Evesham Board of Education talks district focus for the new year, board member resignation

At the first public meeting of the new school year the board voted to accept the resignation of member Christopher St. John.

At its Thursday, Sept. 26 meeting, the Evesham Board of Education heard presentations from the director of curriculum and instruction, Danielle Magulick, concerning district focus for the year ahead and voted to accept the resignation of board member Christopher St. John.

According to Magulick, all data and assessments from last school year submitted in the spring are compiled and analyzed throughout the summer to set the direction for the new year and set in place areas of focus for the district. 

“We look at schools, we look at grades, we look at different cohorts, we look at how they did the previous year, how they did this year. We look at all different kinds of ways to find trends and patterns so that we can turnkey that information to the curriculum department,” said Magulick.

Once this information is accumulated and assessed, Magulick, along with Superintendent John Scavelli, visit each school in the district to meet with administrative staff about school-level data in terms of district trends, school-level trends, what goals are and are not being met and whether individual student needs are being met. 

Magulick discussed district focus broken up by subject area beginning with language arts where she says there will be a continued focus on reading and thinking across multiple texts and enhanced support for purposeful implementation of their Reader’s Workshop.

“This is something kids are being asked to do on our district assessments, as well as our state assessments, as well as in life, book clubs and things like that,” said Magulick.

Writing is another area identified as a focus for this year with an emphasis on analysis of student writing and differentiated instruction.

According to Magulick, math is an area her department would particularly like to see improvement in this year. To accomplish this goal, focus will be on increased strategic instruction on major content at each grade level along with modeling and reasoning. By integrating discourse into math instruction, the hope is to enhance mathematical reasoning in students and to encourage the construction of viable arguments and critiques of the reasoning of others.

A similar approach is being explored in the area of science. While integrating science and engineering practices, emphasis will be given to justifying responses and critiquing the reasoning of others. 

According to Board President Joe Fisicaro, earlier this month he received a letter of resignation from St. John. At the meeting, the rest of the board voted to accept St. John’s resignation.

After voting, the board has 65 days to fill the seat, according to the president, however, he believes the impending resignation of Scavelli takes precedent.

“We have a busy month ahead of us,” said Fisicaro. 

A committee is being formed to begin the search for an interim superintendent and it is his recommendation they settle that issue before going about interviewing board members to fill the vacant seat.

“We have the time to do it and I feel that we could execute that pretty easily,” said Fisicaro.

Whoever is chosen to fill the position will be sitting for a one-year term until the next election in November 2020 when, should they wish to continue serving in that role, they can run for a full term.

The open seat will be advertised in local newspapers in the coming months for anyone wishing to apply for an interview.   

The next public meeting of the Evesham Township School District Board of Education is scheduled for Oct. 24 at DeMasi Middle School.