Friday, December 21, 2007

Strategic Planning

Please give some serious thought to getting involved with the district’s strategic planning initiative.

We are looking for up to seventy-five members of the school community to join one of five Action Teams. Each team will be focused on one of the five Strategies identified in the draft of the new strategic plan.

Please see the following link for more details:

  • Woodbury Public Schools Strategic Planning

  • I ask that you contact my secretary, Stacy Hoffman, at or at 853-0123 ext. 214, to express an interest. Please notify us ASAP – but no later than January 10th.

    These committees will be comprised of our teachers, support staff, parents, alumni, business leaders, and high school students.

    Thank you – and enjoy the holidays. Happy New Year.

    Thursday, December 20, 2007

    Thank You, Mrs. Carr

    As this calendar year comes to an end, so, too, does the tenure of an important Woodbury Public Schools employee. Mrs. Jody Carr, my secretary and a Woodbury employee for the past twenty-five years, is set to retire.

    It is impossible to completely describe here in this blog posting the full impact of the high quality, personalized, dedicated and intelligent work that Mrs. Carr provides on a daily basis. Those who have interacted with the Mrs. Carr know the truth of this statement. She always remembers a name – of an employee, parent or student. Also, it seems like any question that stumps anyone in the organization ultimately works it’s way to Mrs. Carr. We will be forced to find new ways of doing business come January, and Mrs. Carr will be missed.

    Jody, thank you for all that you have done for the Woodbury school community.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    Happy Holidays

    I have plans for two additional, specific blog entries prior to the winter break, so let me take time today to simply wish all of you a happy, restful winter break. I hope that you all enjoy time with family and friends while the schools are closed. Today, our lives seem especially hectic – the opportunity to slow down a bit, even for just a few extra days, is a gift unto itself.

    After the next two blog entries, I plan to take a break from posting until the new year.


    Tuesday, December 18, 2007

    Board of Education Meeting Wednesday Night

    The regular monthly meeting of the Woodbury Board of Education will be held tomorrow, December 19, at 7:00 p.m. The agenda for the meeting is posted on the website:

  • Board Agenda -- December 2007

  • There are two presentations scheduled for this evenings meeting:

    *Walnut Street Elementary School Student Presentation
    *Strategic Planning Update

    Monday, December 17, 2007

    Budget Development is a Year-Round Event

    The school year budget year runs from July through June, so this month of December marks the halfway point of the school year. The teachers have been gathering data over the past month or so planning for the 2008-09 school year budget needs. This week, the principals and other administrators will be meeting with me and our business administrator to gather all the budget requests so that the full district budget can be developed.

    The development process continues through January and February. The full budget is further developed, difficult decisions are made, and a budget is finalized once all the state funding issues are known. In the past, the state funding numbers have been provided very late in the process. This year, we are hoping to have information from the state a bit earlier. Just last week, the governor released a proposal for a new school funding formula that would be very favorable to the Woodbury Public Schools. At this time, it is just a proposal; we await final word so that we can begin to factor this state funding into our budget plans.

    Ultimately, the board approves the budget to go to the voters some time in March. We will hold a public hearing. Then, there is an April vote by the residents.

    The Board of Education started planning for this budget development cycle in August. Our administrators met in September to receive the parameters for the 2008-09 process, and teachers received information in October. As you can see, this budget development cycle is almost a year-round event.

    As we get closer to the final, proposed budget – especially as we get more information on possible new state funding – I will provide some updates here on the blog.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Boys, Reading, and Fun

    This school year, two of my sons have become active, interested readers of fiction. I attribute this largely to the fact that they have been provided flexibility in their reading selections – and then were guided to pieces that were of high interest to them.

    At this time, it is my sixth grader who is currently on an extended reading jag. He is my “sports guy.” Anything athletic – whether it involves playing or watching on television -- captures his interest. It is exciting to see him getting up early on a Saturday so that he can read some of "his book" prior to anyone else getting up.

    He is in the fourth book of a seven book series – I think that is what he told me. His mom is reading to catch up to him. I joined in this week. It is not great literature, but it is good reading for him. The series is by Margaret Peterson Haddix – The Shadow Children sequence. The first book in the sequence is Among the Hidden.

    Last month when I went in to read to the Walnut 5th graders, I took in a favorite of my wife’s when she reads to my children – Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. What is interesting about that book – and we talked about it with the Walnut students – is that it was written in 1947. Sixty years later, the stories are still funny – and fun to read!

    This same premise is true for any learning, if it is enjoyable (read – “fun”) then we gravitate to it. Now, I have this sixth grade basketball player who is a reader. Plowing through his 150 – 200 page books, anxious to finish so that he can start the next book in the series!

    Monday, December 10, 2007

    Winter Sports

    Winter sports are underway. The swim team is already into official competition mode, our basketball teams open up this Friday, wrestling is at Gateway on Saturday, and winter track continues to train for meets later in the winter.

    You can catch a boys varsity basketball game at 7:00 p.m. Friday in the Cap Paine gymnasium. We have our new bleachers installed – thanks to the donation from the estate of alumnus Bob Lukens.

    Good luck to all!

    Thursday, December 06, 2007

    What's Happening?

    Grant Shivers, our Director of Athletics and Activities, schedules many of the school activities – especially at the Jr.-Sr. High School. There is a relatively new software program that can be viewed from our website under Athletics/Schedules.

    This site also shows both athletic and nonathletic activities that are taking place. It is another resource when trying to keep up and find out what is going on around the schools.

    Here is an example of the schedules “monthly” view for December.

  • December Activities

  • Again, the active feature can be found on our website under Athletics – Schedules.

    Tuesday, December 04, 2007

    Jr.-Sr. High School Conferences

    It has been a busy couple of weeks. Here is another reminder:

    The Jr.-Sr. High School will hold the first Parent – Teacher conferences for the 2007-2008 school year on December 5 and December 6.

    Three (3) sessions are scheduled:

    Session I: Wednesday (Dec 5) afternoon: 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Session II: Thursday (Dec 6) afternoon: 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

    Session III: Thursday (Dec 6) evening: 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

    No appointment is necessary.

    Monday, December 03, 2007

    School Safety – Everyone’s Business

    Reminder . . . We will have our School Safety – Everyone’s Business meeting tomorrow, December 4, at 7:00 p.m. in the Jr.-Sr. High School auditorium. All are invited.

    The agenda is scheduled to run approximately an hour and a half. We hope to see a good number of those in the school community in attendance.

    Woodbury Public Schools
    School Safety – Everyone’s Business

    December 4, 2007
    7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.


    • Overview/Welcome -- Recent Events/Today's Climate
    Joseph Jones, Superintendent

    • Drug/Alcohol -- Today's Youth and Use
    Donna Lacovara, Student Assistance Coordinator

    • Campus Security -- Crisis Plan and Locked Buildings
    Morgan Meehan, School Resource Officer
    Vince Myers, West End Memorial Principal

    • Internet Safety/Cell Phones -- 24-hours Concerns
    Denise Dunham , Jr.-Sr. High School Principal
    Jeffrey Adams, Walnut Street School Principal

    • Bullying
    Jason Vivadelli, Junior High School Assistant Principal
    Tonya Breland, Evergreen Avenue School Principal

    • Gangs
    Steve Morris, Senior High School Assistant Principal
    Grant Shivers, Director of Athletics & Student Activities

    • WeTip & Gloucester Alert
    Edward Murphy, Director of Pupil Personnel Services

    • Questions & Answers
    Joseph Jones, Superintendent

    Thursday, November 29, 2007

    More on Today's Technology

    This post relates to yesterday’s and is more for the teachers who are readers of this blog.

    There are many times when, as teachers, we will be looking to put together rubrics for scoring projects or other performance items that students will be producing in order to provide our students with the rationale behind the final grade and to help guide them as they work to complete the project.

