Next Board Meeting: September 23, 2021 7:00 p.m.
This Board meeting is open to the public. There are no limits to the number of people who may attend in person, but masks are required. Board meetings will continue to be live-streamed as well, but there will be no call-in comments or questions.
Presentations from Recent Board Meetings:
Greetings from the Superintendent!
While children do not return to school until next Wednesday, the process of preparing to welcome them is well underway. I have spent much of the last week touring our schools to ensure that they will be ready. The most common sight, walking through the buildings at various times of day, was of our teachers readying their classrooms and completing other work as they prepare to greet all students on September 8th. Clearly we look forward to seeing them, and we anticipate a wonderful and exciting school year!
For me, one of the annual indicators that we are close to the start of a new school year is welcoming our new teachers and staff to the district. Over the last three days, they have participated in orientation that introduces Haddonfield School District expectations, practices, and procedures. On their second day, I had the opportunity to and the pleasure of taking our new staff on a bus tour throughout the community of Haddonfield. (Photo below.) The basic purpose of the tour was to increase their familiarity with the district and town, indicating the locations of other school buildings, sports fields and local landmarks. However, as I identified these various points of interest, I began to share insights about the community in which they will be working. The unplanned side effect of my tour was the experience of re-opening my eyes to the uniqueness of Haddonfield.
While driving down our tree-lined streets past schools, fields, and borough landmarks, I spoke to the new staff about what makes Haddonfield Haddonfield. I talked about the parents, the broader community, the Borough team, our staff, the students and others who all come together in positive collaboration and support. I asserted that this comprehensive support is the main thread that runs through all of our work. Teachers new to Haddonfield and/or new to teaching were encouraged and excited to hear me say this, and I was truly proud to say it. The Haddonfield Community of Learners is a special place.
We are moving into another school year that has challenges; fewer and different challenges than we faced last year, but ones that I know we will meet as a community, providing the children of Haddonfield the most positive school experience we can.
Enjoy this last weekend of summer, and we will see you next Wednesday.
Chuck Klaus, Superintendent of Schools
WE'RE ALMOST THERE!
- The first school day for students is Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Both September 8th and 9th are half days.
- Check email daily for important information from your principals.
- Check out supply lists.
- Review your contact information in the Genesis Parent Portal.
- Our 1:1 Chromebook program has expanded down to grade 3 and up to grade 12. You will see a form in Genesis, required even if you use your own device. Here is more information about Chromebooks.
Meet our new staff!
LGBTQ+ Curricular Integration
Dear Haddonfield Families:
On behalf of the elementary principals, elementary teachers, teacher leaders, and staff, this letter describes the reasons for choosing, and the way in which we choose, materials to support our goal of Cultural Responsiveness, specifically as it pertains to LGBTQ+ related content. This work is grounded in our Mission Statement and Strategic Goals.
In Haddonfield, we acknowledge, respect and support all configurations of families, the full spectrum of gender expression/identity, all racial/ethnic backgrounds, and all forms of ability.
We want all of our learners to be able to see themselves in the books we read, the history and influential figures we learn about, the problems we solve, and the topics we explore. We do this for developmental and humane reasons:
For elementary school children, talking about families is an important part of making sense of the world and their relationship to it. Many students in primary grades are realizing for the first time that their family might look different from someone else’s. Older elementary students can become sensitive about describing these differences and are also frequently dealing with changing relationships within their own families as they develop a deeper understanding of themselves as individuals. (Weissman 2016).
We honor all families by including content that recognizes everyone’s experiences. This includes materials that portray male-female couples, LGBTQ+ partners, singles, couples with pets, ESL, siblings, grandparents, or other family members as caregivers, adoption, mixed race, divorces, families of “choice,” multi-generational families, etc. Please read more about this in our Elementary School Equity Statement that was developed collaboratively with the Community Partners for Equitable and Inclusive Education group that is made up of Haddonfield parents, teachers, and staff. We cannot do any of these things if some of our kids, and some of their families, are rendered invisible. As a public school system aiming for excellence we seek to be inclusive, support social-emotional learning for all kids, and engage meaningfully and respectfully with all identities and experiences.
