Robert Cianciulli For Berkeley Heights School Board: Sense & Sensibility For Parents of Kids Who Need Help Learning | #specialneeds | #kids

My name is Robert Cianciulli and I am running for re-election for the Berkeley Heights Board of Education by mail-in ballot on or before this Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd. Previously, I served on the School Board from 2017-2019. During my most recent term on our School Board I accomplished two things for students who need help learning that make me particularly proud.

The first was to lobby hard for an independent consultant to be engaged to take a fresh look at our Special Services Department. That Department provides learning support that includes everything from the most serious of special needs cases to merely those kids who need extra time for test taking or else pull out classes in certain subjects to be in smaller groups where some kids can learn better. When I suggested this, there was a bit of resistance. It took a bit of convincing but eventually the Superintendent agreed and our students, together with the District, were both better off for it. Waiting until problems arise and then struggling to deal with them is not my style.

The second accomplishment in this area has to do with parents being given the information necessary in order to participate and advocate for their kids who have IEPs. IEPs are detailed legal documents that the District prepares in connection with their child’s specific educational needs. They are typically revised once per year and then discussed with parents so that they can provide their input in order to finalize their child’s education plan. If you have a son or daughter in our District with an IEP, I want you to know that I am the Board member who made it possible for you to easily have a draft copy of your child’s IEP plan in hand when you walk into your child’s IEP meeting each year. I believe that parents need to have the opportunity to be on an equal footing with their child’s case manager, teacher, and therapists when discussing their child’s progress and accompanying services that are so crucial to your child’s success. Since it is not legally mandated that parents receive a copy of their child’s IEP plan prior to that annual meeting, parents’ meeting invitations did not include this option to receive an advanced draft of their child’s plan. Thanks to my working successfully with the Superintendent to get this changed, now they do.

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My accomplishments on the Board also include voting to approve optional subscription busing for kids who don’t qualify for free busing due to the distance that they live from school, debating important issues including the budget, the teacher’s contract, and security within our Schools including the hiring of Class III officers, both publicly and privately with our other School Board Members and having the best insight into how the Board and its members work. When serving on the School Board’s Facilities Committee, I dealt with large scale projects such as the ongoing window installation project at Hughes elementary school, the construction of the vestibules in our school buildings in order to increase security seamlessly, as well as the environmental issues that arose during the track and field work at our high school. Additionally, I was appointed as the Board’s legal liaison concerning education legislation being proposed and debated in Trenton, including draft legislation on the state’s mandate of full day kindergarten. I have also served as the Board’s liaison to the Board Secretary concerning the review and analysis of newly proposed district policies, including our bullying and drug policies.

I would like to be your voice at the School Board table again.  Please remember to vote for Robert Cianciulli by mail-in ballot on or before Election Day, Tuesday, November 3rd.

Together,

Robert Cianciulli

Berkeley Heights School Board Candidate


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