Superintendent's Blog

  • Update on Security Issues

    Posted by David Trethaway at 5/7/2015 3:10:00 PM
    As I previously posted, during our last Board of Education meeting  there were several parents who expressed concerns regarding safety and security issues at the high school.  I also previously posted that we would be continuing our meetings with the Manchester Police Department to continue to address some responses to some of the issues.  We did meet with the police department and Mayor Palmer today, May 7th, and we are working on several suggestions for additional ways to address some of the safety and security issues. 
     
    I also mentioned at our last Board of Education meeting I would hold a meeting for interested parents to update them on the items that we plan to address and to hear any additional  concerns that may exist.  I will be available on Monday, May 11 at 6:00 at the Ridgeway Elementary School Media Center to discuss any items of interest and concern regarding safety and security. 
     
    Any parent or resident that would like to attend, please contact my secretary Cheryl Mackenzie at either 732-350-5900 or at cmackenzie@manchestertwp.org to verify your intention to attend.  I would like to get an idea of the number of participants in order to arrange for adequate seating. 
     
    Thank you for your cooperation and support.  
     
     
    David Trethaway
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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  • Recent Board of Education Meeting and Security Issues

    Posted by David Trethaway at 4/24/2015 6:00:00 PM

    Dear parents, staff, and students,

    At our recent Board of Education Meeting, several parents expressed their concerns regarding security issues at the High School. In particular, one of the issues was the duties of the  Student Resource Officer (SRO) and the possibility of the addition of new security staff. This issue and others were discussed at a recent meeting we had with representatives of the Manchester Police Department including our new Chief of Police. Our district has always had an excellent cooperative relationship with our police department and we have relied heavily on their experience and expertise in the area of safety and security in our schools. 

    We will be meeting next week with the Police Department to discuss these issues and others that were brought up at the Board of Education meeting.  After these issues have been addressed, I will be reaching out to interested parents to schedule a meeting to further discuss these issues and other concerns. 

    In addition to several relevant issues, there was some information presented at the Board Meeting and also on social media that was not totally accurate. I would encourage anyone who has a concern or question regarding a safety issue or any other issue to please contact the school or my office. In this way we can focus on the relevant issues that need to be addressed and not be distracted by misinformation.   

    I believe our schools are safe but we are not perfect. It is important that we continually work to address safety and security issues to make our schools even safer. In order to accomplish this we need to continue to work cooperatively with our police department and continue to gather input and address concerns from our parents, staff, and students. 

    I want to thank the parents for their input and we look forward to continue working with the Manchester Police Department and our parents, staff and students to make our schools as safe as possible. 

    Thank you again for your cooperation and support of our district.

     

    David Trethaway

     

     

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  • PARCC Assessment Information

    Posted by David Trethaway at 2/13/2015 6:20:00 PM

    Dear Parent/Guardian:

    Students in the Manchester School District, grades 3 through 11 will be taking the PARCC assessment this year.  It is important to understand that the Manchester Township School District is required to give the PARCC assessment to all students.  These assessments are replacing the NJASK and HSPA that had been given previously. There are two sessions of the PARCC test, the Performance Based Assessment (PBA) and the End of Year Assessment (EOY).   These tests are not used to determine student grades or placement

    The PARCC Performance Based Assessment Test Schedule is as follows:

    Elementary Schools and Middle School

    Grades 3 & Grade 6         March 2 through March 6    

    Grades 4 & Grade 7        March 9 through March 13

    Grades 5 & Grade 8         March 16 through March 20  

    Makeup Sessions            March 23 through March 27

    Regular instruction will be taking place for grades not testing during a specific time. 

    Elementary students will be tested in their own classrooms with their classroom teacher unless specific accommodations are necessary. 

    Middle school students will also be testing in classrooms according to subject area. 

    High School

    English (ELA) 11                 March 2, 3, 4                      Alg II           March 5,6           

    English (ELA) 10                 March 9,10,11                    Geometry     March 12,13

    English (ELA) 9                   March 16,17,18                 Algebra I       March 19,20

    Makeup Sessions             March 23 through March 27.

    Please check individual school sites for additional information.  

    Also, an Infrastructure Trial Test will be given during the week of February 16th. This will be an opportunity for students to take a practice portion of the assessment and will give the district an opportunity to check the technology devices. These tests will not be used for any assessment scores. 

