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

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Apollo aka Bancroft

Apollo

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.

apollo_post

video of Apollo

Public Information Session April 22 7:00 PM

PARCC

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

Mathematics

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

What’s On Article

HSDNews What’sOn

HSDNews_What'sOn_2014Nov28

Haddonfield Superintendent Chosen to Participate in First Superintendents White House Summit

White House Summit

On November 19, 2014, Dr. Perry was one of 110 superintendents selected to participate in the First Superintendents Conference at the White House. Over 1,200 superintendents out of 16,000 across the country attempted to participate in this summitMost were from large school districts spanning from Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Texas, and Pennsylvania, to name a few. Only 6 were chosen from New Jersey. Dr. Perry was the only one from South Jersey selected.

The day was intense in terms of work sessions and discussions with Arne Duncan and panels about teaching and learning initiatives utilizing technology as a tool for various types of school districts across the country. According to Arne, our school district is one of the best and one of the leaders in innovation and instruction. The best part of the day was when the superintendents met with the President of the United States in the East Room of the White House after going through several checkpoints. After talking with them, President Obama began to exit. As he did, he approached Dr. Perry and talked to him for about a minute, thanking him for coming and telling him that his school district was doing an outstanding job and to keep up all the good work.

You can’t go any higher than the recognition of the President of the United States and to be chosen to participate in this experience is quite an honor for all of us. Dr. Perry would like to sincerely thank the board of education, administration, teachers, students, parents, and community for giving him this opportunity and to also congratulate everyone in Haddonfield for this prestigious recognition.

A special thanks to Mark Cavanna for submitting Dr. Perry’s name for this event.

The White House Blog

U.S Department of Education letter

Shark Week

This week begins Shark Week on the Discovery Channel- a true sign that summer is drawing to a close and that August is upon us. While we all look forward to another great school year, some of us still cling to the passing of summer such as with our memories of spending time at the shore. During August, as a former surfer, years ago, I still remember paddling out beyond Ocean City’s sandbar at 59th street beach to catch the biggest waves a few hundred yards away from land.

I often sat on my surfboard, with my feet dangling, wondering what was lurking in the ocean depths beneath me. This was back in 1975 right after the movie, “Jaws” came out.

Back then, I knew about Tiger Sharks, Hammer Heads, and Sand Sharks- but Great Whites? No body, at that time, even believed such ferocious predators even existed. Today, though, in recent news, it was reported that there are approximately 2,000 Great White sharks calculated to be migrating off the Eastern Coast. Wow. Where did all these state mandated reforms, I mean, sharks come from?

As educators, in a way our feet are also dangling in the murky waters over our educational surfboards, wondering what is forming beneath us in the ocean depths below. In education, we are seeing new types of educational species arising up, in a way, with their teeth agape from the bottom of these ocean depths, creating shock and disbelief just as with the sightings by Hooper, the Chief, and the Captain when they first came across that large Great White Shark in Jaws.

Now, it’s educators who are crying out, We need a bigger boat as numerous additional student assessments break through the educational surface, making waves, and in some cases, Tidal Waves with the mandatory implementations of intense teacher and administrator evaluation systems, curricular standard assessments in each grade level, and yes, the counter part to the Great White Shark, The Common Core. Awh! But be calm. Do not charge out of the ocean stampeding over each other. We do not want to create a panic as the whistles blow. The beaches are safe. After all, what can these new educational reforms do to education?

commoncore_jaws

The torso has been severed in mid-thorax. There are no major organs remaining…The right arm has been severed above the elbow with massive tissue loss in the upper musculature…Partially denuded bone remaining. This was no boat accident. [To Brody] Did you notify the Coast Guard about this?…The left arm, head to shoulders, sternum and portions of the rib cage are intact…[He holds up the bluish, severed left arm/hand, with rings still on fingers, of the shark attack victim.] This is what happens. It indicates the non-frenzied feeding of a large squalis…Well, this is not a boat accident, and it wasn’t any propeller, it wasn’t any coral reef, and it wasn’t Jack the Ripper. 

It was a shark…

Time

Time. What is it? You can’t see it or touch it. Depending where you are on Earth, Time is different. Einstein once stated that Time is relative to your position in space. Others theorize that Time occurs in orbs all around us that our senses don’t pick up. One dimension of existence could be occurring in these orbs at the same Time with moments crossing simultaneously.

Graduation Time is a perfect example of this. When graduates walk out across the stage to receive their diplomas, we often envision another Time held somewhere in a precious moment, usually years ago, such as on their first day of school.

Then, as Time crosses, we watch them as they are handed their diplomas, walking out across that stage…

Yet, we will always remember that piece of Time, when they trustingly looked up at us as, taking hold of our hand as small children with a gentle smile. Walking alongside their Kindergarten teacher, they took their first steps toward growing up. And, now, taking hold of their diplomas, all grown up, they take their first steps toward their future- out upon a world stage.

But to us, we will always remember that moment with them as small children, glancing back at us with a wave upon that first day of school…

Time. It passes too quickly.

HMHS Senior Send Off video

Henry David Thoreau once stated, “To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” The Class of 2014 has done just that. In a school-year encompassing visionary determination and courage, they believed, setting out a course to follow their dreams, and in doing so, they have left their mark on Haddonfield Memorial High School history, a history rich in longstanding traditions and sacrifices that have endured and withstood the test of time. As those who have passed through HMHS before them, this year’s graduating class will be forever remembered in the years to come for their faithful perseverance and great accomplishments.

