April 10, 2013 - Stafford Township K-6 School District Board of Education recently approved the formation of a Community School. The Community School will be responsible for overseeing three specific areas: Child Care Services, START Courses and Stafford Township Arts Center Management.
“We are excited to get things started,” said Marybeth Weidenhof, who oversees the Community School, “Bringing all three areas into one department will help streamline the programs and make them more efficient in terms of cost and use of facilities.”
TheChild Care Servicesdivisionincludes both the Extended Day Program and Summer Camp. Extended Day provides supervised care before and after school. It is offered in the morning every day beginning at 6AM until the start of school. In the afternoon, it is held from the end of the school day until 6PM. Students participate in quiet homework time, crafts, games, activities, and supervised computer time. Students can attend any combination of days, mornings or afternoons as each family’s schedule requires. There is also a drop off program for those who are not pre-registered.
Summer Camp will run Monday through Friday, from 8AM - 4PM from the end of June until mid-August. There are weekly themes (Circus, Ocean, etc.) and all areas of the camp - story time, gym, arts and crafts - tie in to the theme of the week. Once again, students can attend any number or combination of days, including full days, mornings or afternoons. Extended Day hours are also offered in the summer before and after Summer Camp.
STAR Courses (Stafford Township Art and Recreation)will offer high-quality, affordable, educational opportunities and activities for children and adults. They will be taught by professionals and offered during the school year and in the summer months. There will be a wide variety of creative and exciting classes for the children of our community including theater, music, sports, visual arts, crafts, nature, and cooking. The Community School is finalizing the proposal form for Summer 2013 and instructors (teachers or trained professionals) are invited to submit a proposal for consideration. Information will be posted on the school district website shortly, or interested parties can call 609-978-5700 x2021.
Management of Stafford Township Arts Center (STAC)is the third area that the Community School will be responsible for. When the school district is not using the theater, students in START theater and music classes will present their performances on this stage with professional and sound and lighting. Through partnerships with local businesses, the Community School will also present high quality professional performances to the community - with reasonable ticket prices! And the theater will continue to be available for rent, bringing additional cultural offerings to our community.
“We are working on designing many dynamic courses and programs that members of the community will enjoy,” added Weidenhof, “I think they will be very pleased with what we have to offer.”
March 27, 2013- Stafford Township K-6 District and the PTA are working together to commemorate Autism Awareness Month. Each year, on April 2, students and staff across the district are invited to dress in with a multicolored flair to celebrate being different. This idea was first proposed by the PTA and was fully embraced by the school population to support the autistic students in our district.
So, why are the lights blue? Because we are joining the rest of the world to commemorate Autism Awareness Month.
For more information about Light it Up Blue, visitwww.lightitupblue.com
“When we get letters from students they are usually addressed ‘Dear Soldier’ but your letters were addressed ‘Dear Marine’ and that meant a lot to us,” Lt. Lipositz told the class of twenty-two students. “Personal letters mean a lot.”
When the students were able to ask questions they inquired about the individual Marines that they wrote letters to, asking specific questions about their jobs, their families, and their nicknames. When asked what a Lance Corporal is, Lt. Lipositz took to the board and wrote the different ranks and explained each to the students.
Students asked what his job was in the Marines and he explained that he is a “tanker” and is in charge of nineteen men and they all work to maintain the four tanks that he is responsible for. Students also asked where they sleep (on cots in tents), if there are women marines (not a lot, but they do important jobs), and what is the difference between the Army and the Marines.
“When you are going to be somewhere for a long time, you use the Army,” explained Lt. Lipositz. “But you know when you have an emergency and you call 911 to get help right away? Well, when the country has an emergency, the Marines are who they call. The Marines are the country’s emergency fighting force.”
The Classroom Close-up crew attended an assembly held at the Stafford Township Arts Center that incorporated Southern Regional’s STYLE students talking about anti-bullying strategies. Together, the STYLE students and TEAM students discussed how they help prevent bullying, giving examples such as not leaving others out, being nice to everyone, and smiling at someone who seems to be having a hard day.
