Monday, October 03, 2011

2011 Periodic Update of the Strategic Plan: Personalizing Education

If you are a reader of this blog, you will know that the district has been actively working with a Strategic Plan since the 2008-09 school year. Last year, the plan was formally reviewed and some minor adjustments were made.

You can read more about the district's Strategic Plan effort, review the updated plan, and read about the work on the various action plans that has occurred during the first three years of operation. This information is posted on our district website: .

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Parent Conferences in November

Last week concluded our Back-to-School Nights for the district. The Junior-Senior high program was held on Wednesday. The elementary schools held their programs the previous week.

Now, please mark your calendar for the next, important chance for you to formally connect with your child’s teacher – parent conferences. For the last few years, the district has been holding these during the short week of school that precedes the Thanksgiving holiday.

Elementary Schools:
Monday, 11/21. Afternoon and Evening
Tuesday, 11/22. Afternoon
Wednesday, 11/23. Morning

Junior-Senior High School:
Tuesday, 11/22. Afternoon and Evening

Please note that, as part of the district’s Strategic Plan, the following is an Action Plan:

“Require parent participation in district-wide teacher conferences in order to enhance individual student achievement.”

The reason for the inclusion of this Action Plan was to clearly establish for parents, especially parents of our 6th-12th grade students, that they should be in attendance at conference time and use this opportunity to further establish the important school-home connection. During the development stage of the Strategic Plan, it was made clear that for some parents there was a level of uncertainty with regard to whether they should attend parent-teacher conferences if their children were performing well in the class. The inclusion of the action plan to require attendance at conferences is to help remove any doubt.

Building principals will provide reminders about the upcoming conferences and then also follow up by sending out letters to those who miss attending. There is another opportunity later in the school year, in February (2/22/12), for those who are unable to get to the November session; attendance in February will also satisfy the district’s expectation. Finally, any conference that you hold with a teacher outside these official conference days will also suffice to satisfy the required parent conference.

We look forward to working with you throughout the school year to help ensure the success of your child.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Spotlight on Ms. Blizzard

Ms. Chritine Blizzard

Teacher of Enrichment

Elementary Schools

• Name: Christine Blizzard

• College(s) and degrees(s): The College of New Jersey B.S., Elementary Education and Math/Science/Technology

• Work experience: Enrichment Teacher, Hillside Public Schools

• Favorite books
o fiction: The Harry Potter Series
o nonfiction: Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson

• Favorite television show: Glee

• Last movie I loved: Toy Story 3

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing: Queen’s Greatest Hits

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why: My dad- he died when I was a baby, and I would love to get to know him and to see how much alike we are.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful: Ocean City, NJ. I love laying on the beach and hearing the waves crash.

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to: Wash my car- It’s been over a year!

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild): Cows!

• Favorite sports team: Philadelphia Phillies

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip: A cruise to anywhere warm and sunny.

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession: Mrs. Borucki, my second grade teacher, was such a dedicated and loving teacher. She encouraged me to work my hardest and never give up on my dreams. I still keep in touch with her today!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Did Not Exercise This Morning

Routines work for many of us. For me, a daily routine is to exercise first thing in the morning -- every day, seven days a week. That way, it is done and, as I read one time, you are always glad, when you are finished, that you completed something good for your health.

But . . . today, I am off my routine. Now, I have to find time to make it happen. I am here at school with a Board Of Education committee meeting during the early part of this evening, so it will be a late night workout of some sort. Not fun -- and something that is less likely to happen.

Routines work well with our children. Students who have good routines when they come home from school can structure their time for success.

*When does homework get done?
*Where in the house is the best place for homework completion?
*How much time will be dedicated to homework?

Once the routine is established, there is a greater likelihood of success:

Home from school, snack, 1/2 hour of television, 1 hour of work, 1 hour free time, dinner, finish homework (if needed), free time.

What is your child's homework completion routine? Talking about the routine and the value of having this structure may help.

One routine for our Jr.-Sr. High School students to incorporate into their day (if time allows) is to attend WORKPLACE after school in the library. There, any student can have a nice place to go to complete homework where computers, college age tutors, and certified mathematics and language arts literacy teachers are available to assist. A snack is provided, too.

The elementary schools will be starting a form of WORKPLACE in each of their buildings a bit later in the school year.

Good luck. (and, good luck to me working in my exercise now that I am off my daily routine!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Woodbury Girls Tennis Tops in Gloucester County Singles Play

Congratulations to our girls tennis team players.

Maddie Graziani plays first singles on the team and Isabella Schoning plays at second singles.

Over the weekend, the annual Gloucester County Times Tennis Tournament took place. This tournament features tennis players from across the county. The singles competition came down to our two top players playing each other for first and second place. This same thing happened last year.

Maddie won that last match and caputured her third straight Gloucester County title.

Again, congratulations to both young ladies.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spotlight on Mrs. Crowley

Mrs. Kerri Crowley

Teacher of Spanish

Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name: Kerri L. Crowley

• College(s) and degrees(s): Douglass College, Rutgers University - B.A. in Spanish, B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies, B.A. in Information Technology & Informatics
Rowan University - M.S.T. in Secondary Education

• Work experience: This is my first year teaching!
I work/have worked at TD Bank since April of 2006 as a Senior Customer Service Representative and Certified Consumer Lender.

