BCSSSD Pioneer Press

October 2015, Edition #11

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Editor: Mrs. Laura Geltch, Coordinator of Program and Community

Please continue emailing me your stories, photos, and events. This newsletter celebrates our BCSSSD community!


A Message from your Superintendent

October 2015

Dear BCSSSD community,

The BCSSSD Student Family Association, (SFA) hosted their first meeting of the year on Wednesday, October 7, 2015. SFA President, Tara Montague spoke to our attendees regarding the importance of parental support. "Our goal is to provide programs and services, which enhance our children's educational experience at BCSSSD", said Tara. Several fundraising ideas were proposed, however, we need more parents to join our SFA in an effort to achieve our goals as a school community.

I presented our vision for BCSSSD: "One District, One Mission, One Vision"


Ryan Petruzzi, BCSSSD Education Association President, also presented his vision:


Dr. Nagy, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education and Dr. Bonsall, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction spoke about our campus restructure, new vocational shops, and their benefits to our student's daily BCSSSD learning experience.

Please plan to attend the next SFA meeting on November 4, 2015, 7 p.m., in the Westampton Media Center.


Dr. Christopher M. Manno

Superintendent of Schools

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A letter from Dr. Nagy, Assistant Superintendent for Special Education

This week marks the first time in the history of BCSSSD that parents will have access to the Genesis Parent Portal. The web-based portal will allow parents and guardians to view or update demographic information, see current attendance, access the report card (unless working through IEP Direct program) and student grades (will be updated regularly). Please note that if we do not have an emergency card on file, or a correct email address, access to the parent portal will not be possible. If one does not have an e-mail address, other arrangements will be made.

We have been diligent to engage in a campaign to collect parent and guardian e-mails to allow parents access to the portal. We hope that this will be the first step in enhancing parental involvement. An introductory e-mail will be sent out this week to provide instructions on how to access the portal.

This month, our students and staff are making preparations for the November Military Appreciation activities to salute our troops through our third annual student writing campaign. Under the guidance of our speech therapists and direction of Kimberly Sheetz, students will provide their unique expression of gratitude to local troops that are serving our county. Invited guests from the military will be visiting with us in November to share their stories, bring pictures and apparel, and talk about their roles, responsibilities and personal experiences. This is the third year this campaign has tugged at the heart strings of all involved and is a worthy tribute to those who have placed themselves in harms way to protect us and the freedoms we enjoy today. This interdisciplinary and cross-curricular project will be highlighted in next month’s edition.

Our alternative schools, on the other hand, have embraced a focus on “Mindfulness” as a strategy to enhance wellbeing, social adjustment, harmony, awareness and appreciation of that which is seen and experienced around us each day, but taken for granted. Administrators are taking coursework on the topic and are providing a platform for training of staff and introduction of guest speakers to share and encourage the utilization of techniques to support a positive and enriching environment at the schools. On Monday, October 26, at a staff meeting, the topic that will be discussed is Minding your Mind. The guest speaker for that day will also meet with the middle school students twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from 12:45-1:30.

If parents were to walk through the halls on the BCSSSD Westampton campus, many changes are evident including the upgrade to many of our career technical classrooms and shops. Over the summer, teachers revised and upgraded the curricula for many of the career technical courses to reflect key emergent skill sets to be developed in our students. The students and staff have embraced the welcomed changes.

This week marks the first time that Bancroft will begin transferring some students from other locations to our BCSSSD Westampton Campus housed in the formal Jr/Sr High building. We are excited to welcome a few former graduates who will be participating in the day habilitation program for adults ages 21 and above. Questions have come up regarding the admissions criteria; Bancroft has provided a two page informational brochure, which will be posted on our website. Questions may be directed to Bancroft.

Enjoy the change of foliage and the vibrant colors for the season.


Dr. Chris Nagy

Assistant Superintendent, Special Education

Attention Parents & Guardians: Parent Portal Letter and Parent Portal Form

Parent Portal links:



BCIT/BCSSSD Board of Education Policies & Regulations

The following policies and regulations have been approved by the Board of Education. Please review and reference pertinent policies as applicable.