    Maybe you have already found a website that provides you with technological help to accomplish this task – but, if you have not even realized that this type of site is out there and available, this post on another blog may help you the next time you go to construct a new rubric for the classroom (there are links in this post that will take you to various rubric making sites):

  • LeaderTalk -- Tap into the Network - Ideas about Online Rubric Creators
  • Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Technology Flashcards

    I guess we are rarely, truly surprised by technology today. We seemingly can do almost anything!

    Nonetheless, I do find myself caught by surprise at times. Here’s a simple example. My oldest son was studying the periodic table for chemistry class and he made himself flashcards to help memorize the symbols. As he got individual elements committed to memory, he would move those cards out of his pile. Simple. We have all done something similar at some point in our schooling experiences.

    Yesterday, I came home from work and two of my younger sons are at the computer. The second grader was obviously playing a game. My eighth grader – the technology kid – appeared to be also playing a game, but he showed me that he was actually studying for social studies.

    He was studying states and capitals – and he found a site where the flashcards were already made for you! You could “flip” through them, discard ones that you knew, hold on to the ones that you still need to work on, etc.

    It wasn’t that I was surprised that the site existed, but it was more that I was surprised that I didn’t think about that possibility when my oldest was making his “old-fashioned” index card flashcards!

    The site that my son used was – he says that they have used it in his school from time to time. Here are two examples of the computer flashcards:

  • States & Capitals

  • Periodic Table -- 40 elements
  • Tuesday, November 27, 2007

    International Literacy Day @ Walnut

    Thanks to Mrs. Toole, library aide at the Walnut Street School for organizing guest readers for the students on International Literacy Day, November 13th.

    Those participated in reading to the classes include – Ms. Cummings, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction; Officer Meehan, School Resource Officer; Mr. Toole, Board of Education member; Mrs. Long, from the Woodbury Public Library, and me.

    It was a fun way to place some added interest in reading.

    Monday, November 26, 2007

    Strategic Planning

    As noted in this blog earlier, The Woodbury Public Schools will embark on a Strategic Planning initiative during this 2007-08 school year. The early part of the year has focused on determining a planning committee and finalizing the details associated with the first meeting.

    The first meeting of the planning committee will be this weekend – Thursday (evening), Friday (daytime & evening), and Saturday (daytime). The group’s intense work schedule is designed to allow the accomplishment of the necessary tasks toward a completed draft copy of a new strategic plan for the school district.

    There are thirty individuals associated with the school community involved in this first phase of the strategic plan. We will need many more individuals to be involved with the development of various aspects of the draft plan once the early work of this group is completed.

    We have some names of people who have already expressed an interested but were unable to be placed onto the planning committee due to size constraints. These individuals will be invited to be part of Phase II of the planning initiative. Anyone else interested in working on the second phase of the planning process should contact my office by phone or send an e-mail.

    The work of the action teams developing the various strategies associated with the draft plan will begin some time toward the end of January. This will also be intense work – meetings will likely occur weekly for a period of approximately three months.

    The planning committee working this week is comprised of the following individuals:

    Dr. Jeffrey Adams, Elementary Principal/Special Services Supervisor
    Ms. Aquanetta Allen, Support Staff
    Ms. Patricia Bassler, Jr.-Sr. HS Parent
    Dr. Jeffrey Bessey, HS Parent
    Ms. Tonya Breland, Elementary Principal
    Ms. Lynn Dennen, Board Member
    Dr. James DiMarino, Parent
    Mrs. Denise Dunham, High School Principal
    Ms. Janice Esters, Parent
    Ms. Ellen Firth, Junior High School Teacher
    Mr. William Fleming, Community Leader
    Mr. Frank Gwalthney, Board Member
    Ms. Diane Hill, Board Member
    Mr. David Jenkins, Support Staff
    Mr. Joseph Jones, Superintendent
    Ms. Sharron Knauss, District Librarian
    Ms. Gwen Maddox, Community Leader
    Mrs. Katherine Mangeri, Parent
    Officer Morgan Meehan, School Resource Officer
    Ms. Madeline Mills, Elementary Nurse
    Mr. Dustin Moore, Parent
    Mr. Steven Morris, Assistant Principal
    Mr. Edward Murphy, Director of Pupil Personnel Services
    Mr. Richard Philips, Parent
    Ms. Christina Pierce, Elementary Teacher
    Ms. Jacqueline Rosario, High School Teacher
    Miss Raseeda Roundtree, Student
    Ms. Beth Stanek, Elementary Teacher
    Mr. James Torres, Student
    Ms. Liza White, Parent

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Holiday House Tour Information

    The Woodbury Holiday House Tour – 2007

    Sponsored by the Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School
    Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA)

    Saturday, December 1
    4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.

    Tickets: $20, -- in advance -- may be purchased at the Woodbury Public Library, Edward’s Hairstyling, or Foxfire Accessories.

    Tickets: $25 – day of event – may be purchased at:

    Woodbury Mews
    122 Green Avenue
    (Refreshments will be served; Woodbury High School Traveling Choir will perform)

    For additional information call: 845-4824

    Turkeys descend on 8th graders

    pictured with turkey: Darrell Bush

    Ms. Firth and Mrs. Corley have let the turkeys out of the pen in 8th grade. Using paper lunch bags and construction paper, each 8th grade literacy student created an original turkey complete with feathers, feet, eyes, and other decorations.

    The turkeys and students are on the move in the hallways and are attending all scheduled classes together including lunch. In addition, turkeys are attending after school activities and traveling home with students each day for the entire week (11/12-11/18).

    Students will also introduce their turkeys to teachers, administrators, family and friends. During their time together, students and their fowl will keep a 5-day journal chronicling their adventures, hopes, fears, and experiences. From these journal notes, students will write a formal essay/story from the turkeys’ points of view and submit both the journal and essay during Thanksgiving week.

    [The students are reading Of Mice and Men and may choose 1 of 2 options:

    1) Show a parallel between the turkey’s experiences, hopes, etc. to self

    2) Show a parallel between the turkey’s experiences, hopes, etc., and one or more of the characters and/or plot points in the story.

    The students are taking good care of the turkeys. George and Lennie do this for one another (mostly George) and this drives home the friendship theme in the book.]

    This entry was submitted by Mrs. Firth -- thank you!

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Wagon Ho!

    Woodbury second graders “pan for gold” in the style of pioneers.

    A Pioneer Living program was held at West End School on November 14th from 9-11:00 am.

    The Pioneer Living exhibit is a traveling hands-on museum. Dozens of artifacts and hands on activities turned the West End all purpose room into an 1800s pioneer settlement. But instead of just looking at all of the artifacts and antiques, students were encouraged to touch them and interact.

    Here are some of the pioneer activities that Woodbury Public School second graders learned about in a hands on way:

    Panning for gold
    Grinding corn into flour
    Washing clothes on a washboard
    Carding and hand spinning yarn
    Rolling out bread dough

    Tin Cup Adventures originates out of Portland, Oregon. Their Pioneer Living exhibit has visited over 15,000 schools in 45 different states since 1989. They visited with Woodbury Public School students this year as part of the district’s Enrichment program that provides school wide enrichment experiences to all students over the course of the school year.

    (This entry was provided by Ms. Cummings, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction)

    A Turkey Question

    What do these turkeys have to do with the book Of Mice and Men?

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Reminder . . . NCAA Workshop

    There will be an NCAA workshop tonight, Wednesday, November 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the Jr.-Sr. High School Auditorium. The counseling department has arranged for a compliance officer from Rutgers University to speak on eligibility issues and college athletics.

    This workshop is open to anyone (students and parents) in the school community. You may be interested in attending if you believe that the possibility of participating in college athletics is in your child's future.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    More Turkey

    Why are Woodbury Jr Sr HS students taking such good care of these birds one week before the Thanksgiving holiday?

