Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Early Dismissal Update

Thanks for everyone’s patience and understanding with regard to our heating system difficulty at the Jr-Sr High School today – Tuesday, January 30.

The new geothermal heat/air conditioning system had an unusual problem with a gasket that caused a leak in the piping. As a result, we needed to close the system down to address the concern. The lack of heat is what resulted in the early dismissal of school.

We do not anticipate that this problem will occur again. Our contractors were surprised to see this gasket issue develop.

The early dismissal was announced on our official outlets for such action – KYW (CBS) and local access Channel 13. We had the dismissal noted on both our district website and phone system. Additionally, we did contact the other major television stations to help in having this closing announced – ABC and NBC.

Students were informed that, if there was any difficulty with access to their home, they should stop at the office for help. Access was made available to telephones for those who needed to make contact with a parent.

The building’s heat has been restarted – we ARE scheduled for school tomorrow, Wednesday, January 31.

The Future of High Schools in New Jersey

The New Jersey Department of Education is conducting meetings hosted by the New Jersey High School Redesign Steering Committee. This committee is meeting across the state to provide information and gain feedback regarding ways to strengthen high school education in New Jersey.

All are welcome to attend.

The meeting in our area is scheduled for –

Thursday, February 8, 2007
7:00-9:00 p.m.
Washington Township High School
519 Hurffville-Cross Keys Road
Sewell, New Jersey 08080

For more information, please visit
  • NJ High School Redesign Steering Committee
  • Monday, January 29, 2007

    AVID Update

    Mrs. Dunham, Principal of the Jr.-Sr. High School recently attended an AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Parent Night presentation for the parents of Woodbury students participating in the program. It was held last Thursday evening – January 25. The following is her account of the program and her reaction to the students who were involved in the presentation:

    Even though the meeting was only one hour long – it was the most powerful sixty minutes I have ever experienced! AVID students from the ninth and tenth grade classes shared AVID learning techniques that help them perform their best in every class they take. Students shared simple, but effective techniques:

    • personal flashcards for the visual and literal learner,
    • Cornell notes – a note taking tool; one student showed examples of its use in science and literacy classes, and
    • the AVID binder – a binder that organizes their work in every class and that every student present (there were 20 students there) claimed was the most significant benefit to being in the program.

    As a final presentation, seven students presented a phenomenal sampling of the Socratic Seminar – an activity in listening and sharing. The discussion topic, “How AVID Has Made A Difference In My Life,” served to prove the power of support and encouragement in a student’s school experience. Out of mouths of young teenagers – we heard students claim a sense of “security”, a conviction that they would not and could not fail, the realization that they could be the kind of student they always desired to be: one making good grades. Students acknowledged pride in their work and their work ethic. More importantly – every student in attendance professed a desire --even eagerness -- for the college experience!

    I left the meeting inspired and encouraged -- knowing that the AVID program is one of the most powerful instructional programs to come along in education. In a perfect world, every student would be AVIDIZED! It would be the best support we could provide to our students.

    Many thanks to the Woodbury Board of Education for supporting the program and providing our students with an school experience that is positive, meaningful and life changing.

    (For more information on AVID, see the posting in this blog dated 9/25/06)

    Thursday, January 25, 2007

    High School Students of the Month

    Did you see the pictures of the High School students of the month in yesterday's Gloucester County Times? Mrs. Dunham forwarded these names on for added "blog" publicity . . .


    Grade 9 Brenton Washington

    Grade 10 Erica Dow

    Grade 11 Molly Dennen

    Grade 12 Lamar Lancaster


    Grade 9 Jordan Rhodes

    Grade 10 Mirabel Sanchez

    Grade 11 Lucy Gassner

    Grade 12 Jaidy Ramirez

    Wednesday, January 24, 2007

    NASA Family Night

    REMINDER: Aerospace Technology: How do engineers design, build and test airplanes?

