The Evesham Board of Education presented awards to district students for achievement in the school year, highlighted Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and commentented on staff budget cuts, all at its meeting on May 31.
The board awarded Marlton Elementary for its first-place ranking in the New Jersey 2022 Spring Competitive Session of the Stock Market Game. The competition is described as an online simulation of the global capital markets geared toward students in grades four through 12 with emphasis on economics, investing and personal finance. The goal of the simulation is to help prepare students for financially independent futures.
The winning team consisted of students Becky Shapiro, Nadia Alaba, Adriana DiBartolomeo and Ava Guarini and their teacher Shannan MacLachlan.
School Superintendent Dr. Justin Smith highlighted Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and noted the district supports and respects all ethnicities and cultures.
“We recognize and value all students, all persons with respect and appreciation of our different cultures, differences in commonalities (and) take actions directed against race or ethnicity very seriously,” he said.
Smith also cited Aneesh Kanthan for being the first Asian American board member in the school district’s history.
“(The board) highlighted (Kanthan’s election) last year, but something that significant behooves another shoutout in part,” he added, “as it positively reflects the gradually increasing diversity of our town, which enriches us all.”
Board President Lea Ryan cited the district staff for its assistance in the return of school clubs and activities.
“It’s a good thing to see (programs and clubs) returning after the COVID shutdown, and that’s a testament to our staff,” she noted. “So we appreciate getting the kids back to some sense of normalcy.”
Smith also explained district cuts in speech therapist positions.
“We collect data from different districts in order to navigate and be able to make those necessary, unavoidable, painful reductions in a way that’s aligned with our mission, which means spreading them out,” he explained
“We currently have 85 students per speech therapist and 14 speech therapists,” Smith added. “It’s 730 total students. These are painful things to talk about. (With the) reduction of this position, (the district projects) an increase from 85 to 91 students per speech therapist, which puts us just below two other K through 8 districts, one that is larger than us and one that is just smaller than us.”
The next board meeting will take place on June 23 at DeMasi Middle School.