Mid-Summer Update from Delran Township Public Schools

Dear Parents and Guardians,

It’s hard to believe that nearly six weeks ago we said goodbye to your children for the summer.  Indeed, the 2015-2016 school year is right around the corner.  Although the students have been away, we have had a team of staff members that have been actively preparing for the coming school year.  Below is some information from our various schools and departments:

Delran High School

  • Please do not forget about Summer Assignments!  One Book,One Grade and all summer assignments can be found on our website.  Please do not wait until the last minute to complete!  Also, please be reminded that we have a fundraising opportunity through Barnes and Noble in Moorestown on Friday July 31, 2015.  Click here for more information.  A great way to help support the programs offered here at DHS!
  • To all Juniors and a select group of seniors, please do not forget to begin and/or complete your Community Service requirement.  Seniors are aware that if they have not completed community service hours, they are not eligible to participate in homecoming activities.  Please make sure that you complete your hours, have the proper signatures, and complete the written reflection.
  • To the Class of 2019, we look very much forward to seeing you all on August 26, 2015 at 10:00 in the PAC for Freshman Orientation.  Our program will begin at 10:00 sharp, so please be on-time.  Please remember that your school photograph will also be taken that morning beginning at 9:30.  If you arrive early, you will not have to endure long lines.
  • To our parents, please make sure you update any and all contact information through the parent portal.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our main office at 856-461-6100 x3000.

Delran Middle School

DMS is thrilled to welcome Mrs. Wendy DeVicaris and Mrs. Amy Rash to the positions of Principal and Assistant Principal, respectively.  Mrs. DeVicaris’ eight year tenure as the district’s Supervisor of Mathematics means she is no stranger to DMS or to the students in our district.  She has spent many years working with the teachers and students in DMS in her supervisor role and we look forward to her transition as the new principal.  Prior to coming to Delran, Mrs. DeVicaris was a math teacher at Northern Burlington County Regional MS/HS, as well as an Assistant Principal at Marlton Middle School in Evesham.  Mrs. Amy Rash follows our 5th graders as she moves from the Assistant Principal at Delran Intermediate School to her new position as Assistant Principal of Delran Middle School.  Mrs. Rash is also no stranger to DMS, as she had been a teacher of Social Studies at the middle school prior to serving the district in a leadership capacity.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to either administrator to say hello and welcome them both to our school!

School supply lists are posted on our website!  Look for specific team information and student schedules on the parent portal in mid to late August.  We will send a phone blast to let you know that the schedules are uploaded and ready for you!

SAVE THE DATE!  Thursday, August 20th is the day we welcome our incoming sixth graders and new transfer students to DMS for student orientation!  The day begins at 10am in the middle school cafeteria and will be followed by tours of the building, locker practice, and light refreshments.  More information will be sent directly to our new sixth grade parents!  We look forward to seeing everyone and getting our students comfortable and ready for middle school!  As a preview, please find an information video tutorial for new students on how to open a locker!

Delran Intermediate School

Mrs. Kimberly Hickson and Mrs. Rachel Medina are excited to assume their administrative roles at the Delran Intermediate School. Mrs. Hickson looks forward to welcoming incoming 3rd graders who are also transitioning from Millbridge to DIS, as well as upcoming 4th and 5th grade students. Mrs. Medina is also looking forward to her return to DIS as the Assistant Principal, as position that she previously held.

As a reminder, the summer reading and math packets will not be graded, but students are encouraged to complete the reading log and math assignments. Students who turn in their forms will receive rewards for their efforts.

DIS students will see new upgrades during the year with the installation of new playground equipment. Thank you for the overwhelming support through fundraising activities that will allow us to upgrade our playground with new equipment that the children will enjoy this year and years to come.

Millbridge Elementary School

When students arrive at Millbridge this year, they will be greeted with an exciting new opportunity to build social skills through play. Thanks to the generosity of the PTA, students will enjoy the new Imagination Playground system. This portable activity facilitates social, academic and developmental skills.

As a reminder, all students who participate in the Summer Reading Olympics will receive a book and be recognized at the Millbridge Olympic assembly.

Language Arts and Literacy

The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,

And all the sweet serenity of books.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Summer reading is in full swing throughout the district. This summer, at the High School, we introduced our new mandatory reading book club assignment, One Book, One Grade.  We look forward to engaging in conversations with every student, while promoting their discussions with their peers across the grade levels. Please initiate a conversation with your child by asking about his/her summer reading book- elementary through high school.

