Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

I think my own kids ruined their snow day (in their case . . . two days, they were also off on Tuesday) by constantly wondering/asking/etc. if people thought they were going to be off the NEXT day. "Dad, if you were superintendent of our district . . . "

Anyway, we are now past this December snow. Let's hope we have a quieter balance to the winter weeks ahead.

I wish everyone a happy holiday season.

As my regular blog readers can tell, these last few weeks have been a bit rough with respect to blog posts. I hope to give some explanation when we return from this break. Until then . . . enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Preseident Obama Responds to Mr. Lessman's Evergreen Students

Jacob Lessman's elementary students at Evergreen wrote to President Obama and the President sent a letter in response. Below, there is a copy of the letter and some images of what was also included in the envelope from Washington -- a picture of the president and another of family dog.

Congratulations to these Evergreen students for writing to and getting a response from our President!


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Automated Phone Attendant Menu

We have updated our automated telephone answering system. We have officially separated the telephone numbers for all four schools. The 853-0123 number is now focused specifically on the Jr.-Sr. High School.

The telephone numbers for each school are posted below. These are the same numbers that were advertised at the beginning of the school year and have been in operation all year:

Woodbury Junior/Senior High School 856-853-0123
West End Memorial Elementary School856-853-0124
Evergreen Avenue Elementary School 856-853-0125
Walnut Street Elementary School 856-853-0126

Board of Education Meeting

The regular December meeting of the Board of Education is scheduled for this evening. The location of the meeting will be the auditorium of the Jr.-Sr. High School. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.

This month, there will be a presentation given by the Jr.-Sr. High School including a focus on the alternative school program.

The agenda for the meeting is posted on the district's website.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Grant Awarded

Trinna Savage, 3rd Grade Teacher at Evergreen, applied for a small grant that will allow her to purchase additional materials for the Responsive Classroom program being implemented across the district.

The grant application was to the "Kids in Need Teacher Grants" program and she recently received word that she was selected to receive the $150 requested. Congratulations to Ms. Savage for taking the initiative to reach out to this organization and her success in being selected as one of the recipients.

From: penny hawk []Sent: Wed 12/2/2009 11:57 AMTo: penny hawkSubject: Kids In Need Teacher Grants

Hello, Teacher Grant Applicant,

Thank you for participating in the 2009 Kids In Need Teacher Grants program. I know you are eager to find out the final results. Please find attached a list of the 2009 Teacher Grant recipients. The teachers are listed in alphabetical order by last name. The list will be posted on our Web site by the end of the day.

As you can see, 281 grants were awarded totaling $115,217.90. We’d like to thank our sponsors, LOFT Loves Teachers, Office Depot Foundation, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Fred Meyer Fund, and VIA Credit Union for their support of this program.

If you received a grant, please be advised that the checks are not distributed until the end of January, but they can be used for reimbursement if you have to purchase materials before you receive the funds. The checks are made payable to you. I will be sending further information within the next 10 days.

If you did not receive a grant this year, I will also be sending further information to you. Although we cannot give individual critiques of each grant application, I will send you information that may help when you apply next year.

Thank you again for your application.

Penny Hawk, Managing Director Kids In Need Foundation 3077 Kettering Blvd., Ste 114, Dayton, OH 45439 937-296-1230, x303

Providing free school supplies to kids who need them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ms. Fitzgerald is Awarded $1,000 for the Science Department

Here is some exciting news for the Jr.-Sr. High School Science Department. Last year, high school biology teacher Colleen Fitzgerald participated in a Delaware Valley Innovation Network professional development activity. She was one of a few selected from among science teachers across the region who applied. The exciting weekend advanced Mrs. Fitzgerald's ever present quest to be the best teacher possible.

Recently, she received information about a bonus for the science department in a notice from the people at DVIN (see below). Congratulations, Ms. Fitzgerald and thank you for all that you do for the Woodbury Public Schools.

$1,000 Certificate to Ward's Natural Science from the Delaware Valley Innovation Network

Dear Colleen,

DVIN wanted to make you aware that we are awarding your school Science Department a Science Education Materials Grant in the form of a $1,000 Product Credit Certificate from Ward’s Natural Science Supplier. The certificate is being mailed to your school principal and should arrive within in the next few days.

Your school has been chosen because you showed a commitment to science education, by attending the DVIN BIO Teacher/Leader program. We believe a meaningful science education starts with a dedicated science teacher, but recognize, without sufficient equipment it is difficult for you to provide students with a classroom experience that will put them on the path towards a career in the sciences.

The certificate is to be used for science supplies and lab equipment that will enrich, excite, and enhance the science program for the students of your school. Directions on how to redeem your schools Ward’s Product Credit Certificate will be enclosed with the Certificate, which has been mailed to your principal. Please be aware that orders must be placed no later than January 15, 2010.

We thank you for your dedication to teaching and commitment to developing the future science workforce of our region.

Best regards,

Helen Groft

Project Director

Delaware Valley Innovation Network

Monday, December 07, 2009

Congratulations to the Football Team

I am sure that you heard, our varsity football team won the NJSIAA South Jersey Group I title on Saturday. Congratulations to the players, Coach Valentine, and all the coaches. Also -- the fans who braved the weather are applauded for their dedication. It was a day and a game to remember.

The following links were sent to me by high school counselor, Dan Howey. Thanks, Mr. Howey! Some of the articles provide nice recaps to the game and others focus on players and/or coaches.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Junior High Musical

The other night, I saw the musical director, Mrs. Berting, and asked if the Junior High School students were ready. Well, a director never feels that they are ready until that first performance is officially finished. So -- we will have to wait until Friday night.

This is the second year for a Junior High musical. Last year's performance was enjoyable -- many of the students made you forget that the students were only 6th, 7th and 8th graders on stage. I am sure that we will be in for another treat with this year's performance of Annie jr.

There are three show times: Friday night @ 7 p.m., Saturday morning @ 10 a.m., and Saturday evening @ 7 p.m.

(Note: For the Saturday morning show, those attending the musical are asked to park in the county lot by the courthouse. Our lower parking lot near the football field will be closed in preparation for the NJSIAA Group I Playoff game against Paulsboro -- game time, 1:00 p.m.)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Busy Weekend

This weekend has a lot in store for the Woodbury City Schools and the City in general:


6:00 p.m. -- Festive Fridays: Santa Parade, Tree lighting @ Aberdeen Place, Pictures with Santa, Carriage Rides, etc!

7:00 p.m. -- Woodbury Child Development Center has a Silent Auction fundraiser happening here at the Jr.-Sr. High School. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.)