• Favorite books
o fiction: Anything written by Charlaine Harris - she is my favorite author! Also The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, and many more!
o nonfiction: The Next Catastophe: Reducing Our Vulnerabilities to Natural, Industrial, and Terrorist Disasters by Charles Perrow and Letters to a Young Teacher by Jonathan Kozol

• Television Show: Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives

• Last movie I loved: The Shawshank Redemption - I just saw it for the first time!

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing: Adele "21"

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why: My great-grandmother Rose D'Angiolini, who I had the privilege to spend 11 years of life with learning to speak Italian, cook, and laugh. I'd give anything to spend some more time with her.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful: Shenandoah National Park

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

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild): Cats - I am definitely a cat person!

• Favorite sports team: Philadelphia Flyers (I am a HUGE hockey fan)

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip: A leisurely cruise through the Mediterranean Sea!

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession: The teacher who inspired me to enter the profession was working at a newly established charter school in Houston, TX. She was teaching a Bilingual Pre-K class and she was so passionate about working with the children and she put her heart and soul into every lesson. Seeing how hard she worked and how much the kids were learning every day was so motivating. I realized quickly that I belong in a classroom, using my passion for language and love for children as impetus for creating engaging lessons. I am very thankful I had the opportunity to go see Celeste Baretto in action, or I may never have found my way into the profession I love so much!

• Anything Else: Although I am a Spanish teacher, I also speak Arabic and Italian as well. From my studies at Rutgers University, I can also read French, German, and Aramaic (Biblical Hebrew).

Thursday, September 15, 2011

White & Gold -- Community Edition

The White & Gold -- Community Edition has traditionally been an item mailed to all Woodbury residents. Unfortunately, the cost of the production of the newsletter has caused the Board of Education to reconsider this past practice, and we have shifted to an electronic delivery.

Today, we attempted to use e-mails stored in the student management system, PowerSchool, to get the copy of the most recent edition out to the parents of our students. We also targeted a number of other people affiliated with the school and the larger Woodbury community and sent it to the e-mails that we had on record for these individuals.

Over time, our e-mail distribution list for those interested in this publication will grow. Also, the document is able to be accessed on the district's website -- at the bottom of the opening page.

Here is a link that should take you right to the most recent issue:

Please pass word along to others to be sure that as many as possible are getting a chance to keep up with our school news. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Current Woodbury Alumni on College Rosters

Dan Howey, one of our Senior High Counselors, put together the following list. As he points out, it is impressive to see how many student athletes from Woodbury are currently participating in a sport at the collegiate level:


Isaiah Roberts: Navy

Marc DiRugeris: Chestnut Hill

Kenny Moore: Slippery Rock University

Megan Fox: Wilmington University

Marcus Davis: Ramapo College

(The original list forgot to include Dominique Sellers -- a freshman at Rosemont College)


Shawney Kersey: Penn State University

Dyshawn Davis: Syracuse University

Jared Roberts: Lafayette College

Brian Purnell: University of Delaware

Tyler Jenkins: Rowan University

Eric Blackwell: Rowan University

Matt White: Rowan University

Michael Paige: Saint Vincent's College


Robert DiRugeris: Ohio State University


Eric Ulmer: Bentley University

Michael Ulmer: Stone Hill College


Kevin Brown: Rutgers (New Brunswick) University

Jacqui Nisbett: Rowan University

Alexis Gligor: University of Delaware

. . . thanks for sharing, Mr. Howey!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Woodbury on Twitter

Some of our administrators will be experimenting with Twitter this year. Check them out . . .

Jason Vivadelli, Evergreen Avenue Principal @ Evergreen_Elem
Vince Myers, West End Principal @ WestEnd_Elem
Jeff Adams, Walnut Street Principal @ Walnut_Elem
Denise Dunham, Jr.-Sr. High School Principal @ Woodbury_JrSr
Grant Shivers, Jr.-Sr. High School Athletic Director @ HerdsSports_WHS
Ed Murphy, Director of Pupil Personnel Services @ WPS_Counseling

Friday, September 09, 2011

Spotlight Postings on Fridays

Each year, I have posted in the blog entries that "spotlight" our new faculty members. These are typically Friday postings. For the next few Fridays, I will get information out to you about the following individuals.

The list of new hires is shorter than it has been in the recent past. It will only take a couple of months to cycle through the eight names below. We welcome each to the district (and, in the case of Mr. Vivadelli, to his new assignment!).

Stay tuned . . .


Ellen Grimes
Assistant Principal
High School

Jason Vivadelli
Principal, Evergreen
Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction: Grades PreK-5


Jr.-Sr. High School
Kerri Crowley - Spanish
Surinder Kaur – Science

Christine Blizzard – Elementary Enrichment
Joanne Ferrara – Preschool
Emily Mason – Elementary Instrumental Music

Mary Moody – Media Specialist

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Access to the Internet

This is an offer that Comcast has been advertising over the summer months. It will apply for some of our families. We are providing those families with the information in a direct mailing, but it may be helpful for more in the school community to be aware and help inform families about this resource, if appropriate.

Therefore, I am printing the specifics of the new Comcast initiative here:

Bringing the Internet to your home is easy and affordable

Now you can connect to the Internet at home - for school, work, communicating with others and so much more.

How to qualify:

To qualify for $9.95 a month Internet service and a low-cost computer, your household must meet all these criteria:

1.Be located where Comcast offers Internet service
2.Have at least one child receiving free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program
3.Have not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days
4.Not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment

How to apply:

1.Call 1-855-8-INTERNET (1-855-846-8376) to request an application
2.We will mail you an application. Complete and return it, along with lunch program documents from your child's school
3.We will notify you by mail about the status of your application. Allow 7-10 days for a response.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

We are Back . . . and my Blog Entries are Back, Too

Hello. It was a much longer hiatus from blogging than I imagined, but I am back. Today, we started our first student day for the 2011-12 school year. Even though it rained, it was a successful start in all of our school buildings.

