Pine Hill School District News

March 2019


In an effort to enhance communication between students, parents and the community, the Pine Hill School District will begin distributing an electronic newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading it!


As we approach the final months of the school year, it's imperative that we understand success isn’t permanent and failure isn’t final. Both setbacks and accomplishments create opportunities for growth. This year, we will begin to develop a new 5-year strategic plan. We will begin by reviewing the outcomes of the 2014-2018 strategic plan. Later in the spring, we will survey students, parents and community members. The results from the surveys will be used to develop district and school level goals. Additionally, I will be meeting with parents, students, and community members in a new forum called “Soup with the Superintendent”. The purpose of the meeting is to improve the understanding of education in the Pine Hill School District and to create an opportunity for each group to share their ideas and concerns. As always, your concern and support for our students is truly appreciated.


Three classes from Dr. Albert Bean Elementary School are partnering with University of Pennsylvania athletes to help develop lifelong skills through the Classroom Champions Program. Athletes meet with the designated second, fourth and fifth grade students online as well as in person to act as mentors and discuss monthly themes that focus on making good choices and persevering through difficulties. Each month, the students are given a challenge that is based on the character trait or theme for that month. This past month's theme was perseverance. The students are then encouraged to reflect on the goals that they set in the beginning of the year and discuss how they have persevered to meet them. It's been reported that 93% of the program participants say that attending college or university is one of their goals and that after completing the program students are significantly more likely to feel that their teacher believes in their ability to attend college or university.


In an attempt to help students develop the necessary skills to regulate their own behavior and achieve a high level of success in the classroom, teachers and administration at the John H. Glenn School have started to implement restorative practices. Restorative practices build healthy communities, increase social capital, decrease crime and antisocial behavior, repair harm and restore relationships. As a result, teachers have focused on building a community within their classrooms which assists in building empathy for all students. In addition, this aids in developing 21st century skills that will help the students with regulating their own behavior during stressful times. Class meetings, restorative think sheets, restorative lunch meetings, use of specific verbal skills, partner activities, and repairing relationships after conflict are just a few of the restorative techniques currently being used. The staff and students have already started to see the benefits of their commitment to building a respectful learning community where everyone has a voice. As a result, John H. Glenn School staff will continue to commit time and resources to implementing restorative practices.


Seventh grade students at Pine Hill Middle School had the opportunity to participate in a culminating activity after reading the novel The Outsiders. In gym class, they participated in a Greaser vs. Soc friendly “Rumble” which included a dodgeball game where students were able to play on a chosen side. The 7th grade hallway was transported back to the 1960s where students were able to dress up like a Greaser or a Soc. Students came to school dressed wearing everything from leather jackets to poodle skirts while they watched the movie in their English class. It was a rewarding experience and students all came together to celebrate the differences between these rival groups.


Preparing for your college or career path can be a daunting task. The counseling staff of the Pine Hill School District introduces college and career readiness to our students beginning at the elementary level. Recently our 4th and 5th grade students participated in a career readiness workshop as part of a TD Bank and Flyers Organization Partnership. The Pine Hill Middle School 8th graders will soon get an opportunity to visit with local professionals and post-secondary representatives to gain insight into college and career choices that they may not have previously considered. The high school program gives students the opportunity to meet with college representatives from across the country in small group settings. Students have also participated in college fairs sponsored by the Career Council Inc., National Hispanic College Fairs, The Malcolm Bernard Historically Black Colleges and Universities Fair and our upcoming FOCUS on Your Future College and Career Fair. Current seniors have begun to receive acceptance letters from colleges such as Rutgers University, University of New Haven, Lincoln University, NJIT, Penn State University and Widener University. Our goal is for all students to understand what it takes to achieve their dream for a path to success and we are excited to see what the future has in store for them.


The Overbrook Athletic teams and players have met with great success this past season. The Boys Bowling team won the first conference championship in Overbrook's history. Leading the way for the Rams was sophomore, Michael Burton, who bowled season high games of 290 and 299. The Girls Basketball team tripled their wins from last year. The team welcomed freshman, Imani Gillette, who earned All Star recognition while scoring 415 points and powering her way to 357 rebounds. The Boys Basketball team won the Pitman Classic Tournament, split the Patriot Division Conference title, and they're currently participating in the NJSIAA playoffs. Junior, Davon Thornton, earned All Star recognition and became Overbrook’s newest member of the 1,000-point club. Wrestler, Deshon Alexander (center position in photograph on the left), is having an exceptional season. He started the season with wins in the Gator Tournament, the Overbrook Holiday Tournament, and was the runner up at the District 32 meet. He went on to the Region Meet where he became Overbrook’s first Region 8 champion in 14 years. His current record is 33-1. He will move on to compete in the NJSIAA State Tournament in Atlantic City.


Students from three local middle schools recently visited Overbrook High School to take part in our “Ram for a Day” Event. The event was sponsored by the Rambassadors, a club that helps new students get acclimated at Overbrook. When the students arrived, they were welcomed by Dr. Koczur, Superintendent and Mr. Lee, Overbrook High School Principal. The students shadowed current high school students in their classes and they attended a sports and activities fair to learn about athletics and extra-curricular activities. At the end of the day, the middle school students engaged in team-building exercises. All of the students thoroughly enjoyed their participation in the high school’s Project Adventure rope swing inside the gymnasium. Project adventure teaches the students about teamwork while allowing the students to swing from the rafters of the gym!


The Pine Hill School District embraces cross-curricular instruction that often involves our staff and students working together across grades PreK-12. An example of this is the recent Advanced Placement Psychology course activity that involved students visiting the classes of Ms. Dranchak, Ms. Brown, Ms. Mariano, and Ms. Riepen as they studied aspects of developmental psychology. Under the direction of teacher Ms. Danielle Franchetti, the high school students experience a new found respect for elementary teachers and parents of small children. Overbrook High School offers 11 Advanced Placement courses, with additional courses available online to our students who wish to pursue advanced studies.

  • "It was a fantastic and educational experience." -Madison B.
  • "It's fun playing with kids while learning." -John G.
  • "It was a great and creative way to demonstrate developmental psychology." -Mohammed S.


As our high school students begin their final years with our district, we encourage them to think about "next steps" in their academic and career plans. If a student is eligible for special education, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVR) will assist with their post high school plans. DVR provides assistance in looking for a job, writing a resume and financial assistance for college or technical school. This year, representatives met with our seniors beginning in January and then they will meet with our juniors in March. If this is a service you feel your child would benefit from, please contact his/her case manager to get additional information about these opportunities.


Did you know that each school has a Site Council? The purpose is to provide a cooperative means of improving educational programs and conditions. Each school's Site Council is comprised of parents, teachers, administrators and school board members who meet with the principal periodically throughout the school year. If you're interested in participating, click here for more information.