Perspective: Hammonton Schools
Spring has many definitions. According to the Oxford Dictionary, spring is “the season after winter and before summer.” As the hours of daylight gradually increase and we return to Daylight Savings Time, our schools are increasing in activities. Class field trips are being scheduled along with the anticipation and excitement of Field Days, the Hop, Prom and Eighth Grade Dance. Spring sports will be starting soon with opening days beginning the first week of April.
In addition to these activities, statewide assessments will also be administered in the coming months. The new high school graduation assessment, NJGPA, will be given the week of March 14. Students in grades three through nine will be participating in the NJSLA assessments in the areas of ELA and math during the month of May. Scores from these assessments will provide a starting measure as our students have not been tested since 2019.
In order to provide our staff with key indicators of student progress, we have instituted the use of LinkIt Benchmarks for grades K-12. Based on our first two administrations, teachers and administrators have been able to monitor how our students have grown since returning to in-person instruction. Students learn best when they can interact with their teachers and peers, and our in-district assessment data supports this. The definition of a good teacher is one that can move their students a grade-level during the school year.
An exceptional teacher is able to move their students one and a half grade levels during a school year. I am confident that the learning gaps that may have occurred during the pandemic will be remedied by our exceptional staff.
A second definition of spring is “a resilient device that can be pressed or pulled but returns to its former shape.” I feel that this definition epitomizes our district and the community as we have navigated through this pandemic over the past two years.
Our students and staff have adjusted to remote learning, hybrid schedules, extended closures, health restrictions, cancellations of numerous programs and events and limited social interactions. Over the past six months with all students back in the buildings, I have observed our schools “return to their former shapes” as regular schedules and normal routines have been reestablished. Students are laughing, active and achieving. Staff is engaging, interacting and caring for their students in countless ways each day.
As our COVID-19 cases continue to decrease and we implement a “mask optional” policy in March, we look forward to seeing the excitement and anticipation that corresponds with our upcoming events as we hopefully “spring” from this pandemic.
Superintendent of Schools