Dear Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,
Welcome back to school. I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing holiday break with family and friends, and is ready to begin the second half of the school year with energy and enthusiasm. On my visits to campuses this week, I see our students resuming their routines and enjoying the companionship of their fellow students as well as their teachers, aides, and therapists. I’m very proud of the supportive community that exists within the Special Services school district.
Our recent Bergen County Special Services Expo, held at the Brownstone School in December, was a great success. Over 100 special education professionals attended our workshop offerings, “Current Legal Trends in Special Education” and “Screening, Intervention, Accommodations, and Use of Technology for Students with Reading Disabilities including Dyslexia.” Faculty members from our various programs were on-hand to answer questions about our academic and therapeutic programs and the services we provide local districts.
Our CAPE Special Services Resource Center continues to offer professional development workshops and information sessions for parents and guardians. Upcoming professional development offerings include “Behavior Assessments and Behavior Support Plans” and “A Teacher Toolbox for Behavior Intervention.” For parents and guardians, a Meet and Greet/Vendor Fair with representatives from support coordination agencies will take place on January 19 and a Meet and Greet with representatives of Adult Day programs in Bergen County and the surrounding area will be held on Thursday, February 16. In March, the CAPE Center will host its annual Camp Fair at the Bleshman School, where camp and agency representatives will present information and answer questions regarding programs for children and adults with disabilities. For a complete list of the CAPE Center’s offerings and services, please visit their website by selecting CAPE Resource Center from our main page, www.bergen.org.
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.