7:00 p.m. -- Junior High School Musical: Annie jr.


9:00 a.m. -- West End PTA Holiday Shop (until 1:00 p.m.) [Thanks to the anonymous poster below!]

10:00 a.m. -- Junior High School Musical: Annie jr.

1:00 p.m. -- South Jersey NJSIAA Group I Championship Game, Paulsboro vs. Woodbury @ Woodbury.

4:00 p.m. -- Holiday House Tour sponsored by the Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School Parent, Teacher, & Student Association (starts at the Woodbury Mews).

7:00 p.m. -- Junior High School Musical: Annie jr.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Woodbury National Honor Society

(This post was sent to me by Sharron Knauss and Dianne Clement, Co-Advisors - National Honor Society)

The National Honor Society is sponsoring a service project to support the Gloucester County Animal Shelter. The Items collected can be sent to the High School Library. The shelter is in need of the following items:


Anti-bacterial hand soap (any type)

Spray Bottles (16 oz – 22 oz.)

Dishwasher detergent (powder only)


Laundry Detergent – HE only please (front loader)


Old towels and blankets

Newspapers – bagged or wrapped

Paper towels

Paper plates 6” round

Duct tape

Clear gallon size zipper bags

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

For the longest time, we were hosting Thanksgiving on an annual basis. A house full of family and friends is a nice way to celebrate the holiday. Over time, we have drifted into a somewhat regular pattern of hosting every other year. This is our year to visit, and I have come to appreciate being the visitor on this holiday -- no house to clean from top to bottom and the cooking responsibilities are lessened.

However you are enjoying the holidays -- I wish you well. Though it does not seem as if this will be a cold day that calls for an active fire in the fireplace, winter will soon be upon us. Enjoy.

A wonderful way to start the day is with Thanksgiving Day football. Come out and and be part of the annual Woodbury vs. Gateway competition. The game is home with a start time of 10:30 a.m. See you there.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Parent Conferences This Week

Our elementary schools have conferences scheduled for this week -- you should have an appointment already set with your child's teacher. If you have a question, please contact the school's office.

The Jr.-Sr. High School conferences are scheduled for Tuesday, November 24.
  • The afternoon session is from 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
  • The evening session is from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
An appointment is not part of the process -- simply show up and meet with the teachers you desire to see.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Woodbury Holiday House Tour

Woodbury Holiday House Tour - Sponsored by the Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School PTSA

Mark your calendars -- and consider purchasing tickets in advance.

The annual tradition of the Woodbury Holiday House Tours is scheduled to occur on Saturday, December 5, 2009. Tours will begin at 4:00pm and will be offered throughout the evening until 8:00pm. Refreshments will be served at the Woodbury Mews.

The cost for tickets is $18 when purchased in advance at either the Woodbury Public Library or Foxfire Accessories. Tickets purchased on the day of the tour are $20 and available only at the Woodbury Mews.

If you have any questions, please call: (856)845-4824 or (856)853-7705.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Board Meeting -- Tonight

This evening, the regular meeting of the Woodbury City Board of Education will take place at the Evergreen Avenue School in the All-Purpose Room. The board will hold three of their monthly meetings at the different elementary schools throughout this school year (Walnut in February; West End in May).

There will be a presentation by the Evergreen Elementary School at the beginning of this meeting.

The agenda for the November meeting can be found on the district website. Agenda.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Terrific Kids

The Kiwanis International organization located here in Woodbury runs the elementary school "Terrific Kids" program that occurs in each of our three schools. Each month, the Kiwanis members come out to the schools and recognize students who were nominated by their class teacher as a "Terrific Kid." T-shirts and awards are presented and pictures are taken. The Kiwanis group forwards the information on to the local newspaper. You will often see our students spotlighted in the Gloucester County Times due to this program.
Thank you to the Woodbury Kiwanis!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halloween Safety

Our School Resource Officer, Ptl. Dan Steigerwald, along with our Student Assistance Counselor, Donna Lacovara, visited our Elementary Schools to reinforce Halloween safety to our students. Ptl. Steigerwald visited each classroom to talk to the students about being safe this Halloween. Each student was given a reflective trick-or-treat bag complete with safety tips compliments of Woodbury City Public Schools and the Woodbury Police Department.

(Pictured above is Ms. Stankiewicz’s class from Evergreen Avenue School proudly displaying their bags. )

Some of the messages the students discussed with “Officer Dan” were: always walk with an adult, don’t visit homes that do not have lights on, wear brightly colored clothing, carry a flashlight, let an adult check all of your candy before you eat any and do not eat any candy that is already opened or exposed.

We hope everyone had a safe and happy Halloween!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Operation Medicine Cabinet

(We just received information about this on Thursday -- I am passing it along here for the readers of the blog. Woodbury's site is listed as the Police Station on Broad Street.)

SUBJECT: Operation Medicine Cabinet-Saturday, November 14th

Dear Colleagues:

I am writing with information about an important project we are undertaking in partnership with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, and many other law enforcement and community organizations across the state. This project is called "Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey," and its objective is to raise awareness regarding the potential dangers of prescription drugs and the unintended availability of such dangerous drugs to teenagers in our own homes.

Every day, 2,500 youth age 12 to 17 abuse a pain reliever for the very first time. More teens abuse prescription drugs than any illicit drug except marijuana. In 2006, more than 2.1 million teens ages 12 to 17 reported abusing prescription drugs. Among 12- and 13-year-olds, prescription drugs are the drug of choice. Because these drugs are so readily available, and many teens believe they are a safe way to get high, teens who wouldn't otherwise touch illicit drugs are more likely to abuse prescription drugs.

Operation Medicine Cabinet New Jersey will be held Saturday, November 14, 2009 from 10 am until 2 pm, in more than 420 municipalities.

Through this initiative, all New Jersey residents will have the opportunity to properly dispose of their unused, unwanted, and expired prescription and over-the-counter medicines in an anonymous manner. For more information including details of where citizens can drop medicines off in their communities, simply visit our website at and click on the map of New Jersey.

Needless to say, this is a critical prevention effort which can save lives and help in steering young people away from the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

We are proud that we are taking action to address this troubling trend and that this is the first statewide initiative of its kind in the nation. However, we need to ensure widespread participation, so I am encouraging you to share this information broadly within your community.

Thank you so much for your assistance. If you have questions or would like more information, please visit

Anne Milgram
Attorney General

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Sport Tournaments

Many of the high school fall sports teams competed in this year's NJSIAA South Jersey playoffs: boys soccer, girls soccer, field hockey and girls tennis all played in the first round of their respective tournaments. The tennis team advanced and lost in a close match in the second round.

