Next Board Meeting: January 6, 2022 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!
At this time, Haddonfield Schools are in the middle of their New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum (NJQSAC) review. NJQSAC is the New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) monitoring and district self-evaluation system for all public school districts in the state.
The procedure occurs every three years and monitors and evaluates school districts in the five components that have been identified as critical factors in effective school districts. These components are:
Instruction & Program
The nine-month process is quite involved, necessitating that we gather evidence, self-assess, review with the county, and finally gain approval from the NJDOE. Each of the five areas is scored on a 100-point scale; 80% is “passing,” and each school district must score at least 80% in all five areas.
You may recall some recent and interesting history between the HSD and the NJQSAC process. For a time, school districts that performed well enough on standardized testing were exempt from the NJQSAC process. Because of our excellent test scores, Haddonfield schools went nearly a decade without participating in the state review. In 2018, the NJDOE required all schools to participate, and in September of 2018, Haddonfield was required to go through the process even though our academic performance measures were still high.
During our first NJQSAC review in nine years, we learned that HSD did not have adequate systems in place, and we failed in four of the five areas. What followed next was the implementation of a District Improvement Plan that spanned 13 months. Corrections of old systems and implementation of new systems were put in place, and we received passing scores from the state in June of 2020.
We are currently halfway through the current process that started in September of 2021. Under the leadership of Dr. Priolo, we have amassed the materials we need, reviewed our systems, and completed the self-assessment. We presented our work at the December BOE meeting. (Please see the chart below.)
Having been through the NJQSAC experience twice recently, I can assure you it is onerous, frustrating, and time-consuming. But the process is valuable. Accountability is important. Moreover, we have found ways to improve by reviewing our instructional materials, professional development, business office systems, and governance. The scores have improved because we have learned and grown. The most significant difference between 2018 and 2021 are the systems, curriculum, and operations now in place, thanks to our administrators, teachers, and business office staff.
In early February, the county will be on site to review our schools, look over our paperwork, examine files, and provide feedback. In May, we should be receiving the final scores. I am confident that we will be successful in all areas.
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One more note: I would like to take the time to wish all students, staff, and families a healthy and restful winter break. I hope we can all use the time off to enjoy each other, rest, and refresh.
Superintendent of Schools
Reminder about Safe Storage of Firearms at Home
We sent this letter to all parents and guardians on June 4th, 2021, in recognition of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
We repeat this important message here in light of recent tragic events at schools around our country.
We are all aware of incidents of gun violence in our surrounding communities and across the nation. A recent survey found that 57 percent of teens are concerned that there will be a shooting in their school.
Studies of different types of school-based gun violence across decades all identify the same significant point of intervention: addressing children’s unauthorized access to guns in their homes. For example, a recent report by Everytown Research, the American Federation of Teachers, and the National Education Association found that up to 80 percent of the firearms used in shootings on school grounds were obtained from the home of a parent or close relative.
Unsecured guns in the home pose a risk to students beyond gun violence in schools. Every year, nearly 350 children under the age of 18 unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else. Almost 600 children die by gun suicide each year. In the overwhelming majority of these incidents, the gun used was obtained from their home or the home of a relative or friend.
November PD a Big Hit with District Staff
Each November, Haddonfield sets aside time for teachers and staff to participate in three days of professional development (PD) on various topics. This year, we offered 69 sessions that included in-district presentations, off-site learning trips, wellness activities, team-building exercises, self-care lessons and cross grade-level “articulation” meetings.
“If ever we needed some great PD, it was this year.” said Chief Academic Officer Dr. Colleen Murray. “We didn’t have this time at all last November due to COVID, and QSAC work dominated the topics in 2019, so having more teacher-led and substantive joint learning experiences this fall was overwhelmingly appreciated.”
The first-ever “wellness afternoon” included sessions such as
· the science of setting boundaries
· multiple team-building sessions
The district’s first-ever “articulation day” allowed facilitators to co-lead sessions catering to the needs of each team, such as a focus on the transition years from middle to high school, revising common assessments, and searching for gaps and overlaps in our curriculum.
The off-campus trip to Brigantine (pictured above) featured teachers counting shore birds, gathering real data and learning how to apply “citizen science.” Important elements in this lesson were understanding how the data is used and how it is valued in the real world. A second trip to Philadelphia’s “Gayborhood” was just one reminder of our district’s commitment to cultural responsiveness including respect for “people of diverse identities, experiences and points of view.”