Even our students were ready to get back to school (well, most of them!). Our teachers understand the important role that they play in the education of Woodbury's children and value the faith and trust that has been placed in them by you.

Here are some pictures of my day as I moved about the district buildings:

I hope that your child(ren) had an enjoyable first day. We look forward to working in partnership with our families and the Woodbury community to create a valuable, personalized learning experience for all.

We work to prepare our students to "meet life's challenges with courage, confidence and pride." [Woodury Strategic Plan -- Mission Statement]

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spotlight on Ms. Satterfield

Spotlight on Ms. Satterfield!

Marisa Satterfield

Teacher of Language Arts Literacy

Woodbury Junior High School

• Name:
MarĂ­sa Satterfield

• College(s) and degrees(s):
BA in English and Certification in Secondary Education from the Honors College of Rutgers University; TEFL International TESOL Certification from TEFL International

• Work experience:
Substitute teacher, AVID and Homework Workplace Tutor- Woodbury Jr. Sr. High School- 2009-2010

• Favorite books
o fiction: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
o nonfiction: Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

• Favorite television show:
My Fair Wedding with David Tutera

• Last movie I loved:
I fell in love with Pride and Prejudice all over again when I saw BBC’s 6 hour screen adaptation for the book.

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
I could listen to anything from Alicia Keys over and over again.

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
My Mom-Mom so that we could talk about books and crossword puzzles again.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
Visiting my little sister and walking with her around town always allows me to relax.

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
Becoming fluent in Spanish is a slow but continuing process for me.

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
My pit bull, Koda.

• Favorite sports team:
My family would disown me if I didn’t say the Philadelphia Eagles.

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
Last summer I stayed a month in Barcelona, Spain. I’d love to go back to my favorite places, La Fontana Magica de Montjuic and Parque Ciutadella.

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
Growing up I loved visiting my mother’s classroom because I could see how much she cared for her students and how they cared for her in return.

.....Anything Else?
I have lived in Woodbury all of my life and for senior superlatives I was voted Most Likely to Come Back and Work at Woodbury. I’m baaaack!!!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Math Olympics III

(This entry is from our Math Coach -- Ms. Realley)

During the months of February and March, students in grades 3-5 at our three elementary schools participated in events for the Woodbury Math Olympics. These events took place in the classroom and helped prepare students for the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK) test that every New Jersey student takes in the month of May. Students worked very hard, doing their best on all of the events, which included Math Sprints, Calculator Exercises, and Archery Questions. Each class also chose a song to help keep them motivated and designed a flag to represent their class during the Olympic competitions.

After all events were completed, the Math Coach and the school principals acknowledged the top three students in each class with a certificate of achievement. The student with the highest score in each class was also rewarded with a certificate for a free sandwich from McDonald’s (generously donated by the McDonald’s in Woodbury). The top student was also moved on to the next round to represent the class and compete in the School Olympics. During this competition a third grader, a fourth grader, and a fifth grader formed a team to answer questions and earn the right to be the representatives for their school at the Woodbury District Math Olympics.

Each student on the first place teams was rewarded with a “gold medal” and a certificate for a free water ice at Rita’s Water Ice (generously donated by the Rita’s in Woodbury). We now look forward to the District Math Olympics on Thursday, April 21, 2011. During the District Olympics, the 1st Place team from each school will compete against one another for the honor of bringing the Math Olympics trophy to their school.

Good luck teams!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From the New Jersey Department of Education . . .

Support for Families from the New Jersey Department of Education

As parents or guardians, you want nothing more than an excellent education for your children. Atthe NJ Department of Education, we want nothing more than to help you achieve this!

We have created a family-focused web site at with resources to help yousupport your child’s education, and navigate your school system. We have also opened a “Help Desk” which can be reached through the parent menu option of our toll-free number: 877-900-6960.

Let’s work together for the good of our children. Please sign up for our mailing list on our web site at or join our mailing list here.

We look forward to helping you help your children.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

West End PTA Talent Show & Basket Raffle

Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School Auditorium

Friday, April 15, 2011

Basket Raffle
6:00 p.m.
Tickets 1/$0.50 or 11/$5.00

Talent Show
7:00 p.m.
Admission @ the door - $5/adult & $1/student

Musicians, comedians, poets, dancers, & singers,
…this show has something for everyone!
Special appearances featuring staff members!

Events hosted by the West End Parent-Teacher Association
Proceeds to benefit the children of West End Elementary School.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Congratulations, Girls Track

The girls track team dominated at the West Deptford Relays last Saturday. Congratulations to all.

Monday, March 14, 2011

C25K: Couch to 5K

As you can see from the lack of posts recently, it is a hectic time of the year for me. In addition, my personal exercise program has been causing serious time constraints -- especially since I tend to take care of that obligation first thing in the morning (around 5 a.m.) which was my best time to blog. Finally, the fact that many of the school events now end up on the front page of the district website also limits blog entries.

Oh well. I do think that this blog will need to change to something that posts items of more significance -- less frequently. Maybe a once a week posting? This is definitely a time of evolution for the blog.

Now -- C25K. Given my personal interested in exercise (recently!) and my success with this program (I went from not being able to run a single lap around the track to running a half marathon in about one year's time.), I wanted to make an opportunity available to our students to get moving.