This Saturday, the last remaining fall sport team competes in its tournament. The football teams will play Pennsville at home. The game time is 1:00 p.m. Good luck.

You can check out the tournament brackets at the NJSIAA website: There is a drop-down selection for tournament brackets at the top of the page.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Four Years of Blogging (Is that a word?)

This is the fourth year for my Superintendent's blog. Doing a blog entry every day is not always the easiest thing. I have found the most success in making it part of my early morning routine. I have also been fortunate to have various teachers and administrators eager to spotlight their students and, as a result, a good bit of the information that ends up on the blog comes from others.

Two items of note.

1. Did you see that the blog's "look" changed a bit over the last week? My son, Corey, who is now a sophomore in high school revisited the formating work that he did when he was back in seventh grade and gave the site a fresher appearance. He did not like the way the older posts were listed on the sidebar to the right -- now they are clustered by year. There are a few other changes, but the essence remains the same.

2. I am in competition this year with our new district website. We now have rotating images on the front page that change every few weeks. This is another avenue for our students and programs to be featured. Already this year, a number of items that would have been blog fodder have been placed there instead of on the blog. I hope that is working for everyone! An example is the trip that Mrs. Platt's students took. Yesterday, it was posted on the front of the website. If it was a blog item, it would have had a bit more space and more of the images could have been used (see below), but it is nice to have the students spotlight on the main district site. Any feedback it welcomed as to how you think we can best serve the interest of the students and schools with regard to publicizing our happenings.

Have a great day.

Camp Edge Trip

On Monday, October 26, Mrs. Platt's Evergreen class went to Camp Edge in Alloway, New Jersey, for the day. Students hiked, had a biology lesson on the food chain, ate a camp lunch, played science games and kayaked on the lake to see a beaver dam and other wildlife.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Rising to the Occasion

(This was passed along to me a while ago by Mrs. Dunham, Jr.-Sr. High School Principal. Ms. Chandler teaches some of our special needs students. Ms. Cohen is the districts academic coach for AVID -- Advancement Via Individual Determination.)

As a teacher you want to believe that if you put your students in a challenging situation they will rise to your expectations. You think of various ways you can make an impact and hopefully they will “get it!” A few weeks back my students did “get it,” and they surprised me!

It started when I was finishing my paperwork during a prep and I had the privilege of watching Mrs. Cohen teach AVID Strategies to Ms. O’Donnell’s Study Skills Class. The strategies she was teaching the students were intriguing and sparked my interest. I was trying to pay attention to my work, but instead, I found myself drifting to hear -- then look – then believe that she could come to my class and work with my students.

Why would I have to believe that she could work with my students? My class struggles with reading, writing, and language in general. Many of the basic skills that students acquire by 5th grade for various reasons elude my students. So, I take a different approach to establishing academic goals to be accomplished by the end of the year. I shoot for the big idea and hopefully they “get it.” Here, I was thinking I could put my students in a position that could frustrate them because the work level is geared to help students who will most likely go to college. As I continued to listen to Mrs. Cohen, she had such a passion that I became more of a believer; I began to wonder if she would come to my class. Well, she must have been thinking the same thing, and we began talking to set up a time for her to visit with my students.

When she came to my class, I prepared my students about her arrival, and they were ready. Mrs. Cohen brought an article about “text messaging.” The goal for students was to realize that writers use various sources to gain information to make an article. As she began the lesson, Mrs. Cohen was getting their minds prepared through discussion and gathering their background knowledge on texting. The ideas they had and higher thinking skills they were using through questioning were wonderful. They were “getting it.” Then, we moved to the text. Most of my students are non-readers. However, that did not stop them. We used grouping to pair non-readers with readers and it worked! Here were my students reading a higher level text, discussing sources, and making inferences from this reading. I was so proud of them! I was so pleased to see that they rose to the occasion. I know that in the past I have put my students in situations where I would challenge them to meet my expectations. This time I pushed myself to raise my expectations, and they taught me to never stop raising the bar! I am grateful for such a wonderful learning experience.

Thilana Chandler (HS Self-Contained Teacher)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Spotlight on Mr. Lessman

Jacob Lessman

Teacher of Special Education

Evergreen Avenue Elementary

• Name:
Jake Lessman

• College(s) and degrees(s):
University of Delaware, Bachelors of Science in Elementary Teacher Education
Certification Area: Special Education

• Work experience:
Para-Professional at the Delaware Autism Program, Residential Component

• Favorite book:
Mr. Fine Porcupine

• Favorite television show:
Star Trek

• Last movie I loved:
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Mixed CD of Chris Daugtry and other rock songs

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
The President -- because I'd love to be able to meet and talk to someone of that importance. (I'd love to see the White House, too!)

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
Back roads of rural areas

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

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

• Favorite sports team:

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
When I was nine years old, my mother, who is also a special education teacher, was doing home bound instruction for another nine year old girl. After several sessions with her, my mom decided that the girl would benefit from a same-aged friend. So, my mother decided to bring me along. She was unable to talk to me, but we never had trouble communicating. We would play together, work on projects together, and do just about anything that friends did. I even helped my mom teach her during visits. We became really close friends. I'd attend her birthday parties and she'd attend mine. I looked forward to our visits. Unfortunately, her health started to decline. When we were both eleven, she passed away. I didn't realize until years later what an impact she had on me. I saw the difference that I could make in someone's life and the incredible impact that they could have on me. I have made it a point to not forget the lessons I learned from this young girl and have dedicated my career to helping students the way I saw my mother help her.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Activity


There are Halloween parades scheduled for each elementary school tomorrow and a Halloween costume contest in the Jr. High School. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


We have posted a number of links to sites of interest on the topic of the H1N1 flu. You can get to the links by scrolling to the bottom of the homepage on the district’s website:

The most often cited source for up-to-date information is the federal government’s Center for Disease Control – CDC.

The Woodbury Board of Education has authorized the use of the school facilities as a vaccination site for H1N1 for the youth of Woodbury. We are working with the Gloucester County Health Department to establish dates. The Health Department is not certain about the availability of the vaccine at this time and so we only know that they are currently hoping to start the clinics sometime in mid to late November.

One potential date that the district believes could work for us is Saturday, November 21. We will have to wait to see if this is something that can be coordinated with the Health Department.

Our school nurses will be using some time during next week’s in-service programming to develop our plans further.

If there are any blog readers who would be interested in volunteering time the day we actually operate the vaccination clinic, we would appreciate any help.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Ed Murphy, the school’s Director of Pupil Personnel Services at Mr. Murphy will be working with the nurses on our plan.

