Roselle schools get OK from state in benchmark rating

Roselle school officials are celebrating the news that the district has dramatically improved its score in the benchmark statewide NJQSAC assessment, a monitoring and district self-evaluation system for public school systems.

ROSELLE, NJ — The local school district has passed the New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum, a statewide benchmark that assesses districts in several key areas.

The news, announced at the Jan. 28 Board of Education meeting, included that the district has raised its grade in “instruction and program” from 60 percent in March 2017 to 80 percent in December 2018.

The district initially passed fiscal management with a grade of 98 percent; governance, also at 98 percent; operations at 100 percent and personnel, also at 100 percent, during the 2017 evaluation.

If a school falls below 80 percent in each category, districts must file improvement plans or face the possibility of state intervention.
NJQSAC is the state Department of Education’s monitoring and district self-evaluation system for public school districts. The system shifts the monitoring and evaluation focus from compliance to assistance, capacity-building and improvement. The system that consolidates and incorporates the monitoring requirements of applicable state laws and programs, and complements federally required improvements.

Passing the NJQSAC was a positive sign for the district as it tries to move past some of the firings, formal charges, audits and acrimony that marked 2018.

Delia Ware-Tibbs, who was voted president of the board at its Jan. 3 reorganization meeting, has stressed the need for the board to put the discord and chaos behind it.

“We need to have a focus,” she said after the meeting. “We need to focus on our children and we need to work together. If we can do that, we can make a difference. If everyone maintains their focus and focus on the job at hand, we can make a difference and continue to turn the school system around and do what’s right for our kids. We’re building our future leaders and that’s where our focus should be.”

Ware-Tibbs is part of a wave of new board members. Also sworn in by business administrator Anthony Juskiewicz at the Jan. 3 meeting were Jeffrey Bryan, Frances Teabout and Renaee Smith. In addition, Jonathon “Shawon” Spearman was appointed to the board at its Nov. 19 meeting to fill the position left open when Archange Antoine was removed for missing five consecutive meetings in 2018. Teabout was voted vice president of the board at the meeting.

The new members, along with holdovers Keyanna Jones, Richard Villeda, Jonathan Davis and Angela Wimbush, have a lot on their plate. The board’s contract with the union, which represents 400-plus teachers and support staff, such as security guards, custodians and nurses, expired July 1, 2017. The board’s contract with the union representing the borough’s school administrators has also expired. And the board will eventually have to find a permanent replacement for James Baker, who was selected as the interim superintendent of schools in July.

Ware-Tibbs, however, knows about charging into challenging situations. The retired lieutenant colonel served in the Army for 28 years, and was deployed in 1990 in support of Operation Desert Storm. After that she worked for Horizon Communications. In Roselle she served in several roles in PTOs in various schools, including as president and treasurer. For 17 years, she was active with Jack and Jill of America, an organization based in Washington, D.C., that is dedicated to “nurturing future African-American leaders by strengthening children through leadership development, volunteer service, philanthropic giving and civic duty.” She was the regional treasurer for the organization for two years.

Ware-Tibbs’ son, David, attends school in London, she said.
When asked after the Jan. 3 meeting if the board president should set an example for cooperation and unity, Ware-Tibbs said that responsibility is incumbent upon all board members.

“As board president, you’re still just one vote,” she said. “It matters that we work as a team and if we work as a team and we’re cohesive and work as a collective, we can get anything done. We can overcome any hurdle. If you stay focused in that direction and keep that thought in mind, we can do anything.”