It is also important to recognize that there are, and will be, students in the classroom who have no “traditional" family structures or gender expression/identity, and it is much less confusing for children from “traditional” family structures to learn about those individuals via the carefully selected books and lessons, as opposed to during unsupported playground conversations.
To determine what is developmentally appropriate as it pertains to LGBTQ+ integration, we review text-assigned age ranges ...
Administrative PD was a Highlight of Summer 2021
District administrators met during the first week of August to explore various topics and to plan for the 2021-2022 school year.
The group of 16 – including all principals, superintendents, and other administrators – met with external and internal presenters and delved into topics ranging from COVID protocols to co-teaching and goal setting.
On Day 1, the authors of the admin team’s summer reading, “Schools Reimagined: Unifying the Science of Learning with the Art of Teaching,” Jaqueline Grennon Brooks and Martin G. Brooks, spoke about their book and its assertions about “constructivist schools.”
“These schools invite engagement. They become learning platforms that highlight discrepancies and confusion and guide students through the cognitive processes involved in examining new ideas, resolving contradictions, and building enduring understandings.”
“Working with veteran educators like Jackie and Martin Brooks about innovative learning methods supports our district goal of Contemporary Teaching and Learning,” said Dr. Colleen Murray, the Chief Academic Officer. “It was helpful for us all to hear about their experiences with other school districts and to be able to ask them specific questions about constructivism.”
Another significant session focused on results of the SEL (social-emotional learning) surveys completed in the spring by students and staff. Administrators examined and discussed the data that identified how our teachers and students feel about their school environment.
“Since writing the strategic goals in 2019, we have focused on ‘ensuring the social and emotional well-being of our learners,’ and regular surveys help us to take a hard look at school climate,” said Dr. Gino Priolo, Assistant Superintendent. “In looking at the data, we were able to determine where we are and where we need to go in terms of SEL.”
Much of the third day was dedicated to discovering the historic Haddonfield-Lawnside connection. Led by researcher and genealogist Shamele Jordon and retired teacher Muneerah Higgs, administrators learned about the establishment of both towns, the role of the Underground Railroad, the communities and social systems, and several prominent individuals who played significant roles in early black communities.
The team benefited from hearing “the voice of black Haddonfield” through videos of alumni interviews, and finally toured four sites in Lawnside: the Peter Mott House, Mount Peace Cemetery, the original Lawnside School and Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church.
Statement about Removal of Certain District Oak Trees
Over the last several months, HSD buildings and grounds crew have noticed that certain oak trees on our properties appeared to be dying. In consultation with the Haddonfield Borough arborist, several trees were identified as having Bacterial Leaf Scorch (BLS), a systemic disease seen most often in pin oaks and red oaks. BLS is caused by a bacterium (Xylella Fasdiosa) which invades the xylem (the water and nutrient conducting tissues) of susceptible trees.
The symptoms of BLS are most easily seen in mid to late summer when leaves begin to turn brown prematurely. The browning begins at the edges of the leaves and spreads to look as though the leaf is being painted brown. Once the leaves on the branches turn brown, those branches die, leaving an increasingly bare canopy. Dying and dead branches present the added danger of possibly falling on passers-by. Removing the dying trees is unavoidable.
THE CENTRAL-MIDDLE PLAYGROUND, BLACKTOP, PARKING AREAS AND DRIVEWAYS WILL BE CLOSED FRIDAY MORNING, SEPTEMBER 3RD, FOR WORK RELATED TO THE OAK TREE REMOVALS.
In the Loop
District Twitter: @HaddonSchools
District Facebook: @HaddonfieldSchoolDistrict
Look for your school's Twitter feed.
Your student's team or club may also tweet.
Read the latest issue of the HMHS Peer Bias Leaders Newsletter.
Have a restful and happy Labor Day Weekend.
We look forward to seeing you on September 8th!