Friday, October 31, 2008

Spotlight on Mr. Soper

Mr. Sheldon Soper

Teacher of Grade 3

Evergreen Avenue Elementary School


Sheldon Soper

College(s) and degrees(s):
Ithaca College/Rutgers University - BA History
Rutgers University Graduate School of Education - M Ed. Elementary Education with 6-8 Social Studies concentration

• Work experience:
4 years as a 4th grade inclusion classroom assistant in New Brunswick, NJ

• Favorite books
o fiction: The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker
o nonfiction: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

• Favorite television show:
The West Wing

• Last movie I loved:
The King of Kong

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
The Black Crowes - Darlings of the Underground Press

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
Larry Bird - "Larry Legend" is the consummate example of how hard work and the philosophy of being the first to practice and last to leave can overcome one not being the strongest or the fastest. His success demonstrates the power of will, determination, and an innate competitive fire to be the best one can be can make the impossible a reality (Plus the '86 Celtics season was my first real sports memory growing up).

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
Geneva Point Center on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
Finish writing/recording my goal of 12 songs (been stuck at 5 for quite a while).

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

• Favorite sports team:
The Boston Celtics

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
The Mediterranean

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
Mr. Morrow - 4th Grade - Cranberry Pines Elementary School

Mr. Morrow was my first male teacher growing up. He had this innate ability to draw out our personalities and energy in a way I had never experienced before. We all were part of his team in that classroom, and as a result, we were able to accomplish some truly amazing things as 9 and 10 year olds that we likely could not have as individuals.

Additionally, Mr. Morrow was the first teacher I had who really integrated technology into the classroom as a powerful tool. We had no science text; instead he used fill-in-the-blank notes and laser discs to bring the content alive and push our understanding. The detailed and complicated things I learned in that science period carried me through science in high school and college.

Last year I had the opportunity to substitute for his class for a period of time while he battled bronchitis. At the end of the nearly two weeks, one of his students said, "Mr. Soper, you do that just like Mr. Morrow!" That was one of the best compliments I have ever received from a student. I simply replied, "Where do you think I learned it?"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

This and That . . .

Well, news from this workshop has been a bit mixed.

The governor spoke yesterday, and he was one of at least three different speakers throughout the program these past couple of days to indicated that we may be lucky to simply maintain the level of state funding that was received for this school year. As some of you who have been following our financial situation know, Woodbury received a 20% increase in state aid for this school year, and we were slated (in accordance with the new state funding formula for schools) to receive a similar increase for the 2009-10 school year. The news regarding the toughening financial times and how that may impact state aid to school paints a much different financial picture for us. Time will tell -- we typically do not receive state dollar numbers until late January.

On the other hand, I just came from a wonderful presentation regarding the use of today's technology tools in the classrooms. I may be able to post the PowerPoint for the program in the near future. It was very upbeat and spoke to a very different, exciting classroom experience.

Finally -- how nice! World Champion Phillies. And, the 3-inning game allowed my kids (and me!) to be up to see it happening. That worked out nicely.

Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

NJSBA Workshop

The NewJersey School Board Association, in conjunction with the New Jersey Association of School Administrators and New Jersey Association of School Business Administrators, is having their fall workshop/convention.

There are numerous opportunities for board members to network and engage in important informational sessions on a wide variety of matters related to education within districts and across the state. Woodbury is represented at this convention -- and it is the reason I am late with this post!

In addition to the planned sessions, there is a large exhibition that includes vendors who do business with schools. Again, this is a great chance to get better information on products and services that may help the local district.

The link on the NJSBA website provides all the detail of the program. NJSBA Workshop

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

New Jersey High School Redesign

Representatives of the Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School were in attendance at yesterday’s fourth of four New Jersey Department of Education’s (NJDOE) presentations to educators on the topic of redesigning the New Jersey high school.

There is a wealth of information on the NJDOE website.

The vision statement found at that site reads as follows:

Vision ~ New Jersey will educate all students to prepare them to lead productive, fulfilling lives. Through a public education system that is seamlessly aligned from pre-school to college, students will gain the requisite academic knowledge and technical and critical thinking skills for life and work in the 21st century.