After the assembly, everyone went back to the Ocean Acres School where the older students visited individual classrooms to reinforce the lessons through hands-on activities and stories. The camera crew was following closely interviewing staff and students about Project: TEAM and this collaborative effort between the districts.
Classroom Close-up, NJ airs on NJTV (locally on Comcast channel 23 or 800) on Sundays at 7:30AM, 12:30PM, and 7:30PM and on Saturdays at 5:30AM. The Project: TEAM segment is scheduled to air on March 17, 23, April 21 and 27.
Marie McMenamy, a local parent who has been assisting NJ Strong, delivered the boxes and explained to the students where they came from. “Kids just like you put these boxes together especially for you because they wanted to help after the big storm.” she said.
Lindsay Donald, President and CEO of NJ Strong, was unable to attend in person, but she did participate via speakerphone. “These kids live all the way at the top of New Jersey and they were really sad about what happened, and they wanted to do something to make you feel better.”
Barbara D’Apuzzo, Director of Human Resources and Instructional Services, began with a discussion of the scores, including a comparison with the State Average Scores and District Factor Groups (DFG), which are districts across the state that are similar Stafford with regard to socio-economic status. This comparison showed that Stafford exceeded both the state average and the scores of similar districts in all grades and all areas except Fourth Grade Language Arts, where subgroup performance was slightly below expectations.
“Over and over you can see the same trend with the DFG score higher than the State Average and Stafford higher than the DFG,” said D’Apuzzo, highlighting areas such as third, fifth and sixth grade Language Arts where the district had over 10% more students passing than the state average, and fifth and sixth grade Math where Stafford’s students surpassed the state average by 27%.
Susan D’Alessandro, Director of Curriculum for grades 3-6, further explained the comparison and shared data regarding the district’s subgroups, general education, special education, and economically disadvantaged students. “We need to further analyze the fourth grade Language Arts data,” said D’Alessandro. “When looking at the State Average performance across all grade levels, grade four is the lowest. (Grade 3 = 66.7, Grade 4 = 58.5, Grade 5 = 62.1, Grade 6 = 64.5) We need to determine if our students’ performance is the result of something we are doing or if it is a state-wide issue with the test.”
Lori Coyne, Director of Curriculum for grades K-2, clarified the new Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) system. The AMO is a formula that determines the number of students who did not pass the NJASK, who must pass the following year’s assessment to show growth on an annual basis. The AMO replaces the Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) under the state’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) exemption.
“Collectively, we are very proud of our staff,” said D’Alessandro. “Not just in grades three through six, but all of our staff. What is happening in Kindergarten, first and second is setting the stage for what happens in the higher grades.”
“We are thankful to A.C. Moore and the residents,” said Superintendent Dr. Judith DeStefano-Anen. “Stafford has always been a very generous community and this is one more example of how they continue to support out schools.”
Stafford’s selection process begins each year with the district requesting nominations from parents/guardians, students, and district staff. Nominees must be a certified staff member in the Stafford Township Schools, which includes Classroom Teacher, Child Study Team Member, Special Area Teacher, Guidance Counselor, School Nurse, or Speech Teacher. Criteria used for the selection includes the use of effective instructional techniques and methods; establishment of a productive classroom climate and rapport with students; development of feelings of self-worth and love of learning in students; contribution to the school’s culture, climate, or community that improved/enhanced the learning environment.
A selection panel, consisting of administrators, parents, teachers, as well as honorees from the prior year, reviews the nominations and makes their selection.
“We are very proud of the dedicated staff of professionals in Stafford,” said Superintendent Dr. Judith DeStefano-Anen. “Our annual Teacher of the Year program allows us to publically recognize the outstanding contributions that these professionals make to the children of Stafford every day.”
May 16, 2012 - Stafford Township K-6 School District’s Primary Learning Center recently received a plaque and flag that was flown aboard an F-16C+ during a combat mission over Afghanistan.
