The Haddonfield school district will continue many of its 2021 initiatives and goals in the new year.
They include stepping up the pace of upgrades in social- and emotional-learning lessons, as well as expanding the Summer Learning Institute implemented last year to help students make up for missed time in school.
“Last year, we had around 300 students involved, and we’d like to try and double that this summer,” Superintendent Chuck Klaus said. “When they come in, there’ll be a variety of different classes they can pick.”
The institute is free and caters to students at all grade levels, though Klaus noted it tends to be more popular at the elementary level.
While not much will be changing in January because it is the middle of the school year, Klaus said there will be some curriculum updates in 2022-’23.
“We’re redesigning our graphics program at the high school (and) looking at adding some more electives in the world language and Latin program,” he noted. “ … Next year, we’ll be doing a survey of our English/language arts (program) to see how we can improve.”
In progress is a math audit for the K-12 program that looks at the materials and programs in use.
“That’ll be coming to fruition/completion in the mid-spring, and will launch with potentially different math programs in the three grade bands, pre-K to five, six to eight and nine to 12,” Klaus explained.
”We’re still kind of early on that progress, so we don’t have any determination of which programs we’re leaning to,” he added, “but those pieces are coming together in the next three months.”
The district is looking at ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) money meant to address the impact of COVID on students as well as the federal American Rescue Plan to support summer learning, social- and emotional-learning programs, improved air quality in buildings and potential bathroom upgrades to make school healthier.
In terms of COVID protocols, the district, like many others, will continue to defer to the state Department of Health’s recommendations. If and when the mask mandate expires, it will decide whether to extend it.
“We don’t have a decision yet,” Klaus clarified.
In other district news, a land swap agreement with Haddonfield will result in a decision on the best use of land adjacent to the high school.
“What we’ll do is, we’ll generate a large scope of work, everything that needs to be done, and say, ‘What can we do now?’ rather than picking this project or that project without considering the balance between all the needs at the different levels at the different buildings,” Klaus said.
The district will soon begin facility planning for utilities and buildings where there are inadequacies and have the work done over the summer.