School has begun in Haddonfield, and Superintendent Chuck Klaus provided updates on what students and the community can look forward to in the new year.
Students are beginning this year with three new content-area supervisors, a newly created role to benefit students. As announced at a prior board meeting, Matt DiDonato will supervise math and science, Katy Roussos will oversee English/Language Arts and Social Studies, and Rob Fox will supervise health and physical education, fine and performing arts, world language, harassment, intimidation, bullying and safety.
“They’ll be overseeing curriculum in their areas and working closely with teachers and coaching and approving instructional practice, looking for the best way to have our teachers deliver content to our students,” Klaus explained.
At the August board of education meeting, Fox outlined how he intended to stay on top of bullying trends by meeting every six weeks – more frequently than the required two per year – to analyze what is happening and address it.
Klaus noted that with the addition of the content-area supervisors, all of the district’s curriculum will be reviewed, revised and standardized, and instructing practices will be improved.
The district saw a number of improvements this summer, including a re-turfed field and a new irrigation system at Haddonfield Memorial High School, a new raised planter at the Central Elementary School playground, new basketball backboards at the middle school, a new playground at Tatem Elementary sponsored by the PTA and renovated bathrooms.
The district is also gearing up for a March bond referendum that is waiting for approval and for aid from the state Department of Education. Klaus anticipates having more information toward the end of the year.
“Up until then, (when we receive costs), there’s not much to say,” he explained, “but once that happens, we’ll be communicating with the community, meetings and everything, talking about details and the costs.”
More information on the bond referendum can be found at https://sites.google.com/haddonfield.k12.nj.us/referendum/home.
In other district news, Haddonfield High environmental science teacher Ron Smith was named county teacher of the year over the summer. He earned the school’s teacher of the year award last year.
Smith has recently published a book, “Adventures in Community Science: Notes from the Field and a How-To Guide for Saving Species and Protecting Biodiversity,” which covers projects like rescuing horseshoe crabs, finding frogs and learning about the great shorebird migration.
Smith also played a role in bringing rain gardens to the district, at the high school and Central Elementary. He often takes students to Barbegat Beach for bird counts and horseshoe crab rescues, then submits the data to the state.
“Ron is a motivating teacher,” Klaus noted. “He’s a thoughtful individual, and he’s a driven and caring person, especially environmental sciences, which is his passion.
“It makes a big impact on our students and the environment.”