United States Air Force Tech Sergeant Gerard P. Sheehan, who has a child that attends the school, presented the flag to Principal Carl Krushinski and the PLC Staff upon returning from his 6 month deployment. Sheehan, an avionics specialist, explained that pilots often fly these flags as a give back to their support staff for keeping things running smoothly. He, in turn, wanted to give back to the support he received at home during his deployment.
“It’s a pleasure to be able to do this,” said Sheehan, “I can’t express know how much it means to be 10,000 miles away and know that there are people like Mr. K and the staff at the PLC watching over your child.”
The flag will soon be on display in the Primary Learning Center. “We have to find just the right place to hang this for all our visitors to see,” said Krushinski.
Each year the School Transportation Supervisors of New Jersey (STS) sponsors the School Bus Driver Safety Competition - commonly known as the School Bus Rodeo. The competition is held in the spring at the Six Flags Great Adventure parking lot in Jackson and drivers from all over the state put their skills to the test. Results are determined by a combination of scores from a driving course, a State Trooper interview, a surprise question, pre-trip inspection, and a written test on the rules of the road.
“This is a challenging competition and we are very proud of all of our drivers who competed,” said Superintendent Dr. Judith DeStefano-Anen, noting that they put a lot of effort into preparing for the contest. “They practiced between routes and on the weekends, they would also stay after work hours to practice general knowledge questions.”
A total of 156 drivers competed in all categories at the rodeo and below are the overall results for the Stafford team:
· Nina McCord, Ranked 9th
· Aggie Fix, Ranked 22nd
· Debbie Rolenc, Ranked 46th
· Dan Sullivan, Ranked 73rd
· Linda Westover, Ranked 91st
Stafford has an active energy conservation program that has already achieved more than $867,618 savings through a 22% reduction in energy use over 41 months. That savings translates into significant numbers for Earth Day as well.
Since the district began the program, Stafford’s energy consumption has been reduced by 25,704 MMBTUs. That reduction translates into the equivalent of 2,853 tons of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere, or 512 passenger cars removed from the road, or 72,983 trees planted.
For Earth Day, Stafford Schools plans to continue its efforts, and invites the public to join in. “It’s important for all of us to save energy. While most of the time we discuss it in terms of saving money, for Earth Day we encourage everyone to be concerned with our natural resources,” said Joseph Meister, Stafford’s Energy Education Specialist. “Being good stewards of both our money and our environment gives us a great sense of satisfaction.”
The prices for electricity, natural gas, heating oil and water have steadily increased over the past few years. To combat these rising energy and utility costs, the district installed solar panel systems on three schools and entered into a partnership with Energy Education to implement a comprehensive behavior based energy conservation program throughout all its buildings and campuses.
Submissions should be sent to Enrico Siano, Board Secretary, Stafford Township Board of Education, 775 East Bay Avenue, Manahawkin, NJ 08050. The deadline for submissions is April 18, 2012. Interviews will be scheduledfollowing the deadline.
The following students were recognized for their excellence on their individual instruments: Matthew Marinelli, Baritone Horn; Colin Rutkowski, Baritone Horn; Adonis Mellomida, Trumpet; Vincent Caprio, Trombone; William Opet, Tuba; Steven Tarantola, Clarinet; Jack Bonacorso, Percussion.
In addition, a group of current and former students were recognized for composing a district song. For the past two years, students in Tracey Tylicki’s 6thgrade Music Choice class have collaborated in composing “We Are.” In all, 17 students participated in the two year songwriting process.
It began with the first graders writing a class letter to Mrs. Vliet’s kindergarteners, who wrote back with a class letter. Then the teachers assigned each child to a pen pal to correspond with for the rest of the school year. When they met they spent about an hour reading to each other.
“It’s a great opportunity for them to practice letter writing,” said Capuano, who has been doing the pen pal activity with Vliet since the PLC opened in 2006.
“They also learn how to write questions to find out information,” said Vliet, adding, “When they meet their pen pal it is very exciting to them to put a face to the person who has been writing to them.”
