Students to see curriculum changes

Students recently returned to the Medford Township School District and Shawnee High School after a long summer.

“I’m looking forward to a successful implementation of the new teacher and principal evaluation initiative,” Medford superintendent of schools Joseph Del Rossi said. “However, foremost, providing students with the best educational opportunities possible for them to succeed is what I most look forward to.”

Medford Township students can look forward to a number of improvements around the district, including changes in the curriculum.

“The curriculum department has been working diligently with staff and administrators each week since the last week in June,” Del Rossi said. “The projects reflect revisions to the curriculum to accommodate expectations and assessments for the new Common Core Standards.”

Literacy and mathematics programs received a facelift this summer.

According to Del Rossi, grades kindergarten through fifth upgraded to expectations of Common Core Standards in addition to upgrading writing units of study, both ongoing projects.

Sixth-grade reading units of study for the 2013-2014 school year have been outlined, kindergarten through fifth-grade word study design now supports the New Word Study Program, which will be implemented in September, and the kindergarten summer programming and curriculum development are being revised.

Additionally, the district will be implementing the new Big Ideas math program, introduced at the end of June.

According to Tom Olson, administrative director of programming and planning, although the district wanted to stick with Connected Math, it wasn’t fair to students to have to completely rewrite the curriculum.

According to Olson, Big Ideas is challenging and applies a mixed approach. There will also be a textbook for students in third through eighth grade.

“The home component for parents is very user friendly,” Olson said. “There’s videos and a technology component for each lesson.”

Additional changes include the elementary school curriculum realignment for enVision Mathematics Program, and grades kindergarten through fifth-grade gifted and talented mathematics revision, according to Del Rossi.

“The new enrichment kindergarten program offered this summer was very successful,” Del Rossi said. “Forty students attended a program and received skill reinforcement to assist them in preparing for first grade.”

According to Del Rossi, the district plans to expand the program next year by possibly providing programming for incoming kindergarten students.

“We will continue providing half-day kindergarten while exploring the possibilities for increasing kindergarten instructional time in the future,” Del Rossi said.

Lenape Regional High School District
Superintendent of schools Carol Birnbohm will be welcoming back students to Shawnee High School and sister schools Seneca, Cherokee and Lenape.

Her message to students this year is all about acceptance.

No Place for Hate
“This year, all schools at the Lenape Regional High School District will be designated ‘No Place for Hate,’” Birnbohm said. “The Philadelphia/Southern N.J. regional Anti-Defamation League office will designate the district and all high schools as a ‘No Place for Hate’ resulting from last year’s initiatives to increase the appreciation of diversity, reduce bias and bullying as well as build communities of respect.

“We look forward to building upon that recognition and continuing the wonderful programs we implemented to gain ‘No Place for Hate’ designation.”

Additionally, the district will be teaching students how to combat peer pressure and drug abuse.

“The district will present guest speaker Chris Herren as part of the ongoing district-wide initiative, ‘Defy the Issue,’ to combat substance abuse,” Birnbohm said. “The entire student body at each high school will view the presentation by Herren with a special parent presentation on Nov. 18 at the Lenape Regional Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m.”

According to Birnbohm, Herren’s story is a personal presentation for students and parents.

One Book, One School
The popular program, which has been a tool for teaching and creating community within the district, will be back.

“This is a highlight for each of the schools as each school creatively weaves the themes and principles of the books into classroom discussions,” Birnbohm said. “There have been academic pep rallies, corn maze challenges between schools, treasure hunts and fundraisers all related to the books chosen by the schools’ One Book One School committee.”

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About Shannon Caulfield

Shannon Caulfield is an Ocean City native navigating the other side of South Jersey. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Rowan University in 2012. In her spare time she loves the beach, cooking, ice hockey and spending time with family and friends. She can be reached at all posts by Shannon Caulfield