Haddonfield School District 2017 New Year Initiatives

District Integrated Arts (IA) Initiative 

The Haddonfield School District plans to move from a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)-based curriculum to a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Arts (STEAM)-based approach in its educational philosophy during the 2017 New Year. With that said, there will be exploration and strategic plans including ways in which the Arts can be utilized to- remove barriers to learning; increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math; build partnerships among school districts, and maximize creative opportunities for students in terms of utilizing Divergent Based Thinking, involving components of Critical and Creative Based Thinking.

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Haddonfield Memorial High School

Spanish students are traveling to Cuba this summer in which they will be experiencing living with Cuban residents, working on farms, and receiving college credits. HMHS students are the first high school students to travel to Cuba from New Jersey. The International Club will be meeting in January to plan and create a cultural week, sell cultural pins to fundraise and travel to different countries to do community service and unite with UNICEF.  They are hoping to create a cultural night for all of Haddonfield to enjoy.  The club would also like to connect with communities around us and do many different kinds of community service to help immigrants from other countries.  This club is open to all World Language students of all grades who are passionate about learning new aspects of different cultures and bringing that knowledge into Haddonfield.

In December, the French II students are studying the history, customs, traditions and dialect of Alsace, a French region along the Rhine river bordering Germany. We will enjoy researching and tasting la gastronomie alsacienne with traditional desserts and we will dance La Mazurka (folk dance) in class. The French Club will be participating in some of the following activities: A Buche de Noel contest last week before Christmas. Invite a pastry chef to HMHS to prepare and teach us how to make a French “galette des rois” for the Epiphany in January. A field trip to Wilmington, Delaware in the spring to visit the stunning estate of French industrialist and philanthropist Du Pont De Nemours. A trip to France,

The Spanish Club students are teaching Spanish to children at The Beechwood School.  The students will be visiting Beechwood for 6 sessions over the upcoming weeks. Spanish III students have learned about the culture, history and geography of Spain.  Students learned about the Arabic influence in Southern Spain and will work on painting ceiling tiles to replicate the Arabic designs throughout the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.  Spanish III students are also learning about life in the Andes Mountain ranges and the Incas and their counting system which was represented by a Quipu. 

Spanish II students have discussed train travel and compared and contrasted a train trip in the Andes Mountains ranges to one in Spain.

New math curriculum was phased into the high school this year.  Due to the change, students will see algebra in the high school strengthening their skills.  Furthermore, this curriculum provides the opportunity of doubling up with Algebra II and Geometry, which enables students to progress further in mathematics in high school.  Next year, the curriculum will further expand in the high school by incorporating both freshmen and sophomores as the current curriculum begins to phase away.

The computer science curriculum took on a new class this year with AP Computer Science Principles, which is promoting computer science to a wider range of students in the high school. Next year, we look to further expand this program by revising the introduction to computer science curriculum as we attempt to make computer science a course and a path for all students. The biggest venture we are currently involved in is the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into the science curriculum. At the moment, it is the topic that many of us are currently focused on. The CP Biology curriculum is being completed revamped and reconstructed to meet the new standards.

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Haddonfield Middle School

 Collaboration is Key at HMS A Professional Learning Community (PLC), is a group of educators who collaboratively journey through a cycle of collective inquiry, action and assessment.  A PLC operates under the assumption that a key factor in student learning and success is collaborative, continuous, job-embedded training driven by staff members.  Teachers work with self-directed teams in a constant loop of questioning, research, implementation and analysis.  This powerful professional activity has become part of the school culture at Haddonfield Middle School.  In lieu of regular monthly faculty meetings at HMS, staff members collaboratively explore new and exciting topics as part of their Professional Learning Communities.  The process started early in September with the guidance and assistance of the Middle School Professional Development Committee.

