Home Moorestown News A look ahead at the Moorestown district’s 2019-2020 school year

A look ahead at the Moorestown district’s 2019-2020 school year

The Sun met with Superintendent Scott McCartney to discuss district goals and a new bond referendum aiming at improvements throughout the district.

Superintendent Scott McCartney is pictured at his desk in the central administration building for the Moorestown School District as he prepares for the new year.

With summer winding down and September just around the corner, parents and children alike turn their thoughts to the coming school year (often with opposing levels of excitement), and they are joined, of course, by the Moorestown School District, which has been busy setting the wheels back in motion. 

The Sun sat down with Superintendent Scott McCartney to discuss how this process has been going and what parents can expect in the 2019-2020 school year.

Like most districts, August sees the return of board of education meetings, staff orientation and professional development programs, all in preparation for what’s to come. 

“It’s a combination of nuts and bolts and also sort of setting the stage for what we want to develop and grow professionally over the course of the year,” said McCartney.

Every three years district officials meet to devise a new strategic plan or focus for their schools. According to McCartney, this year marks the beginning of a new three-year cycle, and discussions about new goals for the district began this past spring.

“We always analyze and assess how we’ve done with each year’s objectives towards meeting those goals, and last year we came up with a new vision, new mission, new strategic goals for the district,” said McCartney. 

The new set of goals are broken into three parts: world-class learner, social and emotional learning, and communications.

Creating world-class learners involves sustaining and expanding the system of education to ensure all stakeholders are critical thinkers who make an impact locally, nationally and globally.

Promoting social and emotional learning means providing a learning community that recognizes the value of all students while developing social and emotional skills like self-awareness, grit and resilience. 

“We know that one aspect of the world today is that we’re a little softer than we were in generations past, things are more dramatic on some levels. The idea of pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in the game is a little less prevalent in today’s world, so we spend a lot of time teaching kids that part of the solution is you have to be more resilient,” said McCartney.

The superintendent added there is another side to that equation as well, where some students are too hard on themselves and end up overly stressed. In cases like this, McCartney wants to ensure students realize it’s OK not to succeed 100 percent of the time, and that failure is a real aspect of life.

Lastly, the district hopes to foster a culture of collaboration and connectedness with hopes that it will promote communication and awareness among internal and external stakeholders. 

In addition to the stated goals for this new year, McCartney says the district will be building on the goals laid out in previous years. One such goal involved getting current technology in the hands of students through a replacement plan.

This new year’s goal of creating world-class learners involves teaching students to make the best possible use of this technology, employing critical thinking and innovation.

“In our lesson planning and evaluation conversations, pre and post, we’re talking about if we have that technology, how are we using it in innovative ways? Are we just substituting an electronic white board for a chalkboard or are we augmenting something and doing something beyond what we could have done with just a chalkboard?,” said McCartney. “We’re starting to see more innovative use of that technology.”

Going into the fall, the board of education will attempt to pass a $25.6 million bond referendum that would finance improvements to the district’s space, security and sustainability initiatives. The referendum includes plans for widespread renovations, replacements and additions to all schools in the district. 

The most significant and costly of these proposed projects are being planned for William Allen Middle School. Included in the referendum is the construction of eight classrooms and an 8,055 square-foot gym addition for the middle school, representing $7,934,063 of the total cost of the referendum.

According to McCartney, recent increases in specialized programming have left little in the way of unused space, and with all three elementary schools reaching enrollment caps back in the spring, spacing is one of the main issues the district is hoping to address with the referendum. 

The only facility with enough space for additions to be built is the middle school. The additional classrooms built there would allow for a reconfiguration of current grade levels. The district is considering moving third grade into the Upper Elementary School and sixth grade to WAMS.

The referendum will be up for public vote on Nov. 5.


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