2023-2024 School Year Update #5
January 31, 2024 Update from Dr. Scott Rocco
Dear HTSD Community,
We have come to the halfway point in the school year. As we look towards the second half of the year, we as a district and school community need to keep our focus on our goals. As I’ve discussed throughout the first half of the year, we are focused on academics, attendance, and student behaviors.
During the first half of the year we have seen positive progress in all three areas. Now, as we move forward we need to keep that progress moving in the same positive direction. As a school community, it’s important for all of us to work together on these three goals. As ONE HAMILTON we are focused on every student’s success at every one of our schools across HTSD for the entire school year.
As parents and community members, I encourage you to take part in your child’s school events and activities. Each school provides numerous opportunities for parental and community involvement. Additionally, when it comes to your child’s learning, talk to them about school, what they learned, what they have for homework, and what they enjoyed about the day. Scholastic wrote an article in 2021 that discussed talking to your child about school. They recommended a number of questions. Here are a few:
Tell me about the best part of your day.
What was the hardest thing you had to do today?
What's the biggest difference between this year and last year?
Can you show me something you learned (or did) today?
As for student behavior, be clear about your expectations of them in school and how they interact with and talk with their peers, our faculty, staff, and administration. It’s important for our students to follow the rules and policies at each of our schools. As a life lesson, it is important for them to do what is right and follow the basic rules of properly interacting with each other when they are and are not in the presence of adults. Everyone can feel respected and appreciated by following this basic rule of human interaction.
Finally, let’s continue to make EVERY DAY COUNT in the second half of the school year.
Scott R. Rocco, Ed.D.
2024 New Jersey Schools of Character Awards
Information / Dates To Remember
School Calendar Update
- REVISED 2023-2024 School Calendar: At the January 17th Board of Education meeting, the current 2023-2024 school calendar was revised to address the June Primary Election date. June 4, 2024 will be a professional development day for all HTSD faculty and staff. June 11, 2024 will be a regular school day.
- 2024-2025 School Calendar: Next year’s calendar was approved on January 17th. You can find it by clicking HERE.
High School Program of Studies
We are pleased to share our HS Program of Studies for the 24/25 SY. Click HERE to access the document. Students that are currently in grades 8-11, will begin the preliminary scheduling process in the coming weeks; specific information will come from your child's school. Whether or not your child will be entering (our continuing with) high school in the coming year, please take some time to review our diverse, learning opportunities for students which include, but are not limited to:
25 Advanced Placement (AP) Courses;
39 Honors Courses;
3 Career/Technical Education (CTE) Pathways;
3 Dual Enrollment Programs with Colleges/Universities.
HTSD 2024 Summer Camp Opens February 1, 2024
HTSD is proud to offer 70 unique Summer Camps this Summer for Hamilton Township residents! Camps are offered grades K - 12 (Fall 2024). Registration opens 8:00am on Thursday, February 1, 2024.
Visit our website to learn more about Summer Camp and REGISTER your Camper online. Register early as Camps fill up quickly.
- Week 1: July 8 - 12
- Week 2: July 15 - 19
- Week 3: July 22 - 26
- Week 4: July 29 - August 2
New for 2024:
- Before Camp Care on site at Crockett Middle School, 8:00am - 9:00am.
- HTSD rising Juniors and Seniors will be offered employment as Junior Camp Counselors assisting our certified teachers this summer. Interested students should contact their Guidance Department for more information (Spring 2024).
Student Report Cards
Student Report Cards: Just a reminder that your child’s report card for this year, and years past, is available on PowerSchool. The end of the second trimester for elementary schools is March 13th. The end of the second marking period for middle and high school is January 30th.
If you do not have a PowerSchool account, below is the link for our PowerSchool Parent Portal Help page. Please sign up if you haven’t already so you can keep up to date on your child’s learning and attendance: PowerSchool Parent Portal Help
Orientations (5th into 6th AND 8th into 9th)
Orientations (5th into 6th and 8th into 9th): We have begun to plan for our upcoming Middle School and High School Orientations. Please save the dates noted below; additional information will come from the respective schools.
Middle School Orientations (5th into 6th)
Crockett MS - February 29th (6:30 PM)
Grice MS - March 7th (6:30 PM)
Reynolds MS - March 21st (6:30 PM)
High School Orientations (8th into 9th)
East - March 20th (6:30 PM)
North - March 14th (6:30 PM)
West - March 19th (6:30 PM)
Stay Connected! 2023-2024 School Year
In February of 2020 we approved our strategic plan for the district. This plan was developed by a group of stakeholders representing everyone who is a part of our school community. The final report and plan identified 5 areas of focus and goals within those areas. You can see the webpage for the strategic plan by clicking HERE. This month I would like to continue our focus on Technology. Within this category there were three (3) goals:
Over the next five years, the Hamilton Township School District will continue to foster and support professional development by providing opportunities for all the staff members that cultivate 21st century skills, digital citizenship, technical literacy, and ensure effective integration of technology that transforms classroom instruction.
