Westampton Wire

Fall Edition of the PTO Newsletter

The Best Part of Me

By Mrs Schultz

In the 2015-2016 school year, teachers participated in a book club using the book That Workshop Book by Samantha Bennett. During this time we read, discussed, and taught one another important details from the text. One stand out mini lesson for me was a Writing lesson that used a mentor text, The Best Part of Me. For the kick off of the current school year, students and I read excerpts from The Best Part of Me. Students were then asked to create their own writing pieces about the best part of them! Students were very excited and motivated to write. We had very creative writing pieces!

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Fine Arts Night

Thursday, Dec. 8th, 4-8:30pm

500 Ogden Drive

Westampton, NJ

Come out and enjoy the artistic and musical talents of Holly Hills School!

4-8 pm Book Fair in the Library

6 pm Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd Grade Art Exhibit

7 pm Holiday Concert (Grades 3rd & 4th Performing)

A note from the nurse: Indicators for keeping your child home

By Mrs C Gallagher, RN

We at the Holly Hills School would like to help keep our students and staff in school by keeping them healthy. One way we can do this is by enlisting your help in following the guidelines below when it pertains to contagious illnesses.

Rash: A rash is usually the sign of a viral illness. It also may be a reaction to a medication or chemical (plant, detergents). If your child has an unusual rash or it is associated with a fever, contact your doctor. Keep your child home from school until you have discussed the rash with your doctor.

Fever: child should be fever free for at least 24 hours before returning to school. If your child complains of a headache, please check for a fever, since a headache often indicates an elevated temperature.

Upset Stomach: This may be an indicator of either a stomach virus or strept throat. A child with vomiting and/ diarrhea should be kept home until symptoms have resolved for approximately 12 hours and the child is able to keep down food and liquid. Consult your doctor if fever and stomach pains persist or your child has poor intake and appears dehydrated.

Colds: children average six to eight colds per year. If cold and cough symptoms are associated with a fever or they do not readily improve, call your doctor. Keep your child home is there is frequent coughing, sneezing or excessive mucous.

Red Eyes: When the white part of the eye appears red and produces a yellow or green crusty discharge you should consult your doctor. Your child may have conjunctivitis, a common but troublesome condition which may be a contagious infection.

4th Grade Language Arts (Writing) – The Dialogue Dance

By Steven Harper

Over the last ten years or so, many studies on education have emphasized the importance of multi-sensory approach through teaching. The majority of learners (childhood through adulthood) require some combination of tactile, visual, and auditory presentation. In other words, verbal instruction alone is not enough to gain complete comprehension of a new skill. Fourth grade students in room 32 are getting that multi-sensory experience, and having a good time while doing it. As they write their realistic fiction writing pieces, they are required to include dialogue somewhere within their writing. Lucky for us, there’s a little ditty and dance that has helped Mrs. Zubrzycki and me make an impression on the students that they are more likely to remember.

Letter from the Superintendent

Greetings Westampton School Families, Students, Alumni and Friends:

I am so excited to be a part of the Westampton Wire in this new electronic format. As this is the first edition, I would like to remind you of the importance of providing us with accurate parent contact information. In order for us to get both routine and emergency information to you, we need for you to be sure that you have provided us with accurate contact information via the “Parent Portal” feature on the school’s website www.westamptnoschools.org. Please add your email address, and be sure to give permission for us to use the text message feature.

For security purposes, it is important for all parents, caregivers, and visitors to follow our safety procedures. Remember, we require all visitors to sign-in with a photo ID and obtain a Visitor’s badge at the main office at each of our schools. Photo ID is also required to pick up your child. Safety is our goal.

I ask that you please take a moment to view our “Autumn Goal Report” presentation. This will give you insight into the work we are doing to support our school community. Chick the link for the presentation: Autumn Goal Report 2016

In the spirit of this year’s school motto, “We are strong, we are worthy, we are GIANTS!” let’s be sure to celebrate the small moments of student success that come from learning something new. There is no better way to prepare our children for the future than to help them become comfortable with tackling a new skill with resilience, humor and confidence.

