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North Plainfield Borough School District {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

The North Plainfield School District is committed to developing and maintaining a world class learning environment by providing a relevant, integrated, and progressive curriculum that will foster continued intellectual, physical, social and emotional growth in all students in order to prepare them to succeed in our dynamic, diverse, and technological society while also developing in them an appreciation for the humanistic and aesthetic aspects of life.Each elected Board of Education member will serve a three year term.

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  • Thomas J. Allen

  • Linda L. Bond-Nelson

  • Jeffrey Brutus

  • John A. Fellin Jr.

  • Candidate picture

    Mark Kruszczynski

  • Alba Soto

Biographical Information

What personal and professional experiences have prepared you for serving on the Board?

What do you consider the three most important challenges facing our local public schools at this time? How would you address these challenges?

Do you think that the current civics education in our schools is adequate? If not, what do you think can be done to improve it?

What changes would you support or oppose to keep out students safe in our schools?

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Campaign Address "Mark for North Plainfield" 48 Willow Avenue North Plainfield NJ 07060
Campaign Email markkrus@comcast.net
Website Twitter: @MarKruszczynski
The most significant personal experience (and motivator) for me to run for the North Plainfield Board of Education has been my role as the father of three children (a 10th grader, a 9th grader and a 5th grader) whom have been enrolled in North Plainfield’s Public Schools since kindergarten. From the vantage point of an involved parent, I have been able to witness first-hand the current state of public education in North Plainfield, and I am poised to improve it. As the parent of children who are/have been: student athletes, musicians, student leaders, honor students and recipients of special education services, my exposure to the strengths and challenges of North Plainfield’s public education system runs deep. In my professional life, I am a research scientist in mental health, who collects and analyzes data and information to improve the lives of New Jersey’s residents facing mental illness and substance use disorders. In this capacity I am highly experienced in looking at facts, formulating meaningful outcome measures, and making systemic change across the State of New Jersey. I also work with multiple branches of state and county government, and convene public stakeholder meetings that actively solicit feedback from the general public in affecting positive change. Prior to my current job, I was the Director of Quality Improvement for a Care Management Organization that provides behavioral health services for children and adolescents with serious emotional disturbances. Prior to my work in behavioral health I was an archaeologist, who worked in Mexico for approximately two years. In that time, I learned first-hand the challenges of living, and working in a different country and navigating a different language and culture. I plan on bringing the full range of my professional experiences, skills and interests to the NP Board of Education. In town Im a Member of the NP Recreation Committee, a volunteer at St. Luke's Bingo and a former youth sports coach.
How would you address these challenges? There are three interconnected challenges currently faced by North Plainfield’s Public schools: 1. a disconnect between the concerns of the community and the Board of Education, 2. a lack of accountability among school leadership, and 3. the misallocation of critical resources. My high level of community involvement here in North Plainfield, puts me in touch with many different ‘communities’ here in town. As a Board Member, I would like to widen the concern of the Board, and foster increased involvement of many people who deserve a better ‘welcome’ than they have previously received. With greater community involvement and oversight of the Board of Education, there will be greater scrutiny on the performance of District Employees at all levels. More folks with “skin in the game” (e.g., parents of current students, tax-payers, and those thinking of buying and selling homes in town) will be able to better recognize/incentivize both good performance as well as identify and remediate suboptimal performance.
Education in American Civics is vitally important to students, the community, and the United States. Just as a good education in health, exercise and nutrition contributes to a healthy body for life, a good education in American Civics leads to a healthy body politic. Prior to an overhaul of state education standards around 2009, North Plainfield had a full-year “Civics” course that was mandatory for our 8th graders. This coursework taught students (at a formative stage in their intellectual growth) the operations of local, county, state and federal government (i.e., branches of government, the legislative process), as well as illuminated the role of civic responsibility (e.g., knowledge of current issues, the importance of voting). When the standards were re-issued around 2014 (see https://www.nj.gov/education/cccs/2014/ss/standards.pdf) civics education was embedded in other courses, and was no longer a stand-alone course in North Plainfield. Although it’s possible to integrate civics education holistically with other curricula, doing so is not advisable—the material simply too important, and too rigorous (if its taught in a meaningful way that will stick with students for life). It is my feeling American Civics is as important to a sound democracy, as Drivers Education is to safe roadways.
Before considering the safety of students in our schools, we must begin with getting students safely to and from our schools. Traffic and pedestrian safety throughout North Plainfield—but especially near our schools must be addressed through collaboration with the Borough of North Plainfield. Specifically, more passive traffic control deterrents (e.g., increased placement of speed humps, traffic control signage) must be erected. Further, law enforcement must take a more active stance toward traffic control. As a parent who has had to get my children to three different North Plainfield schools (more or less simultaneously) the Board should research the viability of increasing school buses for students within the community.
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