July tends to be quiet on school campuses. Despite the summer stillness at North Warren Regional High School, the Board of Education’s July 17th meeting demonstrated that plenty is going on beneath the surface.
Now that faculty and staff have had time to catch their breath, the first order of business was to celebrate a few triumphs from the previous year.
In the spring, North Warren had two sports championships to brag about.
The baseball team claimed the championship title in the Colonial Division of the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference.
The girls’ lacrosse team tied for first in the Colonial North Division. This marks the first championship for the girls’ lacrosse team in North Warren’s history.
Principal Carie Norcross-Murphy wanted to celebrate another triumph: a successful outdoor graduation on June 16th. After a harrowing night and morning spent checking and re-checking the weather forecast, North Warren saw 99 seniors graduate under the open sky without getting soaked.
“I think that the seniors were really holding their breath for an outdoor graduation,” Norcross-Murphy said as she thanked the board, “and it couldn’t have been possible without your help.”
Online ads are already full of tantalizing back-to-school sales. North Warren, too, has its mind on the upcoming school year, with some significant changes planned.
North Warren students can expect to return to an updated and more welcoming physical environment. Facility upgrades include an updated lobby, new security desk, an auditorium with a new carpet, sound boards, and freshly painted ceiling, and a newly painted cafeteria. Work will continue over the summer, thanks in part to student and community volunteers.
“Things are really moving along,” said Superintendent Dr. Jeanene Dutt. “We haven’t had this level of work… since I’ve been here. And I’m going on year seven now.” Dutt stated her hopes that the environmental upgrades will lead to an improvement in school climate, too.
The school’s new coat of paint comes at the same time as changes to the curriculum.
The first major change focuses on middle school students. Starting in the 23 – 24 school year, middle schoolers will attend a new class on rotating days. The class will focus on the basic skills of math and reading.
Board member Taylor Casey emphasized that the new class was not intended to replace math or ELA.
“It’s simply a supplement for kids who might need it,” Casey said. “For the children who are already at that level, it’s really just more enrichment.”
Chip O'Chang, Contributing Writer
Chip O'Chang is an educator, fiction writer, and lifelong resident of New Jersey. He has also written for My Life Publications and NJ Indy. He lives in the NJ Skylands with his partner, two cats, and and a bearded dragon.