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Bellmawr Schools $794K State Aid & Insurance Discussed at Bellmawr Council Meeting; BDA & Salary Ordinances Remain Tabled

During the July 26, 2018 monthly Bellmawr Mayor and Council meeting, Councilman Ray Bider said that he recently met with School Superintendent, Annette Castiglione, where he asked about insurance for the July 3 fire at E.M. Burke  Burke School and and also about the district receiving $794,101 in State Aid — a one year 14.35% difference.

Click to view the 2018-2019 K-12 State Aid Counties – Revised July 2018 in greater detail. Camden County begins on page 4.

Bider said: “I met with the superintendent of schools this morning and basically, at the Board of Education meeting [on July 25], it was decided that due to the uncertainty of the fire at Burke School and any repairs, that the $794,000 additional State Aid money will be put into 2018-19 budget with usage to be determined at a later date. That was the answer that I got from both the business administrator and the superintendent.”

Mayor Filipek asked if there was full insurance for Ethel Burke School. The school’s roof area was damaged and there was also water and smoke damage to classrooms.

Bider responded: “I had asked that and I was told that yes, they are insured. But, there is uncertainty as to what might be needed. That was the answer I got.”

Mayor Filipek asked two school board members, Chris Concannon and Lisa Young: “Are we putting in new classrooms or new things besides what we have there? If we have full insurance, what has to be covered?”

Chris Concannon said they were not at liberty to discuss it. “We are two of seven. We do not have the authority to speak” and said questions should be referred to the superintendent’s office.

Lisa Young said: “They are not even close to seeing what is damaged. They are still walking over debris.”

Councilman Bider added: “The only concern that I had was money put into the 2018-19 budget. I just want to be sure that the money is used for proper reasons and not things that are added to the budget at this time.”

During his committee report, Councilman Jim D’Angelo stated that a few months ago, the Borough applied for a grant to have an all-access, all-inclusive playground for Sauter Park on Park Drive. “Unfortunately, we did not get the grant this year. We are going to re-apply next year,” he said.

In the meantime, Mayor and Council have decided to place sensory play panels at the Recreation Center. “It won’t be what we wanted, but it will be something we can add for the kids there. We are in the process of picking that out,” D’Angelo said. “I would like to publicly acknowledge [Mayor Filipek] who came up to the plate [because] we were looking for donations to purchase these panels.”

Because of the Mayor’s donation, “We are able to do this project quicker and faster,” D’Angelo said. “The Rec [Recreation Department] appreciates it. We all appreciate it, and mostly, the kids will appreciate it as well.”

Mayor Filipek asked if some of the “gifted [State Aid] money” could help with the park. “[It] might be good for the people in Bellmawr to get something out of that…”

Chris Concannon replied that he was not at liberty to discuss that.

Agenda Items

The Resolutions and Ordinances concerning the Bellmawr Redevelopment Agency (BDA) and the 2018 Salary Ordinance remain tabled.

Mayor Filipek nominated Councilman Paul DeAngelis to serve on the BDA for the remainder of a one-year term, ending December 31, 2018. DeAngelis replaces Councilman Ray Bider who resigned from the BDA.

All other business on Council’s agenda was approved. Councilman Steve Sauter abstained from voting on invoices pertaining to monthly pest control.

Councilman Jamie Casey was absent from the meeting.

Upcoming Events

  • Second Annual Food Truck Festival is Saturday, August 4 from 4-10:00 p.m. along Essex Ave. Proceeds benefit the Bellmawr Purple Eagles and Crescent Park VFW 9563.
  • National Night out is Tuesday, August 7.

Agenda

To view the supporting Resolutions and the bill list, click here.

Video of Bellmawr Council’s Commitee Reports:

*Article updated 7/29/2018 at 8:45 p.m.

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Education Feature Stories News Recent News

Countryside Elementary School Holds Bake Sale for the Food Bank of South Jersey’s Summer Meals Program

Students and faculty of Countryside Elementary School in Mt. Laurel recently announced that they held a bake sale that raised $900 for the Food Bank of South Jersey’s (FBSJ) Summer Meals Program, which provides nutritional meals to children during the 10-week summer break.

“We are so grateful for Countryside Elementary School’s fundraiser to support our Summer Meals program,” said Joe Njoroge, Interim President and CEO, FBSJ. “Unfortunately, many children who rely on school meal programs are left food insecure for the summer.  This fundraiser alone will provide 4,500 meals for local children.”

Countryside Elementary School teachers, who prepared and sold homemade baked goods, held the bake sale in honor of a former teacher, Mrs. Linda Ditta. During the event, children also learned about the Food Bank’s mission and hunger in South Jersey.

“I am proud of the students and staff of Countryside Elementary for embracing this project and wanting to help children in need,” said Nina Tamburelli, fundraiser organizer. “It was a great way for the students to learn about issues affecting their community and showed them how they could have a positive impact and make a difference.”