Educationally yours,

Virginia M. Grossman, Superintendent of Schools

Mrs. Jedwabny’s Fourth Grade Reading Enrichment class is learning

While having fun…and trying not to knock down the blocks! Our book clubs, which have been reading books written by Jerry Spinelli have enjoyed this exciting addition to the classroom. Literary Jenga is a group game with multi-tiered questions to enhance group conversations. There are three different question and point levels to challenge the students, including Remember and Recall (worth 2 points), Apply and Analyze (worth 4 points), and Evaluate and Create (worth 6 points). The student-led conversations during these intense Jenga games, demonstrate the students’ knowledge of the subject matter and book, as well as growth in independence within the Reading Enrichment classroom.

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Third Grade Scarecrow Writing

By Mrs Eckert

My third grade class is so excited to write a story about a Scarecrow. The students create a scarecrow and have it going on a journey using their creativity. This year, I purchased a graphic organizer that will guide students through this three paragraph writing process. The goal is for students to keep their writing organized as well as use authors craft to “jazz” up their writing. This graphic organizer not only organizes student’s thoughts but also gives them examples of sense, feeling, time and setting words to help make their writing descriptive. I can’t wait to see what the students produce when they are taken through the writing process using this organizer.

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View your Holly Hills student’s artwork online?

Artsonia is a free online based student art gallery. If you are already signed up for Artsonia, thank you! If you’re not signed up and would like to create an account, please contact me. It’s EASY, QUICK, and FREE! Instagram: art_with_mrs.mccarty

Mr. Hellmann is on Facebook! Just search for Mr. Hellmann and see what is happening in the Holly Hills gym and get updates for events such as Jump Rope for Heart and Field Day!


The Computer Lab: Grades K-2

By Donna Atkinson

Great things are happening in the Computer Lab at Holly Hills! We are honing our mouse skills, practicing keyboarding, and learning how to use technology to safely navigate the Internet as “digital citizens”. Lessons in the Lab reinforce or expand upon skills being taught in the classrooms.

Be sure to check out the Computer Page on the Holly Hills Website. Links will be added over time. We also have a “Holly Hills Lab” Webmix on Symbaloo.com. It is a free bookmarking service that helps to visually organize the best of the web. The students can easily find resources for their level.

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Holly Hills Student Council

The New Science Standards

by Mrs Laurisa Duba

“I’ve heard that there are new science standards this year. What does that mean?”

The state of NJ adopted new science standards called the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In our schools only grades 6-8 have had to adapt to these new standards this year. The lower grades will implement them next year.

“How are these science standards different than the ones that we previously had?”
First there are different concepts that need to be addressed at each grade level. The concepts might have been previously covered at a different grade level, previously never taught before, or now no longer need to be taught. More importantly however, is how the new standards are taught. Before the NGSS, lessons might have been taught out of a text book and then there might have been a lab to follow up with the lesson. Now, students are asked to actively participate in the lesson and lab- possibly designing their own lab. Vocabulary terms are now learned throughout the lab investigation rather than taught separately as a list to memorize. Grades are based more on what students do in class and turn in after their lab investigations, rather than pencil and paper tests. Here is a guide that I find helpful: http://www.nsta.org/docs/NGSSParentGuide.pdf

In 8th grade we have already completed 6 lab investigations that have been aligned to the NGSS. I think the students’ favorite lab so far has been the Density Test Tube Challenge. I challenged students to create a test tube that consisted of three different layers of colored liquid using only water, salt, and food dye. In their lab partners, students first had to design their own procedures. In a previous lab, we had covered the concept of molecular spacing and density. Once their procedures were approved, students then used their own procedures for completing the challenge. The groups that were successful were then given the challenge to create a test tube consisting of 5 or more layers. The groups that were unsuccessful had to go back and revise their procedures until they became successful. One could say it was layers upon layers of fun!

Fifth Grade Science Fun!

By Mrs Lisa Wesolowski and Room 14

Fifth Grade is starting off fantastic in Room 14! We jumped right in to Science learning about cells, tissues, organs and body systems. Did you know that a single square of human skin has more than nineteen million cells? We examined many different kinds of cell samples under the microscopes. It is like a whole other world when we looked through those lenses! Room 14 also completed our first official lab report! We hypothesized how our diaphragm and lungs work together. We used a plastic bottle and balloons to model these parts of our respiratory system. There are so many more fun lessons that await the scientists of Room 14 this year!

