The scope of implementing full day kindergarten was presented at the September 12, 2017 Board of Education Work Session. The presentation is now available under the Academics pull-down menu on this web site, under the Curriculum tab. The Board and Administration are moving in the direction of including full day kindergarten in each elementary school building. Community members are welcome to comment on the factors regarding full day kindergarten at this meeting or any of the public meetings including Committee Meetings, Coffees with the Superintendent and other CHPS 2020 discussions throughout the school year. Meeting dates and times are listed on the District Events Calendar on www.chclc.org
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Quick Questions and Answers
Please see below for questions that the community has asked, along with our answers.
The Cherry Hill Public Schools are not being investigated for mold and currently there are not concerns in any of our schools. We monitor our schools for mold constantly. In addition, specific concerns may be brought up by staff or community members. We immediately investigate all concerns reported to us, and consult with an independent environmental firm when necessary.
Many exciting developments are underway in the District! Some examples:
The safety and security of our staff and students is and always has been the number one priority of the Cherry Hill Public Schools. In addition to continually training our staff – including substitutes – in security protocols consistent with all law enforcement entities in Camden County, and carrying out regular safety drills with all staff and students, CHPS:
- Partners with the Cherry Hill Police Department, whose officers conduct regular walk-throughs of all 19 schools, all year long
- Is using a portion of the $1,021,510 in additional 2017 state aid to install additional exterior lighting around our school buildings
- Is installing a Security Prototype Project at the Barclay Early Childhood Center, included in the May 23, 2017 CHPS 2020 presentation, to be replicated at all of our 18 additional schools:
- Swipe card access at main entrance and alternative entrances
- Interior/exterior cameras
- Interior/exterior strobe light alarms
- A security vestibule at the main entrance
- Cherry Hill High School East – Wall and foundation drainage project. This large construction project began this summer. Expected completion: September 2017.
- Kingston – soffit replacement project. Expected completion: October 2017.
- Installation of filtered water bottled refilling stations/water fountains in all 19 schools, which will be completed in September 2017.
- District wide – Ongoing curb appeal projects, which will take place at all of our schools. Among the most recent:
- Resurfacing of the parking lot entrance at High School East
- A new entrance canopy at Sharp Elementary
- Fresh parking lot paint District wide
- Additional district wide improvements to take place during the 2017-2018 school year:
- Paint – interior and exterior
- Curb appeal
- Flooring removal/replacement/abatement
- Exterior door replacements
- Electrical & generator upgrades
- Crawl space work at Barton Elementary
- Roof repairs
- Tree work – pruning, thinning or removal
A LONG-RANGE STRATEGIC PLAN
- Cherry Hill Public Schools 2020: A clear vision for the future
- Documentation of the evolution of the plan on the District web site
- Community meetings to discuss the elements of the plan
- Board adoption of the plan, to be used as a blueprint for our 2018 Bond Referendum
BOND REFERENDUM 2018
- Community discussions, including the "Saturday Coffee with the Superintendent" series, have begun regarding what will be included in the Bond Referendum. Vote will take place on September 25, 2018
- Specific Bond projects will be Board approved and announced at the January 23, 2018 Board of Education Action Meeting.
We encourage all community members to be active participants in the conversation about the long-range CHPS 2020 Strategic Plan and the 2018 Bond Referendum. Our "Saturday Coffee with the Superintendent" meetings are just the beginning of this dialog.
Additional opportunities to stay informed:
- Sign up for the CHPS WEEKLY e-newsletter
- Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
- Tune in for our Online Lunches with the Superintendent
- Attend Board of Education Meetings (or watch them online), PTA meetings (listed on our school web sites) or the additional community meetings to be announced in the coming weeks
- Invite Dr. Meloche to speak to your group by contacting his administrative assistant, Janet Cohen, email@example.com
- Ask a question through our Quick Question portal
Above all, please do not rely on social media chat groups for information about what's happening in the Cherry Hill Public Schools. The "whisper-down-the-lane effect" is real! The best place to find accurate information about CHPS is from CHPS.
The state of New Jersey permits school districts to place construction bond issues on the ballot on any of four special school election dates in January, March, September and December – in addition to placing a construction bond issue on the Annual School Election on the November ballot. In order to give our upcoming bond issue greater attention outside of the General Election Day, we chose the September 25, 2018 special election date.
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:
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.
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 Barriers: Caveats that assist in overcoming resistance to change
- The Guiding Principles: Underlying values of the approach
- The Continuum: Language for describing both healthy and nonproductive policies, practices, and individual values and behaviors
- 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.
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.
The breakdown of our student population by ethnicity is as follows:
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.2%
American Indian or Alaskan: <1%
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Aramark, provider of the food served in the Cherry Hill Public Schools and a leading provider of school food and nutrition services to more than 3,000 K-12 schools across the nation, follows the USDA's nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and National School Breakfast Programs. Designed to ensure students receive an appealing, balanced meal consisting of foods from all major food groups, the USDA's standards focus on obtaining calories and other key nutrients from fruits, vegetables, lean protein foods, grains, and milk with proper serving sizes for a student's age and activity level. In its food offerings to our students, Aramark continues to develop new and innovative Healthy for Life™ recipes. Extensive information about Aramark's menus, nutrition information for the foods served, student dining programs and other areas of interest can be found on the Cherry Hill Public Schools Dining Services web site by clicking here.
There is no requirement for our high school students to do volunteer work in order to graduate. However, volunteering is encouraged throughout the school year and is a requirement for membership in some student organizations, such as the National Honor Society. Student government and certain student clubs also are geared toward service to the community, with a variety of opportunities. A list of student organizations at Cherry Hill High School East may be found by clicking here. A list of community service opportunities at Cherry Hill HIgh School West may be found by clicking here.
Open Enrollment for Rosa International Middle School, which runs from February 13 through February 24, 2017, is a selection process in which applicants' names are drawn at random. Under the Board of Education Open Enrollment Policy 5117.1, available by clicking here, applicants with older siblings attending Rosa Middle School do not receive special consideration. Applicants not initially offered admission shall be assigned a place on a waiting list, based on their enrollment process number. Parents or guardians of multiple birth siblings (e.g. twins, triplets) may request that the multiples be placed on a single enrollment process ballot. In addition, parents or guardians of siblings in the same grade residing in the same household may request that the siblings be placed on a single enrollment process ballot. This single ballot would allow the siblings to be selected for admission to Rosa or placed on the wait list collectively. If you have further questions, please contact the CHPS Registration Department at (856)429-5600, extension 4430, 4432 or 4436.
The Cherry Hill Pulbic Schools follow three different sets of protocols for school safety and security, as needed. A list of what's involved with a "shelter in place" a "lockout" and a "lockdown" can be found by clicking here.
The District's inclement weather make-up days are posted on the District Calendar in the order they would be used in the event that school is closed. The make-up days for the 2016-2017 school year, in order of use, are: February 17, April 17, June 19 and June 20. You may find more information about weather-related school closings on the District web site home page under the "Our District" pull-down menu, by clicking the "School Closing Information" tab.