Pine Hill School District News

February 2020

DISTRICT ENEWSLETTER

So much is happening in our schools and we want to make sure our students, parents and community members know about it. Through this enewsletter, we will share updates throughout our buildings and reminders of important resources. We hope you enjoy it.

A MESSAGE FROM DR. KEN KOCZUR, SUPERINTENDENT

With so many wonderful events taking place in our schools, I wanted to share one that I'm especially proud of. Over the years, we've established a collaborative relationship with the Pine Hill Police Department in an effort to educate our students. This year, Detective DiGiacomo and three officers are visiting Pine Hill Middle School to present an internet safety class each marking period. During the class, officers lead discussions on social media, cyber bullying, computer security, and avoiding online predators. The objective of the activity is to encourage students to engage in meaningful conversations about their experiences with our local law enforcement. Teaching our students about digital citizenship and recognizing dangers of social media misuse can help to protect them in the future.

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Pictured (left to right): Teriq Moore, Det. Justin DiGiacomo, Kayden Branco, Patrick Shenton

Overbrook High School to Appear on Fox 29

Last month, students and staff from Overbrook High School competed on the Fox 29 game show called “The ClassH-Room,” a trivia-based game show for teachers and students in grades 7 – 12. Along with our student and staff contestants, members of the dance team, our mascot and parents participated in the studio audience. Students and staff competed against each other for a $500 grand prize! Interested in who won the battle? Click to watch the episode!

Canine Cuddles at Bean School

Through a partnership with Crisis Response Canines, Dr. Albert Bean School students recently enjoyed a visit with Alma and Ty, two sweet therapy dogs, and their kind handlers. During the visit, students learned about the role of a working dog, dog safety and how these special dogs can help people after a crisis. The dogs even cuddled up and listened to the students read their favorite books. This is just another way to help build positive experiences connected to reading.

Great Kindness Challenge

To help promote kindness and friendships, Pine Hill Middle School students and staff took on the Great Kindness Challenge. Spearheaded by the School Climate Committee, the week-long program included grade level activities such as learning the friendship handshake, sidewalk chalk messages on the front sidewalk and snacks distributed randomly in the lunch line. All students watched short video announcements in homeroom each morning and the week culminated with a friendship scavenger hunt where students had all day to find people that fit each characteristic. It was a wonderful week infused with many opportunities for the school community to create a culture of kindness.

Classroom Restorative Circles at the John Glenn School

Recently, teachers at the John H. Glenn School were trained on how to utilize restorative circles in their classrooms. In restorative circles, all teachers and students sit in a circle and pass around an object that serves as the speaking piece. The classroom teacher begins by providing the circle with a topic to discuss. Only the person holding this object can speak to the circle. One discussion topic might be naming one exciting event that happened recently. The purpose of the circle is to build a classroom environment where every student feels safe sharing their thoughts and concerns. Teachers can more effectively support the needs of all students if they are willing to share their honest feelings or concerns. It’s about creating a safe learning community for all students at the John H. Glenn School!

Students Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with Day of Service

Instead of taking the day off from school, 40 middle and high school students honored Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy of inclusivity and community service by participated in their own day of service. With the support of community partners such as The Unforgotten Haven, Pine Hill Police Department, Hope Chapel Pine Hill, The Borough of Pine Hill, Pine Valley Trap Club, Mr. Harjinder Singh, and other individuals, students assembled more than 200 Blessing Bags for homeless individuals in Pine Hill and the surrounding area. Blessing bags included socks, toiletries, packaged snacks and hand warmers. The focus of this activity was to honor Dr. King's legacy through participation in a community service project that addresses a local need.

School Counselors Play a Vital Role for Students and Families

The role of a school counselor is to collaborate with staff and administrators to build programs to support academics, postsecondary interests, and the social and emotional needs of all students. School counselors rely on individual student data to create action plans that support each student and their specific needs. The Pine Hill School District follows a comprehensive counseling model that includes a guidance curriculum, individual planning, responsive services and a system of support for teachers, parents and community partners. Whether students meet with their counselor as part of a lunch bunch program, stay after school for gaming club or enlist in the military, the counselors are on staff to support them every step of the way.

Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health

In the Pine Hill School District, we’re working diligently to promote positive social emotional learning and mental health amongst our students. In particular, we’ll be collaborating to build awareness in establishing a more trauma-sensitive learning environment for all students. Our approach focuses on working with mental health professionals and services within the community and Camden County to support our existing school-based services. District personnel will attend upcoming professional development opportunities that will connect and train staff to effectively support all students. We’re planning now for Mental Health Awareness Month which is coming up in May. Stay tuned for more details on ways that we will bring awareness to mental health and social emotional learning.

Overbrook Athletics


  • The boys bowling team clinched the Tri-County Classic Division Conference. They then moved on to make history as they are the first bowling team at Overbrook to win the South Jersey Group 1 Sectional title. The team will move on to compete in the State Championship. Senior Frank Funari will move on as an individual after having a stellar performance at Sectionals.
  • The boys’ basketball team is on a roll this season. They started the season with a first-place finish at the Pitman tournament and they are currently ranked 2nd in South Jersey Group 1. We looked forward to an exciting playoff season.
  • Several track and field athletes will be advancing to the Sectional Meet in both running and field events on Sunday, February 23rd.
  • In wrestling, freshman Alexis Rosano has burst on to the scene with three top-3 finishes in girls tournament wrestling. With Regions right around the corner, we will be rooting for her to advance to the State Tournament in Atlantic City at the end of February.

Alumni Spotlight

Overbrook High School welcomed back 2019 graduate Private First Class Stephen MacPherson as he returned from training. PFC MacPherson will continue his combat training and job training as a diesel mechanic before filling his role as a reservist. We're all extremely proud of his accomplishments!

UPCOMING EVENTS

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SCHOOL SITE COUNCILS

Did you know that each school has a Site Council? The purpose is to provide a cooperative means of improving educational programs and conditions. Each school's Site Council is comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and school board members who meet with the principal periodically throughout the school year. If you're interested in participating, click here for more information.