    Tonight is the NASA Family Night

    Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School’s old cafeteria

    6:30 to 8:30 pm

    Board of Education Meeting Update

    All items on the board’s agenda were all approved last night with the exception of the resolution opposing the state legislature’s county-wide school district bill. Since the state has indicated it is not pursuing that matter, the board pulled its resolution from the agenda prior to a vote.

    Note that the Walnut Street School HVAC bid specifications that are part of the referendum work were approved and will be available for contractors to view and bid.

    Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    Planning for 2007-08

    The counselors in the high school will be meeting with students in grade level meetings this week to provide high school course selection booklets for the 2007-08 school year (grades 8-11). Additional information regarding the scheduling process will be reviewed.

    Parents should take time to review the material with their children and feel free to contact the counselor with any questions.

    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.

    Students and teachers from the Evergreen Avenue School will be in attendance to present an update highlighting activity within the building.

    The agendas for all board meetings can be found on the school district's website: www.woodburysch.com.

    Monday, January 22, 2007

    Regular Opening

    The Woodbury Public Schools will be opening at the regular times today. Please be careful making your way to school – give yourself some extra time. Have a good week!

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    Friday Spotlight on Mr. Napoleon

    Mark Napoleon

    Assistant Principal

    Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

    Mark Napoleon

    • College(s) and degrees(s):
    Bachelor’s Degree – Glassboro State College
    Master’s Degree – Student Personnel Services – Rowan University
    Master’s Degree – School Leadership – Wilmington College

    • Work experience:
    Social Studies Teacher – St. James High School
    Social Studies Teacher – Sterling High School
    Guidance Counselor – Woodbury High School

    • Favorite books
    o fiction: Of Mice and Men
    o nonfiction: A Coach’s Life, by Dean Smith

    • Favorite television show:
    Anything on the Discovery Channel

    • Last movie I loved:

    • Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
    All my Tony Bennett CDs

    • Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with:
    Ben Franklin

    • Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
    Sea Isle City, NJ

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

    • Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
    Gold fish

    • Favorite sports team:


    • Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
    Venice, Rome and Tuscany

    • Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
    I had a high school social studies teacher and basketball coach who connected with me early in high school. I was amazed how he could make history so interesting and fun. He was able to make learning about the past realistic -- video, pictures or portraits were not needed. He painted his own picture through great lessons.

    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    NASA Family Night -- Next Week

    Focus on Aerospace Technology: How do engineers design, build and test airplanes?

    For an answer to that fascinating question, plan to join us for the next NASA Family Night scheduled for Wednesday evening, January 24th in the Woodbury Jr/Sr High School’s old cafeteria.

    From 6:30 to 8:30 pm, Woodbury School district science and math teachers will help students and their parents explore various aerospace technology concepts. They will learn about the actual measurement tools used by engineers and scientists during the process of developing, designing, building and testing airplanes.

    During the evening, participants will also move among three different learning stations where they will view a video on the history of flight. Other stations will engage participants in a hands-on measurement activity and a computer-based simulation from the NASA website.

    NASA Family Nights are part of the NASA Explorer School grant program. Woodbury School District is the only school system in the state of New Jersey to have received this unique honor.

    For more information, please contact Colleen Fitzgerald or Antoinette Allen at 856-853-0123.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    December Athletes of the Month

    Our athletic trainer, Melody Arno, and high school Athletic Director Grant Shivers have announced the December ATHLETES OF THE MONTH:

    Shawney Kersey (Winter Track)
    Caitlyn Pipolo (Girls Basketball)

    Our high school coaches are asked for nominations each month and then Ms. Arno and Mr. Shivers finalize the selection -- choosing one female and one male athlete of the month. Each gets a certificate and t-shirt, and names are posted on a bulletin board outside the athletic trainer’s room.


    Tuesday, January 16, 2007

    Meeting @ Washington Township High School -- TONIGHT

    Keep Local Control of Our Schools!

