School Funding Update

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August 1, 2017

Dear Parents, Guardians and District Stakeholders:

The Delran Township Board of Education has received official notice from the New Jersey Department of Education that $867,558 in additional aid for use during the 2017-2018 school year has been allocated to the District.  To be clear, this is useful to the District, however it falls short of what the school funding formula indicates the District should receive in order to be “fully funded.”

I write to outline recent actions taken by the Delran Township Board of Education as we prepare for future use.  At the July 31, 2017 meeting of the Board of Education, additional funding was presented as were options regarding its future use:

  • Tax Levy Reduction of $867,558
    • In this model, if the tax levy was reduced by $867,558 there would be a savings of $65 for the average assessed home in Delran.  This model offers an initial giveback to the taxpayers, only to potentially adopt a 2018-2019 budget with a tax increase.
  • Tax Levy Reduction of $437,558
    • In this model, if the tax levy was reduced by $437,558 (with $430,000 of the funding being appropriated in our 2017-2018 budget lines) a current year savings of $32 for the average assessed home in Delran would be realized for the taxpayer, only to potentially adopt a 2018-2019 budget with a tax increase.
  • Full Appropriation of $867,558 in 2017-2018 Budget
    • In this model, the allocation of $867,558 applied in the 2017-2018 budget would potentially allow us to reduce the 2018-2019 budget due to increases in salaries, health benefits and operations.
  • Approval
    • During the July 31, 2017 meeting of the Board a resolution was approved to fully appropriate $867,558 in the 2017-2018 budget as a mechanism to better prepare taxpayers in Delran Township as we engage in the process of drafting the 2018-2019 budget.

After consultation with our auditing firm, Inverso and Stewart, $867,558 was placed into operations, maintenance and special education account lines for the current budget year.

In essence, the Board approved a resolution that judiciously improves the 2018-2019 budget outlook and overall impact to the taxpayers rather than offering a smaller reduction of the tax levy now.

Looking Ahead

As we plan for the 2018-2019 budget the District is obligated to $648,000 in negotiated salary increases, $189,000 in operational increases and $100,000 in health care cost projections.  Understanding these variables as we plan for the future has guided our decision making process.

Without the community support behind the District with local and state legislators this initial funding would not have been realized.  Certainly, engaging with legislators has been a difficult, and long, process.  We will continue to advocate for all of the taxpayers and children of Delran Township as we move forward and keep the school community informed.

Should you have any questions about the 2017-2018 budget or our fight for fair school funding, please do not hesitate to contact me at your convenience.

Sincerely,

BBB Signature

Brian Brotschul, Ed. D.

Superintendent of Schools

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Summer Personnel Announcement – New Administrators at DMS and Student Services

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This evening the Board of Education approved Mr. Mike McHale to serve as an Assistant Principal and Delran Middle School and Mrs. Valerie Bowers to serve as the Supervisor of Special Education.  Below are introductions.

Mike McHale Introduction

Mike McHale graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management from Saint Joseph’s University in 1998.  Upon graduation, he decided to change his career plans and matriculated into Stockton College and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, in 2000.  During his time at Stockton, he assisted as a classroom aide in a second and third grade self-contained special education classroom and as a one-to-one aide for an emotionally disturbed boy in a multiple handicapped classroom.

He finalized his teacher preparation program after student teaching in a fourth grade regular education classroom, in the fall of 2000.  Beginning in the spring of 2001, Mike taught in a fourth grade, self-contained special education classroom and as a pull-out resource and in-class resource teacher during the 2001-2002 school year.

Mike was hired as a mathematics teacher in the Delran Middle school during the summer of 2002 by James Duda.  During his time in Delran, he has taught seventh grade mathematics in on-level and accelerated classes.  For more than a decade, Mike has been the team leader of Team 7A, the Lambda Lions.  The team was led with great success, creating team days, interdisciplinary lessons, field trips, and fundraisers.

Mike also served on several committees, wrote curriculum, analyzed data, launched new district-wide data analysis software, and led the special education department in analyzing student data.  He also proctored general detention, was a sustainability manager, and coached the middle school basketball team.

In 2010 Mike completed a Masters in Educational Leadership degree at Rowan University.

Mike and his wife have two daughters and reside in Haddon Township.

 Valerie Bowers Introduction

Mrs. Bowers is a versatile special education teacher with more than a decade of experience.  She has spent 11 years in the Haddon Township School District teaching reading, writing, and math to special education students.  Mrs. Bowers has served as Head Teacher at Jennings Elementary for seven years, giving her the opportunity to partner with the principal, including handling his role and responsibilities in his absence as he has been assigned multiple roles in the district.    Among the experience gained in this position were HIB Coordination, discipline, community interaction, and chairing meetings.  Mrs. Bower has also served on the Response To Intervention and Intervention & Referral Services Teams for the past eight years, providing direct, hands-on support to fellow teachers in the classroom.

