To the Editor:
Hello, my name is Joseph Broderick (6I), and I am running for re-election on the Bayonne Board of Education. Doing the right thing is not always the easiest or the most popular option; however, it is a practice that I have always adhered to. I have served the Bayonne Board of Education to the best of my ability for the past 38 years. My positions include: Director of the Federal Home School Links program, Assistant Director of Community Education, Director of the Physical and Community Education Center (Ice Rink), Athletic Director, Vice Principal, and finally for the last three years I’ve had the privilege to be the President of the Board of Education.
Throughout my time on the board, there have been both setbacks and accomplishments; yet, I’ve always adhered to my core philosophy of doing the right thing. Alongside members of the board like Ava Finnerty (7I), Charles Ryan (8I), Mikel Lawandy (19I), and other hardworking board members, we have accomplished significant milestones in bettering the education for both children and adults in the city of Bayonne. Most notable was the stabilization of a financial crisis inherited from the previous appointed board.
Other accomplishments include but are not limited to: being designated a high performing district by the N.J. Department of Education for the first time since 2012, decentralizing administration, which brings control back to the community schools, adopting a Zero-Based Budget Policy, which allows for more accountability in terms of spending, settling on a four-year contract for both teachers and secretaries for the first time in 16 years, and establishing a contract for our custodial staff and administrators. Based on the potential we believe each student has, we have raised the bar in terms of academic excellence and expectations. We have put in place a multitiered system for grades K-2 to ensure they are receiving a sound foundation and are beginning their educational careers on the right foot. For grades 4-8, promotion requirements have been adjusted, and recovery summer classes have been arranged, to ensure success. Finally, the passing grade was raised from a 65 to a 70 district-wide. We also revamped the hiring protocol to include committees and demonstration lessons to increase confidence that hirees are fit for the job, we extended a meal program that provides meals on weekends and holidays for our needs-based students, and we received a nearly $800,000 grant to provide free Pre-Kindergarten education, via a lottery system, that is currently serving approximately 60 Pre-K students.
In terms of security, we’ve added armed security guards, equipped every school with metal detectors, and require that all administrators, teachers, and teacher assistants be trained with the Safe School Program.
Bayonne High School students are now equipped with Chrome Books that they keep until graduation. But our assistance to the citizens of Bayonne no longer stops at graduation. We have now held two job fairs and have extended our guidance department to serve alumni who need assistance finding jobs and/or furthering their educations.
My vision for the future of Bayonne is to be a community. There’s an old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and I firmly believe this to be true. I want our students to leave our education system with not just a diploma, but a plan. I want them to be equipped with proper skills and knowledge that will allow them to be confident in their next steps after they walk off the stage at graduation. Whether their path leads them toward a vocational, military, or college career, I want them to be the most prepared they can be. If re-elected, I will continue to advocate for steps to be taken that will ensure that our students leave high school with more than just a piece of paper, but that they leave with a purpose.