Bellmawr Education Feature Stories News Recent News

Bellmawr Schools Brimming With Activity

Fall 2018

Dear Bellmawr Learning Community Member:

It’s hard to believe that first marking period has ended and we are heading into the holiday season. It’s been a successful quarter to date with many positive events and activities for our families and our students.

The Annette Castiglione Early Childhood Center is brimming with activity. We are pleased that we were able to open one more classroom this September for a total of 10 classes for our three and four-year-olds. Our teachers, students and families work well with our new Master Teacher, Eva Kovacs. She loves our children and knows so much about early childhood development. We welcome Andrea Pfeiffer, our new social worker, who has spent her early days visiting our families and getting to know our students and their families.

The staff of the Bellmawr Park Elementary School welcomed 3rd and 4th grade students and their teachers this September when they had to be moved out of the Burke School due to fire damage.

The Dragons and Penguins have done a great job of collaborating and cooperating with one another. They sure know how to make lemonade from lemons.

The kindergarten, first and second grade Burke students surely miss their classmates but are doing well holding down the fort of the newer portion of the Burke School.

We welcome Mr. Reilly, our new guidance counselor for the Burke School. He comes to us with a wealth of varied experiences and has hit the ground running, getting to know our staff and students.

We are hoping that contractors are responsive to the bids we issued for the repairs that must be done at the EM Burke School. We didn’t expect for this to take as long as it has to begin, but we are at the mercy of the process. The rooms affected by the fire will look very different once construction is completed.

We do not expect to return to that school this academic year.

Parents, teachers, Board members and administrators came together this fall to explore how we sponsor field trips. All field trip requests have been submitted to the Board of Education for their approval at the November Board meeting, which is Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

Perhaps you can join us to learn about what’s going on in our learning community.

We will have a chrome book demonstration at the meeting as our 2nd-4th grade students use them during their learning in the day. If you’re not able to attend the meeting I urge you to visit our web site to keep abreast of what’s happening around the district and in the schools.

So many exciting activities are planned for our middle school students. Mr. Farinelli has a book club for 7th and 8th grade students.

We’ve begun trips for 8th grade students to local colleges and high schools. Our student mentors, mediators and peer mentors are working with their classmates to increase communication and decrease social and academic problems.

There are so many extracurricular activities available to students – there’s something for everyone-sports, chess club, gaming club, chorale, and band to name a few.

Our new Academic Lab period provides a time for enrichment and remediation to students who need it. Ask your child(ren) about what they are doing and learning during that time.

We have had many additions to our staff this year with Mr. Di Bartolo is on sabbatical and Ms. Arrizon retired from teaching Spanish. Mr. Farinelli has worked diligently to find a suitable replacement Spanish teacher. We welcome Ms. Delgado the day we return from Thanksgiving break. I know you’ll give her a warm Bellmawr welcome.

Ms. Shivers is having fun teaching Spanish to our elementary students, a first in Bellmawr, and from what I can tell she is having a good deal of success with our youngest students.

I hope you will enjoy the holiday break and I look forward to our continued work together!

Annette Castiglione, Superintendent

Bellmawr Feature Stories News Recent News

Architect Presents E.M. Burke Classroom Renovation & Restoration Project

On November 12, there was a Special Meeting of the Bellmawr Board of Education (BOE) for the purpose of reviewing the floor plan and bid specifications for the damages that E.M. Burke Elementary School sustained due to a July 3, 2018 fire.

The district’s architect, Bob Garrison, made a presentation to the BOE which included fire damage photos and a scope of work.

E.M. Burke Restoration Renovation
All photos by Garrison Architects
E.M. Burke Restoration Renovation

Project Scope:

  • Restoration of the original eight classrooms damaged by lightning and fire
  • Demolition of limited interior walls, doors, ceilings, HVAC equipment, fixtures and finishes throughout the first and second floors
  • Renovated areas will receive new doors and frames, hardware, floor and wall finishes, casework and built-in cabinets, lay-in ceilings and LED lighting, display boards, HVAC equipment and systems as well as electrical and fire alarm systems.
  • Renovation of two existing toilet rooms including expansion of the boy’s toilet room, new plumbing fixtures and piping, toilet accessories, lay-in ceilings, lighting and new ceramic tile finishes
  • Limited new finishes and air conditioning in the basement

Sealed bids are due by November 27, 2018 and the project is expected to be completed by July, 2019. 

E.M. Burke Restoration Renovation

To view the full presentation, click the image below.

E.M. Burke Restoration and Renovation Project

Bellmawr Education News Recent News

Bellmawr School Board OK’s Interim Business Admin Contract 

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.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Board of Education Mark Ritter Interim Business Administrator

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.

Bellmawr News Bellmawr Park

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.

Bellmawr News E.M. Burke School

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.”

Board Approves Agenda Items

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.

Bellmawr News Borough of Bellmawr Bellmawr Board of Education

Professional Development

  • 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 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

Executive Session

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.