You can get an update on the progress of this goal by clicking HERE.
Over the next five years, Hamilton Township School District will provide all students with equal and equitable access to technology and digital resources in order to provide diverse, technology enhanced learning opportunities that maximize their success.
You can get an update on the progress of this goal by clicking HERE.
The district will continue to support a well-managed infrastructure, software resources and tolls, efficient repair procedures, and high speed connectivity in all instructional and administrative areas within the district.
- You can get an update on the progress of this goal by clicking HERE.
School Counseling / Guidance Information
New FAFSA graduation requirement for the Classes of 2025, 2026, 2027- Beginning with this year’s 11th-grade class (Class of 2025) and extending to the next two school years after that, students and their guardians must complete and submit either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application to get a diploma — unless they are granted an exemption after submitting a waiver or speaking to a guidance counselor. We will share more information as it becomes available.
Our next “One Hamilton”event will be held at Hamilton High School West on Monday, February 12th at 6:30 pm. Save the date for our “Post-Secondary Planning Night” for all HTSD junior students and their families. To sign up for sessions which include Building Your College List, The College Application Process, Financial Aid, Transition Services , College Athletics, Community College Options, please be sure to complete this form by Monday, February 5th.
Our final “One Hamilton" Event for the year will be held on Monday, April 15th at 6pm at Steinert High School. Our College and Career fair will feature representatives from colleges, military, and trade schools, as well as employers and organizations that will discuss part-time jobs, internship opportunities, and employment opportunities post-graduation.
We are reaching out to local businesses who would like to participate in our College & Career Fair or offer shadowing or internship opportunities for our students. They can complete this brief survey (in the community bulletin; will also be shared on “X”)or reach out to Ms. Ferlauto, our district Director of Guidance at email@example.com.
Hamilton West is creating a "Hornet Alumni Connection" program to provide our students with the opportunity to speak with alumni about the college experience, career exploration, and job opportunities. Fill out a brief form if you are interested in partnering with us!
National No Name Calling Week (1/15-1/19)
Elementary Schools did a variety of classroom lessons and activities related to kindness and “no name calling”.
SAVE THE DATE: February 27th - Next SEPAG Event
Special Education Parent Advisory Group or SEPAG: This advisory group was very successful last year and held a number of meetings for parents. SEPAG has established meeting dates for this school year and we will continue to promote these meetings to engage more and more parents. SEPAG will meet on the following dates:
May 13th. This meeting is our Whole Child Fair. This was a wonderful event last year and I know it will be again this year.
Join the DCR Committee (District Community Relations)
The DCR (District Community Relations) Committee will host its next meeting of 2024 on Tuesday, February 13th, 5:00pm - 6:00pm, at Sunnybrae Elementary School.
There are four DCR subcommittees:
- Climate and Culture
- Curriculum and Community Outreach
- Recruitment and Retention
- Suspension Finding
To learn more and to register please visit our website.
- Cell Phone Use: The school district reminds parents that providing a cell phone to their child is a big decision and should be accompanied by clear communication about responsible use, including restrictions on apps, social media, and times the phone can be used. At elementary school, phones are not allowed unless medically necessary. At the middle schools they must be put away in a backpack or locker, and at our high schools students may have them but there are specific rules about storage and use during school hours. HTSD stresses the importance of families talking about and understanding proper phone etiquette and being safe online. Lost or stolen phones are not the district's responsibility.
PTA Food Initiative Update from PTA President, Lisa Schultz
The HTSD PTA Presidents have come together to tackle a problem that touches all of our schools - food insecurity.Regardless of the size of your school, or the ages of your students, we know there are those who could use a boost of nutrition and satisfying food to have at home.
With the help and support of Dr. Rocco and BOE President Dina Thornton, we have come up with a plan to help combat this issue on a district-wide level. Our PTA's will host food drives for non-perishable items such as pasta, canned tomato sauce, rice, beans, peanut butter, jelly, and canned vegetables. Our hope is that soon we will have enough supplies to open a food pantry.
Once we open, our school counselors and/or nurses will contact us and let us know how many care bags they’d need. These bags will be packed and dropped off to the school - no identifying information will ever be shared with us - only how many packages the school will need.