December 2019 Letter from the Superintendent

December 2019 Letter from the Superintendent
Posted on 12/01/2019

December 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Listed below is some information about the Jr./Sr. High School Heights Heroes Club, Malcolm Bernard HBCU Fair, Strategic Plan, Equity Training, an Elementary Classroom Transformation, Haddon Heights High School Garnet Live Episode, School Board Information, and Board of Education Student Ambassadors.


The Heights Heroes club was established in October of 2017. Heights Heroes honors people, including Haddon Heights High School graduates, that have served our country in the armed forces and raises appreciation and awareness of the sacrifices of these individuals for our country. Since its inception, the Heights Heroes club has held an annual Veterans Celebration breakfast in November to thank veterans for their service. On Veteran’s Day, the Heights Heroes Club held their annual breakfast for veterans. Our guest speaker this year was the former mayor of Camden, Mayor Dana Redd. Following the breakfast there was a small assembly where some students had an opportunity to ask the veterans questions.


On November 19 2019, Haddon Heights High School Seniors attended the 21st annual Malcolm Bernard HBCU College Fair. Preparation began in May of 2018 when Ms. Michele Mendenhall, Supervisor of Pupil Services/Guidance, registered Haddon Heights for the HBCU Fair. In addition to registering for the HBCU Fair, seniors interested in attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities were given applications for the New Jersey Amistad Commission’s Rising Scholars Award and scholarship programs. Seniors were assisted in the completion of applications by their Guidance Counselors and the Supervisor of Pupil Services/Guidance. Two weeks prior to the event, students met with their Guidance Counselors to fill out the Malcolm Bernard HBCU Fair student profile and discussed proper College Fair etiquette (i.e. professional dress and how to approach representatives). Guidance Counselors prepared folders for each student who attended the fair. The folders consisted of 10-12 copies of their transcripts and SAT scores.

On the day of the Malcolm Bernard HBCU Fair, 22 Haddon Heights High School Seniors attended the event at the BB&T Center in Camden. Snacks were donated by the Delaware State Alumni. At the end of the Fair, 15 of our seniors reported college admission to over 40 different Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A few of the HBCU’s to which seniors received admissions include: Bethune Cookman College, Bowie State University, Bennett College, Delaware State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina A&T University, Morgan State University, Tuskegee University, and Virginia State University. In addition to on the spot college admissions, students who were accepted into the NJ Rising Scholars Program were also recognized. This year, I am very proud to announce that Haddon Heights had seven seniors who were accepted into the NJ Rising Scholars Program. This is a significant increase from the two seniors who were NJ Rising Scholars last year.


The Haddon Heights School District is engaging in a strategic planning process to establish key goals for the next three-five years. Electronic surveys have been completed by Junior High Faculty, Elementary Faculty, High School Faculty, Elementary Parents/Guardians, Junior High School Parents/Guardians, High School Parents/Guardians, Instructional Support Staff, Community Members and Non-instructional Support Staff. Fifth and Sixth grade students, Junior High School students, and High School students also completed surveys in school. Results will be analyzed by a core team in the middle of December.


At the Jr./Sr. High School in November, equity training continued with Mr. George Guy. This is the second year of an ongoing training program. The focus at this workshop was looking at the danger of one story. The one story is where people associate their opinions and feelings of a race of people based on one negative story and they don’t see all the positive stories about them.


Toward the middle of November an elementary teacher created a classroom transformation. The room was made into a pretend operating room and the teacher had all kinds of supplies for the kids to dress up as doctors. The theme for the activity was "surgery". The students worked on the following concepts in different activities throughout the classroom transformation: contractions, distributive property of multiplication, defining unknown words and citing text evidence.


Please select the link below to watch the latest Garnet Live Episode.

Garnet Live Season IV Episode 6


The day after each Board of Education meeting you can find information on highlights and the agenda items that were approved at the meeting. This information can be found on the district website by selecting the District Info, Board of Education, Board Briefs menus.


Listed below is an article that was sent to some news outlets regarding a Board of Education Student Ambassador initiative. Towards the end of the article is information about one of our special education programs.

Mr. Michael Renner, Haddon Heights Junior/Senior High School Assistant Principal, worked with staff and Superintendent, Mr. Michael Adams, to create and implement a Student Ambassador Program to Haddon Heights Board of Education. The spirit behind this initiative was to create and maintain a student representative to communicate and highlight all happenings within the district. Mr. Renner has been meeting with the Ambassador Leadership Group and representatives have already participated by contributing essential information at the board meetings during the committee portion of the monthly meeting. An ambassador is present for each Board meeting and the team represents the entire student body.

Mr. Renner is enthusiastic about the work of this group as the project provides students with opportunities to develop leadership skills and gain a better understanding of the processes of a school district. The ambassadors already have had a positive impact on the school community and the communities at large. Giving students an avenue to share their feedback and take action to positively shape the future of the district is rewarding. The ambassador group, guided by the administration, is taking action and responsibility for their own growth and for that of the district and they are already seeing the benefits of the process. The ambassadors are also reporting information to the student body on Garnet Live to ensure communication with students.

Mr. Renner and the ambassadors have also paid particular attention to sharing their appreciation for the support of the community. Students recently presented the P.J. Whelihan's Group with an encased Garnets Football helmet and plaque, to be displayed at the Haddon Township location. The plaque is a token of the district's appreciation. Student, Shelby Counts, attended this event to provide coverage for Garnet Live. Mrs. Lodge, Junior/Senior High School Guidance Counselor, worked with the ambassadors to secure food donations for various school climate events such as Activity Day and Fall Fest.

P.J. Whelihan's has also supported the district's special education program by providing a Structured Learning Experience for Heights student, Joey Ferraro. The experience offered an opportunity to learn and practice life skills and to more fully explore career interests. Moreover, Manager, Matthew Wineland, saw the work ethic and value that Joey brought to the team and offered employment to the student upon graduation. Mr. Wineland supports inclusion and is proud to have Joey as an employee! The ambassadors shared the district's appreciation for the support of the P.J. Whelihan's Group and their continued partnership. Mr. Renner looks forward to continuing to work with the ambassador group on future projects.

PJs Helmet
Pictured left to right: Mr. Adams, Rachel Prutzman, Zachary Lieber, Matthew Wineland, Luca Sirman, Ariyon Bailey, Kathleen Ortiz-Torrecilla, Mr. Renner, Maya Mason, Mr. Cramp, Joseph Ferraro, P.J. Whelihan's Manager, Mrs. Lodge
Ambassadors not pictured: Veronica DeAbreu, Jordan Wilson, Alexis Nicole Rodriguez


Michael Adams

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