The middle school staff gathered and discussed ideas that they were looking to collaboratively explore with student achievement being the end result.  A few of the topics that the middle school staff are investigating this year include:

  • Exploring Google Classroom and how the collaborative features can improve student achievement
  • Research and implement mental health strategies that will have a positive impact on the adolescent learner
  • Investigate how interactive technology will impact student success
  • Investigate APPs that will help students overcome obstacles and become successful using technology
  • Explore the concept of Deliberate Optimism and how the middle school can implement strategies to improve the school culture
  • Research and implement best practices in cross-curricular instruction

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Elementary Schools

 The elementary schools are excited to start the new year with various afterschool STEM programs. The following are descriptions of STEM clubs offered at the elementary schools. STEM CLUB 1-Lego WeDo 2.0  Grades 3-5: Lego bricks are naturally engaging to elementary students. Using the Lego WeDo 2.0 systems allows students the opportunity to learn science, technology, math, and engineering more effectively. This STEM class will provide students hands-on experiences involving Lego bricks that incorporate problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills. We are looking forward to exploring lots of new areas within the STEM world!

STEM 2-SPHERO ROBOT HYDRO-HYPOTHESIS  Grades 3-5: SPRK STEM challenges are fun, interactive activities that challenge students to use creativity and teamwork to move through simple steps of the design process in order to build Sphero-based creations. The Hydro-hypothesis challenge leverages Sphero’s ability to swim to test whether or not students can build a contraption to transport a load (pennies) across a small body of water. This activity would provide an excellent opportunity to discuss the concepts of buoyancy, density, surface area, and what types of materials float in water.  In addition, it challenges students to create and test their own inventions.

Robotics Club (Grades 1-3): This after school club is run by Robotech Inc., an organization that runs STEAM based clubs in our area. This club is open to 14 students and runs for 6 weeks. Each meeting is 90 minutes. The program consists of students working collaboratively to build LEGO models featuring working motors and sensors; pro-gram their models; and explore a series of cross-curricular, theme-based activities while developing their skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as well as language, literacy, and social studies. Each session allows students to construct and program a new Lego machine growing in complexity each week. 3 additional sessions of this class will be held this year.

STEM/3-D Printing Club (Grades 3-5): This club is led by teacher Lisa Murphy and is open to 14 students and runs for 8 weeks meeting for an hour each week. Activities in this club include using the 3-D printer to create designs as part of an international education workshop called The City X Project, which is designed to teach elementary students how to creatively think and problem solve using 3-D design and printing. Students are presented with the following problem from the City X curriculum: Humans have just landed on an alien planet, and they’ve staked out an area for their first city, City X. But building a new city is difficult work, and they’re beginning to identify some challenges relating to health, safety, communication, transportation, and more—problems that they need help to solve. Now the Citizens of City X are sending transmissions back to Earth, describing the challenges they’re facing. It’s up to the young designers and innovators of Earth to invent solutions to these problems and help create a thriving City X. Following this introduction, each student randomly selects a citizen card, which presents a situational problem requiring the use of their imagination and the 3-D printer to design a solution to their citizen’s problem. Using Tinkercad software, student “inventors” design and print their inventions. Throughout this project students learn the design process and develop critical thinking skills. An HET grant has been applied for to extend this club by running an additional 8 week session. The grant also includes adding Lego Robotics materials as an extension to the CityX project.

Destination Imagination: The Destination Imagination program encourages teams of learners to have fun, take risks, focus and frame challenges while incorporating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), the arts and service learning. Our participants learn patience, flexibility, persistence, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams may showcase their solutions at a tournament.

 

 

Haddonfield School District Launches Task Force To Explore Options to Move from STEM to STEAM

The Haddonfield School District aims to move from a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM)-based curriculum to a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Arts (STEAM)-based approach in its educational philosophy. To this end, a special task force will explore ways in which the Arts can be utilized to: remove barriers to learning; increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math; build partnerships among school districts and maximize opportunities for students. According to experts and advocates of arts-based learning, the arts hold great potential to foster creativity and new ways of thinking that can help unleash STEM innovation.

In my role as superintendent I will lead a school district task force made up of district representatives from the arts, administration, students and parents, as well as potential community partners.  This task force will, at a minimum, meet on a quarterly basis. The task force will discuss and analyze information collected to evaluate existing programs in an effort to identify ways to expand the arts into the curriculum, develop before-and/or-after school activities, partner with surrounding school districts, increase funding, and increase participation in the arts.  I will also lead the evaluative component by developing surveys, conducting interviews and facilitating focus groups to provide viable and productive feedback.