Teachers have been very  busy this summer in a variety of ways. Several Millbridge teachers worked together to integrate Social Studies with literacy. This work will continue during the upcoming school year. Delran Intermediate teachers have been working diligently  to revise and provide curricular clarity in several areas of English Language Arts. Four Middle School teachers and our Literacy Coach attended a five-day workshop to enhance our instruction using the Lucy Calkins Units of Study in Writing. These teachers will provide invaluable support as we implement the Calkins writing program to all of our students at the Middle School in September.

Math

This summer, math teachers throughout the district have worked on various projects aimed at enhancing instruction and increasing the level of rigor in word problems.

At the middle school, math teachers have worked with science teachers to understand each other’s learning goals and to look for ways that the two content areas can support each other.

At the high school, we are excited to introduce some new courses.  Our general-level Algebra I class has been expanded to a double-period.  This will allow the teacher to infuse the technology of the TI-Npire handheld to help students better understand the Algebra and make connections to its use in the world.  We are also excited to introduce Honors Math Analysis.  This higher-level course replaces both Honors Algebra II and Honors Pre-Calculus for our most advanced sophomores, allowing them to reach AP Calculus BC by the time they graduate from high school.   The high school will also be offering AP Statistics for the first time!  This college-level course provides our students with another opportunity to earn college credit while in high school!  One final change pertains to our CP Foundations of College Math course.  Delran High School has partnered with Rowan College of Burlington County (formerly Burlington County College) to teach this course.  Students who successfully complete this class and who wish to attend that college will be granted permission to bypass the college placement exam and begin taking credit-bearing math classes.

We hope everyone is working hard on the summer math assignment! Those assignments help students to maintain the skills necessary to be successful at the next instructional level.  Every student in Delran has a summer math assignment this year, so parents please ask your child about his or her progress toward completion!

Science

Teachers throughout the district have had various levels of professional development regarding the Next Generation Science Standards.  This inquiry based set of standards were adopted in July 2014.  Currently, the middle school and high school teachers are working on aligning their units of study to better reflect the rigor of scientific and engineering practice demanded by the NGSS.  The introduction of project based learning assessment will be a focus for student instruction, with work on this formative approach occurring throughout the 2015-2016 school year.  All 6-12 students will be taught using the NGSS model in September 2016-2017.

Elementary teachers belonging to the curriculum committees have been identifying resources available to aid in instruction. They also have been learning the standards, which are specific to each grade level K-5.  Elementary students will begin their instruction based on these standards in 2017-2018, to allow more time for elementary teachers to become more familiarized with the science content.

Parents should expect that teachers will emphasize student centered scientific exploration and experimentation.  Asking questions, exploring solutions to problems and using argumentation will be the hallmark of science education to ensure students are fully vested in the learning process.  This approach mirrors real-world science practice and engages students in deeper learning.

Social Studies

All K-12 Social Studies curricula was reviewed this summer to ensure compliance with the 2014 New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. Several K-5 teachers worked diligently infusing nonfiction social studies texts and activities into the curricula on a variety of social studies topics focusing on history, geography and economics.  The middle school teachers collaborated and revised curricula to infuse document based questions supporting strengthening reading and writing skills based on analysis for our middle school students.  Finally, three high school social studies teachers received Advanced Placement training for European and American History and will turnkey the advanced placement strategies to 6-12 social studies teachers during fall professional development time.  The AP European History exam has been redesigned and a new text has been purchased to support the changes in assessment and instruction.

Visual and Performing Arts

All K-12 VPA curricula was reviewed this summer to ensure compliance with the 2014 New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards.  All teachers in the district will have access to Artstor starting in September providing teachers will high quality images and activities to strengthen our students visual literacy skills in over 22 subject areas.  The art teachers have collaborated and created a K-12 curricula that builds on the principles of design and the elements of art starting with foundational skills in our elementary schools and working towards mastery at the high school level for college and career readiness. Stay tuned…our amazing musical directors will soon announce the musical selections for our high school and middle school productions!