    Sports Fans

    Congratulations to the boys soccer team for their play in the NJSIAA playoffs. Both the win at Clayton and the home defeat in the second round against Pt. Pleasant Beach were exciting displays of strong soccer skill. The many fans in attendance were proud of the team performance.

    On the football front, Saturday proved to be an exciting victory in the first round of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group I playoffs. The team now moves to Paulsboro for a rematch. That game will be played away on this upcoming Saturday -- 1:00 p.m. Good luck, Coach Valentine and all our varsity players!

    Jr.-Sr. High Sighting

    Have you seen any turkeys suddenly appearing in the hallways?

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    Welcome Back

    We tried to schedule this November month so that we concentrated the breaks and various activities. November is a buys month in New Jersey schools.

    We placed two full-day professional development days that are part of our calendar into this past week. The school year started with two of these days before the students began and will end with one last professional development day after students finish. So, there will be no other scheduled full-days off this year other than holidays.

    Also, for the elementary schools, we moved the first marking period conferences up a bit. In past years, they were scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving, but that created another week of disrupted instruction (with early dismissal days). You will note that this year, we have two early dismissal days on the Monday and Tuesday right before Thanksgiving for the elementary schools. Conferences will take place that Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon and evening, and Wednesday morning.

    Notice that the elementary students do not have school on Wednesday of next week. The Jr.-Sr. High School will run regular school days on Monday and Tuesday next week and an early dismissal day on Wednesday.

    Thanksgiving is right around the corner!

    Monday, November 05, 2007

    High School Playoffs

    Our boys soccer team (6th seed) won their first round game last Friday against Clayton (3rd seed). Now, we play a home game tomorrow. Come out to the soccer field for the 2 p.m. contest against Pt. Pleasant Beach (7th seed). The winner will play in the South Jersey Group I final on Friday.

  • NJSIAA South Jersey Group I Boys Soccer Bracket

  • Our football team (3rd seed) is scheduled for a first round, home game on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. against Gloucester City (6th seed).

  • NJSIAA South Jersey Group I Football Bracket

  • Enjoy some exciting high school sports action. Good luck to all!

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    A High School Musical

    If you do not have Oliver tickets for the Pitman Theater (see below), save yourself the travel time and simply attend our Junior High School production of "A High School Musical." What a fun night! The director, Mrs. Linda Webb, and her student actors put on a very entertaining show.

    The final two performances are Friday (tonight!) and Saturday evening at 7:00 p.m. This is a one-act show that last approximately one and a half hours. The students did a wonderful job last night at the opening performance.

    Congratulations to all!

    Got Tickets? . . . A Donation

    Thanks to one of our teachers, a Woodbury elementary student will be attending tonight’s performance of Oliver at Pitman’s Broadway Theatre. Two tickets were donated to the Got Tickets? effort.

    See more on Got Tickets? at the September 13th post --
  • Week of September 9th

  • .

    (FYI: I will post a Friday Spotlight on a new teacher later today!)

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Move Over Sugar

    A quick tour of our elementary schools for the Halloween parties showed how our school community is moving quickly toward the expectations of new national and state guidelines for what types of snacks students are served during the school day.

    Grapes, cheese and crackers, soft pretzels, pumpkin bread, and even caramel coated apples made right in the classroom were all examples of this conscious effort yesterday. Sugar is on the way out, and our parents are helping support the school nutrition policy by making choices for what snacks to bring into the classroom that adhere to the healthier requirements.

    Thank you!

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    Violence Awareness Week Activity

    Earlier in October, the school district recognized Violence Awareness Week, as designated by the New Jersey Department of Education, with a host of activities that included counselors talking with elementary classes about bullying, our school resource officer visiting many of the students across the district, and visits from outside support personnel – Deon Henry from the county Prosecutor’s Office at the high school and assembly programs like the one on “9-1-1” at the elementary schools.

    The focused attention on issues related to violence during the week also helped the district spotlight ways to be proactive. One such activity was the Junior High School’s Pyramid of Peace contest. Our Student Assistance Coordinator, Donna Lacovara, designed the contest. The students completed the work on their pyramids during their social studies classes. The winning class was Mrs. Landis’ Period 4 Social Studies class (6th grade). The students in the winning class were treated to a breakfast during a recent extended homeroom. Congratulations!

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    Walnut 4th Grade Letter Writing

    Chrissy Pierce’s 4th graders are involved in a letter writing effort that spans the globe. Ms. Pierce, a teacher a the Walnut Street Elementary School, made contact with a Lance-Corporal Gallagher of the United States Marines. He will be facilitating a letter exchange between the students from Woodbury and some of his marine friends stationed in Iraq.

    E-mails have been exchanged between Ms. Pierce and LCpL Gallagher, and the students have begun with a shipment of letters to Iraq. There seems to be real interest on the part of those in the marines to correspond with the students through letter writing. For our students, writing assignments take on a true meaning with added interest when they serve a real purpose.

    Congratulations, 4th grade, on such a worthwhile project!

    Monday, October 29, 2007

    Blog Hiatus

    I was unable to post to the blog site due to my attendance at this year’s New Jersey School Boards Association, New Jersey Association of School Administrators, and New Jersey Association of School Business Officials 2007 Annual Workshop & Exhibition. The three-day event was held at the end of last week in Atlantic City; it allows school board members, school superintendents, and school business administrators across the state to attend a variety of informative sessions on a variety of topics.

    I was joined by four of our board members and our school business administrator. Each of us took in a variety of the sessions – there were many to choose from throughout the event.

    I attended sessions on Maintaining Effective Facility Maintenance with Decreased Funding, The Second Stage of Reform for Schools – Where Do We Go from Here?, and Harassment-Free Hallways. In addition, there was a “Critical Issues Session – Redesigning and Reforming New Jersey’s High Schools” chaired by Lucille E. Davy, New Jersey Commissioner of Education. Another sessions had members of the State Board of Education presenting to those in attendance and fielding questions. Finally, daily keynote addresses allowed for those in attendance to hear from Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Maryland’s First Woman Lieutenant Governor and the eldest child of Robert and Ethel Kennedy. Also, on the second day, Jim Ellis, swim coach and subject of the film “Pride,” delivered the keynote speech at the general session.

    These opportunities are important to bring about new thinking and allow for opportunities to share with colleagues. In addition, there are new requirements for school board members to attend to their own professional development; this annual workshop event also allows for these expectations to be met.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Notices and Forms

    A new effort this year is to post on the website the various “Notices and Forms” that get sent home with children or sent home in the mail. You will find a link to “Notices and Forms” on each of the individual school pages – on the left side column of links.

    Take a look. You may find something that you need or something that was misplaced at home posted on the site.

    We are getting accustomed to the system and trying to remember to post all of the various items. Soon, it will become second nature for us to get them posted. Also, as you learn to look here for information, it will become a site that you think to turn to if a form gets misplaced or to simply check to be sure that everything is getting home to you.

    Please feel comfortable letting your building principal know if there is anything else that could be posted here. We are always looking to make our website more meaningful to you.

  • Notices and Forms
  • Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Terrific Kids Program

    In each of our elementary schools, the Kiwanis community organization partners with the school to recognize students each month as “Terrific Kids.” Each child receives a T-shirt and a packet containing a certificate, bumper sticker, and parent letter. Often, group photos appear in the Gloucester County Times.

    We thank the Kiwanis for helping recognize some of our star students.

