Jarrett Hahn’s Candidate Night interview at BRTV

Introduction

Good evening, thank you to the council of students,  Mr. Black and Mr. Linzer and the BRTV for hosting this event.  It is great to see practical application of skills learned with in our school district. My name is Jarrett Hahn.

I was born and raised in New Jersey and a proud product of the public school system. After attending college in South Florida, I moved back to NJ and continued my education in Strength and Conditioning, Human Performance and Rehabilitation by acquiring numerous nationally accredited certifications. I’m a continual student and believe there is never a time to stop learning both academically and practically.  My wife and I have owned and operated our own training facility for the past 9 years working with all ages and walks of life and genuinely enjoy interacting with people while improving their quality of life.  My family and I moved to Bridgewater in 2020 and immediately felt at home with the community while coaching my 2 sons and other kids in town.. My role as a Board of Education member would be to take a non-bias and holistic approach to issues and concerns of the community. Create better communication with the parents and stakeholders to contact and inform them on policy changes. I want to encourage other parents to get more involved and informed on the curriculum and to be the voice of parents who care about the mental and physical health, along with the safety of Bridgewater kids.  

1. What are the strengths of BRRSD that need to be preserved and protected because they directly contribute to the district’s success, and what are the opportunities for growth? Please name 2 in each area.

Strength is the students and teachers.  From my experience, so far, the teachers and staff have all been a pleasure to interact with. Both my sons have had positive experiences with teachers and classmates while progressing their learning. The teachers are well educated and make an extra effort to keep parents informed with what their kids daily and weekly activities look like. 

Opportunities for growth would definitely be in the core academics.  The fact that test scores have been on the decline the past few years shows that there is disconnect somewhere.  We need to focus more on the importance of quality education and strive for excellence.  Ideologies and revisionist history have no place in our schools.  We need to get back to a fact-based curriculum and focus on education.

The other is security. Peoples main concern has been security with in the school walls but also, cyber security.  I am sure many don’t even know about the cyber-attack that happened last December, since there was no transparency nor communication on the outcome or what information was compromised.  These are things that need to be discussed and disclosed to the community. 

Within the schools, just last week there was a system error at one of the primary schools. Every parent was contacted by email and by phone, stating that their child was marked absent without an excuse. This prompted many parents to contact the school to see what the problem was. Due to the inundated phone lines, most were not able to reach anyone for answers. This then caused parents to show up to the school, in person, to check on the welfare of their child. Once at the building, parents were told by school staff that it was a glitch and there is no need for concern. The security officer on duty was also not informed on what was happening since he had not stepped foot within the school that day. I think the security upgrades over the past couple years is an improvement but would like to see more of a police presence at the schools. Thankfully it was just a glitch this time but what if it were a true emergency? Communication obviously broke down in this situation. This would be a main area of concern to address immediately if I am elected. 

2. Regarding the district’s transportation issues over the past couple of years, what are some changes that you would make to ensure students make it to school on time and arrive home on time?

Since my kids do not take the school transportation, I can only go off what other parents tell me, and the limited information provided to the public by the district. Transportation has been a disaster with most parents I have spoken with. The issue has many complex factors that all play a part in the function and execution of the system.  The issue begins with the quality of companies that provide the transportation services. Do they devise a critical analysis of the routes and are they doing dry runs prior to the start of the school year? I would assume so, but then how often is it re assessed? Once the school year starts some kids don’t take the bus, if so, is the route altered? Is there a GPS tracking app parents can access to know where the bus and child are?  The answer to all those questions is, they should be. There are other districts that provide a tracking app allowing parents to know when the bus is running late and if their child has been picked-up or dropped off.  The safety and well-being of the students should be the highest priority and it starts with getting them to school safely and in a timely manner in order to learn. The current plan to consolidate schools could put more of a strain on transportation.   As far as I can see the transportation issues have not been handled well by the board, and it has been this way year after year with no solutions. With the limited information shared with the public it is difficult to devise a well thought out plan without all the facts. 

3. What are you uniquely bringing to our students as a candidate?

I believe I bring a unique skill set to our students. Discipline and resilience, both physically and mentally. As I’ve stated earlier, I am in what is considered the gym business. Physically, I push myself and others to be better every day.  To lead by example not only for my own kids, but anyone that wants to better themselves. From a resiliency standpoint – I survived the greatest government overreach in our lifetime. One that saw roughly 3 out of 10 NJ small businesses permanently close, 1 out of 5 fitness facilities close permanently. My mental discipline is what kept my business alive during that time.  When times get tough and unforeseen problems arise you need to re assess, recalibrate, take action.  Kids need to be taught that things don’t always come easy.  Discipline and hard work trumps all.  With my real-life experience on starting, building, maintaining, and growing a productive business I will be better suited than most to find solutions. I have daily exposure and interaction with people I am not someone who sits behind a desk or at a computer and going off what I read on Facebook.   I think I have a lot of ways to think outside the box along with common sese practices to find what’s best for all solutions.  

Closing

A vote for me and my running mate, Hector are a vote for putting the students first. We need people with leadership abilities and innovative solutions.  We would look to addressing the reasons for testing decline to provide the most nurturing learning environment with the best fact based curriculum to encourage critical thinking and growth.  We’d look to provide safe and efficient transportation to get out kids to school safely on time.  Maybe most importantly, we would strive for transparency of policy changes. To keep parents and stakeholders informed.

For example, as a health and fitness professional I want to bring to everyone’s attention district policy 5657, that is currently in effect in our school district. 

This policy sets guidelines for locker room usage and sports participation for transgender students, as well as parental notification.

From a health and safety perspective, if not handled well, there is potential concern regarding unintended exposure to the opposite sex, and require more mental health support  

Parents need full transparency and attention on the matter to protect the vulnerable. We should not be geared towards people that make the most noise, but to what is best for all solutions. There are many things that I would take a deeper look into and get all the facts straight to start to develop a strategy for positive change.  But first we need your vote to allow us to create change for the betterment of our students. 

Vote column C

For Bridgewater Kids 

Hahn 

Menendez