"Make today worth remembering." ~ Zig Ziglar
Russell Lazovick is in his fourth year as superintendent of the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District.
Originally from Wayne, NJ, Russell attended Boston University, earning his Bachelor's of Science in International Relations and his Master's in Education. He is excited to be a part of the fourth cohort of TED Innovative Educators. He attended TED Summit this summer in Edinburgh and his first studio TED-talk was released in December.
Russell began his teaching career in Las Vegas, NV. From there, he returned home to New Jersey and joined the faculty of New Brunswick High School. While there, he resurrected the theater program, dormant for almost thirty years, and contributed to the overall direction of the district by participating in district action teams and the New Jersey Performance Assessment Alliance. In New Brunswick, Russ moved from classroom teacher to supervisor and eventually to director of Elementary Education. While in New Brunswick, the district shifted its philosophy on curriculum, instruction, and assessment reshaping all pieces of its instructional plan and incorporating technology as an integral part of the professional and instructional process. The district redesigned its professional evaluation systems and data integration systems to promote student learning and raise all areas of performance to levels that earned the district its first commendation within the QSAC process in years.
In 2009, Russell became the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction of the West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. Working in this high-performing district with an incredible administrative team and a phenomenal faculty, the district explored instruction beyond content, targeting competency-based learning and developing a K-12 system designed to cultivate student success "beyond the test" which included exit assessments that put students in touch with real world audiences including non-governmental organizations, the United Nations, and the White House.
In 2011, Russell took over as the superintendent of the Nutley Public School District. During the five years he spent there, he led the district's strategic work bringing together the seven buildings and unifying administrators, faculty and staff with students, parents and local stakeholders. This work allowed for a reconstruction of the district's structure and operations as well as the revitalization of all academic, athletic and support programs, an explosion of technology use across the district, improved communications with the community, and five consecutive years of improved student performance.
Thrilled to be a part of the Bridgewater-Raritan system, Russ looks forward to what can be achieved for students in this diverse, resourceful community.
Welcome to the Superintendent's Classroom.
As teachers use their websites, I am leveraging this online classroom to communicate with those interested in our work: supporting the students of B-R.
The posts cover topics relevant to education and to our district. They are meant to promote thought and to begin conversations. Communication about ideas is critical if we are to work together for the common good of our communities.
Beyond the classroom, you can follow daily posts:
As an educator, I can list for you all the reasons it is important to be a reader. With media flying at us in all different forms, the phrase “being a reader” has taken on greater importance than ever. True readers select texts with purpose; they interact with those texts actively, questioning information and writing and rewriting scenarios and outcomes in their heads and through a variety of media, as they read; they verify for reliability and check for accuracy; they critique; they learn and keep reading.
Texts come in a wide variety of forms and they come at a breakneck pace. There is more to read today than an individual can possibly keep up with, making the skills encompassed in “being a reader” even more important. Books and periodicals are not only available in print; they can be downloaded to tablets and read online. They can be picked up in audio format through Playaways and read to you on your phones. You can have a book in your hand, on your screen, and in your ears all at the same time and these media do not discriminate by genre. The ever increasing worlds of both fiction and nonfiction can be found in any format you need. For these reasons, mastering reading has never been more important.
At the same time, I would argue that being a reader has never been this much fun.
We are fortunate to live in a country and a society where there are more ways to spend one’s time than we could hope for. That said, reading is one not to be missed. This is not only because of the importance of reading; it should be important because of the enjoyment, fulfillment, and growth that reading brings. There is so much content, in every form, at every level, on every topic, that there is no excuse in this time and place to not be reading on a daily basis.
Having a conversation with a good text and connecting that text’s content to your life, to other texts, and to the larger world is an activity filled with energy, insight, growth, and challenge. All of these make reading exciting. This said, among the others ways I spend my time professionally and personally, I spend a great deal of time reading. As reading can be more than just a solitary activity, I will share thoughts on texts I have read to stimulate your thinking and hopefully inspire your reading.
As a final plug, we have a phenomenal resource (aside from our schools) right here in Bridgewater: The Bridgewater Public Library. Located right on Vogt Drive just north of Route 22, the BPL is a part of the Somerset Library System. As such, you can find almost anything you can think of to read. You can search online from your home or phone, and you can reserve books from across the county. Walking in, you have the children’s section, with books for everyone from the earliest of readers through young adults, and straight ahead you have games and audio books, as well as a display of the new selections in every genre. They have videos and music and unending reference materials. The library provides plenty of space for quiet work, group study, and is constantly running special events for residents of all ages.
Just a quick glance shows they have:
Make the BPL a regular stop for you and your family.
So to kick off this conversation, in my next post I share some of my reading from this past summer as I transitioned to the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District. While I simply don’t have time to comment on each book (I’m too busy reading), I hope the list offers you some new ideas about your own reading selections. Whether these books represent reading for work, on my own or with my kids or friends, or to learn something new or explore an area of interest, they all represent fun. Please note that each book may not be appropriate for an individual’s level or age, and your interests may diverge from mine. Either way, I hope you take the time to read.
I am sharing what is on my nightstand right now.
While I simply don’t have time to comment on each book (I’m too busy reading), I hope the list offers you some new ideas about your own reading selections. Whether these books represent reading for work, on my own or with my kids or friends, or to learn something new or explore an area of interest, they all represent fun. Please note that each book may not be appropriate for an individual’s level or age, and your interests may diverge from mine. Either way, I hope you take the time to read.
Currently on the nightstand (or in my hand):
Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District
Russell M. Lazovick, Superintendent
836 Newmans Avenue
Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807
Parents and Guardians,
There has been a flood of comments both from person-to-person and on social media regarding clowns.
While I don’t want this communication to raise the level of concern regarding this topic, given the reach of our media and its tendency to sensationalize as much as inform, with an issue like this we want to keep everyone on the same page as we support our students.
First, the district is in constant contact with law enforcement in both Bridgewater and Raritan, communicating daily on credible threats and how to address them. To be clear, at this time there has been no credible threat to any of our buildings or students. This does not mean events should be ignored. Rather, they should be shared with an appropriate district staff member immediately so they can be investigated and appropriate action can be taken.
That said, this situation has created an opportunity to reinforce with our students a few critical skills and behaviors that will serve them well now and as they grow. We need to constantly revisit topics of safety with our students through regular, meaningful, age-appropriate conversations with them.
Above all, we need to remind students that they have to be aware of their surroundings. We teach our students about strangers at the earliest of ages and regardless of how strangers are dressed, there are potential dangers.
Further, we must continue to reinforce with our students that if they see something strange they need to say something. Connected to this, we need to reinforce with students which adults we want them reaching out to, listening to, and going to when they feel unsafe. They need to hear constantly from all of us that their teachers, administrators, and parents are there for them.
Finally, both at school and at home, students need to be reminded of the dangers of hearsay and how they can be responsible when sharing information. Students need to remember that when they hear something or read something, it is not automatically a fact. They need to verify appropriately. I have received emails and phone calls and have had numerous direct conversations where individuals share with me that “clowns have been at…”, none of which, once researched, turned out to be true. It is important that we teach of the dangers of social media and how baseless “information” can reach a wide audience in seconds. We need to teach that we all have a responsibility to effectively verify information before spreading it as fact.
This is not to say that the district can predict the future. Should there ever be a credible threat, we will communicate that out to you, and to our students in the most appropriate ways.
The school-home connection is one of the most powerful partnerships we have to teach our students. Please have these conversations with your student(s) so they hear similar messages at school and at home.
Thank you for your collaboration in teaching our students and keeping them safe.