World Language

The K-12 World Language Curriculum Committee members are working on the finishing touches of their revised curriculum this summer. Teachers have been working throughout the year on this comprehensive endeavor. Using the 2014 New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards, the teachers have been working on the three modes of World Language (Interpretive, Interpersonal, Presentational) in the three languages that we offer in Delran (French, German & Spanish).

Athletics

All physicals for Fall sports should be turned into the Athletic Trainer, Nurse or Athletic Director by July 29.  If you have any questions about the ATS portal, please contact David Caplin through email or call extension 3126.  The official start of Fall sports is August 17, 2015.  Thanks to generosity from recent DHS graduating classes, a new scoreboard will be installed in the stadium in mid-September.

Special Education

Ms. Jennifer Mack is the new Director of Student Services as of July 9, 2015. Ms. Mack spent 11 years as a special education teacher in various settings and the last three years serving in a variety of  administrative capacities in Burlington County. Ms. Mack can be reached at jmack@delranschools.org.

The special education department is currently modifying curriculum to meet the needs of all learners. Special education teachers have attended Lucy Calkins training and are eager to share a variety of techniques with their fellow staff to ensure student success.

The Child Study Team is analyzing the method in which Transition Plans are being written. There will be additional training provided, with focus on Student Centered Planning techniques and approaches. Our goal is to further develop the method in which we support students in meeting their post secondary options.

Curriculum and Instruction

Summer is a busy time for curriculum writing.  Several curricular areas are being revised and updated to better address the district’s curricular needs.  Some of the committees at work this summer include K-8 Language Arts, K-12 World Language, K-5 Mathematics, K-8 Social Studies and 6-12 Health.  The district is also preparing for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) with groups of K-12 teachers performing gap analysis, evaluating model curriculum alignment to NGSS and creating unit assessments.  Additionally, some high school teachers are involved in writing curricula for new Advanced Placement courses and/or revising those courses due to revised exams.

Common Core and Infusing the Arts

A team of teachers from the middle school and high school attended a conference at Princeton University regarding infusing curriculum and programs with the arts: performance arts, creative arts and even industrial arts.   Moving our programs in this direction is critical and a goal of the Board of Education.  We are excited to announce a formal project in the coming weeks through the Office of the Principal at DMS; in the meantime we are finalizing our plans to allow all students in all of our schools to engage in the arts in a host of different areas and programs around the district.

Playground Upgrades at Millbridge and DIS

In addition to the new playground equipment at DIS, the playgrounds at Millbridge and DIS are receiving a fresh coat of color!  The project at Millbridge, which is near completion,  involved students at DHS who devised a stencil of the United States and was painted by District maintenance staff and district students. A special thanks goes out to the the Klosinski family, especially district students Joseph (9 years old) and Matthew (10 years old) and their friend Doug who joined new Principal Mrs. Lowe’s daughters to make a fantastic space at Millbridge. Playground work at DIS is scheduled to begin in the middle of August.  Please review pictures below:

Millbridge Playground 1 Millbridge Playground 2Millbridge Playground 3Millbridge Playground 4Millbridge Playground 5

Business Operations

This is the busiest time of the year for Business Operations! The Business Office is in the process of trying to close out the 14-15 school year. This requires review of all accounts and ensuring all accounting and payroll balances are correct. All of these balances must be correct prior to rolling over into the new year.

The middle school roofing project is moving along as scheduled. This project included a small asbestos abatement piece, crawlspace ventilation system upgrade, which vents through the roof and the installation of new roofing on a large portion of the school building.

The Business Office is also feverishly working on a Energy Savings Improvement Plan (ESIP) request for proposals as the District would like to have a plan in place for the summer of 2016 so the first stages of the paperwork must be completed immediately. This program will help finance future facility improvements by improving energy efficiency in future operating years.

In preparation for student and staff arrival, the buildings are going through their deep cleaning and required maintenance periods which is customary each year.

Local Residents Officially form the Delran Education Foundation

We’re also excited about the new Delran Education Foundation, which will raise money to support innovative educational programs in Delran’s schools. Education foundations have been successful raising money for other districts, so the fact that we have one here is excellent news for our students. The Foundation is run entirely by volunteers. If you’d like to help, or to read more about the Foundation, please visit www.delranedfoundation.org.

As we move closer to the beginning of the school year as questions arise please feel free to reach out to your school principals.  With that said, enjoy the remaining days of summer.

Sincerely,

Brian Brotschul, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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