One of the four major areas of emphasis of the redesign conversation is on “personalizing” the high school experience. At Woodbury, this has been an area of focus for us for the last few years and this concept is now embedded in our own, new mission statement.

There are a number of other interesting items that will be coming out of this state effort including new graduation requirements, new end of course testing, and a renewed interest on the part of the NJDOE to see districts employ more options for students.

Again – we feel that we are on the right course with much of the work that we did through our recent strategic plan development. Nonetheless, there will be more that the high school will need to grapple with during the upcoming months to be sure that we meet the specifics of these new expectations.

I am sure that I will revisit this “High School Redesign” topic in future posts.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Seriously Tired

I am having a difficult time with this baseball series and time. On Saturday, we were up 4-1. Next thing I know, the Rays have tied the game, and we are headed to the bottom of the 8th inning. What happened to the 6th and 7th inning?

Again, last night, I’m not sure if I was more excited about the fact that the Phils were able to get their bats going or that I was able to be awake during most of the homeruns hit.

This has been a real challenge. The most unfortunate part of the whole experience is not my inability to stay awake during these ridiculously late games. The real shame of the series is that my four kids – like many children – are missing a chance to see this World Series event.

As much as they like baseball, even they realize that the hour is just too late. They fall asleep with the game on in the background. The inevitable first question of the morning becomes, “Did the Phils win?” What a shame.

Oh well – one more game. Go Phils!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Spotlight on Mr. Banka

Mr. Robert Banka

Teacher of Science

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:

Bob Banka

• College(s) and degrees(s):

University of Pennsylvania, BA in Geochemistry

• Work experience:

20 years as the 7th and 8th grade bio/chem and math teacher at Westfield Friends School in Cinnaminson, NJ.; 5 years, both full and part time, chemistry lab instructor and IA at Burlington County College in Pemberton, NJ

• Favorite books:
o fiction: The The Killer Angels (Michael Shaara)
o nonfiction: Chronicles, Volume One (Bob Dylan)

• Last movie I loved:

"Magnolia" directed by P.T. Anderson

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

Eric Clapton's "One More Car, One More Rider (Live):"

• Person (living or not) that I'd like to have lunch with and why:

Film director Stanley Kubrick, because he was such a recluse and so little is known about his personal approach to filmmaking - his decision process, how and why he selected the projects he undertook. What was he thinking on the set and how did he determine what he beleved was the best way to communicate his ideas to the viewer with images and sound.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:

An art museum

• One item on my "to do" list that I can't seem to get to:

My degree is in geochemistry, and yet I've never been futher west than Ohio! All but the very northern reaches of New Jersey is a giant sandbox. There's almost no geology here to speak of. A voice is pleading... "Go West Young Man."

• Favorite animal:

Scottish Terrier. I was lucky enough to have one for a while. Her name was Bonnie.

• Favorite sports team:

Philadelphia Phillies

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

A cruise along the coast and into the interior of Alaska

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:

Professor Vincent Sollimo - an inorganic chemistry teacher who got me hooked on all things chemistry, which if you think about it IS all things. He was a fabulous presenter who had high expectations for his students, as well as the ability to generate enthusiasm and the desire for his students to reach them. Something he saw in me brought him to ask if I would like to begin leading review sessions for students having difficulties with some of the concepts being taught in class. I agreed to do so and found that I enjoyed devising new approaches to the material that would help the "lights go on" in the minds of students. Everything I've done since leads back to those review sessions and the boost of confidence given to me by Professor Sollimo.

• Anything else:

I have a passion for nearly all types of music from opera to smooth jazz to rock and folk. I've been playing guitar for many years and currently I play and sing in a 5-piece band. It's a wonderful distraction. I also enjoy writing poetry.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who Won?

Okay -- 8:35 p.m. is too late to start these World Series games. Everyone in my house is a Phillies fan. What a great time. But, each one of us woke up this morning asking the same question: "Did the Phillies win?"

