HAWTHORNE, NJ – The Board of Education met virtually through the ZOOM platform on Tuesday evening. The meeting was kicked off with the student council representative report, executed by Hawthorne High School student Alison Perini. She shared that February marks the halfway point in the school year as students enter the third making period. The boys’ basketball team defeated Hawthorne Christian and the girls’ basketball team defeated Butler, noting that the bowling team is also off to a strong start.
Perini announced that Rebecca Riley was the recipient of the National Girls and Women in Sports Award, playing on the soccer, basketball and softball teams at Hawthorne High School. “Her honorable commitment and dedication to the teams is highly appreciated by the entire athletic department.”
Later on in the meeting, Superintendent Richard Spirito congratulated Riley on being recognized by the NJSIAA as Hawthorne High School’s recipient of this award. “Couldn’t ask for a better representative than Rebecca for Hawthorne High School!”
Member’s of HHS’s “S.H.A.R.E. Club” volunteered their time and energy into shoveling the homes of senior citizens within the town during the recent snow storms. Perini thanked the administration for the much-appreciated snow day given to students last Monday. “A day without any instruction provided a slight sense of normalcy.”
The library is celebrating cultural diversity this February in honor of Black History Month. Students are celebrating the achievements of African Americans and the central role of black culture in US history. The Book Talk Group is focusing on expanding cultural knowledge of black and Chinese authors this month, Perini said.
Meeting virtually, the Peer Leaders Club are currently planning the PSA project for the New Jersey teen summit this year. Perini said, “The club was tasked with putting together a thirty-second video which creatively expresses ways to deal with mental health and/or substance abuse issues.” The project will be shared with teens facing the same issues.
Superintendent Spirito issued his report during the meeting, thanking the maintenance and custodial staff for their hard work during the recent storms with snow removal at schools. He noted that Kindergarten registration is now open. Parents are to go to the district website where an announcement will pop up with a link to complete the registration process. He asked parents to provide as much paperwork and documentation electronically as possible, to reduce the need to physically go to the school. However, parents are able to go into the school with forms if needed.
Spirito encouraged the community to support the student athletes in Hawthorne by tuning into games virtually on the YouTube page. Winter track and Wrestling will begin in March.
Wall graphics have been added to both Lincoln and Roosevelt schools, with Jefferson, Washington and Hawthorne High School to be added soon. “I look forward to the day that we can get people back into our schools so they can see them,” Spirito said, stating that the pictures on the website don’t do the work justice.
Read Across America takes place in March. “Normally we have people coming in to read to our students. We may have to do some of that virtually this year,” Spirito said.
Lou Turco recommended a resolution regarding COVID-19 vaccinations for staff. “Request that Governor Murphy give appropriate priority to the statewide administration of the COVID-19 vaccination to all public school personnel.”
Joe Carr discussed the State Senate passing a mandatory civics course as a requirement for middle school graduation. Under what is known as “Laura Wooten’s Law,” this legislation will allow “middle school students to learn how their government works and the important role citizens play in maintaining a free and representative government,” Carr said.
Abigail Goff posed the resolution to add an additional nurse to assist with contact tracing during these trying times. She discussed the updates on curriculum and instruction, including a robotics course at the High School and a new health curriculum.
Board member Anthony Puluse noted that the color run will be canceled due to the pandemic, hoping to be able to host one again soon. The PTO is conducting a cutout fundraiser where cutouts of yourself will be placed throughout the balcony of the gym during all indoor sports events. Single fan cutouts are for sale for $30, while double fan cutouts are $55.
Marco Totaro stated that the rooftop heating units at Lincoln and Roosevelt schools must be replaced–a project that is anticipated to cost $28,000. All projects on the referendum are currently under budget.
There are 5 people who have expressed interest in the open seat on the Board who will be interviewing for the vacancy.