April 2019 Letter from the Superintendent

April 2019 Letter from the Superintendent
Posted on 04/01/2019

April 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Listed below is some information regarding the Elementary PTG Science Fair, Elementary 6th Grade Senior Citizen Dinner, Haddon Heights High School Digital Photography Program, Presentation to Juniors and Seniors on Collegiate Topics, video on Dispelling Myths About Students with Disabilities, Person Centered Approaches in School and Transition (PCAST), and the April 9, 2019 Board of Education Meeting.


On March 21, 2019, the Elementary Science Fair was held. The students did an outstanding job creating their projects. During the evening, the students gave great insight about the research and development that led to the culmination of their project.


March 13, 2019 was the annual Senior Citizen Dinner sponsored by the 6th grade. It was a great evening! Mr. Schoch's Garage Band, some members of Mr. Plevinsky's Band, and cast members from Ms. Walker's musical all presented fabulous performances for the senior citizens. Overall, the senior citizens told me they really enjoyed the evening and look forward to it every year.


Mrs. Alexandra Rooney, High School Art teacher, and her Digital Photography Class collaborated with the Haddon Heights Borough to showcase student photographs of the town! The team jumped on the opportunity to showcase students’ work and collaborated with Katie Compton, Deputy Borough Clerk, to develop a seasonal look to highlight Haddon Heights businesses as well as historic sites throughout the community. Mrs. Rooney will continue her collaboration with the Borough through the spring of 2019 and hopefully expand our partnership for years to come. Please check out the link below:


On Wednesday, May 1, 2019, the President of Camden County College, Mr. Donald A. Borden, and staff will be presenting to Haddon Heights High School juniors and seniors on various collegiate topics. Throughout the year, the High School administration has reached out and met with student leaders and discussed several concerning issues that our upperclassman are facing during this transitional phase of their lives. During our conversations, our students have communicated their anxiety and stress levels regarding the unknowns of college life. Mr. Borden and his colleagues will present on the registration process, course selection, time management, the importance of a structured daily living schedule, getting involved, and meeting new individuals. They will take questions, as well, from the students. Garnet Country is excited and proud to have members of our local community college present and to help prepare our students for their next step of their lives.


High School students have been meeting with Mrs. Renner, Director of Special Education, and Mr. Clark, Special Education Department Coordinator, to plan the creation of a video, “Dispelling Myths about Students with Disabilities”. The video was recorded by Mr. Ortiz, Jr./Sr. High School World Language teacher and Garnet Live advisor. Students and staff from the High School participated in the making of the video which will be shown at the “Inclusion Matters” night event on April 16, 2019 at 6:30pm in the Seventh Avenue multipurpose room.


The information listed below was provided by Ms. Renner, Director of Special Education. Two of our very own Haddon Heights School District educators, Mr. Michael Celli and Ms. Dana Kahlbom, were selected to present at The Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) national conference. This conference highlights best practices in supporting people with disabilities in career planning, supported and customized employment, and transition from school to work.

Mr. Celli and Ms. Kahlbom presented about their trailblazing work in creating the PCAST (Person Centered Approaches in School and Transition) curriculum and elective class. They are the first two educators in the New Jersey area to create such a class. During their presentation, they shared how to best support students through the use of person centered approaches in the classroom. Through these approaches, students increase meaningful contribution in the IEP process, promote informed decision making and support intentional, thoughtful, transition planning.

They had an audience of well over 40 participants ranging from Educators, Adult Service Supervisors, Employment Coaches/Developers, School Administrators and State Agency Personnel.

Feedback from students who participated in the course is outlined below:
PCAST has helped me become more aware of my options that I never knew even existed for me, and it made me want to reorder my priorities as I learned what is really important in all aspects of life. It has guided me in the way that I have a more positive but realistic outlook on things, it made me more confident in things I do but also taught me how to prepare for the real world and be able to advocate for myself.

I enjoyed how it was more personal than most of my classes, I could focus on my work because it grabbed my attention. I also enjoyed the trips, it made me change my decision to not go to college. I enjoyed how since the class was so “person centered” I got to know and trust the teachers, the class became a safe place for me.

PCAST is a helpful course that has guided me to understand what is in my IEP and my modifications and accommodations. It has showed me my options for after high school. This class that helps me realizes who supports me with my education and using skills to advocate for myself for my education and future.

I can come to my teacher for anything and they make me realize how to use my IEP with my subjects and what I’m allowed to use in class.

Even though the path to a good college is hard, the teachers are willing to put in the extra effort to help and make sure we have a better chance to make it into college and live the life we want afterwards.


The progress of the 2018 - 2019 district goals will be presented at the April 9, 2019 Board of Education meeting. The meeting will begin promptly at 7:30 pm.


Elementary PTG
Wednesday, April 3rd at 7:00
This meeting is being held in the Seventh Avenue School multipurpose room.

Jr./Sr. High School Principal’s Reception for Incoming 9th Grade Families
Wednesday, April 10th at 7:00 pm
This reception is being held in the Jr./Sr. High School auditorium.

Ability Awareness Night “Inclusion Matters”
Tuesday, April 19th at 6:30 pm
This event is being held in the Seventh Avenue School multipurpose room.


Michael Adams

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