Extremely comfortable in all academic settings, Mrs. Bowers has a passion for extracurricular activities and interaction.  Among her accomplishments include:

  • Coordinating and teaching the Extended School Year Program for the past three summers;
  • Establishing and cultivating a Book Club;
  • Founding and fostering a Fitness Club;
  • Organizing, submitting, and ultimately winning the Philadelphia Phillies’ Phanatic About Reading Program.

Recognizing the importance of advancing technology, Mrs. Bowers volunteered to participate in several technology-based initiatives, including an iPad pilot, PARCC data analysis, implementation of many new special education programs, and a new standards/goals based report card.

Other highlights of Mrs. Bowers’ career include being fully trained in CPR, First Aide, EpiPen, and Rapid Response; being an active member of the Jennings PTA; and serving as a Lunch and Breakfast Supervisor.

Mrs. Bowers’ previously worked for Burlington County Family Service as a Mentor/Behavioral Assistant for teens living in extremely stressful situations.  In this role, she worked closely with DYFS, putting many young people back on the road to successful school careers.  Mrs. Bowers remains active with this organization via Christmas, backpack, and prom dress drives every year.

Mrs. Bowers recently completed the NJEXCEL Program, receiving Supervisory and Principal Certifications.  She also has Teacher of the Handicapped, Elementary, and Reading Certifications, in addition to a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and a Master’s Degree in the Science of Teaching and is certified to be a Supervisor and Principal.

Mrs. Bowers and her husband have two children and reside in Haddon Township.

Please join me in welcoming both Mike and Valerie to the District.

2017 Lead Testing – Follow Up

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As a follow up to the lead testing performed in April, 2017, the District was required to perform additional testing for outlets that initially tested for elevated levels of lead. Below please find the testing results for the lead in water testing, following repairs to impacted outlets:

  • Delran Middle School: Additional testing not required
  • Delran Intermediate School:  All confirmation samples taken after remedial actions/repair are acceptable. As an additional remediation measure, the food services staff will flush all sinks and kettle before use.
  • Millbridge School:  One sample in the library break room is still above the established EPA action level for lead, requiring further action. Given that the sink is rarely used, we are going to disconnect and remove the sink in addition to capping the pipe with supplies the water to that location.
  • High School: The two water fountains outside the cafeteria and theater (water fountains in the original construction) will be disconnected from use as they continue to test at elevated levels.  The water line in the ceiling will be capped and the fountain removed from use.

If you have any questions regarding this process or the results, please contact Mike DiGiovanni, Director of Support Services, at 856-461-5001.  As always, I am available for consult, as well, at bbrotschul@delranschools.org.  

Delran Named to National STEM Learning Ecosystem

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:

Dr. Brian Brotschul

bbrotschul@delranschools.org

856-461-6845

Claire LaBeaux

STEM Learning Ecosystems (National Initiative)

claire@prclaire.com

925-337-0244


STEM Learning Ecosystems Selects Delran Township Public Schools to Join National Initiative and Receive Support to Build Regional Partnerships Focused on STEM Education Pathways

 

STEM Funders Network to support Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance in collaborations that impact youth from preschool through college and engage students during and after school

 

(San Diego, CA – May 25, 2017) – The newly-formed Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance has just been selected to join the STEM Learning Ecosystems national initiative to make a significant impact on STEM education and workforce development. As announced at the U.S. News STEM Solutions National Leadership Conference today, Delran Township is one of 17 regional Ecosystems added to the national Initiative, which now encompasses 54 communities.

In just two years, the STEM Learning Ecosystems Initiative has become a thriving network of hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals, joined in regional partnerships with the objective of collaborating in new and creative ways to increase equity, quality and STEM learning outcomes for all youth.

“It’s so important to consider the entire continuum of education,” said STEM Learning Ecosystem co-chairs Gerald Solomon, Executive Director, Samueli Foundation, and Ron Ottinger, Director of STEM Next. “The growing Community of Practice shares ideas and best practices for innovative learning that will benefit students’ individual development and prepare them for the demands of the 21st century workforce.”

The Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance was selected to be one of 17 incoming ecosystem communities because of a demonstrated commitment to cross-sector collaborations in schools and beyond the classroom—in afterschool and summer programs, at home, with local business and industry partners, and in science centers, libraries and other places both virtual and physical. As STEM Ecosystems evolve, students will be able to connect what is learned in and out of school with real-world opportunities.

“It makes sense to collaborate with like-minded organizations, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy,” said Dr. Brian Brotschul, Superintendent of Delran Township Public Schools of the Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance. “STEM Ecosystems provides technical assistance and infrastructure support so that we can tailor quality STEM learning opportunities to our specific needs in Delran Township while leveraging the experience of similar alliances across the country.”