    October’s Terrific Kids


    1st Grade
    Aaron Estrada
    Asia Spencer

    2nd Grade
    Nicolette Montgomery
    Catherine Navas-Folgar

    3rd Grade
    Ayan Thompson
    Sean Aquino
    Marc Croce

    4th Grade
    Aniyah Twyne
    Joshua Green

    5th Grade
    Alicia Vennell
    Shalisa Aquino
    Darius Evans-Johnson


    1st Grade
    Nicole Rogers
    Morgan Schlichtig

    2nd Grade
    Catherine Thomer
    Ramon Birriel

    3rd Grade
    Ashley Huseboe
    Rachel Conover

    4th Grade
    Laura Knecht
    Kabree Jacobs

    5th Grade
    Bryan Miles
    Melinda Patrick


    1st Grade
    Jason Gans
    Dorian Joyce
    Rahyell Young

    2nd Grade
    Eugene Frisby
    Summer Miller
    Alexis Sherlock

    3rd Grade
    Michael Moten

    4th Grade
    Geena DiRugeris
    Lisa Giacobbe
    Michael Navas-Vasquez
    Kenny Rodriguez

    5th Grade
    Kayla Conchado
    Alexia McCloud
    Safarrah Saunders

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    TEST of Gloucester Alert

    (Many have been directed to this post from a message sent by Gloucester Alert – this is a test of that system.)

    We have had a good number of our families join the Gloucester Alert network. Through this system, participants are able to have Woodbury Public Schools emergency information related to any one of our schools forwarded to them by text messages or e-mail. Since there are so many new to the system, we thought it would be important to provide this “TEST” message.

    Since the amount of text is limited on the system, we will often provide more information on our own website. Additionally, at times, expanded information will be placed here in the Superintendent’s blog.

    So – this is just a practice.

    Reminder: Also, the district plans to practice evacuation drills this week. The schedule is as follows:

    Tuesday morning: Jr./Sr. High School (Sr. High School – St. Patrick’s Parish Hall; Jr. High School – Kemble Memorial Church)

    Tuesday afternoon: Evergreen (YMCA)

    Wednesday morning: West End (Central Baptist Church)

    Thursday afternoon: Walnut (First Baptist Church)

    Your comments regarding the use of the Gloucester Alert System are most welcome.

    Friday, October 19, 2007

    The Game is On

    Well, we went right down to the wire. The last inspection involved a soils conservation sign-off. We were able to get that approval verbally at approximately 2:15 p.m. That allowed just enough time to make an announcement to the student body that the Homecoming football game for tomorrow (Saturday, October 20th) will be at HOME!

    The stadium work is not complete. You will see that the track surface stills needs to be completed, the parking lot needs a final coat, the area behind the visitor’s bleachers is not finalized, the railings at the far ends of the home bleachers are still being fabricated, and other details still require the attention of the contractor. Our goal was to be in a position to secure the temporary certification that would allow our athletes to play at home and for our school community to experience a home football game. We achieved that goal.

    We plan to play another home game on November 3rd and – it would seem – a playoff game on November 10th. You will continue to see the stadium move toward completion as each of these games is played.

    AND – the Woodbury Board of Education invites you to attend tomorrow’s game free of charge. Welcome back home, and enjoy the game!

    Thursday, October 18, 2007

    Homecoming Football

    The newspaper's do not always get it right -- but today's article on the football field is fairly on target. I have provided a link here for you to take a look.

    Necessary work to obtain our temporary certificate of occupancy has continued -- and the associated inspections are still planned. We hope that an inspection later today will be the one that helps to make the final decision, but there is a chance that the decision as to whether we truly play at home may not be able to be made until Friday.

    Stay tuned -- I will post information as to where we will play our Saturday afternoon football game here on the blog (and on the front page of the district website)!

  • GCT 10/18/07 article
  • Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Board of Education Meeting Tonight --- 7:00 p.m.

    (Take a look at the AVID entry from yesterday -- I had it ready to post, but forgot until later in the day.)

    The regular monthly meeting of the Woodbury Board of Education will be held today, October 17, at 7:00 p.m. The agenda for the meeting is posted on the website:

  • Board Agenda -- October 2007

  • There are three presentations scheduled for this evenings meeting:

    *Annual Violence & Vandalism Report
    *Quality Single Accountability Continuum (new state monitoring process)
    *Annual Testing Report


    As a result of our new door-locking scheme at the high school and some office reconfiguration, the door to be used to enter for board meetings has changed. As you face the school on the old courthouse side, use the door immediately to the right of the board office entrance. The stairs down will lead you to the hallway containing the board conference room. We will have a sign outside to mark this new entrance.

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    AVID Spotlight on James Jones

    (AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. You can find out more from a prior post:
  • 9/29/06

  • There, you will also find a link to the national AVID effort.

    This is the first of a few AVID student "spotlights" that will run in the blog. The following is a summary by James regarding his experience with AVID.)

    The AVID program is valuable and vital to any student that would like to pursue enrollment in a four year college. AVID has taught me crucial skills and habits that I will undoubtedly carry with me throughout high school and beyond, from its freakishly huge binders, to the Cornell notes that we take in AVID.

    Before I entered AVID my biggest issue in school was organization. I wrote math notes in my Spanish notebook, I had papers folded in my books, and even though I would do my homework, I had a tendency to lose it in the wild forest of my papers that was my book bag. But rescuing me from my bad habits like a cat stuck in a tree came AVID. The first idea that the AVID program worked on was organization. We received thick binders that were designed to hold all of our papers, to help us keep track of our things. We also learned that to save valuable room and to have easier access to our notes, we used loose leaf paper instead of notebooks. Organization was the first step to becoming a college bound student.

    Another lesson AVID taught that was extremely valuable to me was learning how to manage your time and put your priorities first. I specifically remember one exercise that AVID did when we had a sheet of paper, and we had to show our daily routine and how many hours a day we spent doing certain things. After seeing that paper it made me realize how much time I was spending doing nonsense instead of spending that time doing something useful, like studying for a quiz that I knew I would have to take, or looking over the notes of a subject that I was having trouble in. After my first year of AVID I believe that I have gotten better in this area, but progress is a slow process.

    I believe that if you are determined, want to become a better student, and want to go to a four year college then the AVID program is for you. It is hard for me to explain in words how much it has done for me; it can help any determined and motivated student.

    A Virtual Visit with Barbara Morgan

    What would it be like to visit with Barbara Morgan, the first educator astronaut to go into space?

    Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School students will have that virtual opportunity on October 18th. On that date, from 3:00-4:00 pm, Woodbury students will take part in a video teleconference featuring Barbara Morgan.

    The technology will enable interested grade 6 through 9 students to see and hear Ms. Morgan. Additionally, they will be able to ask the astronaut questions.

    Having access to a NASA videoconference is part of the NASA Explorer School grant relationship that has been in place since 2005. Woodbury School District is the only school system in southern NJ to have received the special honor of being named a NASA Explorer School.

    (This blog entry was provided by Alysa Cummings, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, in conjunction with Colleen Fitzgerald, science teacher.)

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    Spotlight on Mrs. Meloni

    Dawn Meloni

    Teacher of Grade 5

    Walnut Street School

    Dawn Meloni

    • College(s) and degrees(s):
    Camden County College (Associate)
    Rowan University (Bachelor)

    • Work experience:
    Mantua School District (substitute)
    Woodbury School District (Student Teaching and Instructional Assistant)

    • Favorite books
    o fiction: Two Bad Ants is a fiction story for children that I love. I read it to any elementary class I can. I also like Of Mice and Men and Invisible Man
    o nonfiction: Lucky Man a memoire about Michael J. Fox

    • Favorite television show:
    Two and a Half Men

    • Last movie I loved:
    Jerry Maguire I’m not sure if it’s the last movie I loved, but I do love it.

    • Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
    A CD that my daughter made me of the Rolling Stones. (Under My Thumb – my favorite song on there.)

    • Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
    I would love to have lunch with my step-father who passed away 9 years ago. I miss him terribly and he was a teacher. When he died I was still in Camden County College with many more years to go. Now I am finished and working and I would like to tell him.

    • Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
    A beach on a tropical island makes me peaceful.