In May the PLC students will visit the Ocean Acres School.
In celebration of National School Breakfast Week, Mary Bueti, Stafford’s Food Service Manager held Y-PAC meetings at the district’s five schools and the Ethel Jacobsen Elementary School and LBI Elementary, since Stafford manages their food service programs as well.
The meeting at Stafford Intermediate started with a discussion of why breakfast is important. Students offered responses such as “It gets your brain going,” “It gives you energy,” and “It’s hard to focus when you’re hungry.”
After each food tasting, students, parents and staff were asked by a show of hands whether or not they liked the item, and then they were asked to share additional comments. Eight items were sampled, with mixed results, although the mini maple waffles were a unanimous favorite.
Bueti holds these meetings twice per year, allowing students to sample breakfast and lunch items. The information is used to help plan the meals at the various schools.
The project was a collaborative effort between STAC manager Kelly Harris and OCC’s Professor Richard Fallon. The college students were provided with a mission statement, brand characteristics and core values, and given instructions on how to submit their logo. Under the guidance of Professor Fallon, over 40 logos were submitted within the three week time period that the challenge was open.
The anonymous submissions were reviewed by a district panel comprised of experts in art design and technology, to children at the Intermediate School. Tamara Brennan’s entry received an overwhelming majority of the votes cast.
The logo was revealed at the district’s Board of Education meeting last week, where Brennan was honored for her creative design. The logo will be used on all STAC merchandise including business cards, posters and letterhead.
We recognize the need in the community for these programs and understand that the families have come to rely on the services provided. For the preschool programs, families can expect the same high-quality curriculum and instructional practices already in place. In addition, this will have no effect on the district’s preschool disabled program or the free three- and four-year old program for families that qualify for the Free/Reduced Lunch program. This change only affects the tuition based preschool for three- and four-year olds and the extended day programs.
“We are all very proud of these teachers who have gone above and beyond to achieve this advanced credential,” said Superintendent Judith DeStefano-Anen. “It speaks very clearly of their professionalism and dedication to the students of Stafford.”
To receive National Board Certification, candidates must successfully complete an evaluation program designed to recognize effective and accomplished teachers who meet high standards. This process, developed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is based on what teachers should know and be able to do. As part of the certification process, candidates complete 10 assessments that are reviewed by trained teachers in their certificate areas. The assessments include four portfolio entries that feature teaching practice and six exercises that assess content knowledge.
According to the NBPTS, there are 223 National Board Certified Teachers in New Jersey, with just 18 of those teaching in Ocean County.
“Almost a quarter of National Board Certified Teachers teachers in the county are our employees,” said DeStefano-Anen. “That makes us very proud indeed.”
December 16, 2011 - Stafford Township K-6 School District is achieving big savings with energy efficient behavior and now those good habits are earning national recognition.
“Reaching this level of savings at this stage of the program is a significant achievement,” said Dr. William S. Spears, Chairman and Founder of Energy education. “The administration and all staff members are to be commended for clearly fulfilling their commitment to being good stewards of the district’s energy dollars and the environment. Strong support from everyone involved in the organization has created an atmosphere of cooperation that should continue to grow and ensure even greater success well into the future,” Spears added.
The primary benefit of the Energy Education program is that all costs come out of the existing utility budget, with savings projected to more than pay for the program, as they have for Stafford. Additional savings can be directed to other parts of the budget.
In addition to the districts energy conservation program savings, the school district has also invested in solar technology. Stafford installed solar panels at three of its schools starting with Oxycocus and Ocean Acres in 2009 and Intermediate School in 2010. In that period of time they have saved $103,940 in solar energy produced and not purchased, as well as $326,717 from the sale of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs). The combination of energy conservation and investing in solar technology has resulted in savings to the school district of over $1,200,000 since 2008.
The program also delivers an environmental benefit from a reduced carbon footprint. Energy not used prevents the emission of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. According to EPA figures, in the first 38 months of the program, Stafford Schools saved 23,682 MMBTU, the equivalent to 2,613 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions being prevented, 469 cars removed from the roads, or 66,846 pine trees grown for 10 years.
