Letter from the Superintendent - May 2018

Letter from the Superintendent
Posted on 04/30/2018

May 2018

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Listed below is some information regarding happenings at the Elementary Schools, the Jr./Sr. High School and in the area of Special Education.

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL INFORMATION

PTG Science Fair
The PTG Science Fair was held on Thursday, April 12th, at the Seventh Avenue Multi-Purpose Room. The students did a tremendous job explaining their hypotheses and the steps they followed to create their projects. Based on the type of project they created some students even did the experiment again live for the parents, community members, staff members and administrators that were in attendance. Thank you to everyone in the PTG that organized and ran another incredible Science Fair.

Elementary Curriculum Meeting
The Elementary classroom teachers and Special Education teachers worked in grade levels at their monthly articulation meeting to review the process of horizontal and vertical mapping of our ELA curriculum. The purpose of the meeting was to identify gaps and/or repetitions at each grade level and realign, if necessary, what is taught at each grade level.

Elementary Music Assembly presented by Musicopia and Leana Song
The PTG sponsored an assembly for each Elementary School that was presented by Musicopia and Leana Song. The students experienced and learned about Afro-Cuban music and dance. Specifically, throughout the assembly the students learned about Afro-Cuban music and culture through songs, rhythm movements and discussions on historical insights. At one point in the assembly the students were on their feet dancing to the music!

JUNIOR/SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL INFORMATION

Diversity Committee Notes
The Diversity Committee met again on April 10th. Listed below is Mr. Rosen's, Jr./Sr. High School Principal and Diversity Committee Chairperson, summary from the April 10th meeting. If you are not a member of the Diversity Committee and would like to join, please contact Mr. Rosen at rosene@hhsd.k12.nj.us.

Diversity Committee Meeting
April 10, 2018

The meeting focused on if HHHS honors and AP criteria was equitable. The committee broke into small groups to discuss the current criteria. Each group was given a copy of the policy to use as a reference. When we returned to a whole group setting, some ideas were discussed:

  • Holding a “pre-honors” enrichment course in the summer for students who did not meet criteria.
  • Marketing to parents and students all of the advantages of taking an honors or AP course (weighted GPA, dual credit program, meeting college requirements).
  • Interviewing students who have taken one of the five online AP courses offered. These students could be on Garnet Live to highlight their experiences to students who are contemplating taking an AP course.

Jr./Sr. High School Color Guard On April 24th and April 25th the Haddon Heights Color Guard participated in two TIA (Tournament Indoor Association) shows. The Haddon Heights Short Circuit Color Guard, Synergy Color Guard, High Voltage and Indoor Percussion went undefeated in both shows! The High Voltage Color Guard, Indoor Percussion and Synergy Color Guard are all now ranked first in their TIA classes! Our Short Circuit Color Guard is ranked second by only .5 of a point in their TIA overall class rank.

ELEMENTARY AND JUNIOR/SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL INFORMATION

Equity Workshop
An equity workshop took place for our Jr./Sr. High School staff on Friday, April 20th, and the Elementary staff on Wednesday, April 25th. The workshop presenter was Ms. Judith Wilson. Ms. Wilson has been providing equity training for many years. She challenged the staff to look at equity through the eyes of every student and to ensure that every student has equal opportunity to succeed. Ms. Wilson walked staff through an equity audit for each of their classrooms, which consisted of not only ensuring that there is physical equity integration, but also social-emotional equity, equal opportunity to learn and instructional excellence for all. It was discussed that, by addressing equity in all these areas, it will produce more inspired learners.

SPECIAL EDUCATION

Haddon Heights School District Special Education Parent Advocacy Group
The Special Education Parent Advocacy Group hosted a follow-up presentation on the topic of anxiety. The initial presentation, "Supporting Students with Anxiety Disorders", was held on Wednesday, January 10th, and featured Guest Speaker Dr. Steven D. Tsao. Many parents attended and expressed an interest in having more time to discuss strategies that could be used with an anxious child. Therefore, Mrs. Renner, Director of Special Education, asked Mrs. Judy Marino to present and she accepted with excitement. Mrs. Marino is a Psychologist on the Haddon Heights Child Study Team and received training through Temple University's Anxiety Clinic under Dr. Phil Kendall. The follow up presentation was held Monday, April 23rd. During the presentation, Mrs. Marino offered many strategies that parents and educators can use to support students. She provided the audience with a useful presentation of the "F.E.A.R. Plan" (Feeling, Expecting, Attitude and Actions, Rewards) and provided a variety of additional resources. Additionally, Mrs. Marino allocated time to discuss specific scenarios with the audience.

Ability Awareness Walk for Autism
The Ability Awareness Walk for Autism was held on April 13 th for the 6th grade classes. Each 6th grade class took a field trip to the War Memorial Cannons in Haddon Heights. Members of the Haddon Heights Police Department joined the students at the event. After arriving at the park, the book "The Girl Who Thought in Pictures" was read by Mrs. Renner, Director of Special Education. The book described a young Temple Grandin who was diagnosed with autism. No one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe! The Awareness Event culminated with an activity and treat for the students as they took pictures in front of the Awareness sign that was displayed at the cannons. Additionally, on April 13th, special education teachers throughout each elementary school visited classes to read the same book and complete a project to light the halls blue for Autism Awareness. The high school REACH students made and distributed Autism Puzzle Pins for the staff. Books to bring awareness are on display in the high school library. Resources to further expand knowledge was also shared with the staff. Mrs. Renner will share photos of the events at the May Board of Education meeting.

UPCOMING EVENTS

High School Prom
Friday, May 18th from 7:00 – 11:00 pm
The event will take place at Lucien’s Manor.

Haddon Heights Elementary Art Show
Wednesday, May 23rd from 6:00 – 8:00 pm
The event will take place at Glenview Avenue School.

Sincerely,

Michael Adams

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