August 2015

2360 Use of Technology
R2421 Vocational-Technical Instruction
5330 and R5330 Administration of Medication 8820 Opening Exercises/Ceremonies
5615 Suspected Gang Activity

8540 School

5756 R8505.01 R8505.02 5339 R2431.5 R3125.2 Abolished R8540

Nutrition Programs Free and Reduced Rate Meals

Transgender Students
Nutrition and Feeding Safety Protocols (BCSSSD Only) Nutrition and Feeding Questionnaire (BCSSSD Only) Screening for Dyslexia
Athletic Practice Competition Adm Walk Through Process Substitute Coverage SOP (BCSSSD Only)

Free and Reduced Rate Meals

Strauss Esmay BCIT/BCSSSD Policies and Regulations.

Burlington County School Facilities Complete Phase One of Security Enhancements to Protect People and Property on Campus.

As we face increased threats in our educational environments, there is a great expectation that the campus community will do everything in its power to safeguard and protect its most vital and valuable asset: Its students, faculty and staff.

The recent consolidation of the administrative services for The Burlington County Institute of Technology and the Burlington County Special Services School Districts, required the reconfiguration of two disparate security systems into one comprehensive and unified access control solution, to protect multiple campus locations,without compromising ease and freedom of movement and accessibility for students and personnel.

Together, the districts serve more than 2500 students, on five campuses, in two key areas: Vocational and technical education at the high school and post-secondary levels and those with special needs, including disabilities, autism, and at-risk youth from Pre-K through grade 12.

Our prime contractor recently completed the first phase of this extensive upgrade that included securing 120 perimeter doors throughout the Districts’ campuses. More than 50 of these entry/exit points are safeguarded with the XS4 Wall Reader technology from SALTO Systems. All perimeter doors have immediate monitoring by security and administrative personnel, during school hours. Additionally, 3M safety glass was installed at appropriate entrances.

Added enhancements include the ability for security personnel to control and monitor visitors at all campus locations, instantly identify all persons with (and without) proper access credentials, and respond accordingly to potential threats, as well as an overall improved security-monitoring system, with the ability to scale and grow as the districts expand.

Additional phases are currently underway.

SALTO’s access control systems are used at Princeton, Cambridge, Oxford, Abu Dhabi University and prestigious academic venues around the globe.

Adell Valasek visits International School in Brussels (ISB) for third time!

Adell visited The International School of Brussels (ISB) earlier this month. Her expertise in Applied Behavior Analysis with Autistic students was requested by the Head of Learning Support, Kristen Pelletier. Adell provided consultation and training to the teachers who provide instruction to students with special needs.

ISB has four self-contained classrooms integrated into their general education setting, educating students from Pre-k up through 12th grade. Adell's role was to push into the classrooms to assist teachers with instructional and behavioral techniques and strategies using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis.

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Congratulations on another successful trip to Brussels, Adell Valasek!

A world of a difference! This is the new description I have given to Adell Valasek.

My first full time teaching job nearly ten years ago was at Burlington County Special Services School District (BCSSSD). While employed here, I felt privileged to work with Adell, as I felt her expertise made a fundamental impact not only professionally but practically in the everyday lives of the students. While teaching with Adell, I knew my lifelong goal was to teach abroad and mix my love of traveling and teaching. That goal came true in Brussels Belgium four years ago. After my first year at the International School of Brussels (ISB) I was asked “who taught me everything I knew?” Well of course, it was none other than Adell Valasek. Thus, over the past three years Adell has flown abroad to assist in a variety roles at the International School of Brussels. Her knowledge and expertise have been a staple in the programming of students at ISB. Recommendations and expertise has been advised in the areas of academics, behavior, functional skills, and language acquisition, for students as well as parents. Adell's impact did not stop there; she also conducted numerous professional development opportunities to the learning support team on various topics including data collection, functions of behavior (why behaviors happen) and more!

Adell's expertise in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) has given the team a new light on looking at the core areas of strength and need of each student and generalizing those skills throughout the school, community, and home. In this region of the world, ABA principles seem a bit scary to some, as the unknown, or stigma can be intimidating. Adell however, shines the light on practicality and what the students need, not filling gaps on a given assessment. Adell has brought a unique rapport to Brussels. When sharing the recommendations for each student, Adell mixes her own concoction of appreciation for cultural diversity, honesty and humor. The ultimate mixture for changing lives of educators, students, parents, and professional abroad!

With gratitude and appreciation,

Lauren Tretina, M.A.

Special Education Teacher, ECC

The International School of Brussels

Student Ambassadors!

