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Quick Questions and Answers

Please see below for questions that the community has asked, along with our answers.

Where can I find a supply list for my student who will be a 9th grader for the 2017-2018 school year?

There is no school supply list for high school students. Students at Cherry Hill High Schools East, West, and the Alternative High School will be told what they will need for each class on the first day of school. They also will receive a planner for the year on the first day. It is always a good idea for high school students to bring a pencil, pen and a small notebook on the first day of school as well. We look forward to seeing your student at orientation (listed on the District Events Calendar) and on the first day of school, September 5, 2017!

Are activity fees are used directly for activities?

Our student activity fees – collected from middle school and high school families whose children participate in a variety of extracurricular activities – are a general fund revenue, which means they "go into the pot" with our other general fund revenues (taxes, state aid, miscellaneous revenues etc.). The activity fees support the general fund expenditures. However, they do not directly offset the athletics and activities costs. In other words, we do not account for the 'revenues' and 'expenditures' of co-curricular and athletics separately from all of our other general fund revenues and expenditures.

For context, we estimate our costs for the 2016-2017 school year as follows:

Extra/Co-Curricular: $838,060

Athletics: $1,674,929

Transportation: $364,794

Total costs: $2,877,783

In 2016-17, we collected approximately $239,118 in activities fees.

The total fees collected of $239,118 cover approximately 8.3% of our estimated costs of $2,877,783.

What are our schools doing to raise awareness of the different cultures and diverse students?

Our District Cultural Proficiency/Equity/Character Education Advisory Committee – consisting of central office administrators, principals, supervisors, teachers and students – meets monthly. Dr. Barbara Moore-Williams, a nationally known expert in this field, is a consultant to this committee. The committee is writing a five-year plan for the district. The committee also provides professional development to our principals, who in turn will train the teachers in their schools.

The professional development includes an understanding of the four tools of Cultural Proficiency:

  1. The Barriers: Caveats that assist in overcoming resistance to change
  2. The Guiding Principles: Underlying values of the approach
  3. The Continuum: Language for describing both healthy and nonproductive policies, practices, and individual values and behaviors
  4. The Essential Elements: Behavioral standards for measuring and planning for growth toward cultural proficiency

Our principals are studying concepts such as implicit bias and microagressions that often lead to misunderstandings or conflicts between students. The principals then share with staff the strategies to support students and staff in a caring school community. We are building a community district-wide that firmly believes in fostering positive staff and student relationships through a family-like environment of assistance, acceptance, warmth and safety.

From the Curriculum & Instruction perspective, we have engaged in critical literacy professional development to help prepare teachers to best teach and present literature that addresses sensitive issues, topics and content. Additionally, our literature exposes students to different cultures and backgrounds. As a district, we want our students to engage with the text in ways that explore multiple perspectives, challenge intent and content, and examine the purposes of those texts in order to deepen the ways that the meaning is understood.

We partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to provide teachers with targeted, specifi and meaningful professional development. This work has produced introduction and overview units for teachers to utilize, as well as a rationale for teaching of the text and inquiry questions. This work has been completed for the texts Chinese Cinderella, The Giver, Seedfolks, and Warriors Don't Cry, to name a few, which are all required reading books at the middle school level. It is our plan to extend this work to the high school level.

Why do families pay $50 a year for their high school student's parking privileges, yet our high school parking lots remain in a state of disrepair?

Unfortunately, the parking fees collected at our high schools amount to far less than the money required to resurface the lots. The parking fees at present go toward patching potholes, monitoring the lot, painting the lines on it and providing parking placards and decals. We have prioritized parking lot and black top work in the Long Term Facilities and Infrastructure Plan portion of the working CHPS 2020: A Clear Vision for the Future plan, presented at the January 10, 2017 BOE Work Session. "Long term" refers to projects we plan to address within the next 5 years. An update on CHPS 2020: A Clear Vision for the Future, will be presented at the May 23, 2017 BOE Action Meeting.

What is the breakdown of ethnic diversity in the Cherry Hill School District?

The breakdown of our student population by ethnicity is as follows:

Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.2%

American Indian or Alaskan: <1%

Multi-racial: 3.6%

Black: 8.1%

Asian: 16.7%

Hispanic: 10.5%

White: 60.9%

Many meetings are listed each month. Which Board of Education meetings are open to the public?

