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Quick Questions and Answers

Please see below for questions that the community has asked, along with our answers. Some questions may be a compilation of similar questions on the same topic. Questions may be edited for brevity.

Many residents make use of tennis courts and track facilities at Cherry Hill High School East all summer, but in 2017 the portable toilets were removed for the summer. Can these please be allowed to remain in place this summer?

One portable toilet will be left out at the outdoor sports facilities at Cherry Hill High School East for the summer.

Who received the bid for the water refilling stations in our schools?

The Cherry Hill Public Schools has its own full-time plumber and did not bid the water refilling station installation. The refilling stations were purchased from a State Contract vendor, Madison Plumbing, and were installed by our plumber.

How do high school guidance counselors help seniors with the college process?

The guidance process for college application and admittance begins in our high school students' freshman year, when guidance counselors meet with the students assigned to them to help them understand the credit requirements, the PSAT/SAT/ACT testing process, timeline for college applications, college visits, scholarship opportunities and more. Regular meetings are scheduled throughout students' high school careers to help keep them on track with the process. Students who enter our high schools after freshman year also are contacted by their guidance counselors to make sure they are on track to meet their educational goals. Additionally, students are encouraged to schedule meetings with their guidance counselors whenever they have questions or concerns about the process. Parents and students will find a plethora of college-related information on their high school's web site under the "Academics" pull-down menu, under the "Guidance" tab. There they will find the Guidance eboard with a "College" tab offering specific resources. Our guidance departments each summer offer Summer Workshops on the ACT and PSAT/SAT exams, as well College Essay Tutorials. Also offered are Financial Aid Information Nights. Letters regarding Financial Aid nights are sent home to parents at the beginning of the school year.

What is being done to stop students from vaping in schools?

Students are prohibited from "vaping" -- using electronic smoking devices -- under Board Policy 5533 - Student Smoking. Under that policy, students are prohibited from smoking at any time in school buildings and on any school grounds, at events sponsored by the Board away from school, and on any transportation vehicle supplied by the Board. School staff regularly walk the buildings' interiors and grounds to prevent "vaping" on campus. All school events are chaperoned to help eliminate the use of tobacco at these events as well.

Students who violate the provisions of Policy 5533 - Student Smoking shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary measures in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and may be subject to fines in accordance with law.

In the event a student is found to have violated this Policy and the law, the Principal or designee may file a complaint with the appropriate Municipal Court or other agency with jurisdiction as defined in N.J.A.C. 8:6-9.1(c).

Additionally, the health curriculum at all grade levels includes age-appropriate instruction in the potential hazards of the use of tobacco, including its use in electronic smoking devices.

What services are available to help students, especially those in high school, who are dealing with stress or mental health problems such as depression or anxiety?

Trained professionals work in our schools at all levels to help students deal with stress and other mental health issues. Our school nurses at the elementary, middle and high schools are trained to recognize signs of stress and mental health concerns in our students and follow protocols for helping the students and their families take appropriate steps to address these issues. Each elementary school has a guidance counselor and some have a social worker and/or a school psychologist on staff. Additionally, each of our middle and schools has a Student Assistance Counselor (SAC) and a school psychologist on staff, in addition to guidance counselors. In some middle schools, a clinical social worker also is on staff. At the high school level, each school has multiple guidance counselors, a SAC and a Student Advocate. You may find the names and contact information for your school's counselor, SAC, psychologist and/or social worker on the school web site under the "Contact Us" link. The district also employs a psychiatrist who serves all of our schools. These professionals all are trained in recognizing and providing support for students who are feeling stressed and/or need mental health supports. Our teachers also undergo regular training regarding how to help students who are struggling emotionally and how to refer them to the appropriate supports. Mental health screening tests also are offered each year at the high school level to students in grades 9-12. Students must have permission from a parent to participate. Parents are sent a letter informing them of this option.They must actively request for their child to receive an evaluation. More information regarding mental health services and initiatives may be found in Board Policy 2411- Guidance Counseling and Board Policy 5350 - Student Suicide Prevention. Additionally, a robust list of mental health, addiction, emergency service and other crisis resources for parents is available on the district web site, under the "Departments" pull-down menu under the link "Student Assistance."