Students at Countryside Elementary School also had the chance to learn about hunger in South Jersey and how the Food Bank of South Jersey’s programs help those living in food insecurity. Njoroge visited the school and was interviewed by several students for the school’s morning news show.

This is the second year that Countryside Elementary School has held a bake sale to support the Food Bank of South Jersey’s Summer Meals program. Each year, the school has exceeded their fundraising goals and are hoping raise $1,000 at the next bake sale. To learn more about the Food Bank of South Jersey’s Summer Meals program, click here.

About the Food Bank of South Jersey

The Food Bank of South Jersey (FBSJ) is the leader in providing safe and nutritional food to people in need throughout South Jersey. FBSJ distributes food, provides nutrition education and cooking courses, and helps food-insecure families and seniors find sustainable ways to improve their lives.

In 2017, FBSJ provided over 13 million pounds of food to approximately 200,000 South Jersey residents. Providing community impact through local support, FBSJ ensures that local donations stay local. FBSJ is a member of Feeding America, our nation’s largest hunger-relief organization. To learn more click here.

(In the above provided photo, students and teachers from Countryside Elementary School present Joe Njoroge, FBSJ Interim President and CEO, with a check for $900.)

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Education Feature Stories News Recent News

New Jersey School Public Relations Association Officers Announced for 2018-19

On Thursday, May 31, 2018 the New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) held its Annual Meeting in Trenton, New Jersey where the newly elected slate of officers for 2018-2019 were announced.

NJSPRA is pleased to announce that the following school communications professionals, supervisors and superintendents will lead the organization in 2018-2019:

President (2-year term): Lori Perlow of Cherry Hill, Communications Manager at Camden County Educational Services Commission

Treasurer (2-year term): Nancy Dries of Millburn, Communications Coordinator at Millburn Township Public Schools

Secretary: Kia Bergman of Hillsborough, Community Outreach Coordinator at Hillsborough Township Public Schools

Vice President, Communications: Daniel Alston of Middletown, Supervisor of Innovation, Design and Communication at Middletown Township School District

Vice President, Membership: Sarah Bilotti of Easton, Pennsylvania, Superintendent of North Warren Regional School District

Vice President, Programming: Maren Smagala of Three Bridges, District Communications Coordinator at North Hunterdon – Voorhees Regional High School District

Chair, Superintendent Advisory Committee: Nicholas Diaz of Easton, Pennsylvania, Superintendent of Union Township Schools (Hunterdon County)

Chair, Sponsorship Committee: Judy Palermo of Randolph, Public Information Officer at Piscataway Schools

In addition to the elected officers, two new appointments were confirmed. Nicholas Diaz, Superintendent of Union Township Schools (Hunterdon), will lead a newly formed Superintendent Advisory Committee. Judy Palermo, Public Information Officer at Piscataway Schools, will chair the Sponsorship Committee.

“Our members play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of their respective school districts. Between the ongoing need to share the good news happening in our schools and the unexpected crises that we’re faced with, our members are always prepared to effectively communicate critical information on behalf of their districts,” says Lori Perlow, NJSPRA President.

The New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) is a state chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA), nationally recognized for its efforts on behalf of school public relations professionals. Members represent school districts and independent PR agencies throughout New Jersey.

For more than 25 years, NJSPRA has provided professional development, resources and support in all facets of communication to education communities throughout New Jersey. Members include public relations and communications professionals, as well as superintendents, administrators, board members, principals, teachers and consultants.

(Photos provided)

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Bellmawr Education Feature Stories News Recent News

Bell Oaks Has Been Designated 2018 National School of Character by Character.org

Character.org, the nonprofit organization that validates character initiatives in schools and communities around the world, recently announced in a media release that it designated 73 schools and five districts from 17 states as 2018 National Schools and Districts of Character.

Bell Oaks Middle School is proud to be named one of the 2018 National Schools of Character.

Principal Anthony Farinelli and Vice Principal Melissa Gleason have worked tirelessly since 2008 to infuse the six pillars into the exploratory period, to relate them to literature and life in all subject areas and to stress their practice through classroom and service activities.

Bell Oaks incorporates the elements of responsive classroom and PBIS; they honor students through a “Caught Doing Good” recognition program and they develop thoughtful and reflective learners though a “One Book, One School” initiative.

Among other successful practices are its mentoring and peer mediation programs, a whole community literacy program and a Hope and Dreams motivating exercise taken by staff, parents and the Board of Education.

Bell Oaks School of Character
(Image provided)

Bell Oaks incorporates the elements of responsive classroom and PBIS; they honor students through a “Caught Doing Good” recognition program and they develop thoughtful and reflective learners though a “One Book, One School” initiative.

