BERKELEY – A familiar face will be heading up the high school as the new year opens.
Angello Mazzuca is the new principal of Central Regional High School. He had been an assistant principal last year and prior to that, a language arts teacher. With the new position comes new goals.
“I definitely want to improve communication as a district both internally and with the community,” he said.
Part of this is Remind for parents, as an example of using technological tools to help reach others in their busy daily lives.
“We want to focus on climate and culture,” he said. “My kids are going to be here. I’m vested in the community. We have the ball rolling in that direction now.”
He envisions something like a family style barbecue, for the district to gather for reasons outside of academics or athletics. Challenge Day, a program made possible through the County Prosecutor’s Office, brings student leaders together to build acceptance among their differences.
When he was an assistant principal, he learned the pulse of the building. One of his tasks as assistant principal was as a disciplinarian, which gave him a window into seeing how students are treating each other.
No discussion of the current climate of Central Regional would be complete without a discussion of Adriana Kuch, a 14-year-old who tragically took her own life months ago, leaving a lot of residents asking what could have been done to prevent something like this.
“We underwent a legal review of our policies and regulations by an outside company,” he said. They offered a new app, HelpMe, which allows anonymous reporting of incidents. A guidance counselor was trained to be a HIB specialist. There’s new software called HIBster to help district officials further comply with state regulations. (HIB stands for harassment, intimidation, and bullying – the state’s method of recording and reviewing these kinds of incidents.) A student-run committee called No Place For Hate will assess the student body’s climate and culture to alleviate issues before they happen. This is not the end of the list, but just some of the actions that were taken that have not been discussed in previous articles in this newspaper.
The high school recently shuffled the responsibilities of the assistant principals. It used to be that each one would be given a grade, and they would follow the students through their career. For example, if they covered the 9th grade one year, they’d cover the 10th grade the next. This allowed them to get to know the same kids year after year.
This has changed to them having a chunk of students who are close alphabetically. This means they will still follow them through their career. It also means that they’ll remain their kids if they have to be retained a year. It also helps get to know if something is happening at home. For example, if one student is having a hard time because of divorce in the household, the administrator will understand that it might be impacting the siblings.
In this formation, half of the administration will focus on discipline and the day-to-day running of the building while the other half oversee such things as curriculum.
Acting Superintendent Doug Corbett said that over the summer, former principal Irene Marousis was transferred to serve as one of the four assistant principals alongside Daryl Heale, Nicole Gara, and Arienne Cangelosi. Meanwhile, Kym Bell was transferred to supervisor of guidance, replacing Tom Gallahue, who will serve as director of data management.
In September, students might notice the windows that were replaced as well, he said. The school will continue to have 4×4 block scheduling which they’ve had for a few years now.