We will keep our potential volunteers up-to-date regarding plans for the clinic as soon as we get better information.

Thank you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

AVID Parent Open House -- October 29

Parents of students in our Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) are invited to visit the Jr.-Sr. High School on Thursday of this week to stop by some classrooms and get a glimpse of the program in action.

Junior High School
8:05- 9:33 –
Mr. Kilpatrick’s AVID Grade Seven AVID Pathways Class (Room P-41)
1:07 – 2:35 –
Mr. Kilpatrick’s AVID Grade Seven AVID Pathways Class (Room P-41)

Senior High School
8:05-8:47 –
Mr. Snelling’s Period One AVID Nine Class ( Room L-21)
8::51-9:33 –
Ms. Fitzgerald’s AVID Ten Class (Room L-21) and Mr. Pegues’ AVID Eleven Class (Room I-21)
10:23 – 11: 05 –
Ms. Fehre’s AVID Nine Class (Room J-20))and Mrs. Lario’s AVID Ten Class (Room P-31)
11:09 – 11:51–
Mrs. Lario’s AVID Twelve Class (Room P-31)and Mr. Galltig’s AVID Eleven Class (Room N-31)

Stop by the main office and you will be directed to the appropriate location.

You can find out more about our AVID program by putting that term into this blog's "search" feature and find prior postings on the topic. To try that out, you simply put the word "AVID" in the box in the top left corner of the screen on the main page of the blog site. (You can search the blog for any prior item this way.)

Also, the national AVID website is

If you have a child in the Jr.-Sr. High School who is not in the AVID program, you can also use this opportunity as a time to learn more. The visit is open to all.

Donna Cohen is our Academic Coach for AVID, and she would be glad to answer specific questions (853-0123, ext. 241).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Spotlight on Ms. Gambuzza

Ann Gambuzza

Teacher of Grade 6

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:
Ann Gambuzza

• College(s) and degrees(s):
West Chester University
o BSED Elementary Education
o MA Special Education

• Work experience:
o ARC of Chester County: Life Skills Instructor (teaching adults with cognitive disabilities independent living skills)
o West Chester University: Summer Camp Supervisor (planning and implementing a variety of activities for children ages 3-12)
o West Chester University: Graduate Assistant -- Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs. (working with students and student organizations to find appropriate volunteer opportunities; collaboratively coordinating several service projects for the university)

• Favorite books:
o The Kite Runner
o The Secret Life of Bees

• Favorite television show:
Grey's Anatomy

• Last movie I loved:
Seven Pounds

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Bruce Springsteen; Stevie Wonder; Crosby, Still and Nash

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
I would have to say my grandparents. They lived through WWII and the Great Depression. They were also married for sixty years. They truly valued our family heritage and always loved to share it with my brother, sister, and me. I find the era they lived through fascinating and believe there are many lessons we can learn from that generation. They both passed away a little less than two years ago. Although I talked to them regularly before their passing, I have developed many more questions that I would like to ask them. If I could have lunch with them, I could have these questions answered.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
Being outside when it isn't too hot or too cold.

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
When I visit my hometown in Northern New Jersey I never seem to get to visit with everyone!

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

• Favorite sports team:

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
Hawaii or a general tour of Europe

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
Mrs. Ogden was my 6th grade Language Arts and 7th grade Social Studies teacher. She made learning fun and exciting. She always made her students feel special because she tried to get to know them on a more personal level. She allowed students to access her classroom before or after school. While in her room at these times, she had these students complete tasks that made other's feel good. For example, she would have us decorate a teacher's door for her birthday or other students' lockers for their birthday. Mrs. Ogden seemed to always go above and beyond her duties as a teacher. I believe she alleviated some of the difficulties students encounter in middle school; I know that was true for me.

• Anything Else:
When I have free time, I enjoy doing community service. One service trip that I truly enjoyed was travelling to New Orleans, LA, after the hurricane to help rebuild homes. I have also travelled to Harlan, KY, and Mexico City, Mexico, to complete similar service projects. I believe community service is a mutually beneficial activity. Those providing the service gain new skills and a rewarding feeling for doing good. The recipients of the volunteer work benefit from the service. They are usually very grateful for the work and it makes one happy that they provided the service.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Galilean Night: Rowan Observatory Open House

Date: Friday, October 23, 2009
Time: 7:30 p.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Location: Science Hall, Rowan University

As part of the series of activities recognizing 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy, the Rowan Astronomical Observatory is joining the Galilean Nights celebration. The observatory will have an open house on Friday, October 23rd to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s telescopic observations. Come and view Jupiter and its largest moons as Galileo did 400 years ago! A brief show in the Edelman Planetarium highlighting the night time sky and the discoveries of Galileo will be offered at 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the observatory and deck will be open to the public. A suite of telescopes will be available to view celestial objects such as stars, nebulae, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune, and the Moon. This free event is open to the public.

Eddie Guerra
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Extension: 4323 (from off-campus, 856-256-4323)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Board of Education Meeting Tonight

The regular, monthly meeting of the Woodbury Board of Education will be held tonight, Wednesday, October 21, at 7:00 p.m.

This month's board meeting will 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 this October meeting, there will be a report on the New Jersey Department of Education Violence and Vandalism numbers from the 2008-09 school year. Also, the Annual Report on Assessment Data will be reviewed.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Late Post -- Two Articles

The late game for the Phillies has disrupted my normal morning routine. As a result, I am a bit late with today's post.

Challenge Day.
A number of the faculty members associated with our first Challenge Day, held last Friday, wanted me to highlight the Gloucester County Times article that was in Saturday's edition: Challenge Day Article.

You can find out more about the program by clicking on the link: Challenge Day. Mr. Braddock, Assistant Principal in the Junior High School, and Student Assistance Coordinator, Donnal Lacovara, were instrumental in bringing the program to our school. They were supported by a number of our faculty members and parents. Also, we received financial support from the Woodbury Municipal Alliance, the Best Western at West Deptford Inn, and the local Acme.

Woodbury vs. Paulsboro.
There was a nice article about yesterday's football win in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. Congratulations to all the Woodbury teams that won yesterday -- Boys and Girls Soccer, Field Hockey and Football! Philadelphia Inquirer Story

Monday, October 19, 2009

8:07 p.m.

It is getting to be fun to be a Phillies fan. The times of some of these playoff games has been a bit much -- but the 8:07 p.m. start is decent, especially if the Phillies put six runs on the board before the second inning is over.

(Of course, if we are successful again and capture another World Series Championship, I am hoping for a weekend parade!)