The work of the task force in the 2016-17 school year will culminate with a report summarizing recommendations which will be presented to the Haddonfield Board of Education for implementation in the 2017-18 school year. This analytical report will also focus on an overall philosophy for implementing and expanding components and opportunities for performing arts programs within the schools. It will also recommend action steps incorporating topics such as diversity, cross-curricular initiatives like arts and engineering, community outreach and inclusion, along with student-centered productions of contemporary social issues and challenges of today’s society. The intended roll-out of actionable items will begin in grades 9-12 and expand to other grade levels in future years.

BY DR. RICHARD PERRY, SUPERINTENDENT, HADDONFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Haddonfield School-District 2016 Fall Accomplishments

The opening of the 2016-17 school year is off to a great start throughout Haddonfield School District. At HMHS there have been many accomplishments, including having Six National Merit Commended Scholars, One National Merit Semi-Finalist, Thirty-One AP Scholars with Eighteen Honors, Twenty-Six Distinction, and Two National Nation-wide AP Scholars. In addition, HMHS won the distinguished ShopRite Cup for the 2015-16 SY, the 12th year in a row. HMHS is the only high school in the state who has one this award every year since its inception. HMHS also won the Colonial Conference Sportsmanship Award. Along with these accomplishments, this school-year STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs have been enhanced by further developing AP Computer Science Curricula. There have also been other student driven projects such as The Power of One Walk with HMHS Cheerleaders and the Interact Club, RYLA Rotary Club Honors for Eight HMHS Students, the 50/50 Club and Haddon Fortnightly Art Show Partnership, the Haddonfield Library and HMHS Student Volunteers Partnership with NAHS, Community Collaboration for Wellness Day, the development of a Social Media Task Force, and the implementation of a Community Based Learning Program.

At HMS, twenty-four students, representing the views, opinions, hopes and dreams of the students in their CPR groups, met to create Haddonfield Middle School’s Constitution. Each student presented ideas from the students who they represented in sixth through eighth grades. The Constitutional Convention focused on specific guidelines that the school community will follow in order for students to ultimately succeed in the Middle School. The consensus was the following- Think, then Act, Be Respectful, Be Open and Inclusive, and Persevere to Achieve.

In regard to the elementary schools, the One School, One Book was implemented districtwide.  At our schools’ community meetings on September 27th we unveiled our book, Kenny and The Dragon. As part of these unveilings Haddon Principal Gerry Bissinger, Central Principal Shannon Simkus, and HMHS Dean of Students Tracy Matozzo, special guest reader at Tatem School, read the preface to the story as kids excitedly listened to the start of the book.  Our hallways are already buzzing with talk of Kenny! All Haddonfield public elementary schools are participating in this project. Elementary families are being asked to make time so that their family can participate in this special activity by reading the book at home. We know that it can sometimes be a challenge to read each night with children so we have setup a video channel where students can listen to the story being read to them by special teacher and principal guest readers. Reading aloud at home is valuable because it better prepares children to be an effective reader, and it is also a fun, worthwhile family activity. With the One School, One Book™ program, we aim to build a Community of Readers at our schools. Everyone – students, parents, teachers, even principals will all be following along together. In school, students will be invited to answer daily discussion questions at morning meeting and learn a word of the day from the story. You will soon find that your child will take pride in knowing and anticipating the details of the story. In addition to activities at school and at home we’re planning three One School, One Book Celebration Nights at the Haddon Fortnightly on 11/15, 11/16, and 11/17. One School, One Book™ is a novel program in that children of all grade levels will all be listening to their parents read same book. Strange or daring as that may seem, it actually makes sound educational sense. Reading professionals recommend reading material out loud that is beyond a child’s own reading level. We also believe that you can and should continue reading chapter books with your older children, even when they are able to read by themselves. We have selected a title that can be followed and understood and enjoyed by younger students, while being motivational and exciting.