All committee meetings except the Human Resources Committee – because of the confidential nature of personnel discussions – are open to the public. The Strategic Planning Committee generally meets on the first Tuesday of the month at 7 pm in the Malberg Board Room at 45 Ranoldo Terrace. Please check the District Events Calendar on the web site for specific dates and times. More discussion takes place at the Board Work Session meetings (generally the second Tuesdays of the month) and Board Action Meetings (generally the fourth Tuesday of the month), which also are held in the Malberg Board Room and are open to the public. Meetings can also be viewed via our live meeting stream. Again, please check the District Events Calendar for dates and times. There are designated times for the public comment at all meetings. Please keep in mind that public comment is not a dialogue between members of the public and the Board. If you would like a question answered, you will be asked to submit your contact information so that your question may be addressed one-on-one with you at a later time.

What's going on with the lights and bleachers for the new turf field at Cherry Hill East?

The installation of a turf field at both the East and West High Schools was a "Phase I" project that was completed in conjunction with Cherry Hill Township. "Phase II" of the project, which included lights and stadium seating at the East turf field was discussed as a possibility, but ultimately it was decided that "Phase II" was cost prohibitive to complete at this time. As the District develops its long range facilities plan, the "Phase II" project is being reviewed. Funding for this large project could be included as part of a potential future bond referendum currently under consideration.

Are there going to be changes to the schools and grades in the near future? I have heard that Rosa will become a 6th grade only school. Is this accurate? What will happen to 7th and 8th graders?

As part of our long-range strategic plan called "Cherry Hill Public Schools 2020: A clear vision for the future", we conducted a survey and held a series of three meetings open to all community members in the fall of 2016. The results of the feedback from the community showed that the one common request among all stakeholder groups – parents, staff, Cherry Hill community members, administrators and Board of Education members – was to implement full day kindergarten across the District.

An analysis of our buildings revealed we do not have the space to implement full day kindergarten in all of our schools. To accommodate a full day program, we are looking into turning two of our elementary buildings into kindergarten centers. The remaining 10 elementary schools would serve grades 1-5. This idea is still in the early stages of discussion. Many factors will be taken into careful consideration. The earliest we would open the kindergarten centers would be the fall of 2019.

Additionally, we considered restructuring our middle schools, turning Rosa Middle School into a 6th grade center and keeping Carusi and Beck Middle Schools as sending schools for 7th and 8th grade. This idea is no longer under consideration.

School districts in New Jersey and beyond have had success with kindergarten grade centers. We will continue to research how such districts have handled their own reconfigurations, what the challenges and benefits have been, and the benefits and challenges we would face in a reconfiguration of our own.

Public discussion will continue to take place throughout the 2017-2018 school year regarding school configuration and other items under consideration in the CHPS 2020 project.

Is the District planning any major facilities improvements in the near future? Our buildings could use some TLC.

You may view the capital projects list for the budget for the 2017-18 school year by clicking here. This list is to be approved by the Board of Education at the public hearing on May 2, 2017 at 7 pm in the Malberg Board Room, 45 Ranoldo Terrace. In addition, we are planning to implement several maintenance initiatives throughout the District such as flooring replacements, painting and curb appeal projects.

We are also in the process of conducting a needs assessment and long range facilities plan update in preparation for a potential bond referendum in the near future.

What are schools doing to prevent bullying and discrimination?

Prevention of bullying and discrimination is carried out in a myriad of ways in our schools:

  • Anti-bullying messages are communicated and anti-bullying behaviors are modeled by our administration and staff at all of our schools throughout the school year. Our elementary schools have each picked themes (e.g. "Year of Happy," "Kindness Matters," "Year of Joy") from which to reiterate positive messages of desired behavior.
  • All grade levels are taught from an anti-bullying curriculum. At the middle and high school level, this curriculum is delivered through health classes.
  • The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act designates the week beginning with the first Monday in October each year as the Week of Respect in New Jersey. During this week, special activities and assemblies are devoted to anti-bullying strategies at all grade levels.
  • The Cherry Hill Public Schools Cultural Proficiency Committee, made up of staff, administrators and students, works on curriculum and best practices to prevent discrimination.
  • The Zone PTA Character Education Committee provides anti-bullying materials, resources and program ideas to all schools.
  • Full time Student Advocates and Student Assistance Counselors are available to students at our high schools and middle schools to mitigate bullying and discrimination. Full time guidance counselors serve this role in our elementary schools.
  • Peer leader programs at all of our middle and high schools are designed so that older students – under the guidance of faculty advisers – may mentor younger students about inclusive, accepting, kind behaviors toward others.
  • High Schools East and West both have and Athletes Against Bullying Club, in which members work to eliminate bullying in their own schools and to spread the anti-bullying message to the middle schools.
  • Every school in the District has a School Safety Teams whose role is to develop, foster and maintain a positive school climate.

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