    Several parents have inquired about the ability to “opt out” of the PARCC assessment. As per the directive of the New Jersey Department of Education, there is no “opt out” option for any section of the PARCC. The district must offer the test to all eligible students.    

    In accordance with the above, State law and regulations require all students to take State assessments. For the 2014-2015 school year, the PARCC assessment will replace the prior statewide assessments - the NJASK in grades 3-8 and HSPA in high school; as such, all students shall take the PARCC assessment as scheduled. Since the PARCC assessment is part of the State required educational program, schools are not required to provide an alternative educational program for students who do not participate in the statewide assessment.

     Please click on the following link to read Commissioner Hespe’s letter.  

    http://assets.njspotlight.com/assets/14/1102/2042 

     

    I have received questions from several parents regarding concerns of students taking the PARCC assessment. I have tried to address some of these concerns briefly.

    • Several parents expressed their concern regarding student anxiety towards the assessment.

    It is important to note that this assessment is not used in grading or classroom placement and we just urge students to do their best on the assessment.

    •  Some parents are concerned about an assessment being conducted on the computer rather than paper and pencil.

    Since the students have been using Chromebook in their regular classroom setting over the past year and even longer, they are comfortable with the technology.  Also, students with 504 plans and special needs students will have testing accommodations if needed.

    •  I also understand that information has been presented that states that students who refuse to take the assessment are not allowed in the testing area.
     This issue has been clarified by the NJDOE and PARCC. If a student is assigned to a test area, he/she may remain in the area regardless if he/she refuses to take the test. The PARCC manual does not allow visitors or students not assigned to a particular testing area. 
    • Some parents are concerned about the complexity of the test

    Since this is the first time for the PARCC assessment it is difficult to determine this at this time.  I am confident that our teachers and students are working effectively in their classes and we only expect our students to do the best that they can.  This assessment  will have no bearing on their grades or class placement. 

    • Lastly, it is important to establish some clear guidelines for the administration of the PARCC assessment. 

       1.    Students in attendance during the assigned testing dates will complete each section of the assessment. The remainder of the day, regular instruction will be taking place. There will be no need for delayed openings or early dismissal. Although it is possible for testing to take place in the morning and afternoon, all testing will take place in the morning unless there is a special circumstance.  
      
       2. Students absent during the assigned assessment will be scheduled for the makeup session.
     

    3.           3.  Special accommodations will be available for students with special needs. 

     

    4.       4. In the event that a student refuses to take the assessment either in class or by parental request, the student will be allowed to read a book or other appropriate material in the testing classroom. There will be no alternative setting assigned at this time. 

     

    5.         5.  Certain sessions of the assessment will require the use of headphones or earbuds. Students have the option of using their own set or one will be provided to them. 

     

    New Jersey has been giving standard assessments statewide for a long time. The assessments have changed over time and this year the change is from the NJASK and HSPA to the PARCC. Please understand that the Manchester Township School District is required to give the PARCC assessment to all students and to maintain a 95% participation rate. If there are any changes  directed by the NJDOE we will keep you posted. 

    Since this is the first year for this assessment, I understand that many parents have concerns regarding the implementation of the PARCC. We have tried to address these concerns whenever possible.  Since the PARCC has no effect on grades or placement of classes, we are just asking that our students do their best on the assessment. 

    There is a great amount of information on PARCC testing currently available, some factual and some is not. If you have individual concerns or questions, I would urge you to attend the upcoming meetings posted on our website or contact your child’s building principal or my office. 

     

    Thank you as always for your cooperation.

    David Trethaway

    Superintendent of Schools

     

     

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  • Weather Advisory

    Posted by David Trethaway at 1/25/2015 10:30:00 PM

    Parents and Staff,  

     
     We are receiving information that is predicting  a significant amount of snow later in the day tomorrow, Monday January 26th.  Based on these predictions at this time, we plan on opening school tomorrow, unless weather conditions change overnight. If the timing of the snow changes in any way, we will change our decision accordingly. 

    If the timing of these predictions are accurate,  there will be a strong possibility that we will have an early dismissal tomorrow. I am asking that parents and staff please be prepared and  plan for this possibility .  Everyone will be notified of any changes through our calling system and the website.  

    At this time, all after school activities will be canceled.   
     
    Thank you for your cooperation. 
     