Enjoy the game.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Spotlight on Mrs. Stankiewicz

Lauren Stankiewicz

Teacher of Special Education

Evergreen Avenue Elementary

• Name:
Lauren Stankiewicz

• College(s) and degrees(s):
Camden County College -Associates Degree
Rutgers University - BA Sociology, K-8 Teacher Certification
Rutgers Graduate School of Education- Teacher of The Handicapped Certification

• Work experience:
Voorhees School District - Trained by Lovaas Institute to provide ABA therapy in the homes of children and families who were diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Evesham Township School District- Taught preschool handicapped program for five years.
Gloucester County Special Services School District- Provided Autism Consulting services, Homebound Instruction and Early Intervention to children and their families In the Gloucester County area.
Washington Township Public Schools- Long term maternity leave substitute for preschool disabled program.

• Favorite books:
o fiction: "A Walk to Remember" Nicholas Sparks
o nonfiction: "Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year" Esme Raji Codell

• Favorite television show:
Big Brother

• Last movie I loved:
Anywhere But Here

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Martina McBride-Greatest Hits

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
I would like to have lunch with my deceased grandfather who passed away from cancer when I was fifteen. I always thought that he was wise and gave good advice. He was always eager to ask about school, and he made sure that I understood how important it was to get a good education. When I graduated from college I was thinking of him and how he was always with me even though he was not alive. I would like to tell him that he helped to make me who I am today with his words of wisdom and encouragement.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
The Beach

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

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

• Favorite sports team:
Philadelphia Eagles

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
I will never forget Mrs. Kershener my second grade teacher. Mrs. Kershener was the kind of teacher who noticed a child’s strengths and built upon them. She would support a child in any area that was a struggle. She was always kind and patient in making sure that you understood what was expected. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Good Health

When we have it, we take it for granted. Yes? It only takes one false step and the landscape can change immediately. Sunday, for what seems like the hundredth time!?!?, one of my guys took that false step at a travel basketball tryout and now finds himself with one of those "ski boot" contraptions, nursing a broken foot for the next six weeks.

He is young and will do fine. In my role as a school administrator, I see how health matters for individuals and their family members can play havoc on their routines. Sometimes it is something like a simple cold. At other times, it is a more significant health concern that emerges. In certain cases, the situation becomes so overbearing that it can consume almost all the energy that an individual can muster.

So, as I prepare for work with a scratchy throat and runny nose, I am reminded that our business of educating young people is impacted by so many variables. Their health and the health of their family members can sometimes be a real obstacle in the learning process.

It is a complicated business when you realize the scope of trying to impact the lives of human beings. In our world, people do not always come to school ready to concentrate on the learning opportunities presented -- because of a broken foot, a runny nose, or a worry about a more gravely ill family member.

All that to say -- congratulations if you find that you are experiencing a day of good health. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Family Nights This Week: Grades 2 and 3


Tonight (10/14): Grade 3 Family Math Night @ West End
Tomorrow (10/15): Grade 2 Family "Reading Cafe" Night @ Evergreen

Both programs start at 6:30 p.m. and are open to all students in the district in the indicated grades. Bring mom and/or dad and enjoy a night of learning and fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

District Website -- Front Page

If you are a reader of this blog, you probably also visit the district's website. I just wanted to point out that we instituted a new look toward the end of the last school year. I have pointed out a few changes in some past blog entries -- especially the new calendar feature.

Today, I wanted to highlight the fact that we now have rotating "features" posted on the front page -- a title, a picture, and a short blurb about events that have happened or are going to happen. Each time you log on to the site or refresh the site, one of the active stories is randomly selected for display.

Since this is still a new aspect of the website, we are in the process of getting people used to sending items in to be posted. If you are a member of the school staff and have a picture of an event that you think is worth spotlighting, simply forward it to your building principal and it will be passed along to the appropriate individuals.

Also, you will see that there is a link at the bottom of the page where the older images are archived.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Spotlight on Mr. Martino

Joseph Santo Martino, Jr.

Teacher of Grade 6

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:
Joseph Santo Martino, Jr.

• College(s) and degrees(s):
Rowan University (BA in History), Wilmington University (MA in MS Education)

• Work experience:
Substitute Teacher

• Favorite books
o fiction: "Pillars of the Earth" by Ken Follett
o nonfiction: Rick Pitino: "Success is a Choice"

• Favorite television show:
Seinfeld Re-Runs

• Last movie I loved:
Slumdog Millionaire

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen, 1975

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
The person I would most want to have lunch with, other than a loved one, is Vince Lombardi. I am extremely fond of him as a person, his demeanor, his motivational strengths and his repeated success. He continuely fullfilled his goals over a extended period of time.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
Anyone of my family's homes

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

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
Dogs (Springer Spaniel, Boxers)

• Favorite sports team:
Philadelphia Eagles

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
A trip to Europe, mainly Italy and England

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
Mr. Tracy, Social Studies (Woodbury Hts. Elem). Mr. Tracy was an unique teacher that used methods of differentiated instruction before the styles were even practiced extensively. He was interesting, motivating, and -- most importantly -- fun. He truly brought that "father" presence to the classroom where you were afraid to ever let him down by not doing your best.

• Anything Else:
I am a person that thrives on success and intrinsic rewards. I am extremely proud to become part of theWoodbury family as I feel that it is the most positive and inspirational school district I have been a part of .

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Girls Tennis

Congratulations to Coach Koengetter and the Girls Tennis Team. The team qualified for the NJSIAA South Jersey Group I playoffs and won their first round match on Tuesday against Wildwood. Today, they travel to Pennsville for the second round of the tournament -- 3 p.m. start time.

Woodbury is seeded as the no. 5 team, Pennsville no. 4. Our team is led by 1st singles player, freshman Maddie Graziani. Maddie won the Gloucester County Times Tournament as the top singles player earlier this year.

Good luck, girls!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Parents of Woodbury Seniors

College Application Night
Wednesday, October 7
7:00 p.m. -- 8:00 p.m.
High School Library

  • College Application Process
  • Key Terms
  • Financial Aid Overview

Seniors are welcome to attend!

(Also, as a parent of a senior, I would encourage any interested parents of juniors to attend if they want to get a head start on planning this college application process. The search for colleges often begins in the junior year and the work on the application process can get started during the summer between junior and senior year. This program is open to all parents of Woodbury students, regardless of the age/grade of the child.)

Monday, October 05, 2009

Did You Know?

The following events are happening this week:

  • Walnut: Choir Practice
  • Evergreen: Book Fair
  • West End: PTA Meeting
  • Jr.-Sr. HS: Pictures for Grades 6-8

All these events and more can be found on the interactive district-wide calendar found on the front page of the district's webpage:

You can simply click on any date in question and see the activities for the day. Each is color coded to match a school (E.g., blue - West End).

