Principal to serve as leader at two schools
NORTH HANOVER - Township students returning to the Atlantis and Columbia schools
today may notice that they are sharing a leader: Atlantis Principal Catherine Moran-Fleming.
Fleming will serve as the principal of both the Columbia and Atlantis schools this year,
since Columbia Principal George Orfe retired in July.
"I'm looking forward to it," Fleming said on Tuesday.
She taught third and fourth graders in the past,
before coming to McGuire Air Force Base last year.
"I'm going to try to spend one or two mornings a week there (at Columbia)."
Fleming said Superintendent Richard Carson asked her to be the principal of Atlantis
as well as Columbia, which means she will now be attending two of each kind of meeting.
She said the teachers have been making the final preparations for the start of the school year,
and are excited. "Everyone's working together to have a good year," she added.
Robert Scranton, who was a fourth grade teacher at the Clarence B. Lamb Elementary School
for seven years, is now the vice principal of Columbia.
Carson said last week that Scranton will be responsible for the daily operations of Columbia.
"Everything is falling into place," Scranton said.
"We are definitely ready for the kids to come in."
His first day as vice principal was July 18;
he said the parents have responded enthusiastically to him so far.
"September will be a good trial period," he said.
"I'm sure he'll do a great job," Carson said of Scranton.
"He has solid principals who will support him."
He also said Scranton has a willingness to learn and ask questions.
Carson said a new advantage for the parents who have been deployed overseas
is the introduction of TeacherEase, a web-based gradebook communication software.
It was a 'pilot' last year in the first, second, and third grade classes,
but this year it will be implemented district-wide.
"On a daily basis, teachers can record grades ... record the progress of the students
... assignments that the children will need," Carson explained.
"Parents can access that from anywhere in the world."
He said the parents provide the district with their email addresses,
each teacher provides TeacherEase with a list of email addresses,
and then TeacherEase contacts the parents so they can establish a password
to keep track of their student's progress.
(Each parent's access is limited to his or her student's grades.)
"We thought it would be a help to parents," Carson said.
"Parents who used it, who were in that pilot group, loved it."
He also said the district has TeacherEase included in the budget.
In previous years, the students' progress reports were updated every four weeks.
Thirty teachers have spent time over the summer rewriting language arts and literacy curriculum,
making sure the curriculum is aligned with core content standards and the
Terra Nova standardized testing program.
Additionally, Carson said, four teachers have been reworking the district's
World Language program, which is Spanish.
Students in kindergarten through grade six get a Spanish
lesson for a half hour at a time, twice a week.
Eighty-five percent of the staff has recently been involved in curriculum mapping, he added.
Character education is becoming part of the North Hanover student's school experience more often, too.
Carson said character education is on-going in the schools.
"The teachers teach character education by incorporating it into their daily lesson plans," Carson said.
They will continue this year to work on character education in the classroom because the district's goal is to "institutionalize" it.
"When we move into the new building, it will be happening but you won't even notice it," he said.
The construction of the North Hanover Township Upper Elementary School off Route 537 (behind the Clarence B. Lamb Elementary School) is supposed to be complete in April, according to Carson.
"Everyone has signed off on that date," he said. "All the fifth and sixth grade students will be together in one building. We believe it's important that the two communities work together - this will be an opportunity to know one another, to share the different types of experiences they have. One is a very mobile community, and the other is a stable community."
He said he thinks this change will prepare the students to become seventh graders at Northern Burlington Regional Middle School. This year, however, students in fifth and sixth grade who live on McGuire Air Force Base will still be attending the Challenger school, while the fifth and sixth graders who live in other parts of the township will continue to attend Lamb.
Ernest Bock and Sons Inc., a Philadelphia-based company, has been building the school.
The 125,000-square-foot building will open a year behind schedule, in September 2006.
The school will include an 800-seat auditorium, a 500-seat gymnasium and a separate cafeteria.
The addition of the upper elementary school will enable the district to save money that is currently being spent on program duplication for the two schools.