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  • Writer's pictureKristin Guglietti

$154K tutoring grant approved

courtesy photo

HAMMONTON—The Hammonton School District was approved for a $154,000 grant that will provide high dosage intensive tutoring. Superintendent of Schools Robin Chieco discussed the grant during her superintendent report at the Nov. 2 board meeting.

All members and student representative were present except for Board President Sam Mento III.

“The New Jersey Learning Acceleration Program High Impact Tutoring Grant in the amount of $154,000 will provide high dosage intensive tutoring by focusing on high impact tutoring interventions. This grant opportunity prioritizes districts with elementary schools and their students in grades three and four. The proposed high dosage tutoring program would provide identified students with 60 minutes of in-person tutoring, 30 minutes of ELA [English language arts] and 30 minutes of mathematics delivered after school three times each week. Students will be assigned to a 10-week cohort and receive 30 hours of tutoring services. All services will be delivered in groups of no more than four students per tutor. Due to the requirements associated with awarding contracts for this grant, we hope to be able to begin this tutoring by January,” Chieco said.

During the superintendent report, Chieco said the district will be testing their emergency contact notification system on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. A notification will be sent via Robo call, text and email.

Chieco said the 2024-2025 inter-school inter-district public school lottery will be held on Dec. 12. The lottery will take place at 2:45 p.m. in the middle school or the high school media center. All information related to school choice is located on the district website.

During the meeting, Hammonton Middle School Principal Dr. Kim Rudnesky gave a presentation about middle school fall clubs, academies and activities for the 2023-2024 school year. There are about eight academies and 12 clubs.

The academies include math, photography and physical science. There are two new academy additions, which are Empower Kind Kids and Origami.

Go Green is another new addition at the middle school.

“Go Green is a new addition that we have this year. The goal of the group led by Ms. Jennifer Gauntt is to develop understanding and effectiveness of sustainability and the impact on the global community,” Rudnesky said.

Rudnesky showed a photo of the newest mural at the middle school called “Be the Best Kind of Devil—Respectful, Responsible and Kind.” The “H” in the mural has a thumb print of every student and staff member in the building.

The middle school expanded its music program with new teachers and a new String Academy addition. During the meeting, Rudnesky played a video from the middle school band, and the orchestra and choir also gave performances at the library during the meeting.

“We are so thrilled. We have a whole new music department this year, so we want to introduce you to the new things that have been going on at Hammonton Middle School,” Rudnesky said.

Joseph McLauglin is the new music teacher and band director at the middle school. He has been a part of the music program since 2018 serving as percussion instructor and the assistant band director for the Hammonton High School Band Program.

The Hammonton Middle School String Academy run by Paul Enuco is a new program this year, which allows middle school students the opportunity to explore their interest in learning and performing on a string instrument. The after-school program meets for an hour on Wednesday afternoons and will perform two concerts during the school year.

Currently, 12 students are participating in the String Academy, 100 first graders are participating in the young fiddler’s program at the Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) and 25 fifth graders are participating in the beginner program at Warren E. Sooy Jr. Elementary School (Sooy School).

Ashley Gereaghty is the new middle school chorus teacher. She is a recent graduate of Rowan University who studied music education with a concentration in voice.

“She’s our new chorus teacher, and she’s thrilled to direct her first choir here at Hammonton Middle School,” Rudnesky said.

During the meeting, Food Service Director Heather Triboletti gave a presentation on the Hammonton Schools Food Service Department.

“It is our mission to serve delicious and nutritious meals to the students and staff while remaining in compliance with the Bureau of Child Nutrition and Board of Health regulations.

The Hammonton School District recognizes that good nutrition and learning go hand in hand. Therefore, the Food Service Department is dedicated to offering meals which meet the guidelines set by the USDA Child Nutrition Program,” Triboletti said.

The Hammonton School District participates in the “Offer Versus Serve” breakfast and lunch United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs. The programs allow students to choose what they eat each day.

At the end of August, the Food Service Department sent out free and reduced meal applications to all the families in the district. Packets were mailed and are also available on the district’s website.

“Under USDA guidelines, families in the district can apply for free and reduced meals at any time throughout the school year,” Triboletti said.

To date, Triboletti said 560 paper applications for the free and reduced meals have been processed.

“These applications and the direct certification process have resulted in bringing our total no cost meal eligible student count to 1,241 students currently or about approximately 38 percent of our students in the district,” Triboletti said.

The meal prices for the 2022-2023 school year have remained the same. High school and middle school students are charged $1.75 for breakfast. ECEC students are charged $1.50 for breakfast. High school lunches are $3.25, middle school lunches are $3 and elementary and ECEC lunches are $2.75.

“No child will be denied a meal of breakfast or lunch,” Triboletti said.

During committee reports, board member John Lyons gave the financial committee report and highlighted a couple items on the agenda.

“You’ll see we’re buying a new school bus. The price of school buses have gone up substantially, so a standard school bus in this district is right around $150,000,” Lyons said.

Some equipment is also being purchased for the Food Service Department in the amount of $26,832.04 according to the agenda.

After committee reports and public comment, the board voted on finance, personnel, programs/students/miscellaneous items on the agenda. All items were approved by the board.

The board also approved a finance item on the addendum, “Resolved the Hammonton Board of Education will approve for girls lacrosse equipment for the high school in the amount of $11,413 based on lowest quote.”

The board also approved a programs, students, miscellaneous item on the addendum.

After the meeting, the board made a motion to go into closed session.

The next school board meeting will be held Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at the Samuel A. Donio Memorial Library.


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