Leaders at Roselle Public Schools gear up for new school year at retreat

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ROSELLE, NJ — It is no secret that being an educator during the pandemic is challenging. That’s why the Roselle Public Schools are focused on the social and emotional wellness of its educators, as well as its students.

A leadership retreat, which took place on Thursday, Aug. 26, at Kean University in Union, focused on preparing for a successful, seamless start to the 2021-22 school year. The retreat included team-building exercises and discussions, data analysis and a wellness component.

“It was important to my assistant superintendent and me that we bring together our team of administrators to collaborate and have open discussions ahead of the upcoming school year,” said Superintendent of Schools Nathan L. Fisher. “Offering as much support as possible to our district’s leadership team is a high priority, including resources for social and emotional wellness.”

A highlight was the presentation by Roselle native La’Tesha Sampson, president and founder of Great Joy Counseling and Consulting Services, contracted to support the administrative staff throughout the year.

“Dr. Sampson will begin working with our administrative team on a monthly basis, so they will be able to better support their teachers and students during the transition back into the classroom,” Fisher said.

During the retreat, Fisher and Assistant Superintendent Lissette Gonzalez-Perez also shared key information regarding the district’s updated goals, districtwide professional development and restorative practices.

These practices promote relationship-building and problem-solving skills through such methods as conflict resolution. Such practices are needed during student meetings that bring together victims, offenders and their supporters to address wrongdoing. Roselle students are encouraged to recognize and take responsibility for their actions, devising plans to repair harm, rather than receiving punishment.

“Restorative practices are an important way to support our young scholars, as they reacclimate to the classroom environment; it also provides them with the opportunity to have a voice,” said Fisher.

Gonzalez-Perez discussed i-Ready data, the district’s online assessment and instruction tool. Administrators were urged to use this technology to develop vital strategies to help support students and address learning loss due to virtual learning.

“This school year is going to be a very collaborative effort among the entire school community,” Gonzalez-Perez said. “Assessing data and addressing student learning gaps is a prominent part of our strategy moving into the fall, as we address key targets for action.”

The retreat’s team-building activities involved prizes and the celebration of personal accomplishments.

The retreat ended with a visit from Kean University President Lamont Repollet, who spoke inspiringly on the enormous responsibility school leaders have during these uncertain times. Repollet also highlighted the future partnership opportunities between Kean University and the school district, and Kean resources available to the school district, including the room in which the retreat was conducted, calling it the most sought-after meeting room in Union County.

Photos Courtesy of Liv Meier