By Leigh Anne Hubbs
Gloucester City News
The Mount Ephraim Board of Education (BOE) approved the contract of new Superintendent/Principal Leslie Koller at a salary of $120,000 per year, pro-rated, during last week’s meeting.
School Board members said her contract will run from December 15, 2012, to June 30, 2016.
Koller has many years of instructional and leadership experience, including her time as the Assistant Principal for Beck Middle School in Cherry Hill and, most recently, the Principal of Eisenhower Middle School in West Berlin.
While principal of Eisenhower, the school was recognized as one of the “Schools to Watch” by the NJ Department of Education.
This honor was awarded to the school after Ms. Koller brought it to model status, BOE members said. Other districts now tour the school learning ways to improve their own schools.
In other business, the School Board discussed School Choice (Interdistrict Public School Choice Program) after a member of the public commented about the fourth grade being near capacity.
Supervisor of Special Services Amy Francis said that participating districts cannot discriminate against applicants based on their behavior or academic records, as was believed at the time the Board voted to participate.
Francis said the criteria for accepting a student is that deadlines for paperwork must be met, there must to be room for the student in their respective grade, and the district must have a program that meets the student’s needs.
Interim Superintendent Diane DeGiacomo said School Choice is an evolving program and that the guidelines are “sketchy.”
Board President Dominick Cipolone added that he was told the district could “opt-out” of the program if it became a problem.
Board Members requested that Francis compile an ongoing list of changes to School Choice which have occurred since it was accepted by the Board.
Member Patricia Blaylock said that she would have never accepted the program without the safeguards.
Board Member Joan Greenwood commended the PTO for their donation of $3,000 which will help to offset the cost of student field trips.
Another member of the public requested that the Board allow for the option of the Eighth Grade Dinner/Dance to be held at an off-site venue.
The first reading of the proposed policy amendment should be next month and a vote the following month.
Business Administrator Melissa Raywood said that if the Board does vote to allow for this option, the venue must be approved and not serve alcohol, school chaperones must be present, and – as always – the theme must be approved as well.
Presented by Principal Michael Hunter was the new formula for how NJ ASK (Assessment of Skills and Knowledge) results are analyzed.
Previously a district’s results were compared to the state or other members of their District Factoring Group but now a district is compared to themselves for the purpose of setting goals for improvement, he said.
Chairperson for the Negotiations Committee Carl Ingram reported that the teachers’ contract with the School Board will be going to a formal hearing next month.
September’s Student of the Month winners are: 1st grade Sean Slattery, 2nd grade Kylee Thompson, 3rd grade Richard Henderson, 4th grade Shea Meredith, 5th grade Hunter Brzozowski, 6th grade Robert Snyder, 7th grade Mackenzie Greenwood, and 8th grade Scott Fitzpatrick.
The Borough of Mount Ephraim has announced the curfew for Halloween and the days leading up to it.
From Friday, October 26 until Wednesday, October 31, the curfew will be 9 p.m. Trick or Treat will be from 3-8 p.m.
The next BOE meeting will be Monday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Kershaw’s Media Center.