Eastern honors ’18-’19 Teacher of the Year at meeting

Board is presented with testing, HIB data

Christine Leason was honored as the 2018-2019 Eastern Regional High School Teacher of the Year at the board’s most recent meeting.

At its Sept. 18 meeting, the Eastern Regional High School Board of Education recognized its 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year, while also reviewing the statistics from the previous school year.

English teacher Christine Leason was recognized as the ’18-’19 Eastern Regional High School Teacher of the Year before the start of the meeting, with Principal Robert Tull Jr., talking about her efforts as a teacher over the years.

“First and foremost, she’s passionate about teaching and connecting our students with the content,” said Tull. “She values what she teaches, and she lives it out before them, and that allows them to connect and be successful in her classes.”

According to Tull, Leason has continued to stress the importance of students working their hardest and fulfilling their potential over the years, making her a favorite among students who pass through Eastern over time.

“She sets high standards; she has zero tolerance for complaisance in her classroom,” said Tull. “She encourages students to use their voices, to speak and to articulate the lessons that are taught. She is a contributor to our positive school culture, not just in her department, but to our whole school community.”

Among some of the presentations at the board meeting, Anti-Bullying Coordinator Jason Hill presented the board with figures regarding the school’s Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying School Self-Assessment for the previous school year, which is required for districts to complete and send to the state Department of Education.

The self-assessment addresses eight core elements, including HIB programs, approaches or similar initiatives, board training, staff instruction, school-level HIB incident reporting procedure and more.

In the self-assessment, Eastern Regional finished with 76 points out of a possible 78, finishing with a 97 percent final score, as evaluated by the school climate team. After board approval, the results are submitted to the state Department of Education, after which the commissioner of education will then assign a grade, which Eastern is required to post on its website home page within 10 days.

According to Hill, last year the school finished with 74 points, meaning the district improved on an already strong score.

“Overall this is a new position for me … but in talking to [last year’s coordinator] with regard to the strengths of our program, I would say it’s first our policy and then, secondly, investigative procedures we have in place,” said Hill.

The last presentation discussed Eastern Regional test scores on the state assessment, formerly called PARCC from 2015 to 2018, now named the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment.

According to Director of Academic Programs and Student Performance Kristin Borda, all senior students met graduation requirements due to some combination of PARCC test scores, portfolio pieces or another combination.

In looking at the test scores across the grade levels over the past three years, Borda identified notable achievements in that Eastern Regional students are outperforming the state in Algebra II at a passing rate (level four and five) by nearly 8 percent. Additionally, the school has been able to drop its level one and two students numbers in both Algebra I and Algebra II.

Meanwhile, the school also identified areas where it hopes to improve moving forward, including further collaboration with its sending districts to develop curriculum for Algebra I, while also looking to encourage students who struggle in mathematics to take electives that use math skills in a hands-on way in an effort to further develop those skills.

In other news:

  • Timothy Rickey, Jr. was honored as the Scholar of the Month for September.
  • The board sold 161 Solar Renewable Energy Credits on Sept. 5 at a price of $230 each for a total of $37,030.
  • The District Advisory Council will meet four times this school year; meeting dates are Oct. 5, Dec. 3, Feb. 25 and April 21.