Monday, March 31, 2008

25 Book Club at West End Memorial

(Mr. Myers, principal of West End, contributed this blog entry.)

The incentive portion of the 25 Book Club came to an end on March 28th for the students at West End. By this date, it was expected that all students completed the goal of reading 25 books at home during the course of the year in order to receive prizes.

During the course of the school year, the students at West End have read well over 8,000 books! We have 224 students who met the 25 book goal and will have the opportunity to attend the Camden Riversharks game on May 15th. Way to go students!

Throughout out the last couple of months, the West End staff organized several fundraisers to off-set some of the costs associated to the game including a popcorn sale, pretzel sale, lollypop sale, dress down days, and a “Tape Mr. Myers to the Wall Day.

The most interesting fundraiser was the “Tape Mr. Myers to the Wall Day.” Students were able to bring in one dollar to purchase a piece of duct tape. We all thought for sure that 277 pieces of duct tape would hold Mr. Myers to the wall. While students conducted many chants of “Tape him up!”, Mr. Jones pulled the step stool out from Mr. Myers. After a brief second suspended in the air -- Mr. Myers fell to the ground.

Though this brings the "contest" portion of the 25 Book Club to an end, it is still expected that students continue to read at home. Individual book counts are reflected on report cards.

Congratulations, West End.

Gloucester County Times Article -- Saturday, March 29

Friday, March 28, 2008

Spotlight on Ms. Benson

Chloe Benson

Teacher of Mathematics

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School


Chloe Benson

• College(s) and degrees(s):
Gwynedd-Mercy College – B.A. in Computer Information Science
Rowan University – Post-Baccalaureate, Certification (K-12) Mathematics

• Work experience:
Teaching assistant, Gloucester County College (2002-2007)

• Favorite books
o Fiction: Tuesday with Morrie
o Nonfiction: Thinking Mathematically

• Favorite television show:

• Last movie I loved:
October Sky

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Come Away With Me - Norah Jones

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
My dad. I would like to pay for the lunch and say “Thank you, Dad!”

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
Big open field with nobody around

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
Save enough money to travel around the world.

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

Favorite sports team:
Sorry! I don’t have any.

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
Spain and Portugal

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
I met this professor in my college math course. She was always enthusiastic when she walked into the classroom. Her lessons were always incremental and organized. I took her pre-calculus class, and I recognized the first time that I enjoyed working on math and I was good at it. Through her teaching style, I discovered my potential in math.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Impressive Performance

I must write to inform you that any Woodbury resident would have been proud of the Woodbury Public Schools last night if he or she was in attendance at the Board of Education meeting to hear our students perform.

Mr. Dunham, principal of the Jr.-Sr. High School, had three different sets of students involved in the program –

  • Two students sang a song they originally performed in the cafeteria-based, February Black History “Open Mic” celebration,
  • Three students read original poetry that each fashioned in the high school’s new Creative Writing elective class, and
  • Nine students provided the board members with personal reflections on the value of being part of the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program in the high school.

At the conclusion of the presentation, our board members praised the students and teachers present for the wonderful insight into the successes that were part of this 2007-08 school year.

I want to thank Mrs. Dunham, Mrs. Sokolovic (Creative Writing teacher), Mrs. Fitzgerald (AVID teacher), Mrs. Cohen (AVID director) and all of the students involved in the board presentation (see below). It was a powerfully uplifting event.