Members of the new Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance, which is led by Kari McGann (Director of Curriculum), Mary Jo Hutchinson (Supervisor of Math) and Erica DeMichele (Supervisor of Science) include Delran Education Association, Lockheed Martin, Public Service Electric and Gas, Rowan College and Burlington County, Rider University, Princetel Industries, University of Kentucky, Princeton University, New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles, Simon Schuster, Township of Delran, Perkins Center for the Arts and Radwell International.

The following ecosystem communities were selected to become part of the national STEM Learning Ecosystem:

  • Arizona: Flagstaff STEM Learning Ecosystem
  • California: Region 5 STEAM in Expanded Learning Ecosystem (San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey Counties)
  • Louisiana: Baton Rouge STEM Learning Network
  • Massachusetts: Cape Cod Regional STEM Network
  • Michigan: Michigan STEM Partnership / Southeast Michigan STEM Alliance
  • Missouri: Louis Regional STEM Learning Ecosystem
  • New Jersey: Delran STEM Ecosystem Alliance (Burlington County)
  • New Jersey: Newark STEAM Coalition
  • New York: WNY STEM (Western New York State)
  • New York: North Country STEM Network (seven counties of Northern New York State)
  • Ohio: Belmont County Ohio STEM Initiative
  • Ohio: STEM Works East Central Ohio
  • Oklahoma: Mayes County STEM Alliance
  • Pennsylvania: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery STEM Learning Ecosystem
  • Washington: The Washington STEM Network
  • Wisconsin: Greater Green Bay STEM Network
  • Canada: Symbiosis, British Columbia, Canada

Learn more about the national initiative at stemecosystems.org. Address specific questions to info@stemecosystems.org. Join online conversations on Twitter @STEMecosystems and #STEMecosystems and on Facebook.

 About the STEM Funders Network: The STEM Funders Network brings together grant makers working in STEM to learn from one another, leverage their collective resources and collaborate on high-impact projects they could not undertake alone. The vision of the STEM Funders Network is that all students should have equal opportunity to engage in high-quality STEM learning experiences that will enhance their ability to succeed in a STEM career or other chosen path. See http://www.stemfundersnetwork.org STEM Ecosystems funding and local supporting members of the STEM Funders Network include: Amgen Foundation, Broadcom Foundation, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Carnegie Corporation of New York, KDK-Harman Foundation, Motorola Solutions FoundationOverdeck Family Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, Samueli Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Simons Foundation, Steinman Foundation, and STEM Next (Supported by the Noyce Foundation).

For more information, please contact info@stemecosystems.org.

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Delran Hosts STEM Fair

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Guest Writers, Erica DeMichele and Mary Jo Hutchinson

The first annual Delran STEM Fair was held on Monday, May 8, 2017 at the Delran Middle School. More than 500 students, along with their families and other community members, were treated to interactive STEM activities and displays.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. A dozen student clubs and organizations were represented, including Robotics Teams and Green Teams from grades K-12. Winning Science Fair entries from grades 6-12 were showcased, and 8th graders showed off Water Bottle Rockets. 14 different businesses and community organizations hosted tables showing real-world STEM applications, and interactive STEM games and challenges.

Outside, fairgoers could view STEM technology in police cars, fire engines with self-contained breathing apparatus and thermal imaging technology, all-electric vehicles such as a Tesla, Chevrolet Bolt and Chevrolet Volt, and simulations inside the ARMY STEM Vehicle.

Program tables inside the DMS gymnasium included many interactive demonstrations and challenges. The Delran Intermediate School’s Robotics Team offered visitors the chance to program Lego Robots and watch pre-programmed robots complete challenges. Visitors to the Delran Middle School’s Rocketry table made and launched their own paper rockets. Lockheed Martin’s engineers challenged visitors to float as many pennies as possible in tin foil boats, among other STEM activities.

Barnes & Noble-Moorestown offered guests the chance to try a 3D virtual reality headset and hands-on engineering kits. Volunteers from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection/Rancocas Creek Watershed taught visitors to identify live and preserved macroinvertebrates and make deductions about water quality. Camden County Chickens brought hens, including a therapy hen that fairgoers could interact with.

The goal of the Delran STEM Fair, coordinated by Eric DeMichele (Supervisor of Science) and Mary Jo Hutchinson (Supervisor of Math) was to showcase STEM activities that have taken place throughout the school district in grades K-12 during the 2016-2017 school year, and to highlight the Science Technology, Engineering, and Math activities that occur everyday in many different careers and businesses right here in our community.