Once in the daily view, you can scroll through and get a quick overview of what is happening this week.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Spotlight on Mr. Vernon

Andrew Burns Vernon

Teacher of Social Studies

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:
Andrew Burns Vernon

• College(s) and degrees(s):
LaSalle University B.A. in History Minor in education.
Rider University Graduate Level Teaching Certification.

Work experience:
I worked two years at Haddon Heights High School in variety of roles ranging from proctoring study halls, coaching, discipline, and teaching History.

• Favorite books:
o fiction: Being a Social Studies teacher I am not really into fiction.
o nonfiction: When March Went Mad, Founding Myths, Lincoln's Constitution, Blood on the Moon

• Favorite television show:
The Wonder Years, Sports Center

• Last movie I loved:
Good Will Hunting

• Music CD(song) that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Bruce Springsteen -- specifically "Spirit in the Night." I listen to that song on repeat daily.

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
Lincoln. After studying someone for a long period of time, reading letters and making speculations, it would be great to get his personal perspective on a number of issues.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
Atsion Lake

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

• LEAST favorite animal (domestic or wild):

• Favorite sports team:
Eagles, then the Phillies

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
AVID summer professional development in Italy

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
Despite the many teachers that have inspired me over the years I must choose one that has never taught me…. in a classroom. In addition to the many other roles my mother took head on, I must say she made a wonderful teacher in life. Life lessons and study help aside, having a teacher in your family gives you insight and appreciation for just how hard educators must work to be effective. There is no better inspiration for becoming an educator than seeing someone working diligently to make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office

Gloucester County Prosecutor, Sean Dalton, has asked that we share with you the link below. It is an effort by his office to get feedback on how individuals across the county feel about their respective community's safety.

If you are a Gloucester County resident, please take a bit of time to complete the survey. The informaiton will be helpful as the prosecutor's office works with local law enforcement personnel to develop long-range plans.

Gloucester County Crime Survey

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Woodbury Fall Festival

(This notice comes from the City of Woodbury.)

Attention all Children

Bike decorating contest – Sat., October 3, 2009 @ 5:30pm.

The annual Woodbury Fall Festival parade will be held this Saturday, October 3rd (rain date -- Oct. 10th).

The parade committee is planning a spectacular parade this year. Our theme will be “Land of the Free, Because of the Brave.” We will be honoring all our returning veterans. You can help us with this celebration by entering our bike/wagon/ stroller in the decorating contest.

This contest is open to all children (you do not have to be a Woodbury resident) and is sponsored by our local Police Benevolent Association.

Prizes will be given -- so decorate your bikes in a patriotic theme.

Please meet at the Woodbury high school parking lot near the stadium (second level fenced-in parking lot) at 5:30 pm. Children will be joining the parade when it gets to Hunter Street and will ride or walk until the parade ends at the Walgreens.

Parents/guardians should accompany children who are participating.

Bike helmets are required. No child will be allowed to participate without a helmet.

For additional information, please contact Dottie Lange at the Monogram Shoppe (845-9299).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Division I College Sports

Counselor Dan Howey reported that three Woodbury High School students have verbally committed to play sports at college for the next academic year -- all at Division I schools:

Brothers Jared and Isiah Roberts have made a verbal committment to accept offers from the United States Naval Academy and Dyshawn Davis has made a similar committment to play football at Syracuse University.

Though the time period that allows for the formal commitments does not start until later this school year and the verbal commitments are not binding, it is exciting for these students to have these opportunities and conversation early in their senior year.

Courier Post -- Roberts

Gloucester County Times -- Roberts

Courier Post -- Davis

Monday, September 28, 2009

Jr.-Sr. HS Sporting Events

On the district website, there is an easy link to the website "" You simply go to the "ATHLETICS" tab on the bar across the top of the home page and select "SCHEDULES."

On that site, you will see a two-day snapshot of what is happening today and tomorrow in the world of Woodbury atheletics. You can also request schedules for specific sports teams, etc. Also, you can use the system to transfer data directly into your computer's calender (though I have not tried that feature) -- that way, for example, you can have the entire soccer season downloaded.

Below is an example of the two-day look. It does not copy perfectly into this blog software, but you get the idea. On the actual website, the format is much easier to read in terms of the layout.

TODAY'S EVENTS - Monday Sep. 28

Boys Varsity Soccer VS Woodrow Wilson H. S. FRANCIS AVE 3:45PM
Girls Varsity Soccer @ Haddon Heights High School DEVON AVE 3:45PM
Girls JV Soccer @ Haddon Heights High School DEVON AVE 3:45PM
Girls Varsity Tennis VS Overbrook High School WEST END 3:45PM
Boys JV Football VS Sterling High School WOODBURY 3:45PM
Boys Jr. High Soccer @ Pine Hill Middle School PINE HILL 4:00PM
Girls Jr. High Soccer VS Pine Hill Middle School FRANCIS AVE 4:00PM

TOMORROW'S EVENTS - Tuesday Sep. 29

Girls Varsity Field Hockey @ Overbrook High School HS 3:45PM
Boys Varsity Soccer @ Overbrook High School HS 3:45PM
Boys JV Soccer @ Overbrook High School HS 3:45PM
Girls Varsity Soccer VS Overbrook High School FRANCIS AVE 3:45PM
Girls JV Soccer VS Overbrook High School FRANCIS AVE 3:45PM
Girls Varsity Tennis @ Collingswood High School Click for directions HS 3:45PM
Girls Jr. High Field Hockey VS Pine Hill Middle School PINE HILL 4:00PM
Boys/Girls Varsity Cross Country @ PAULSBORO/WD @ WD PARK 4:00PM

Friday, September 25, 2009

Website Welcome Letter

(Below, you will find the new "welcome" message that is included as part of the Superintendent section of the district website. I thought I would post it here so that you can get a feel for the areas of focus for this 2009-10 school year. Also, there are some hyperlinks included that may interest you.)

Office Of The Superintendent

A Message from the Superintendent:

Welcome to the Woodbury Public Schools website.

The 2009-10 school year provides rich opportunities for our students to experience success in their individual learning endeavors. We are excited to be in our second year of implementation of the district’s strategic plan. Due to this community generated, five-year plan, many exciting initiatives are making each school day a rewarding experience for all.

