Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hey, welcome back!

I haven’t been blogging much (at all) over the past couple of months. It’s been a busy summer on the work front. I’ve been writing a lot for several clients, including writing a frequent blog (on home décor) for one client, so maybe that has something to do with my lack of energy for this blog of my own. It’s true that at the end of the day (or in the wee hours of the morning), after writing for hours, it can be a little difficult to get revved up to write some more. Especially when there's no deadline and no paycheck attached. I guess I just got a little tired...

Also playing into the situation is my status, as of April, as a “regular” Ridgewood resident. That is, not a member of the Board of Education. When I was on the BOE, I felt a very real obligation to write about various topics in a timely manner. If there was a topic that we discussed at a BOE meeting, I might write about it the next day to explain or to add my own opinions. I often tried to fill holes in District or Board communications. Since April, there’s no real rush or obligation for me to write. Not to mention, it’s definitely different to be commenting completely from the outside. I don’t want to be the armchair quarterback who simply lobs commentary or complaints on BOE decisions or actions, especially since I don't have all the information anymore. I may not really have a handle on my role these days, but I can say that I’m not interested in being a gadfly.

That being said, I am absolutely and completely just as concerned and interested in our schools in particular and in education in general today, as I was before the April election. My silence these past couple of months should not be interpreted to mean that I don’t know what’s going on, or, worse, that I don’t care what’s going on. Nothing could be further from the truth. I've been reading, corresponding, paying attention and researching, especially in education areas that particularly interest me, such as technology in schools, curriculum, communications and funding. Honestly, I'm just trying to figure out my role.

I'm not gonna lie...I have enjoyed the quiet a little bit. I enjoy waking up and reading my email and not finding half a dozen messages from people who are angry. I have enjoyed not receiving 200+ pages to read on Friday night. And I've enjoyed not running back and forth to the Ed Center for various Board meetings, reviewing bills, committee meetings, etc.

HOWEVER, now that we’re approaching the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, and having just enjoyed a couple months of quiet, behind-the-scenes observation of our Ridgewood schools, Village politics and life in our town, I’m feeling like I need to start blogging again. I don't really like being quiet. Vacation’s (almost) over! It’s true that Ridgewood can be a bit of a ghost town in the summer, but since I’m not one of those lucky enough to have a vacation home to escape to, I can tell you this: there’s been plenty of stuff going on in Ridgewood – both in our schools and out.

So I'm just starting to think about some of the topics I’d like to explore with my blog. Here are a few random things on my radar:

-U.S. schools/ education reform/comparisons to Finland and others
-Teacher pay
-Fast food retailers coming to Ridgewood?
-Bike riding in Ridgewood
-Results of the latest parent surve re: schools
-The latest on fields and lights
-School construction / additions at Ridge & Hawes / Status of Glen school (again)
-Technology in schools
-Overbooked children / Overdoing it with the extracurriculars
-Adventures of a first-time teacher
-Village Council effectiveness

These are just a few things I'm thinking about. What about you? What would you like to talk about?

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Please come back. My blog's re-start may be a little rocky at first, but I'll try to get ramped back up as quickly as possible.


Anonymous said...

Glad your back!

Anonymous said...

On this Monday's BOE agenda, there is the following item:

iii. Approval: Uniform Memorandum of Agreement Between the School District and the Police Department
Approval of the Uniform Memorandum of Agreement between the school district and the Ridgewood Police Department.
The Board has received background information.

WHat is this? Why does the district feel that events outside of the classroom should be known by the school?

Laurie said...

The state Dept of Education requires that every school district annually approve a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the local police department. The MOA outlines the responsibilities of school administrators and law enforcement regarding students, mostly regarding activities and incidents on school property, in order to maintain a safe school environment. It covers things that are mandatory, by law, for the school to report to the police. It also covers safety topics such as violence, assaults, intruders, lockdowns, when the police are allowed on school property and the protocols for what police can do at school. It also very specifically spells out what info can be shared from school to police and from police to school.

To your specific question, it’s the state (not the district) that says certain events outside the classroom should be known by the school. The sharing of info about off-campus activities is just a very small part of the 56-page document. To find out what those events/activities are, and what the rules and reasons for sharing info are, you can read the state’s master MOA document here:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Is the document publicly available?

Laurie said...

The Ridgewood MOA is not attached to the agenda, but if you wanted to see it I'm sure someone would send it to you upon request. As I recall, it basically follows the state's master document verbtim, and you can download that from the link I posted earlier.

If you do want to see the Ridgewood version, I suggest you contact Dr. Fishbein or one of the BOE members.

Anonymous said...

Watching the 8/29 BOE mtg live on internet - disappointed that on channel 33 on FIOS there was picture but no sound.

Laurie said...

I'm watching on channel 33 but listening to sound on the live stream on the district website