Bellmawr Education News Recent News

Bellmawr School District’s Business Administrator Resigns

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).

Since Capriotti has been the Business Administrator, the district’s past two audits have yielded no corrective actions or findings.

Interim Business Administrator

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.

Gina Heller New Jersey Exemplary Educator
E.M. Burke’s Gina Heller is recognized as 2016 New Jersey Exemplary Educator. Pictured with Heller are two of her four children, Giovanna and Grayson. Also pictured are E.M. Burke principal, Frank Jankowski and School Superintendent, Annette Castiglione. (Photos by SJO)

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.

2016 New Jersey Exemplary Educator
At its November meeting, Bellmawr Park teacher, Sue DiPrinzio, was honored as 2016 New Jersey Exemplary Educator

Heather Dunham Staff Member of the Month

During the regular meeting, The BOE also recognized teacher Heather Dunham as staff member of the month.

Heather Dunham Bellmawr Schools
Teacher Heather Dunham (center) is recognized as Staff Member of the month by Principal, Anthony Farinelli (left) and School Superintendent, Annette Castiglione (right.) (Photo by SJO)

BOE Approves Agenda Items

On the business side, among the agenda items the BOE voted to approve were:

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.

Bellmawr Education News Recent News

Bellmawr BOE Approves $315,500 Capital Reserve Transfer for Emergent Projects

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.

Education Gloucester News Recent News

Gloucester City BOE Interviews Candidates

At its special meeting on Tuesday night, the Gloucester City Board of Education (BOE) interviewed candidates for the vacancy left by Patrick Hagan, who resigned in May due to conflicts with college and work.

The candidates who were listed on the BOE’s agenda to be interviewed for the vacancy were: Leon Harris, Michael Hopkins, Bruce Marks, Shawn Spotts, Derek Timms, and Joseph Schili.

The Board also voted to approve two items on its agenda:

Special Meeting Agenda 6-21-16

The board voted to increase the maximum dollar amount for legal services for the 2015-16 school year to $150,000. Board member John Driscoll asked what the amount was for last year and he was told $90,000. School superintendent, Joe Rafferty, stated the reason for the recommended increase was because of  “issues that we’ve had with some of the teachers and things that are associated with that.”

The board also voted to approve a Resolution that effectively supports a grant application by the City of Gloucester for the Fiscal Year 2016 NJDOT Safe Routes to School Program.


Rafferty also thanked secretary, Gail Sacchetti, for her years of service and dedication to the district. Sacchetti is retiring and will be replaced by Pat Blaylock.

The BOE will meet next on Tuesday, July 12 at 7:00 p.m. for a combined caucus and regular meeting.


Bellmawr Education News

Bellmawr Students Do Well On PARCC Tests

During last week’s meeting, the Bellmawr Board of Education (BOE) heard a presentation on the district’s PARCC scores from Director of Special Services, Dottie Specht, and Supervisor of Student Services, Roseanne Yezzo.

Of the district’s scores, School superintendent, Annette Castiglione, said: “We anticipated the absolute worst, but I think we did well in comparison to the State and compared to the other 22 PARCC states. We have a way to go, but I think we will get there.”

The district’s Power Point presentation, along with other district resources and information have been uploaded on the district’s website. Click here to be directed to the district’s information page on the PARCC test.

In other matters, the superintendent spoke about two tears in the Bell Oaks gym floor that need to be repaired. When the $75,000 floor was installed, the flooring material that had been selected was for use for sporting activities, not for use as a multi-purpose room, she said.

Business Administrator, Amy Capriotti, said that the cost to repair the two tears will be approximately $400 for labor because the district has some additional flooring left over from the installation. However, she said there is a limit as to how much leftover flooring material there is.

There was a question if there was a warranty for the floor and the superintendent responded: “It has not being always been used for its intended purpose of sporting activities.”

Going forward, there was discussion about groups being able to use the floor after the repairs are made and how the floor would be protected. The superintendent spoke of the possibility of finding alternative spaces and rooms within the Bell Oaks building instead of the gym.

