Delran Middle School Personnel Announcement: NEW Interim Principal

Dear Delran Middle School Families,

I am writing to advise you that at the October 13, 2014 Regular Public Meeting of the Delran Township Board of Education, Mr. Joseph Miller was appointed to serve as the Interim Principal of Delran Middle School.  In this capacity, Mr. Miller will continue his career of over 45 years – all of which have been served in Burlington County.  He is eager to serve our children and looks forward to starting at DMS on January 5, 2015. To that end, Mr. Walter Bowyer’s tenure as the Interim Principal will end on December 19, 2014 whereupon he will resume his retirement.  I thank Mr. Bowyer for his service to the students and families in Delran and wish him well in the future.

As you know, Dr. Melanie Goodwin is a longstanding administrator and educator in Delran; she suffered a stroke last Thanksgiving and continues to recover.  At this point, Dr. Goodwin remains under contract with the Delran Township Board of Education throughout the remainder of the school year.

During the winter months, Delran Middle School will engage a Middle Level Task Force as a way to examine our practices and identify instructional and programmatic strategies to make the middle school experience for students in Delran memorable, academically challenging and responsive to their needs as students and as young adults.  The Middle Level Task Force will be led by Mrs. Medina and will be an inclusive process.  You can expect to be recruited for involvement on a variety of levels in the coming weeks.

On behalf of the Board of Education, I wish you well during this holiday season and assure you that we continue to keep the best interests of your children in mind as we deliver a high quality, challenging and supportive educational program.

Sincerely,

Brian Brotschul, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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Delran Middle School Select Choir Debuts on Radio – MoreFM 101.1: December 1, 2014

We at Delran Township Public Schools are very excited to announce that the Delran Middle School Select Choir was selected as a semi-finalist in the Christmas Choir Competition on MoreFM 101.1 (formerly B101.1).  The DMS Select Choir will have their recording of Mele Kalikimaka played on the radio Monday morning (December 1st) shortly after 7:00 AM and throughout the day!

DMS needs you to vote for them and spread the word to get DMS through to the finals!  Voting will be online on Monday, December 1st!  

The winner from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will advance to the finals on Thursday to compete for the following prizes:

1ST PLACE:   $5,000 cash prize and the opportunity to perform with The Philly Pops on December 10, 2014.

2ND PLACE:  $2,000 cash prize

3RD PLACE:  $1,000 cash prize

VOTING RULES:

  • Log on to www.morefmphilly.com and click on the Christmas Choir Contest link to vote for your school choir.  Voters are presented with options to vote for the competing schools for that given day.
  • The voting period each day will be from the time all songs are played on 101.1 More FM up until 9 pm that evening.
  • Winners will be announced the following day during the More FM Morning Show with Jenn and Michael shortly after 7 am.

We are all so excited for these talented students and the professionals that work with them.  Please help spread the word!

Sincerely,

Brian Brotschul, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

School Budget Information

The development of a school budget is an important function of the Delran Township Board of Education.  The Delran Website has a host of  helpful documents that can guide you towards understanding the spending plan developed and approved by the Board of Education.  For example, below are some important places that you can find financial information for the Delran Township Public Schools:

2015-2016 Budget Forecast

Current Year Budget Information

As we move into the winter months the Delran Township Board of Education will begin to develop and adopt a budget plan that is responsible and supports students in a myriad of ways.  The December 1, 2014 Work Session is at 7:30pm.  During that meeting the Board of Education will approve the 2015-2016 Budget Development Calendar.  Additionally, as we progress throughout the school year we will promote our budget and spending plan at a host of community events both at District sites as well as sites around town (to be announced in the future!).

What are your interests with the 2015-2016 school budget?  What would you like to see funded?  I would love to hear from you and can be reached at  bbrotschul@delranschools.org.

 

 

 

 

Connect with the Superintendent

Dear Delran Parents and Stakeholders,

As my first week as your Superintendent of Schools comes to a close, I have been welcomed by many stakeholders in Delran.  Those interactions have demonstrated the commitment that all parents and stakeholders have shown for the schools in Delran as well as the passion for sharing what makes being a Delran resident so positive.

As a point of introduction, I have served as a High School Principal, a Middle School Principal and a Director of Academic Support and Enrichment at the district level.  Additionally, I have taught students at the high school level, the middle school level and student taught at the elementary school level.  I have pursued an advanced degree and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from Seton Hall University and have found myself most fortunate to be in the position to lead the Delran Township Public Schools.

During my transition to Delran, I have spent time with the Interim Superintendent to continue to be apprised of current happenings in the district.  Additionally, I have spent time in all four schools and have collaborated with the leadership at each organization.  These initial visits have revealed a school district that I consider to be healthy, well positioned for success and capable of instituting practices that will influence positive change.