Last I heard was that they were warming up Ryan Madson -- Madson for the 8th and Lidge for the 9th. Sounded like a good plan. I guess the went to commercial. I was the last hold out in my house, but that commercial was it for me.

So -- I found out the answer to the question by checking the paper this morning. Nice. Winning that first game was important. Go Phils!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Mrs. Breland, Evergreen Avenue Principal, sent along a couple items from Evergreen. I am catching up on my posts. Below, please find two that were sent along earlier this month.

(There was a recording of the song that is part of the Fire Safety post -- but I could not get it loaded onto this site! It was a shame; it sounded very cute.)

Evergreen Avenue School Celebrates Fire Safety

Like many other schools across New Jersey, Evergreen Ave. School celebrated Fire Safety Week with a few special activities. The Woodbury Fire Dept. presented fire safety tips to students in assemblies. Preschool, first and second grades had an opportunity to explore the fire engine.

One special activity was the fire safety door decorating competition. Classes decorated their classroom doors with fire safety messages. Non-classroom staff went around to judge the doors and chose the top three winners. The doors were very creative and all stressed the message of fire safety in their own unique way. The winners are…

3rd place winner: Ms. Frazier’s 2nd grade class

2nd Place Winner: Ms. Lyons’ 2nd grade class

And the Grand Prize Winner is….

Mrs. McLaughlin’s Kindergarten class, who created the Singing Fire Safety Door with the following song:

The Lyrics of the song are:


If there’s a fire in your house
And you don’t know what to do
Just sing this song and it will help you.
Fire and be scary, very noisy too
Just follow these steps
And you’ll know what to do.

If you see a fire, never, ever hide
Think about your meeting place and go outside.
If it’s getting smoky, get down on your knees
Crawl to your meeting place, quickly please.

Never stop for toys, along your way
Go to your meeting place, you’ll be okay.
Hooray, Horray, a happy day for you,
You’ve practiced every safety step,
You know what to do!

Evergreen Avenue School Celebrates Good Behavior

This year Evergreen Avenue School is implementing a new school-wide program to recognize the many students who display appropriate school conduct. The program was launched with a lively kick off assembly where 4th and 5th graders dramatized special skits designed to show students what behaviors are expected at school.

During the kickoff, students were told about the new program that promoted zero discipline points and used the theme, “My Hero, Zero”. Students were excited about the rewards that were planned for those who demonstrated positive behavior throughout the month, including daily playground champion recognition and monthly celebrations. At the end of the month, eligible students were invited to participate in a school-wide Friday Fun activity.

Students who demonstrated good behavior through the month of September were able to enjoy a late Tuesday afternoon of fun and delight (It rained Friday). There were moon bounces, carnival games, and Italian ice. For some, it was their first time ever jumping in a moon bounce. What a pleasant memory to carry into their adulthood.

Teachers have a special celebration scheduled at the end of each month for students who exhibit positive behavior. Students look forward to the surprise celebrations and work towards it daily.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Board of Education Meeting -- Tomorrow @ 7 p.m.

The regular, monthly meeting of the Woodbury Board of Education will be held this Wednesday, October 22th, at 7:00 p.m.

The board meetings are now scheduled to be held in the Jr.-Sr. High School auditorium. Entrance to the building can be made through the lobby doors by the auditorium, across from the Cap Paine gymnasium.

The agenda for the board meeting is posted on the district website. (agenda)

At the October meeting, there will be a report on the New Jersey Department of Education Violence and Vandalism numbers from the 2007-08 school year. Also, testing data will be reviewed.

Monday, October 20, 2008

PowerSchool for Grades 6 Through 12

Reminder – our new student information system, PowerSchool has a link for parents. You can use this to follow-up on your son’s or daughter’s performance in each class – grades, attendance, etc. If you have not signed onto the system, you should try now.

The first marking period progress reports that were sent home recently have the logon information at the bottom of the progress report itself. You will find the link to PowerSchool on our district’s website.