    David Trethaway 
     
     
     
    Comments (2)
  • Issues at Ridgeway and the Middle School

    Posted by David Trethaway at 1/6/2015 3:00:00 PM
    Dear Parents, Staff ,Students and Community Members,
     
    First let me wish each of you a healthy and Happy New Year.  I also want to congratulate and wish our new mayor good luck as he assumes his new position.  We look forward to working with him and continuing a positive working relationship with our town.   
     
    I would like to give you an update on the situations that occurred at Ridgeway Elementary and the Middle School. 
     
    As you may have known, the Ridgeway school lost some power yesterday morning due to a problem with a power pole outside the building.  JCP&L responded quickly and restored power. Students were safely escorted to their classrooms by our staff. 
     
    At the Middle School there was a problem with a water pump which allowed a substantial amount of water to overflow into the sixth grade wing classrooms and hallway.  Students were directed to alternate classrooms for yesterday and today.  Ihe water has been removed and the entire area has  been cleaned.  Fortunately there was little damage.  At this time, we expect to be able to use all classrooms tomorrow. 
     
    I would like to thank the staff, the administration and the students for  dealing with the situations in a safe and orderly fashion with little instructional time lost.  Our custodial, grounds and maintenance staff did an excellent job in addressing the problems quickly. 
     
    Again, I would like to wish everyone an healthy and Happy New Year and I appreciate your support and cooperation.  
     
    David Trethaway 
     
     
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  • December Message

    Posted by David Trethaway at 12/8/2014 4:00:00 PM
    Parents, Staff and Students,
     
    I hope everyone is having a successful year.   As we begin to approach the winter break, I would like to first wish each and every one of you happy holidays and good health for the coming year.  Hopefully, you will have time to catch up with  friends and family which we sometimes have little time for with our hectic schedules.  
     
    I would like to invite you to come to our holiday concerts which will be held in the coming weeks.  Each of our schools have their own concert and  we also have a concert for our district elementary band.  We have some very talented students and the teachers and the students have been working very hard to be prepared to give their best  performance.  Please visit our main district web page for the time and date for each concert.  I encourage you to attend several concerts as each one is an opportunity to feel good about the upcoming holidays.  
     
    On another item, over 1300 chromebooks have been distributed throughout the district to not only prepare for the upcoming PARCC test but to provide our students an opportunity to use this technology in everyday instruction.   I am pleased with the enthusiasm of both students and the staff as they continually  explore new and innovative ways to use this technology to enhance learning.   
     
    We are also beginning to finalize plans to make the improvements that are needed and were made possible by the passing of the recent referendum.  Additional security measures as well as improvements in roofs, lighting, and heating and air conditioning are several of the main areas that we will be addressing.
     
    Of course none of this would be possible without the support of the parents and the community, so I would like to thank you again for your support of the schools.  
     
    Have a great holiday and I hope to see you at the holiday concerts.  
     
     
     David Trethaway
     
     
     
     
     
     
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  • Congratulations

    Posted by David Trethaway at 10/21/2014 11:00:00 AM
    Parents, Staff and Students,
    I would like  to take this opportunity to congratulate Miss Delesky and our High School Band for winning the State Championship Competition at Rutgers University.  Our band has achieved numerous awards this year and the time and dedication put forth by Miss Delesky, the band members and the parents has been truly remarkable.  Winning a state championship is such an outstanding accomplishment.  Additionally, I would like to wish Miss Delesky well in her new position and welcome our new band director Mr. Pollock to Manchester.  
     
    I  would also like to congratulate our Middle School for winning a $10,000 grant from Ocean First for their proposal for a model classroom.  Mrs. Driber, Mr. Ninivaggi and Mrs. Simister prepared the grant and will use the funds to continue to expand our STEM program at the Middle School.
     
    Finally, I would also like to congratulate our Whiting School , Mrs. Swift and Mrs. Sheftall for winning a grant for $3500 from Voya Financial Corporation.  With this grant Mrs. Sheftall will be able to purchase equipment that will motivate and encourage our Whiting students to be more active  in their physical education  classes. 
     
    Please look at our website for additional information on these achievements.
     
