Like many districts, the Shamong Township public schools faced challenges in education, including transitioning back to in person learning after a year of remote classes.
As for what’s to come in 2022, the Shamong district looks forward to some positive factors.
To start with, Indian Mills Elementary School and Indian Mills Memorial Middle School will welcome new outdoor learning spaces, each with a shaded area and enough outdoor seating for a class. The installation for the project is anticipated in spring. Both schools will get a new basketball court with areas for hopscotch and four-square.
“The Shamong School District is very excited about the addition of outdoor learning spaces to be installed at the elementary school and middle school,” said Superintendent Christine Vespe.
The Shamong Foundation for Educational Excellence also approved multiple teacher grants for the district, such as Project I.C.E. (Investigate, Create, Explore), Thinking Outside the Bach(s) and AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) Adaptive Library.
The I.C.E. project will be a collaborative effort between the Indian Mills Memorial School library media specialist and six academic teachers from grades five through eight. The project will utilize newly published nonfiction material to facilitate projects in the classrooms that will be unique to the curriculum. That may include creating a brochure or a planet museum or filming a commercial, among other efforts.
The Adaptive Library will also be implemented for students who use AAC devices, so books are paired with icons available on those devices. Students will also be able to read along to a book using the given icons, with the result being enhanced student learning and teacher instruction.
Thinking Outside the Bach(s) applies to integrating digital pianos and iPads into the music classroom. A new digital Clavinova (digital piano) will enhance the music classroom, where students will have the opportunity to record, play back and perform their compositions.
As for COVID, precautions will be taken into consideration and the district will make necessary adjustments, according to Vespe.
“COVID safety practices that provide for student and staff safety and wellness will continue,” she noted. “Should protocols be updated, the school district will adjust accordingly to what best fits the needs of the district,”
For the neighboring high schools in the Lenape Regional High School District housing Shamong students, architects are finalizing plans to bring the projects from the recently passed LRHSD Bond Referendum to the school. According to Superintendent Carol L. Birnbohm, the district schools, expects to start some work by the end of the 2021-22 school year.
The proposed HVAC work is expected to start in the upcoming summer 2022 and could extend to the 2024-25 school year; the electrical and plumbing upgrades will also be timed to avoid disrupting students’ academics. Projects like this, that will not interfere with student instruction, will have the most immediate start dates.
All of the school districts in the LRHSD district will continue to follow the protocols as required by Gov. Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Health, according to Birnbohm.