Grease – DHS Spring Musical Coming to Morris Burton Performing Arts Center

Grease is coming to the Delran High School Morris Burton Performing Arts Center!

Ticket Information HERE

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Delran Township Board of Education to Swear In Robert Porreca as Newest Member

In early January the Board of Education was left with a vacancy after Mr. Robin Hammitt resigned his position as a Board Member.  At that time the 8 elected members engaged in a process to search for a new member of the Board of Education.  During the month of February the Board initiated in a process that reviewed the credentials of each candidate and examined how those credentials and experiences might best serve the Board and the students in Delran Township.

On behalf of the Board of Education, I can share that the strength of the candidate pool was outstanding.  The Board met with ten candidates and was impressed by each and every one.  The Board truly had a most challenging and difficult decision and are appreciative of all of the interest from Delran residents in serving in this role.  Ultimately, the Board chose a candidate that suited the various needs that the Board had identified prior to engaging in this process.

The successful candidate needed to be student focused, have a high level of visibility in the community, have experience with non-profit leadership and, above all, work well with various groups of residents and constituents.  The Board is pleased to welcome Mr. Robert Porreca to the Board of Education; he will be officially sworn in at the March 2, 2015 Work Session at the Administrative Offices at 7:30pm.  Please join us in welcoming Mr. Porreca if your schedule allows.

Mr. Porreca is a lifelong resident of Delran (over 43 years!) and has served as a mentor to our young children on the soccer field, has served Delran Township as a member of the Planning Board and brings a deep connection and affiliation to the Board of Education.  Mr. Porreca and his wife have three children in the school system.

On behalf of the Delran Township Board of Education, please join in congratulating Mr. Porreca with this important appointment.

Delran, Did You Know? Some thoughts about positive events in and around the District

Throughout the course of a school year many events, large and small, take place in a host of arenas and venues that help to comprise the status and brand of the district.  There are so many instances of positive movement in Delran in the areas of academics and student involvement, I thought I would share!

Middle School

  • The Middle School’s annual Charity Basketball Game between 8th grade students and the staff will took place on Friday, February 20th.  This year, proceeds will benefit the Children’s Home in Mt. Holly.
  • The 6th, 7th and 8th grade Science Fair will be on display for the public on Thursday, February 26th, at 7:00 PM in the gym.
  • Four DMS students have been invited to participate in this year’s All South Jersey Band:  7th graders Colin Kremus and Justin Ma and 8th graders Alexandra Azoulay and Adam Dorfman.
  • The PTA’s Reflection contest has named two DMS students as this year’s state  level winners whose projects are now being submitted for national competition.  Winners are Hannah Cascio for Film and Andrew Chojnacki for Photography.
  • The DMS Dance Team will perform a variety of African Dances for fellow students as part of Black History Month on Monday, February 23rd.
  • The DMS Wrestling Team has just completed a successful season by finally being eliminated in the state tournament.

Language Arts

Here in Delran, we are building a community of readers and writers!  Beginning in kindergarten, our students are reading and writing every day.  Our youngest readers and writers are developing an extensive repertoire of skills that become the foundation for their future success. As our students move through our district, these skills are strengthened and enhanced through a variety of programs, beginning with The Daily Five and The Café, guided reading, Lucy Calkins writing in grades K-8, as well as Shakespeare, Emerson, and Thoreau in our High School, just to mention a few.  Our goal is to provide our students with the skills and strategies they need to become successful readers and writers, while instilling a love for learning.

Math

Did you know the study of algebra is not confined to a course or set of courses in the high school curriculum anymore?  Algebra is now a strand that unfolds across a K–12 curriculum. Students experience the algebra strand as a way of thinking and valuing structure that develops across grades. At Millbridge and DIS, students develop fluency with numbers, explore structure in operations and their properties, and verbalize quantitative relationships.  In the middle school, students move from verbal descriptions of relationships to proficiency in generalizing numerical relationships and expressing them with symbolic representations and in the language of functions.  Finally, high school students are challenged to extend their ability to use and see structure in symbolic expressions as they create and reason with equations, inequalities, and systems.

