Mark Your Calendars
The next Board Meeting is February 16, 2023
7:00 p.m. in the Haddonfield Memorial High School library
Board meetings are open to the public. There are no limits to the number of people who may attend in person, and masks are optional.
Board meetings will continue to be live-streamed as well,
but there will be no call-in comments or questions.
Link to Live-Streamed Meetings
Presentations from Recent Board Meetings:
MESSAGE from the SUPERINTENDENT
Right now the school district is in a secondary and crucial stage of the upcoming anticipated bond referendum work.
Working with LAN Architects over the last year, we have developed a complete scope of work. Although this initial but thorough needs-assessment is comprehensive, we understand that it will be impossible to tackle this entire scope of work. Subsequently we are now at the point where we must decide what will stay in the referendum and what will have to be addressed in other ways.
How did we get here?
The process involved several steps starting with the use of Dude Solutions, a software program that inventories all items in the school district enabling us to track life expectancy, maintenance, and replacement needs. This comprehensive tool assists in general maintenance and becomes particularly useful in reviewing the district's needs without physically surveying all facilities. We then retrieved ideas submitted prior to the 2016 referendum that we hoped to tackle in 2017 but could not fit into that budget. The items addressed in that referendum were almost entirely emergency issues aimed at keeping the building standing.
From there, we started talking to people. LAN met with administrators and held 15 visioning sessions that involved students, staff, families and faculty members from each school. The District surveyed the community. The results were shared at a Board meeting and posted on the website. Finally, two focused charrettes, one on the Hopkins parcel and athletics and the other on educational needs. LAN then took all the information and compiled a comprehensive needs/initials list. On January 19, 2023 (watch video of Board meeting here, go to timestamp 17:25), I made this presentation to the Board and shared the list.
Our next steps include determining a final scope for the referendum and how we can address items that we may not be able to include. We are currently investigating Regular Operating Districts (ROD) grants to make repairs on roofs and windows. We are also meeting with vendors to explore the Energy Saving Improvement Program (ESIP) funding for the feasibility of replacing equipment for energy savings. ESIP funding uses the anticipated energy savings to pay off the loan without additional taxpayer cost. The bathrooms districtwide need to be upgraded. Although we will be using ESSER II funding for this (money received as a result of the COVID pandemic), that will only cover the cost of some of those construction needs.
The next most significant challenge is making those difficult decisions of what stays in the referendum and what we must give up. We have some definite priorities.
ADA accessibility is crucial.
We need more classroom space and an upgrade of our space dedicated to related services. (occupational, physical and speech therapy).
Of course, we need to keep our buildings in good health. Some of our HVAC systems are 40 years old.
Additional athletic fields and facilities would benefit the school and the entire community. Our high school and middle school auditoriums need upgrades and repairs. Most of our classrooms need to be modernized. Some need only a fresh coat of paint and new ceiling tiles, while others should be drastically upgraded and rejuvenated. In buildings that range from 30 to 130 years old, classrooms were designed for a different model of instruction than we currently use. As always, security is a factor we must continue to address.
Given all these factors and the grand scope of the work that needs to be done, our original target date of September for the referendum will not work. We are moving that date to either December 2023 or March 2024. This decision was difficult, but to develop the proper scope of work, communicate this to the public, and receive approval from the Department of Education, we have chosen to take time to do this right.
I sincerely appreciate your understanding and support, and I am confident the results will be worth the effort!
Superintendent of Schools
On January 3rd, the Board of Education and Business Office staff moved to 95 Grove Street, formerly the office of Remington & Vernick Engineers.
"As a district, we need more space for a variety of classroom, meeting and storage issues," said Michael Catalano, Board Secretary and Business Administrator. "When the Remington & Vernick offices became available, we saw this as an opportunity to move certain personnel and to free up space for the Central Elementary and Middle School staff. Additionally, the new building is ADA compliant, an important consideration for public school offices."
During the summer and fall of 2022, the Grove Street building was gutted so that office spaces could be created, as well as bathrooms, a file room, a conference room and a kitchenette. Phone numbers remain the same, but please make note of the new location if you need to come to any of these offices in person. Currently leasing the new space, the district has plans to purchase the building in the future.
Offices now located at 95 Grove Street are:
Assistant to the Superintendent
Business Administrator/Board Secretary
Assistant to the Business Administrator
District School Safety Specialist/Testing Coordinator
In the now empty offices at One Lincoln Avenue, Central and Middle faculty and staff are using the space for meetings, but decisions about how to use that space in the future will be part of the Long-Range Facilities Plan and referendum held later in 2023.
Announcement of English Language Arts Audit Committee
The Haddonfield School District has embarked on an assessment of the English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum.
Led by Superintendent Charles Klaus, a team of teachers and administrators have held initial meetings to plan a strategic approach to reviewing the entirety of our ELA curriculum. This includes but is not limited to K-12 articulation, standards alignment, culturally responsive curriculum, vocabulary, and writing skills.
At this time, we would like to invite community members to participate in the ELA Audit Committee. The district desires a balanced representation of community members representing the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Two Board of Education members will also be invited to attend.
The role of community members will be to provide input and propose goals for the future of our ELA curriculum. Obligations would include monthly meetings in the Central/Middle School Library.
Please contact complete this form if you would like to be a community representative on the ELA Curriculum Audit.
We look forward to sharing ongoing updates via curriculum meetings and a final presentation in the fall.
NaloxBoxes Provided for Each School
The Camden County Board of Commissioners has delivered eight NaloxBoxes to the Haddonfield School District. This donation provides one box for each of our elementary schools, two for the middle school and three for our high school.
The Commissioners recently launched this program to make sure that EVERY school in Camden County, both public and independent, will be prepared to save a life in the event of an opioid overdose.
What is in a NaloxBox?
Each NaloxBox contains four doses of Naloxone nasal spray.
What exactly is Naloxone?
Naloxone is the generic name for products that temporarily reverse opioid overdoses; many of us know the name Narcan which is just one brand of the same product.
Who can use the nasal sprays? What about training?
We have already begun training faculty and staff. The process is very simple.
What if someone administers Naloxone in error?
It is important to understand that Naloxone is safe to use even if a person has not actually overdosed on opioids. The addition of these boxes does not pose any risk to our students or staff.
PLEASE NOTE: HSD has had Naloxone in every building for many years; this donation is just a proactive step to expand our level of safety and readiness.
If you would like more information on Naloxone, how to use Naloxone, the nationwide Fentanyl crisis, addiction treatment programs, how to get trained in Naloxone administration, and more, please read this recently shared special edition of the SAC’s newsletter, SAC Corner.
You may also reach out to our administration or our Student Assistance Counselor (SAC) with questions.
HMHS Affinity Groups Foster a Sense of Belonging
In the Haddonfield School District, we aim to nurture a sense of belonging. Creating safe spaces for the exchange of ideas and the exploration of one’s sense of self is an important part of this goal.
Over the years, the community at Haddonfield Memorial High School has supported the creation of affinity groups such as the Asian American Cultural Club, the Black Student Union and the Jewish American Cultural Club, to name a few.
In the next several (monthly) issues of the district newsletter, we will highlight one of these groups.
The GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) has existed at HMHS for decades. Like other affinity groups we have written about, the group offers a place for students to express themselves, to learn about people different from themselves, to communicate about topics that may be considered sensitive, and to feel safe.
Long-time advisor Stacey Brown-Downham addresses the subject of inclusion and acceptance.
“The GSA serves a very important function in our school,” she said. “It is a place for students to be their authentic selves and to advocate for the rights of LGBTQIA+ students, faculty, and community members. We spread the message that we recognize and accept all students, no matter how they identify.” LGBTQIA+ students and straight cisgender allies participate in the club.
Throughout the year, student members of the GSA run various activities such as the Coffee House Night of Noise featuring student performers. They also make a presentation to the faculty each year, explaining the group’s mission and addressing topics such as curriculum that honors student identities.
One of the more powerful events is The National Day of Silence. Students refrain from speaking throughout the school day to honor voices that have been silenced by homophobia and prejudice.
“There are still many people, including some of our students, who fear sharing their true selves, and remain silent out of that fear, especially if their families aren’t accepting of their identities,” Brown said. “For them, our group serves a life-saving function. Research shows that – even without participation in the club – just the existence of a club like ours reduces suicidal ideation in LGBTQIA+ students.”
Two years ago, a neighboring community group, the Haddon Township Equity Initiative, introduced a Pride Parade and a weekend of family-friendly activities, and the HMHS GSA participates in those events as well. “Simply put, everyone wants to belong, to be valued for who they truly are,” Brown said. “The GSA aims to give every student the power to be themselves.”
HOW the DISTRICT will RESPOND to INCLEMENT WINTER WEATHER
As we move through the winter season, it is important that we are all ready for winter weather and the potential for changes to school schedules. Here is some information about the decision-making process as well as our methods of notification to families.
HOW ARE FAMILIES NOTIFIED?
You will receive an e-mail and text message. Also you may check our district website for information.
Checking local TV and radio stations (KYW News Radio, CBS Philly, 6 ABC, NBC 10, Fox 29) should be your last resort as there is always a delay between our reporting to the media and their posting the information. Our school’s number is 560.
WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE?
We try very hard to make the decision by 5:30 a.m. or earlier.
Although we all do our absolute best in this process, we know that often no perfect decision exists. Just as you trust us to do our best, we trust you to make the best personal decisions for your family as well. For example,
- If, based on current weather conditions, you do not feel as though it is safe for your children to attend school, please keep them at home.
- Also, please discourage teenagers from driving in bad conditions and offer them alternatives. We firmly believe that students should be in school when possible, but, when the weather is inclement, our top priority is student and staff safety.
Mark Your Calendar for "Head Over Heels"
The students of the Haddonfield Memorial High School Drama Club present “Head over Heels,” an epic story set to the music of the iconic 1980s all-female rock group, The Go-Go’s.
Performances are March 10, 11, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and March 12 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 general admission and $12 for students and seniors, and they can be purchased on the drama club website: hmhsdrama.com.
"Head Over Heels" is a hilarious, exuberant celebration of love. It follows the escapades of a royal family on an outrageous journey to save their beloved kingdom from extinction, only to discover the key to their realm’s survival lies within each of their own hearts. This bold musical comedy is a story of self-discovery, love and acceptance set to hit songs such as “We Got the Beat,” “Our Lips Are Sealed,” “Vacation,” “Heaven is a Place on Earth” and “Mad About You.”
School Lunch Reminders
Please bookmark the payment portal for school meals. It can be found on our websites under "PARENTS." Here is the link.
Also, please consider applying for free and reduced lunch. The application and information about qualifications can be found on our website here.
HMHS Environmental Science Club Tip
Start planning your spring garden layout. Remember to rotate the location of your plants and keep the soil protected in the winter by placing leaf litter (or even pizza boxes) on the soil surface. Browse seed options at SeedsofChange.org
Central Fifth-Graders Working on Debatable Ideas
Central fifth-grade students know that there are two sides – not just to every story – but to every idea.
Beginning in mid-December, these students have been working on “debatable ideas.” Teacher Megan Dupuis began the unit by asking the students what interested them. This resulted in a variety of topics, such as sports, zoos, sharks, plastic bags and more. The students were divided into small groups based on their first or second choice topics.
After completing research, students focused on a debatable question, such as “Should we protect humans from sharks, or sharks from humans?” The teams were divided up so that one half of each group had to debate each position.
What followed was reading, research, note-taking, collaboration, analysis, and, finally, debate. Each side presented oral arguments in defense of their positions. At the first debate, they were required to state a claim, provide a reason, and offer one piece of evidence. For the second debate, the students switched sides offering new reasons and evidence.
“The class is currently working on a third step, debating a new question related to the same topic and based on their research. Students will be given a choice as to how to present this final research,” said Dupuis. “I am so proud of their passion and hard work.”
Elizabeth Haddon Third-Graders Read and Solve Mysteries
Third-graders at Elizabeth Haddon have been learning about mystery stories. They kicked it off in December in a fun way, trying to solve the mystery of "Who kidnapped Mr. B?" Students examined his office, which was a crime scene. They found clues and interviewed suspects. After this hands-on mystery experience, the students read many mystery books, paying attention to the details that make a good story and that help us solve the mystery.
"The students have become more careful readers because of these experiences," said teacher Miranda Yaniak. "They loved working with their co-detective/reading buddy to solve the case before the character in their books!"
Judge Delaney Discusses Constitutional Rights with Eighth-Graders
On January 25th, the Haddonfield Middle School welcomed Judge Kathleen Delaney for her annual classroom visit.
Judge Delaney has been coming to visit the eighth-grade classrooms of Haddonfield for the last 15 years. Not only does she share her experiences as both a Camden County Prosecutor and Superior Court Judge for the State of New Jersey, but she also focuses on the importance of civic duty. She shared her experiences as part of the Judiciary along with the practical implementation of the U.S. Constitution and the application of our Constitutional rights. It is always one of the highlights of the year.
HMHS Students Engage in Course Selection
Every year, the high school administration and facilitators holds a Course Information Night for parents prior to the students making course selections. This year, Course Information Night was January 10th at 7:00 p.m.
Although all parents are invited, HMHS staff make an extra effort to encourage the attendance of eighth-grade parents who are new to the district; they will learn about course options and the selection process for the first time. Parents fill the auditorium and listen to Assistant Principal Dan Licata’s welcome. The facilitators for each department talk about the various classes available to students, share information and answer questions. Following the general session, parents may go to different classrooms to speak to specific teachers or counselors.
“I think our new parents are pleased to learn about our vast curricular offerings” said Licata. “For a school with fewer than 900 students, it is amazing how many different options students can pursue beyond the NJDOE graduation requirements.”
Students are given time in homeroom to make their actual selections for the fall. They use Genesis, the district’s student information software, to sign up.
“Over the next few months, the HMHS Counseling Department will schedule individualized conferences with every student and parent/guardian," Licata added. “It is an enormous undertaking that assists our students and families in the process of mapping out courses to reach their ultimate goals.”
IN THE LOOP
District Twitter: @HaddonSchools
District Facebook: @HaddonfieldSchoolDistrict
SAC Corner the February issue (SAC = Student Assistance Counselor)
The latest HMHS Bulldawg Bulletin
Look for your school's Twitter feed.
Your student's team or club may also tweet.