May 2019 Letter from the Superintendent

May 2019 Letter from the Superintendent
Posted on 04/30/2019

May 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Listed below is some information regarding the Elementary PTG Art Goes To School Initiative, Ability Awareness, Professional Development on Equity, Quad-District Articulation, Person Centered Approaches in School and Transition (PCAST), Staff Recognition, and the June 11, 2019 Board of Education meeting.

ELEMENTARY PTG ART GOES TO SCHOOL INITIATIVE

Some Board Members, staff, and administration had the opportunity to participate in art classes at the Elementary level in April. Several PTG members with Ms. Michnowski, Elementary Art teacher, were in the classes showing and explaining to students various artwork, done by artists, as part of their "Art Goes to School" initiative. The students were very focused and did a good job answering questions about the pieces.

ABILITY AWARENESS

This year the Haddon Heights School District is embarking on the 8th year of their Ability Awareness Initiative. The primary focuses of the initiative are to raise awareness and to work to build a world of inclusion. Although this is a constant frame of mind that the district promotes, new events to increase acceptance and raise awareness continue to be organized.

This year's themes are Show Your Stripes and Inclusion Matters! Inclusion Works!, based off of the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education theme. On April 16th, the district celebrated by recognizing students for their dedication to spreading these positive messages with the goal of continuing to create an accepting and inclusive school and community environment. Mrs. Jocqueline Renner, Director of Special Education, worked closely with staff, parents, and students to plan this year's celebration. The night began with the High School REACH Program students and staff serving smoothies to highlight their business, REACH for a Smoothie! Students were recognized for their participation in social groups and poster and writing contests. The celebration included the viewing of a video, Dispelling Myths about Students with Disabilities, created by high school students and staff. Videos of siblings and peers, with and without disabilities, sharing their unique qualities enabled participants to get an inside look at the benefits of inclusion. Sixth grade representatives, from each elementary school, shared a book review of All My Stripes and shared the valuable lessons they learned from reading the story. Their messages were shared throughout the elementary schools.

Since its inception, Abilities Awareness has been embraced by the school community and by the Borough of Haddon Heights as a whole. The town passed a resolution on April 16th to recognize and declare the month of April as Inclusion Month. The district appreciates the support of everyone who has worked collaboratively in spreading this necessary and positive message!

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ON EQUITY

On April 4th, the Jr./Sr. High School continued its equity training with Mr. George Guy, NJPSA equity trainer. This was the second session with Mr. Guy, building on his first session in February. This was a highly interactive session where staff and administration learned more about themselves and their identity so they could better understand that their students have individual identities as well. The session ended with video interviews with young African American males to see what expectations they had of their teachers who were not African American.

QUAD-DISTRICT ARTICULATION

On April 10th, Haddon Heights hosted the Quad-District Articulation Team for science. Representatives from all four districts were present. The teachers met to review the standards and worked collaboratively on writing the science curriculum for grades K-8. Teachers also continued to work on implementing Next Generation Science Standards into the curriculum, especially in the areas of inquiry-based projects and cross-cutting concepts.

PCAST (PERSON CENTERED APPROACHES IN SCHOOL AND TRANSITION)

Representatives from a local school district came to observe the High School PCAST class in April to gain ideas, lessons, and procedures for modeling this class in their school. According to them, they left feeling positive, excited, and motivated to begin the process of developing person centered approaches in their school.

STAFF RECOGNITION

Ms. Dana Kahlbom, Haddon Heights School District Speech Therapist, was honored to co-host a stuttering event at Haddon Township Library in April with Haddon Township Speech Therapist, Ms. Becky Sheehan. This event was for students, families, therapists, and educators to join together to hear from both Ms. Kim Sabourin, SLP Director from Temple University and Mr. Saadiq Wicks, author of When Oliver Speaks. The parents enjoyed an ask/answer breakout session with Ms. Sabourin and the students were engaged in an activity about maintaining a positive mindset! The event was very well received and a future meeting is being discussed.

JUNE 11, 2019 BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING

The Board of Education will be discussing the 2019-2020 District Goals at the June 11, 2019 Board of Education meeting. The meeting will begin promptly at 7:30 pm in the Seventh Avenue School multipurpose room.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Junior High Musical Into the Woods
Friday, May 3rd at 7:30 pm
Saturday, May 4th at 7:30 pm
This event is being held in the Jr./Sr. High School auditorium.

Elementary Art Show
Wednesday, May 22nd at 6:00 pm
This event is being held at Glenview Avenue School.

High School Academic Awards
Tuesday, May 28th at 7:30 pm
This event is being held in the Jr./Sr. High School auditorium.

Sincerely,

Michael Adams

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