    Please join us for a public discussion and information session on the proposed county school district.
    TUESDAY, JANUARY 16, 2007
    7:00 P.M.
    (Washington Township High School
    529 Hurffville Cross Keys Road, Sewell, NJ)

    See the two posts below for more information -- and check out our website at www.woodburysch.com

    County School District Flyer

    (The following information is going home to parents today in the form of a flyer. It is signed by the various parent organization presidents for the Woodbury Public Schools, by the Woodbury Education Association President, the Woodbury Board of Education Presdident and by me.)


    Have you heard?
    Bills A-8/S-49, S-7 take away control of your local school district!

    These bills, if passed, would establish a pilot program in the Department of Education for the organization of a County Administrative School District. This experiment would be for a period of TEN years! Gloucester County has been identified as one of the counties that would be eligible to participate.

    • Under the program, schools would be governed by a state appointee and four freeholder board appointments. You would lose local control!
    • The decision to apply for the program rests solely with the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the County Superintendent, upon approval of the Commissioner of Education.
    • There is no detailed language in any of these bills that addresses students or the quality of their education.
    • The bills do not require the consent of any other community or governmental unit in the county. It does not give local residents any say over the organization or operation of its local schools.


    For more information go to the district's website: www.woodburysch.com

    ACT NOW!



    [A link on the front, home page of the school district's website (www.woodburysch.com) will take you to where these e-mail addresses can be activated directly. Also, there are sample letters available for you to use/modify.]

    Senator Wayne R. Bryant
    501 Cooper Street
    Camden, NJ 08102
    Email link at:

    Assemblyman Joseph J. Roberts
    Brooklawn Shopping Plaza
    Rt. 130 South & Browning Road
    Brooklawn, NJ 08030
    E-mail link at: www.jleg.state.nj.us/SelectRep.asp.

    Assemblywoman Nilsa Cruz-Perez
    800 Cooper Street, Suite 525
    Camden, NJ 08102
    Email link at:

    Governor Jon Corzine
    P.O. Box 001
    Trenton, NJ 08625
    Fax: 699-777-2922
    Email link at: www.state.nj.us/governor

    Gloucester County Board of Chosen Freeholders
    P.O. Box 337 – Courthouse
    Woodbury, NJ 08096

    Stephen M. Sweeney, Director

    Robert M. Damminger, Deputy Director

    Joseph A. Brigandi, Jr.

    Joseph Chila

    Frank J. DiMarco

    Helene M. Reed

    Dr. Warren S. Wallace

    Prior to January 22, contacting your State Senator and Assembly representatives above is most important. Freeholder Director Sweeney is also a state senator.

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Sixers -- Got Tickets?

    Preston Harcum, a 4th grader at West End Memorial, is off to the Sixers game this month thanks to our "Got Tickets?" campaign.

    Preston will see the Sixers play the Milwaukee Bucks. He is also scheduled to receive a Sixers pack of goodies delivered to his seat during the game!

    Thanks to Mr. Meyers, West End Principal, for this donation.

    Below, I am re-running the Got Tickets? request.

    Got Tickets?

    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 jcarr@woodburysch.com.

    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, January 10, 2007

    Financial Aid Night

    The Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School will be hosting a Financial Aid Night for parents looking to plan the financing of a child's college education. The program will take place Thursday, January 11, at 7:00 p.m. in the Media Center.

    All parents (even parents of elementary students!) should feel free to attend this event -- it is never too early to understand this process and to start planning. Obviously, it is a very important opportunity for the parents of our juniors and seniors.

    Admission is free!

    Tuesday, January 09, 2007

    Band Concert -- Tonight

    The Jr.-Sr. High Band Concert is scheduled for this evening, January 9, at 8:00 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

    Monday, January 08, 2007

    Bannner Across Broad Street

    You may have seen the new banner hanging across South Broad Street: Woodbury High School . . . Ranked #1 in Gloucester County.

    The school has similar banners posted in the high school, and one is displayed in front of the high school building. This new banner on Broad Street is the result of the work of the Woodbury Support Our Schools (SOS) organization.

    There was a cost to create the banner, and there is an application fee that needs to be paid each time the banner is displayed. Each time SOS submits an application, the banner can stay up for two weeks. The organization intends to have it displayed periodically, as long as funds allow.

