After several meetings with students and staff, the Haddonfield board of education has approved opening Long-Range Facilities Plan visioning sessions to the community.
The purpose of the meetings is to help architects from LAN Associates determine what the community wants and needs for school buildings as the district prepares for a bond referendum in September 2023.
During their sessions, students were given prompts such as “I learn best when,” “I like” and “I wish” to help answer the question “What do you want your school to be.”
“This is a multi-year plan,” Board President Jaime Grookett said. “So if your children aren’t in the district yet, if you’re expecting (or) you plan to have children at any time, now’s the time to get involved, because this is going to be a project for the future.
“ … We need to know what needs are important to you and your families.”
There will be visioning sessions held on May 2, 3, 9 and 10 at different school locations. The board noted that depending on how many people plan to attend, some sessions may have a second day to accommodate higher numbers. RSVP to https://bit.ly/37sbAkh.
The board also introduced a revised update to its controversial issues policy and regulation that provides teachers with clearer guidelines on how to approach controversial topics in the classroom. The policies can be found on the Haddonfield district website.
“It’s teaching respectful conversation and disagreement, and our whole society needs more of that,” board member Heather Paoli said. “I think it will be wonderful to teach our students how to do this.”
The regulation was last revised in 2018 and has been updated to include strategies such as establishing ground rules for discussions, moderating negative thinking and strong emotions and disagreements without personal attacks.
The board also passed on second reading a move to update the regulation on honoring student achievement. Rather than having a valedictorian or salutatorian at the high-school graduation, students will be recognized through a collegiate style honors system beginning with the Class of 2023.
“Students that earn summa cum laude status (having a weighted GPA in the first to fifth percentile of their class) will be provided an opportunity to be selected to speak at graduation,” the policy reads.
“Each interested student will submit their speech anonymously to a panel composed of administrators and teachers,” it added. “Among the submissions, two speeches will be selected to be read at graduation by the students.”
In other news;
- The community is invited to Haddonfield School District Equity Council’s first World Cafe on April 26 at Haddonfield Memorial High School from 6:30 to 7 p.m. The event is meant to celebrate community connection, equity, diversity and inclusion. The event is free.
The next board of education meeting will be April 28 at 7 p.m. at Haddonfield Memorial High School; it will include a public hearing on the budget.