Another feature is that you can access the “School Bulletin” section. It provides a typed copy of the morning school announcements. See below for an example from last Friday:

Woodbury High School Bulletin for Friday, October 24, 2008

Reminder - School Latenesses
Mr. Vivadelli has asked us to remind you that students are only allowed to be late to school twice all year. Each and every time you are late to school thereafter you will receive an administrative detention. It is imperative that all students arrive at school on time each day.

Attention Seniors
If you would like your name printed on your yearbook, you must complete the yearbook form. Forms are available in homeroom or from Mrs. DiRienzo or Mrs. St. John. The cost is $5.00. Form and money are due by November 1st.

PINK Day!!!
Friday, October 24th is PINK DAY!! There are many students as well as faculty and staff members that have been touched directly or indirectly by cancer. Show your support for cancer awareness by wearing pink on Friday, October 24th and to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Cancer Fund by buying pink items during lunches this week. There will be bracelets, hats, beads and many other items to buy so you have something pink! Volunteers are needed to help sell pink items at lunch, please see Mrs. Woodrow in N-34 or the Women's PE office.

Fright Nights
Halloween is almost here. Are you looking for a fun-filled night of fright? The Woodbury Jr./Sr. High School PTSA and the Sketch Club of Woodbury presents "Fright Nights" at the Sketch Club on October 23, 24, and 25. Shows begin at 6:15, 7:30 and 9:00 pm. Tickets may be purchased at the door at a cost of $10.00 for adults and $6.00 for children. Bring your family and friends out for a fun night of spooky entertainment.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Spotlght on Mr. Delaney

Mr. Steven Delaney

Teacher of English

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:

Steven Edward Delaney

• College(s) and degrees(s):

Hood College (Frederick, Maryland), B.A. English

• Work experience:

First teaching position

• Favorite books:

o fiction: Of Mice and Men
o nonfiction: Running with the Buffaloes

• Favorite television show:

The Office or The West Wing

• Last movie I loved:

Tropic Thunder

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

Guster's Lost and Gone Forever

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

Either of my parents because we always have enjoyable conversations, and they provide great advice.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:

North Dakota

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

Run a half- or full- marathon

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):


• Favorite sports team:

New York Yankees

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

Basically any place in Europe because I've never left the United States

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:

I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but it was my English professor in my freshman year of college who pushed me towards English. She wrote on one of my papers: "Steve, I know you love political science (my major at the time), but you're really good at this."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fire Prevention Week

All of our elementary schools held different events to recognize Fire Prevention Week. The following was sent in as a blog entry by Mr. Myers, West End Elementary School Principal:

Fire Prevention Week was celebrated during the week of October 6th. On October 9th, the Woodbury Fire Department visited West End Memorial Elementary School to present a program on fire safety.

Mrs. Gassner’s class participated in a special treat after theprogram when firefighter Brent Stanley took them out to see the fire truck. The children were very excited as they took turns sitting in the cabin and wearing a real firefighter’s helmet. They were surprised that the truck is yellow.

West End is appreciative for the time the Woodbury Fire Department took out of their busy day to teach a valuable lesson.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Congratulations, Scott Bassler

Congratulations to Scott Bassler, senior at Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School. Scott recently was notified that he was among the 50,000 highest scores on the 2007 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). There were over 1.5 million students who took the test nationally, and Scott’s score places him in the top 5% of all students in the nation who took the exam.

Scott's plans for post-secondary study will likely focus on biochemistry or biological engineering. Schools that he plans to apply to include Princeton University, Yale University, Drexel University, Roanoke College, and Washington Lee University.

We are proud of the strong academic performance by Scott on this test and in all his work here at Woodbury.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Reminder: Internet Safety Night Tonight

Internet Safety Night

Information Session open to all Parents

Tuesday, October 14
7:00 p.m.
Jr.-Sr. High School Auditorium



Present --


OCTOBER 23,24, & 25
Show Times: 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM, & 9:00 PM

ADULTS $10.00




Friday, October 10, 2008

A Battle of the Marching Bands

High School Cavalcade of Bands

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School Stadium

Saturday, October 11

12:00PM to 3:00PM

Admission: $6.00

Spotlight on Mrs. Chavez-Naimoli

Clery Chavez-Naimoli

Teacher of Spanish

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:
Clery Chavez-Naimoli

• College(s) and degrees(s):
Camden County College - Art and Science
Federico Villarreal University, Peru - Bachelor Degree in Education, Spanish Language, and Literature

• Work experience:
Springfield Public School System - Teacher's aid
Living Faith Christian Academy - Spanish Teacher K - 12

• Favorite books:
The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho's novels (Portuguese writer)

• Favorite television show:
Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

• Last movie I loved:
Man on Fire

• 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:
My mom, because she is overseas, and I do not get to see her as often as I like.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
The beach - watching the sunset.

