Friday, February 27, 2009

Spotlight on Ms. Gauthier

Ms. Kristin Gauthier

Teacher of Science

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:

Kristin Gauthier

• College(s) and degrees(s):

Neumann College, Bachelor of Science: Biology

• Work experience:

Substitute Teacher in Brigantine, NJ

• Favorite books:

A Private Family Matter

• Favorite television show:

Grey's Anatomy

•Last movie I loved:


• 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:

Paul Kariya, to find out what happened to his hockey career.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:

the mountains in Vermont

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

Oil Change in my car

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):


• Favorite sports team:

Boston Red Sox

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

Winter Olympics

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

My 5th grade teacher. She showed up to an ice hockey game I had at 6:00am in a cold rink because I asked her to go and she waited until I got out of the locker room to say good job before she left. She put effort in well beyond the classroom.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Woodury Community Garden -- It is almost Springtime!

During my tour of the proposed site for the bike path the other day, I met Amelie Harris-McGeehan, Garden Coordinator, Environmental Education.

She provided me with a quick, excited history of the community garden project here in Woodbury. Do you know about it?

You can visit the following link that will take you to more information on the Woodbury City website: Woodbury Community Gardens.

Ms. Harris-McGeehan's contact information is (856) 845-0371;

I was told that there were three picnic tables there for those interested in taking in the scenery by the gardens and the waterfront. This site must be lovely from spring through fall! You can find the garden site behind the YMCA off of Red Bank Avenue.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Woodbury Bike Path

I was asked to join a group from the city as some preliminary conversation took place a couple weeks ago regarding the bike path grant that the city was recently awarded. The discussion focused primarily on the path's portion that would be from the new soccer fields around the water and over to the creek by the Underwood Memorial parking garage.

Eventually, the school gets involved because there would be some portions of the trail that would be on school property.

It was good to be part of the early conversation. The plans are exciting -- it would be nice to have this as an added, save means for some to exercise or move about between the various sports complexes by bicycle or foot.

I am sure there will be more to come in the near future.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

West End Father/Daughter Dance

(This entry was submitted by Mr. Myers, West End Memorial Principal)

Once February rolls around, one typically thinks of love, kindness, and Valentine's Day. This year at West End, when the calendar turned to February, we thought Father/Daughter Dance!

Love certainly filled the air on Thursday, February 12th, when an estimated 75 of our girls joined their fathers or father figures for an evening of dancing and fun. We even had a kind big brother filling in for a dad who had to work.

Dads and daughters were dressed in their "Sunday Best" and danced the night away to popular songs like The Chicken Dance, The Cha-Cha Slide, The Cotton-Eye Joe, and What a Wonderful World.

We hope that this event now becomes an annual tradition at West End. As seen in the pictures below, a great time was had by all in attendance. The special evening provided the opportunity for special memories for our dads and daughters!

A big thank you to the West End PTA for organizing this special activity and to our faculty and staff for assisting with the decorations for the dance.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Bye-Bye Birdie

Mark your calendars for the Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School's production of Bye Bye Birdie.

The shows are this week:

Thursday, February 26th @ 7 p.m.
Friday, February 27th @ 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 28 @ 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Best of luck to all involved. And -- to all, enjoy!

Homework Help Line

The New Jersey State Library is in receipt of a grant from the PSE&G Foundation to run the Homework Help NJ program through at least December 31, 2009.

The program provides free homework help to students, residents, and customers of twenty-four public libraries in New Jersey -- and Woodbury is one of the libraries!

Students in grades K to 12, students in introductory college courses, homeschoolers and adult learners are able to get free help with their math, science, social studies, and English assignments via the Internet.

Students with Woodbury City Public Library cards are can chat online with tutors who will help them tackle their homework problems. Spanish-speaking tutors are available for help with math and science assignments.

Tutors are available 7 days a week from 2 to 10 p.m.

You can use the service for just a few minutes of help or a significant amount of time to better understand complex concepts.

Here is the link:

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Jersey Department of Education Session: Bullying Concerns

(From the New Jersey Department of Education)

Be a part of the solution

The NJ Commission on Bullying in Schools invites you to attend public hearings on the issue of school bullying and to make recommendations for improvement. Public testimony is vital to ensure the best possible solutions, so broad attendance is encouraged.

