BCSSSD Pioneer Press

December 2015, Edition #13

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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. Happy Holidays!


A Message from your Superintendent

Dear School Community:

The holiday season is so often filled with hustle and bustle. It becomes easy to forget to pause and reflect on our blessings. This is a time of year to express thanks to those who make our communities and our lives better. Let us all join in thanking our Board of Education and the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders for their continued support for our schools.

There are so many important members of our school community who each and every day do worthwhile work on behalf of our students and families. Thank you to the teachers, staff members, and administrators who work diligently with and on behalf of our children. Thank you to our families for your support and involvement in our schools. Thank you to those who care for our facilities, provide our students meals, and safely transport them every day. Thank you to the police, fire, and emergency services agencies who keep our communities safe and secure. Thank you to those who participate in service organizations and give of their time to help others. Thank you to members of our Armed Forces and their families for their sacrifice and service to our Country. And most importantly, thank you to our students who work hard every day to learn, and to become better citizens and human beings. Every day, we witness countless examples of our students’ resilience and strength. They provide hope for the future.

On behalf of the Freeholders, Board of Education, administration, and our entire staff, best wishes to everyone for a peaceful and joyous holiday season, and prosperity in the New Year.


Dr. Chris Manno,

Superintendent of Schools

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

Dear BCSSSD Community,

In a recent class I attended for an applied positive psychology certification, I could not help but be touched by a YouTube clip that captured how some ordinary people became extraordinary and changed the world (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPoGb8ZQtVg). After watching the brief video clip, it brought me back to think about what we do in education, and in particular, what we do for our special and exceptional children – take the ordinary, provide love, care, teach life skills, and watch them develop over time to be extraordinary and unique.

In the midst of this holiday season, it is a good time to exercise gratitude, be thankful for our blessings (including our children and their exceptionalities), challenges and opportunities while taking time to look back on the progress made during the first part of this school year, and afterward, anticipate the future growth that our children will experience with the help of a strong partnership with home and school.

On behalf of the Special Services administrators and staff, I wish all of you a Happy Holiday and a memorable New Year with an eye toward the infinite possibilities before us in 2016.


Dr. Chris Nagy

Assistant Superintendent, Special Education

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

Parent Portal links:



Bancroft at Burlington Grand Opening, December 4, 2015

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Bancroft at Burlington in the News!

(pictured left to right)

Mr. Dennis Morgan, Vice President of Education and Adult Employment Services, Bancroft

Dr. Christopher M. Manno, Superintendent of Schools

Ms. Toni Pergolin, President & CEO, Bancroft

Mr. David Hespe, New Jersey Commissioner of Education

Burlington County Times Article:


Courier-Post Article:


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Guided Tour of Bancroft

County Special Education Superintendents tour Bancroft, a brand new adult day enrichment and career exploration program for adults with developmental disabilities.

Kate Moran, Bancroft Director of Marketing, provided a guided tour of each classroom, explained the program, and the daily adult community workplace interaction.

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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.

September 2015

Policies/Regulations​Exhibit #3 (These items are available on the website.)

2nd Reading

5756 Transgender Students

  1. R8505.01 Nutrition and Feeding Safety Protocols (BCSSSD Only)

  2. R8505.02 Nutrition and Feeding Questionnaire (BCSSSD Only)

5339 Screening for Dyslexia
R2431.5 Athletic Practice Competition Adm Walk Through Process
R3125.2 Substitute Coverage SOP (BCSSSD Only)
1st Reading
8550 Outstanding Food Service Charges
R3224.1 Evaluation Rubric of Principals, Vice Principals and Assistant Principals Revised
3322/4322 Staff Member’s Use of Cellular Telephones

October 2015

Policies/Regulations Exhibit #1 (These items are available on the website.) Revised

9541 Student Teachers/Interns

1st Reading

2510.1 Use of Movies and/or Videos for Classroom Instruction R2510.1 Use of Movies and/or Videos for Classroom Instruction R8500.1 Serv Safe
2nd Reading

8550 Outstanding Food Service Charges
R3224.1 Evaluation Rubric of Principals, Vice Principals and Assistant Principals

November 2015:

2nd Reading

2510.1 Use of Movies and/or Videos for Classroom Instruction

R2510.1 Use of Movies and/or Videos for Classroom Instruction

R8500.1 Serv Safe

Strauss Esmay BCIT/BCSSSD Policies and Regulations.

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BCAS student accomplishments, recognition, awards, activities, assemblies, programs, etc.:

  • The students attended classes related to the topic of World Aids Day
  • 19 students visited the McCarter Theatre in Princeton to watch the critically acclaimed A Christmas Carol
  • Students created blankets for local cancer patients sponsored by The Cozies4Chemo organization. The students made 15 blankets under the guidance of Cathy Maista, BCAS science teacher
  • Parents, students, school, and community members attended the monthly networking event, entitled “Erasing the Stigma of Mental Health”
  • Congratulations to the Middle School Student Spotlight: Andre Muhammad
  • Congratulations to BCAS Citizen of the Month: Jordan Moore
  • Congratulations to BCAS Scholar of the Month: Charles Blair-Barnett
  • Congratulations to the following students who graduated this month: David Kasinetz from Lenape High School, Rachel Urban from Cherokee High School, & Michael Kruty from Northern Burlington County Regional School District

Employee accomplishments, recognition, awards, professional development, etc.

