Friday, February 26, 2010

Gloucester Alert

While your thinking about all this snow, I encourage you to go to Gloucester Alert and sign-up, if you are not registered.  Those currently registered received an e-mail and text message about today's school closing at 5:08 a.m. this morning.  It is one of the first messaging systems that we employ.

It is easy to register.  You need to choose a Woodbury school and then you will receive any emergency message associated with that school.

You can also sign up for other alerts -- general weather, traffic, etc.

(There is also a link on the school district's main web page when you click the red box on the left side of the front page:  "Safety and Emergency Information.")

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fast in the Pool

 (Pictured are Coach Jamie Jess and Coach Joe Pegues with Tim Wagner, Brian Sullivan, Brendan Davis and Dale Davis.)

The above four members of the swim team broke the WHS school record in both the 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays and also qualified for the state tournament in the 200 yard freestyle relay.  In addition, the same four played a key role in helping the Wooters (Woodbury/Gateway) Swim Team qualify for the state playoffs for the first time in over two decades.  

NJSIAA state tournament competition will be on March 6th at GCIT starting at 2:00 (preliminaries) and on March 7th at 2:00 (finals).

(Article on the team)

Good luck!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Young Writers

Ms. Lyons second grade class at Evergreen Elementary School has been busy at work writing and editing an original piece of realistic fiction. Through the use of writing workshop strategies, Ms. Lyons  has inspired young authors. 

Students worked through a process of brainstorming, drafting, editing and rewriting to create a final product Students addressed the theme of problem solving. The character in their stories always seemed to find a solution.  Topics ranged from losing a dress to rescuing the family dog who had jumped into a backyard pool.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Father/Daughter Dance

On Friday, February 12th, love filled the air in the West End All Purpose Room. Ninety-Five girls and their male role models danced the night away at the Second Annual Father/Daughter Dance.

Fathers and daughters danced to some favorites like The Electric Slide and The Chicken Dance along with musical selections from favorites Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers. Rumors were flying that Mr. Myers even joined and led the girls in The Electric Slide, but everyone was in such awe, cameras remained in pockets!

It was a great event sponsored by the West End PTA.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


That is the amount of money in what was dedicated state aid to the Woodbury City Schools that the state will now NOT pay as a result of Governor Chrisitie's executive order last week.  Due to the financial crisis the state finds itself in for the current budget year, school districts across the state have been targeted as a main means to making up the shortfall.

Any money that was in a "excess surplus" account or in specially designated "reserve" accounts was used in the calculation to determine how much a district would have to find in these areas in lieu of what were to be state aid payments.  Woobury has used money in these accounts in the past to perform maintenance and upgrade work to our facilities and to also provide for taxpayer relief with respect to the local property tax.

Obviously, any of the good that would have come from this money has been eliminated.  It will now simply be used to pay bills.  Additionally, this decision will likely have serious impact on the development of the next school year's budget.

Unfortunately, this may not be the end for bad economic news for schools.  In a mid-March address, Governor Christie will provide an outline for state aid to schools for the 2010-11 school year.  This state aid number for Woodbury will be a key determiner for decisions related to our school programs for the future.

As a superintendent faced with the financial complications of school funding, it makes me wish for snow!  

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Let it Snow -- Again?

Well -- this seems to be the winter of the snowstorm.  I am sure that my superintendent friends were pleased that the last two big storms started on Saturdays.  That helped us significantly.  Can you imagine the impact on school days if those two arrived during the middle of the week.

It does not look like we will be so lucky this time around.  They are calling for significant accumulations, and this time it is set to start tonight -- Tuesday. 

As always, we will use multiple sources to put out any notice regarding closings and or delays.  The information is posted on the district website, Gloucester Alert is used for those enrolled, and the local television outlets receive our information (ABC, NBC, and CBS).  Finally, we also contact the local "Channel 5" cable broadcast.

Keep the shovels at the ready.  

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wednesday, February 3 -- Jr.-Sr. High School Bathroom Fire Update

Today, at 12:33 p.m. an automatic alarm was sent to the fire and police departments of Woodbury due to smoke from a small fire that was in a bathroom of the Jr.-Sr. High School. The students were evacuated and then, once it was determined that the gymnasium and Annex could be safely used, the students were sent to those locations.

The 6th grade students returned to their regular classrooms in the Annex and the remaining students waited in the gymnasium. The fire department from Woodbury and surrounding areas responded and were able to extinguish any fire that remained active and they cleared the smoke that filled the bathroom and spilled out into the hallways.

We were able to have students return to their classes at approximately 1:45 p.m. The high school students returned to the class period that they were in at the time of the event. Junior High students were provided time in the cafeterias for a late lunch.

Unfortunately, the fire appears to have been deliberately set. Due to our inside surveillance system, we believe that we will soon determine the identity of the individual(s) involved. Obviously, serious consequences from both the school and the local authorities will follow.

Teen P.E.P.

(An invitation sent by the advisors/teachers of Teen PEP . . . )


Annual Teen Prevention Education Program (Teen P.E.P.) Family Night

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 Sixth-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 in the past 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 10, 2010, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
WHERE: Woodbury High School Auditorium

Refreshments will be served!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Haiti Relief Effort, Continued

The two West End student organizers of the Haiti Relief Fund effort are pictured above -- Brianne and Becca Kennedy. West End School raised $639.25. The school will be making this donation to the Red Cross on Thursday morning.