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GHS Students Awarded College Scholarships

GLOUCESTER CITY, N.J. – Four 9th graders from Gloucester City Junior-Senior High School have been awarded full scholarships to Rowan University, Montclair State University, The College of New Jersey, or Saint Peter’s University by the Give Something Back Foundation (GSBF). The announcement was made to the students on April 15 by GSBF, a nonprofit organization that provides mentors and scholarships to help Pell Grant-eligible kids go to college and graduate in four years debt free.

The recipients of the Give Something Back Foundation scholarship from Gloucester City High School were: Anieli Colon, Emily Petrik, Brook Byrnes, and Umaya Islam.

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At the May 10 Gloucester City Board of Education (BOE) meeting, GHS Anieli Colon, Umaya Islam, Brook Byrnes, and Emily Petrik were congratulated by Gloucester City Junior-Senior High School Principal, Sean Gorman, and the BOE for being awarded college scholarships from the Give Something Back Foundation.

Each Gloucester City High School student completed the GSBF application process, which included attending a family information meeting, completing a College Cost Estimator as well as an extensive online application, obtaining school and community recommendations, and participating in in-person interviews in order to be eligible for the scholarship.

During the May 10 monthly Board of Education (BOE) meeting, GHS Principal Sean Gorman congratulated the students and spoke of the application process that they went through. He said: “As long as they see through the things that they need to in high school, they can go to Rowan, the College of New Jersey, Montclair State, or St. Peter’s University at zero cost to them and their families. This totals nearly a half-million dollars that was given to these four students.”

Gorman continued: “I worked in the Guidance office for many years and have worked with families that are always wrestling with that worry of getting into college and then having to pay for it. For these students and their families to have that payment part already taken care of, is just astounding and an amazing accomplishment on behalf of the students. I can say with full confidence that the scholarship committee couldn’t have chosen four better students. This is certainly impressive what these four have done.”

GSBF was established through the generosity of Bob Carr, founder of Princeton, NJ-based Heartland Payment Systems. Carr received a $250 scholarship grant from the Lockport Woman’s Club in Illinois in 1963 when he was accepted as a student at the University of Illinois, and he vowed someday he would “give back” when he was able. His foundation partners with high schools and colleges in Illinois, New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The program has provided scholarships and mentoring for hundreds of students.

The Gloucester City High School 9th graders are among GSBF’s inaugural class in New Jersey.

Students must maintain a B average throughout high school, participate in a mentoring program, and attend GSBF-sponsored workshops to continue in the program. As seniors, students must complete the FAFSA and be accepted into GSBF’s partner colleges. The GSBF is very excited to provide this opportunity and is working to expand its college partnerships and opportunities for students.

GSBF is currently recruiting volunteer mentors for its 9th graders at Gloucester City High School.

If interested, visit https://www.givesomethingbackfoundation.org/mentors/.

For more information about GSBF visit https://www.givesomethingbackfoundation.org or email deinfo@givesomethingbackfoundation.org.

About Give Something Back Foundation

GSBF works with high school administrators and community leaders to select ninth graders who show academic promise and whose family income level qualifies them to receive a Federal Pell Grant.

The goal of GSBF is to help students who may not have considered college an achievable option to get the guidance they need to complete a college degree in four years, debt free.

GSBF pairs selected students with trained adult mentors who support the students through the challenges of high school years at home and in the classroom, thus preparing them for the rigors of a four-year college education. Mentors help students navigate the process of college admissions and GSBF provides its high school graduates with a scholarship for tuition, room and board at one of its partner universities and colleges.

Visit GSBF at: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

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Gloucester News

Ethics Complaint Dismissed Against GC BOE Vice President

In response to an OPRA (Open Public Records) Request filed with the School Ethics Commission (SEC), South Jersey Observer has learned that on February 23, 2016, the SEC dismissed an Ethics Complaint that had been filed against Gloucester City Board of Education Vice President, Jackie Borger.

Shelley Mealey of Woolwich, N.J. filed an Ethics Complaint*on October 26, 2015 against Borger. Mealey asserted that Borger violated N.J.S.A. 18A:12-24.1 (e) of the School Ethics Act, which states: “I will recognize that authority rests with the board of education and will make no personal promises nor take any private action that may compromise the board.”