Open Mic
Darnell Donohue, Grade 9,
Juwan Daniels-Dyer, Grade 9

Creative Writing
Adrienne Curry, Grade 10
Kim Erskine, Grade 12
Tangeleke Rothmiller, Grade 12

Karon Gibson
Teddy Johnson
Keyona Nelson
William Pearson
Qua'Dera Riche
Maya Rhodes


James Jones
Katharine Mooney
JaLisa Wilson

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Board of Education Meeting -- Tonight

The regular monthly meeting of the Woodbury Board of Education will be held today, March 26, at 7:00 p.m. (agenda)

There are two presentations/discussion items scheduled for this month's meeting:

  • Jr.-Sr. High School Student Presentation
  • Public Hearing on the 2008-09 School Budget

(Reminder to school staff: There is a 3:30 p.m. meeting today in the Board Conference Room for all who are interested in hearing a preview of the information that will be part of the public hearing on the school budget.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Second Grade Poets Grow Big and Small

(submitted by Alysa Cummings, Supervisor of Curriculum & Instruction)

To get a head start on their April celebration of National Poetry Month, second grade teachers invited Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor Alysa Cummings into their classrooms during the month of March for a fun Shel Silverstein lesson based on his Where the Sidewalk Ends poem,

One Inch Tall:

If you were only one inch tall, you'd ride a worm to school.The teardrop of a crying ant would be your swimming pool.A crumb of cake would be a feastAnd last you seven days at least,A flea would be a frightening beastIf you were one inch tall…

The students tried to imagine what life would be like if they were suddenly shrunken in size. After reading One Inch Tall, here are some of the creative ideas that Miss Hill’s boys and girls shared:

I could swim in a bowl of cheerios
I would fly in a bubble
I would jump through a paper clip
And dance on the computer keys

Next, the second graders used their imaginations to write about a different perspective: how would your life change if you were suddenly 15 feet tall? Miss Frazier’s and Mrs. Tsombaris’ students really liked being big:

I would give my teacher a ride to work on my shoulder
I could eat 6000 bags of cookies
I could walk from New Jersey to the North Pole
I would step on a lot of people
I could jump as high as the sky
I would slide down a rainbow
I would feel big and strong
I could do anything I wanted to if I was 15 feet tall…

Shel Silverstein is just one of many poets that elementary students will be celebrating during National Poetry Month and clearly a top ten favorite among second graders.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Walnut in the News

The Walnut Street School students made the newspaper today.  Check out the link below to the Gloucester County Times story on the Philadelphia Zoo program that visited our students yesterday.  It was a reward assembly for good citizenship.  Congratulations, Walnut!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Anticipated Faculty Openings for 2008-09 School Year

We have started our annual search for new faculty. This time of the year, we are attending various education job fairs in the region.

We attended the Greater Philadelphia Area Teacher Job Fair on Wednesday, March 11. Additionally, last Saturday, we were one of the school districts interviewing at the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New Jersey job fair for prospective mathematics and science teachers.

We will continue with a Gloucester County Teacher Job Fair this week (Wednesday) and then another event at the University of Delaware.

In addition, we are advertising in NJHire (an on-line service -- and have placed an advertisement in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ultimately, we will look to hire the majority of new teachers for the 2008-09 school year at our April and May board meetings.

Below is a list of anticipated openings:

  • Science

  • Special Education (highly qualified language arts literacy and/or mathematics)

  • Spanish

  • Social Studies

  • English

  • Elementary Teachers

  • Academic Coach – Literacy

  • Academic Coach – Mathematics

  • Academic Coach -- AVID

  • School Psychologist and/or LDTC

  • Intern/Option II Coordinator (0.5 FTE)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Driver Education

Earlier this month, Woodbury High School driver education teacher, Joyce Woodrow, arranged with the local Woodbury Police and the Camden Park Police to have a special demonstration for her students. The demonstration is part of a program that is sponsored by the Camden County Freeholders and includes a special golf cart, vision impaired goggles, and an obstacle course made from traffic cones.

This hands-on demonstration seemed to make an impact on the many students who participated throughout the day.

There was a story in the Courier-Post and a picture display on the Gloucester County Times website. Links to both are attached below.

