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Message from Superintendent Mussoline

OFFICIAL from Haddonfield School District on April 24, 2020

We have been communicating with you throughout this unprecedented time in our lives. We know you understand the Governor closed schools in New Jersey until May 15th “at least.” You all understand that he may opt to try to open them after May 15th or keep them closed. We have no idea what his decision will be. We have no guidance as to what that opening may look like. We all trust it will be based on scientific data and the health and safety of everyone.

Over the weekend, I read through the surveys you completed for Dr. Murray. They were as expected. Many praised the efforts of our school system to gear up for online learning so quickly. Many others expressed concerns such as too much work, too little work, not enough face-to-face time, the real fear of lost learning, and maybe just total disillusionment over the whole world situation we are all in where parents are expected to work at home, have the proper meals ready, quarantine inside, and help teach children. Daunting tasks; all of them.

Those of us in education knew that we could sustain this new learning system for a short period of time. A longer period of online learning would be daunting for all of us. We are a traditional school system, custodial in nature, educative by design. Children come to school each day, stay for a period of time, are taught face-to-face, and go home. They do that 180 times during a school year. Taking that system and transitioning 200-plus teachers and 2,800 students into a full, online, K-12 cyber school with one day to plan was a very heavy lift. This world was thrust upon all of us without much warning. No directional signs are (or were) up and the street lights are off all over the place in this pandemic society. So, as many of you said in the survey, this is a time to praise all of us making the best of this situation. Health care workers. Emergency personnel. Grocery store workers. Small business and restaurant owners. Truck drivers. Educators. And so many others who are trying to work through this situation, making the best of these difficult times.

Let’s do this in the next few days. Take some time to thank your child’s teacher(s). Take some time to thank your child’s principal(s). Take some time to thank a Board of Education member. Go out of your way to do that. I know you all know this fact, but everyone above took a brick-and-mortar, traditional school system, and transformed it into an online learning environment overnight. They did it without review packets, without paper assignments being laboriously sent home, and without saying we are simply going to review while we are not learning traditionally. The people above created a total cyber environment where we are continuing with lessons to the best of our abilities, picking up where we left off over a month ago. Again, I know you understand this, but what your Board of Education, principals, and teachers created was nothing short of a miraculous learning environment in your school system. Because of the teachers, the principals, and the Board, Haddonfield is a leader in their pandemic educational plan in the state and even the nation. Take some time to thank them all for their forward-looking leadership and work in these unparalleled times.

There is a lot of information [in the April 24, 2020 School District News] for you to read over detailing the unrivaled environment we are all experiencing. Enjoy the newsletter. In the next newsletter, Mr. Chuck Klaus will take over this column. I can’t tell you how excited I am about that fact. Chuck is as honest as the day is long and as skilled a leader as I have ever seen.

Best wishes to you all.

Larry Mussoline PhD
Superintendent of Schools