Each topic within the algebra strand is taught as an integration of concepts, procedures, and applications. Concepts such as variables and equivalence, and procedures such as solving equations and inequalities, are equally important. Multiple strategies, including variations on common procedures and procedures using different representations, are needed to solve problems within mathematics and within other contexts. At all levels, students generalize, model, and analyze situations that are purely mathematical or ones that arise in real-world phenomena.  Characterizing algebra as a strand of the school curriculum highlights the power and usefulness of algebraic thinking and skills—proficiencies that open academic doors and are evident in many professions and careers.

Science

Did you know that new science standards were adopted by the State of New Jersey in July 2014.  They are called The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).   The State of New Jersey’s current standards in science are the most aligned to the NGSS than any state in the nation!

The timeline for implementation of the NGSS is as follows:

  •      In 2014-2015, administrators will have sustained, intensive professional development to help teachers of science to become experts on the Frameworks for K-12 Science Education.  This spring, teachers will begin professional development focused on the model science curriculum and unit assessments (K-5 teachers focus on the scientific practices and how they intersect with the CCSS; 6-12 focus on the Frameworks)
  •      In 2015-2016, there will be directed professional development for K-12 teachers (K-5 learn the remainder of the Frameworks and improve content knowledge; 6-12 use NGSS to evaluate and revise curriculum); K-12 teachers will continue their alignment of the 2010 New Jersey Core Content Standards to the 2014 NGSS; 6-12 teachers will complete their curricula
  •      In 2016-2017, Teachers in grades 6-12 will implement the NGSS; K-5 teachers will continue to align to the 2010 NJCCS to the 2014 NGSS; In the Spring, the NJ Biology End of Course and NJASK8 science assessment will reflect the NGSS
  •      In 2017-2018, Grades K-5 teachers will implement the NGSS; In the Spring, the NJASK4 science assessment will reflect the NGSS

How should you expect your child’s science classroom to change?

Teachers will emphasize scientific exploration and experimentation, instead of lecture and fact based instruction.  Engaging classroom experiences will make students question, explore and discuss possible solutions, investigate science concepts, use argumentation and inquiry based participation in the learning process.  Simulation analysis, modeling and engineering practices are new expectations.  This approach mirrors real-world science practices and engages students at a deeper level of learning.  These standards align very well with the Common Core Math and English Language Arts standards, particularly in the area of using evidence in argumentation.

Social Studies

  • K-8 Social Studies curriculum will be revised this summer to meet the 2014 NJDOE state standards with a focus on literacy.
  • K-12 social studies enrichment activities enhance the overall learning experience for our Delran students.
  • Our Vietnam and Genocide electives in the high school offer field trip opportunities to Washington D.C. to visit the Holocaust Museum and the Vietnam Wall as well as NJ History travels to various locations in our state such as Batsto and the State House in Trenton.
  • Our 7th grade middle school students participate in a mock trial to understand the judicial process.
  • At DIS, all 5th grade students participate in the National Geographic Geography Bee and our 4th graders experience Lenape history come to life through a traveling exhibit.
  • Millbridge offers enhanced social studies opportunities in our 2nd grade research project through our media specialist as well as K-2 art courses focused on interdisciplinary themes.

Visual and Performing Arts

  • K-12 art curriculum with be revised this summer to meet 2014 NJDOE state standards.
  • High school and middle school students have the opportunity to attend and participate in the Burlington County Teen Arts Festival to showcase their musical talents and art projects in various art forms including 2D and 3D art, graphic design and photography.
  • HS art students created bowls in conjunction with the culinary arts students for the 2nd Annual Empty Bowls project with all proceeds going to The Food Bank of South Jersey.
  • HS, MS and DIS offer fall and spring music concerts to showcase the amazing talents of our students in our Performing Arts Center. Also, we have amazing musical productions.
    • This year the HS musical is Grease (Weekends of February 26th and March 6th) and the MS will be performing Hairspray Jr. (Weekend of March 20th).
  • Recorders are now being offered at DIS to lay the foundation for sight reading in 3rd grade music classes.

