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Message from Superintendent Mussoline

OFFICIAL from Haddonfield School District on March 27, 2020

I am writing this message for our district newsletter from my home, and I assume most of you are reading this in your own homes. We have just completed our second week of remote learning, and our first week of the rigid, state-mandated directive about social distancing, 8pm curfews, and sheltering in place. Wow! Have any of us ever experienced anything like this, with the understanding that this is likely to continue for some time yet? Probably not.

There are inherent difficulties with the world events of today, and there will be more. Some of us are struggling with feelings of isolation, and some may still be adjusting to all the technology needed for everything from remote learning to socializing with friends to keeping up with work. And speaking of work, some of us may be out of work for a time. I believe it is fair to say that absolutely every one of us has experienced some anxiety about what is happening today and what is around the corner.

However, and I point this out with pride, our school district community as a whole has risen to most of the online learning challenges with enthusiasm, professionalism and a spirit of teamwork. Teachers, administrators, nurses, EAs, technology staff, secretaries, counselors, coaches, food service, custodians, maintenance, business office personnel, and everyone working in the district have pitched in. With just one official day of training, our talented educators have jumped into the deep end of the pool that is digital/virtual/remote teaching. I am impressed by how our colleagues continue to learn new ways to connect online, new ways to confer and plan online, and new ways to teach and learn online. They are sharing digital resources and tips as well as emotional support as we help each other to do the very best job possible to educate our children. “Building this as we are flying” is an understatement. Yet every brick and mortar K12 school district in the nation is doing the same thing.

Haddonfield families are an essential part of this team, and they have approached the complexities of sudden stay-at-home learning with a “Haddonfield Strong” attitude. Parents are posting photos and videos of their creative solutions for learning spaces; they are sharing ideas for managing a school schedule at home; offering to help those who may be hesitant to ask. All in all, they have proven to be resilient and positive during what may be the most unusual school year in any of our lives.

One of our district goals focuses on social-emotional learning, and the current worldwide crisis is certainly testing us all in this area. All five principals and assistant principals have been “checking in” with our families and students regularly. Teachers, secretaries, EAs, and other staff call families to gather feedback and to get a sense of how we are all doing. High School students have received a survey about overall well-being. The HMHS and HMS Student Council students and advisors meet to share concerns and to plan spiritbuilding activities and daily challenges to nurture the feeling that we are, indeed, in this together. One of our wonderful nurses created a new Twitter feed called @HSDBreathe, encouraging everyone to get outside and walk or run one mile every day. Counselors have established Google Hangouts and Google Classrooms to maintain regular connections to their students. Other student groups have held virtual meetings to encourage the feeling of connection, and some have worked together to create and share spectacular musical videos.

Make sure you read your principals’ communications about ways to get help, free seminars on the RULER method to help regulate emotions, TED talks about managing anxiety and much more. We have created a list of these resources on our website, and please remember our counselors are available to you and your children.

Email them at:

  • Central Elementary School, Jamie Ledford
  • Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School, Amanda LoCicero
  • J.F. Tatem Elementary School, Caroline Brown
  • Haddonfield Middle School, Danielle McKelvey grade 6, Auda Aquina grade 7, Nicole Ettinger grade 8

Haddonfield Memorial High School students should contact their particular counselor but also may contact:

  • Nurse Dana Reganata,
  • Principal Tammy McHale,
  • Assistant Principal Dan Licata or
  • Dean of Students Hamisi Tarrant

A “new normal” is emerging. We are not at all sure how it will pan out, but we are sure that we are committed to working together with all of you. Please read some of the stories shared on social media and written about below. Sign up for Twitter or Facebook, or log onto your existing accounts, to add to and benefit from the ocean of support that our community is sharing. On Twitter, please join us in posting supportive messages and using the hashtag #HSDWeAreInThisTogether.

At the March 26 Board meeting, Academic CEO Dr. Colleen Murray shared a presentation entitled “Transition to Remote Learning in Response to COVID-19 Closure.” Take a look; she covers all of the fantastic efforts by so many members of our community in some detail.


It seems as though we can talk about nothing other than COVID-19. But I need to raise a different topic. The U.S. Census will be coming or has already come to your home. I believe Census mailings began going out on March 12. The reason this is so important is that, if we count our households improperly, the school district could lose much-needed federal money. According to estimates, close to two million children under the age of 4 were missed in the last Census. In 2010, we missed one in ten children under the age of 5 which cost states a total of $5 billion in Medicaid, CHIP, foster care, adoption, free-and-reduced lunch subsidies, federal program money for schools, and child care funds from Washington.

So here’s the message: Even though Haddonfield may have a lower risk of undercounting in the Census, please be sure to count everyone living in your household when you receive your Census form. Don’t forget grandchildren who are living with you, foster and adopted children living with you, and young children living with you. If we miss counting these people, the school district, the Borough, and the state lose federal dollars. Even our friends on Sesame Street know how important this is!

Thank you for your patience and understanding while we continue to try to do our very best for our students and staff.