    The school year has begun with many positive things happening in all of our schools.  This is a tribute to all of the hard work and commitment from our staff, students and parents.  I also want to thank our parents and community members who supported our referendum project.  These funds who help us address the critical needs in our schools.  With your support and with the help of
    40 % funding from the state, we will be able to make needed repairs and replacement to our HVAC and  roofs and improve our energy efficiency.  Funds will also be available for improving security measures in all of our schools.  I appreciate all of  your support for our schools. 
     
    David Trethaway
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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  • Summer Work in the Schools

    Posted by David Trethaway at 6/25/2014 9:00:00 AM
    Parents, Students and Staff,
     
    I want to inform everyone that we have many projects and work that will be taking place in the summer at our schools.  If you need to come into the school, please call ahead if possible to make sure that work is not being done at that time.
     
    I also want to inform you that we will be utilizing some dehumidifers in the Ridgeway and Middle Schools throughout the summer as a precaution against moisture from extremely humid conditons. There are no problems at either school but this step is taken as a precaution.  
     
    Enjoy your summer and I will keep you posted of any updates for the upcoming year.  
     
    David Trethaway 
    Comments (1)
  • End of the Year

    Posted by David Trethaway at 6/23/2014 9:00:00 PM
    End of the Year
     
    Dear Parents and Students,
     
    As we approach graduation tomorrow, I would like to  congratulate our class of 2014  and wish them luck in the future.  This is a special class not only for their achievements in the classroom and athletics but also for all of their school spirit and contributions to community activities.  We are all very proud of this group of seniors and I would like to especially thank their parents for the sacrifices they have made to provide these students with the opportunities to be successful.   
     
    I also would like to congratulate our 8th grade class on their graduation from the Middle School and I look forward to welcoming them into our high school next year.  
     
    We are all hoping for great weather tomorrow and two excellent graduation ceremonies.  I look forward to seeing you there.  
     
     To the rest of our students and parents, and our staff , I hope you have an enjoyable summer and get to spend some quality time with friends and families.  
     
     Thank you for all of your cooperation and support for the Manchester Township School District.  
     
     
    David Trethaway 
     
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  • PARCC Pilot Testing

    Posted by David Trethaway at 3/21/2014 2:00:00 PM

    Parents, Staff, Students and Community Members, 

     
    This year, the New Jersey Department of Education(NJDOE) has selected several of our schools to participate in the PARCC Pilot program. The PARCC test is  the test that will be replacing the NJ ASK test and the HSPA test throughout the state of New Jersey next year. This  pilot program will give our students and teachers an opportunity to gain insight and experience in the type of questions that will be on this new state test.

    The High School, Middle School and Manchester Township Elementary School are the three schools that were selected to participate in the pilot program. Two of our third-grade classes will be taking the pilot test in the area of literacy.  Additionally,  two of our seventh grade literacy classes and two of our high school English classes will be taking the Pilot test in literacy as well.  Finally, two of our high school geometry classes  will be participating in the Math PARCC Pilot.  These classes were selected by a random drawing as outlined by the NJDOE. 

    In addition to assessing higher level thinking skills in the new Common Core Curriculum, the PARCC test requires students to use a computer to take the test.  This is a new experience for students throughout New Jersey. Therefore, to help prepare our students for this type of assessment, we have purchased additional computers for most of these pilot classes. New chrome books have been distributed to the third-grade classes, the seventh-grade classes and the geometry classes for use in classroom instruction and to provide our students the opportunity to become familiar with the process of taking a test on the computer. Our ninth-grade English students who will be taking the pilot test have been given additional opportunities to use the computer lab in the high school. Additional chrome books have also been purchased for use in the Ridgeway and Whiting elementary schools so that students in these schools will also have experience working with the computers in their classrooms.  

    To date, I have received positive comments from the teachers and the students who have had the opportunity to use these new devices. In addition to providing valuable input regarding the new PARCC test, we are also getting information regarding the type of computers that we will be looking to purchase for the next school year.  Our goal is to provide more opportunities for all of our students to work with computers and technology throughout the year so that they would be better prepared for the new state test.

    For the students taking the pilot test it is important to note that the field test will not yield a student score report and will in no way become part of the student's educational record.

    Although no individual results will be reported from the pilot program, I’m looking forward to the comments from our teachers and our students regarding the type of questions on the PARCC test and the experience of taking the assessment on a computer.  

    I will keep you informed of any other additional  information.   
    Thank you.
     
     
    David Trethaway 
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