Gloucester County Times -- pictures

Courier-Post -- story

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spotlight on Mrs. Scipione-Fehre

Roseanne Scipione-Fehre

Teacher of English

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

Roseanne Scipione-Fehre

• College(s) and degrees(s):
Temple University, B.S. in Education

• Work experience:
I started teaching in a Maximum Security facility for serious male juvenile offenders. I taught 120 of the most serious male offenders in the state of Pennsylvania. I enjoyed working with troubled youth very much. Unfortunately, the facility closed and I had to find another job. Thankfully, the principal of the school called me and asked me to work for him at his new school. That is how I ended up teaching for the Chester-Upland School District. I really liked working in Chester but I decided to stay home when I had my first child. I now have two children ages two and five and I am thrilled to be back in the classroom.

• Favorite books
o Fiction: I have many but I would have to say that my favorite is The Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man by James Weldon Johnson
o Nonfiction: A Narrative in the Life of Frederick Douglas (I love slave narratives)

• Favorite television show:
All time favorite: Seinfeld

Current favorites: Scrubs and The Office

• Last movie I loved:

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
I’m more of a radio listener.

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
Jesus Christ. I’d like to ask him what he thinks of the world today and what the future holds.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
The beach

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
Cleaning out my basement. (Now that I got this blog assignment finished!)

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

Favorite sports team:
Whichever team is winning at the time.

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
Italy, to my father’s birthplace.

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
Mrs. Todt was my fourth grade teacher. She was kind and gentle and never raised her voice. She treated us all like we were her own children and shared stories about her life. She was always available for extra help and was happy to have us before or after school in her room. I will never forget her dedication and devotion.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Senior Citizens' Luncheon and Musical

(This entry was written by Donna Lacovara, Student Assistance Coordinator.) 

On Saturday, March 1st, the Woodbury Education Association’s Pride committee hosted its third annual Senior Citizens’ luncheon. This year the number of attendees tripled to 61!

Seniors, by reservation, enjoyed a catered luncheon provided by Lee Weatherby’s Impromptu Caterers, received a stadium cushion with the message of “Pride in Public Education, Woodbury Education Association,” and even searched through some discarded library books to take home.

Several WEA members hosted the event, which is free of cost to all who attended thanks to a Pride grant provided through the NJEA. At the luncheon’s conclusion, seniors received a complimentary ticket from the WHS Drama Club to their matinee performance of Into the Woods.

All had a wonderful day and the time allowed for WEA members to further connect to our community. Any questions or comments regarding this annual event may be directed to Donna Lacovara (

[Special thanks to our "workers" at the luncheon; these WEA members and their families helped to organize and make the luncheon such a success: Donna Lacovara, Cyndy Tsombaris, Sharron Knauss, Dianne Clement (and her Foods II class for making cupcakes), Rosanne Fehre, Nicolina and Antonio Fehre, Jane Burrough, Ellen Firth, Linda Webb, Susan Berting, Chrissy Pierce, Jaime Jess, Peggy Namm, Maria Gassner, Michele Sokolovic, Noelle Baskinger, Kaitlyn and Kendal Lacovara.]

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Just In . . .

Today at Scotto's -- Wednesday, March 12th 5-10PM

15% of the total bill will be donated to the Woodbury High School National Honor Society.

CALL 856-384-7700 OR VISIT ON LINE @

Congressman Andrews Visits Evergreen

Woodbury Public Schools Celebrate . . .

NEA's Read Across America.

Last week, our schools celebrated the National Educational Association's Read Across America -- and the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Various guest readers were invited into different classrooms across the district.

At Evergreen, on Friday, March 7, Congressman Robert Andrews visited the kindergarten, first, and second grade classes. He read from Dr. Seuss books and answered student questions regarding everything from his pets (two cats) to his work in Washington, DC.

Keeping reading everyone! Every day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

PTO Raises Funds for Evergreen Playground

(This entry was written by Tonya Breland, Principal of Evergreen Avenue Elementary School.)

For several years, Evergreen’s PTO has been putting away money to purchase new playground equipment for the students. This year, as the current officers close out their terms at Evergreen, they are ready to make the purchase.

Students have been contributing their loose change daily towards the new playground and are excited about it. Staff have also joined in with their own fundraising and are making contributions towards the purchase.

