March 2019 Letter from the Superintendent

March 2019 Letter from the Superintendent
Posted on 03/01/2019

March 2019


Dear Parents and Guardians,

Listed below is some information regarding the February 15, 2019 Professional Development Day, Jr./Sr. High School Shadow Day, Elementary PTG Assembly and the March 12, 2019 Board of Education Meeting.


Listed below are some of the workshops offered at the February 15, 2019 Professional Development Day.  In most cases, the workshop summaries listed below were provided by the individual running the workshop. 

Culturally Responsive Teaching with Mr. Ronald Corn

Mr. Corn, Director of Curriculum of Instruction, held a workshop where he discussed what Culturally Responsive Teaching is and how you can use it to move students, especially underserved students, from being dependent learners to more self-directed and independent learners. In addition, they looked at a brief study of the brain and how an understanding of brain science can lead to a more culturally responsive classroom.

Discipline with Dignity with Mr. Eric Rosen

Mr. Rosen, Jr./Sr. High School Principal, provided a workshop on guidance for implementing a proven approach to classroom management that can help students make better choices and teachers be more effective. Discipline with Dignity illustrates what you can do – and not do – to make the classroom a place where students learn and teachers maintain control in a non-confrontational way.

Student-Paced Model with Mr. Robert Graham

Mr. Robert Graham, Jr./Sr. High School Mathematics teacher, presented a workshop on the “student-paced model”. It is a student-centered learning style in which the student moves at their own pace while the teacher works as a facilitator. This workshop gave an overview of what a class looks like under this style and the pros/cons of this approach.

Curriculum Writing & Unit Planning with Ms. Lauren Maunz and Ms. Mia Mai

Jr./Sr. High School Science teachers, Ms. Maunz and Ms. Mai, provided a workshop where they shared tips and best practices for effective Unit Plan writing.

Disciplinary Learning: Mentoring Students to Read, Write, Think and Discuss Like Pros in the Field with Ms. Melissa Perry

Ms. Perry, Jr./Sr. High School English teacher, presented a workshop on reading, writing, and thinking for all disciplines. During this guided discussion, they explored research in support of disciplinary literacy strategies. Disciplinary Literacy incorporates field-authentic documents, language, tools, and tasks that are part of the professional responsibilities and requirements of various communities as a means to increase literacy and proficiency in the discipline.

Drawing Out Insight with Mr. Joseph Smargisso

Mr. Smargisso, Jr./Sr. High School Art teacher, led a workshop in a creative studio session on emotional intelligence. It is an abstract approach to drawing emotions and other experiences that can be felt but not seen. 

Disrupting Poverty with Ms. Dannielle Marinella-McGill

This presentation by Ms. McGill, Jr./Sr. High School Guidance Counselor, shared information from the book Disrupting Poverty by Kathleen Budge and William Parrett.  Drawing upon decades of research and a myriad of authentic classroom experiences, Kathleen M. Budge and William H. Parrett dispel harmful myths, explain the facts, and urge educators to act against the debilitating effects of poverty on their students. They share the powerful voices of teachers, many of whom grew up in poverty, to amplify the five classroom practices that permeate the culture of successful high-poverty schools: (1) caring relationships and advocacy, (2) high expectations and support, (3) commitment to equity, (4) professional accountability for learning, and (5) the courage and will to act.

Flipgrid with Mr. Neil Ortiz

Empower every learner to share their voice and respect the diverse voices of others. Flipgrid is the leading video discussion platform that allows teachers to pose questions or topics, and their students can respond with short video responses and interact with each other. This session was presented by Mr. Ortiz, Jr./Sr. High School World Language Teacher.

LinkIt! Turn keyed by District Staff Members

During a morning session, the Jr./Sr. High School staff were further trained in LinkIt!.  Teachers learned more in depth ways to access/evaluate data regarding their classes.

Check, Reflect, Connect: Data and Learning Design to Enhance Student Learning with Mr. Thomas Barclay, Program Developer & Presenter for NJPSA/FEA

Beginning with a deep understanding of standards and associated content areas, and using available resources, teachers need to develop purposeful student learning objectives. Using these objectives to guide instruction and learning, teachers can then develop assessments and activities that address the complexity of rigorous learning. In this session, participants took a close read of standards, applied them across subject areas, explored a variety of resources and examined ways to work with their specific data to strengthen instruction, assessments and student thinking. Whether you are a teacher leader, supervisor or principal, you found tools and strategies that you can apply to improve the quality of your work.

