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.




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


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-



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.


Dr. Richard Perry


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

Apollo aka Bancroft


A few years ago, during the numerous public meetings and intense debates about the future of the Bancroft Property that is directly adjacent to our high school, a colleague of mine suggested that I name my new Husky puppy, “Bancroft.”

At this time, I believed in a Vision of obtaining this property for both the school district and community in order to create a dynamic 21st Century high school campus and acquire Open Space funding to utilize the Bancroft Property for Open Space, recreational activities, and community park purposes. In addition, I was hoping to obtain this property for environmental instructional initiatives as well. HMHS has an outstanding environmental science program that is regionally recognized with collegial working partnerships with colleges and universities.

Bancroft Site Concept

I truly believed and still believe that this property also will be needed someday in the future in order to address and resolve district wide enrollment needs, issues regarding classroom space that we are facing today, and for curricular needs involving possible expansion. Additionally, the options for expansion will enable the district to create a high school campus in which students can safely attend athletic events, for example, without driving significant distances to fields throughout town. All of these needs are critical for the future health of both our school district and community.

HMHS, although one of the best high schools in the nation, has the smallest high school campus in the Colonial Conference. Haddonfield School District also has one of the lowest cost-per pupil spending ratios in the state while delivering the highest performance. In addition, Haddonfield School District has the lowest number of administrators when compared to other school districts.

So what does all of this have to do with Bancroft and my Husky puppy, Apollo?

Like the Bancroft debates that have been going on for 15 years or so, coming to a decision or a direction to take has been as difficult as chasing Apollo in the backyard after a heavy snowstorm. Trying to catch him is almost impossible. Apollo, like Bancroft, has grown into something resembling a rare mystical creature. When Apollo charges around the backyard, especially in the snow, it’s like chasing a large white wolf along a mountaintop. He just refuses to be caught and come inside. Catching Apollo, like “catching” Bancroft, is well… elusive. Just as you think you have him, he lunges, showing his enormous power, and breaks free from the chains, the most recent “good idea and strategic plan.”

Now, after stating a few years ago that the town has two paths to take, one to the East or one to the West, there is yet another proposal for the Bancroft Property being considered. The road to the East, including school use and open space for future Haddonfield generations, has not, as of yet, been chosen.

But rather, the path to the West is being considered. What is on the path to the West? A Drug and Alcohol Residential Treatment Facility.

The Haddonfield Community should take this opportunity once again to reconsider the positives and negatives of proposed uses for Bancroft and what is truly in the best interests for our community and future generations. A couple of years ago, the school district’s bond referendum for Bancroft was decided upon by a very close vote with over 5,000 residents participating, more so than even in the presidential election. Only a difference of approximately 100 votes weighed in on the final outcome, signifying much support for the district’s Vision at that time.

Now, with renewed interests and oncoming debates about the future, it is our sincere Hope to welcome all concerned citizens to have their voices heard and their questions answered as to what is the best path to take in regard to Bancroft.

Watching Apollo gallantly charge through my backyard, I have Faith that the best choice will be made. We have an outstanding community and the best students in the state and nation. I have no doubt that we will persevere and succeed with our ultimate Vision by way of our intense community strength and courage.

My colleague was right. I should have named, Apollo, Bancroft.


video of Apollo

Public Information Session April 22 7:00 PM


This school year, students in Grades 3 through 11 will take the new computer-based PARCC state assessment. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states, including New Jersey, that have collaborated to develop student assessments aligned with the new Common Core State Standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. This assessment will replace the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) for grades 3-8 and High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA). For this school year, the NJASK Science assessment will still be administered to grades 4 and 8.

The PARCC assessment is designed to measure whether students are on track for college or careers by demonstrating critical-thinking and problem-solving life skills. Students are asked to answer various types of questions, show their work, and explain their reasoning. A unique aspect of the PARCC assessment is that students will be taking the test online enabling them to use technology related skills being taught and used in the classrooms.

The PARCC assessment is composed of two testing periods. The Performance Based Assessment (PBA) will be administered Monday, March 2nd through Friday, March 27th and the End of Year (EOY) administered Monday, April 27th through Friday, May 22nd according to the following schedule:

PBA Assessment Schedule:

March 2 – 6: March 9 – 13: March 16 – 20: March 23 – 27

Haddonfield Memorial High School
Haddonfield Middle School and Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School Central Elementary School and J.F. Tatem Elementary School Make-up Testing

EOY Assessment Schedule:

April 27 – May 1: May 4 – 8:
May 11 – 15: May 18 – 22:

Central Elementary School and J.F. Tatem Elementary School Haddonfield Middle School and Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School Haddonfield Memorial High School
Make-up Testing

NJASK Science Assessment (paper based): Grades 4 & 8 May 27th: Regular Testing
May 28th Make-up Testing

New Jersey Department of Education: Graduation Requirements for the classes of 2016, 2017, and 2018
For the classes of 2016, 2017, and 2018, students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in both English Language Arts (ELA) and math by meeting ONE of the criteria in each column below:

English Language Arts


Passing score on a PARCC ELA Grade 9 or

Passing score on PARCC Algebra I or

Passing score on a PARCC ELA Grade 10 or

Passing score on PARCC Geometry or

Passing score on a PARCC ELA Grade 11 or

Passing score on PARCC Algebra II or

SAT >= 400 or

SAT >= 400 or

ACT >= 16 or

ACT >= 16 or

Accuplacer Write Placer >= 6 or

Accuplacer Elementary Algebra >= 76 or

PSAT >= 40 or

PSAT >= 40 or

ACT Aspire >= 422 or

ACT Aspire >= 422 or

ASVAB-AFQT >=31 or

ASVAB-AFQT >=31 or

Meet the Criteria of the NJDOE Portfolio Appeal

Meet the Criteria of the NJDOE Portfolio Appeal

High School and Middle School PARCC Mathematics Assessment Options:

  • Students enrolled in Algebra I, Algebra II, or Geometry courses will take the end-of-course PARCC specific test (i.e. Algebra I or Geometry). Students enrolled in general math courses will take the grade level specific PARCC mathematics test.
  • Two-Year Mathematics Courses: Students enrolled in a two-year Algebra I course or a two-year Geometry course will take their grade level PARCC mathematics test in the first year of the course (i.e. grade seven or grade eight mathematics) AND then the PARCC end-of-course assessment associated with that course in the second year of the course (i.e. Algebra I or Geometry).

New Jersey Department of Education mandates that all students take part in this assessment. It is very important for students to promptly arrive on time during the school’s test week. Additional information about PARCC can be obtained by clicking on the links below.

PARCC online for parents

PARCC overview