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School board delves into technology needs

Technology use in schools is in a state of transformation.

A series of technology presentations at Haddonfield Board of Education meetings began on Thursday, April 4, focusing on high school use. At future board meetings, technology in the middle school and elementary schools will be spotlighted.

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With students using smart phones as “portable computers” rather than chatting devices, the high school’s Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning Charlie Zimmerman said that the phones are becoming part of the conversation in schools rather than banned devices.

“Technology is so ubiquitous,” Zimmerman said. “The classroom is no exception to that.”

In each content area, there are specific needs. Through a survey to staff members, administrators have been able to surge into the future.

One suggestion for future technology growth is the flipped classroom, a practice that is getting nationwide attention. In that teaching style, instructors would record lectures for students to watch at home. In class, the teachers would participate in more interactive activities, which would allow for more one-on-one time, he said.

“How many times did you want to rewind your teacher and say, ‘What did he just say?’” Zimmerman asked.

“We’d like to see what we can do with that here,” he said.

Energy savings

There was a detailed dialogue between board members at the meeting regarding a six-year energy savings agreement through Enernoc, a company based out of Boston.

“The basis of this program is to save us money over time,” Business Administrator Dawn Leary said.

In the first year, there would be $34,000 in savings realized, she said.

The contract could also be terminated immediately at any time, she said, and would begin on June 1.

Board member Heather Paoli said she was worried about entering into such a long agreement without detailed discussion.

“They do have competitors,” she said. “It’s just a quick decision with such a long commitment.”

The board has until April 15 to sign the agreement.

Several members agreed to amend the action item to conditional approval pending a legal review.

Mayor’s farewell

Mayor Tish Colombi made a special visit to the meeting to say goodbye ahead of the municipal election next month. In January, Colombi made the decision to resign after 28 years of service to the town.

“I am in the middle of my farewell tour,” she said. “This is my fourth stop tonight.”

Colombi said that she feels the citizen volunteers of the town make the community all the better.

“You’re all a great example of that,” she said. “I’m here just to say thank you to all of you for what you do.

“That kind of interaction is what makes Haddonfield truly different from most communities around.”

Former board president Steve Weinstein, who sat on the board as a regular member for the first time in years, said that it was nice Colombi came to thank the board, but it needed to be reversed, as she was instrumental for the “cooperative relationship between the borough and the district.”

Superintendent Richard Perry said that two leaders have left at the same time.

“I keep telling myself it’s not me,” he said, laughing. “You will be missed in this town.”

Elementary worries

Resident Elyse Crawford stood on behalf of a group of parents at the meeting from Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School’s kindergarten class. The worry is that there will be too many students with too few teachers next school year.

“There are several that have special needs,” she said.

In turn, the group is requesting an extra teacher.

“We will be talking at each board meeting from now until you hire that teacher,” Crawford said.

Perry replied that individual needs are looked at district-wide.

“We do look at all the different variables,” he said.

Vice President Glenn Moramarco said that decisions for hiring new teachers are made at the last minute to ensure final student population numbers are received.


Also at the meeting, two language savvy students were commended for achieving scholarships. Haddonfield Memorial High School seniors Courtney Lenny and Robert Rizzuto each received the 2013 Foreign Language Educators of NJ Scholarship for German.


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