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Quick Questions and Answers

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

Would you please provide an update about what's happening to improve our facilities?

Many exciting developments are underway in the District! Some examples:

SECURITY

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

INFRASCTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

  • 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

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:

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.

What rotation day will the first day of school be for the high schools? Will we start with Day 1?

New this year at the high schools is the "First Day of School Schedule." On September 5 only, all high school students will go to all 8 of their class periods – each period will last about 40 minutes. Day 1 will commence on Wednesday, September 6.

Why will the bond referendum vote be in September 2018 instead of November, on Election Day?

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.

I was just wondering when the class placements were coming out. Thank you so much!

High school students' schedules will be mailed on August 9. Packets including middle school students' placements will be mailed on August 25. Packets including elementary students' assigned teachers also will be mailed August 25. We look forward to seeing all students on the first day of school, Tuesday, September 5!

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.

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