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Senate Education Recovery Task Force Holds First Meeting

TRENTON – The Senate Education Recovery Task Force, led by Senate Education Chair M. Teresa Ruiz, held their first meeting this afternoon to begin addressing the challenges facing students, teachers, parents and administrators that have been exposed by COVID-19. 
“There is a long road ahead but I am eager to get things started. We have put together a great group and I look forward to collaborating to come up with recommendations for the rest of this school year, the summer and the fall,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “As the task force continues we will be inviting in experts from various fields to present to the group and offer insight on specific topics. This is no small task but together we can begin to address the challenges currently facing our students and educators and determine proactive measures for the months ahead.”
The panel of educators and public officials will help provide guidance and insight to address a variety of topics, including overcoming the digital divide, mitigating learning loss, offering resources to improve at-home special education and providing assistance for our students who have Individual Education Plans or are English Language Learners. 
They also hope to discuss providing support for social emotional learning and mental health care, maintaining health and safety now and once school returns to the classroom, ensuring students have access to healthy meals, and determining tools to help teachers, parents, and students measure academic progress and determine areas in need of attention.
In addition to Senator Ruiz, below are the members of the Senate Education Recovery Task Force:
  • Senator Sam Thompson, Co-Chair
  • Donna Chiera, American Federation of Teachers New Jersey
  • Patricia Morgan, JerseyCAN
  • Christopher Jones, New Jersey School Board Association
  • Susan Young, New Jersey Association of School Business Officials
  • Dr. Richard Bozza, New Jersey Association of School Administrators 
  • Sharon Krengel, Education Law Center
  • Dr. David Aderhold, Garden State Coalition of Schools
  • Marie Blistan, New Jersey Education Association
  • Cathy Lindenbaum, New Jersey Parent Teacher Association 
  • Patricia Wright, New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association
  • Peg Kinsell, New Jersey Statewide Parent Advocacy Network
  • Tom Puryear, New Jersey NAACP
  • Christian Estevez, New Jersey Latino Action Network
  • Robin Cogan, New Jersey State School Nurses Association
  • Dan Mitzner, TeachNJ
  • Harry Lee, New Jersey Charter School Association
  • Dr. Roger León, Superintendent Newark Public School District
  • Jim Lavender, Superintendent Kingsway Regional Public School District
  • Colleen Schulz-Escow, Department of Education