Delran Township Board of Education Solicits Feedback from Community as it Revises Student Conduct Policy

One of the critical functions that the Delran Township Board of Education serves is to set forth policy in order to ensure that the schools and District are governed appropriately and in accordance to state laws and regulations.  It was announced at the February 9, 2015 Regular Public Meeting that the Delran Township Board of Education is reviewing the language in the Student Conduct Policy.  At this time the Board is asking for public assistance in reviewing the policy and offering feedback regarding your ideas regarding how, in your opinion, a student conduct policy should be worded.  The Board is most interested in your feedback and is engaging in a two-way process to ensure that the parents and families of Delran have their voices heard during the review of this very important policy.

A link to below offers insight regarding the current student conduct policy, a statement on the intentions of the Board relative to the review of the student conduct policy and survey and comment opportunity for Delran parents and families to provide feedback (completion of an online survey) to the Board of Education regarding this matter.

Student Conduct Policy Website: https://sites.google.com/a/delranschools.org/student-conduct-policy-revision-and-community-connection/

Student Conduct Policy Survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1b2VBIgQ7bsn4SRoJ_kLfJh0Pz8dwIimBqJQLMzLpuYc/viewform

Your involvement in this endeavor is most important to the Board.  All feedback will remain anonymous unless you otherwise note it.

Sincerely,

Brian Brotschul, Ed.D.

Delran Township Board of Education Honors Students at February 9, 2015 Regular Public Meeting

Last evening, at the Delran Township Board of Education Regular Public Meeting, there were a host of recognitions and special events honoring Delran teachers and students.  It certainly was a festive evening with much to celebrate.

The following teachers were recognized as the District honorees as Teacher(s) of the Year:

  • Amanda Dineen, Millbridge
  • Meghan Bing, DIS
  • Carla Barbosa, DMS
  • Michael Guzik, DHS
  • Rachel Johnson, Educational Services Professional

The following students from DMS were honored for the recognition by Burlington County in the Reflection Contest, sponsored by the collective PTA groups from the District:

  • Hannah Cascio, Film Production
  • Victoria Moran, Literature
  • Joe Quaciara, Literature
  • Caitlyn Auguste, Visual Arts
  • Hailey Hopkins, Visual Arts
  • Andrew Chognacki, Photography
  • Brooke Hennegan, Photography

During the coming Board meetings we look forward to honoring additional students who earn recognition through the Reflection Contest.

During the Board Meeting the students from DHS and DMS sang for the audience that was 100 people strong, offering proof that the arts are alive and well in Delran!  During the meeting Erin Gupta and Katherine Drachowski, teachers from DHS and DMS, shared success stories from their schools with many of their students making All South Jersey Junior High School Chorus:

  • Kelly Deschaine, DHS
  • Julia Frizzie, DHS
  • Deana Giles, DHS
  • Audrey Reppert, DHS
  • Caitlyn Auguste, DMS
  • Sophia Chascsa, DMS
  • Andrew Chojnacki, DMS
  • Brigid Doherty, DMS
  • Nicole Frizzie, DMS
  • Maura Lynn, DMS

Congratulations to all honorees!

Pictures from the February 9, 2015 Regular Public Meeting

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Delran Issues Parent Resources for PARCC

Dear Parents and Guardians:

Each year our students undergo assessments mandated by the New Jersey Department of Education.  During the spring months all children in third through eleventh grades will participate in the PARCC assessments.  In order to familiarize yourself with the major components of the PARCC assessments,  please find a parent resource for your perusal below:

https://sites.google.com/a/delranschools.org/delran-township-public-schools-parcc-resources/parcc-frequently-asked-questions-faq

There will be PARCC information sessions on February 10, 2015 at 6:00pm in the PAC at Delran High School and on February 23, 2015 at 6:30pm in the DIS All-Purpose Room.  While you can attend any session that suits your schedule, the session on the 10th is geared towards DHS/DMS students while the session on the 23rd is geared towards DIS students.