At issue is a letter that Borger wrote to Mealey’s superintendent wherein Borger stated she was “Vice President of the Gloucester City School Board.”

As part of the case analysis, Robert Bender, Chairperson of the SEC wrote: “Respondent’s [Borger’s] official position as the Vice President of the Gloucester City Board holds no sway over the actions of the Woodstown Board; she simply has no authority to effect change in that District or determine its policies or actions…Respondent’s actions could not compromise the Gloucester City Board as the private action she took in a personal matter did not call into question any issue, deliberation, or vote taken by the Gloucester City Board.”

At its January 26, 2016 meeting, the SEC dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The SEC further found the Complaint was not frivolous.

When contacted for comment about the decision, Shelley Mealey wrote in an email: “We filed the complaint on the advice of our lawyer. We will not be appealing for the simple fact that we just want to move on and forget the trauma that our family has been through.”

Jackie Borger also responded via email: “I had no doubt that the Ethics Commission would rule in my favor.”

The Gloucester City School District did not pay for Borger’s legal defense in this matter, Board Secretary Peg McDonnell confirmed in an email.

The SEC’s full decision is available here.

*Article updated to note that the Complaint provided by the School Ethics Commission contained portions that were redacted.

 

 

 

 

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Gloucester News

Gloucester Gets Initial Results of PARCC Test

Dr. Elizabeth Curry, the Gloucester City School District’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, recently gave a presentation to the Gloucester City Board of Education (BOE) about the district’s total population scores from the spring, 2015 PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) assessments.

She said that it will probably take more than two months for the district to receive all of the results, and that results are coming out by grade level, by section, and by category.

Students took the PARCC English Language Arts test in grades three through eleven. In Mathematics, grades three through eight took the assessment. Students also took Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra II, depending upon their enrollment in a particular course not by their grade level, Dr. Curry said.

She stated that the Mathematics piece is complicated because grade level may not equate to the test for the assessment. “Some students in New Jersey take Algebra I as low as sixth grade. So, if you are in sixth grade and you took Algebra 1, your numbers don’t count for sixth grade, they count for Algebra I.”

Speaking about Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2, she said those courses could include students in sixth through twelfth grade.

This year, students will receive two types of scores. The first score is leveled and that will be on a scale of 1-5.

If a student receives level 1, that indicates the student has not met the grade level expectations. Level 2 means the student has partially met grade level expectations. Level 3 means the student is approaching the grade level. Level 4 means the student is meeting grade level expectations. 5 means the student exceeds.

Students will also receive a numeric score in both Language Arts and Mathematics.

The first column (see graphic) is the number of students who participated. The next five equal the percentage of students in that grade who achieved that level indicated.

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Images provided by GCSD.

Dr. Curry said: “We have to be very careful because the State also gave us how students across State of New Jersey did. That indicates that 44 percent of the students achieved grade level, but the purpose of this assessment data is not comparison.”

For the first year of the PARCC assessment, the data has been established and the information provided to school districts will serve as an initial benchmark to set where to begin, she explained.

“Since the assessment was changed, the State did their first year of assessment to set an initial benchmark. Before the end of this school year, we will receive a percentage indicating what our objective for next year is,” she added.

Dr. Curry commended the students for demonstrating endurance and for maintaining positive attitudes. “For some of our students, they took assessments twice as many days as they have in the past. At the high school level, students sat through days of PARCC assessments and then almost immediately after that, took their AP test and their college test.”

As for the percentages, Curry stated that they vary: “Some we exceeded expectations. Some were slightly under. For all intents and purposes, we do not know how many students are in the one percent when it talks about the State. So there is no way to say this is a good number to make that assumption. So we have to proceed carefully.”

In order to help our parents and our community understand exactly the results they will be receiving, Curry said information will be uploaded on the district’s website.

“It will take a little while for all of us to become accustomed to looking at the data in this form,” she said.

Following the presentation, Principal Sean Gorman said that over 97 percent of the senior class have met the state graduation testing requirement. He said: “The State says you can either pass the ELA section of the PARCC or achieve a 400 or better on the SAT or a 40 or better on the PSAT reading comprehension. 97% of our seniors have already met that.”

*Article originally appeared in the December 17, 2015 edition of the Gloucester City News.