As you may know the District migrated to a new website during the summer months.  During the coming weeks the District will be surveying all parents and stakeholders regarding their experience thus far with the new website as a way to improve our services.  One enhancement you will find on the website is the ability to Connect with the Superintendent.  Below are graphics of the “quick link” and the webpage itself that you can utilize in order to establish communication with me.  I invite you to connect on social media through my WordPress blog and Twitter feed.

I truly look forward to hearing from you and collaborating with you as we share a similar mission of ensuring that our children are supported in highly engaging educational environments.

Sincerely,

Brian Brotschul, Ed.D.

 

Connect with Superintendent - Delran Township School District (1) Delran Township School District-

School Finances: Beginning the Process of Building the 2015-2016 School Budget

The excerpt below was written by Dr. Russo, School Business Administrator, and can be found on our website.

The current 14-15 school year budget was very difficult to balance revenues to
expenditures due to receiving only $59,320 in additional State Aid while salaries and
benefits increased by more than a million dollars. The budget was partially balanced by
making difficult cuts to the operations area of the budget for the fifth year in a row. These
areas can no longer sustain additional cutting as we enter into the 15-16 budget season.
Spending Growth Limitation Adjustments were used to complete the balancing, one for
the increase in student population and one for the increase in health care cost. Even with
the use of the spending growth limitation adjustments The total General Fund Budget
increased by only $162,397 or .39% (less than 1/2 percent) even with the seven figure
increases in fixed costs.

The 2015-16 school budget will offer the same challenges as this year’s. The concern is
that there will be no increase in State aid for the creation of this budget. The health
benefit increase can be estimated at approximately $700,000. Chapter 78 deductions from
our employees should reduce that increase by approximately $250,000. We recently
shopped our health insurance program around to try to obtain better pricing. No carriers
were interested in giving us a quote as our experience is 114%. For every dollar paid to
the carrier in premium, they pay out one dollar and fourteen cents in claims. The District
has seen a huge increase in utilization since the turnover in the staff a few years ago.

Salaries will increase by approximately $650,000 due to the current negotiated
agreements. The District, since the 2011-12 school year, has added 48 instructional or
instructional support positions to the budget through either new or re-activated positions.
Thirty-one of those positions were added to the Millbridge and Intermediate Schools.
Remember, in the two years prior to those years we had cut 33 positions including
administrators, support personnel and teachers due to a State Aid reduction.

On the revenue side of the equation for 2015-16 it is estimated that a 2% increase on the
current levy will raise $560,000. There is $486,000 remaining in banked cap if the
District chooses to use it. This is spending authority not used in prior years or the amount
the District spent below the cap in previous years that is available to be used. The District
should be eligible for a Spending Growth Limitation Adjustment for increase in
enrollment of 72 students and for the increase in the cost of health benefits. The fund
balance that will be available to be appropriated in the 2015-16 budget will be $109,840
less than the amount available in the 2014-15 budget.

In recent years the energy line items have been cut because the district has used less
energy through motion controlled, energy harvesting lighting. The maintenance lines
have been cut to the bare minimum to support our current contracts. Needed repairs only
have been scheduled for this year using General Funds. Remember, the referendum of
2008 allowed for the District to make many facility improvements. We have made
significant roof repairs over the past several years to the Middle School and an entirely
new roof to the Intermediate School through use of Capital Reserve funds. The
transportation lines were cut in the current budget but will need to be increased as per the
CPI as our contracts are renewed. We will put out to bid our HVAC, Custodial and
Grounds contracts to see if we can gain any inefficiencies for the next budget year.

The current budget has had to endure the addition of 5 unbudgeted teaching positions due
to an increase in enrollment or special education compliance issues. Transfers have been
made and line item expenditures restricted to accommodate these positions.
The current budget has been a challenge to manage and next year’s will be a challenge to
build so tune back in to see my new postings as progress is made.

A Day at the Fields: Delran vs. Holmdel

This afternoon I had the opportunity to attend the soccer game between Delran and Holmdel.  It was nice to meet some Delran stakeholders and take in the state tournament soccer game.  It was great to see the crowd for the game; it was certainly spirited.  During the game I was able to have some great discussions about Delran, its high school what is important to the stakeholders.

I left with a clear impression regarding the meaning of DHS to the parents in town, to the students and to the stakeholders in general.  It was reassuring; I left many conversations with the belief and understanding that there really were many people in Delran that hold a common, sacred ground regarding expectations and beliefs regarding what a secondary education should be comprised of.  I even spoke to one parent about the master schedule at the high school.  Given my past history with expanding student time in learning, I was able to have some fruitful conversations with parents and stakeholders alike.  With that said, lets talk about how to engage students in the learning process…..how do we do it in Delran?  What are the prevailing thoughts coming out of the DHS?  How many stakeholders are engaged in the process?

I will be spending a great deal of time with the Delran community – I look forward to meeting you at a community event.  In the meantime, please reach me at bbrotschul@delranschools.org.

