Wednesday, April 3, 2013

April 2013 School Board Election -- John Krenos

John Krenos   Ballot Line: A5

What motivates you to seek this office/another term in this office?  Candidates Pat Sadowski, Bennie Ortiz and I wish to continue serving the students and parents of New Brunswick as newly elected members of the Board of Education.  We are committed to maintaining and strengthening effective programs the current appointed board instituted.  I came to New Jersey in 1973 to join Rutgers as a faculty member.  My many roles at Rutgers include professor, researcher, educator, student adviser, and administrator in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology.  My interest in curriculum development and programs with Rutgers and other community groups is a driving force in my desire to run.
What will be your top priorities as a School Board member/in a new term on the School Board?  My priorities in addition to curricular ones are in stressing academic rigor, in enhancing student achievement through more academic coaching programs for students in need, in offering a greater range of summer opportunities, and in improving outreach to parents including more timely announcements and newsletters on our web site.   I recently helped evaluate the proposed national core curriculum in the sciences.  New Jersey is part of a consortium of states that will formulate and implement a new national science curriculum with uniform national assessments.  I believe my continued participation in the national effort as a board member will directly benefit the students in New Brunswick. 
How will you seek to foster parent involvement in New Brunswick Public Schools?  Parents need to feel comfortable attending board and PTO/PTA meetings and perhaps be encouraged to talk to one another before district personnel arrive at these meetings.  At board meetings, there should be a way to have more timely translations of the proceedings in real time or perhaps at the very least a meeting summary in Spanish when the board enters its closed session.  There is precious little information about PTO/PTA activities on individual school web sites, Roosevelt being the lone exception.  I feel that each board member should be assigned to attend one school PTO/PTA meeting each month perhaps remaining with the same school all year. 
How will you ensure that students who are immigrants themselves or whose parents are immigrants receive equal and high-quality educational opportunities?  New Brunswick schools have high mobility rates typically 20-25%, and immigration is one important reason.  Mobility is a measure of how many students are transferring in and out of a school.  Mobility is of concern because higher mobility tends to correlate with lower achievement.  We have recently patterned our Newcomers program after a successful one developed by Newark schools.  Of course, as often happens, older students transferring in may test into a grade level appropriate for younger students.  They may eventually reach the age limit.  Our Adult Education Center/High School is critical for students exceeding the maximum high school age of 21.
How will you ensure that the School District supports struggling students who are in danger of falling through the cracks?  Students struggle for a myriad of reasons.  One is the mobility issue mentioned above, others involve peer pressure.  Our district has many programs that try to help; we are always trying to find new and more effective ones.  Our summer school offerings, after class instruction, newcomer programs, adult education, and credit recovery are a few examples.
In addition to parents, how will you engage other stakeholders in the New Brunswick Public Schools, such as city residents, students, alumni, teachers, staff, and community institutions? An important need for our district is to maintain a diverse school board that is a microcosm of the city, board members able to reach out and communicate with many groups.  Our current board is made up of a broad spectrum of individuals representing many constituencies in the city.  We have developed and participated in programs that include residents, students, alumni, teachers, staff, and community institutions including churches, New Brunswick Tomorrow, J&J, Rutgers including UMDNJ, Civic League, St. Peters Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, Middlesex County College, PRAB, and NBEA among many.  We need a balanced board with experienced and dedicated members, thus this is an election of major importance.

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