Regarding the bond issue, would you please explain what is allowed to be in the bond questions and why it does not currently include monies for STEM, new curriculum and new programs, teachers or adviser roles?

A bond is a way for school districts to raise money – which they then must pay back over a period of years – typically to finance building projects or other capital projects. The reason bond monies are not used for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) or other programs, curriculum or teachers and staffing is that these types of needs are not fixed expenses. It would be imprudent for the Cherry Hill Public Schools to incur debt to be paid off in 20 years to fund programs and staffing. This is why these types of expenses will remain in our regular annual budget. Within the 2018-2019 school year budget, we will be adding Chinese to our World Language program, "B-teams" to our middle school sports programs, and five additional campus police officers to our secondary schools. In the 2019-2020 school year, as part of that year's budget we will replace half-day kindergarten with full-day kindergarten in each of our elementary schools. We continue to push for fair funding from the state to allow us to offer expansion in our programs and human resources.

The presentation regarding debt service seems to have left some confusion in the community. Regarding the additional monies that we receive for debt service from the state of NJ, are the funds only to be used for debt servicing or can our district use them for improvements?

Under New Jersey state statute, money from the state for debt servicing must be used for debt servicing only, and documented as such.

Is there an orientation in August for incoming freshman to learn their way around the school?

Yes, each year Cherry Hill High School East and Cherry Hill High School West each host an orientation day for incoming freshman and new students. The orientation sessions generally take place during the last week of August. Specific dates and times for the 2018-2019 school year will be released in May 2018.

How are the middle and high school attendance areas determined? Is it strictly by zip code?

According to District Policy 8110 - Attendance Areas, the assignment of students will use a boundary line extending south along the New Jersey Turnpike from the north boundary of the township to the Haddonfield-Berlin Road, west along the Haddonfield-Berlin Road to Brace Road and then southwest to the Cooper River. Students residing east and south of this line shall attend High School East and Beck Middle School; students residing west and north of this line shall attend High School West and Carusi Middle School.

Unless students apply to attend high school under Policy 5111.2 - Secondary Open Enrollment, and are accepted, they will be assigned to East and West based on the boundary guidelines in Policy 8110.

Unless students apply to attend the Rosa International Middle School under Policy 5111.2 - Secondary Open Enrollment and are accepted, they will be assigned to Beck and Carusi based on the boundary guidelines in Policy 8110.

I am not sure how the proposed vestibules to be built on our schools' main entrances are a safety measure. Please explain how and why this measure is being taken. Why we don't implement devices such as door blockers for all classrooms?

One of the bigger challenges in our buildings is that once a visitor is buzzed in through the front door, he or she has open access to the building. Our building staff and principals have voiced legitimate concerns about this building design from the 1950s and '60s, as it has not kept pace with societal changes and the resulting security challenges. Specifically, our security consultants have affirmed that it is not advisable for visitors to have to walk down hallways and/or around corners merely to drop off an item or to meet with the building principal. Our discussions with administrators in other school districts where vestibules are in use further confirmed their usefulness in increasing security. As for classroom door blockers, we have been advised by our director of security, as well as local and county law enforcement that – among several issues – the blocking devices can too easily be used as a hindrance to law enforcement rescue efforts in an emergency situation. In March, we implemented new safety protocols – and recommitted to enforcing without fail those already in place – in our schools. We thank our parents and visitors for strictly following all safety protocols. We also are grateful for the increased police presence in our schools. We continue to work daily to improve our security efforts and have every confidence in the expert advice we continue to receive and follow regarding best practices.

My child has been placed on the wait list for admission to Rosa. Historically, how many children are granted admission from the wait list prior to beginning 6th grade?

There has been no historical norm exhibited for the number of students on the wait list who are granted admission before 6th grade. The number varies from year to year. Please feel free to call (856) 429-5600 Ext 4432 periodically beginning in the last week of April to see how your child is progressing through the wait list.

There have been at least two rewrites/edits to the World Language curriculum in the past six years. When will there be dedicated time to rewrite and not just revise the World Language Curriculum? When will textbooks and materials be updated?

Mr. Scott Goldthorp, our Supervisor for K-12, Science and World Language, will be training our high school and middle school language world language teachers during the upcoming in-service day in June. He is continuing the conversation with them about our ESL curriculum. Funds have been allocated in the 2018-2019 budget to update resources (materials, textbooks, etc.). The implementation of Chinese offers an opportunity to make further revisions as well.

