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Perth Amboy Board Of Education Interview

EACH BOARD MEMBER WAS ASK TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT EDUCATION1.) What is the Role of Charter Schools?

Anton J. Massopust: Charter Schools are nothing new: There are Catholic Schools, Jewish Schools, etc but they don’t have the resources that Public Schools have. Everything a student needs to learn is here. When I was a teacher here, every student had their own equipment.

Junior Iglesia: Charter Schools should be an alternative to Public Schools. What is important is that a student gets a quality education.

Ken Balut: I don’t have the facts I need on Charter Schools, have to be evaluated. Can be used as a workshop.

Scott Farber: Charter schools should be an alternative and a choice for students.

Jeanette Gonzalez: I am not against Charter schools, but I have a problem with how fund are being used. I went to Catholic Schools as a child but transferred to public schools and chose to put my children in public schools

Benjamin Salerno: I view Charter Schools as a laboratory. Chase Public Schools because of programs offered. People are doing research on Charter Schools.

 

2.) What is the Role of a Board of Education Member?

Anton J. Massopust: To be the eyes and ears of the community, to give pats on the back for children to succeed, to talk to teachers and to see how they are doing.

Junior Iglesia: Board Members should be policy makers to protect the students and to prepare and ready a student to succeed.

Ken Balut: I was one of the first students in this school. Communication lacks between the Board and the Superintendent, etc. There are millions of tax dollars being spent but it’s not needed if we have more communication.

Scott Farber: Board Members should help students, and to understand the needs of each school. The Board has to make students understand how important education is.

Jeanette Gonzalez: Board members should be policy makers and collaborate with the Superintendent but should not run the school system. We should have a pulse with the community.

Benjamin Salerno: Set policies and procedures to make sure requirements are met. To work with the superintendent and teachers.

 

3.) What do you feel is the most pressing issue that the Board of Education faces?

Anton J. Massopust: Children having children is a terrible thing.

Junior Iglesia: To provide students from K to high school and to prepare them to be ready for college.

Ken Balut: Over-crowding and lack of communication. All around communication is needed. As a cop, we stopped fights before they began. Money does help but we need more communication instead of fighting. There are too many personal clashes. Even if only 10% of my ideas are good, use it.

Scott Farber: Low test schools. Curriculum may need updating.

Jeanette Gonzalez: Test scores are the biggest concern and student discipline. We should be one Perth Amboy School System. Sense of the community is lacking.

Benjamin Salerno: Test scores are lacking (need improvement) sometimes we get a bad rap. Discipline is also a problem.

 

4.) What is your personal experience?

Anton J. Massopust: I’ve taught every grade. My mother taught in Perth Amboy High School. 40 people in the Perth Amboy Hall of Fame were my former students.

Junior Iglesia: I came here at the age of 13 to this country without speaking English. I am also a 3rd Grade bilingual teacher. Education is my career and life.

Ken Balut: I’ve spent 25 years as a police officer. I am born and raised in Perth Amboy.

Scott Farber: I have a young look and fresh ideas to modernize schools. I have fresh and young ideas as a recent graduate.

Jeanette Gonzalez: I am an active parent of two Students and have a lot on the organizational skills. Have had 100 people underneath me. I deal with clients and employees in my husband’s law firm. They don’t teach today the way were taught.

Benjamin Salerno: Diversity of the Board is important. I have 25 years of law enforcement, involved in the community thru different organizations.

 

5.) What changes would you make in this district?

Anton J. Massopust: Some of the programs that are going on are being pushed too fast.

Junior Iglesia: To motivate students. They have the potential but we need to set policies to make sure students have what they need. I know the students needs and make sure everyone gets what they need. I have 3 students who know no English and I have to work with them so they don’t fall behind.

Ken Balut: We have 10,000 students. Everyone broke into their own groups and there are too many personality clashes. More communication is needed.

Scott Farber: I would change how students are taught. Computers and IPads should be used.

Jeanette Gonzalez: You have to be positive. I read from the Book, “The Secret.” We need to stop bickering amongst Board Members and we need to change dialogue between students, administrators and Board Members. Some students I feel are left out.

Benjamin Salerno: I like to change some activities. There needs to be some cause & effect. I want to challenge students’ minds and work with students hidden talents. Give them real life experiences.

 

6.) What would you do to improve staff morale?

Anton J. Massopust: Why weren’t teachers here for the presentation tonight for the students who were given awards outstanding academics?

Junior Iglesia: The problem is that we need to listen to the administrators and teachers and stop pointing fingers and work as a team.

Ken Balut: The Board should have open communications. Sit down with parents, administrators and students to resolve problems.

Scott Farber: Give incentives, Christmas parties, give stuff. Student academics and award dinners.

Jeanette Gonzalez: We need casual, informal workshops with administrations and teachers.

Benjamin Salerno: Underlining and root problems. Can’t make everyone happy. Come to a half-way meeting. People are happy when they are part of the decision making process.

 

7.) What programs would you change?

Anton J. Massopust: Quantum learning is a waste of time. Money should have been spent elsewhere.

Junior Iglesia: My students are doing well and a dual language program works well but needs to be expanded

Ken Balut: Can’t answer. Not familiar with new programs.

Scott Farber: Do not know the new programs – can’t answer.

Jeanette Gonzalez: I am not privy to all programs. I’m not happy that we have children in different schools. It takes children out of the community environment. Schools are not run unilaterally. We need to go back to the drawing board. Go to the community, mayor, politicians or go to the governor and the SDA.

Benjamin Salerno: I’d like to change some activities. There needs to be some cause and effect. I want to challenge students’ minds and work with students’ hidden talents.

 

8.)What do you feel about School Safety?

Anton J. Massopust: I’ve attended Federal Safety Schools, know about chemical warfare, bombs and have seen many cases.

Junior Iglesia: Security is a big issue, especially with current events. We should look at the structure we have in place to make sure there are no dangers.

Ken Balut: Working with the police department. Have teachers or security go with police to identify students causing problems and where they go. Sit down with parents and administrators with the students to resolve the problems.

Scott Farber: I would go over security and update if necessary.

Jeanette Gonzalez: I’m asked for ID when visiting the schools, it’s annoying but I understand it’s because its for the safety of our children.

Benjamin Salerno: I like when visitors coming in have to be signed in and escorted, but it is not consistent in all schools. Would like to see a vendor list of people coming into the school and metal detectors. There are grants available to purchase metal detectors.

 

9.) How do you feel about the Bilingual Program

Anton J. Massopust: Thomas Jefferson wanted an educated society – Not a trained society. Most people I know are bilingual. I teach a lot of foreign students and most are proficient in English.

Junior Iglesia: Dual language should be expanded . My son who is in the 2nd grade is doing 3rd grade work. There is a lot of work to do when you are learning another language.

Ken Balut: When you walk out of High School and you don’t have command of English it will keep you down. You need English to give students the tools to move on and to get good jobs.

Scott Farber: Dual language is excellent program and on the right track.

Jeanette Gonzalez: Some students come over here as older students. I am not privy as to how the program works so I can’t’ make a judgment. Students learning English and Spanish is important.

Benjamin Salerno: I would like to see it expanded if children want to learn a second language.

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