After the repairs are made, Board President Eric Hoban said they will wait to see what recommendations the repairman has for the floor in terms of future use.

In other matters, the BOE thanked Mike Eckmeyer for his three years of service to the BOE.

The BOE voted to accept the Auditor’s Management Report and the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015.

The superintendent stated: “The district’s audit came back absolutely clean, without a finding and with no material weakness.”

Castiglione spoke of the four-six week process when the auditors come to the district. She said: “They look at every expense and every single thing we do.”

The BOE recognized Business Administrator, Amy Capriotti, for her work in the business office.

All business on the BOE’s agenda was passed.

The BOE voted to accept the following donations through Donors Choose: a Flashforge Dreamer Printer and 3D printer supplies, two HP computers and one touchscreen display stand and two wireless keyboards and mouse.

The BOE approved an interlocal services agreement with Educational Information & Resource Center (EIRC) for tutoring services beginning January 4, 2016 for approximately 22-23 weeks for two part-time certified teachers for five half-days per week at $50 per hour. A half-day is considered three hours per day.

The superintendent said this tutoring is designated for first grade classes at Ethel Burke School to assist with class size reduction.

The BOE also voted to dismiss a grievance from the Bellmawr Education Association (BEA).

The BOE will meet for its reorganization on January 6, 2016 to swear in board members and to approve the Board meeting dates for the 2016 calendar year.

*Article originally appeared in the December 24, 2015 edition of the Gloucester City News.
*Article has been updated to include the most recent link to the district’s PARCC information page.
Bellmawr Education News Recent News

Bellmawr Early Childhood Center Set to Open

School superintendent, Annette Castiglione, stated that despite delays, the Early Childhood Center will be ready for students on November 9.

Castiglione said at last week’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting that she recently did a walk-through of the center and the furniture is in and the custodians have been cleaning the rooms.

“The siding should be going up soon and the roof is on,” she said.

Castiglione and the district’s administrators gave a presentation on the district’s annual report. The report is available online on the Bellmawr Schools’ homepage

The superintendent also commented on the preliminary results of PARCC test. She said, “I received a 14-page PowerPoint on the PARCC Results, but we will not have the district results until late November.”

Once the district’s full results are received, they will be rolled out to the parents.

Speaking preliminarily about the results, Castiglione stated, “As we expected, the PARCC results certainly show that our performance is less than what was the case on the NJ-ASK. But for those of you who have been in education as long as I have, the NJ-ASK results the first year were significantly lower than what we call the GEPA (Grade Eight Proficiency Assessment).

She continued by saying, “Every time we change a standardized test, the results do shift dramatically and so we will expect that. We are expecting that statewide.”

She indicated that the results show statewide that Belllmawr’s students did not do as well in the PARCC as they did in the NJ-ASK.

“They did a little better in Language Arts than they did in Math, but in any case, they did what we expected them to do,” Castiglione said.

She further explained, “What this test is telling us is that we really have to keep ramping it up and going to the higher order thinking skills. That doesn’t mean teachers aren’t teaching and that the students aren’t learning. They are. There is no need for alarm. There is no need for opting out. There’s just a need to keep doing what we are doing.”

During the business portion of the meeting, all matters brought before the BOE were passed.

The BOE approved Anthony Sciarrillo as labor negotiator at the rate of $160.00 per hour because 2015-16 is the third and final year of the teachers’ contract.

The annual percentage increase for the teachers’ contract over the past three years is broken down as: 2.74% for 2013-14; 3.4% for 2014-15, and 3.97% for 2015-16.

The BOE voted to approve a $2,500 grant from GHA Technologies, Inc. to be used for technology equipment (Chrome Books) at Bellmawr Park School.

The BOE also voted to approve an agreement with Delta-T Group, Inc. for a learning disability teacher consultant (LDTC) not to exceed 10 hours weekly for the 2015-16 school year at a rate of $55.00 an hour.

The BOE will meet again on Wednesday, November 18 at 5:00 pm for its work session and the regular meeting will follow at 6:00 pm in the Bell Oaks Media Center.