  • Lisa Cleary, Susan Speas, and Pam Gessert (BCAS Counseling Department) completed the National Schools of Character Application process. We anxiously await the results!
  • Bobbie Downs attended the TregoEd Advanced Training workshop
  • Michelle Delaney completed her coursework through Rowan University to be certified as a Supervisor
  • Theresa Kemp was chosen to be the Middle School Staff Spotlight this month

BCAS Thanksgiving Celebration

Burlington County Alternative School hosted their third annual Thanksgiving Feast. Students and staff enjoyed a delicious meal together, made entirely by the BCAS staff.

Prior to breaking bread together, students and staff shared what they are thankful for. Thank you to BCAS for your worthwhile work and setting an example for our students to "Do the Right Thing".

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A note from Nicole Margiotta

Dear BCSSSD Community,

Those of you who are on Facebook, please "like" our pages and visit them regularly; add comments on items. When referencing our "Sign Me A Story" series, please reference it with hashtag and written exactly like this (#SignMeAStory). Here is the link for the latest November and December series: https://www.facebook.com/events/1555222441366858/

Here are the two links...

DHH https://www.facebook.com/Burlington-County-Deaf-Hard-of-Hearing-DHH-Education-Initiative-1440255022939143/

AAC https://www.facebook.com/ESU-Augmentative-Alternative-Communication-Assistive-Technology-925918974138982/

Thank you all for supporting our pages! Please pass the links along to anyone who might be interested!

Thank you,

Nicole Margiotta

Supervisor, Deaf and Hard of Hearing and Assistive Technology

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December 2015 - What's Splashing?

BCPDI Workshop Series

Click HERE for the BCPDI online Workshop Series Brochure

Thank you to everyone who made our 2015 Holiday Craft Fair and Show a HUGE success!

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Dr. Manno enjoying the Holiday Show with the students! Happy Holidays all!

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BCSSSD Shop Spotlight: Woodshop

Mr. Parker and Mrs. Stevenson create works of art every day in Woodshop. Students paint, stain, assemble, and decorate projects throughout the school year.

Mr. Parker explained: "Our students worked hard to prepare many projects for the Holiday Craft Fair and were very proud of their work. Woodshop Production is designed to give students improved work skills for various assorted jobs in the job market. The daily repetition of production helps the students improve their work skills as they gain focus & independence".

Students learn by working independently as well as collaboratively as they take instructions from their teachers and aides, working with their hands to create a one of a kind masterpiece. Below are some of the creations they have made.

Thank you for the inspirational and exceptional work you do both in the classroom, and in your creations! I speak for our entire school community when I say, "thank you! we look forward to enjoying the fruits of your hard work and expertise."

-Laura Geltch

Program & Community Coordinator

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A letter from your BCSSSD Foundation President

Dear BCSSSD Community,

I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself and “The BCSSSD Foundation” to all of you who share our goal of helping the students get the most out of their school experience. The Foundation raises money to provide support to students in many areas of technology and in their classrooms. Recently, I attended the student holiday concert on December 10th. While I was there I was reflecting on everything The Foundation has offered the students over the years, and all we have to offer next year and beyond. For example, in recent years we’ve provided “Smart Tables” and iPads for classrooms, PT and specialty equipment, class trips, and even multiple respite days for parents throughout the year. Moving into 2016, we look to continue to support the students wherever we can make a difference.

What can you do to help? Just pass the word to your friends and family that we are always looking for business donations and volunteers who are interested in giving back to the BCSSSD students and community! This can be as simple as linking us with a local business that is interested in giving back to the BCSSSD students, or enrolling in the Amazon Smiles program and selecting BCSSSD Foundation.

Finally, we have a new program that we are introducing in 2016 called “Funding the Future”. “Funding the Future” is an opportunity for parents, teachers, administrators, and others to submit an idea to The Foundation that will give back to the students using Foundation funds. We are opening up applications during the month of January and February where you can come and present your idea to The Foundation. If selected, your idea will be funded to assist the students in maximizing their school experience.

Please email me directly if you would like further information on “Funding the Future”.

Thank you for your support, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!

Ryan J. Petrizzi

Parent / President, BCSSSD Foundation

A note from Tara Montague, SFA President

Our next SFA meeting is Wednesday, January 6, 7 p.m. in the Westampton Media Center.

Thank you to everyone who came out for our December SFA meeting. A special thank you to Mrs. Deborah Crosby for her Special Olympics presentation.

