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  • Writer's pictureKristin Guglietti

BOE approves $28K security film

HAMMONTON—The Hammonton Board of Education approved several finance items during the meeting on Jan. 18 at the Samuel A. Donio Memorial Library.

Some of the finance resolutions include to “ratify the purchase order lists for November and December 2023 and January 2024 in the amount of $541,275.26”, “approve the bill list for January 2024 in the amount of $880,052.44”, “ratify the check lists for November and December 2023 in the amount of $1,320,603.07”, “ratify the December 2023 payroll in the amount of $4,001,423.85” and “approve a contract with Dynamic TINT for the installation of security film and windows/doors in all four schools in the amount of $28,975 based on lowest quote.”

Board President John Lyons called the meeting to order and six board members, the Folsom representative and one student representative were present at the Samuel A. Donio Memorial Library. The three board members, Thomas Attanasi, Barbara Berenato and Kelli Fallon and Waterford Representative Roe Hunter were absent.

After roll call and the flag salute, Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) Principal Dr. Darla Salay gave a presentation.

Salay discussed the 3-year-old preschool program that was started this school year. The class is being taught by Amanda Oliva, who is in her eighth year teaching preschool at ECEC.

“Opening this classroom was actually the next step in our overall preschool expansion efforts, which we began two years ago of January 2022. That’s when we expanded our 4-year-old program from a two-and-a-half-hour program to a full-day program. With a longer day, we can now better prepare students for kindergarten, and we can cover the curriculum in more depth,” Salay said.

According to Salay, the 4-year-old students are now having daily STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes. In one lesson, they learn how tornados form by creating one in a bottle.

Preschool students are also receiving self-management and social skills lessons, which include lessons on how to manage disappointment, how to manage anger and how to play fair.

“The next step for our preschool program is of course to bring together our preschool students from kindergarten and first grade in our new wing that’s being added onto the ECEC,” Salay said.

The preschool wing is currently under construction.

After Salay’s presentation, students from the theater club at the Early Childhood Education Center performed in front of the school board. They danced to songs “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” from The Lion King and “Un Poco Loco” from Coco.

Kristin Guglietti/THG Students from the theater club at the Early Childhood Education Center perform in front of the school board during the Jan. 18 meeting at the Samuel A. Donio Memorial Library.

Next, board solicitor William Donio congratulated fifth grader Dominic Cushinotto, who was one of the winners of the Cooper Levenson holiday card contest.

Kristin Guglietti/THG Fifth grader Dominic Cushinotto was one of the winners of the Cooper Levenson holiday card contest. Cushinotto is pictured with his teacher Meagan Rieder and school board solicitor William Donio

During the superintendent report, Superintendent of Schools Robin Chieco discussed the difficult decision to open or close the schools during snow days.

“I will always err on the side of caution to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff,” Chieco said.

When it was time for committee reports, board member Kelly Donio discussed the 10-point grading scale versus the seven-point grading scale.

“I’ve noticed in news more schools that seem to be going to the 10-point system, and I just wonder why they’re choosing to do that because I do think some parents feel like it could be easier to understand,” Donio said.

Lyons said the board will look into it.

Since Berenato was absent, Board Vice President Luke Coia gave her curriculum report.

“We would like to thank Brenda Judge for her 19 years of service to our district. She’s retiring in June. Also David Negron who’s retiring from our custodial staff. We like to thank him and wish him well with his retirement,” Coia said.

Coia mentioned resolution No. 53 on the addendum during committee reports. The resolution approves the submission of an amendment to the FY24 NJ High Impact Tutoring Competitive grant application to allow for tutoring services to be delivered virtually.

During the finance committee report, Lyons said the school district is waiting for state aid.

“We’re waiting on our state aid. We do this process every year. We hold our breath and hope Trenton does the right thing by the district that does more or less on a regular basis,” Lyons said.

After committee reports, the meeting moved to the public comment portion of the meeting.

During public comment, two new hires spoke to the board, Sarah Lopez, a math teacher, and Austin Cominsky, a special education teacher.

Next, the board voted on finance, personnel, programs/students/miscellaneous items on the agenda. All items were approved by the board.

After the board of education meeting, the school board went back to executive session with no action being taken during the session.

The next school board meeting will be held Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Samuel A. Donio Memorial Library.


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