Special education, climate and diversity, gifted programs and the magnet program were just a few of the topics that parents talked about at Charles H. Bullock School Monday night.

Superintendent Kendra Johnson was hosting the first of five listening sessions. At each session, parents and members of the community will be asked to talk about what they feel are the most important issues facing the district.

About 40 parents, staffers and community members showed up. The session started at 7 p.m. and was supposed to end at 8:30, but the session ran about half an hour long.

One concern was whether the schools were teaching a uniform curriculum, with several parents mentioning that some students were often unprepared for high school math by the time they arrived at Montclair High School.

About 40 parents and staffers attended Monday night's session. ERIN ROLL/STAFF
About 40 parents and staffers attended Monday night's session. ERIN ROLL/STAFF

Renaissance Middle School was also a topic, amid concerns that it was lagging behind the other middle schools in terms of curriculum and desirability among families.

"She's a great communicator, and we really need that at this point," said Debbie Villareal. She said that she appreciated that Johnson took the time to go into detail about SAIL (Students Accelerated In Learning), the district's gifted program.

Sarah Spagnolia Young, the PTA president at Renaissance, said that she was heartened by Johnson's remarks that the district was willing to work with the Renaissance community. "She really has been working with us and wants to lift up Renaissance and make it what it really is," she said after the session ended.

Parents can take a survey available on the district website if they wish to offer additional feedback.

The next listening session will be at 7 p.m. on May 29 at Glenfield Middle School.

This is a developing story. Follow the Montclair Local for more information.