    • One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
    I'm not sure there is ONE specific item on my "to do" list that I can't seem to get to. I'm not saying that I always finish my "to do" list because I don't, but the one item always changes depending on the day.

    • Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
    My favorite animal is my dog Nugget.

    Favorite sports team:
    The Eagles are my favorite team even though they're not that good, because football is my favorite sport and I have to cheer on my hometown- Philadelphia!

    • Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
    My fantasy trip would definitely be Hawaii. I was there 19 years ago on my honeymoon and would love to go back again to see how things have changed. Maybe I'll make it back for my 25th. (There's a goal to shoot for!)

    • Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
    I will never forget my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Hayden. She was a new teacher back then, with maybe only a couple of years experience when I had her. I remember thinking, "she's sooo young!" She was very compassionate, easy to get along with and a lot of fun. She made it easy to learn in her class. I could not believe that when my daughter was ready for 6th grade in 2001, and I went with her for her middle school orientation and guess who was her math teacher? "Mrs. Hayden." There she was on the stage ready to greet the new incoming students. I just had to go up to her after the orientation and tell her who I was and that I couldn't believe she was going to teach my daughter many years later. She retired from teaching the following year. I guess it was meant to be that my daughter had her as a teacher too.

    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Community Spirit

    Robert Miller, 7th grade, Darian Jones, 7th grade, and Katie Miller, 6th grade

    Woodbury Junior - Senior High School

    The following was sent to me by our high school principal, Mrs. Dunham. She wanted to pass along the good work or one or our parents and a few students at the Jr.-Sr. High School::


    JoAnn Miller, mother to Robert and Katie, was named the grand prize winner of the merci Finest Assortment of European Chocolates first annual National Thank You Day Contest on September 24, 2007. Mrs. Miller was recognized for her personal devotion to helping the homeless in Camden N.J. where she feeds at least 75 lunches with bottled water to the homeless in Camden every week with a team of adults and children. Mrs. Miller’s name was submitted by a neighbor and friend.

    Mrs. Miller was visited by celebrity etiquette expert and best-selling author for the Emily Post Institute, Peggy Post, who presented her with a $5,000 ShopRite gift card to continue her mission and announced she will meet Rachael Ray on the set of her hit daytime show and be recognized for her good deeds.

    The three Woodbury students pictured above were a part of a small group of children and adults who joined her in her kind efforts. When interviewed, her husband says he is sure he married the “kindest woman in the world”… we agree! “Merci” to Mrs. Miller and her good will team for making the world a better place!

    Check out the video! --
  • National Thank You Day

  • There is also a Spirit of Community award that is presented annual by the Prudential company. Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School students have been informed of the award and should stop by the counseling office if they are interested in being considered. Two state winners are announced each year. Application can also be made directly on-line.

  • Spirit of Community Awards
  • Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    School Attendance

    There is a new board attendance policy in effect this year. Regulations detail specific requirements for regular school attendance.

    Note that a student in the Jr.-Sr. High School must be in attendance for 166 days (out of the 181 day total). This total is regardless of reason – excused or unexcused. The bottom line is that a student cannot miss more than fifteen school days during the course of a school-year without jeopardizing credit for the year.

    This number is a bit more generous for elementary school students. The total number of days that are required for these students to be in attendance is 160 days. (This allows for up to 21 days of absence).

    Obviously, we hope that our students are in attendance regularly and miss few days. But, if there are absences, please be sure to recognize that all absence will count against the total.

    (You can read the policy and regulations posted on our website for more information. An appeal process for unusual circumstances is detailed in these documents. Contact your child’s principal if you have any questions.)

  • Attendance Policy

  • Attendance Regulation
  • Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    Wanted: Home Instructors

    Do you have a New Jersey teaching certificate? Are you available during the day, afternoon, or evening to help students maintain pace with their classmates while on home instruction?

    Or . . . maybe you know someone who has a New Jersey teaching certification who would be interested.

    The Woodbury Public School District is actively seeking individuals to serve as home instructors. The position requires standard New Jersey certification (all subject areas desired!); state mandated fingerprinting is also an expectation.

    Home instructors work with students who are unable to attend school for a period of time – typically for medical reasons. There is a requirement that a parent or adult be present during the instruction.

    The district pay is $30/hour. Students will be provided from five to ten hours of instruction a week. In the upper grades, the time will be divided amongst subject specialist.

    This is a good way to utilize your certification and help a Woodbury child. The one-on-one working relationship can be very beneficial.

    If interested, or for more information, contact:

    Ed Murphy
    Director of Pupil Personell Service
    Woodbury Public Schools
    25 North Broad Street
    Woodbury, New Jersey 08096

    856-853-123 ext. 225

    Friday, October 05, 2007

    Spotlight on Mr. Grundel

    Mark Grundel

    Teacher of Grade 5

    Evergreen Avenue School

    Mark Grundel

    • College(s) and degrees(s):
    Rutgers University – BA – Psychology
    Rider University – Graduate Level Teacher Program

    • Work experience:
    Two years in Trenton Community Charter School – 3rd and 4th grade

    • Favorite books
    o fiction: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
    o nonfiction: I do not really read fiction

    • Favorite television show:

    • Last movie I loved:

    • Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:

    • Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
    Albert Einstein – He is a true ordinary genius

    • Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
    Vail, Colorado – You are at the top of the US then you can rush down on skis.

    • One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
    Cleaning my salt-water fish tank

    • Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

    Favorite sports team:

    • Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
    About 8-10 weeks backpacking through Europe

    • Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
    Doc Williams – inspired me to truly love books, writing and connecting the two subjects. He was my senior year (High School) English teacher.

    Wednesday, October 03, 2007

    Butterfly News from West End Memorial

    Mrs. Gassner's West End Memorial class shared these photos from an exciting moment this week in their classroom -- a new butterfly hatched from a chrsyalis!

    Tuesday, October 02, 2007

    Jr.-Sr. High School – Evacuation

    There was an unplanned evacuation of the Jr.-Sr. High School this afternoon. The building was evacuated for approximately fifteen minutes. We were assisted by the local police in securing clearance to return. Students returned to their classes and resumed the balance of the school day.

    Evergreen Ave. Parent Breakfast with the Principal

    New Evergreen Avenue Elementary School Prinicipal, Tonya Breland, met with parents last week. She sent these photographs and the following account to be posted on the blog so that parents who were not able to attend would be aware of the meeting and its purpose. Please feel free to reach out to her to set up individual meetings, if you so desire.

    Parents of Evergreen Ave. Elementary were invited to attend a breakfast with the principal, held in the school’s All Purpose Room Friday morning. The response was very favorable. There were over 20 parents present.

    Each parent had an opportunity to talk about their child(ren)’s unique characteristics, in addition to sharing information about their children and ways the school can make this an outstanding year for them. They also had an opportunity to talk about areas of concern and ask questions.

    Many parents took the time to sign up to volunteer for various events at the school and share their own talents with the school. Overall, this was a great opportunity to develop a rapport and help support the children.

    The following poem was shared and well received by the parents:

    Author Unknown

    “Whose child is this?” I asked one day
    Seeing a little one out at play
    “Mine,” said the parent with a tender smile
    “Mine to keep a little while
    To bathe his hands and comb his hair
    To tell him what he is to wear
    To prepare him that he may always be good
    And each day do the things he should”

    “Whose child is this?” I asked again
    As the door opened and someone came in
    “Mine, to keep just for a little while
    To teach him how to be gentle and kind
    To train and direct his dear little mind
    To help him live by every rule
    And get the best he can from school”

    “Whose child is this?” I ask once more
    Just as the little one entered the door
    “Ours,” said the parent and the teacher as they smiled
    And each took the hand of the little child
    “Ours to love and train together
    Ours this blessed task forever.”

