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Recap of 9/28 Board of Education Meeting

Last night’s BOE meeting was informative and productive. The Keeping Schools Smart candidates are heartened by the progress that is being made in our district, particularly in the areas of pre-school expansion and foreign language instruction, two main pillars of our platform which we have been advocating for even prior to announcing our candidacy.

Here are some highlights of the meeting:

Board Secretary Report

  • Ms. Haley shared a thorough and comprehensive outline of how ESSER and FEMA grants have been allocated and used throughout the district.

  • She discussed mold remediation efforts in the VMS library.

  • She also outlined the grant process and requirements for the Pre-school Expansion Act funding and the plans to service the universe of preschool students in Voorhees within 5 years.

Superintendent Report

  • Dr. Hackett responded substantively to every inquiry made by speakers at the previous BOE meeting.

  • She noted that 24 lessons of the new health curriculum were posted online for two weeks, providing ample time for review. 35 comments in total were received, and only 2 of the comments in opposition related to content. To date, 76 students (2.5% of the student population) have opted out. Parents can continue to exercise their right to opt out of this programming.

  • She shared an overview of her first 90 days and highlighted the forums she has been hosting for parents.

  • She also reviewed the district’s QSAC scores and how they compare to the 2018-2019 scores.

  • Mrs. Donnelly reviewed the School Anti Bullying Self-Assessment for the 2021-2022 school year.

The Keeping Schools Smart slate wishes to acknowledge Ms. Haley and Dr. Hackett for their extraordinary transparency and thoroughness.

Audience Comments

  • Julienne from the Keeping Schools Smart slate reiterated the necessity of in-person foriengn language instruction, recognized the district for its herculean effort in receiving PEA grant funding, and addressed gaps in school security that require attention.

  • Jacob from the Keeping Schools Smart applauded Kresson school for its Back to School night, lauded the district for its focus on air quality and HVAC improvements, and stressed the importance of investment in STEM programming.

  • Other parents acknowledged the importance of foreign language education, stressed the importance of adequate teacher training, particularly when new curricula are adopted, and congratulated the district on the preschool expansion.

Board Comments

  • Scott Falk explained that he had made an error in judgment in voting to fill the vacancy on the Board left by Ms. Van Aken that was corrected when he voted for Ms. Ketover.

  • Julie Ketover congratulated Ms. Calabria and all the teachers and staff at VMS for a successful and engaging back to school night.

Some of Julienne's remarks can be found here. 

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