The Power of Good Questions with Ms. Bobbie Felip, Program Developer & Presenter for NJPSA/FEA

We know that learning to answer questions is crucial to the learning process. Learning to ask important questions is equally vital. In this workshop, we explored both teacher and student developed questions and examined ways we can ask more thoughtful and thought provoking questions, as well as ways to foster that skill in students. The content was appropriate across subject areas and grades.


The information listed below was forwarded to me by Ms. Michele Mendenhall, Supervisor of Pupil Services/Guidance.
In an ongoing effort to increase the collaboration/communication between Haddon Heights and the sending districts of Barrington, Lawnside and Merchantville, the Haddon Heights Jr./Sr. High School has created a Shadow Day.  Eighth grade students from Barrington, Lawnside and Merchantville have been invited to spend the day or “shadow” a current Jr./Sr. High School student.  The concept of a Shadow Day was originally created based on feedback provided by Lawnside’s Superintendent, Dr. Ronn Johnson.  Haddon Heights’ Shadow Day will take place the week of March 18th - 20th.  Each sending district’s 8th graders will have a day where they will shadow a current Haddon Heights High School student through three periods of the day. In preparation for the event, the Supervisor of Pupil Services/Guidance, Ms. Michele Mendenhall, and grades 7-9 Vice Principal, Ms. Jennifer Arcolesse, have collaborated with the sending districts to provide a day in the life of the average Haddon Heights High School student. Students from all academic classes (AP, College Prep, Essentials and Honors) will guest host 8th graders on similar academic tracks. The students will also attend an activity session where they can meet current co-curricular, club and athletic team members to get an idea of what is available for extra-curricular activities.  The Shadow Day schedule is as follows:

March 18th – Merchantville
March 19th- Lawnside
March 20th- Barrington 


During the months of February and March, the PTG will be sponsoring an assembly for our Elementary students entitled: "BOT! The Secret World of Robots" presented by Mr. David Jack.  The assembly features a virtual reality character named Cozmo who leads the students through the world of robotics.  The presentation encompasses a STEAM curriculum by utilizing multimedia content with live, hands-on demonstrations of real robots currently utilized in the world every day.


The preliminary budget will be presented at the March 12, 2019 Board of Education meeting.  The meeting will begin promptly at 7:30 pm.  We will also be recognizing the following:

Atlantic Avenue School Students

School Resource Officers

Mr. Joseph Cramp and Mr. Timothy O’Donnell

The Board of Education Committees have been hard at work on the 2019 Committee Objectives.  The Board of Education Committees and their overall objectives are listed below. 


Understand what evidence of progress looks like and the frequency of evaluation.  Testing, MAPS, etc.
Be able to answer the question, how do I know this is working?
Work with administration to understand what we are trying to accomplish.
How are we measuring student achievement?


Understand the budget as a board regarding what are the critical elements?
What are the discretionary items in the budget?
How do we show meaningful updates and the frequency? 
How do we evaluate progress?
How do our finance policies help drive student achievement?


Detailed walkthrough of the contracts. 
Understand salary guides.
Know what the hot button issues are in relation to the contracts. 
Salary analysis.  Are we competitive?


Thorough review of the policies to identify what our responsibilities are and make changes in order to make us more effective.

Add in policies as needed.


Annual audit of the schools.
Create a comprehensive checklist of what is reviewed.
Understand areas that need to be addressed - when roofs need to be replaced, boilers, etc.


Incoming 9th Grade Orientation
Wednesday, March 6th at 7:00 pm
This meeting is being held in the Jr./Sr. High School auditorium.

Haddon Heights High School Musical – Damn Yankees
March 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd at 7:30pm
March 17th and 23rd at 1:30pm
Tickets can be purchased at
This event will take place in the Jr./Sr. High School auditorium.

Elementary PTG Science Fair
Thursday, March 21st
Deadline to register is Friday, March 8th (Science Fair Registration 2019)
This event will take place in the Glenview Avenue School multipurpose room.



Michael Adams

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