Public Hearing

Wednesday, February 25, 6-9 p.m.
Gloucester County College, Tanyard Road, Sewell
(Health Sciences Bldg. room 500)

To submit your testimony or other thoughts on the issue, you can e-mail at

To learn more, visit the Office of the Child Advocate’s website at

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spotlight on Mr. Landis

Mr. Jeremy Landis

Teacher of Grade 6

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:

Jeremy Landis

• College(s) and degrees(s):

The College of New Jersey - Criminal Justice, Rowan University - History Credits

• Work experience:

Woodbury High School - Instructional Assistant, Student Adjustment Center Monitor, Teacher of 6th Grade, Assistant Football Coach, Assistant Track Coach

• Favorite books:
o fiction: The Hobbit
o nonfiction: Team of Rivals

• Favorite television show:

The Office

• Last movie I loved:


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

The Battle of Los Angeles

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

The entire 6th grade staff

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:

The Gym

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

Going to the Gym

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):


• Favorite sports team:

Eagles and Duke Blue Devils

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:


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

Bernadette Landis and her passion for the education of the youth of America.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

National Geographic Bee School Winners Announced

Finalists from 4th and 5th grade classes at each of the elementary schools recently competed in a school-level National Geographic Bee. We are pleased to announce that –

Evergreen’s winner was 5th grader Derek Lane;
Walnut’s winner was 5th grader Joelle Murray; and
West End’s winner was 4th grader Annie Hughes.


This is the 21st year that the National Geographic Society has held the National Geographic Bee for students in grades four through eight in thousands of schools across the United States.

After winning their school-level bees, Derek, Joelle, and Annie took a qualifying test to determine if they will advance to the state-level competition.

All school winners are eligible to win the national championship and its first prize, a $25,000 college scholarship, at the national competition May 19 and 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.

We wish Derek, Joelle, and Annie well!


Brock Juliano, grade 7 is this year’s winner of the National Geographic Bee in the Woodbury Junior High School. He will represent Woodbury Junior High School at the next round and level of the competition that involves taking a written test administered for the National Geographic Society.

Brock has been a state competitor in this competition in the past – during his elementary school years. We wish him well in his quest to return to that level of the competition!

Congratulations Brock!

Brock Juliano and Ms. Mosley

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Planning for the 2009-10 School Year

A Message from the Jr.-Sr. High School Counseling Office:

A note was included at the bottom of 2nd marking period report cards recently mailed indicating that you should call the counseling office to schedule time with your child’s counselor for the purpose of making decisions regarding 2009-10 school year schedules.

There will be specific evenings dedicated for parents who are not available during the day. The high school counselors will be working the following nights:

Mr. Howey: February 18, March 2, March 4, and March 9

Mrs. Davis: February 25, February 26, March 2, and March 3

Please call the counseling office to set up a time – day or night – to meet with your child’s counselor. 853-0123 ext. 277

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Donate Blood -- Friday, February 20th

A note from the WHS National Honor Society:

The Woodbury High School National Honor Society is sponsoring a Blood Drive this Friday, February 20. It will be open to the entire community members 3:00pm to 7:45pm.

School employees can schedule from 8:00 am thru 1:45 pm. They are welcome to come from 3:00 pm to 7:45 pm -- but it is then counted on the community drive.

Give Life… Give Love… Donate Blood

Woodbury High School
Friday, February 20th
WHS Library from 8 - 2

For your convenience you can make an appointment
Signing up online Click Here

Or, call Ms. Knauss at the High School at 853-0123 ext. 248

Friday, February 13, 2009

Spotlight on Mr. Matranga

Mr. Anthony Matranga

Teacher of Mathematics

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:

Anthony Matranga

• College(s) and degrees(s):

Arcadia University
Bachelors in Mathematics 2006
Minor in secondary education

• Work experience:

Long term substitute teacher at Plymouth Whitemarsh High

• Favorite books:

o fiction: Dibs In search of Self by Virginia M. Axline
o nonfiction: The Art of the Infinite by Robert Kaplan

• Favorite television show:

Any cooking show (I love to cook)

• Last movie I loved:

My favorite movie of all time is the Godfather II

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

I would love to go back in time and eat lunch with my grandfather when he lived in Italy to get a feel for the old Italian lifestyle. I always wanted to see what growing up in another country would be like and the food would just be a bonus.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:

any bookstore

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

I need to get another file cabinet to organize all my papers that keep accumulating into a huge pile.

