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.