• February 23, 2018

    To all,

    It’s mid-February, the school year is moving along, and summer break is barely four months away! So, I wanted to touch base and share some thoughts.

    First, we’re all dealing with an unpleasant mix of sadness, outrage, and disbelief regarding the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida. We’ve watched too many news reports in the past about similar incidents, but it seems that with each case we experience fresh waves of grief and pain. During such times, many people’s thoughts turn to the security of our own schools, and thankfully, our district’s security team is focused at all times on protecting our students. We plan, strategize, evaluate, and improve continually to make our schools as safe as possible, and we are extremely fortunate to enjoy a close relationship with the professionals who make up the New Brunswick Police Department. While I won’t discuss specifics about our security program (for obvious reasons, matters of security must remain as confidential as possible), I can assure you the district-wide protocols we have in place are top-notch and modeled throughout the state.  

    We must remain vigilant and aware, in other words, “if you see or hear something, say something.”  Many incidents have been avoided because students, parents, teachers, or administrators were able to alert law enforcement in advance. Moving forward, we will continue to enhance our security protocols, we will prioritize conversations to better address health and wellness issues our students experience and we will encourage mentorship programs that proactively redirects and build “Voice and Agency” for our students.

    On other fronts, February is set aside each year as "Black History Month," a time to recognize the substantial contributions of African-Americans to shaping the world we live in today. It is important to note that Black History isn’t just about slavery, segregation, and the struggle for equality.  We need to extend the learning and teach about the substantial accomplishments of Africans throughout history, in such fields as science, math, the arts, language, and so much more.

    Lastly, the spring’s nearly upon us, and with it will come various testing and the year’s concluding marking periods. It’s natural for all of us, students and educators alike, to be somewhat tired from all we’ve accomplished since September, and perhaps slightly distracted by the promise of warmer weather.  But, I encourage everyone to maintain focus and continue working just as hard as you’ve been.  Be purposeful in your planning and encourage students to think critically (productive struggle) in order to advance teaching and learning experiences.

    There’s still much to be learned and taught, and with good teamwork in every school and classroom, we can make the 2017-2018 school year one of our very best ever.  

    Prepare.. Empower.. Inspire!
    Dr. Aubrey A. Johnson
    Superintendent of Schools