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