I would like to first welcome all families, students and teachers to the 2020-21 school year at Haddonfield School District.
We are now a week away from our return to school for the fall of 2020. It would certainly be an understatement to say this is a different opening than those we have experienced in the past.
I am sure all of us could rattle off a litany of differences as well as things we wish were different! Notably, some of these challenges have required our administration team and teacher leaders to spend countless summer hours to develop, revise, publish, and republish our return to school model.
Sometimes I feel as though we have spent the last six months talking about the changes caused by the “new normal,” but today I’d like to take a moment to look at how many things are still the same.
As a school district, we continue to uphold our commitment to providing high-quality education to your children. We maintain high expectations for our students, teachers, and administrators. We anticipate a year that – in spite of opening with 50% capacity – will close with all of our students in school all day. These are our goals, and we believe that a prudent start will help us to achieve them.
As in every summer, a great deal of focus was placed on growth and improvement. What may have gotten lost in the shuffle this summer are the many accomplishments of the last 10 weeks not connected to COVID-19.
- Curriculum has been rewritten and revised. HSD continually invests in improving and modifying curriculum in all areas. Among other revisions, two main areas of focus are improving the middle school Gifted and Talented program and adding mandated LGBTQIA+ standards. Additionally, we invested a great deal of work in designing professional development specifically connected to distance and virtual instruction based on what we learned in the spring.
- The vestibule projects at Elizabeth Haddon and J.F. Tatem Elementary Schools are 95% complete and 100% functional. We are waiting for delivery of a few final items before we can call them complete.
- Cameras have been installed in the interior and exterior of all district buildings. This adds an additional level of safety.
- With the help of the Haddonfield Educational Trust, the area behind the stadium has been upgraded. What was once an expanse of blacktop is now a showpiece for spectators to experience at school events.
- Work has started on a new air-handling unit tower at the high school. Connected to this project will be the addition of an outdoor classroom and a garden seating area providing an outdoor extension to the cafeteria.
We also continue to work on our three strategic plans. We will nurture our students and teachers by providing social-emotional training and support. We will continue to empower by investing time and training into innovative teaching strategies and learning environments. Finally we work to inspire everyone to embrace cultural competency and pursue social justice as we build on lessons learned at our June Town Hall meeting. The target date for our next open forum is early October.
Last, please take a look at our website. If you have any questions at any time during the school year, please look at the top middle of the web page under “Contact Us” where there is an “Ask a Question” tab that you simply click on and ask us any question(s) you wish. We will get you an answer as quickly as we can. Have a wonderful school year, everyone. Welcome back!