BOE meeting brought to light next steps for the Greenhouse

Haddonfield Memorial High School environmental science teacher Ron Smith explained why the greenhouse on the Bancroft property is essential for the future success of the school’s environmental science program.

Haddonfield Memorial High School environmental science teacher Ron Smith, at the Board of Education meeting last Thursday, explained why the greenhouse on the Bancroft property is essential for the future success of the school’s environmental science program.

According to a release by HMHS, the environmental science program will move to the former Bancroft property, occupying and using the greenhouse, garden building, garden storage shed and surrounding gardens for enhancing and expanding the program, citizen science collaborations and sustainability and stewardship projects.

Some 17 years ago, students signed on to take an environmental science course that was offered at the high school. Since then, the course continued to grow and thrive among students, according to Smith.

With 100 students every year who elect to take environmental science, it is an important topic of discussion, due to the number of juniors and seniors who want to take environmental science, according to Smith.

“That program has steadily grown, with a lot of administrative support and the vision of some people who I think saw the value in not only developing the environmental science program but diversifying how that environmental program is offered to our students and what our students could get involved with,” Smith said.

Some of the next steps will be to identify funding to make repairs and expand and develop programming, along with securing the buildings and property for use, according to HMHS.

In other news:

As far as construction updates, Elizabeth Haddon Elementary is expected to be done around April and Central Elementary School’s completion date is May, while Tatem and HMHS will be finished next February. The completed construction progress is at 40 percent, according to BOE Vice President Susan Kutner.

“We are seeing a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel,” Kutner said.

Assistant Superintendent Michael Wilson expressed concern about the high enrollment for HMHS moving forward, saying the school would be losing 197 seniors to graduation this year who would be replaced by at least 225 freshmen next year, increasing high school enrollment to 864 students.

“It is the highest I ever remember,” Wilson said.

Although concerns about the high enrollment were brought to light, the new interim superintendent, David Lindenmuth, was optimistic about the future. Lindenmuth said he was taken aback upon seeing HMHS students and staff and remains humbled to be given the opportunity to help the schools in the community.

“Very thankful, I consider it an honor and a blessing to be here and serve as the interim superintendent to support our students, to support our staff. We have some great things going on,” Lindenmuth said.

The next BOE meeting will take place on Feb. 22.