The new school year for students in Clearview Regional schools begins on Thursday, Sept. 7
Students entering and returning to Clearview Regional schools on Sept. 7 will be greeted with new teaching staff, physical plant improvements and a curriculum featuring new topics and studies for the school year. According to Superintendent John Horchak III, the changes coincide with the district’s focus on program maintenance and continued growth.
Horchak said the district will welcome four new teaching staff members, specializing in math and language arts, as well as a new special education teacher this school year. The special education department will also see the addition of two certified and experienced child study team members, a speech therapist and school psychologist.
District administration will receive four new staff members as well — a science and career tech supervisor, both principal and assistant principal for Clearview Regional Middle School and a director of special services, bringing six years of experience from another district.
While the hallways are beginning to look like the beginning of a new school year, Horchak said, the campus has already felt as though the year has begun, with many student athletes on the campus for daily workouts and scrimmages.
Returning students and staff will notice a few changes and improvements throughout the campus, with renovations coming to an end as school approaches. For example, updates were made to the middle school’s media center, also formerly referred to as the library, Horchak said, but has over time turned into a “hub” for students. The much anticipated tennis court renovations will soon be complete, with four of the eight courts ready for use at the start of the school year. The remainder of the courts under construction are expected to be finished by the end of September. Summer roofing projects have also come to a close, ensuring safety and efficiency for the upcoming school year.
“We want to continue to build on our success. We’re not complacent, we’re happy with the success we’ve had to date, but we know there is room for improvement,” Horchak said. “The steps we’ve made in both our physical plant and technology infrastructure hopefully will support that growth, coupled with additional course offerings.”
According to Horchak, throughout the summer, 1,200 Google Chromebooks were added to the district, with the majority in math and English classes. Although the district is not yet in a place to implement a 1:1 set-up, Horchak said the addition of computers is a “major step” in that direction. Students rising to the middle school who have used computers within the classroom in the elementary setting will have a similar transition, with the availability of the new technology in their new school.
“Our students are coming from our elementary districts ready for that environment, they’re exposed to it early on,” Horchak said. “I think it’s going to be a natural transition for them.”
According to Horchak, this school year will be the first year the high school’s robotics lab will be fully operational. At the same time, the former robotics lab teacher returned at the end of May and will continue working with the lab in the upcoming school year.
Horchak said as a way to maintain eighth graders as they transfer to the high school, the district has partnered with Rowan University and Rowan College at Gloucester County to “ensure articulation between high school and higher education.” With this, students will have the opportunity to achieve credits similar to local vocational school settings. Credits can be acquired through four “academy-like” programs: the school of business, school of culinary arts, school of media arts and school of engineering. All four programs will offer numerous topics related to the subject, in varying levels of advancement.
“There is a lot of excitement from that perspective as we have repackaged and added some programs to represent the full array of courses we have to offer,” Horchak said. “Our big push this year was to ensure our eighth-grade students the opportunity so they don’t have to go to private school, or local vocational schools. That was a big focus: continue to support the whole student.”
Horchak said to middle school students, embrace new challenges and look forward to, and be excited about, the opportunities a whole new group of colleagues represents. For freshmen, embrace the entire four years of high school, while upperclassmen enjoy and take in the rest of your high school career.
“Whether it be the French club, or the marching band, football team, whatever it may be, there is something for all students to identify with and become a part of,” Horchak said. “I would say to every one of them, get involved in many different capacities. Each year is a new beginning.”