Evergreen views this campaign as a joint community effort since community members have graciously contributed to various fundraising activities in the past.

We still need more help…the cost of the new playground is not limited to just the equipment, but we have the cost of preparing the grounds as well. We are seeking donations and, eventually, time commitments from individuals who can help prepare and install the new equipment.

Please contact Evergreen’s main office at extension 141 if you would like to help.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Evergreen Celebrates Black History Month

(This entry was written by Tonya Breland, Principal of Evergreen Avenue Elementary School.)

Students at Evergreen Avenue Elementary School celebrated Black History Month in a culminating school-wide event Friday February 29th. The program’s theme was “Making a Difference,” recognizing the contributions of noteworthy African Americans to our country.

Every class prepared short presentations for their parents and the student body. Presentations varied and included a song about Dr. King & equality, a parade of inventors, several creative PowerPoint presentations of individuals who have made a difference -- including some presentations with voice-overs and video, individual presentations, recitations of poetry and song, and a mock Oprah show. Our preschool contributed to the d├ęcor by creating a peace sign with their hand prints.

Everyone’s efforts contributed to the program’s overall success.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Spotlight on Ms. Capodanno

Julie Capodanno

Teacher of English as a Second Language


Julie Capodanno

• College(s) and degrees(s):
Sweet Briar College – B.A. – International Affairs/B.A. Spanish
University of Delaware – M.A. – Teaching English as a Second Language

• Work experience:
Taught Spanish at Hockessin Montessori School and St. John the Beloved; English Language Tutor with Delaware Head Start; Student Teaching in Greenwood Elementary – Kennett Square, PA

• Favorite books
o Fiction: Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
o Nonfiction: The Five Points by Tyler Anbinder

• Favorite television show:

• Last movie I loved:
The Good Shepherd

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Blue - Joni Mitchell

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
President Theodore Roosevelt. I’d like to talk with him about his travels throughout the world and political ideas. I bet it would definitely be an exciting talk.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
The Beach

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
Join a field hockey league

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

Favorite sports team:
The Eagles

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
He was a history, political science teacher that was always fun to be around. You could tell he loved the subject he taught and cared about his students and their lives.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Congratulations, Ms. Goode -- New Jersey School Social Worker of the Year

(The following announcement was provided by Dr. Jeffrey Adams, Director of Special Services at Woodbury Public Schools)

Woodbury’s own Gloria Goode was informed yesterday by the New Jersey School Social Workers Association that she is being recognized as the School Social Worker of the Year.

Ms. Goode is very active in the Gloucester County chapter of this organization. She was nominated for the award by her colleagues in the county and Dr. Adams. A comprehensive application was submitted last month.

Ms. Goode serves the district and broader community of Woodbury in a manner that always focuses on what will help our students meet with success. Her hard work and dedication have been recognized locally for years.

Ms. Goode will attend a ceremony held by the NJSSWA in April to receive this special award. We congratulate Ms. Goode on this accomplishment and celebrate with her.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

School Budget Vote -- April 15th

Last week, you may have read the Gloucester County Times article on the budget. The board approved the 2008-09 school year budget for submission to the New Jersey Department of Education County Office for review and approval.

The next step, once that review is completed, will be for a public hearing. That hearing is scheduled for the same night of the board's regular March meeting -- Wednesday, March 27 (@ 7:00 p.m).

Finally -- mark your calendar for Tuesday, April 15th. Not only is it tax day, but it is also the date for this year's vote for school board members and the school budget.

As we currently stand, the general fund budget has been crafted so as to provide a 27.3 cent decrease in the school tax rate. We are excited to be able to turn back the tax rate due to the increased state funding for the Woodbury Public Schools in 2008-09 while continuing to provide a sound educational program for all of our students.

