It is with much anticipation that we begin our 2022-2023 school year. Many of our traditional programs and events will return. New student orientations were held in-person along with Back to School Nights and student programs. Although COVID-19 has not disappeared, the medical community has made strides in treatments and care that have altered our procedures. Based on the updated recommendations for schools, formal contact tracing will no longer be required.
However, parents will be notified if a possible exposure has occurred and as always to monitor for symptoms. As with any illness, students should remain at home if symptomatic.
Facemasks will continue to remain optional for anyone wishing to wear them.
Keeping our schools safe is always our number one priority. Additional safety features and procedures will be instituted for the 2022-2023 school year. For example, exterior doors have been alarmed to better control access to our buildings. New cameras and monitors are being installed throughout the district.
In addition, hallway traffic will be monitored specifically at the high school with a new program for hallway passes. This will provide improved access to lavatories, reduce the loss of instructional time and improve school security.
Finally, an officer will be shared between ECEC and WES to provide an additional security presence for our youngest students.
As many content areas have received new student learning standards from the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), providing parents with access to all curricula was a goal for this school year. Parents will be able to view all content area curricula on the website through the Atlas program. Information related to classroom instruction along with resources will be viewable to the community.
More specifically, certain lesson plans related to contentious topics in several grade levels in health and physical education will be available to parents. To provide a smooth transition to the school year along with ample time for parents to review material, these controversial topics associated with the revised standards specifically for grades 2, 5, 6 and 8 will not be covered during the first marking period.
Sample lesson plans for these grades will be available at Back to School Nights along with the website to ensure that parents have the necessary information to make informed decisions as to whether they wish to “opt out” of these specific lessons. Our goal is to provide quality instruction while respecting the role of parents in their child’s education.
New instructional materials providing additional exposure to informational text highlighting cross-curricular connections will be implemented for all grade levels. Obtaining information through text is a life-long skill required in all aspects of our lives. These materials will supplement our current programs to engage students and to enrich our instruction. All programs have on-line access to utilize our current 1:1 student to device ratio for technology.
In addition to new instructional materials, new electives are being offered at Hammonton High School and Hammonton Middle School in the fine and performing arts, science and finance to enhance student experiences as well as new AP offerings.
In the coming months additional information will be shared related to the construction of eight classrooms at the Hammonton Early Childhood Education Center to house students from pre-K through Grade 1 in one building.
The addition will provide necessary classroom space at the Warren E. Sooy Jr. Elementary School. This project is being funded through Federal Grants provided for COVID-19 relief.
Conceptual plans along with building details will be shared in the upcoming months with a project completion date of September 2024.
We were fortunate to have had an uninterrupted 2021-2022 school year. For this year, we will continue to build on the skills that students acquired to further accelerate their learning.
Our staff is committed to providing optimal learning environments and opportunities that will allow our students to achieve greater success. It is my most fervent wish that we can finally put the pandemic response behind and look forward to a productive, supportive and healthy school year.
Superintendent of Schools