RB education initiative rates progress on schools

Focus is on building educational achievement of all boro students

Staff Writer

RB education initiative
rates progress on schools
Staff Writer

RED BANK — The Red Bank Education and Development Initiative (RBEDI) is getting closer to its goal of having the village raise the child.

The RBEDI recently released its own report card for the past year and reviewed progress on a list of 16 recommendations that focused on the improvement of borough schools and the community at large.

According to David Tarver, a founder of the RBEDI, over the past year there has been progress on a significant number of the recommendations outlined.

There will be an Oct. 7 kick-off meeting for the new school year, at which RBEDI members will discuss progress made toward the initiative’s goals and members of the community will have an opportunity to provide input about what work still needs to be done.

The recommendations deal not only with specific goals for the schools, but for the community, and aim at building relations between the local government, organizations and the school systems.

The recommendations were first spelled out in June 2002 and one of the goals that has seen significant progress is that community organizations, in cooperation with schools and the municipality, "should create a comprehensive set of high-quality after-school activities, weekend and summer programs that are available to all Red Bank children."

According to a color-coded list of the recommendations produced by the RBEDI, only five of the recommendations have not resulted in at least some progress.

According to Tarver, who is also a member of the Red Bank Board of Education, the biggest challenge so far has been to build lines of communication between teachers, parents and community organizations.

"We’re not totally there," said Tarver, "but things are looking a lot brighter than they did."

The RBEDI was initiated by Tarver to act as a liaison between the stakeholders, he said, and to help the groups focus on improving education and accessibility to programs for all of Red Bank’s children.

Over the past year, according to Tarver, at least nine of the recommendations have seen progress. These include strengthening teaching and learning by "establishing and maintaining a culture of high expectations and professionalism."

"The students seem to be intent on learning," said Tarver, "and teachers are using strong methodologies to reach all of the students."

Tarver said that one of the most important goals of the RBEDI is to improve the educational achievement of borough students so that they can compete with students from the other sending districts when they enter Red Bank Regional High School.

This summer, the RBEDI, along with the Community YMCA of Red Bank, helped organize a Summer Activities Fair at which many local organizations provided information and had sign-ups for a variety of summer activities.

Tarver credits District Superintendent Dr. John Krewer for a significant amount of the success of the initiative.

"All of these kids can achieve," Tarver said. "It’s really more a matter of what the adults do."

According to Tarver, the RBEDI raises about $100,000 a year from donations, and those are the only funds it has to work with.

The site for the Oct. 7 meeting is not yet finalized, but interested community members can call (732) 747-0616 or visit www.RedBankKids.org. for more information.