The Mt. Ephraim School District announced its December and January Students of the Month.
The students in grades Kindergarten through eighth grade were honored by the Mt. Ephraim Board of Education (BOE) at recent meetings. The students were presented with certificates that acknowledged their hard work and accomplishments.
*(Disclosure: Anne Forline, the editor/publisher of South Jersey Observer, is also the Lead Teacher of the district’s Shining Stars Program.)
The Bellmawr School Board approved the contract for interim business administrator, Mark Ritter, at its January 25 meeting. Ritter replaces Amy Capriotti, who left to pursue an opportunity in another district.
The contract is effective January 30, 2017 and runs “through a date which will be on or before June 30, 2017.” There is an option to extend the contract based on the Board’s needs and mutual agreement of the parties. Compensation will be $500.00 per day. In addition, a fee of $80.00 per hour for evening meetings other than regular Board of Education (BOE) meetings and monthly Facilities or Finance committee meetings may be charged.
Emergent Projects at E.M. Burke & Bellmawr Park
During the meeting, the BOE also voted to approve all other items on its agenda, including a withdrawal of funds from capital reserve to fund emergent projects at E.M. Burke and Bellmawr Park.
As for E.M. Burke, electrical upgrades were approved in the amount of $58,300 and have been completed, School Superintendent, Annette Castiglione confirmed via email.
Another emergent project was the replacement of HVAC units and boilers in the amount of $217,314.56 at E.M. Burke and Bellmawr Park.
The meeting agenda provided additional information: “The district has been exploring cost effective ways to continually improve the infrastructure in the district facilities. The New Jersey Clean Energy Program allows local government entities (like schools) to participate in cost effective direct equipment replacement. The attached reflects our desire to partner with the New Jersey State pre-qualified company (Hutchinson) to replace the lighting, boilers, and Multi-Purpose Room HVAC units in E.M. Burke and Bellmawr Schools for a fraction of the actual cost.”
Superintendent, Annette Castiglione, provided this additional comment via email: “The second emergent project is a 70/30 grant for new lighting, boilers and roof top units at both elementary schools. We pay 30% [and] Hutchinson Electric pays 70%. It is a great deal for us. This money was in capital reserve and had to be moved out in order to begin the work.”
The BOE voted to approve the bill list in the amount of $1,838,710.69 and the submission of Sustainable New Jersey Grants in the amount of $10,000.
Other approvals included:
Shared Services Agreement with the Borough of Bellmawr
This Shared Services Agreement relates to the purchase of equipment/materials for the maintenance of school parking lots during inclement weather for a term of January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2022.
Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, Glenn Cook, will attend NJSBGA Expo 2017 from March 13-15, 2017 at Harrah’s Atlantic City at a cost of $200.00 for registration plus travel.
Cindy MacAdams, Sue Hubbard and Ashley DeMarco will attend “Fundations Level 2 Training” on February 9, 2017 at a cost of $350.00 each for registration plus travel.
Annette Castiglione, Beth Calabria, Roseanne Yezzo and Gina Heller will attend “Model Schools Conference” in Nashville, Tennessee from June 24-28, 2017 at a cost of $7,990.00. The funding source is the (Early Childhood Center) ECC grant.
Acceptance of Donations
Rebecca Miller’s Special Education class at E.M. Burke School received the following donations through DonersChoose.org and First Book:
From Donors Choose: Two Dream chairs; Two packs of cozy shades (eight total); one box of Cando exercise bands; 25 writing CLAWs; one box of flip crayons; and six lamps and bulbs to create a calm classroom environment.
From First Book: 44 Magic Tree House Books
The BOE also went into Executive Session and the superintendent confirmed that a motion was made when the Board re-convened.
“We placed an employee on administrative leave and the motion carried,” Castiglione wrote via email.
The BOE will meet next on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 in the Bell Oaks Media Center. Workshop Session begins at 5:00 p.m. and the Regular meeting follows at 6:00 p.m.
What a difference a year makes. As 2016 draws to a close, SJO takes a look back at the stories that featured organizations or people who are making a difference in our communities.
In this post, SJO highlights some of those people – from students spearheading a homeless project, to police and fire personnel outreaching to the community, to residents who created a Free Little Library for their town.
Presented in round-up style and in no particular order, here are 23 organizations or people who were featured on SJO as having made a difference in 2016:
18. Bellmawr PD’s Sgt. Chris Cummings Awarded Medal of Valor
Bellmawr PD’s Sgt. Chris Cummings was honored with a Medal of Valor, along with a Proclamation, in recognition of his heroic actions stemming from an incident that took place at the Tanger Outlets (The Walk) in Atlantic City on September 1.