What is happening with 6th grade World Language at Beck Middle School? Although the curriculum is the same for all middle school students by the time they finish 8th grade, when will 6th grade World Language be restored to a full year of study in 6th grade, like Rosa and Carusi?

Although the new master schedule for World Language at the three middle schools is not yet set, we are working on it. Until the master schedule is completed, Beck will maintain its current program. We will be publicizing the new master schedule when it is complete.

Hello! I am wondering about the proposed district-wide field trip choices. How were these sites chosen?

In order to have equity of outcome across the district, the elementary school principals worked together, with input from their teachers, to develop "anchor field trips" for each elementary grade level – meaning all students, at each grade level, will take their grade's designated field trip each year. Additional field trips may be offered in any given year, at the discretion of the school principal. To determine the "anchor field trips," the principals were required to submit a rationale for each trip to show the connection to the district's Board approved curriculum. Other considerations for choosing the field trip locations were cost and the locations' level of experience with handling large school groups. The "anchor field trips" are as follows:

Kindergarten: Springdale Farm. Trips to Springdale Farm include instructional components for students which align with the first two Science Units: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems and Weather and Climate.

1st Grade: Philadelphia Zoo. Students will observe and discuss how animals of the same breed look like their parents, but are not exactly the same. Classes will review different species of animals that are at the zoo. Students will use a recording sheet to record observations made during the trip. Students will share their observations after the trip.

2nd Grade: Adventure Aquarium. A visit to the Adventure Aquarium will help students develop the idea that water is a powerful force that reshapes the earth's surface. Students see that water isn't just something we drink. It carries sand to create beaches, carves out canyons and valleys and, as ice, scrapes entire areas flat.

3rd Grade: Camp Creek Run. This destination provides students with a variety of science-based learning activities. There is a habitat study that compares various habitats present at the camp as well as an opportunity to learn about the various organisms that live in the streams and woods present at the camp.

4th Grade: The Franklin Institute. The Franklin Institute has exhibits to match the Science Curriculum in 4th grade, including but not limited to the study of Energy, Waves and Engineering Design. The presentation and sheer scale of the exhibits at the Franklin Institute far exceeds what can be reproduced in the classroom.

5th Grade: Citizens Bank Park or Lincoln Financial Field. Behind-the-scenes tours of these facilities align with weather education and "go green" programs in our schools. The tours include a detailed explanation of solar/wind energy production and use, as well as recycling efforts.

In 2016-2017, the first 3 choices for snow make-up days were teacher in-service days. This year, 2017-2018, the 1st choice, February 16, is a teacher In-service day, but the 2nd choice is Presidents' Day, a federal holiday. Why was this policy changed? Why use a federal holiday? Why not use MLK Day?

On the 2016-2017 Cherry Hill Public Schools calendar, two of the five teacher in-service days, one on February 17 and one on April 17, were designated as the first two inclement weather makeup days for the 2016-2017 school year. The remaining teacher in-service day, on June 19, was designated the third makeup day, and June 20 was the fourth makeup day.

This year, the first two inclement weather makeup days are set for the teacher in-service day on February 16 and for Presidents' Day on February 19. This is similar to the inclement weather makeup day schedule during the 2015-2016 school year, in which the first two makeup days were designated for the teacher in-service on the Friday before Presidents' Day, and on Presidents' Day itself. A similar inclement weather makeup day schedule is on the 2018-2019 school calendar.

Although the Board of Education approves the District calendar two years in advance of every school year, there is no Board policy regarding which days must be used as inclement weather makeup days. Additionally, school districts are not required to close on federal holidays – for example, the Cherry Hill Public Schools does not close for Columbus Day. Federal holidays may be used as inclement weather makeup days.

The District chooses not to use Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (also a federal holiday) as an inclement weather makeup day because that day is a day of service, and we prefer to maintain it as such for our students and staff.
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 October 2, 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.

Why will the bond referendum vote be in October* 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 (which this year the state changed to October 2) 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 October 2, 2018 special election date.

*The State of New Jersey recently changed the fall special election date from September 25 to October 2, 2018 to avoid a conflict with a religious holiday.

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.

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.

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.