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
Lose some weight.

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
My lovely dog that is no longer around.

• Favorite sports team:
I do not have one.

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
My 6th grade teacher.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Walking Ghost Tour

Main Street Woodbury Presents . . .

Walking Ghost Tour

October 17th

6:30 p.m.

Walk the favorite haunts of Woodbury – Starts from the County Court House steps on Delaware Street

$10 Adults
$5 Children (13 and under)

Groups formed in order of arrival. Reservations given priority:
Call 856-845-8655

Flashlights suggested.

Rain or Shine

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Internet Safety Night

Last year, we had a district-wide program that focused on a number of different safety topics. The parents that were in attendance provided very positive feedback about the event. At that time, it was suggested that a good follow-up to that evening would be a program to focus specifically on internet safety.

Next week, Tuesday, October 14th, we will have a program on Internet Safety. The presenter, Sgt. Steven LaPorta, is with the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office, and his work on this topic has been very well received by parent groups across the county.

This event is open to all Woodbury parents. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us:

Internet Safety -- It's Everyone's Business
Tuesday, October 14th

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School Auditorium

(If you are driving, there is plenty of parking around the school or in the lot by the football stadium.)

Two Posts Below

I have a few items that I want to get out in blog entries. Today, see the two entries below. Can you believe it is the first full week in October already?!

An Amazing Sports Story

Did you see the story about the Woodbury Class of '53 sports teams in Saturday's Courier-Post? Check out the link below for a piece of Woodbury history:

Courier-Post Story

Want to Install a Rain Garden?

This may be of interest to some of our Woodbury residents or some of our teachers. An informational flier was handed out at last week’s Gloucester County Superintendents' Roundtable Meeting:

Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Gloucester County and Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program present – “How to Install a Rain Garden at Your Home.”

Wednesday, October 22, 2008
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Office of Government Services Building
1200 N. Delsea Drive
Clayton, NJ

This is a free, educational program. Homeowners will learn the basics of rain garden installation and will leave with information to help them get started with their very own rain garden projects.

Call 856-307-6450, choice #1, to register or for more information.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Professional Learning Communities are Happening All Around Us

(This entry was submitted by Toni Capodanno, Supervisor for Curriculum and Instruction.)

Schools, districts and states around the country are adopting Professional Learning Communities as a vehicle for creating forums for productive dialogue that is centered on topics regarding students and education. This is accomplished through collaborative groups of educators and administrators who read and discuss current research to stimulate purposeful conversation. The topics covered may vary but the goal is always consistent -- increasing student achievement through improvements or enhancements in leadership, instruction, programs, and methodology.

Rick Du Four who is credited with the concept of learning communities has written many books which offer recommendations for those who seek to transform their schools into professional learning communities as characterized by mutual collaboration, emotional support, personal growth, and a synergy of efforts. He offers references to and brief summaries of directions for curriculum, teacher preparation, school leadership, professional development, school-parent partnerships, and assessment practices.

At a recent meeting, the Gloucester County Curriculum Consortium distributed Professional Learning Communities by S. Hard. This book will be the focus for their study group consisting of district curriculum supervisors and administrators. Instructions and guided questions were provided to help the readers focus on the critical aspects of the book. The intention is for the readers to understand the main elements and characteristics of professional learning groups and to establish and foster them in their individual school districts.

