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.