The C25K program is rather simple. It progresses from a walking/running program to a running/walking program. You start out walking more than you run and end up at the end running more than you walk.

I have been able to get to class meetings and/or lunch periods to talk to students in Grades 6,7,10. and 11. I intend to speak with all students before March ends. If we get six OR sixty students interested, it will be a success. I have been pleased with the amount of early interest.

Students have been told by me that this can be an activity that they do simply as something new to try if they are in shape OR something that they want to get involved with to get into better shape.

FINALLY -- the program is open to staff who are available at the time that we are meeting. Feel free to join us. Let me know by e-mail so that I have a sense of who to expect. (You do not have to walk/run all three days each week with the group; some of the days can be completed on your own.)


C25K: a fantastic program designed to get you from the couch to running a 5K in just 9 weeks.

• Open to ALL interested 6th-12th students (and staff!) – those who run and those who have never run.

• Complete C25K under the supervision of Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School staff starting Monday, April 4, 2011.

• The program will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday -- 4/04 through 6/05

• The time commitment is from 2:55 p.m. – 3:35 p.m. each day: M, W, and F.

• What you need: Sneakers (Running sneakers are best – but any pair will work!).

GOAL: For all participants to run in (and FINISH) Woodbury’s George Benjamin-Browning Ross Memorial 5K the first weekend in June.

You can find out more information on the C25K online at

More details will be provided on the first day; we will meet on the parking lot by the press box.

You are welcome to contact Joseph Jones (853-0123, ext. 230 or if you have specific questions.

Please have your son/daughter return the sign-off below to the Main Office.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

I give my son/daughter ___________________________ (Grade: ____) permission to join the Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High School C25K Club.

Parent/Guardian Signature: __________________________Date: _________________

Friday, March 04, 2011

Spotlight on Ms. Lauk

Erin Lauk

Occupational Therapist

Woodbury School District

• Name:
Erin Lauk

• College(s) and degrees(s):
University of the Sciences- Master’s in Occupational Therapy
University of the Sciences- Bachelor’s in Health Science

• Work experience:
Manor Care 2009-2010

• Favorite books:
Anything by Jodi Picoult or Janet Evanovich

• Favorite television show:
Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, and Law and Order: SVU

• Last movie I loved:
Black Swan

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Zac Brown Band is the most current CD that I have worn out.

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
My grandfather because I miss him and have so much to tell him.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
Seeing and hearing the ocean.

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

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):

• Favorite sports team:
Phillies and Eagles

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
Caribbean because it seems so beautiful and relaxing at the same time and Europe because of the history and scenery.

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
A college recruiter was the one who helped me to find the profession of Occupational Therapy.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Playoff Tickets -- Boys Basketball

Mr. Shivers has asked that the following information be posted:

Tickets for the Thursday, March 3, playoff game @ Pennsgrove will be on sale for students during the lunch periods on Thursday and for the public in the Athletic Director's office after school (2:45 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.).

Our Woodbury boys are seeded #7. Pennsgrove is the #2 seeded team.

Game time is 5:30 p.m.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Jr.-Sr. High School PTSA Fundraiser

(This is from the PTSA: Parent, Teacher, Student Association)

Do You Have a Resolution?
Be the 1st Biggest Loser of 2011!!

Contact: Or Call Joan Hammer (Broad St. Nutrition)@609-314-5545

Support WOODBURY Jr-Sr HS PTSA Fundraiser
Begins: Thursday, March 3, 2011
Time: 6:15 PM –7:15 PM
Location: Broad Street Nutrition
55 S Broad St., Woodbury, NJ 08096
$39 FOR 12 WEEKS
(PTSA will receive $10 per participant & $25 awarded to Top 3 Biggest Losers)

Nutrition Lessons, Personal Coaching, Weekly Prizes
Lose 10, 20 or even 30+ Pounds!
Challenge Winners WIN CASH!!

Be one of the first 25 people to register by Monday, March 1st
and be submitted for a drawing to WIN!!
Your Weight Loss Challenge Fee FREE!
Return by Tuesday, March 1st to PTSA Mailbox (High School Main Office)


Email: with any questions or concerns

Name: ____________________________________________________________________

Phone: _____________________________ Email: _______________________________
Make Checks Payable to: Joan Hammer

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spotlight on Mrs. Jessica Nowak

Mrs. Jessica Nowak

Teacher of Business

Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:
Jessica S. Nowak

• College(s) and degrees(s):
BA in Communication, Emerson College, Boston,
MA; Masters in Business Administration, University of Phoenix, Distance Learning

• Work experience:
My background includes everything from professional theater to medical editing to financial communication.

• Favorite book:
East of Eden, John Steinbeck

• Favorite television show:
I am currently crazy for The New Adventures of Old Christine.

• Last movie I loved:
A Serious Man – Joel and Ethan Coen (drama)
Run, Fat Boy, Run (comedy)

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong’s recording of Porgy and Bess

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
My Bed

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
Pygmy Marmosets…cute!

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mr. Gwalthney Goes to Washington

(The following comes from the New Jersey School Board's weekly publication, School Board Notes. Frank Gwlathney, Woodbury City Board of Education President, was one of those who participated in the conference.)

The 2011 Federal Relations Network Conference – the National School Boards Association’s grassroots advocacy network at the federal level – was held in Washington, D.C. from Feb. 6-8.

NJSBA governmental relations staff attended FRN with approximately 20 local board of education members from New Jersey.