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Classroom Olympics

By Mrs Donnelly

Students in Mrs. Donnelly’s 6th grade social studies classes have been studying Greece this marking period. One of the many questions that we have discussed included “How did the Greek city-states form a cultural identity?”

The ancient Greek Olympic Games fostered this Greek identity in its people. In our classes, students broke up into groups that represented various city-states. Each group of students researched a particular city state and then created a flag representing that city state.

After the flags were completed, we held our own classroom Olympics with the following events:

  • “A to Z in 1,2,3” – listing items in a category that started with each letter of the alphabet
  • ”Boxing”- looking at objects in a box; covering the objects and then guessing what objects they saw
  • “Art appreciation”- timed drawing of an object
  • 50 yard dash
  • Basket-ball free throws
  • “snow-ball toss”- tossing whiffle balls into a basket

Each student participated in one event. Students were enthusiastic and good sports.

At the end of the day, prizes were awarded in the form of colored beads.

What a great day!

Fun in 8th Grade Math

By Mrs Cianfrone

Eighth grade students are hard at work preparing to take Algebra 1 as high school freshmen next year. Students have been learning about rational numbers, exponents, scientific notation and most recently, how to solve algebraic equations. The eighth graders have played math games, watched hip hop math videos, drawn face glyphs, gone on “scavenger hunts” and even made a human number line (pictured below) as part of their math class experience so far!

“You don't have to give up being popular, fun, or fashionable in order to be smart; they can go hand and hand. Doing math is a great way to exercise your brain; being smart is going to make you more powerful in life.” ~Danica McKellar

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Back to WMS

By Mr Krisch, WMS Technology

After 14 years of teaching Computers at Holly Hills School, I am back teaching Computers at Westampton Middle School! Most people don’t know that when I came to Westampton Township Schools in the 2000 School Year, I taught in both schools. At that time, before block scheduling, two Computer teachers were needed at WMS and I filled that role. During my time in the Middle School, I enjoyed working there very much, so when I found out last May that I would be returning for the 2016-2017, I was excited to be returning. However, I knew the transition would be bittersweet since I would miss the staff and students at Holly Hills!

I can happily report that a month or so into the school year, everything has gone exceptionally well! The staff and students at WMS have been so helpful and welcoming that I feel I never left (I must say that block scheduling takes a little while to get acclimated to)! It is great to see all of my former students and meet some awesome new students!

We are very excited for WMS Drama this year!

This year the WMS Drama Department will be performing the Wizard of Oz on March 9-11. To kick off the season, we had our fundraiser at Chipotle to help raise money for our annual trip to NYC to see School of Rock. We hope to be having a kick off breakfast before Christmas break and will be raffling off Wizard of Oz memorabilia during our shows. We will also be selling t-shirts and hoodies, in addition to our playbill shout outs, etc. We will have a big cast and lots of great effects and costumes, hoping to continue our tradition of quality entertainment here at school. Hope to see you all there!

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Week of Respect

By Mrs Maureen Malecki, WMS School Counselor

Each year, the state of NJ sets aside the first week of October to be recognized as a “Week of Respect”. On Monday, Oct 3rd, WMS kicked off our annual school wide events in celebration of this week. Students and staff started the week by dressing to support the daily anti-bullying theme selected by our Student Council. On Monday, the theme was “Put Bullying to Rest” so everyone was invited to wear their pajamas! Later that day, students viewed and discussed videos to became familiar with ”STOPit”, a new app used by our school district to report bullying incidents.

Keenan West, a nationally known Anti-Bullying speaker from Ohio was featured in an amazing assembly program funded by our PTO. We had extremely positive feedback about Keenan’s message, presentation and music videos from adults and kids. Some of our very talented students and staff even put on their dancing shoes and entertained us as part of the program! If you would like to check out his message, music or work with Secret deodorant’s “Mean Stinks” campaign, please visit Keenan’s website www.keenanwest.com . Burlington County Times sent a reporter to cover the assembly and featured our school in a news article. Westampton Mayor Andre Daniels and our Municipal Alliance Chairperson, Mr. Curtis Myers, also attended as a show of community support for our school activities.

