The Shamong School District prepares for the remainder of the school year

From professional development to security, Superintendent Christine Vespe discusses it all.

What can students and parents of the Shamong School District expect for the remainder of the school year?

Superintendent Christine Vespe shared upcoming initiatives regarding professional development, security, budget cuts and more.

2019 will begin with the release of a new app, “Everything Shamong Schools.” The free app will be available on Google Play and through the Apple store, and will provide parents, students and staff with a live feed of information, emergency alerts, lunch menus, social media accounts, etc.

Vespe said this app will have anything the website would have, conveniently in one place, and with the ability to access it on the go.

Following in the footsteps of Indian Mills Memorial School, Indian Mills Elementary School will be working toward achieving its future ready school certification.

The framework of becoming a future ready school is broken into three categories: leadership, curriculum and technology, to which each category has indicators the school must reach to become certified.

There are also three phases to the process, beginning with district commitment — where the board passes a resolution, a future ready team is established, self-assessments and pre-applications are completed. The elementary school is currently in the phase.

Once phase one is complete, the elementary school will move onto phase two, school participation. This consists of collaborative meetings within the future ready team and the submission of the school participation letter. The school will be able to see its strengths and weaknesses in this phase, and where it can grow in the future.

The last phase is school certification, in which the team develops a plan of action to receive the certification. This includes evidence of success, such as examples of activities and lesson plans.

The elementary school will submit all its data by June 30.

For the remainder of the school year, there will also be a celebration for special education week in May, where Lisa Graham, a local author, will speak on diversity, inclusion and anti-bullying.

There will be the continuation of the “Three on Three” basketball tournament, with this marking the ninth year of raising money for the district’s Athletic Booster Club.

Also continuing this year will be the YMCA of the Pines sixth-grade program, where students stay at the camp for two nights. The students learn about the past and present of the Pinelands, and where the future is heading. Vespe said this experience teaches them how to be good citizens through team-building activities and learning ways to preserve their environment.

The district will be hosting family math nights, with the first taking place in January, called “solving math problems family style.” This math night will be geared toward K-6 students, and allows parents and their children to solve problems in a fun way, while also becoming more familiar with the newly implemented Go Math programs.

Professional development within the district will also focus on the implementation of math at the schools, with advanced training on how to navigate all programs.

As far as security, the district has been awarded $5,000 from the Burlington County Joint Insurance Fund, which it will use toward replacing old security shades with new ones, as well as purchasing “stop the bleed” kits to assist in first aid in the case of an emergency.

The district is still in the early planning stages for the 2019–2020 budget. Vespe said the budget is not anticipated to result in the reduction of staff or programming for the remainder of this school year or for next year.

“From grades K-8, we have many exciting activities planned in our classrooms and through our clubs and activities and we look forward to all the kids participating and to have a great end of the school year,” Vespe said.