The national issues discussed at the conference included:

•Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) /No Child Left Behind (NCLB)reauthorization
•School board governance
•Education funding
•Becoming a resource to new and returning members of Congress
•Taking your advocacy skills to the next level
•Urging Congress to support initiatives for 21st century learning and skills
•Learning to be a face for school districts on Capitol Hill

Julie Groeninger, an aide for Sen. Frank Lautenberg, sitting at the head of the table, speaks with (from left to right) Diane Holzberg, a member of the Demarest Board of Education; Richard Snyder, board member from Ramsey; and Beth Politi from the Pascack Valley Regional Board of Education. In the background is Frank Gwalthney of the Woodbury Board of Education (left), and Michael Vrancik, NJSBA’s director of Governmental Relations

At right, Martha Wilson, a school board member from Camden, and her husband, New Jersey Assemblyman Gilbert L. “Whip” Wilson from Camden County, speak with a legislative aide in U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews’ office. At left is Frank Gwalthney of the Woodbury Board of Education, and Wayne Marek of the Morris Plains school board.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Luncheon & Musical for our Senior Citizens

A special note from the Woodbury Education Association:

Attention Woodbury Senior Citizens!
Please join us for
Woodbury High School’s
matinee production of

“Thoroughly Modern Millie”

Be our guest at a FREE luncheon prior to the play
compliments of the Woodbury Education Association
Date: Saturday, March 19th
Time: Luncheon begins at 11:00 a.m.
Play begins at 1:00 p.m.
Place: Woodbury High School Blue Cafeteria
(Free tickets to the show provided by the Woodbury High School Drama Club will be provided at the luncheon).

AT 853-0125 X248 (limited seating available)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Good to Debate: College at 18 years old?

My blog has been getting the short end of my attention recently. So, let me spice things up a bit with this entry. I came across this on my home e-mail, "Yahoo" page. The topic caught my interest.

Obviously, we in the public K-12 school arena are in the business of readying all of our students to have the option to go to college upon graduation. The question that this individual raises is whether college is the right choice.

I am not convinced of the complete argument that would cause one to forgo college entirely. For most of us, there is much to be gained by attending an institution of "higher learning."

I do think the concept of taking a year or two to do some of the things referenced here and then making a decision about college is interesting. I say that because I believe there is a real benefit to taking college courses with some additional, real life experiences to draw upon. The entire college experience for an individual could benefit from that sequence.

Take a look at the article from the internet that was posted on the Yahoo site (copied below). Also, I have activated a link here so that you can go to the site to view a brief interview with the gentleman making the argument for life experiences over college.

So -- thoughts?

James Altucher's 8 Alternatives to College
Posted Feb 08, 2011 08:00am EST by Aaron Task

It's been nearly a year since Formula Capital's James Altucher discussed his theory on why sending your kids to college is a bad idea. The segment proved to be one of Tech Ticker's most popular...and controversial of 2010. (See: Rethinking College as Student-Loan Burdens Rise)

More recently, a report based on the book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses found that after two years of college, 45% of students learned little to nothing. After four years, 36% of students learned almost nothing. (See: Brain Drain: Most College Students Learn Next to Nothing, New Study Says.)

Meanwhile, the cost of college keeps rising -- 20 times the rate of inflation and much faster than say healthcare costs -- and student loan debt keeps growing. As of mid-2010, U.S. student loan debt totaled $850 billion vs. $828 billion for credit card debt, according to the Federal Reserve.

So with more people coming around to the idea that maybe Altucher is onto something (vs. being on something), the money manager and author is back with a follow-up: The 8 Alternatives to College:

-- Start a business.
-- Work for a charity.
-- Travel the world.
-- Create art.
-- Master a sport.
-- Master a game.
-- Write a book.
-- Make people laugh.

"Whenever I suggest 'don't send your kids to college' a lot of very smart people invariably come back with the response, ‘well what else should they do?'," Altucher writes on his blog. "So I figure I will help people out by coming up with a list and try to handle the criticisms that will certainly arise even before they arise. I can do this because I have a college degree. So I've learned how to think and engage in repartee with other intelligent people."

In the accompanying video, Altucher "repartees" with Henry and me about his alternatives to college and addresses the most powerful thing working on behalf of higher education: The huge gap in employment between those with and without college degrees.

Aaron Task is the host of Tech Ticker. You can follow him on Twitter at @atask or email him at

Monday, February 14, 2011

Congratulations -- 2011 Teachers of the Year

We are excited to announce the following selections for
The New Jersey Governor’s 2011
Teacher of the Year Award
for the Woodbury City Public Schools

Evergreen Avenue
Christine Abdalla

Walnut Street
Robby Richardson

West End Memorial
Debra Aversa

Junior High School
Ellen Firth

Senior High School
Cheryl Federline

Each demonstrates hard work, dedication, and a professional spirit worthy of our recognition.
Woodbury is fortunate to have a truly dedicated faculty. The selection committee felt that
these teachers provide strong example of all the good teaching that takes place across the district.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Spotlight on Mr. Seligman

Mr. Jonathan Seligman

Teacher of Mathematics

Jr.-Sr. High School

• Name:
Jonathan Seligman

• College(s) and degrees(s):
University of Maryland B.A. Government and Politics
Rutgers School of Law - Juris Doctorate
Rowan University - Masters of Science in Teaching

• Work experience:
Teacher Carusi Middle School Cherry Hill 2008-2010
Practicing Attorney 2003-2008

• Favorite books
o fiction: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen and 1984 by George Orwell
o nonfiction: Game Change by Mark Halpern

• Favorite television show:
How I Met Your Mother

• Last movie I loved:

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing:
Ten by Pearl Jam

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why:
My father because I miss seeing him and I miss his wisdom and has ability to remain level headed.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful:
When I drove cross-country after college I stayed in Kentucky for a night. I spent three hours on a bay watching the sunset, I never forgot how the world reset at that moment and I felt so peaceful.

