HomeHaddonfield NewsHaddonfield Public Schools welcomes students back to school Sept. 2

Haddonfield Public Schools welcomes students back to school Sept. 2

On Wednesday morning, you might be seeing the colorful new backpacks and clothing of the children of Haddonfield as they walk through the streets of the borough. Their faces might show a variety of expressions if you stop to take a look — happy, scared, nervous or annoyed. However they are feeling, though, they all make their way to one common place — back to school.

Haddonfield Public Schools starts Sept. 2, and there are a lot of things happening this year.

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“We’re ready to go. Our faculty is ready and excited,” Assistant Superintendent Mike Wilson said.

All schools begin with a half-day Sept. 2 and continue with full days Thursday and Friday. As Monday is Labor Day, students will have off and return Tuesday, Sept. 8. The schools will have off the usual holidays, and spring break will be March 21 through March 25. The last day for high school students will be June 16, and, for students in kindergarten through eighth grade, June 17.

For the 2015–2016 school year, there have been some new initiatives. Ones of note include: TCI Social Studies Preparation, Developmental Designs for Middle School, three new math courses and American Sign Language II, and Elementary School Coding Curriculum.

TCI is a K-12 company created by teachers and for teachers that uses interactive social studies textbooks and curriculum for critical thinking and collaborative work. To learn more about TCI, visit www.teachtci.com.

Developmental Designs for the Middle School is an extension of programs already implemented at the elementary schools. It is a responsive classroom program designed to enrich the culture within the middle school among students and teachers.

“It will create a positive environment in school where students are valued and feel as though they are welcomed,” Wilson said.

Some big changes at HMHS include an open campus for upperclassmen and international student visitors. A pilot of the open campus was started last spring to see how students would take to it. It was very well received, so the open campus was integrated into HMHS officially for this year.

The international exchange program brings in students from other countries who wish to study in American schools. Paying between $25,000 to $30,000, depending on length of time, students from China can come into the schools and experience American culture and learning. Right now, there are five Chinese students registered at the high school.

For PARCC this year, the testing has changed to one testing window, rather than two. Because there is no longer a second sitting, the one testing window is longer to compensate for the second sitting. The procedures, however, will be the same. More information and dates for schools can be found online at www.haddonfield.k12.nj.us.

“We coordinate with the testing schedule, tech department and maintenance guys to load up several laptop computers and move them around to the schools so we can get done efficiently,” Wilson said.

New laptops and five laptop carts were added for further use in the classrooms and a secondary use for PARCC. The school district was also able to get funds to provide one 3D printer in each school.

The middle school, already having one, has used it for classes and showed that the 3D printers would be useful to have in all of the schools.

While all administrators are the same as last year, 26 new teachers were added to the faculty.

With the district receiving Title 1 money this year, not having qualified for it before, the schools have added learning support teachers, who work with students in grades one and two identified as “at risk.” Title 1 is used for targeted assistance, meaning identifying those who need extra support and providing it for them.

The school received $156,000 of Title 1 money.

Over the summer, the school district completed a comprehensive analysis of its building envelopes, which includes exterior walls, doors, roofs and windows. During the investigations by the district’s architect and engineers, it was discovered there were emergency structural concerns at Tatem Elementary School and HMHS.

At Tatem, the 1990 entranceway, the 1923 entranceway and the 1954 section at the back wall of the building showed concerns, mostly entryway and exterior wall façade issues.

The 1990 entranceway has a temporary fix that makes it usable and safe. The 1923 entrance and stairwell are blocked off as well as the two classrooms affected by the 1954 section. The two classrooms affected have been relocated to other classrooms within the building. Emergency repairs at Tatem are occurring now and will continue through October.

Architects and engineers also saw the B Gym at HMHS had structural issues in addition to the dance studio and early childhood offices. The exterior façade there shows signs of possible failure.

Because of this, the dance studio, early childhood offices and cafeteria kitchen area will be closed as a temporary solution is put up by the second or third week of school. Food will be prepared at the middle school and provided to the high school during that time. For the B Gym, remediation and investigations are continuing. It is anticipated the gym will be ready by the winter athletic season, or possibly before.

These projects were done under Emergency Provisions title 18A:18A-7, which gives the school district the ability to award emergency contracts for health and safety issues without going out to bid. The county as well as fire marshals approved the emergency egress plans that were put in place.

Back to School Nights are:

Elizabeth Haddon Elementary Sept. 9
Tatem Elementary Sept. 16
Haddonfield Memorial High School Sept. 17
Haddonfield Middle School Sept. 22
Central Elementary School Sept. 24

Further back to school information can be found online at www.haddonfield.k12.nj.us.


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