Get a Grip

By Chris Stewart, School OT

Although handwriting may seem to be a dying art in our digital age, it's still an important skill for every child to master. As your child progresses through primary school, the amount of written work they're expected to produce - both in class and at home - will increase, and being able to write quickly, legibly and comfortably for long periods of time is essential to prevent them being left behind.

Many people have unusual ways of holding their pencil that don't interfere with the way they write, but the dynamic tripod pencil grasp is considered to be the best starting point for neat, effortless handwriting, so helping your child to master it from a young age will give them an advantage in later years. The diagram below shows how to help your child to get to grips with the dynamic tripod grasp.

A step-by-step guide for achieving a dynamic tripod pencil grasp

  1. Pinch the pencil (not too hard!) between the thumb and forefinger, at the point where the painted shaft begins.
  2. Rest the middle finger behind the shaft of the pencil: it acts like a shelf for the pencil to rest on.
  3. The ring finger and little finger should curl into the palm of the hand.
  4. The space formed by the thumb and forefinger (the thumb web space) should be round and open.
  5. The wrist should be resting on the paper, and below the writing line.
  6. The blunt end of the pencil should point towards your child's body – not forwards, sideways or straight up.
  7. The elbow should be resting on the table.

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Kickin’ It with WMS Soccer by Tom Yoerke

At this point in the season the Giants have eight wins, zero losses, and two ties. These student athletes have not only worked hard to achieve their record, but they’ve done it as a team, together. Six weeks ago when summer was ending and school was beginning, fifteen students started practicing; today they are playing as one group, communicating and supporting each other on the field. Hopefully, as the season comes to a close, they continue to support each other off the field as well.

Top Row – Kendall Drummond, Nolen Olsen-Warwick, Alexis Linton, Myles Bowery, Gianni Rogers, Diego Braumuller

Middle Row – Gabe Wilson, Owen Daily, Trever Jackson, Rachel Satchell, Jaden Dubln

Bottom Row – Brent Ottey, Kyle McKee, Tyler Canteen, Ezekial Woo, Brianna Ottey

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It’s That Time of the Year…… Flu Season

By Patricia Herriman, WMS School Nurse

With flu season upon us, Rite Aid helped prepare many staff members by conducting flu clinics at WMS and Holly Hills on October 12th and 13th. Influenza (“flu”) is a contagious disease that spreads throughout the United States every year, usually between October and May. It is caused by influenza viruses and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing and close contact. Flu symptoms start suddenly and can last for several days. Symptoms include fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny nose.

The CDC strongly recommends everyone over 6 months of age receive a yearly flu vaccine and it is mandatory for our preschool students. Contact your doctor with any questions concerning vaccinations for your family. The Burlington County Health Department offers free flu vaccinations on Thursdays, for Burlington County residents, at various locations throughout the county from now until the first week of January. Go to www.co.burlington.nj.u s for more information.

Basic Rights in Special Education

By Debra A. Keeney

Supervisor, Student Services/School Psychologist

Last month, Nicole Pratt, a representative of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN), presented on the steps involved in determining if your child is eligible for special education and subsequent steps if your child is receiving services. There are seven basic steps from identification to re-evaluations. Please keep in mind that this is an overview of special education and does not include all of the detailed information:

Step 1: Referral of a student for special education, also called identification. A meeting is scheduled with the Child Study Team (school psychologist, learning consultant, social worker), a general education teacher, and the parent(s). Sometimes a speech and language therapist is also invited to this initial meeting. At this meeting the entire group discusses if an evaluation is necessary and if it is what assessments need to be completed. For some students an evaluation is not needed and recommendations to the teacher are made. A parent must sign permission to evaluate their child.

Step 2: If evaluations are needed, the team at the meeting decides what evaluations are to be completed. Once the reports are finished, copies are sent to the parent at least 10 days before the eligibility conference so that the parent can review the results before the meeting. This process can take up to 90 days.