A couple of our larger initiatives this year include activities designed to develop the whole student and produce a result that will show increased academic success across all disciplines. Our elementary students (grades 3-5) are engaged in “Responsive Classroom” practices; this program features a morning class meeting daily to reinforce learning and promote overall success. Similarly, the Junior High students are participating in a program designed for their age group that incorporates the same type of approach and goals – “Developmental Designs.”

The High School students have a wide array of new opportunities presented under the “Option II” program. This is another strategic plan initiative, and the use of this creative scheduling option has already begun to change the landscape of what a typical high school experience encompasses.

I encourage you to explore the hyperlinks above for more information. As educators, we are proud of the work that we do each day. Our focus is on the children and we look to meet the needs of each in as individual a way as possible.

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions that you may have regarding our school programs. Also, check out my superintendent’s blog – there is a link on the left-hand side of the home page of this district website.


Joseph Jones, III

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Farmer's Market

(I received this in an e-mail from the City of Woodbury and thought I would pass it along so that some of you may remember to take advantage of the availability of the market. [Though I am not sure about the use of the apostrophe -- I will leave that debate for the English classes.])

Thursday afternoons

2:00 pm to 6:00 pm

in the train station parking lot

open rain or shine

Two more weeks for the Market to be open. There is a great Fall harvest waiting for you, and some summertime favorites still available.

See you at the Market!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Minority Task Force

Woodbury has had a Minority Task Force (MTF) for approximately ten years now. Last night, the group held its first meeting of this school year. I am always pleased to be able to participate in the exchanges that take place at these meetings -- they have been very engaging and positive.

Last night, Daymond Rhodes, the young man who was the focus of yesterday's blog entry, gave an inspirational look at the positive impact that the Future Teachers program at Woodbury has already had on him and the young students with whom he is working. Daymond was joined by four other high school students.

The MTF is comprised of a wide cross-section of the school community -- students, teachers, administrators, parents, and community members without children in our system. Also, the group represents a diverse racial mix.

I will write more about the group in the future. Also, we will be posting the general purpose and objectives on the website.

There are only three scheduled meetings of the MTF this year. Please give consideration to marking your calendar for our next meeting -- Tuesday, February 2, 2010. It is a 6:00 p.m. meeting that takes place in the Jr.-Sr. High School library.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Daymond Rhodes -- first WHS student to participate in the Future Teachers Program

(Submitted by – Director of Pupil Personnel, Ed Murphy and Walnut School Principal, Dr. Jeff Adam)

As part of the district Strategic Plan, we are determined to develop personalized educational experiences for all of our students throughout the district. One method to achieve this goal is through the Option II program coordinated by Kathy Stalter Allen. Ms. Allen works with students to develop experiences outside of the traditional classroom that enable them to earn credit towards graduation.

One of the opportunities available through this Option II program is the newly developed Future Teachers Program. This program allows seniors interested in becoming educators to participate in a field experience at one of our neighborhood elementary schools.

Daymond became the first WHS student to take advantage of this field placement at the Walnut Street School. After completing his traditional school work during the first portion of the day, Daymond has a quick lunch and then reports to Walnut Street for the balance of his day.

At this point Daymond has been assigned primarily to the 2nd grade class but also spends some time with the kindergarten students. Daymond is excited about this opportunity and enjoys the chance to work hands-on with children. Although he has only been at Walnut for a short time, he is already making an impact on students, and the experience has solidified his desire to enter the teaching profession.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I missed my post yesterday. I try to get one up each day, but inevitably some days get by me.

Yesterday was an exciting day in the Jones house. The last of our four boys hit the magical “double digit” birthday. We have made this 10th birthday a special one. The birthday child gets to decide on a unique destination that he, mom and dad attend. The tradition has also been that a grandparent can be invited along, if desired.

So – yesterday’s event included a dinner at a restaurant in Philadelphia’s Chinatown for the boy who loves Chinese food but has never eaten in a Chinese restaurant. This was followed by a trip down Broad Street to Citizen’s Bank Park were we watched an exciting Phillies win from seats that were on the field – right near the ballgirl on the left field side. Exciting.

It isn’t often in a house with four kids that one gets to get out by themselves with mom and dad. So, the “double digit” birthday celebration has been something that each has prized. I am sure that the location does not really matter, in the end, but it has been a fun ride: NYC and the “Lion King;” Flushing Meadows, NY to watch the U.S. Open tennis tournament, and seats at a March Madness second round doubleheader at the Wachovia Center. Each boy picked the location well in advance of the birthday so that we could secure the tickets and make the necessary arrangements. Then, we would have close to a year to wait for the big day.

Traditions – both big and small – are what make a family unique. The traditions can be much simpler -- from crazy birthday chants to a family game night. They become part of the glue that helps bind a family together.

Traditions play a similar role in schools. People look forward to the traditional events and these help connect generations. The traditional senior portrait, senior hallway banner, senior trip, elementary assemblies, 6th grade trip, or Thanksgiving Day football rivalry are just some examples. Since this school district has been in existence since the early 1900’s, there have been any number of traditions – some that have held over long periods of time and some that have been around for shorter periods. Though traditions may change over time, the stories about the traditions of the past still have the same ability to connect generations.

I think it is time to add a new tradition to the Jones family. I want to get to a few more fun events – but it cannot be the triple digit birthday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Great Catch

This was fun to watch last night during the Phillies game television broadcast. A father caught a foul ball and watch what happened:

((Video removed from youtube!))

What really impressed me was the father's reaction; he responded very well to the situation. Great catch, high-fives all around, and then the ball was gone! That parental response (or teacher response) to a child's action is very important. How do you handle unexpected situations like this? Kids will always surprise us with what they say and do -- and how we respond to those things has an impact.

(Note: If you are trying to watch this at a computer at the school, I am not sure if these videos will show through the district's filter. You may have to check back from a home computer.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Board of Education Meeting -- This Wednesday

The regular, monthly meeting of the Woodbury Board of Education will be held Wednesday, September 16, at 7:00 p.m.

The board meetings are 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)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Back-to-School Nights

Most of you are probably well aware of the upcoming Back-to-School Nights. Just to be sure, let me post them here:

Elementary Schools: This Thursday, September 17th
Jr.-Sr. High School: Next Thursday, September 24th

I hope that everyone has a chance to get out and meet his/her child's teacher(s). If you have any questions regarding the programs, do not hesitate to contact the school principal.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Evening Library Hours -- All Are Welcome

The Jr. Sr. High School Library will be open from 5pm to 7pm. starting Monday, September 14th. (Monday through Thursday)

The school district is attempting to fill a void -- the Woodbury City Public Library is closed during those hours.

All students are welcome -- any grades. Parents may accompany their children.