Students served as Ambassadors to our Burlington County School Crisis Response Team meeting attendees today. Dr. Manno commended them for their hard work and professionalism representing our district!
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High School students on our Westampton participated in Character Ed Bingo. Both students and staff enjoyed this team building event! Thank you to our talented, dedicated staff for coordinating this spectacular event for more than 250 students. Kudos!
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"Our Little Hero" Buddy Walk, October 11, 2015

Note from Christine, Hewitt, BCSSSD Elementary School Teacher

A special thanks to Pat Niehaus – for setting up our PRIDE table and arranging the donations from our BCSSEA. Thank you to Jill Markley and Laura Geltch for providing the BCSSSD flyers for each of the registration bags.

Our school received recognition from the COP – Our Little Hero organization for our dedication and service to the Buddy Walk.

The event was as impressive as always. So many things for the kids to do...very family friendly. Hope we can all be there together again next year.

Many Thanks everyone – for enjoying the beautiful Sunday afternoon with us.

Christine Hewitt, M Ed.


Elementary School

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BCSSSD Music Class

Mr. Cook introduces his students to band instruments while displaying them both on screen and through hands-on instruction in class.
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Shakina Clark named AAA Mid-Atlantic Outstanding Safety of the Year

Congratulations to the 2014-15 AAA Mid-Atlantic Outstanding Safety Member of the Year recipient, BCSSSD student, Shakina Clark.
Congratulations Shakina!
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BCSSSD Lumberton Harvest Fest Video

BCSSSD hosts Crisis Response Team Training meeting, September 30, 2015

BCSSSD hosted a Burlington County School Crisis Response Team training on September 30th. Superintendent, Dr. Manno, addressed county guidance counselors, administrators, school nurses, and child study team members on the role of Superintendents in a crisis. BCSCRT Director, Marie Phillips, led today's training.
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R.E.S.P.E.C.T. on our Elementary campus!

Elementary students attended a "Respect Rally" today, with displays of poetry, song, and signs--all in the name of respect.

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BCAS School Trip to NJ and NYC!

BCAS students traveled to NYC to visit the September 11 Reflection Pools, One World Observatory, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the National September 11 Memorial Museum.
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BCAS staff run Cozies4Chemo 5K

Students and staff of BCAS participated in the Cozies4Chemo 5K on Sunday, October 18, 2015. Congrats to Jim Codianni, History Teacher, who won first place and Curtis Wright, English Teacher, who won third place!

Cozies4Chemo is a local nonprofit that creates blankets for chemotherapy patients.

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Burlington County Alternative School October Successes!

Student accomplishments, recognition, awards, activities, assemblies, programs, etc.

  • Ty Sells presented workshops on School Culture and Climate to middle school and high school students as well as staff
  • Middle School and High School students attended a field trip to the Edgar Allan Poe House in Philadelphia, PA.
  • Students participated in Blue Shirt Day for Bullying Prevention
  • Week of Respect Activities- students participated in several activities, including watching the documentary, “Bullied,” a bumper sticker design contest, poster contest, and interviews of peers
  • The Parent/Community Networking event was held on October 13. The topic was “How Money Works” and the speaker represented Primerica. There was a great turnout of students, parents, and community members.
  • NYC Field Trip- 30 BCAS students had the opportunity to tour the Statue of Liberty, One World Observatory , and Ellis Island on October 16th.
  • School Violence Awareness Week- Students participated in a wide array of activities that were centered around prevention of school violence.
  • Project Pride- The students participated in a group workshop that featured two students who are incarcerated for poor lifestyle choices.
  • JJC Restorative Justice Unit-The students participated in a group workshop that featured two students who are incarcerated for poor lifestyle choices.
  • Cozies4Chemo- Several students from BCAS, Jim Codianni, Curtis Wright, Dianne McCarthy, and Joan Barbagiovanni participated in the Cozies4Chemo 5K.
  • Quanasia Ruffin and Margaret Raisola were selected as the Middle School Student Spotlights
  • Catherine Dawson, a Moorestown student is the first graduate of the 2015-2016 school year. Congrats Catherine! Great job!
  • Kyle Furth and Emma Mueller were selected as the BCAS Scholar and BCAS Citizen of the Month. Congrats!

BCPDI Workshop Series

October 16, 2015

Topic: The NGSS in Secondary Science Classrooms: Effective Practices
Presenter: Dr. Djanna Hill

Click HERE for the BCPDI online Workshop Series Brochure

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BCSSSD attended the Burlington County Educational Fall Resource Fair

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October 2015 - What's Splashing?