Step 3: After the evaluations are completed, a meeting is scheduled which is called an eligibility conference. In order to be eligible, there are three questions that must be answered. First, does the student have a disability? Next, if the student has a disability, does this disability impact his/her ability to learn? Then, does the student require special education and related services to benefit from education. If the answers to all three questions are “yes”, then an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed. At an eligibility meeting, members of the IEP team are at this meeting – parent, general education teacher, special education teacher, case manager who can interpret test results.

Step 4: The IEP is developed and will include present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, annual goals tied to the general education curriculum, special education placement, parental concerns, participation in assessments, and needs of the student.

Step 5: IEP implementation is the next step. Placement is on a continuum from least restrictive to most restrictive and this is different for each student. Typically in Westampton students are placed in an inclusion setting which is the general education class with two teachers or in a pull-out resource room class. In an inclusion setting there are two teachers, a general education teacher and a special education teacher who co-teach. In a resource room class, there is a special education teacher. In order for the initial IEP to be implemented, parental consent must be obtained.

Step 6: Progress monitoring is done a quarterly basis to ensure that the student is making progress on their goals.

Step 7: An Annual Review meeting is held once a year to discuss the student’s progress and to develop an IEP for the next school year. Every three years a re-evaluation meeting is held to determine if the student is still in need of special education and to determine if evaluations are needed.

Also please keep in mind that once a student is about 14 years old, he/she is part of the IEP Team and attends the meetings.

If you would like more information, please contact Debra Keeney at 609-267-2722 ext. 1013 or dkeeney@westamptonschools.org.

This fall has been busy in our school library!

By Ms Doneanne Soult, WMS Librarian / Media Specialist

STREAM, Battle of the Books, and ROGATE have all been working diligently on their class projects.

In STREAM (Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, the Arts, and Math), our 5th and 6th grade students are learning STEM through inquiry and experimentation. So far this year we have learned about air pressure, volcanoes, and conservation. Students will explore different areas of science and engineering to prepare for our class STEM fair this spring.

In Battle of the Books, our students are beginning the journey towards the County competition. Students read from a list of 15 assigned books and write reading comprehension-based trivia questions on the novels. Currently students are reading these award-winning novels before we can begin trivia practice.

In ROGATE (Research Opportunities in Gifted and Talented Education), our 7th and 8th grade students have selected their topics for critical issues research. They will be conducting extensive primary and secondary source research to create a presentation and 10-12 minute speech to share with their peers across NJ at Camden County College this spring.

I’m looking forward to an exciting, enriching year with all of our students!

Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)

By Debra A. Keeney

Supervisor, Student Services/School Psychologist

SEPAG is a parent run organization that collaborates with administration and staff. The mission of this group is “to positively impact the education of all students with an emphasis on those students needing or receiving special education services”. This includes, but is not limited to, Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), 504 Plans, learning, emotional, and developmental disabilities. The parents involved with SEPAG decide on the topics; parents and administration suggest or contact the speakers. Meetings are open to all parents and staff.

Meetings are typically the second Wednesday of the month, are held bi-monthly, and from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the WMS Media Center. Our meetings for this year are:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

If you have any questions, contact us at sepag@westamptonschools.org or contact Debra Keeney at 609-267-2722 ext. 1013 or dkeeney@westamptonschools.org.

Upcoming Events

WMS Student Council Canned Food Drive runs through November 18th

4th: Turkey Tweets sale begins

9th: Early Dismissal

10th: School Closed for NJEA Convention
11th: School Closed for NJEA Convention

14th: Turkey Tweet order forms due

14th: Board of Education Meeting, 7pm at WMS Media Center

17th: PTO General Membership Meeting & Fun Event at 6pm at HHS Media Center

17th: WMS Book Fair begins

18th: Turkey Tweets delivered

18th: Six Flags Read to Succeed Program begins

21st: Parent/Teacher Conferences, Early Dismissal
22nd: Parent/Teacher Conferences, Early Dismissal

23rd: Early Dismissal, Happy Thanksgiving!


5th: HHS Book Fair

10th: Holiday Shop at Westampton Township Breakfast for Santa (tentative)

12th: Board of Education Meeting, 7pm at WMS Media Center

16th: WMS Student Council Dance, 7-9pm at WMS All Purpose Room

23rd: HHS Winter Parties

23rd: WMS Winter Hot Chocolate

23rd: Early Dismissal, Winter Break!