Students and parents should enter the building by the New/Gold Cafeteria in the back of the building. Everyone is asked to sign in with the librarian when entering the library.

There are computers with internet connectivity available for use during these hours.

Check with your child's building principal if you have any questions.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

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 will continue to act as a "clearinghouse" for extra tickets. We will get these tickets into the hands of families in our district. You will be able to provide an opportunity to one or more 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 Phillies game in person is something that can have lasting, positive impact.

Contact my secretary, Mrs. Hoffman, 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.

You will be able provide a child a wonderful, new opportunity!

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


With the start of the new school year, we try to reach back and find the routines that helped get us successfully through the days prior to summer.

In my house, that means trying to remember everyone’s showering time in the morning. There are five that have to get in and out in a short period of time. So you can see why that is such an important procedure to re-establish quickly.

Also – lunches have to be prepared. . . backpacks set for the next day and positioned somewhere where they and any other material for the next day will not be forgotten.
What day is gym? Do you need a change of clothes?

Breakfast -- money for lunch – you know the drill.

It will take a little while for the right routine to be established that allows the morning to move through in a way that gets everyone off and ready for a day of learning.

Our teachers are working to establish similar routines for the classroom. What will work this year? There is a new effort in many of the elementary grades to help in this process. We are implementing a program called Responsive Classroom. I will be able to share more about that in the coming weeks. Also, the Junior High School teachers are expanding their use of Developmental Designs – a similar program for middle school age students.

In a few weeks, routines for this new school year will start to become established. If you are a parent, help your child find the routines that will lead to success. This is especially important for things such as homework completion and overall school readiness.

Again – have a great school year.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Welcome Back

Here we go again! I am not sure how many blog readers will be checking in on Day 1, but hello to those of you who thought to give a look.

For some, it is hard to let go of the carefree days of summer, but it cannot last forever (or else it would have to be renamed – I think some will tell us that would be called “retirement!”). For those of us getting back to the reality of school, let’s focus on the fact that the return for this next school year presents new opportunities for all – students, teachers, principals, and parents.

What new routines will you establish this year to make the school year a success? The start of a school year lets you reinvent who you are when it comes to your “school world.”

The district is ready for the second year of implementation of our Strategic Plan. (I will have more to write about on this topic in future posts.) Teachers and school administrators were active throughout the summer months involved in many professional development programs connected to the Strategic Plan and in other endeavors that will help make for an exciting school year.

For now – I welcome you back. The Woodbury City Public Schools are a special place. We are looking forward to working together to make the 2009-10 school year the best it possibly can be for all.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Graduation Follow-up

Again, congratulations to our graduates. We were fortunate to make it through a brief shower last night and enjoyed an excellent evening on the field.

There was an article about the program in the Gloucester County Times and pictures posted on the Courier-Post website.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Graduation Tonight

Congratulations, Class of 2009! Tonight is our graduation.

Unfortunately, it will be a day with one eye on the sky and the other on Right now, they are calling for a 30% chance of rain. Graduation is set for 6:30 p.m. -- rain or shine. We will be in the gymnasium in case of inclement weather.

A decision will be made as we get closer to graduation time. The school will have a system in place to communicate to the students if there is a change to the gym.

A message will also be posted on our district website indicating where we will be holding the event. We will try to hold off until as late as possible to make the call but will have something posted by 5:00 p.m.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Get Ready for Wolfram|Alpha

A parent of a West End student sent an e-mail to me knowing that I have an interest in mathematics education. She was sharing information about a new website -- a "computational knowledge engine" -- called Wolfram|Alpha.

This is an amazing site that will require some rethinking of how mathematics teachers at all levels approach their work with students.

Here is the site: Wolfram|Alpha

ALSO: Here is a copy from a college mathematics instructors blog site. It provides some additional summary information:

Don’t get W|A Implications? Try these examples.

Listen to this article. Powered by

Wolfram|Alpha is a “computational search engine” built by Wolfram Research (the developers of Mathematica). W|A (pronounce this as “walpha” if you’d like) is similar in appearance to the search engines that we are used to and easy to use. It’s not that W|A will replace other search engines, because it won’t. It’s more of a missing piece in the search engine puzzle. W|A provides a collection of data, formulas, computations, and interpretations that are different from other search engines.

Although the media has stressed data-driven examples (for example, type your first name to see a graph of the frequency of that name over time), the ability of W|A to function as a combination of CAS and natural language computational system is stunning. Let me illustrate with a couple of examples for you to try yourself. Simply follow the links below to see how W|A handles these search requests:

126 (make sure to click on “other historical numerals”)
convert 125 m^3 to gallons
sphere r=7 cm
Line (2,7) and (3,1/2)
Solve x^2-6x=16 (make sure to click on “show steps”)
4 – x^2
Triangle 7,8,9
limit x->3 (x-3)/(x^2-9) (again, make sure to click on “show steps”)
integral (x^2)sin(x^3) (“show steps”)
sum 1/n^2
New York City, Chicago
convert 78 to base 5

There are several differences between W|A and traditional CAS systems. The first, which you should have noticed after those examples, is that the less you ask for, the more you get. W|A just assumes you want all relevant computations and information that it can generate: graphs, solutions, alternate forms, derivatives, integrals, area under the curve (if bounded), and steps (if they are available). W|A provides quick and painless access to all sorts of data that has been organized so that it can be cross-referenced. In this sense, W|A could be a valuable tool for us in helping students to see the connections between concepts within mathematics and in relating mathematics to the real world.

On the other hand, you’re probably also seeing that there could be implications with academic dishonesty, especially in online and hybrid courses. We will all have to individually decide whether W|A is off limits, and if so, how we can possibly enforce it. Ready or not, W|A is now available on any computer with Internet access and on most SmartPhones.

It is up to us to think about (with as much advanced notice as possible) how we want to embrace, adopt, accommodate, or regulate the use of W|A in our courses. This is a conversation we should have in every department at every level of mathematics, including both full-time and part-time instructors. It is a conversation that we should have with our colleagues in the partner disciplines and with our colleagues at our transfer institutions.

Monday, June 22, 2009

PTSA Holiday House Tour

The Jr.-Sr. High School Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) will be hosting the Holiday House Tour in December 2009. The group is currently looking for Woodbury homes to finalize the list of houses that will be part of the tour for this upcoming holiday season.

The house tour is set for Saturday, December 5th from 3 to 8 pm.

Currently, five individuals have committed to having their homes included. PTSA is looking for a few more to add to the tour.

Anyone interested can call Mrs. Gail Parham at 845-4824 or Mrs. Linda Lonabaugh at 853-7705.