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

I'm not really an animal lover, not that I hate animals, I just can't say I have a favorite.

• Favorite sports team:


• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:


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

My high school calculus teacher inspired me the most. I always looked up to how much he knew and how good he was at explaining the material.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Morning Meetings – Developmental Design

This year, our Junior High School faculty are leading our students in a “morning meeting” process each Friday as part of our Developmental Design initiative.

This work is direct by-product of the district’s new Strategic Plan. The Developmental Design program is something that we anticipate implementing more fully in the future. For now, we have started with these Friday efforts.

Last Friday, I found myself on the 7th and 8th grade floor and simply stopped in to a number of classrooms as they completed activities associated with the DD morning meeting. One of the important elements of the program is to have students know one another better (and for the teachers involved to get to know students in a different way, as well).

Each morning meeting will typically include an activity that gets all the students involved in a way that accomplishes the goal above. Let me give you a sample of what I observed in the three rooms I had a chance to visit during the lengthened homeroom period (about a twenty minute time-frame):

  • In one class, the students were told to write their name on a piece of paper. They were then instructed to throw it into the center of the room; the students were sitting in a circle. Then, students retrieved a paper at random from the center of the room and wrote something nice about that person – a compliment. This was then repeated two more times – paper thrown into the center of the room and a random one retrieved. When these papers were retrieved a last time, the comments are read aloud and shared with the group by the person who picked up the paper last. What a nice way to start the day – hearing all those kind statements about you!

  • In another class, the students were again in a circle. I was invited to join. The activity in progress involved naming something that you liked. It could be anything – a type of candy, a vacation destination, a sport, a type of movie, etc. Then, anyone in the circle who liked that same thing stood up. Anyone standing was to then find a different, open seat and move there. This activity was repeated over and over. In a short time, you learned a lot about the students in the room. The teacher called on students to give their item they liked and everyone was involved – even the most quiet. And – every time someone named something -- there were at least a couple of students who “joined in” by standing and moving with him/her.

  • Finally, my last visit was to a class that was in the process of reviewing various lists of three statements each person had made on a piece of paper about him/herself. Again, the class was seated in a circle. Two of the statements were supposed to be true and one was to be deliberately false. Each individual read his/her three statements and then the class would vote after each person as to which statement they thought was false. Again, this activity revealed information that otherwise may never be known – the student who once lived in California, the student who modeled, the student whose father was in his fifties, etc. We all left the class knowing a bit more about those who were in the room!

You can read more about Developmental Design by clicking on the link. We intend to expand the implementation so that it becomes more than a Friday only happening. This is an initiative that targets grades 6 through 8.

There will be a complementary effort called Responsive Classroom for the elementary grades. We intend to begin that work with our students next year. This year, the elementary teachers are hearing more about that program, and we are planning training for the elementary teachers to occur during the upcoming summer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

February Board of Education Meeting: Changed to Next Wednesday, February 18th

The regular, monthly meeting of the Woodbury Board of Education has been changed to a new date. The Board will be meeting next Wednesday, February 18, 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 will be posted on the district website early next week. (agenda)

During the course of the school year, each of the four schools provide an update to the board on activities that highlight the good work occurring in each building. At the February meeting, the Evergreen Avenue School will provide their presentation for the 2008-09 school year.

Also, following the school presentation, the board will hear an update from Mr. Gwalthney, Board President, on his visit to Washington D.C. as part of a team of board members representing the New Jersey School Boards Association; they were part of the larger National School Boards Association's Federal Relations Network.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Revised Core Curriculum Content Standards Posted for Public Review

(This posting is a copy of a press release that was recently put out by the New Jersey Department of Education. The Core Curriculum Content Standards have been driving curriculum decisions in New Jersey for some time now. The most recent proposed revision is now available for discussion.)