Here in the Woodbury School District, our new Strategic Plan holds numerous opportunities for collaboration through the use of professional learning communities. The notion of learning groups has already been introduced and has taken root at the first department chair and team leader meetings at the Jr.-Sr. High School and at our monthly grade level meetings for the elementary school teachers. Teachers received articles taken from professional journals and magazines which were chosen because of their relevance to student data, school and district initiatives or topics to support professional growth, interest or need. It is our belief that bringing educators, administrators and school personnel together to read, and hold informed conversations fosters a deeper understanding of learning theory, strategies and practices which ultimately enhances learning experiences and promotes students achievement.

We are excited about the possiblities that these Professional Learning Communities will have in store for Woodbury's future. Stay tuned -- there will be more to come!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Spotlight on Mrs. Wang

Erin Noel Wang

School Social Worker

Woodbury School District /
West End

• Name:
Erin Noel Wang

• College(s) and Degrees(s):
Rowan University - Bachelor of Arts in Psychology w/a minor in Sociology
University of Pennsylvania - Masters, Social Work

• Work experience:
March through June 2007- substitute school social worker @ Harrison Township Schools

June 2007-June 2008- CST school social worker @ Hopewell Crest School in Cumberland County

• Favorite books:
o fiction: Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss
o nonfiction: Code of the Street by Elijah Anderson

• Favorite television show:

• Last movie I loved:

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Continuum, by John Mayer

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
(On a lighter note) Kevin James, because I love to laugh and he is very funny

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
Ida Grove, Iowa

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
To study for and take my social work licensing (LSW) exam

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
My Cat, Chutch

• Favorite sports team:
The Eagles

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
A tour of Italy

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
Dr. Chapel, my undergraduate psychology student advisor; he opened my eyes to the possibility of a career in social work.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Picturing America

(This entry was submitted by Ms. Knauss, district librarian.)

Ms. Knauss is pleased to announce that our district has been awarded, for each school, the Picturing America collection of forty, high-quality reproductions of American art, along with a teacher's resource book. The book contains information on all the images and suggestions for using them to enhance classroom and library learning in a wide range of subjects that include American history, social studies, writing, literature, and civics.

All of our teachers have been informed about the availability of these newly acquired prints. An electronic version of the book and links to additional resources are available online at --

As a recipient of this grant, Ms. Knauss is required to encourage our staff to make use of the images and keep as many as possible on display during the '08-'09 grant period.

Ms. Knauss reports that she will submit a final report to the American Library Association in the spring of 2009 and then the Woodbury Public Schools will be able to keep the collections permanently.

The collections are housed in each school’s Library Media Center.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

World Water Monitoring Day

(This entry was provided by Mrs. Platt, 4th/5th grade teacher at Evergreen Avenue School.)

Last Wednesday, September 24, 2008, Mrs. Jill Platt’s fourth and fifth grade class at Evergreen Elementary School in Woodbury, NJ participated in World Water Monitoring Day. Accompanied by Mr. Stephen Platt, a national ground water expert with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Philadelphia’s Region 3 office, Mrs. Platt’s class conducted water quality sampling at Stewart Lake in Woodbury.

Stewart Lake drains into Woodbury Creek, which eventually discharges into the Delaware River. Dams prevent tidal flow from the Delaware River into the lake. Stewart Lake receives runoff from a park as well as storm water runoff from an urban environment. Maintaining good water quality in Stewart Lake helps to contribute to the protection of the Delaware Estuary system.

World Water Monitoring Day is celebrated worldwide from mid-September through mid-October each year. It is estimated that 60 countries from across the globe participate in the collection of water samples from lakes, streams, and rivers in order to assess the quality of the world’s water. All of the data collected from the sampling is stored on a national database and is used to determine where improvements in water quality need to be made.

Mrs. Platt’s students enjoyed collecting the water samples, observing the wildlife at the lake and learning about what needs to be done to protect our water resources from pollution. This is the sixth year that Mrs. Platt’s class and EPA Region 3 have joined forces to participate in this event.

The sampling results from 2008 were the best since sampling began in 2003; it indicats that the water quality at Stewart Lake is very good and capable of supporting many forms of wildlife. In fact, the students were able to see a family of ducks, a blue heron eating small fish and a baby snapper turtle during this year’s sampling.