Bellmawr School District’s 4th Annual Multicultural took place on April 12 at Bell Oaks Upper Elementary School and the turnout was great, said Melisa Montes Pagan, an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and Borough resident. “Every year we get more participation.”
Prior to being hired in Bellmawr, Pagan taught in Camden for 16 years and she attended the district’s previous Multicultural Fairs. She now helps with planning and organizing the event.
To make it bigger and better this year, Pagan incorporated more entertainment. The Bell Oaks Chorale and dancers from the Cummins School of Irish Dance performed and they did an “amazing job,” she said.
Another group of students performed a choreographed dance to “Jai Ho.” The ensemble included her daughter and her friends from cheerleading and dance. To get ready for the performance: “The girls practiced every Monday after school,” Pagan said.
To encourage community involvement, a flyer was sent home to parents inviting them to participate in the event.
It was up to the participants to chose how to showcase their country. “We had 20 families and 16 countries represented.” Pagan said. Some did posters. Others brought clothing and flags. In Scotland’s display area, a selfie station was set up. Most displays included food samples, which gave attendees the opportunity to sample international fare.
Photo Gallery of the 4th Annual Multicultural Festival by SJO:
Attendees visit the different stations set up at the Bellmawr School District’s 4th Annual Multicultural Fair
The Mt. Ephraim School District has announced the Students of the Month for March, 2017. Five students were honored by the Mt. Ephraim Board of Education (BOE) during the April 10 meeting.
The students: Helena Kuchmek, Riley Lundell, Gwendolyn Snowdon, Leyah Rosado, and Abigail Calhoun were honored for their hard work and accomplishments and they all received a Certificate. (Photo Provided)
The Bellmawr Board of Education (BOE) voted to approve the district’s tentative budget for the 2017-18 school year. The $17,161,235 budget will be submitted to the Executive County Superintendent for approval.
Interim business administrator, Mark Ritter, gave a general overview of the budget during the BOE’s March 15 meeting by saying: “It’s a maintenance budget that is pretty much the same budget as last year. There are minimal changes and a 2% tax increase.”
Ritter estimated that the average home assessed at $168,832 will see an increase of about $30.
The advertised budget also includes estimated enrollment figures projected as of October 15, 2017.
Those figures project an estimated 1,228 pupils on roll with 1,121 regular full-time pupils and 107 special full-time pupils. There are nine private school placements and seven special education program students sent to other districts.
Click the image below to view the advertised budget:
In other matters, Councilman Jamie Casey, addressed the BOE and said that he has been appointed as Bellmawr Council’s liaison to the schools.
During the public portion, school superintendent Annette Castiglione was asked about snow days and how the missed time will be made up. The superintendent responded that snow days will be made up at the end of the year.
The calendar hasn’t been changed yet because of the uncertainty of the weather. “I think we should wait,” she said.
Subsequent to the meeting, the Bellmawr School District posted the following announcement on its Facebook page:
The superintendent was also asked if a final decision had been made about changing the venue for eighth grade gradation.
Castiglione stated that surveys have been sent out to students, parents, and teachers. She hopes that all of the information will be received back in time for next month’s Board meeting. “No final decision has been made. Ultimately, it’s the Board’s decision,” Castiglione said.
Board member, Danielle Tomeo, spoke of taking the students’ concerns into consideration: “It is their graduation. It’s their day. We put this out there to see what the kids and the parents want.”
•Summer camp staff (two lead teachers at a rate of a $750 a week. Additional teaching staff was approved at the rate of $18.00 an hour.)
Finally, during February’s BOE meeting, students, Allison Passalacqua, Eric Pagan, and Emily Perez gave a Robotics Club demonstration. (All Photos by SJO)
Also at last month’s meeting Board President, Jody Mangus, acknowledged fellow Board member, Mike “Juice” Williams for being part of Triton’s 1974 football team that was recently inducted into the high school’s Hall of Fame.
Williams was the student manager and the team had a record of 8-1 that year. “Those coaches made a major impact on my life,” he said.
The BOE will meet again on Wednesday, April 26, 2017 for the public hearing on the 2017-18 budget. The workshop begins at 5:00 p.m. and the regular meeting follows at 6:00 p.m. The meetings take place in the Bell Oaks Media Center.
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.)