Ms. Crosby reported a successful, competitive, and rewarding bowling season for our athletes. "Our student athletes are finishing up their bowling season with their last competition on Monday, December 14th. We hope you can join us on March 12, 2016 for our South Sectional, at Laurel Lanes in Maple Shade".

Please visit our website for upcoming meeting dates and monthly meeting minutes:


Best wishes,

Tara Montague, SFA President

Peggy Dugan, SFA Vice-President.

SFA on www.bcsssd.k12.nj.us

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BCSSSD Pioneer Band performs in the Moorestown Holiday Parade! Congrats to all our Musicians!

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Ms. Michelle Cann awarded ACME gift card for her outstanding Community Based Instruction Program work!

Ms. Cann is a one-to-one Assistant on our High School Campus. Ms. Cann is a long-time employee of our district and also a valuable job coach for our Community Based Instruction program.

Mt. Holly Acme recently recognized Michelle for her hard work job coaching at the Acme, by presenting her with a $50 Acme gift card! Michelle is an asset to our program and our students are lucky to have such a wonderful and committed job coach!

Jayne Corley

Transition Teacher

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Preschooler Zaeem did a wonderful job in creating his very own Santa hat during occupational therapy!

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BCSSSD elementary student, Maria, worked on her cutting skills while creating a fun stocking from wrapping paper in Occupation Therapy

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Hands-on Curriculum in Ms. Stewart's class

Ms Stewart's students built bridges after learning about Ancient Roman bridges and aqueducts. Every bridge held a minimum of 12 pounds and the most successful bridge held 45.2 pounds!
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Staff, students, and parents attend BCAS monthly Information Session on Financial Aid.

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BCSSSD hosts Bar Association Holiday Event

Thank you to the Bar Association and our Cafeteria and Custodial Staff for making the Holidays special for so many families! Happy Holidays All!
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Eastampton Community School Find Your Voice Festival

Good Morning!

I want to give a special “Thank You!” to Matthew Agos today (substitute teacher in the Host Classroom).

Matthew presented at the Eastampton Community School for a special event to promote awareness of disabilities. The inspiration for the event came right before Thanksgiving and motivated students in grade K-8 to overcome their challenges and work as a “team.” Mr. Agos’ presentation was interactive and engaging for all students. His message touched the staff and students by sharing a little of his personal story and life events in his presentation, as Matt himself is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Dr. Krastek, Superintendent, was impressed and most thankful for Mr. Agos’ words of encouragement today and his ability to keep the students engaged and actively responding throughout the presentation.

I would like to thank Dr. Manno for the opportunity to have one of our own teachers present in another school district in order to raise awareness of differences. Additionally, a thank you to Mr. Daniel Wythoff from the Humanities Committee at Eastampton Community School for making this event possible.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate and start the Thanksgiving season than the events today at Eastampton Community School and as one our student here at BCSSSD states every morning, “Be kind to one another.”


Adell Valasek

Supervisor of Education

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All smiles in our new third and fourth grade autism classroom!

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Air Force at BCSSSD, Military Appreciation Month

Thank you to our dynamic Air Force presenters, COL Mike Matheis and MSGT Juan Cabal. Students were able to view photos, equipment, and try on uniforms! Our students learned so much from these presentations and overall program in the month of November. It paired nicely with our district wide character word "gratitude."
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Ridgeway School students are Thankful!

Middle School students from Ridgeway School, in Edgewater Park prepared and enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast together in their classroom.
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Ms. Cassel’s 8th grade Middle School: Red Ribbon Week

Students designed a poster pledging to stay drug-free. All students signed the poster and invited their peers to join them in their pledge.
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Ms. Hogan taught students how to create 3D images in class. "They really enjoyed it!" --Ms. Hogan, Graphic Design Art Class

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A Forest of Literature! BCSSSD Elementary students decorated trees in the theme of children's literary classics.

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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.

We are in need of the following items:

  • Household items
  • Knick Knacks
  • Clothing: blouses, shirts, coats, & belts
  • Dishes
  • Glasses
  • Wallets
  • Purses
  • Silk flowers
  • Candles
  • Holiday Decorations

Thank you for your support!

-Mr. McHugh & Mr. Zielinski

Burlington County Alternative School hosts Parent/Community Network Events

Parent Focus Group with Superintendent, Dr. Christopher Manno

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

April 2016 - date will be announced soon.

New Special Event Form!

Have a special event you would like us to attend and take photos? Please fill out this form and return to my office at least one week prior to the event.

Link: http://www.bcsssd.k12.nj.us/cms/lib07/NJ01000535/Centricity/Domain/280/Event%20Coverage%20Request%20Form.pdf

Thank you,

Laura Geltch

Program and Community Coordinator

BCSSSD Parent Corner

Please share your story as a parent or guardian. What does the Burlington County Special Services School District mean to you and your family? How has your child benefited from attending BCSSSD?

Thank you for your time and consideration. --Laura Geltch

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


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BCSSSD School and Family Association (SFA)



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


ESU Augmentative Alternative Communication & Assistive Technology


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

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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.