This weekend the Delran Middle School will produce Shrek, Jr. at the Morris Burton Performing Arts Center. Click HERE for a video preview and peruse preview pictures below from DMS students in the cast.
Since 2009, the funding of our schools here in Delran has been a constant struggle – we have been the victim of a funding structure that has diverted millions of dollars away from the district and our children and to other communities. The district has been placed in a most troubling situation.
Recently the Delran Township Board of Education partnered with the Delran Education Association and the Delran Principals and Supervisors Association. That partnership resulted in a formal statement on the matter. To review that statement, click HERE. I am certain once you will review what the partnership has drafted you will feel compelled to encourage your legislators to ensure that the funding formula used to calculate school aid is executed at a level that allows for an equal distribution of aid.
This week Delran was in the news for parents and taxpayers advocating for this great town in front of the N.J. Senate Budget Committee and the N.J. Assembly Budget Committee. Mike Piper, a parent in town with children at Millbridge, was highlighted in a Burlington County Times article. There are more opportunities for other residents to do so. Click HERE for information.
If you are interested in meeting with me to discuss your options as residents and taxpayers to formally voice your concerns in person with elected officials in the state Assembly and Senate, please contact me anytime and I would be happy to outline a successful approach. If nothing else, both the Senate and Assembly have been clear that they want to hear from the residents that live in their voting districts. After all, its you they represent!
If you would like you can communicate with your legislator. If you click HERE you can contact your legislator in under 30 seconds. It will certainly help move this initiative forward.
I have fielded requests for data from some residents with respect to what Delran receives and what other districts receive. The School Funding Reform Act data for FY16 illustrates a great deal. If you review row 533, you will find Delran. Being in Row 533 means there are 531 districts in the state that receive more funding than us; it also means there are only forty five towns that receive less funding than we do. You can access the data HERE. It’s alarming. I welcome your feedback and questions about any areas of school funding.
As we move forward, the district has adopted a tentative budget, which can be assessed HERE and HERE. With the current budget application we are able to maintain all programs and initiatives – something that served as a goal of the Board of Education – while continuing our work in Literacy, STEAM education, robotics and engineering.
We appreciate the opportunity to keep you informed and ask that you contact your legislators if you find the level of funding to be unacceptable for the students of Delran Township.
Brian Brotschul, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
As we have pursued the responsibility of crafting a responsible budget in advance of the 2016-2017 school year, we have examined every district academic and extracurricular program, every area of our operations and administration and every area of student services (including special education) in order to arrive at a spending plan that is supportive of student needs and the development of academic programs while being mindful of the burden to the taxpayers of Delran Township.
We have examined the areas of special education and reviewed every program that students with disabilities receive. To that end, it’s critically important to underscore that the district believes in its responsibility to provide appropriate programming to all students with disabilities and does so with great seriousness and commitment.
During our discussions about the 2016-2017 budget I have been asked by parents and residents specifically if we were eliminating special education services and if we were eliminating all outside contracts for student supports (like one to one aides and related services for students). In short, we are not. All students who receive specialized services will continue to receive those services, as required. The district will continue to see that your children thrive and prosper. This spring we will renew contracts for aides and related services as we do every year in order to ensure that students are placed in the position to be successful.
It is our responsibility to place students classified for special education services in what is referred to as the least restrictive educational environment. This means, their educational environment does not place too many limitations upon them, based on their disability.
In the past we have prescribed services for some children and placed some in learning environments that are more restrictive than what is necessary and appropriate. This does not mean the entire district is in a heavily restrictive environment when a lesser one is necessary. What is does indicate, however, is that as a district we need constantly review student assignments and programs and modifications to best support student needs and student growth. We continue to engage in this work through the Annual Review process for student planning. We are partners with you and remain steadfast in our passion for supporting all students in our charge.
In the future, the district would like to explore the concept of having highly skilled professionals at each school in the area of special education. These positions, called Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) would serve as supports for students while allowing them to thrive in their least restrictive environment. A BCBA would interact with a child in similar ways that an aide does, however they have a deeper, more precise skill set and formalized training in all areas of disabilities, behavior modification and school law.
Ultimately, the service the district seeks to implement in the future would be an enhancement to what we currently provide. It would also mean that we would reduce some outside contracts while adding these new positions to our schools. However, that is in the future and remains as a goal as we project forward.
The children of the district continue to be our ultimate priority. Please be comforted by the reality that we will continue to service all children and provide appropriate services to ensure that their success is realized and celebrated.
If I can ever be of service to you, or if you would like to discuss anything related to the district, please call or email me at your convenience.
Brian Brotschul, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools
March 3, 2016
Dear Parents and Guardians,
In 2010, the New Jersey Department of Education joined 42 other states and the District of Columbia when it adopted the Common Core State Standards. Since that point the NJDOE has phased out the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) for grades 3-8 and the High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) for grade 11 students while phasing in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) during the 2014-2015 school year.
PARCC is being administered beginning April 5, 2016 (review district administration schedule) and is connected to the Common Core State Standards. The assessment was designed with the intention of providing more thorough information for schools and parents regarding student progress. You can review a multitude of resources with respect to 2015 results on our PARCC website.
During December 2014, the Delran Township Board of Education offered guidance to parents relative to their responsibilities to administer the test; they also offered notice regarding protocols that would take place in order to maintain a testing environment that was conducive to the standards set forth by the NJDOE. To that end, the Board advised parents that students who refused to take the assessment would be placed in another room in order to maintain the integrity of the assessment as per procedure.
Out of respect for the men and women that are charged with executing your wishes regarding refusal, we endeavor to process refusals five days prior to the start of your child’s PARCC testing should you feel strongly about refusal. It is understood that neither the district nor the NJDOE has adopted formalized deadlines for refusal notification, the dates below constitute a suggested date for school principal notification for all student refusals; I ask you to make efforts to adhere to the dates in your decision making process:
- Grade 3: March 21, 2016
- Grade 4: March 21, 2016
- Grade 5: March 21, 2016
- Grade 6: March 21, 2016
- Grade 7: March 21, 2016
- Grade 8: March 21, 2016
- Grade 9, 10, 11 Math: April 4, 2016
- Grade 9, 10, 11 Language Arts: April 11, 2016
To summarize the district procedure for test refusal, written (hard copy) notification must be forwarded to your child’s principal. Notifications done either via email, telephone or through your child’s teacher are not acceptable. Further information will be forthcoming from your principal in the coming days.
Although the District is sensitive to the needs of the students and your view of student assessment, there are a multitude of logistical hurdles administratively that I ask that you remain sensitive to as it relates to the preparation and planning for standardized testing. Moving students in and out of testing assignments constitutes a cumbersome process that requires the support of the procedures set forth by the standardized testing policy and corresponding procedures of the Board of Education.
I recognize that there is a great deal of rhetoric as it relates to the PARCC and appreciate you continuing to work with the District in order to ensure a seamless process for all students in our collective charge regardless of your personal position on the topic of student assessment.
In the coming days, if your child is in grades three through eleven, their individual principal will be contacting you in their broadcasts for school based information regarding PARCC. Please refer any questions you may have to them at your convenience.
Brian Brotschul, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools