Board of education updates public on past issues

Award honoring deceased teacher presented at BOE meeting

The end of the school year is near and the Gloucester Township Board of Education is preparing for it. The BOE held its regular session meeting on May 20 at Glen Landing Middle School and finished some old business before moving onto new business.

Superintendent John Bilodeau touched on an issue that came up at the special session on May 13 about the student government overnight trip to Washington, D.C.

“I did research into the entire idea of the student government trip that had been an overnight trip up through this year, and the prevailing sentiment from the three middle school administrations was clear. Notwithstanding the comments from one of our residents, who is endorsing an overnight trip, the administrators in all three buildings had already been planning for a one-day trip.”

The trip has always been planned to be a one-day trip, according to Bilodeau.

The topic of putting the Union Valley Elementary School roofing contract out to bid in lieu of the using the state contract was discussed by BOE member MaryAnn Johnson. Johnson would like to avoid any backlash from the public about the BOE not doing its due diligence. However, there are concerns about the timing and restarting the process.

“We certainly have a large population of students who have special needs. I am worried for two reasons because the board has the money now to put a roof on Union Valley. I don’t know about the future, but today in the budget we have enough money. Moreover, we finally got around to knowing the direction of the district for next year and there isn’t a lot of time,” said Bilodeau.

Bilodeau said he will look further into the matter to get more information before a decision is made.

The board changed the schedule for June to combine the June 17 meeting as a special session and workshop meeting at 7 p.m. The original intent for that meeting was to only be a workshop, but members of the board believe that additional action needs to be taken before the year ends with the next two meetings.

In other news:

This BOE meeting served as the official unveiling of the Michelle Barrett Award, named after a beloved kindergarten teacher who tragically passed away in December.

“Michelle Barrett was an extraordinary person. She was a wonderful teacher and friend to everyone she came in contact with. She made everyone feel like they were the most important person in the room. What a great gift she had,” said Kristine McDermott, a kindergarten teacher at Chews Elementary School.

The two fifth-grade students to receive the Michelle Barrett Award were Olivia Huffman and Isabelle Wilbert.

Normally the fifth-grade awards are given out in June, but for this first of its kind award it was decided to give the award at the BOE meeting. After this year, the Michelle Barrett Award will be a part of that award ceremony each year in June.

The Ann A. Mullen’s School Teacher of the year award was awarded to Francesca Schiavo, a social studies teacher. Schiavo was also the winner of the Governor’s Educator of the Year for the district.

The next meeting will be on June 17 at the Gloucester Township Board Office.