This year’s graduating class is referred to by many as the class that is truly amazing yet humble, a class bound by lasting friendships, a class made up of bright, caring individuals as demonstrated by their well-rounded and varied interests.

Now, as the Class of 2014 prepares to move onto college and the world, new plans have been set and farewells have been given as they begin to embark on new paths toward their dreams. However, as they move on, we will always be grateful to them for making HMHS one of the best high schools in the nation.

Because of our students, during the 2013-14 school year, Haddonfield Memorial High School was ranked by U.S. News, Washington Post, and Newsweek Magazine as one of the top 1 percent of Best high schools in the nation. In addition, HMHS was ranked as one of the top high schools in the state and we are proud to report that our students excelled this school year in all areas of academics, the arts, and athletics.

The graduating Class of 2014 was also accepted to many prestigious colleges and universities, including IVY League schools such as Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Columbia & Brown in addition to receiving numerous awards and over 5.8 million dollars in scholarships. This year’s graduating class includes a US Presidential Scholar, National Merit Commended Students, a National Merit Scholarship, a National Honor Society Finalist, a military appointment, and a number of athletic scholarships. In addition, several of our graduates participatedin the Visiting Scholars program through our partnership with Drexel University, taking university level courses in business, science, mathematics, and engineering along with 85 of our seniors taking 211 Advancement Placement Exams. This year’s graduating class of 2014 has a total of 63 AP Scholars including 2 National AP Scholars; 26 AP Scholars with Distinction; 14 AP Scholars with honors and 23 AP Scholars.

On Senior Awards Night, the class of 2014 received over 180 scholarships with 338 students receiving awards totaling $287,000 and with renewing four year scholarships, the graduating class of 2014 received a grand total of $497,000 in scholarships. The Class of 2014 also had 75 members in the National Honor Society, 17 inducted into the Art National Honor Society, 10 inducted into the Tri Music Honor Society, and 46 members as Peer Leaders.In addition, the class of 2014 raised thousands of dollars for charities through various student sponsored events during their time at HMHS.

The Drama Club also had an outstanding year with several memorable plays and performances including Lizzy’s Scrapbook, a play that highlighted our celebration of the Haddonfield Tricentennial and, in the Spring, the musical “Grease.” The Madrigals also had excellent performances throughout the school year in various settings and were recognized for their accomplishments at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. In addition, our Band, The Marching Colonials, celebrated the 300th Anniversary of Haddonfield with many outstanding performances. The Winter Guard also had a successful year, culminating with their competition at the Wildwood Convention Center during the TIA Championships.

During the 2013-14 school year, our athletic teams compiled a record of 290 wins which led HMHS to winning  9 out of 20 Colonial and Olympic Conference titles including girls soccer, boys and girls cross country, girls tennis, boys basketball, boys tennis, girls track and field, golf, and baseball. HMHS athletic teams also won 7 South Jersey Sectional titles including boys and girls cross country, girls tennis, boys and girls winter track, girls track and field, and boys tennis. In addition, our students, led by this year’s graduating class, won a total of 8 New Jersey State Group Championships, including the football team, who defeated four previously undefeated teams in a row to take home the State Group II Championship for the second time in the past four years. Girls tennis, boys cross country, boys and girls winter relays, girls winter track, boys tennis, and girls track and field also had exemplary seasons, winning State Championships.

This past school year, the graduating class of 2014 led HMHS in winning the most State Championships in a single school year in the history of the school district! And by all verifiable accounts, this is the most State Championship wins by any school in a single school year out of all the high schools in the entire State of New Jersey.

For the 36th year in a row Haddonfield Memorial High School will be the recipient of the Colonial Conference All-Sports Award (given to the school with the best conference win-loss record) and for the 11th consecutive year Haddonfield Memorial High School will be declared winner of the NJSIAA Shop Rite Cup for Group II, an award that is given to the school with the most sectional and state championships for each of the 6 groups in the entire State.  Haddonfield Memorial High School is the only school in the State that has won this award every year since its inception!  Thank you Class of 2014 for keeping this tradition going.

It has been truly an amazing school year by an outstanding and gifted senior class.

However, our students’ success would not be possible without the support and sacrifice of our parents, teachers, Board of Education members, administrators, and our community. All of our staff members in the district from elementary school, middle school, and high school have played important roles in our students’ growth and achievements along with their dedication, hard work, and self-sacrifices. The school district is not built upon brick and mortar, but rather upon the determination and grit of everyone, parents, teachers, administrators, board of education members, and community leaders. By working together, establishing a shared vision for our students, we will be able to help our students achieve their dreams and can continue the legacy of Haddonfield School District’s educational excellence well into the 21st Century.

Persius, an ancient Roman Satirist, once wrote, “He conquers who endures.” The Class of 2014 before us has conquered and endured. They have persevered and not given up. They have reached their individual goals and dreams and, now, as they prepare to make their own paths in the world, I want to take this opportunity to wish them well and let them know that we are very proud of them. They will always be known as that “class that was amazing” the one that achieved miracles in the classrooms, on stage, and on the athletic fields. Their names will be known well into the future and the paths they’ve created while here in HMHS will be remembered fondly and talked about in the decades to come. Class of 2014, May all of your dreams come true and may all that you ever hope for always be within your grasp.

graduationphoto2