Among other successful practices are its mentoring and peer mediation programs, a whole community literacy program and a Hope and Dreams motivating exercise taken by staff, parents and the Board of Education. Since the inception of Character.org’s Schools of Character program in 1998, 547 schools and 35 districts have been designated as National Schools or Districts of Character, impacting more than three million people’s lives.

All designees were announced on May 18 at the conference of the New Jersey Alliance for Social, Emotional, and Character Development conference at Rider University. The event was live-streamed across the nation.

Bell Oaks School of Character
Image Provided

Each year, Character.org and its state affiliates certify schools and districts that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development with a positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior, school climate and their communities. Character.org evaluates schools and districts selected in January as State Schools of Character (along with those schools who reapplied within their 3-year designation) Character.org for consideration for national certification as National Schools of Character.

Through an in-depth and rigorous evaluation process, these schools were found to be exemplary models in character development. Of the schools named today, 17 schools are former National Schools of Character that have re-applied for the national designation. Criteria for selection are based on Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, a framework to assist schools in providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort.

“At Character.org, we are extremely proud of this year’s National Schools of Character as well as our district recipients. Their dedication to character development is reducing the skills gap by equipping the future workforce with transferable relationship skills needed to meet tomorrow’s challenges,” said Doug Karr, Character.org’s President & CEO. “Validating character initiatives is at the core of what we do, because they create fertile conditions for multi-generational character growth in communities of character. This year as we celebrate our Silver Anniversary, we are excited to also recognize 20 years of incredible National Schools of Character.”

Character.org will honor the designated schools and districts at its 25th National Forum on Character to be held October 4-7, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Visit www.character.org to learn more about the National Forum, the Schools of Character Certification (State & National) and the 2018 national honorees.

2018 National Schools of Character

New Jersey

Alexander Denbo Elementary School
Browns Mills, New Jersey
Public 3-5

Apshawa Elementary School
West Milford, New Jersey
Public K-6

Bell Oaks Upper Elementary School
Bellmawr, New Jersey
Public 5-8

Bret Harte Elementary
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Public K-5

Fort Dix Elementary
Fort Dix, New Jersey
Public PreK- 5

Frank J. Smith
East Hanover, New Jersey
Public Pre-K-2

Hilltop School
Mendham, New Jersey
Public Pre-K-4

Howard L. Emmons Elementary
Pemberton, New Jersey
Public K-2

Joseph D. Sharp Elementary School
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Public K-5

Joseph S. Stackhouse Elementary School
Browns Mills, New Jersey
Public 3-5

Madison Park Elementary
Parlin, New Jersey
Public K-5

Moss School
Metuchen, New Jersey
Public Pre-K-K

Pemberton Early Childhood Education Center
Pemberton, New Jersey
Public Pre-K

Robert R. Lazar Middle School
Montville, New Jersey
Public 6-8

Samuel T. Busansky Upper Elementary School
Pemberton, New Jersey
Public 3-5

Terence C. Reilly
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Public Pre-K and 2-8

Unity Charter School
Morristown, New Jersey
Charter K-8

West End Elementary School
North Plainfield, New Jersey

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Education Feature Stories News Recent News

Mantua School District Receives Highest Honor as 2018 National District of Character

The Mantua Township School District announced today that they’ve been named a 2018 National District of Character, the highest honor by Character.org. This organization is known for giving voice to the character movement by providing leadership and advocacy to optimize success which leads to stronger communities.

Character.org certifies schools and districts at the national level that demonstrate a dedicated focus on character development which has a true positive impact on academic achievement, student behavior and school climate. Criteria for selection are based on Character.org’s 11 Principles of Effective Character Education, which include providing students with opportunities for moral action, fostering shared leadership and engaging families and communities as partners in the character-building effort.

“We are proud of our program which balances the pursuit of achievements with the importance of positive relationships, while influencing students to confidently impact others and become the best version of themselves. This national honor is a testament to the entire Mantua Township community and one that we will seek to build on while providing an education focused on the most important part of our mission,” said Robert Fisicaro, Superintendent of the Mantua Township School District.

The Mantua Township School District utilizes a pre-K to Grade 6 character education program known as CRS (Character, Relationships, Significance). Two 30-minute periods per week are dedicated to integrating the program into the school day. CRS places a proactive emphasis on teaching students virtues and principles to positively impact others. The program balances an emphasis on performance character traits like grit and curiosity with moral virtues like honesty and integrity. It is believed that character education can have a positive impact on student achievement.

About Mantua Township School District:

Located in the heart of Gloucester County, the Mantua Township School District is a pre-K to Grade 6 district serving more than 1,200 students. In partnership with families and the community, the Mantua Township School District is an educational institution that seeks to deliver on the highest standards of excellence for the benefit of all students.

In the above provided photo, Sewell School students Addison Mutcherson (left) and Lila Green (right) hold a Choose Love heart in honor of Jesse Lewis from Sandy Hook Elementary School as part of a recent celebration.