Here is a scan of the Burlington County Times newspaper coverage of the STEM Fair: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-wsj0OV7xt3d2dLcFZ3cHFVeUE/view?usp=sharing

Here is a link to the Burlington County Times video coverage: https://www.screencast.com/t/DCSGZ3UX

Here are some photos, with captions of the STEM Fair:

(All photos credit to Ali Brant Photography)

Dr. Lisa Della Vecchia Appointed Director of Student Services

On Monday evening, at its public Work Session, the Delran Township Board of Education approved Dr. Lisa Della Vecchia to serve as the Director of Student Services effective July 1, 2017.

During the winter and spring months the district engaged in a multi-stage search which revealed a pool of candidates to serve as the Director of Student Services.

A profile for the successful candidate guided our search and allowed us to ensure that we are moving forward with a candidate that addresses the needs in the area of student services for the district in addition to someone who has experience in the areas in which the district seeks to grow. Additionally, we sought to identify a candidate that had the ability to establish positive relationships with all stakeholders in the District. On behalf of the Delran Township Board of Education, I congratulate Dr. Della Vecchia on joining the Delran Township Public Schools family.

Dr. Della Vecchia began a teaching career in Harlem, New York, which ignited her passion to work with children with social and academic struggles, special needs, and mental health concerns. Once moving to New Jersey, Dr. Della Vecchia worked for the New Jersey Department of Education in whole school reform, special education and early childhood education. She conducted special education monitoring and worked in consultation with an Administrative Law Judge. She also started a new full-day research based, inclusive, early childhood program.

Dr. Della Vecchia also served as the Director of the Child Development Center in Vineland, NJ, a partnership with South Jersey Healthcare and Vineland Public Schools. In the child development center, Dr. Della Vecchia worked with a multi-disciplinary team of neurologists, neuro developmental doctors, speech therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, physical therapists and social workers to evaluate children and adults from the ages of 0 to 21, that have suspected medical and learning difficulties. Also in this center, Dr. Della Vecchia oversaw the Cumberland County early intervention evaluation team and serviced two counties for early intervention services in families’ homes.

Dr. Della Vecchia has also served as the Regional Director of Child Study Teams for Catapult Learning in Lakewood, NJ. In this position, she has direct contact and supervision with child study team members, case managers, teachers, speech therapists and nurses.

For the last five years, Dr. Della Vecchia has served in Hamilton Township School District, first overseeing all federal grants and secondly, serving as the Principal of Yardville Heights Elementary School. In this position, Dr. Della Vecchia has created a whole brain teaching school.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Della Vecchia to the district. She can be reached at ldellavecchia@delranschools.org.

Dr. Della Vecchia will host a Meet and Greet event on June 13, 2017 at 6:00pm in the Delran High School Media Center for all students, parents and stakeholders. Please consider joining us!

Reburial of 1980 Delran Time Capsule

A Unique and Rare Historical Opportunity for your Children…

Join the Delran Historical Society and Town Council along with your children this Saturday April 29 at 11:00 at the Delran Municipal building for the reburial of Delran’s 1980 Centennial Time Capsule.

In 1980 Delran celebrated its 100th anniversary. In honor of this milestone a six-foot iron time capsule was buried at the township municipal building that once stood where the current TD Bank on Chester Avenue resides and set to be opened 100 years later in 2080. A few items placed in the capsule included a current BCTs newspaper, high school yearbook, letters from Delran school students, Brownie Troop 297 letter, phonograph record, photo of township officials, centennial button, and a bottle of a limited edition centennial wine specially made by Antuzzi’s winery that was located in Delran. The time capsule lay undisturbed until 1998 when it had to be unearthed due to the relocation and building of Delran’s new and current municipal building. The time capsule was never reburied and housed with public works over the last 19 years. The Delran Historical Society was compelled to get the time capsule back in the ground and they, along with town council, decided on the reburial ceremony this Saturday, April 29.

This will be an historic moment for you and your children as many of our current school students will be able to witness Saturday’s reburial AND the unearthing of the 100 year old time capsule at Delran’s Bicentennial in 2080…truly a unique and rare historical opportunity for them! Please consider joining us.

For more information on this story check out the April issue of the Positive Press and the Delran Historical Society website at http://www.delranhistoricalsociety.org.

DHS Robotics Team Competes

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Congratulations to the Bionic Bears, our DHS Robotics Team, on a successful showing at their first VEX Robotics Competition. 45 teams competed at BCIT on January 28, 2017.

The Bionic Bears worked through the fall to design a robot using VEX parts, which could compete in this year’s “Starstruck” themed challenge. The 18-inch robot, controlled wirelessly, was able to lift and move 1-foot stars and cubes to the opposite side of a fence.

The Bionic Bears placed 11th out of 35 teams competing in the Skills Test, and 15th of the 45 teams competing in the Field Competition. Considering many of the other teams came with years of experience, this is an outstanding first competition for the DHS team, and their coaches Mr. Smith and Mr. Rood-Ojalvo!

HERE is access to some video and photos from the event.