2013-2014 School Year
Much has changed with our school district since my back-to-school message this time last year. We are truly a district that is on the move and growing. We are growing not as a matter of external events, but rather by choice. We passed a referendum and embarked on what I can best describe as a construction adventure with all the surprises that normally come with a project such as ours, which included both the renovation of existing buildings as well as new construction. We have endured legal challenges, historic weather events, and unanticipated discoveries that called upon our staff to improvise, adapt, and overcome. At this juncture, I am happy and proud to announce that due to the hard work and dedication of our terrific staff, we met those challenges. Our Early Childhood Learning Center (ECLC) is up and running successfully at St. Joe’s Parish Center until the new school is ready, which we anticipate to be late in November. The new science labs in the High School’s old agricultural science building were completed just in time for the opening of school. A new roof on a portion of the High School building, over the media center, has been installed. The Mary Shoemaker School has a new floor in the multi-purpose room. The Middle School’s new multi-purpose room is well on its way to being completed around December and we anticipate it being fully available by January. As mentioned earlier, we expect to be able to move into the new ECLC on East Lake Road in November.
But that is not the only way that we have been growing and on the move. We have completed our role as a pilot district for the new teacher evaluation tool and were able to make significant contributions to the final regulations governing the tool for all school districts throughout the State of New Jersey. We have introduced new academic schedules that lengthened instructional time by approximately 30 minutes at both the elementary and middle school levels, and these schedules are designed to address the new requirements of the Common Core Content Standards that are being implemented in the upcoming years across the country. And yes, we are beginning to achieve notoriety as a model school of excellence that is setting the pace for other schools throughout the State. This is evidenced by such things such as our district being referenced at State level meetings as being the school with one of the highest number of classroom observations per teacher in the State. We are one of the few schools in the State who have been noted as being a Google App school that now has almost all of our technology operating in “the Cloud”. Our Instructional Facilitator for Humanities, Pete Mazzagatti, has been chosen to be a panel participant at the New Jersey Commissioner’s Statewide Convocation on “Achieve NJ” on September 19. The NJEA, at one of its regional meetings, cited Woodstown-Pilesgrove as being the model for employee/administration/ board positive relations. We have been cited by the New Jersey Department of School Preparedness and Emergency Planning as a model district for emergency preparedness. Finally, the Star-Ledger’s annual school issue of “Inside Jersey” magazine has ranked Woodstown High School as an “A” school, one of only 9 districts out of 81 in the seven-county South Jersey region to receive such a distinction. So my compliments go out to all of our staff, and rest assured that we will continue to be a growing, dynamic district that sets the pace for educational excellence amongst our peers throughout the State of New Jersey.