Peeling Back the Onion: NJDOE Issues School Performance Reports for Delran Township

An Introduction to the School Performance Reports

Each year the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) offers the School Performance Report to allow for a snapshot view of school performance.  Among a host of metrics, the NJDOE examines Academic Achievement, Student Growth, College and Career Readiness and, at the high school level, Graduation Rates and post-secondary planning.  Schools and families are able to examine how their schools performed and make comparisons against neighboring towns, against schools with similar student composition and against the rest of the state of New Jersey.  The School Performance Reports offer a comprehensive manner in which to examine school and district progress.  The goal of this post is to offer an overview of the School Performance Reports, to examine Delran results as well as how they measure against those in neighboring communities.  I think you will find the results to be encouraging while offering realistic information relative to our future areas to address.

Overview of what the School Performance Report Measures

The NJDOE School Performance Report (SPP) Interpretative Guide offers a great deal of information; below a summary view of what it examines and how it measures those metrics:

Peer Group Comparison

Each school that receives a performance report is grouped with approximately 30 other similar schools into a peer school comparison group. Peer schools are schools that have similar grade configurations and are educating students with similar demographic characteristics.  Schools placed in Delran peer groups had a similar percentage of students that are economically disadvantaged, have limited English proficiencies and similar percentages of students that qualify for Special Education services. The schools that Delran was compared against in our peer groups (found at the end of the individual school performance reports) all had similar student body compositions.

Academic Achievement

The Academic Achievement portion of the School Performance Report presents data from the statewide assessment programs, including the outcomes of the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK), the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA), and the Biology End-of-Course exam.

College and Career Readiness

Algebra I

In the NJ School Performance Report, Algebra I course enrollment is highlighted as an indicator of college and career readiness because it remains one of the most significant early predictors that a student is capable of rigorous coursework and is on track to graduate from high school and attend post-secondary education.  Students that earn a C or better in Algebra I prior to Grade 9 positively impact our School Performance Report.

Chronic Absenteeism

For the purpose of the NJ School Performance Report, a chronically absent student is defined as a student who is not present for 10% or more of the school year, for any reason. For each student, an analysis of his/her number of days present versus the number of days that it was possible to be present was conducted. Any student that was not present for at least 90% of the possible days was determined to have been chronically absent.

SAT/ACT/PSAT Participation and Performance

Advanced Placement Participation and Performance

Participation in Theater and Visual Arts classes

Participation in Career and Technical Education programs

Student Growth

The NJ School Performance Reports present data about school wide student growth utilizing the student growth percentile (SGP) methodology. SGP has been adopted by states across the country as a way to measure student growth year over year in a way that accounts for ‘starting gate’ inequalities.  Click here for a video explaining how SGP is calculated.

By comparing a student’s achievement outcomes to a group of students that had similar achievement in the prior year, it is possible to measure how much growth a student demonstrated relative to students with a similar test score history or academic peer group.  In Delran we are measured by the amount of progress that a student makes with an individual teacher.  In many, many cases the answer is “a tremendous amount!”

Graduation Rate

The School Performance Report presents a high school’s 4-year and 5-year adjusted cohort graduation rates.

Post-Secondary Enrollment

Reports now contain post-secondary enrollment data at a student level, allowing educators to answer questions about which of their students are enrolled in higher education institutions and what their shared characteristics were when they were in high school. Schools are then afforded the opportunity to increase the number of students that attend four year colleges upon graduation.

Report of Delran Township Public Schools

You can find the Delran Township Public Schools individual reports below:

Delran High School

Delran Middle School

Delran Intermediate School

Millbridge Elementary School

What do the School Performance Reports Suggest?

The School Performance Reports suggest that Delran teachers are making great progress in the classroom and positively influencing students at each grade level.  There are also challenges for the District found in the reports as well; not insurmountable but challenges that we have the ability to positively address.

At Delran High School, the SPP reported a High level of Academic Achievement, an Average level of College and Career Readiness and a Lagging/Average Graduation Rate.  To that end, in comparison to all high schools in the State of New Jersey, there was a positive 36 percent change in the Academic Achievement at DHS as compared to the 2012-2013 school year.  Additionally, there was a positive 18 and 13 percent change in College and Career Readiness and Graduation rate, respectively, at Delran High School.  These results can be attributed to the many initiatives that have been implemented over the course of the last three years at the high school, inclusive of a vision that is pro-academics, supportive of teachers and sensitive to the needs of the students.  The next level of work shall continue the efforts at expanding AP course opportunities, while improving the results that our students earn on the PSAT and SAT examinations coupled with expanded, intentional writing opportunities for all students.

At Delran Middle School it was a reported that there was an Academic Achievement rating of Average, an Average level of College and Career Readiness and a High level of Student Growth.  Additionally, DMS results reflect a positive 11 percent change in Academic Achievement, a 30 percent decrease in College and Career Readiness and a Student Growth factor that more than doubled since the 2012-2013 school year with a 102 percent change!  Our next level of work at DMS is to continue the intentional, precise instruction while examining student attendance trends with the goal of decreasing the number of students with chronic absenteeism (more than 9 absences per year of any type).

At Delran Intermediate School a rating of Lagging/Average for Academic Achievement was earned, a rating of High for College and Career Readiness was earned coupled with a rating of High for student growth.  A positive 5 percent change in Academic Achievement and an 8 percent change in Student Growth resulted.  The College and Career Readiness results reflect a negative 28 percent change, however the 2012-2013 school year we scored nearly a perfect 100.  It is important to note here that despite the decrease the College and Career Readiness results rate as High by the NJDOE.  Our next level of work at DIS is to continue the already stellar student growth results, to maintain and improve upon College and Career Readiness while ensuring the each child and teacher is able to function in a supportive environment that balances academics with social emotional development.

Millbridge Elementary School does receive a School Performance report; however, since there are no tested areas by the NJDOE the data does not include a comparison between schools of similar composition.

A View of our Neighbors

Its human nature: we want to see how we are a doing, and we also want to examine how our neighbors are performing.  In a recent article in the Burlington County Times, the progress of the schools in the area was examined.  It does put Delran in a positive light with the understanding that there are areas to improve on and to earn our focus.  Additionally, the SPP offers you the opportunity to view how our neighbors did in greater detail.  You can see how Cinnaminson, Moorestown, Northern Burlington, Rancocas Valley, Cherokee, Lenape,  Seneca and Shawnee performed.  Delran is more than competitive with our neighbors.

When we compare the data regionally regarding high school graduation rates, Delran High School performs well.  The overall percentage of Delran High School that enroll in higher education is 85%, which ranks higher than the rates in Bordentown, Burlington Township, Cinnaminson, Florence, Lenape Regional (Cherokee, Lenape, Seneca), Maple Shade, Northern Burlington, Palmyra and Rancocas Valley.  Those that outperformed us in this metric, Moorestown and Shawnee, did so by 4% and less than 1% respectively.  Our next level of work at Delran High School as it relates to post secondary matriculation is to increase the number of four year college matriculations.  Again, Delran is more than competitive with our neighbors; in many cases the progress of DHS is establishing the regional standard.

A Summation of NJDOE School Performance Reports

The NJDOE SPP reports that we have pockets of success and areas of challenge.  In his book Good to Great, author Jim Collins notes when examining corporation growth and outcomes that “…good is the enemy of great…”  I suggest the same to be true in Delran: there are scores of good (very good, even) programs and initiatives taking place in Delran.  We needn’t let the fact that we are “good” in some areas stand in the way of them being “great.”

Indeed, we have the vision and the personnel to execute movement to becoming great.  The foundation, as I shared in the State of the Schools, is stout and firm in Delran.  Our focus at the District level and in each individual school is to ensure that we make progress to perform consistently great.  Our goal setting and strategic planning activities will highlight how to build upon the successes found in the SPP for each school as well as addressing our challenges.

I welcome your feedback after reviewing the School Performance Report results – I can be reached at bbrotschul@delranschools.org, @Delran_Super on Twitter or through Delran_Superintendent on WordPress.