    Monday, October 01, 2007

    Jr.-Sr. High School Pictures

    The school switched picture vendors, and there was some confusion in the process. The picture order forms that were mailed to the homes had incorrect prices for the various packages.

    A corrected sheet listing the new prices will be handed out to students today.

    Picture day is scheduled for Thursday, October 4.

    Friday, September 28, 2007

    Spotlight on Mrs. Breland

    Tonya D. Breland


    Evergreen Avenue School

    Tonya D. Breland

    • College(s) and degrees(s):
    Howard University, Washington, DC – B.S. Psychology
    Nova Southeastern University – Ft. Lauerdale, FL – M.S. Administration

    • Work experience:
    Social services in various programs, providing advocacy for children, parents and families (North Jersey); Teacher of grades 7, Kindergarten (North Jersey), and 4th grade, Vice Principal (Burlington Twp.), and now Principal

    • Favorite books
    o fiction: The Left Behind series by Tim Lehaye and Jerry Jenkins
    o nonfiction: The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkenson

    • Favorite television show:
    American Idol

    • Last movie I loved:
    Seldom get to the movies, but recently rented The Devil Wears Prada - it was a fun movie.

    • Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
    A gospel artist, Maurette Brown-Clark

    • Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
    My deceased paternal grandparents. They were both my greatest champions in life and I’d love to talk to them again about my journey.

    • Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
    The beach. It’s a great place to read and relax.

    • One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
    Painting a few rooms in my house.

    • Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
    Our dog, Buddy (Bison/Shih Tzu)

    Favorite sports team:
    In the 80’s and early 90’s – Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bears. Now, by default, the Philadelphia Eagles

    • Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
    European tour with my family.

    • Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession: Mrs. Clark, my 1st grade teacher. She made me feel like I was the only child in the classroom. She was one of three African American teachers in the school, where I was also in the small minority. She made me feel special and invited me to her home for dinner. I'll never forget how she made me feel. She was one who truly made a difference in my life and made me feel that I could do/be anything. That is what I want to do for others.

    Other facts:
    • Mother of a sophomore, Gianya & 7th grader, Daniel
    o I am a huge fan of my children & enjoy supporting their endeavors
    o It is my priority to encourage them to be anything they want to be

    • Married to Gerard for 17 years.

    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    World Water Monitoring Day

    Evergreen teacher, Mrs.Platt, writes the following:

    Last Friday, September 21, 2007 Evergreen Elementary School in Woodbury, NJ participated on World Water Monitoring Day.

    Accompanied by Stephen Platt from the Ground Water & Enforcement Branch, Mrs. Platt's fourth and fifth grade students conducted water quality sampling at Stewart lake in Woodbury, NJ. This is the fifth consecutive year that students from Mrs. Platt's class and EPA have participated in World Water Monitoring Day -- an event that takes place throughout the world from mid-September to mid-October each year.

    The sampling results from 2007 indicated that the lake's water quality is good and continues to support many forms of wildlife. While sampling, the students observed a significant number of turtles, a blue heron and fishermen fishing for small mouth bass. This year the students also learned how a Global Positioning System (GPS) works and were able to geographically locate Stewart Lake using a GPS unit.

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Home Football

    This Friday, while we await the completion of the new stadium, we will play our first “home” game of the season. We have arranged to use the Rowan University football field for this game.

    Special time: Friday, September 28 – 8:00 p.m.

    The players are excited to be under the lights on a college, artificial turf field. Mark your calendars and enjoy a “Friday Night Lights” game @ Rowan. The opponent is Sterling.

    The Woodbury Thundering Herd football team is off to a 2-0 start this season!

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    Board of Education Meeting – Wednesday, 7 p.m.

    The regular monthly meetings of the Woodbury Board of Education have been moved to Wednesday evenings (typically the fourth Wednesday of each month). On our district website, the meetings are listed:
  • Board Meetings for 2007-08

  • This month’s meeting will be held tomorrow, September 26, at 7:00 p.m. The agenda for the meeting is posted on the website:
  • Board Agenda -- September 2007

  • Our new teachers will be introduced at the beginning of the meeting. Also, construction updates will be provided to the board in conjunction with the referendum project (high school stadium work) and the structural issues at Walnut.

    Finally, as a result of our new door-locking scheme at the high school and some office reconfiguration, the door to be used to enter for board meetings has changed. As you face the school on the old courthouse side, use the door immediately to the right of the board office entrance. The stairs down will lead you to the hallway containing the board conference room. We will have a sign outside to mark this new entrance.

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    MAP – Measure of Academic Progress

    This year, the Woodbury Public Schools will be administering MAP testing in grades 2 through 8. These test are designed to provide teachers and parents with critical information regarding the academic level of a child in the areas of Language, Reading, and Mathematics.

    This testing package is different from the New Jersey state testing system (ASK – Assessment of Skills and Knowledge) that is given in the spring in grades 3 through 8. With the MAP test, the teachers will have immediate, more detailed feedback regarding student performance and will be able to use that information to help guide instruction for the year. Additionally, we plan to administer the test again at the end of the year to measure progress. Parents will receive a report at the end of the year that will summarize the two testing sessions.

    Another significant difference is that MAP testing is administered on the computer and is “adaptive.” That means that the test’s level of difficult changes as the student answers questions – the difficulty level changes depending if a correct or incorrect answer was provided to the previous question. Ultimately, this test will zero in on the academic level of the student and provide a more detailed assessment of their work.

    I have attached a link to a “Parent Toolkit” that will provide more answers to this Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) package:

  • Parent Toolkit -- NWEA

  • Also, feel fee to contact your child’s principal or our Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Alysa Cummings, if you have additional questions.

    We anticipate testing to start next week. The tests are not timed, but will take approximately an hour each; the testing will be spread out over a two week period.

    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    Pictures . . . .

    The sod arrives!

    Stay tuned...

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    Rolling Out the Sod

    This is just a picture from the internet of sod – but, hopefully, pictures of the sod going onto the new Woodbury High School football field can be taken TODAY!

    There are still many items to attend to before we are ready to open the stadium, but getting grass onto the field itself is obviously an important item to cross off the list. The sod trucks are scheduled to arrive today.

    I will look to post some real pictures from the school site soon.

    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Back-to-School Nights

    I have made it a practice this past year to post my blog entries each school day, first thing. I may vary my routine on the rare occasion, but it seems to be what works best.

    Yesterday, running late, I thought I would simply post my entry upon arriving at work. It was going to be a simple reminder about Back-to-School nights. That was the last time I thought about it until I was driving home from work!

    Oh well.

    So, here you go. Don’t forget (!), Back-to-School nights at Woodbury start this week:

    Thursday, September 20 – all elementary schools
    Thursday, September 27 – Jr.-Sr. High School

    Parents, we hope to see all of you there. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the teacher, see the room, and get a better feel for your child’s school day.

    If, due to your schedule, you are unable to make the evening event, do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher on your own – e-mail, phone, or personal conference.

    Making a connection with your child’s teacher(s) is an important step to ensuring a successful school year.

    Friday, September 14, 2007

    Spotlight on Ms. Stocker

    Maureen Stocker

    Teacher of Social Studies

    Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

    Maureen Stocker

    • College(s) and degrees(s):
    Fashion Institute of Technology, Fine Arts major
    Moore College of Art & Design, BFA, Art History & Studio Art
    LaSalle University, MA, Secondary Education

    • Work experience:
    I previously worked for Freeman's Auction House in Philadelphia. For the most part I handled all of the buyers for Client Services. On several occasions I had the opportunity to catalogue and appraise African, Pre-Columbian, Oceanic and Japanese art pieces for auction. Working for an auction house was an extremely exciting experience. I had the pleasure of handling several rare and unique works of art.

    • Favorite books
    o fiction: The Harry Potter series and I really love murder mysteries
    o nonfiction: Anything art history or history

    • Favorite television show:
    I’m totally addicted to Lost

    • Last movie I loved:
    I took my 2 year old niece to see Shrek 3 ; we both loved it.

    • Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
    With Teeth Nine Inch Nails

    • Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
    My grandmother (who passed away 3 years ago). I really miss hanging out with her; she was an amazing lady.

    • Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
    The Archaeology and Anthropology Museum at University of Pennsylvania

    • One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
    Cleaning the trunk of my car. I have the most random things in there.

    • Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
    I love cats, domestic or wild.

    • Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
    Nigeria, to visit the Yoruba tribe and witness the Egungun Festival.

    • Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
    Mr. Muccolini, whom I had the pleasure of taking three courses with in high school (World Cultures, Economics and Contemporary International Affairs). He thought outside the box and taught outside of it too. He encouraged thinking, debates and speaking our minds. He challenged me and made me interested in learning. He valued me as a person despite the fact that I wasn't the most stellar student.

    I had the pleasure of running into him last November. When I told him the career I was pursuing and that he'd inspired me to do it, he was so excited. We have kept in touch since then and he gives me tons of helpful hints. He's still challenging me and encouraging me. He is also still thinking outside the box; he has a pirate flag on an obnoxiously tall flag pole on his lawn.

    Other facts:
    • I have three brothers, all of whom I absolutely adore. I have two nephews and three nieces that I love to spoil.
    • Published a paper in January entitled, “Educational Theory of Booker T. Washington.” Finding out that I was published was a dream come true; it was my proudest moment.
    • I was an exchange student to Austria when I was 15.
    • I lived in New York City for five years and in Dublin, Ireland for one year.

    Thursday, September 13, 2007

    Got Tickets? . . . Continued

    Yesterday, two tickets to a Pitman Broadway show were donated to the district as part of our “Got Tickets?” effort.

    Last year, Woodbury students were also able to enjoy the Camden Riversharks and the Philadelphia 76ers thanks to individuals who knew about and acted on this campaign.

    I am repeating the posting from last year to remind some and introduce other to our “Got Tickets?” thinking:

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Do you have tickets to the opera, ballet, a play, or musical? How about tickets to a sporting event?

    The Woodbury Public Schools would like to be a "clearinghouse" for extra tickets. We will get them into the hands of families in our district. You will be able to provide an opportunity to one of our students -- an opportunity that may not be something he or she would typically experience.

    In a July 9, 2006, letter to the editor in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Carolynn Schneider of Glassboro wrote how a trip to a "free" concert when she was a high school student introduced her to the "glory of classical music experienced in person. That first free concert led to three generations of Philadelphia Orchestra season-ticket holders . . ."

    Maybe you can be the one who sparks a new interest. Even a chance for a child to witness a 76ers game in person is something that can have lasting impact.

    Contact my secretary, Mrs. Carr, at 856-853-0123 EXT. 214 if you have tickets to donate, or e-mail her at

    If you can provide us with lead time, it is appreciated, but we will be able to "turn around" the tickets with little notice.

    What a wonderful opportunity you will provide a child!

    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    NASA Videoconference

    Woodbury retains it’s NASA School designation even though we have completed the formal, three-year planning and activity cycle. As a result, our teachers maintain opportunities to connect with NASA and provide students with special opportunities.

    Ms. Fitzgerald, science teacher in the high school, informs us that her 8th period class will be participating in a videoconference this Thursday.

    Students will interact with NASA's Desert Research and Technology Studies 
(RATS) team while they are field testing a variety of spacesuits, robotics,
 and other scientific equipment that has been designed to support future 
space and planetary exploration.

    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Update, Part 2: Fire Alarm

    Just to keep us all on our toes, the fire alarm in the Jr.-Sr. High School went off last period of the day. As per our protocol, the building was evacuated. Unfortunately, at the time, rain showers were occurring.

    There was no malicious act – no fire station was pulled. In fact, the cause of the alarm still needs to be determined; the company that supports the fire detection system has been called to investigate the malfunction.

    All in all, it was a rather hectic day at the Jr.-Sr. High School. The one bright spot during both of today's events was that our students were very cooperative.

    Update: Gloucester County Courthouse Threat

    This morning, there was a bomb threat at the three Gloucester County Court buildings. We were asked to move our students and staff from a portion of the Jr.-Sr. High School closest to the old County Court House; we moved these individuals to the gymnasium.

    When it was determined that we could use portions of the building away from the south side of the school, we moved students so that everyone did not need to remain in the gym. Also, we were able to use our lunch rooms; our sixth grade students ate lunch at their regularly designated time.

    We received an “all clear” message from those responsible for the Court House search and returned to using the entire Jr.-Sr. High School at 11:45 a.m. The balance of our students were able to eat lunch at the regularly scheduled times.

    The entire event lasted approximately two hours. Our students were well behaved and cooperative throughout the time away from our regular routine.

    Congratulations, Woodbury Athletes

    Each year, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) reports on the number of student athlete disqualifications each school received in all sports. NJSIAA’s goal by tracking and publicizing these disqualification numbers is to reduce the overall number.

    Our Athletic Director, Grant Shivers, recently reported that Woodbury was disqualification free for the 2006-2007 season.

    We were one of only four schools in the Colonial Conference to go disqualification free.

    When informing all of the coaches, Mr. Shivers wrote, “I want to congratulate all of you for the hard work you do and thank you for making sportsmanship a focus for the athletes you guide. I am very grateful for such a great coaching staff. Now let’s make it two years in a row!”

    Congratulations to all – coaches, athletes, and spectators – who help Woodbury stand out in such an important manner and good luck during the 2007-08 sports seasons!

  • NJSIAA's Official List
  • Monday, September 10, 2007

    Stadium Update

    One reader of this blog asked for a football stadium update.

    Since the contractor working on the stadium began work last school year, the goal has been to have the stadium complete and ready for this Fall 2007 season. As recently as last week’s weekly meeting with the contractor, we have continued to use September 29th as the target.

    Unfortunately, the reality of various issues that have caused delays throughout the project – verifying that we were not disturbing native American artifacts, soil remediation issues, structural concerns with adjacent properties, and various weather events -- have caused for the timeline for completion to be ever-changing.

    There has been substantial work completed to date. I believe that what you see there today would impress you. The new stadium will be exciting.

    The sod for the playing field is scheduled to be started later this week. Other big hurdles that remain include getting the foundation of the new track completed and finishing the poured concrete bleachers and associated stairs.

    Most of the items necessary for opening for football will be finalized in the next couple of weeks. There are some timeline issues that remain that will need to be worked out more completely with the help our construction management group.

    We have made back-up plans to have some of our early home games played on Rowan University’s turf field. At this point, it appears that this will be necessary. Our plan at this time is to target the Homecoming game for our official home opener (October 20th).

    Two of our first three home games can be accommodated at Rowan. For the other game, will play on the road – at Lindenwold.

    That’s the update. Not perfect, but progress is being made; and our plan allows for us to at least be on a neutral site for a couple of those opening home games.

    I will post more details as we receive updates that impact the timeline in any significant way.

    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Spotlight on Mr. Vivadelli

    Jason M. Vivadelli

    Assistant Principal

    Junior High School

    Jason M. Vivadelli

    • College(s) and degrees(s):
    Wilmington College - MED Educational Leadership
    The College of New Jersey - BA History

    • Work experience:
    For the past three years I have worked in the Mt. Laurel School District as a Social Studies Teacher at Thomas E. Harrington Middle School. Prior to that, I lived in northern New Jersey and worked as a Social Studies Teacher at Maxson Middle School in Plainfield.

    • Favorite books
    o fiction: Shogun - by James Clavell
    o nonfiction: Free to Choose – by Milton Friedman

    • Favorite television show:
    This one is a tough call. I'd have to say it's a tie between Lost and 24.