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BOND REFERENDUM

GREAT NEWS- BOND REFERENDUM COSTS COME IN LOWER THAN EXPECTED

In regard to the District’s Successful Bond Referendum Initiative, the sale of the $35 million in bonds to finance the referendum projects came in at a significantly better cost than the District had originally estimated. Originally, the estimates for tax impacts, involving this bond referendum, had been estimated for the public at a cost of $300.49 per year for the average house in Haddonfield over a 25-year-period. However, the actual costs, after the sale of these bonds, will be $258.66 per-household a year over a 20-year time period. Thus, the District has cut five years of financing entirely from a proposed 25-year payback period and are still saving taxpayers more than $40 per year for the average household.

The rate for these 20-year bonds will be 2.3958 % versus the referendum’s estimate of 3.53 % for the 25-year bonds. Therefore, the District has saved the taxpayers more than $8 million from the original estimates presented to pay for these referendum projects. In addition, the increase from the referendum to taxpayers will be implemented over a two-year time period. So, for the 6/30/2018 budget year, the tax increase will be only 2.08 % and for the 6/30/2019 budget year, there will be only an additional 1.38 %.  These figures, however, will be in addition to whatever regular school budget increase is approved for the operational costs each school year.

This past summer, schematic drawings of major projects have been prepared for submission to the Department of Education for review with the bulk of the referendum initiatives, such as with the B-Wing of the high school, including the new gymnasium and cafeteria, to begin next summer over a two-year construction time period. During this summer, communications systems were repaired and installed, involving District phone and intercom systems. Other much needed building repairs will include masonry, roofs, and District-wide building envelop needs. Thank you again for supporting the Bond Referendum that will have significant positive impacts for our students in the decades to come.

 

Dr. Perry

WELCOME BACK

Haddonfield School District in the upcoming 2016-17 school-year will be implementing several 21st Century innovative and dynamic STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) programs to promote student growth and success, including advanced curricular initiatives district-wide in collaboration with community support. Each school-year, Haddonfield is ranked in the top 1 percent of the best school districts in the state and nation due to its outstanding students, teachers, administrators, Board of Education members, parents, and community. Haddonfield is truly a community that is committed to Educational Excellence.  
 
Haddonfield Memorial High School provides students with a positive school environment where the expectation of achievement is the norm.  The staff, students, and community have established high standards for its students in all of these areas and believe that children will live up to these high standards which is prevalent within the positive school culture.  This close knit and collaborative effort provides between the students and the opportunity promote the high level of success for our students in the areas of academics, athletics, and the arts. There are several opportunities for parents to get involved in the educational process at HMHS.
 
At the beginning of each school-year, parents are encouraged to contact the HMHS PTA and participate in upcoming events.  Booster clubs are also a good means for parents to get involved along with participation in the PAC which is a shared governance team that encourages parent input on varying challenges and upcoming decisions in collaboration with the principal. This upcoming school-year, there are several new courses and programs, including, for example, AP Computer Science Principles, Dance Repertory and Composition, Dance Fitness, Social Studies (Haddonfield and the Great War), and Visual and Performing Arts- Art History and Visual Culture. The Haddonfield Memorial High School staff looks forward to the upcoming school year and the opportunity to work and grow with the youth of Haddonfield.  Our mission is to work in partnership with families and the community and to maintain traditions that promote school pride and a sense of historical continuity.
 
Haddonfield Middle School will also be implementing several dynamic programs for our students. This upcoming school year, the Developmental Designs (DDMS) Program will be in its second successful year, focusing on meeting the unique developmental needs of adolescent students in a responsive and student-centered environment. Every member of the HMS school community will participate in a daily twenty-minute advisory program designed to promote a positive school culture, relationship building, and to develop social skills that middle school students need to become successful. HMS, also, created a new school mascot which will be used to develop school spirit activities and enhance school unity. In addition, HMS will continue to focus on getting technology into students’ hands by adding an additional 30 laptops and 30 Chromebooks
 