    The City Council agreed to contribute 1/3 of the total cost for the banner and permit fees (up to a maximum of $800); three realtors made contributions -- Cardinal Real Estate Services ($300), Budd Realty ($150) and Art Duffield Realty ($100); the West End PTA contributed $150; and SOS contributed $300. Additionally, SOS has indicated that several individuals have stated an interest in contributing.

    The Board of Education thanks SOS for their coordination of this added publicity for the high school!

    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Friday Spotlight on Mr. Blumenthal

    Derek Blumenthal

    Math Teacher

    Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

    Derek Blumenthal

    • College(s) and degrees(s):
    BA – Rowan University - Mathematics

    • Work experience:
    First year teacher!

    • Favorite books
    o fiction: The Lord of the Rings Triology
    o nonfiction: The Bible

    • Favorite television show:

    • Last movie I loved:
    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

    • Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
    Third Eye Blind’s first album (self titled)

    • Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
    C. S. Lewis (author of The Chronicles of Narnia, amongst other things) because he has a way of articulating things that blows my mind.

    • Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
    Ithaca, NY – Cliff jumping!

    • One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
    Finish building my arcade machine

    • Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
    Narwhal. -- Definitely.

    • Favorite sports team:

    Philadelphia 76ers

    • Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
    Somewhere in French Polynesia

    • Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
    Mr. Barnshaw was my 11th grade US History II teacher. On top of having a passion for his subject matter, he deeply loved his job and his students. He treated everyone like family, regardless of what he received in return, and strived to see us succeed. I hope to bring that attitude into my own career and hopefully leave a lasting impression on my students.

    Thursday, January 04, 2007

    Teacher of the Year Nominations

    This week, our students will be given a form that you can return to nominate one of our teachers for Teacher of the Year. Please take a moment to give some thought to this annual recognition opportunity.

    In filling out the form, try to give an example or two as to why you think your nominee deserves the recognition. The selection committee is helped whenever the nominations include these types of examples of good teaching.

    Thanks for taking the time to complete the forms and get them back to the school.

    Wednesday, January 03, 2007

    Back to Learning

    Okay. It was tough to get back to the regular routine – for everyone. But, once we were back, everything clicked into place quickly:

    A kindergarten class was locating North America and South America on the “flat map” of the world. Then, they took a guess at where Central America would be located – and they were right!

    A 3rd grade class was learning about decimal place value, and the students were writing numbers to express these decimals. It was exciting to see these very young learners discuss that 0.68 was “sixty-eight hundredths” and could also be represented by 68/100!

    A 2nd grade class brainstormed individual New Year’s resolutions --- neater homework assignments, better listening, etc. These were written and posted on a hallway bulletin board.

    Another 2nd grade class discussed attributes of different shapes and used the attributes to classify the shapes in games – “What’s my Rule?” and a Sesame Street game of “One of these things is not like the other . . . “

    And another Kindergarten class was creating and decorating New Year’s hats to celebrate 2007 after reading a nonfiction story about celebrations of the New Year around the world.

    This was just my quick glimpse of a few classrooms. As you can guess, the learning was happening at all grades and in all buildings in a similar fashion. It is always exciting to see the quality activities that take place each day. It is especially impressive to see how quickly everyone fell back into the learning routines. And – how much fun it is to learn!

    Again, Happy New Year.

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    Welcome Back

    Welcome back, everyone. I hope the winter break was enjoyable and that the holidays allowed you extra time with family and friends.

    New Year’s resolutions can be a meaningful exercise for students as well as adults. Take time to talk with your children (or students) about making personal assessments and determining what can be done better. All of our children can identify areas to improve – and what can be done to turn an area of weakness into a strength.

    Read more books for enjoyment?
    Help shop at the supermarket to practice math skills?
    Design a new homework routine?
    Establish expectations for getting him/herself ready for school each day?

    Just one area of improvement will give a valuable focus. Happy New Year!