The first of a series of forums to collect public input for the city’s superintendent search was hosted at John F. Kennedy High School on Monday evening. More than two dozen people attended the forum.
Among them was city resident Julie Pagan. She expressed concern at the low-quality education students receive at the district. For example, a student, who receives exceptional grades in Paterson, will have a tough time keeping up if transferred to a neighboring district.
Pagan suggested whomever is selected as the next superintendent should expend efforts in addressing this issue. Indeed, city students have a tough time in college after graduating from the Paterson Public Schools.
School board member Nakima Redmon raised a variation of the same concern. “I felt like I was lost,” she said recalling her freshman year in college.
Other attendees suggested the new superintendent focus on expanding magnet schools like the gifted and talented program at School 28. Some want the superintendent to ensure a level of equality in technology at school buildings and ensure more career certification programs are available at the specialized academies.
There was also a suggestion to have parenting classes at the district. Former municipal judge Karen Brown suggested holding classes to erase dysfunctional parenting that is often passed on from generation to generation that often results in a mother or father paying little attention to their child’s education.
Brown blamed teenagers who have children at an early age and know little about parenting.
The attendees also pointed to some of the positives in the district. For example, city resident Patricia McNeil wants the district to keep its current security in place.
“When my kids go to school they feel safe,” said McNeil.
Other things the new superintendent should keep and expand are the gifted and talented program at School 28 and the International Baccalaureate program at International High School.
The forum was sparsely attended. A good number of attendees were district employees.
Half of the superintendent search committee members recommended by Board of Education members and appointed by school board president Christopher Irving were no-shows at the first community forum in the 2nd Ward.
Five other public forum are scheduled:
- Aug. 29, 2017 at School 25
- Aug. 30, 2017 at the Islamic Center of Passaic County
- Aug. 31, 2017 at Eastside High School
- Sept. 7, 2017 at School 28
- And Sept. 11, 2017 at School 6.