Mission Statement: "Give our CHILDREN a Competitive Education©, TEACHERS a Voice and TAX PAYERS Relief."

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Advocacy & Policy Successes on the BOE

I am the only Board Member in the past 3 years to lead any advocacy on curriculum and instruction, guidance counseling, or technology improvements. I am the only candidate or Board Member to create and lead a movement or initiative, in the past 10 years, that resulted in the improved performance of a public school.

Diverse elementary class

Student in lab

Student Achievement Advocacy

Edison Middle School (EMS) Makes History!

In 2014, new Math leadership was appointed for Middle School because of our efforts. On the Board, I continued the work of my 2013 Parents Coalition at EMS and ensured accountability and best practices were being used:

• Expansion of “Accelerated Math” to include all high Proficiency and Advanced Proficiency students
• Improved Math rigor for all
• Confirmed full use of Level Reading Library, greater frequency off reading complete books and not just passages and introduction of literature that challenged kids at their highest level
• Ensured standardized test prep for ALL kids
• Ensured that Math curriculum identified curriculum pacing problem.
• Called for Supervisors’ accountability; generated ongoing dialogue between Supervisors and PTA
Result: For the 1sttime in District history, EMS scores increased and 6thGraders

Result: For the 1st time in District history, EMS scores increased and 6th Graders achieved higher NJASK scores than they had in the 5th grade!

Engineering & CODE Piloted in K-8!

My advocacy leadership won the Launch of 2015 Engineering Projects in Grade 5 Enrichment, and Computer Code and Engineering Curricula in EMS 2016 –2017, Expanding to LMS and RMS in 2017.

  • Since 2012 as a parent (noted by Principal Fitzgerald), and 2014 –2016 on BOE, advocated vigorously –
    • Presented competitive private school information
    • Noted award winning curricula developed by our own Teacher and ready to deploy
    • Provided 20-page presentation decks of information on Computer Science Teachers Association and nonprofit efforts to teach Code in Public Schools, the curricula and resources available
Two Elementary Kids

My Philosophy:

“CODE teaches critical thinking, and how to create, communicate, and collaborate enabling
kids to innovate.”

“Children are motivated and internalize what they learn through hands-on, experiential learning, where they create a product or see clear result."

Kids in lab

Teacher and student

World Language to Adopt Online Language Labs

  • Advocated 2014 -16 as a best practice in World Languages and ESL based on language lab use colleges, top public schools and private schools
  • Faced initial opposition by the WL department against it
  • Won approval in 2016 and they are looking for a vendor to implement it by 2017

Led Curriculum Reform in English Language Arts

Advocated since 2012 as a parent, and 2014-16 on BOE in Closed and Open Sessions, providing detailed documentation of issues, parent letters, best practices for the models we used, and opportunities for improvement. Results:

  • Formal teaching of grammar and syntax K-8, 2016-17 (This had stopped 7 years ago)
  • Return of Guided Reading/Directed Reading K-8: In 2014, the ELA Supervisor announced in the Middle School Curriculum Meeting that “We are no longer doing Guided Reading also called Directed Reading” –I fought to reestablish this education best practice
  • Middle School instruction in Latin and Greek Roots, 2016 –2017 (60% of English Language and 90% of law, science and technology based on these root) (Study of Latin and Ancient Greek, helped me achieve)
  • Return of vocabulary building, grades 6-12, in 2016 (formerly known as SAT vocabulary)
  • Full implementation of in-class, “Book Clubs” with a guided component (grades 3-8)
  • Return of novels and creative writing -Often eradicated under the Common Core in 2014-15
  • Book lists, finally, accessible to Parents in November of 2014, so Parents could work with Teachers and Students

Launch of Enrichment Curricula for ALL K-8, Integrating HAP Curricula Content:

  • Began advocacy as a parent in 2012, and won approval as a BOE Member 2015-16 in English (grades 3-8)
  • Also led to rotating projects in Engineering and Social Studies for Grade-5…Expanding in 2016-17

Expanded/Improved Summer Assignments K-11:

  • Helps avoid Students losing one to two months of knowledge/performance by Fall
  • Note: Summer assignments are not supposed to be burdensome. They should serve as mental “tune up” that avoids kids losing up to 2 months of instruction time and Teachers spending 1 to 2 months in review instead of on new materials

“Departmentalization” (specialization) for Grades 4-5 (Example: Teachers Math degrees teach Math):

  • Since 2014, I advocated for this as a best practice used in top public and private schools

Improved Performance Tracking by Class Cohort:

  • Advocated for this since 2014 and it revealed performance strengths/weaknesses by course and grade level
  • If you track a 5thgrade class through their 8thor 9thgrade year and witness their performance decline in a particular year, it helps the BOE and Superintendent identify problems in the problem year/grade


  • Started airing BOE meetings on YouTube in 2016: Since 2014, I advocated for this step for greater transparency and access, and provided technical solutions for implementation

Teacher Support

  • Advocated for greater Teacher voice, and improved change management and communications methods; and more funding for Teacher Professional Development (PD) to empower/support Teachers

My Advocacy on C&I Helped Catalyze Action

  • Expansion of Honors in 2015 (Still Working to Improve Criteria/Process); improved rigor for Middle School Math; more funding for technology integration in the curricula

Co-Led advocacy to launch Diversity Recruitment of Elementary School Teachers

  • In partnership with another BOE Member, addressed the dearth of Black/African American, Hispanic and South Asian American Teachers in Elementary School

Sports Advocacy

  • Co-led effort to maintained coaching staffs at competitive levels on par with top teams, and helped save Hockey Team

(The statements herein are solely those of Mark A. Robertson and do not necessarily represent that of the West Orange Board of Education)
Contact:  201-903-2534  / Robertson4BoardofEd@gmail.com