An Update on Progress by the District Math Committee
As the district seeks to choose new math programs, we are proud of the committee’s progress and can share this news.
Specific program pilots are underway at the following grade levels:
· K-5: Investigations, Illustrative Math, and Singapore Math
· 6-8: Desmos and Big Ideas
· Algebra and Geometry - Illustrative Math
A subcommittee created “evidence collection tools” catering to each school level, and another subcommittee created, shared, analyzed, and presented results of student-led learner experience surveys.
District PD in both September and November provided sessions for all of the pilot math programs, as well as common planning time to allow teachers to make any necessary adjustments to their lessons.
A subcommittee has begun to plan student focus groups to gather students’ experiences to help inform pilot choices and curricular revision goals. Occurring concurrently, Mr. Klaus and Dr. Murray will visit each of the eight teacher teams confidentially to provide an intimate setting in which to dive more deeply into their experiences and hopes for pilot choices and curriculum revisions. Additionally this month, committee members will go on a site visit to Cherry Hill East's World Championship-winning Robotics Lab.
HMHS Teacher Recognized at White House
Kimberly Dickstein Hughes, HMHS English teacher, was recently recognized at the White House with the 2020 and 2021 State Teachers of the Year. First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, hosted the annual event (after it had been postponed for two years due to the pandemic) and lauded educators for the miracles they perform in their classrooms everyday. You can read the full Haddonfield Sun article about Ms. Dickstein Hughes's experience here. In addition to this event, Ms. Dickstein Hughes attended education advocacy workshops in Washington D.C., met virtually with both of New Jersey's State Senators, and visited with Congressman Norcross at the Capitol Building.
Haddonfield Announces Governor’s Educator of the Year Nominees
On Thursday, December 9th, eight district employees were honored as final nominees in the New Jersey state Governor’s Educator of the Year program.
Beginning in September, parents, other staff and community members were encouraged to nominate a teacher and/or an educational services professional for this program. A district committee was formed to review all nominees against a state-provided rubric, and the finalists were selected. Teachers will be encouraged to apply for the county level of the program, and a finalist from each county will be sent to the state where one person will be selected as Educator of the Year for 2022-23. Thank you to all who submitted nominations, and congratulations to all of our spectacular faculty and staff!
Shown below, left to right are the Haddonfield nominees: Patty Abbate (HMHS office staff), Kelliann Haney (Tatem first-grade teacher), Mike Hecker (elementary music and band teacher), Holly Maiese (HMHS English teacher), Daria Resnick (HMS math teacher), Katy Roussos (Elizabeth Haddon language arts specialist) and Merced Valenzuela (grounds person). Stephanie DelFico, Tatem EA, is not pictured here.
Haddonfield Alumni Society’s 2020 and 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award-Winners Recognized
Haddonfield Alumni Society’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony was postponed last year, but those honorees, as well as the award winners for 2021, were honored at a ceremony on November 27th, 2021.
The following individuals were recognized for their considerable professional and personal achievements.
2020 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients
Mr. Jeffrey Boogaard – current Haddonfield Memorial High School social studies teacher
Ms. Beth Burrough ’81
Dr. John Curran ’58
Dr. Susan Mockus Parks ’86
2021 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients
Mr. Donald Chew ’69
Dr. Laura Iavicoli ’89
Dr. Bruce Lindsay ’69
MS. Lisa Weissenberger Wolschina ’89
Ms. Lynn Green – retired (Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School) kindergarten teacher
(Detailed bios will be posted to the Haddonfield Alumni Society website shortly.)
THANK YOU to our NEW SUBS
We recently emailed a message to all Haddonfield School District families describing the district's need for substitute teachers. We are delighted to share that, so far, eleven people have been approved and will be added to our list of potential subs immediately.
If you are qualified and wish to apply, we would welcome more applicants. Click here to read the original letter that includes details about the process and qualifications needed. Thank you!
