NEWS, SPORTS, COMMENTARY, POLITICS for Gloucester City and the Surrounding Areas of South Jersey and Philadelphia

Bellmawr Firefighters Honored
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Bellmawr Board Launds Based Learning Initiative

By Chris Concannon

NEWS Correspondent

Gloucester City News-Bellmawr School Superintendent Annette Castiglione opened May’s Board of Education (BOE) meeting by lauding a project-based learning initiative at Bell Oaks Middle School.

The 80-minute teaching blocks are designed around a central theme, and this one was “Colonial Life,” Fifth Grade Teacher Jennifer Packer said.

Packer then showcased her students, who spoke on several topics, including Yellow Fever, selected essays, book choices and book structure.

Ms. McAteer’s seventh grade students praised her “Million Dollar Math project.” Each student was given a $1 million “bank account” and had to spend it all, without donating, investing or otherwise giving it away, having to account for every penny.

Castiglione then said the monthly Board Award would go to Mrs. Carol Holt, in recognition of her “Pay It Forward” workshop. Holt, a Bell Oaks Physical Education Teacher, along with her Seventh and Eighth Grade Peer Mediators, presented Dawn Ellis, of Ronald Mc Donald House Charities, with a check for $500. The students worked at a Ronald Mc Donald House as part of the workshop project.

Under committee reports, Jeff Brickner said the EMC Committee met recently, discussing topics such as Police and Fire Department access to the schools in the event of an emergency.

Tracy Shinkarow stated a District Goals Committee Meeting would be on Tuesday June 23 at 5 p.m.

Board Vice President Jamie Casey commented on security measures, as well as the recent receipt of economic stimulus funding. Also, he noted the success of returning special education students to the District.

Mike Williams talked about the District Online Policy Alert.

Board President Jody Mangus said the Education Committee had met, and will begin writing a new curriculum this summer.

She also discussed the Betty Sheppard Memorial Committee, adding they are developing a scrapbook to present to the Sheppard family, along with preliminary plans to create a park in her honor on the quadrangle at Bell Oaks Middle School.

Mangus prefaced her comments by stating the park’s construction would be based on any donations received. Also, a Betty Sheppard Celebration Night is planned for Thursday October 1, where the scrapbook will be presented to the family.

Sheppard was a longtime Board Member, and at the time of her recent passing, was the 11th longest serving BOE member in the state.

Mangus closed her report by announcing the retirement of Frank Jankowski Sr., a long time custodian at E.M. Burke School, where his son, Frank Jankowski Jr., is principal.

The younger Jankowski stated whereas his father is a man of few words, he always appreciated everything the district did for him.

In her Superintendent’s Report, Ms. Castiglione cited students Alissa Jankowski and Sabrina Summers, Fifth and Fourth Grades respectively, as recent winners of the Spelling Bee.

She also commented on the recent QSAC results, noting she has asked for reconsideration, based on incomplete information be-ing received by the QSAC auditors. The Superintendent then went on to thank the Board for renewing her employment contract.

Under PTO reports, E.M. Burke Rep Colleen Marengo stated they are working on the upcoming Fun Day, along with a planned Fourth Grade picnic.

Bell Oaks Principal Anthony Farinelli said the school’s PTO is working hard preparing for the upcoming Eighth Grade dance.

Elizabeth Calabria, Principal of Bellmawr Park School, commented on the recent “Zoo On Wheels”.

Under the public portion, an unidentified parent questioned the start of the 2009-2010 school year beginning prior to Labor Day.

Castiglione said teachers will begin on Tuesday September 1, and students on Wednesday September 2.

She said if they had started on September 9, the end of the school year would extend too far into June, regardless of any unforeseen snow days.

As it was, one snow day on March 2 of this year, caused the last day for students to be June 17.

Mangus stated that Eighth Grade Graduation would be Tuesday June 16, at 6:30 p.m., in the Bell Oaks All-Purpose Room.

All items listed on the evening’s agenda were unanimously approved, with the following exception:

As to Agenda Item #B.1.d.: “Approval of Bills”, Ms. Mangus abstained from Check #3624.

For information contacting the Board Offices, at 856- 931-6298, or go to:

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