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to:
Calling friends and making plans.

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild):
Duck-They bake in the sun all day, hang out with their friends and go swimming. It’s a sweet life.

• Favorite sports team:

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip:
30 Baseball Stadiums in 28 Days

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession:
Mr. Gray in 5th Grade. He always cared and looked for the good in everything and everyone. He taught me that positive thinking led to achievement and accomplishment.

• ANYTHING ELSE?. . . I feel like I accomplish more in a day teaching than most people do in a year. I love the everyday give and take. I really consider myself lucky to have such a fun job.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

A Sweet Taste from Home

(This blog entry was written by Amanda Colella Gallenthin, 9th grader)

On January 21st, 2011 four students set out to make a difference and not just because their grade depended on it. Justine Gartner, Maria Weber, Tyrah Brown, and Sarah Novalsky, a small group who came together as a result Challenge Day,organized a care package drive for Woodbury resident Charles Boyle and his fellow troops stationed at Camp Moreell in Kuwait.

“A Sweet Taste from Home” care package drive collected calling cards, Tastykakes and chewing gum for the troops.

Justin and Tyrah created a power point trivia game about Kuwait and the military for a presentaton to Woodbury 5th graders. Maria and Sarah did a read aloud with the theme “Helping Others,” along with a writing activity called “When I was a Helping Hand.”

The group reflected upon how they inspired their younger peers recalling: “Not only did we bring smiles and laughter to the young students but we had fun returning to a time, not so long ago, when we were once sitting in the tiny chairs in Mrs. Stanek’s class at West End with tennis balls attached to the legs.”

“Putting this project together was challenging yet fun. I enjoyed learning about Kuwait and our current situation overseas. I hope after we talked with the 5th grade students they will donate items to our drive” Justine Gartner expressed.

The Freshman group is in the process of organizing the items donated to the drive and will be sending the packages soon. “This wasn’t like a job at all. It was something that people could be involved in and feel good.” Maria Weber said.

So don’t forget to thank the students who have made a difference among our community, give credit where credit is due. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Wintry Mix

This has been a real wintry mix of a winter season. Today seems as if it has not produced the snow/ice that the weather predictors forecasted. So -- like most of the schools in South Jersey at this time -- we will look to get a regular day of school in for this Tuesday.

Obviously, we will keep an eye on the weather and what is projected for this evening to make decisions regarding after school events, etc. Any changes will be posted on the district website.

To date, we have missed two days of school due to weather. Those days get made up during the Spring Break. That means we are now in session Thursday, April 28th, and Friday, April 29th. The district calendar is updated on the website: district calendar.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter Wednesday Program -- This Monday!

NEW DATE (Original Program postponed due to weather):
MONDAY, JANUARY 31 – Series 1: The Head

Tony Campolo is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University. He is the founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education. He is an ordained Baptist Minister who has served churches across New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and has worked to create, nurture, and support programs for "children at risk" across North America. He has appeared on Larry King Live, Crossfire, Nightline, and CNN News, and is the author of thirty-eight books.

Woodbury High School Alumni Association Presents
A series of three programs designed to stimulate
the head, the heart, and the feet.
All programs will be educational in nature and follow with a
Q&A session following each presentation.

All programs begin at 7:00pm in the high school auditorium.
Admission is $10.00 per ticket, per presentation.

You may purchase tickets in advance by calling
856-853-0123, ext. 214,
or you may purchase your tickets at the door.
Cash or checks made payable to the
Woodbury High School Alumni Foundation
will be accepted.

All profits go to support the students of Woodbury High School.

10% Off Meal Check on the Evening of the Show with a Ticket or Stub
@ Charlie Brown’s, the Golden Palace, or Piazza di Scotto

February 2, 2011 – Series 2: The Heart
The Gospel Messengers of South Jersey were established five years ago. They have performed throughout South Jersey, teaching the meanings of many spirituals before performing them. They are all members of the First Baptist Church of Jericho.

February 16, 2011 – Series 3: The Feet
The Peter A. Broomall String Band has marched up Broad Street since 1925. They perform throughout the South Jersey and Philadelphia area. Though originally formed in Philly, their home is now nearby in National Park.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Woodbury Junior Senior High School Celebrates…..

A day on... not a day off!

(This blog post was prepared by Ms. Stalter-Allen.)

On Monday January 17th, over 125 Woodbury students, parents, faculty, staff and community members joined together with America in honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy by celebrating a day on – not a day off.

Beginning with breakfast and a short music program that featured our very own Mrs. Denise Dunham and Mr. Justin Tompkins, our assembly answered Dr. King’s famous question “What are you doing for others?” Afterwards - armed with arts and crafts, mops and scrub brushes, and culinary supplies – Woodbury Junior Senior High School’s finest went out among the neighborhood and turned Dr. King’s powerful words into action.

Many of our students chose to stay on site at the high school to perform housekeeping chores. Mrs. Nikki Roberts, Ms. Eliza Cadorette and Mrs. Theresa Slusser were among the many that supervised our young volunteers as they polished banisters, cleaned trophy displays and scrubbed stairwells. The Maintenance Department joined this enormous undertaking by organizing an endless amount of supplies and materials to keep everyone working hard.