Brian Brotschul, Ed.D. – Superintendent of Schools

PS. Congrats to the girls soccer team as they upset the #1 seed in their state tournament.

Development of School Improvement Plans to Support 2012-2017 BOE Strategic Plan

Now that a two month transition has come to a close after the Board of Education approved me as the Superintendent of Schools, it is time to get to work! To say that I am excited would be an understatement. Truth be told, I consider myself extremely fortunate for this opportunity to serve Delran.

The last two months have offered me the opportunity to review how each school and the Board of Education offices function. I have observed what makes the district outstanding and where challenges exist. I have done this in partnership with Interim Superintendent Joseph Miller with the mutual goal of ensuring that November 10th and beyond is seamless and successful.

My time thus far in Delran has been revealing. I can share that the four schools present themselves well. Each school is clean, orderly, well lit and staffed with extraordinary professionals who appear to appreciate the challenge and honor that is associated with working with children. The students are engaged academically and supported in a myriad of ways by the systems that are in place. As their leader I find it encouraging to be walking into an environment reflective of support, intellect and a focus on improving our overall product.

I find it important to engage in processes that plan for school improvement that speak directly to the challenges we face in student achievement, the use of practical instructional data streams (not necessarily those solely from high stakes testing), as well as climate and culture realities. During the coming weeks we will begin the processes that will allow each school to engage in reflective, critical and targeted development of school improvement plans that appropriately challenge all members of organizations to function in a manner that improves the overall product at each of our four schools. We will engage in separate but connected task forces that identify the current state of affairs for each building and outline what challenges them and where successes are found. Those task forces will identify challenges unique to their buildings. They will also forge common areas for the district to target as we progress.

The development of school improvement plans will only serve as the beginning of a targeted, precise administration of our programs. Once developed, the school improvement plans will also be evaluated quarterly both by each school and in peer groups in order to assess progress and offer the opportunity to modify as is needed. The school improvement plans will not only be something of fidelity that stakeholders in each school can take ownership for, but they will also be relied upon to guide decision making processes in a myriad of ways. As a district we need to be targeted in our leadership, our development of school improvement plans as the execution of those plans.

My intention is to align four separate but interconnected school improvement plans with the most recent five year strategic plan approved by the Delran Board of Education on September 10, 2012. The 2012-2017 Strategic Plan calls for goals that span the areas of student achievement, community involvement, climate/culture and finance. My initial work with the district and the Board of Education will assess the current status of the execution of this strategic plan at its halfway point.
The 2012-2017 Strategic Plan endeavors to produce modest gains in the following areas:

Student Achievement
1.  Institution of relevant professional development with follow up training to meet the needs of all staff members
2.  Training on how to read, interpret and apply various streams of student achievement data at the classroom level
3.  Create instructional opportunities that differentiate learning opportunities for students of all abilities
4.  Establish a long term plan to reduce class sizes
5.  Close identified achievement gap in all schools
6.  Incorporate benchmark assessments in all schools
7.  Increase the number of and diversity of students in all Honors, AP and Enrichment classes

Community Involvement
1.  Establish multiple avenues to engage parents and stakeholders in each school and the school district
2.  Establish an Education Foundation

Climate and Culture
1.  Develop a greater sense of collaboration between each school with emphasis on the transitions to grades 3, 6 and 9.

Finance
1.  Middle School Teaming
2.  Restore Full Day Kindergarten
3.  Institution of Delran Adult School
4.  Infusion of Delran senior population in schools to support student learning and programs

The coming weeks and months will allow for an examination regarding the status and health of the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan at its halfway point. I will address the status of all elements of the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan in the near future and will outline the process of ensuring that all components of the strategic plan set forth by the Board of Education are not only addressed but also serve as hallmarks of accomplishments in Delran.

Why all the talk about school improvement plans and strategic plans? I find them to be interconnected and in concert with each other at every juncture in our roles as educators in Delran, regardless of title or role.
The role of the governance structure is to establish broad district goals that are then supported by a strategic plan.

The role of a school improvement plan is to establish formal action that aspires to address the tenets found within the strategic plan set forth by the Board of Education. The school improvement plan will speak directly to the strategic plan. The strategic plan will, in turn, speak to the goals of the Board of Education. The three are formally connected and will be monitored with great commitment and enthusiasm to ensure that our collective sights are set on the goals that have been set forth prior by the Board of Education.

Allowing professionals the opportunity to be reflective, to be analytic, to be altruistic and to develop a roadmap that supports students first will allow the children we serve to be most successful and, above all, productive citizens in the 21st century and beyond. The institution of the planning processes outlined above will allow Delran to move forward productively and precisely.

I look forward to your feedback at all levels as I begin working with the residents and stakeholders in Delran. I can be reached most reliably through email at bbrotschul@delranschools.org. I look forward to hearing from you.