Citing the vital importance of the 21st century skills necessary to better prepare students for success in the global economy, Education Commissioner Lucille E. Davy today announced that proposed revisions to the state’s Core Curriculum Content Standards (CCCS) are now available for public review and comment.

The nine CCCS, which outline what students should know and be able to do at grade levels, must be revised every five years by the State Department of Education and adopted by the State Board of Education to ensure they remain current and contain the academic rigor appropriate for preschool through grade 12.

Their release begins a 60-day period for public review and comment. The public will be able to provide feedback through an online evaluation tool and during several standards review sessions that will be conducted throughout the state in February.

The revised standards are designed to infuse real-world skills into the state’s existing curriculum models in the nine content areas – Language Arts Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, World Languages, Technological Literacy, Visual and Performing Arts, Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, Career Education and Consumer, Family and Life Skills – and to implement many instructional elements of DOE’s high school transformation effort.

“All New Jersey children deserve the opportunity to enter the workforce or college already equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to thrive,” said Commissioner Davy. “The release of the 2009 curriculum revisions brings New Jersey one step closer to ensuring that students are prepared better for the world that awaits them after high school.”

Major CCCS changes proposed this year include:

* All content standards now require the infusion of interdisciplinary connections, technology and global awareness.

* The revised standard nine, 21st Century Life and Careers, includes new standards on life and career skills and personal financial literacy designed to help students in all grades learn about money, credit and debt management and planning, savings and investing, and a new career and technical education standard.

* The Math standard incorporates best practices from other states and countries where students have shown high levels of achievement.

* The Language Arts Literacy standard adds a focus on the use of digital technologies in reading, writing, listening, speaking and viewing. It also incorporates world literature to develop students’ cross-cultural perspectives of authors and audiences from other regions of the world.

Once finalized and published, the new CCCS will be accompanied by classroom application documents to help teachers make the new standards come alive in the classroom and integrate the targeted skills across content areas. The application documents also will provide examples of how to use project-based learning to give students a broader understanding of the skills and concepts being taught.

“For example, imagine the learning that could take place if students are empowered to use technology to contact their peers across the globe for a long-term project examining the lack of clean drinking water in many countries,” said Commissioner Davy. “It not only would be a lesson in math and science, but students would learn how to communicate with people from other cultures – a skill set they most certainly will need as working adults in a global economy.

“New Jersey’s business community expects high school graduates who possess the communication, problem-solving and technology skills necessary to help their companies prosper and grow in a competitive economy,” the Commissioner said. “Infusing 21st century skills into existing curriculum standards is the cornerstone to transforming New Jersey’s high schools into institutions that better prepare students to meet real-world expectations.”

The revised standards are available on DOE’s Web site at

Educators and others interested in attending any one of the three- hour standards review sessions can register online at Registrants can choose to attend a morning session from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. or an afternoon session from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the following dates at the following locations:

Wednesday, February 11, at Middlesex County College in Edison
Friday, February 13, at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in Pomona
Friday, February 20, at New Jersey City University in Jersey City
Tuesday, February 24, at NJPSA/FEA Headquarters in Monroe Township (Mercer County)

Monday, February 09, 2009

Parent Program -- Teen P.E.P. -- Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.

(This posting was submitted by the faculty advisers for Teen P.E.P.)

Studies show that teens who feel they can talk with their parents about sex are less likely to engage in high-risk behavior than those who do not feel like they can talk with their parents.

At the same time, research demonstrates that most parents do not talk openly with their children about sex. Often this can be attributed to their own discomfort with the topic, and not feeling equipped with accurate information and responses.

Many times parents are well intentioned and want to do their best to talk with their kids about sex and sexuality, but they are not sure how to begin.

At the same time, teenagers report that they want to have honest discussions with their parents about a range of topics, including sexuality, but feel discomfort and awkwardness about how to begin.

Woodbury High School’s

Fifth-Annual Teen P.E.P. Family Night

provides an opportunity for parents and teens to talk to one another about issues such as privacy, trust, sex, friends and independence. The event begins with thought-provoking skits followed by small group discussion. The overall goal is to decrease some of the fears and discomfort surrounding conversations about sex and sexuality.