19. Bellmawr PD’s Jared Walton’s Actions Saved a Couple from Suicide
Bellmawr School District’s Business Administrator/Board Secretary, Amy Capriotti, tendered her resignation effective January 16, 2017.
At the December 21 meeting, the Bellmawr Board of Education (BOE) “reluctantly” voted to accept it. Capriotti is leaving the district after four years to take a position with Gloucester County Special Services/GCIT (Gloucester County Institute of Technology).
As for Capriotti’s replacement, the BOE is looking to hire Mark Ritter as the district’s interim Business Administrator.
During the workshop session last week, Ritter said that he was a teacher for 15 years at Collingswood High School and also coached basketball and soccer. He took a “strange career path” by coming out of the biology classroom and into school business administration. In addition to spending “a lot of time” in Atlantic County districts, he has also spent 15 years in Haddon Township, four years in Haddon Heights, and 16 months in Barrington.
Ritter said he hopes to bring “stability” to the district. He estimated that this will be his twelfth interim placement and that he “will not just go anywhere.” He also said that he is not “not worried at all” about coming on board during budget time.
School superintendent, Annette Castiglione, said that she is waiting for the Camden County Superintendent’s office to approve Ritter’s contract.
Gina Heller Recognized as 2016 NJ Exemplary Educator
In other matters, E.M. Burke teacher, Gina Heller, was recognized as 2016 Exemplary Educator.
E.M. Burke principal, Frank Jankowski read from the nomination form that he submitted to the State and said that Heller has “exceptional educational talent.” Based on Link It data, all third graders in Heller’s classroom showed significant growth, he said. “This is the result of increased rigor and high expectations.”
Outside of the classroom, Heller continues to stay abreast of educational strategies, techniques, and programs.
Of being recognized as 2016 Exemplary Teacher, Heller said: “I love Bellmawr. I grew up here. All of my school age children are [school] choice students and come to Bellmawr Schools. I am grateful to the administration and the staff for all of the things that are happening, not only for myself, but for my kids as well.”
In addition to Heller being named 2016 New Jersey Exemplary Educator, Bellmawr Park teacher, Sue DiPrinzio, also earned this distinction. DiPrinzio was recognized during the November BOE meeting.
Heather Dunham Staff Member of the Month
During the regular meeting, The BOE also recognized teacher Heather Dunham as staff member of the month.
Approving Carmen Henderson as an independent contractor to perform Learning Assessments from January 3-June 30, 2017 at a rate of $63.00 per hour for a maximum of 25 hours per week.
Additionally, the BOE voted to accept the following donations:
HP Windows XP desktop computer with mouse, keyboard and 17 inch display from Helen Radecke of Bellmawr.
12 meditation cushions and baskets from Donors Choose for students to use for independent reading and centers in Mrs. Friend’s classroom at E.M. Burke School.
Next BOE Meeting
The BOE will meet next on Wednesday, January 4, 2017 at 5:00 pm in the Bell Oaks Media Center for its reorganization meeting. As per the published noticed, the purpose of the meeting is to swear in Eric Hoban and Patrick Murrary as Board members, to approve the list of meetings for 2017, and also to discuss and act upon any miscellaneous items of business brought before the Board. Formal action will occur at this meeting.
At its November 21 Special Meeting, the Bellmawr Board of Education (BOE) approved the withdrawal of funds from its capital reserve account in the total amount of $315,500 to fund emergent projects for Bellmawr Park School and Ethel Burke School.
When reached by telephone, Board Secretary/Business Administrator, Amy Capriotti, confirmed that BOE approved the Resolution authorizing the transfer.
The emergent projects have been identified as follows:
$80,000 for electrical upgrades at E.M. Burke School
$90,000 for rooftop HVAC unit replacements at E.M. Burke School and Bellmawr Park School
$145,500 for boiler replacements at E.M. Burke School and Bellmawr Park School
At last week’s regular BOE meeting, Capriotti said that the district had been holding back on spending until the audit was completed. The district had approximately $320,000 earmarked to transfer from capital reserve for emergent projects, she said.
Providing further clarification about the projects, Capriotti said last week that the electrical system at E.M. Burke is old, needs to be re-done, and is beyond what can be done to fix it.
School Superintendent, Annette Castiglione, also provided further comment last week by saying that E.M. Burke is hard to heat and cool and is an archaic building with small rooms.