Mrs. Kylie Pringle is a new member of the Woodbury Jr. Sr. High faculty, but jumped right into the effort and chaperoned students at the Woodbury Mews. Over 30 students spent the afternoon visiting the residents and spent time doing arts and crafts, playing games and giving manicures. “But mostly”, reported Mr. Ed Murphy, our Director of Pupil Personnel Services, “they spent time in good conversation and sharing stories about their lives and families.”

Mrs. Ivy Pinkney-Davis, also new to our staff, lead a group of 8th graders to the Bethlehem Baptist Church where students were able to clean and organize various parts of the church and offices. The Seventh Day Adventist and Central Baptist Churches were also hosts to this great effort. Mr. Joe Pegues, a high school teacher, and his crew partnered with the Woodbury Cooperative Ministries and organized packages and supplies for the Food Bank. Mr. Al Kilpatrick, a Junior High teacher, with his son A.J., chopped vegetables and prepared other ingredients with a culinary crew at the Central Baptist Church – where the Miller family cooks soup that will go to feed the homeless in Camden.

At the day’s end, over 125 people proudly served their school and community. On that next Tuesday morning, the Woodbury High School was “buzzing” about the fun and value that came from the prior day’s events. Many students have asked about committing their time on a more regular basis. Some are interested in other opportunities within their community and a few have asked about starting an after-school Service Learning Club.

With only 357 days until the 2012 Day of Service – students and staff at Woodbury Junior Senior High School are already planning to expand this awesome event.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spotlight On Ms. DiBenedetto

Devon DiBenedetto

Teacher of Elementary Technology


• Name: Devon DiBenedetto

• College(s) and degrees(s): Rowan University BA Elementary Education BA Geography

• Work experience: Instructional Assistant - 1st grade at Walnut Street Elementary. Kindergarten Interim -Walnut Street Elementary.

• Favorite books: Accident

• Favorite television show: Grey's Anatomy

• Last movie I loved: Pride and Glory

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing: Michael Jackson's Greatest Hits

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful: The Beach

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to: Take my dogs to the dog park.

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild): Monkey

• Favorite sports team: Philadelphia Phillies

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip: Ireland

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession: I will never forget my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Zellers. She was, and still is, an amazing teacher who inspired me to continue my education to become an elementary school teacher. Mrs. Zellers was a very kind, caring, and patient teacher who always made all of her students feel successful.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

West End Art Show

On Thursday, January 13th, the West End PTA sponsored the West End Art Show. The PTA collaborated with our elementary art teacher, Miss Friedman, to produce a wonderful evening of multiple exhibits. All students had work on display in the following areas:

• Mosaics
• Starry Night Interpretations
• Chinese Landscape
• Color Shape Painting
• Thumb Print Tree
• Abstract Sculptures
• Collages

It was amazing to see such wonderful art work displayed in one setting. All in attendance were in awe over the high quality of work. Once through the exhibit, families were treated to cheese & crackers along with sparkling cider. First grader Kelsey Lay won a basket raffle which included over $50 of art supplies. We look forward to making this an annual event.
Contributed By: Vincent Myers, Principal of West End Memorial School

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sixers Black History Month Essay Contest

From the 76ers' website:

In honor of Black History Month, the Sixers want to know...

Who has been a strong African American role model to your child and what impact has he/she had on your child's life?

If your child is between 7-15 years old, the Sixers are inviting you to participate in the Black History Month Essay Contest. You could win a trip to Memphis, TN to see the Sixers take on the Memphis Grizzlies!

In addition to the game, you will be able to take a tour of the renowned National Civil Rights Museum and see first hand where monumental moments in history took place.

To win this exciting experience, the Sixers want you to submit a 250 word essay written by your child, telling us who has been a strong African American role model to your child and what impact that person has had on your child's life.

Contest begins on Monday, January 17 and ends on Tuesday, February 1, 2011.

Three winners will be selected to travel to Memphis, TN on February 15, 2011 - February 16, 2011.

More information at the Sixers' website.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MLK Day of Service

There was a nice story and pictures in the Philadelphia Inquirer on MLK day that included reference to the Woodbury Jr.-Sr. High Schools students involvement in activities here in Woodbury. This was our third annual event. Congratulations to all our young people who took time out of their day off to honor the memory of Dr. King.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Let it Snow

This "snow event" concept is becoming less of a novelty around these parts. These last two winters have been very active.

We have been fortunate this winter to have missed the last couple snow days in that we were not in session -- holiday/weekends. At least, as superintendent, I consider that fortunate.

For this year, we will be doing things a bit differently:

1. Our staff will be notified about a snow day using our new Global Connect calling system. That means we have abandoned the old "snow chain" calling tree. Everyone should be getting his/her telephone call instantaneously as soon as the initial call is placed.

2. We will be using that same Global Connect system to call out to our families to inform them of the snow day. This is a new capability for us this year as a result of the upgraded phone calling program. Our schools have been using Global Connect to get messages about programs, etc. out to the homes in certain circumstances already; this snow call will work the same way -- except that it will be a very early telephone call!

3. As a back-up to all of the above, we will still be posting any closing information on the district website and on the local television stations (ABC, NBC, and CBS). Each of those television stations also maintains a website with school closing information.

That should cover us. I believe that I have reported in this blog in the past how the Gloucester County school superintendents participate in a conference call on mornings where weather is a concern. This call takes place at 4:45 a.m. I also will use information that I receive from connecting with the local police and our district's facilities coordinator (responsible for snow removal!) to help assess the situation.

