By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS
For the second time in as many months, Asbury Park School Superintendent Dr. RaShawn M. Adams angrily spoke out about what he perceives is a rumor war designed to diminish the school district and stir the pot for parents seeking information.
At a Board of Education meeting last week Adams started his address by affirming the district has no plans to discontinue its Allied Health program in which students emerge from high school equipped to begin careers in health care. He confirmed that the Law Enforcement and Safety program was leaving because there seemed too little interest in it. Several students addressed that, saying it was their primary reason for coming to school.
Students enrolled in the Dream Academy in which they graduate with an associates degree from Brookdale Community College described disturbing and discriminatory behavior while on campus. Adams explained Brookdale “is transitioning” its dual-school initiative. That transition affects every Monmouth County district using that program, Adams said, it would continue in a different form, with children earning a diploma but primarily on the Middletown campus.
“If you do not get the information from my mouth, do not believe anything you were told,” Adams said.
How the rumor that the Asbury Park school district and Brookdale were parting ways most likely began when students noticed equipment stored at Brookdale was gone. Adams said the equipment was moved because Brookdale needed to work on the heating and ventilation systems in that room. Asbury Park ninth graders who wish to proceed in the now 30-credit program will be free to do so, Adams said.
He also said the district is considering other career-oriented programs, accepting guidance from the Jersey City School District which has the oldest cosmetology program in the state. But an audience member who works in establishing such career academies elsewhere asked the district to consider the long term, to pursue opportunities that do not require students to work two jobs to survive and to consider careers that have long-term viability.
She said two such subject areas that are in demand include cyber security and drone piloting.
As discussions went back and forth, Adams spoke in an increasingly loud voice, clearly expressing frustration about a blog, which he did not mention by name, and information coming from it.
“Excuse my passion…but I’m just not a docile black man,” he said. “I’m an advocate for this district. The children of this district come first.”
Board Member Giuseppe “Joe” Grillo said he had no problem identifying the offending blog which is a non profit that supports charter schools. Charter schools are an issue here when more and more students are choosing that option.
“We need to be really really careful about where we receive our information,” Grillo said. He noted that New Jersey has the best public schools in the nation but is under nearly constant criticism in the blog along with Newark and Camden.
Adams also said the district has job openings for football, volleyball and baseball coaches. All coaches must apply for annual positions.