public will be vetting in the early spring. I welcome your participation in the budget review process at the Open Public Hearing in late April or early May.
I have one housekeeping reminder. Please note that the district will be closed to observe the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Monday, January 17th. Classes will resume on Tuesday, January 18th.
The Board will hold its first regular meeting of the year on Thursday, January 20th at 6:00 PM. The Board will meet in the gymnasium of the new Ross Street Elementary School #11, 110 Ross Street, Woodbridge. The public portion of the meeting will begin after 6:30 PM. As always, you can view or read up on all previous Board meetings through the district’s website. The yearly Board meeting calendar will be available shortly.
Should you ever require my assistance, I welcome your input at one of our monthly Board of Education meetings. You can also e-mail the full board at board@ woodbridge.k12.nj.us or call the Board Secretary’s office at 732-602-8536. As always, Dr. Massimino welcomes any questions at Joseph.Massimino@woodbridge.K12.nj.us.
On behalf of the Board, I wish the entire Woodbridge Township School District community a happy and healthy New Year and the best of luck in the second half of the 2021-2022 school year.