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Hand written note: "Prepared Jan. 31, 1936
Request of Jos. Kangon other candidates with him Mrs. Greenbar - Mr. Finelly"
In 1923 the Teaneck Board of Education prepared the Township's first school plan. By 1927 this required revision because of the need for a high school. Two years later, the Board had the State Department of Education make a comprehensive survey of the towns schools and future needs. Changing trends called for a modification in 1931. A continuance of the ideas developed by these various studies is desirable so the school needs of a growing community will be anticipated and met.
The Committee which prepared the first definite plan for Teaneck, a dozen years ago, was confronted by the following situation. We had three grade schools, and no high school. There were evidences of a probable rapid growth of tie township some time in the future, but whether it would start immediately or several years off was problematical. The principal features of the report made then were a recommendation for the acquisition of strategically located grade school sites and the construction of new buildings as the need arose. It was determined to deter the building of a high school on the thirteen acre centrally located plot, so long as the town could send its grade school graduates to desirable high schools in adjoining communities at the reasonable rates of tuition.
About the year 1927, the Board was obliged to considers the high school situation as a definite problem. Two or three things happened about that time. Tuition rates were advanced materially. Englewood, where most of our high school students went served notice they could they could take no more after a year or two. 0ur enrollment increased to a point where it seemed economical to construct a high school.
At the same time it was planned to introduce the junior high school method into our system because it had been studied very carefully and found an effective form of school organization in many other communities. The Board then had to make a momentous decision would quite definitely fix the trend in high school construction in our Township for a decade or more. It wes necessary to decide whether we should have centralization or localization. The latter would be the ideal arrangement. A senior high school for the entire town and two or three junior highs well located to accommodate the various sections. It was a matter of cost which finally decided the matter. Careful study proved conclusively that Teaneck could not possibly afford the ideal arrangement and the existing plan was then adopted.
The Board decided to build a reasonably large building on the central plot to be used jointly by the junior and the senior high school during the first few years. It was planned then two add a wing when enrollment warranted in which the junior students would be separately housed and that addition is now under construction. The third step projected at that time and which should be followed when the enrollment and the town rateables justify, is the construction of junior high schools, one at a time in appropriate locations.
When the State made its survey in 1929, they complimented the Board on the progress to date and offered suggestions for the future. This survey was revised in 1931 and the Board of that year submitted to the voters a plan to build Lowell School which opened last Fall and the junior High School addition now under way.
Because of inability to sell bonds until we received the assistance of the PWA, construction of these buildings was delayed and obviously while two such important projects were impending new buildings or additional sites could not be considered.
The point of most serious need, a condition which will become more severe as time goes on, is the acute congestion in the grade school serving the section west of the tracks and north of the highway. It is planned to take care of this by acquiring more land and constructing an addition to Whittier School. The proposition will be on the ballot February 11th.
It is impossible to determine with any degree of accuracy at this time whether the step following this in the building program will be an elementary school near the town hall or an addition to one of the other grade schools, but it seems almost certain that one or both of these will precede the need for separate junior high school.
Probably the most important problem for Boards of Education holding office during the next few years will be a decision on the type program offered in our high schools, both junior and senior. The high school is no longer a college preparatory establishment. A generation ago about 10% of the boys and girls went on to high school. The percentage increased constantly until it reached 60% or 70% in our community a few years ago and now practically every student continues in the high school. Obviously, there must be considerable experiment and much change if we are to provide an adequate opportunity for that considerable proportion of the students who are not academically minded and have no intention of carrying on their studies beyond the high school.
Most of the other subjects which come before a Board of Education for action are of a nature requiring for their solution only a little thought and the application of plain common sense of the members of the Board. The work of any particular group is always enhanced by the presence of a member with the ability and willingness to study, explore and recommend a change in some particular phase of the school problem which may result in an improvement of the system or economics in administration.
Teaneck Public Library
840 Teaneck Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
Tel.: (201) 837-4171, Fax: (201) 837-0410