This press release was submitted by the Clark School District.
On Tuesday, September 4th, employees of the entire school community gathered together for that initial kickoff of the school year, the district-wide Superintendent’s Convocation. The Superintendent’s Convocation was established two years ago upon the arrival to district of Superintendent Kenneth Knops, and has been a tradition for the opening of the school year ever since.
“The Superintendent’s Convocation is an ideal forum for bringing our school community together, celebrating our successes, and looking at upcoming challenges and innovations we will be embarking upon as an educational team. We have a very dedicated and close knit staff, it’s always a delight bringing everyone together for the purpose of celebrating our successes and reviewing our challenges and vision for the year ahead.”
The Convocation commenced with Superintendent Knops introducing the district administrative team, after which time the 2012 Teachers of the Year representing all four district schools were highlighted and recognized. Next up was the awarding of tenure certificates for those staff members who had achieved tenure by being in district for three years and one day. Knops awarded each of the newly tenured teachers with a certificate highlighting this accomplishment.
At this point in the program, Knops and the principals introduced the 21 new staff members to all in attendance. Each staff member was introduced with a Power Point slide, containing their picture and information about their schooling and past accomplishments. When this was concluded, a representative from Assemblyman Jerry Green’s Office delivered a motivational message from the Assemblyman, who was in North Carolina, serving as a delegate from New Jersey at the Democratic National Convention. Assemblyman Green, an annual keynote speaker at the convocation, congratulated the staff on their accomplishments and wished everyone a positive and productive school year ahead.
Superintendent Knops then recognized fifteen staff members who had been selected to present at the upcoming New Jersey School Boards Association’s Celebration of Curriculum in October. Knops announced to the staff that the Clark School District had the largest contingent of presenters of any school district in the State, and that the district would be presenting 13 of the 50 Celebration of Curriculum Workshops at the Conference. Presenters are selected by the Professional Development Committee of the New Jersey School Boards Association. Certificates of Commendations were disseminated to the fifteen presenters.
Knops concluded his portion of the Convocation by reviewing “What’s New In District” for the upcoming school year with the district staff. He highlighted the fact that Arthur L. Johnson High School had dramatically improved its ranking in the 2012 issue of New Jersey Monthly Magazine highlighting The Best Public Schools in New Jersey. Of the 328 high schools in New Jersey, Arthur L. Johnson was ranked #95 in 2008, #101 in 2010, and #40 in 2012. The dramatic improvement in ranking was attributed to more students taking Advanced Placement Courses, more students scoring a grade of 3 or higher on the Advanced Placement Tests, increased SAT scores, and an outstanding graduation rate. Also highlighted was the implementation of the Progressive Mathematics Initiative, a cutting edge technology-based mathematics program that is being implemented throughout the middle school. The middle school will also be initiating a block schedule this coming school year, with all students in Grades 6-8 having 80 minute periods in both Language Arts and Mathematics, a doubling of time in those classes from the previous year.
The Convocation concluded with newly-appointed Director of Curriculum and Instruction Ed Grande addressing the staff. Grande thanked the staff for their support of his initiatives, reviewed new courses and programs in district, provided a forward look at some state-wide developments in supervision and testing, and provided a thumbnail sketch of district-wide professional development that would be taking place the following day.