Food Drive for BCSSSD Families

Please send in your non-perishable food items by November 16, 2015. Thanksgiving baskets will be distributed to BCSSSD families in need.

Thank you for your support!

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Culinary at BCSSSD

Mrs. Atkinson's culinary students enjoying their cooking experience!
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Parent Focus Group with Superintendent, Dr. Christopher Manno

Parents, you're invited to a Parent Focus Group meeting with Dr. Manno on:

Monday, November 9, 2015, 4:30 p.m.


Charleen Stevenson, at cstevenson@bcsssd.k12.nj.us by November 2, 2015.

A letter from Tara Montague, SFA President

The SFA would like to have more of an involvement in the BCSSSD community. We would like to have a presence at any events at the school. We are looking for volunteers to staff a SFA table at the following events:

  • Westampton campus Halloween Parade, Friday, October 31, 12:30 p.m.
  • Parent Teacher Conferences, Wednesday, November 18 (daytime) & Thursday, November 19 (daytime)
  • Holiday Show and Craft Fair, Thursday, December 10, 6 p.m.

We ask that you talk to parents and let them know the school now has a SFA and hand out flyers with upcoming meeting dates.

The next SFA meeting will be Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 7 - 8:30 p.m. in the Media Center. Please park behind the high school/ by the greenhouse and use the C-9 entrance. The School Thrift Store will be open during the meeting. Donations will also be accepted and very much appreciated at this time.

Help the Foundation earn funds each time you shop on Amazon! It's quick and easy! Just click the link below and sign into your Amazon account and verify the BCSSSD Educational Foundation as your charity of choice.

AmazonSmiles Program

With each eligible purchase made at AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the BCSSSD Educational Foundation. It does not cost the shopper anything but will go a long way to helping support the BCSSSD Educational Foundation.

Please note, that you MUST use the AmazonSmile site in order for the purchases to qualify, so make sure you save the link. You can also add a bookmark or save to your favorites in your web browser. Thank you for your support!

Best wishes,

Tara Montague, SFA President

Peggy Dugan, SFA Vice-President.

SFA on www.bcsssd.k12.nj.us

Important link: 2015-16 Meeting Dates

Jump Start Store

Dear parents and staff,

Students will be provided with the opportunity to shop at the Jump Start Store two times per month this year. Sign-up will be done on a first come/first served basis, so please stop in to schedule your preferred shopping times.

Thank you for your continued support through donations of clothing and household goods. We look forward to working with you and your students this year!

-Mr. McHugh & Mr. Zielinski

BCSSSD Parent Corner

"My daughter, Lauren has been attending BCSSSD since preschool and is now starting her freshman year. She has made tremendous progress due to the amazing, caring staff they have working there. Keep up the good work!

-Kelly C."

Military Appreciation Month

November is Military Appreciation Month. Flyers will be going home with students in October. Please return flyers with names of active duty or retired military members for our students to honor.

Holiday Show and Craft Fair

Save the date!

December 10, 2015

6 p.m.

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Do you have a story to share?

Dear BCSSSD Community.

Our students and staff are unique and truly outstanding Burlington County community members. It would be my pleasure to share student, family, and parent stories with our school's community.

Please contact me if you would like to share your story.

Thank you,

Laura Geltch

Program & Community Coordinator


Box Tops for Education

BCSSSD collects Box Tops for Education! Send in your Box Tops with your student to help raise money for your school.

Thank you! - BCSSSD Staff

Like us on Facebook!

BCSSSD School and Family Association (SFA)



Burlington County Deaf & Hard of Hearing-D/HH Education Initiative


ESU Augmentative Alternative Communication & Assistive Technology


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Burlington County Health Department Information: 2015-16 School-Aged Children Immunization Clinics

Emergency Closing/Delayed Opening Procedures:

In the event of a campus emergency or inclement weather, staff members will be contacted via email, phone message, and text message. In addition, we will post a Special Alert Message on our website.

Staff Members, Help us Contact You.

Have you moved? Have you changed your phone number or email address? Please make sure to update your information with BCSSSD Personnel.

Students will be contacted using information stored in Genesis, our electronic student database. Parents should be reminded to ensure their contact information is up-to-date. Any changes should be reported to the main office of the student's school.