Perspective: Hammonton Schools
As we prepare for the first day of school on September 1, 2021, there are many positive signs that the 2021-2022 school year will resemble a more traditional setting. Children will be attending school five days per week for full-day instruction. We have learned much from the past 18 months and have been working diligently to prepare to welcome all students and staff back for an exciting and productive new year.
Chromebook and tablet devices will continue to be used to enhance instruction. Rather than being the primary means for lesson delivery, technology will be implemented to provide additional supports and extension activities. In order to be competitive in a global economy, our students must be proficient in navigating through various platforms and programs. Teachers are anxiously awaiting the return to their classrooms so that they can interact and develop relationships with their students. These past 18 months have reinforced the importance of the day to day personal connections and supports that our educators provide.
Several new programs will be implemented for this school year. Linkit benchmarking assessments will be given three times per year in ELA and Math for grades K-12 to collect important data on student growth and proficiencies. This information will provide teachers with key areas of focus for their instruction. A new ELA program in grades 6-8 entitled Study Sync will be used to provide a cohesive, integrated reading and writing curriculum to prepare students for high school and beyond. The Wonders Program will also be implemented in grade 5 to ensure ELA alignment between grades K-5. In grades 6-12 we will be implementing the PBSIS (Positive Behavior Supports in Schools) program. This is a tiered intervention program for conduct, behavior and social and emotional wellness provided by a grant with supports through Rutgers and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
New staff will also be added for the 2021-2022 school year. All kindergarten classrooms will have an instructional aide to provide additional assistance as our young students transition to full days of instruction. A third counselor will be available at Hammonton Middle School to better meet the needs of our preteen students. As many may feel anxious and apprehensive about the new school year, a Wellness Coach will be available district-wide to provide social and emotional supports.
Parents play a vital role for the success of our school year. All families will receive a COVID-19 checklist of symptoms to screen their children daily and directions on when to contact health professionals. For the health and safety of all, we ask that any students or staff exhibiting symptoms remain at home. In addition, we need parents to be involved in the educational process. Google Classroom will again be used for assignments.
Parents will receive information during the first week of school on how to receive notifications of assignments. Also, Parent Portal will provide a homework announcement for all subjects. In order for students to succeed, they must be active learners. Parents can assist by monitoring their work and ensuring that they do not fall behind on assignments. Additional parent supports will be provided through quarterly newsletters that will be developed by parent engagement coordinators for each school. Open communications are key to developing and maintaining relationships between the schools and our families.
As a district, we are excited about beginning a new year where our children can attend daily with their teachers and peers. The health and safety of our students and staff will always be our top priority. We will do everything in our power to ensure that our students learn in a safe and encouraging environment. Although it may not be the “normal” year we had envisioned, we must be role models for our students. As adults, we help determine our children’s attitudes. We need to set them up for success by teaching them to make the best of every situation. We can be disappointed and frustrated in private but must stay positive and model resiliency for our children.
I have every confidence that the Hammonton school community will once again rise to the challenge for a successful school year.
Superintendent of Schools