BELLMAWR PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT (07-0260)

BELLMAWR PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT

BELLMAWR SCHOOL DISTRICT REPORT CARD

Bellmawr is a 3.7 square mile suburban community in close proximity to the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan Area. The Borough of Bellmawr, which was incorporated in 1926, is located at the crossroads of the New Jersey Turnpike, Interstate 295 and U. S. Routes 42, 130 and 168.

One Early Childhood Center, two elementary (Pre-K-4) and one middle school (5-8) provide an excellent education to more than 1200 students in grades Prek-8. Our highly qualified staff consists of 99 core-teaching members, one full time child study team staff, and three principals, a Vice Principal, an Early Childhood Supervisor, a Director of Special Services and a Director of Curriculum and Instruction. A seven member Board of Education, dedicated to maintaining excellent educational programs, facilities, and an ongoing safe school environment, guides the district. The Board of Education recognizes that teacher training is a key factor in meeting each of these objectives. To that end, the Board supports a professional development schedule that includes ongoing embedded professional development, common planning times for all teachers, team planning meetings and a modified block schedule allowing for 80 minutes of Math and Language Arts Literacy instruction each day. Our professional learning communities, in their 4th year of organization in all schools, at all grade levels, are highly functional. This dedicated and protected time has enabled us to provide job embedded professional development to every teacher in the district. Additionally, there are six non student contact professional development days built into the district calendar.

Our faculty and staff are extremely dedicated: many have spent their entire careers teaching Bellmawr children. A number of them have won prestigious State and National awards for their efforts. All are highly qualified and more than half of them have earned a Masters Degree in Education.

The Bellmawr School District offers a wide range of instructional programs designed to meet the needs of all students. This includes a pre-school handicapped program, a full day Pre-kindergarten for three and four year olds and a full day kindergarten program. We have implemented a full inclusion program for students in grades K-8 in addition to four multiply disabled programs and one behavior disabilities class at the middle school thus serving children with special needs at all grade levels.

The curriculum has been rewritten to ensure alignment with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and the Common Core. This alignment calls for a comprehensive balanced literacy program, differentiated instruction, an increased use of technology, problem solving, and writing in all areas of the curriculum. Much time, instruction, and practice is given to helping students learn how to think, to express thoughts in writing, to evaluate reading, and to deal with challenges. The Board of Education also recognizes that teacher training is a key factor in meeting each of these objectives. To that end, the District has a district wide reading teacher and a full complement of basic skills and three teachers of English Language Learners to facilitate these tasks. This demonstrates their commitment to the educational success of our children. With the assistance of the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, all teachers have implemented Guided Reading, work stations, Writer’s Workshop, and portfolio assessments. The Board of Education has supported these initiatives with the purchase of scientific, research-based reading and Math series district wide, which have been sustained through ongoing professional development.

Additional resources are available for instruction in basic skills, English as a Second Language and a gifted and talented program for those meeting our criteria. Peer mediation and peer tutoring are available district wide. Academic initiatives include Fundations, the formation of a Special Education Parent Support Group, the implementation of 100 Book Challenge, extended day programs the implementation of LEADS(Literacy is Essential to Adolescent Development and Success) and a Summer Enrichment program open to all students at no cost to our families. Technology instruction and state of the art equipment for the students and faculty have been a major priority for the Board of Education. Every teacher has a laptop, there are technology labs and stations in the schools and classrooms and the principal in the middle school is in the fourth year of a successful 1:1 laptop initiative for students in grades 5-8. Students in the elementary have access to Chrome Books.

The District is the recipient of four ROD grants, which have allowed for new security systems in all schools, an upgraded electrical system at the Bellmawr Park School, and new windows at both elementary schools as well the construction of an Early Childhood Center. A successful bond referendum allowed for the replacement of roofs in all district schools. Grants have also been acquired for the creation of a passive park at the middle school, a reading garden and a new ball field at the Ethel M Burke Elementary School and a butterfly garden at the Bellmawr Park Elementary School.

The Bellmawr School District believes in shared services and has entered into a number of partnerships that benefit the school community and the community at large. The district has been able to purchase salt, and complete construction projects through an inter local agreement with the Borough, We have also been successful in developing partnerships with other school districts which enable us to access leadership training for our administrators and to share the cost of food services and technology services. These activities have been designed to save taxpayer dollars and increase efficiencies.