Parents who have attended Family Night have indicated that because of their participation, they feel more comfortable talking with their teen about sexuality

WHO: Parents, guardians, teachers and community members

WHEN: February 11, 2009, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

WHERE: Woodbury High School Auditorium

You can contact Mrs. Barbara Gale (853-0123, ext. 243, or Mrs. Donna Lacovara (853-0123, ext. 251, with any questions.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Spotlight on Mr. Richardson

Mr. Robert W. Richardson

Teacher of Grade 5

Evergreen Avenue Elementary School

• Name:

Robby Richardson

• College(s) and Degrees(s):

Bachelor of Science at Salisbury University

• Work experience:

6 years teaching in Maryland (4 years in fourth grade and 2 years in third grade)

• Favorite books:
o fiction: Hatchet
o nonfiction: WANTED! The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln's Assassin (chased through my hometown)

• Favorite television show:


• Last movie I loved:

Shawshank Redemption

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

The 1976 Creedence Clearwater Revival (Chronicle)

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

Cal Ripken Jr. -- because he was my idol growing up. I played a lot of baseball when I was a kid and always wore #8. Plus, he's the Iron Man!

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:

One of my best friends grew up on a family farm on the Wicomico River in St. Mary's, MD. Every time I go back it reminds me of the time we spent crabbing on his tiny skiff, working at the farm, and learning how to drive. It is very relaxing.

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

Clean the garage in the backyard of my new home. Lots of cob webs and junk left over from the previous owners.

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):


• Favorite sports team:

Hail to the Redskins…..Hail VICTORY!!!

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

My new, and very beautiful, wife Laura and I would spend a few weeks in Europe touring.

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

My stepmother was my principal from K-5. I didn't know she would be my stepmother until my father started dating her while I was in middle school. It was kind of weird at first, especially around my friends, but she would allow me to help out at her school during the summer. Some of my former teachers would put me to work just before the new school years would start. That's kind of where it all started for me.

• Another fact about Mr. Richardson you didn't know:

I would have never been here at Woodbury if it wasn’t for college. That’s where I became great friends with my brother-in-law, which, in the end, brought me here to New Jersey.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Congratulations, Mark DiRugeris

Mark DiRugeris scored his 1000th point of his Woodbury High School varisty basketball career on Tuesday, February 3, against the Paulsboro Red Raiders.

The game was halted and Mark was presented with a commemorative ball by Principal Denise Dunham to recognize this special accomplishment.

Pictured above: Coach Avent, Mr. DiRugeris, Mark, and Mrs. DiRugeris.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Gloucester Alert

Reminder: If you go on the Woodbury City Public Schools website at, there is a link for "Gloucester Alert" on the left side of the main page.

Follow the instructions and sign-up for alerts of interest to you. You can identify any of our three elementary schools and/or the Jr.-Sr. High School.

Currently, we use this system to send out "emergency alerts" only. If you are registered with this free service, you will receive e-mails and/or text messages whenever the system is used. You would have received a message early this morning regarding the closing of the schools today.


Tuesday, February 03, 2009

In the News . . .

Sunday, February 1. Philadelphia Inquirer article. Woodbury vs. Deptford Basketball

It was a great game on Saturday -- unfortunately, the Woodbury boys basketball team came out on the losing end of the overtime contest. This article captures the excitement of the day and a bit of the feel of playing in the historic Cap Paine Gymnasium.

Sunday, February 1. Gloucester County Times article. Chinese New Year Celebration

This article is about the annual Chinese New Year celebration held at the Evergreen Avenue School.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Minority Task Force and AVID

This is a late invitation – but, if you are available tonight, you should consider joining a meeting at the Jr.-Sr. High School Library at 7 p.m.

The district has had a Minority Task Force for some time now. Many of the academic goals of the group happen to overlap with the goals of our AVID program (Advancement Via Individual Determination).

Tonight, at a Minority Task Force meeting that is open to all, students from the AVID program will highlight some of the successes of this academic effort that is now in its fourth year at Woodbury.

Again – this is an invite for any parent (whether your child is in the elementary school or in our Jr.-Sr. High School) or any of our teachers to come out and be part of a very worthwhile event this evening.

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you will have read about our AVID student presentations at a couple of recent events. I am sure that if you are able to make it out this evening, you will be very impressed.