Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,
Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed a peaceful holiday season with family and friends.
Students and staff at the Bergen County Special Services Educational Facility have settled in to their new location and are utilizing the expanded services that the Facility provides. Updated technology allows our adult clients to view presentations prepared by our staff on topics including food preparation, social skills, money skills, and community safety. The Career Through Technology Program has expanded to offer its clients instructional rooms equipped with the latest technology for teaching and enhancing those skills needed for supported and independent employment, as well as an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) room, apartment, and kitchenette. Students at New Bridges Middle and High School may begin their day with breakfast in the new cafeteria. The staff utilizes a state-of-the-art cardio room to teach students the importance of establishing lifelong fitness routines. Students have access to two ADL rooms and an apartment to learn activities of daily living, in addition to bright new classrooms equipped with the latest technology tools. Please see the main page of our web site to read about the Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony that took place on November 9, 2015; it contains a link to the article that appeared in The Record as well.
Our annual Bergen County Special Education Expo took place this year on December 11. Three workshops were offered at this year's event, including topics on meeting state mandates for students with reading disabilities including dyslexia, and IEPs. We have two upcoming workshops planned for January and March. "Innovative Programming at Bleshman" will be held at the Bleshman School in Paramus on January 15, and "Safety Nets in Educating Deaf Students" will be presented at the Union Street School for the Deaf in Hackensack on March 24. Workshops for parents and professionals are ongoing at the CAPE Center; visit http://cape.bergen.org to check out their many offerings.
Howard Lerner, Ed.D.
The Board of Education of the Bergen County Special Services School District, located in Paramus, New Jersey, governs the school district. The district offers a broad spectrum of special education programs and services for children and adults with disabilities at over 30 sites throughout northern New Jersey. Programs for students ranging from pre-elementary to secondary (ages 3-21) are structured around five separate divisions called continuums. These include the Auditory or Communication Skills Continuum, the Autistic Continuum, the Behavioral Skills Continuum, the Life Skills Continuum, and the Pre-School Continuum. Through these groupings, the district serves students with a variety of physical and cognitive disabilities. In addition, there are adult programs, professional support services for students, transition services and other specialized programs that address the needs of the county and local school districts.
The seven-member Board of Education includes the County Superintendent who has an unexpired term, six members recommended by the County Executive of Bergen County and confirmed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders, and the Superintendent, who serves as an exofficio, non-voting member. Each of the six appointed members serves a three-year term expiring July 1st. Prospective members of the Board must adhere to certain legal requirements. They must be able to read and write; must hold citizenship and one year''s residence in the school district; may not have a contract with or claim against the board; and must be registered and eligible to vote.
One of the prime obligations of a school board is to formulate policy to conform to all national, state, and local laws and regulations as determined by the New Jersey State Board of Education and detailed in the New Jersey Administrative Code (NJAC), Title 6 & 6A. Policy serves as a guideline for the district''s important goals, serves as a legal basis for its actions, and enables the school district superintendent to create rules and regulations for policy implementation. Through the budget, the local board of education determines how money should be allocated to carry out board policies. The board approves the budget, balancing the educational needs of the students with the ability of the district to support those needs.
Individual members have no authority to act on their own, but meet as a board in a formal session. All discussions and official actions, unless specifically exempt by law, must take place in the public session. A quorum of the board is required for all official board actions. The board cannot act without the Superintendent''s recommendations, which are presented in the form of resolutions at monthly public board meetings.