Finally, any snow day that causes us to miss school this 2010-11 school year will be made up at the end of the Spring Break. The first day that we miss will mean the Friday of Spring Break becomes a school day, the second day means that the Thursday of Spring Break becomes a school day, etc. This is pattern is true for the first four days of snow. Let's hope that we do not have more than four snow days this year!

In actuality, I typically do not make a call about having school until the morning of the weather event because the meteorologists have proven in the past that they can be very wrong with their forecasts. So, I will be watching -- like many of you -- and keeping an eye on this forecast as the day unfolds.

There are a number of school related events that may be impacted by the weather today and tomorrow in addition to the regular school program. You will find updates on that information -- sports, Family Nights, etc. -- posted on the front page of district's website as these decisions are finalized.

I think that's it! I guess you can see why it is enjoyable for me to watch it snow on a Sunday morning or a day over a long winter break.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Spotlight on Mrs. Darmo

Joann Darmo

Teacher of Elementary Enrichment


• Name: Joann Darmo

• College(s) and degrees(s): Brandywine College: Associate Degree;
Western Governors University: B.A. Education K-5

• Work experience: Instructional Assistant: Walnut School Grades 2/3 & 4/5
Substitute Teacher: Mt Laurel Schools

• Favorite books
o fiction: I just read Mockingjay from the Hunger Games Trilogy and I loved it.
o nonfiction: I enjoy to read National Geographic each month.

• Favorite television show: Modern Family

• Last movie I loved: Slumdog Millionaire

• Music CD that I have almost worn out from repeated playing: I love all different types of music, so I would say I wear out my shuffle button on the iPod.

• Person (living or not) that I’d like to have lunch with and why: My father, he died right after I got married and hasn't been here to see me start my family, have a career I love, and my antique VW Bug convertible which he would love! He was a great moral compass for me, and I would treasure any time I could have with him -- even if it was just lunch.

• Visiting this place makes me peaceful: I love the mountains.

• One item on my “to do” list that I can’t seem to get to: It's always last on the list because I despise doing it -- cleaning my house.

• Favorite animal (domestic or wild): My beagle, Max

• Favorite sports team: Any team my daughters play on and, of course, the EAGLES!

• Destination of my fantasy vacation trip: Hawaii or Europe

• Details about the teacher I will never forget who inspired me to enter the profession: It's sad that I don’t remember her name, but I look back now and I wouldn't have received my teaching degree without her. I was taking a class at TCNJ at the beginning of my journey to get my teaching certificate. I was quite overwhelmed, being the oldest in the class and a mom with three little children. She noticed this, called me at home and talked to me about why I wanted to be a teacher, the life experiences I had, and the qualities she saw in me that would enable me to someday be a great teacher. That short phone call was the catalyst I needed to keep going. I thank her from the bottom of my heart -- because she cared. I remember that everyday and try to make some connection to my students to show them that I care about them and their education.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Holiday Happenings

In connection with our holiday break, a couple school items are worth highlighting:

1. Girls Basketball

Our girls varsity team is off to a strong start for this 2010-11 season. Over the break, they won the holiday tournament held at Buena High School. The picture is from my cell phone and fuzzy -- but they were very happy! Congratulations.

Also, during the tournament, Dominique Sellers scored her 1,000th career varsity point for the girls team. She was named the tournament MVP.

2. Evergreen at Woodbury Mews

As part of Woodbury’s Strategic Plan, one of the goals of the school district is to reach out to the local community. Prior to the break, Evergreen students from Mrs. Stankiewicz and Mrs. DiRienzo class and Mrs. Mills,the school nurse, visited the Woodbury Mews Memory Care Center.

The students and staff made holiday door hangers to spread holiday cheer to the residents. Songs were sung by all, and students visited and talked to residents. Lamont Kee, pictured here, is giving a resident a gift from the class. The students have been invited back by the community director to spend more time with the residents.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Happy New Year

This year has started with a bit of a bang for me and -- as a result -- I have missed some early opportunities for blog entries for 2011. Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had an enjoyable break. We are back and ready to continue our efforts for high quality school experiences for all students.

My calendar had me visiting with the elementary principals during the early part of this week. It is always exciting to see the strong, foundational work that takes place at these grade levels. This has been a wonderful start to a new calendar year.

One idea that Tonya Breland, our Evergreen Principal and district Supervisor for Curriculum and Instruction PK-5, is promoting for the new year is the goal of increasing the opportunities for students to read and our overall expectation for independent reading. Her message has been one that she has shared with her teachers and with me personally.

In an effort to support this reading emphasis, I thought it would be a good idea to put the call out for any books in good condition that may be in your homes collecting dust. If your children have moved past a certain reading stage and you have books to donate, we would welcome these at any of our schools.

You can drop off the donations to the main offices of the school of your child attends (or, if you are reading this as a community member interested in helping, you can get the books to Mrs. Breland at the Evergreen School and she will get them out to all of the schools across the district). At the elementary level, we are looking to expand in each room the available books so that there are rich, exciting classroom libraries available to all students. Your donation (and the donations of any friends or neighbors?!?) would be most welcomed.

Thanks -- and Happy New Year. I guess one of our school district resolutions is to read more! Interesting, because that is the same thing that I resolved to do better with for 2011. We are all so busy, I set my goal to be a realistic "book a month" for enjoyment.

Good luck with any personal resolution you are working to accomplish.