The elementary schools, Elizabeth Haddon, Tatem, and Central will implement an exciting program, “One Elementary School, One Book” which is a school-based family literacy initiative created by the Read to Them organization. Their mission is to create a shared reading experience across an entire school community and to encourage families also to read quality children’s novels aloud, together, at home. The project is designed to unite an entire elementary school community of parents, teachers, and students by choosing a single book to read over the course of two months. Every family and faculty member at all schools will be provided with a new copy of the same children’s novel and will read their books concurrently according to a predetermined schedule. We are currently keeping the books a surprise! The schools would like to thank the Zone PTA for funding this initiative. In addition, faculty will implement a variety of activities at our schools to build excitement and promote ongoing discussion of the book. Examples might include a kick-off school assembly, family reading and trivia night, guest readers, skits, school-wide displays, and daily trivia questions. We are also exploring hosting a town-wide events in the Haddonfield community. The district-wide immersion into one book encourages discussion about the story which can extend from the classroom to the playground and cafeteria to Starbucks downtown, involving every level of the Haddonfield community. By implementing a district-wide shared reading experience, the “One Elementary School One Book” program has the potential to instill a shared love of reading within our schools and community.
 
All of the Haddonfield District community are looking forward to a successful 2016-17 school-year. Thank you to everyone throughout the community for your support that continues the Haddonfield School District’s tradition of Educational Excellence.
Dr. Richard P. Perry

Haddonfield Bond Referendum

Dear Parents and Residents of Haddonfield,

Over the past two years, the Haddonfield Board of Education and its highly reputable team of professional architects and engineers conducted a comprehensive review of the status of the School District’s buildings.  This process involved not only hundreds of hours of Board and committee meetings, but also numerous additional meetings with concerned and knowledgeable citizens, both in public and in private.  The referendum that will be presented to the voters on March 8th was developed after intense scrutiny by and consultation with a wide array of professionals, including Department of Education and other State officials.  The proposal addresses what the District concluded are Critical Needs in order to maintain the safety and structural integrity of our school buildings for students, staff and the overall community.

As a result of the School District’s investigation, we discovered many severe structural concerns.  For example, this past summer, we found a large section of a back wall at Tatem Elementary School that was in critical condition, along with two main entranceways that were in need of emergency replacement.  In addition, we discovered severe structural concerns at the High School’s B-Wing, main gym, and cafeteria, and these areas were retrofitted with safety netting to prevent debris from falling on students, faculty, and visitors.  Although the District was able to use capital reserves to address Tatem’s back wall, the remaining structural issues throughout the School District, including the High School’s B-Wing, have not yet been repaired due to the high costs.

These are challenging times for school districts throughout the State.  Operating budgets are subject to a mandatory 2 percent levy cap, which is applied to increases in, for example, salaries, health benefits, energy, and insurance costs.   Because many of these expenses have been increasing at or above 2 percent, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for school districts to earmark millions of dollars to address aging infrastructure without resorting to the referendum process.  When buildings are as old as ours are (and some of our buildings are 80 to 100 years old) there really are only two choices:  tear down and build new, or invest in substantial repairs to ensure the buildings’ ongoing structural integrity.  The School District had to close down the High School gymnasium, dance room, some adjacent offices, and the cafeteria this past summer, and safety concerns may force us to do so again if funding is not secured in a timely manner.  The safety net solution for the High School’s B-wing is only temporary, and the structural repairs to this area alone will cost approximately $10 million.

We understand the tax burdens facing many of our residents and respect the views of those who have participated in discussions and chose to oppose the Bond Referendum.  They recognize, as do we, that Haddonfield has some of the highest property taxes in the area because we receive very little state aid compared to other local districts.  Despite this burden, our School District consistently has been among the lowest spenders on a cost-per-student basis, while maintaining the highest performance statistics according to local, state, and national rankings.  In the current referendum, the School District submitted a request for state aid to offset the cost of these critical structural repairs, and the State approved 40 percent debt service aid (which we are more realistically projecting to be approximately 33 percent annual state aid, based on the State legislature’s annual allocations for debt service in recent years).