The district’s comprehensive energy conservation program examines all areas of use. Stafford’s Energy Education Manager, Joseph Meister, analyzes energy use throughout the district’s systems to ensure that energy is used as efficiently as possible. He tracks energy consumption, including electricity, water, sewer, and natural gas, using energy accounting software. He compares current energy use to a baseline period and calculates the amount of energy that would have been used has conservation and management practices not been implemented. By tracking consumption and analyzing energy use, he can quickly identify and correct areas that need immediate attention.
“The professional dancers of Atlantic City Ballet come from over 11 different countries and this event gave our students the rare opportunity to have direct contact with these internationally recognized artists,” said Kelly Harris, manager of the Stafford Township Arts Center (STAC). “We are so fortunate to have the STAC facility to enlighten and educate our students and present them with real opportunities with professional artists."
The company presented several pieces from their upcoming production of "The Nutcracker” which has its premiere this Sunday at 3:30PM and 7:00PM at the Ocean First Theater at STAC. Selections included the "Sugar Plum Fairy Variation" and the "Grande Pas de Deux.” The children were amazed with the strength of the dancers and their ability to turn, jump, and leap. The young audience was very enthusiastic and broke into thunderous applause during each performance.
After the performance, the children had the opportunity to speak with the cast and asked some fantastic questions such as, "How long does it take to choreograph a dance?". Phyllis Pappa, artistic director of ACB, also gave an informative lesson about French ballet terminology and classical music.
Make a Difference day is a huge annual event at Stafford Township’s McKinley Avenue School. Among the charities that have benefited from the students’ past efforts and the generosity of Stafford’s families and staff are the Ronald McDonald House, Ocean County Hunger Relief, Family Promise, Stafford Township Police Department, and Ocean of Love.
This year’s charity, ARMS, is a local charity founded in 2003. They solicit, pack, and ship donations to troops overseas, provide services to local armories, and support the military’s Family Readiness Program.
The savings were achieved through an innovative energy conservation program. The $718,017 is equal to 21% of the expected energy costs without the program. Energy Awareness Month is about making good decisions regarding energy usage, and that is what Stafford’s program does. Today, every district staff member uses energy as needed and is careful to never waste energy. By implementing best practices for energy use throughout all buildings, the district has created savings, enhanced the learning environment, and retained dollars for education.
Joseph Meister, Energy Education Specialist for the district, conducts energy audits to ensure that students, staff, and faculty are comfortable during class time and scheduled activities, and that energy is used only as necessary.Every energy-using item in the system, including all heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, offices and classrooms, gyms, cafeterias, and computer labs, receives ongoing evaluation for the best, most efficient use of energy, while ensuring that the learning environment is at its best.
The successful cost-saving program is implemented through a partnership with Energy Education, the nation’s leading organizational behavior-based conservation company. In environmental terms, the energy saved equates to 2,393 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions being prevented, or 430 autos off the highway annually or over 61,211 tree seedlings planted and grown in ten years.
In accordance with the law, the district’s policy, regulation, and reporting form are all available on the district website under the “Resources” tab. This section also contains contact information for our Anti-Bullying Coordinator as well as a copy of the Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying newsletter that we created specifically to inform parent and guardians about this new law. The district also has anti-bullying hotlines that were established in 2005, where parents and students can report bullying and harassment incidents anonymously. They can be reached by calling the main number, 609-978-5700, and then the proper extension: Intermediate X1804, McKinley x1803, Ocean Acres x1801, PLC, x1805, Oxycocus X1802.
September 22, 2011 Ten Intermediate School teachers were honored by Wal-Mart as part of their Teacher Rewards Program. Congratulations to Susan Aljoe, Kathy Coates, Shannon Mastrogiovanni, Laurie McAvoy, Kathy McGinnis, Cathy O’Leary, Tim Rogers, Debbie Seitz, Tim Serabian, and Steven Smith.