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Haddonfield board of education discusses adding holidays

It also recognized longtime special ed teacher and retiree David Payne

The Haddonfield Board of Education discussed adding more observed holidays to future calendars at its Oct. 19 meeting.

No decision was made and no actions were taken regarding the issue, but the board is expencted to revisit it in the future. The discussion was referred to has having come from the board’s curriculum committee.

“There’s been some changes in neighboring districts that celebrate holidays that we don’t observe right now in our district,” said Board President Jaime Grookett. There are Muslim holidays, Diwali, Three Kings Day and Lunar New Year, and Eid al-Fitr. This was also brought to us by a member of the community that this is something that we should consider … “

Some possibilities are to turn the holidays into professional development days so student days are shorter, but Klaus noted that if teachers celebrate the holidays, they wouldn’t be considering other educators. Klaus also discussed bringing more meaning to the holidays.

“If you take a day off for a holiday that’s not being observed by a lot of people,” he explained, “that’s just a day off for the majority as opposed to, ‘Let’s make it a more meaningful experience for everybody,’ which is trickier and more challenging, but certainly a teachable moment. I think maybe this is how we try to view this.”

The board also received two Regular Operating District (ROD) grants from the state Department of Education, for roof replacements at Haddonfield Memorial High School and Tatem Elementary School.

Following regular agenda items, the board also recognized David Payne, who announced his retirement. He is a special ed teacher and former assistant wrestling coach who has worked with Klaus.

“Great guy, good teacher, cares a lot about kids,” Klaus noted. “And he’s one of those guys who’s nice to be around, because you feel important when you’re talking to him because I think you are important when you talk to him.

“All the students say the same thing: ‘ … When Mr. Payne talks to me, I think he really likes talking to me,'” Klaus added. “And he really does. It’s not an act. He’s not being clever. It’s sad to see David retire, but I’m happy for him.”

” … He’ll be missed greatly.”

The board also recognized a number of students, including Alexander Nuckols, as a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist; students who received the College Board National Hispanic Recognition Award, Ana Bendesky, Camila Manskopf, and Pia Gruebler; College Board National African American Recognition Award recipient Julian Butler-Galliera; and National Merit Scholarship Commended Students Cole Bauman, Ryan Cataldo, Gavin Gibson, Elly Incollingo, David Ma, Brian Meng, Jack Novak, Andrew O’Donnell, Ava Peifer, Daniel Plum, Anna Poacelli, Jack Tarditi, Loudon Vest, and Matthew Zappetti.

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