Other key points include:

  • The School District enlisted the help of reputable architects, engineers, financial advisors, state officials, and others who have vast experience with bond referenda and school building projects.
  • During the evaluative process of our facilities, many cuts were made to the original Bond Referendum proposals, totaling millions of dollars, in order to get the costs down to those that were deemed to be most Critical in regard to maintaining the structural safety of our schools.
  • Bond referenda are the principal means for school districts to maintain their buildings. Our aging buildings have now come to a point that there are major concerns.  This has not, however, been through neglect.  Buildings that are this old necessarily require large capital reinvestment from time to time to renew them and maintain their structural integrity.
  • The Bond Referendum is not a wish list; it does not include many desirable improvements that would address our educational concerns, including much needed additional classroom space. This proposal focuses almost entirely on building envelope needs, including roofs, masonry, and components that are considered by experts in the engineering field to be
  • Many school districts across the State, due to school funding restrictions and lack of aid, are in the same situation. As time passes, the buildings will continue to deteriorate with costs likely escalating.  Since 2003, school construction costs have almost doubled.
  • We should show respect for everyone on both sides of this issue. Rising property taxes are a real concern, especially to residents who have been in our community for decades.

It is our sincere hope that everyone participates and votes on Tuesday, March 8th.  The polls will be open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.  Please take time to review information on the district’s website or the district’s Facebook page-

www.HaddonfieldBondReferendum.com

www.facebook.com/HaddonfieldSchoolDistrict.

There will also be a “School Report” in What’s On, Friday, February 26th and videos on YouTube- “Sixty Seconds with Dave Siedell.”  Search- “Haddonfield referendum.” In addition, there will be an Open-Mic Community Discussion on all aspects of the Bond Referendum on Thursday, March 3rd at 7:00 pm in the High School B Gym.

We very much appreciate all the community’s support that has enabled Haddonfield School District to become and remain one of the best school districts in the state, region and nation.

Respectfully,

Dr. Richard Perry

Superintendent

Bond Referendum

We’re moving into the 21st Century with high educational standards designed to meet the demands of a competitive world market and fast-paced advancements with technology. Schools across the country are challenged to implement advanced curricular and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) program initiatives, while in New Jersey they are allowed annual budget growth of no more than 2 percent. Under that 2 percent cap, school boards have to fit in escalating health care costs, rising costs for personnel, and unfunded government mandates.

These challenges make it difficult not only to improve curricula, but also to maintain school buildings — especially those built in the early 1900s when technology and other 21st Century infrastructure needs didn’t even exist. As decades passed, school districts like Haddonfield put their limited resources into maintaining programs rather than opening up school walls and spending millions of dollars (that they didn’t have) to address the needs hidden there.

For Haddonfield, that 2 percent cap meant an annual spending increase of about $600,000 a year. With other needs much closer to student learning – and more visible – it has been difficult to dedicate sparse resources toward building maintenance. This problem is not, however, unique to Haddonfield. It’s a state and national trend, with billions of dollars in deferred maintenance costs at schools across the country. Some districts have been creative in addressing revenue needs, and Haddonfield’s tuition program has been cited as an example. That initiative brings in almost the same amount of revenue (about $500,000 per year) that the district receives in state aid. Haddonfield receives very little state aid. It also has one of the lowest per-pupil costs compared to similar districts.

Even with these low costs, Haddonfield School District has been recognized repeatedly as one of the best school districts not only in the state but the nation. Recently, Newsweek ranked Haddonfield as the 84th Best High School in the nation out of over 27,000 high schools nationwide. Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School was just named a National Blue Ribbon School; only eight elementary schools in the state received that award. As Haddonfield’s Superintendent, I was one of just 100 school leaders invited to the First Superintendent Summit at the White House.

What does this have to do with our 100-year-old buildings? While we are among the best educationally, our prudent saving helped us discover that we have significant structural issues. The school board used a $1.4 million reserve to initiate deeper investigations (and repairs) within the walls and foundational structures of our buildings, and that process revealed needs that cannot be ignored. Instead of looking in the past, as a District we are focusing on the future and are at a point where we have to address these issues through a proposed bond referendum while maintaining Haddonfield’s Tradition of Excellence in the educational programs and opportunities for our students.

Each year in my graduation speech, I state that our school system is not made up of bricks and mortar but rather students, parents, teachers, administrators and community members. Yet, the reality is that we, as school districts, need sound school buildings and resources to maintain Educational Excellence.

HMHS courtyard