CENTRAL STUDENTS CELEBRATE NATIVE AMERICAN MONTH
Over the summer, a team of teachers created lessons for each grade level celebrating different cultures. The lessons they created for Native American Month for second grade centered around the book, "We Are Water Protectors." After reading the book, the classes discussed how Native Americans are "stewards" for the Earth and how the students also can be stewards. Students used the book's beautiful illustrations to inspire their own artwork portraying how they will protect Mother Earth. CAPTION: Mrs. Kennedy reads "We Are Water Protectors" to her class.
ELIZABETH HADDON THIRD-GRADERS STUDY LENAPE CULTURE
Third-graders in Elizabeth Haddon are learning about the Lenape Indians, who were the first Native Americans in the tri-state area (specifically New Jersey). Students are becoming experts at a specific topic, such as hunting, fishing, medicine, house-building, transportation, and vision quest. Later they will create a Google Slides presentation and a display such as a diorama or poster. Using these projects, they will "teach" their topic to their classmates, so that each student will learn all about Lenape life.
TATEM FOURTH GRADES STUDY EXTREME WEATHER
Fourth-graders at Tatem are working in research teams to study extreme weather such as hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, droughts, earthquakes, and floods. Members of each group play different roles as they develop their expertise on an extreme weather topic, reading books, websites, and watching videos. Students are learning to take notes that follow the structure of their texts. This unit will culminate in a presentation of what they've learned!
EIGHTH-GRADERS WRITE to an AUTHENTIC AUDIENCE
Ms. Baer's eighth-grade Techniques of Writing students have been talking about writing to an "authentic audience." In class, students researched charities and nonprofit organizations and crafted a persuasive fundraising letter to the governor on behalf of their choice. This project combined persuasive writing, research skills, and writing for real-world purposes, such as advocating for an important cause!
SPIRIT WEEK = HARD WORK and LOTS of FUN
written by student Marisol Russo
The high school's late November Spirit Week was a big hit! Everyone appreciated getting back to some normalcy and had lots of fun doing it.
The themes of the hallway competition were Roaring 20s (Seniors), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Juniors), Clue (Sophomores), and Wizard of FrOZh (freshman). The Juniors came in first place for the hallway competition, but the overall winner was the Senior class.
Over 4,000 pounds of food were donated to CAMcare's food pantry and more than $15,000 dollars were raised for the following charities:
- United Nations Children's Fund (Seniors)
- National Suicide Prevention (Juniors)
- For Pete's Sake Cancer Respite Foundation (Sophomores)
- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (Freshmen)
WORTH REPEATING ...
"Cinderella" Needs Empty Containers
The HMHS Drama Club is in need of rinsed-out containers of specific items for their set for Rodgers + Hammerstein's "Cinderella." (They will repurpose these items to create the balusters for the palace.)
- rinsed-out bottles of 16 oz. POM Wonderful
- rinsed-out 0.5 L (16.9 oz) Perrier
- rinsed-out Talenti gelato containers (for mixing and storing paint)
Please bring your items to the HMHS main office through January 7th. THANK YOU!
INCLEMENT WEATHER DELAY & CANCELLATION NOTIFICATIONS
Here is a shortened reminder of the way our district handles notifications of school delays and closures due to snow or other inclement weather.
HOW ARE FAMILIES NOTIFIED?
Haddonfield Families will receive an e-mail and text message. Also you may check our district website for information. Checking local TV and radio stations should be your last resort as their announcements are sometimes delayed. Our school’s number is 560.
WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE?
We try very hard to make the decision by 5:30 a.m.
Just as you trust us to do our best, we trust you to make the best personal decisions for your family as well. For example:
- If you do not feel that it is safe for your children to attend school, please keep them at home.
- Also, please discourage teenagers from driving in bad conditions and offer them alternatives.
HSD INTRODUCED NEW COMMUNICATIONS APP!
In mid-November, all HSD parents and guardians received an invitation to activate an account in ParentSquare. ParentSquare is the district's new communication app and is being used by principals and district staff to share information via posts and alerts (as emails, texts and/or voicemails).
We encourage you to activate your account and to download the ParentSquare app, if you have not already. One of the most popular features of ParentSquare is that posts are archived and searchable in the ParentSquare feed.
Downloading the ParentSquare app allows you to have a more customized and more effective experience. Perhaps the most popular customization is choosing WHEN to receive school messages.
In the Loop
Keep up with current information, news and photos.
District Twitter: @HaddonSchools
District Facebook: @HaddonfieldSchoolDistrict