    • Last movie I loved:
    The Bourne Ultimatum

    • Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:

    Creedence Clearwater Revival

    • Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with:
    From everything I've read, Benjamin Franklin seems like someone who would spark entertaining lunch conversation. Humorous and intelligent, he was a true "renaissance man" with eclectic talents and interests.

    • Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
    Ocean City, NJ

    • One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
    Repainting a hallway in my house

    • Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
    Lucy - my parent's cat

    • Favorite sports team:

    New York Jets…Mets…New Jersey Nets…Devils

    • Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

    • Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
    The teacher that was most inspiring to me was a professor that I met in college. Passionate and innovative, his teaching style was both engaging and effective. His class was quite challenging as he held us all to extremely high standards. Yet, his interest in my academic development and individual goals was what was truly motivating. As a professional educator, I try to model myself on his differentiated approach and caring demeanor.

    Wednesday, September 05, 2007

    Welcome Back – Students!

    We welcome our students back Thursday – September 6th.

    I wish everyone a successful school year.

    Throughout the school year, please feel very comfortable communicating any questions or concerns that you may have to your child’s teacher or principal. It is important that we know of these issues so that we can work together toward solutions.

    Ultimately, our goal is the same – to provide a high quality educational program for your child. We hope, that along the way, he or she will also find school a warm, welcoming, and fun place to be.

    Get ready. . . get set . . . GO! Our 181-day adventure begins.

    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    Welcome Back, Faculty and Staff!

    We had our first day of the 2007-08 school year today. We have a wonderful, dedicated group of adults ready to greet our students in just two days. School starts for our students on Thursday, September 6.

    Below, I am placing the "youtube" links to the various clips that I included in my opening, welcoming remarks at this morning's session. Some of those in the audience asked to be directed to one or more of the items.

    1. Human Network (CISCO):

    2. Seinfeld in the Classroom:

    3. Digital Students:

    4. Tech Help (Opening the book)

    5. Did You Know?

    6. What if?

    7. Education Today and Tomorrow

    8. Hero in the Hallway

    9. Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity? (Not viewed at this morning's session, but discussed)


    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Welcome Back

    Welcome back! I am sure to catch up on some of the summer happenings in these early blog posts. It seemed like a short break – very busy!

    For now, let me remind the families – students and parents – and staff in the Evergreen and Walnut schools about our “Welcoming Events” for the new principals:

    Tuesday, September 4
    Evergreen Avenue School
    4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    Welcome New Principal, Tonya Breland!

    Wednesday, September 5
    Walnut Street School
    4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
    Welcome New Principal, Jeff Adams!

    Please feel free to stop by any time during these events. This is an opportunity to meet the new principals and say hello.

    We will have some refreshments available for all.

    The weather looks like it will be nice – we are scheduled to be outside.

    Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Summer Blog Break

    Thanks for being part of this blog effort! At times, posting each day of the school year was a challenge, but I enjoyed the fact that a segment of the school community was able to connect to some additional information that they may not have otherwise known.

    The blog counter shows the following for the year:

    Total Visitors: 7,095
    Total Hits: 13,165

    I am going to take a break. I do not anticipate any regular summer posts – but I do plan to return to the blog as we get closer to the new school year.

    Enjoy your summer.

    Friday, June 22, 2007

    Thank You, Teachers

    One of our teachers, Dan O'Leary, had his child accompany him to school this spring on the annual “Take Your Child to Work” day. His son, a second grader, enjoyed his day and wrote a short essay about his experiences. The school principal at his son’s school saw it and published it on the front page of the school newsletter.

    Today, I was a 6th, 7th, 8th and high school teacher at Woodbury School where my dad teaches. It felt nice leading and helping all the kids. I got to experience how teachers work and feel every day.

    It felt different being a teacher than a student. Being a teacher felt good to help kids learn. It also can feel frustrating when the kids don’t listen, misbehave, or don’t do their work.

    I learned how teachers prepare for a lesson and how hard they work with their kids. I really liked teaching reading because we read Dracula and all the kids were very interested and excited about it. I did not like math because it was a bit boring and a kid did not behave.

    I liked being a teacher it was fun and hard work. I think a teacher is one of the most important jobs in the world because you are teaching kids how to grow up. Teachers are like moms and dads away from home.

    On this last day of teaching for the 2006-07 school year, I would like to thank all of our teachers for working so hard each day to make the learning experience meaningful for our students.

    I wish everyone a safe, enjoyable summer.

    Thursday, June 21, 2007

    Spotlight on Mr. Gamble

    John W. Gamble


    Walnut Street School

    (Note: Mr. Gamble is retiring at the end of this school year after thirty-one years as an administrator in the Woodbury Public School system. We thank him and wish him well!)

    John W. Gamble

    • College(s) and degrees(s):
    West Chester University -- B.A. – Political Science
    West Chester University – Masters Degree in Educational Administration
    Temple University Principal Certification

    • Work experience:
    High School Teacher of Social Studies and English
    Coached basketball, baseball and soccer
    Principal – Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School, West End School, Walnut Street School

    • Favorite books
    o fiction: Anything by James Patterson
    o nonfiction: When Pride Still Mattered – David Maraniss

    • Favorite television show:
    Antiques Roadshow; ESPN; Two and one-half Men

    • Last movie I loved:
    Any movie I see with my granddaughter

    • Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with:
    My dad who passed away years ago in his mid-fifties. He was a sensitive, caring person who taught me to value people and simple things in life. He also was the only person who was glad and supportive of my decision to forego a career in law to become a teacher and coach.

    • Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
    Any place on the water.

    • One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
    September at the beach; “finish” my basement

    • Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
    Dogs, cats, horses, deer – I love animals

    • Favorite sports team:

    Eagles, Phillies, Penn State, and the “Herd”

    • Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
    The moon – or at least a beach, a book, a beverage, and my wife

    • Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
    An individual who really cared about all students, both as students and as people. One who enjoyed teaching and the subject, and was always enthusiastic and energetic. This teacher worked hard and was always prepared for class, inspiring students to do the same. This person saw the positive in each student and set high expectations for all of us.

    • Any other last words/message?
    When I first came to Woodbury, I knew no one. Thirty-one years later, I leave here with a strong love and respect for this school district and the many students whom I have had; the town/community; and the wonderful staff with whom I’ve worked. I am thankful for having had the opportunity to work here and will cherish the memories forever.

    Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    Board of Education Meeting Tonight --- 7:00 p.m.

    The regular, monthly meeting of the Woodbury Board of Education is scheduled for this evening at 7:00 p.m. The meeting is held in the Board Conference Room on the first floor of the high school building.

    The full agendas for all board meetings can be found on the school district's website:

    An addendum to the agenda will be provided at the meeting; it will include action items on some summer facility upgrade projects – classroom renovation and athletic trainer’s room relocation. Bids for the work were just recently received.

    Monday, June 18, 2007

    Spotlight on Mrs. Carey

    Frances G. Carey


    Evergreen Avenue School

    (Note: Mrs. Carey is retiring at the end of this school year after ten years as the principal of Evergreen Avenue School. We thank her and wish her well!)

    Frances G. Carey

    • Last movie I loved:
    Amazing Grace

    • Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
    Playlists devised by my sons for my I-pod - Music from Vivaldi to The Beatles – love it all!

    • Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
    My family. We have such great conversations, and my sons have such a great sense of humor that we cry with laughter. They are great company and so positive in their outlook on life.

    • Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
    The Beach

    • One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
    The basement

    • Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
    A stuffed one

    • Favorite sports team:

    The team my kids were on … otherwise watching others play sports is not part of my life.

    • Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

    • Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
    Mrs. Goukas in 4th grade. She brought her son and husband to school for “show ‘n tell”. They were both basketball pro’s … and so tall. Even with her very full life, Mrs. Goukas made each one of us feel valued, and she truly convinced us that our education was our ticket to a better life. She held high standards but we knew she cared about us and wanted the best for us.