Monday, March 03, 2008

NJSBA -- Federal Relations Network

At the Feb. 5 “Day on the Hill” are (left to right) William Barnaskas, president of the Lyndhurst Board of Education; Sharon Seyler, legislative coordinator of advocacy programs for NJSBA; Alice Gale, member of the Maple Shade Board of Education; Dana Richter, senior legislative assistant for Rep. Frank A. LoBiondo; John Bulina, NJSBA’s vice president for finance; Eva M. Nagy, NJSBA’s vice president for legislation/resolutions; and Frank J. Gwalthney, president of the Woodbury Board of Education.

Our Board President, Frank Gwalthney, was one of New Jersey School Board Association's (NJSBA) representatives in Washington, D.C. this past February. Mr. Gwalthney gave a report at our last board meeting on the need to stay involved with the political process and to encourage full federal funding for programs mandated by federal legislation.

(The story below appeared in a weekly newsletter sent out by the NJSBA)

School Board Notes
February 14, 2008 • Vol. XXXI • No. 25

About two dozen New Jersey school board members, NJSBA officers and staff traveled to Washington, D.C. for the annual Federal Relations Network (FRN) conference, a three-day advocacy and training program for board of education members.

Sponsored by the National School Boards Association, the FRN conference attracted 943 school officials from throughout the nation to Washington on Feb. 3 to 5.

NCLB Tops Agenda The main topic? Urging legislators to support House Resolution 648, the No Child Left Behind Improvements Act.

This bill includes provisions that would give states more flexibility dealing with the requirements of NCLB. For instance, it would:

Use several measures of achievement, rather than solely relying on standardized testing;

Implement more effective accountability measures for English language learners and students with disabilities; and

Establish common-sense approaches when applying sanctions.

Speakers at the FRN conference discussed the political climate in the nation, and training seminars addressed issues ranging from federal funding to improving lobbying skills. The final part was the “Day on the Hill,” where New Jersey’s school board members, NJSBA officers and lobbyists split into groups to meet with legislative aides representing the state’s Senators and Congressional representatives.

Federal Education Funding Participants also discussed issues such as increasing the federal investment in public education. The issue is particularly important to New Jersey, considering the federal government’s low level of funding. According to the National Education Association’s 2006-07 Rankings & Estimates report, only 3.3 percent of New Jersey’s education funding comes from the federal government—the lowest ratio in the nation; the national average is nearly 9 percent.

To bolster federal support, NSBA urges Congress to provide a $2.5 billion increase in Title 1 funding, which is NCLB’s main funding source. In addition, NSBA is calling for a $2.5 billion increase for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)—a program to which Congress promised 40-percent funding when it was established three decades ago, but which has only been funded at less than half that amount.

Federal, state and local funding is shaping up to be a major concern nationally, as about half of the states face budget shortfalls. Bleak predictions of local revenues due to declining real estate values lead school board members in many states to expect tighter school budgets.

NSBA also seeks to prevent the administration from cutting Medicaid reimbursement to local school districts for the costs of providing school-based administrative and transportation services to low-income children with disabilities.

The Association also aims to improve teacher quality by adding flexibility to NCLB’s “Highly Qualified Teacher” requirements; supporting the recruitment, training and retention of teachers in hard-to-staff schools and high-need subjects; and strengthening teacher preparation programs through the Higher Education Act.

Students Helping Students Resolve Conflict

(This entry was provided by Mr. Murphy, Director of Pupil Personnel Services)

On Thursday, February 21st, thirty-four students in grades 4-6 were trained as peer mediators. The students were from each of our elementary schools and the junior high school annex; interested students applied to participate. The final selections were made by the teachers and counselors, and the training was held at the West End Memorial Elementary School.

Students learned the fine art of listening and the process involved in helping their peers resolve conflict. The day was filled with hands-on activities, and students were given the chance to practice the process through role playing activities. After a full day, with no time for recess, the students were bused back to their respective schools full of enthusiasm and eager to help their classmates. In the coming weeks students will be sharing their knowledge of peer mediation with teachers, students and administrators and will be looking to serve their schools.

Parents or students who would like more information on the program are encouraged to call the respective school counselor.