Superintendent's Blog

  • 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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  • Change in School Calendar

    Posted by David Trethaway at 2/5/2014 10:30:00 AM
    Dear Parents, Staff and Students,
     
    I am sure you would all agree that this has  been a very difficult winter so far and it appears that there is still more to come.  At this point in the school year, we have closed school on three separate occasions due to inclement weather and for the safety of students and staff.  Since we are required to have 180 instructional days, we will need to add three days to our school calendar.
     
    Therefore, we will be changing the school calendar and Monday, February 17th will be a regular school day We will also be adding two school days to the end of the current school calendar.  At this point, our last school day will be Friday, June 20th. 
     
    I understand that this may be short notice and having school on February 17th  may be an inconvenience to families who may have planned for this day off from school.  However, since we have lost three instructional days that are all prior to the state testing for our students, we feel it is important to include Monday February 17th as a regular school day. We also have several more weeks of winter and the potential of more inclement weather and possible school closings,  so it is important to add days earlier when possible so we have some flexibility at the end of the school year.   I also know that adding school days at the end of the school calendar also will create conflicts with plans, but these changes are necessary.   
     
    I realize that school closings will cause changes in the school calendar but these closings are all based on the safety of the students and staff.  I appreciate your understanding for the reasons for closing school and for making changes in  the school calendar. 
     
    If we have additional school closings, I will keep you posted as soon as possible of any additional  changes in the school calendar. 

    Again, Monday February 17th will be a regular school day for staff and students Friday February 14th will remain as a staff in-service day and no school for students. 

    Please refer to the website for updates on our school calendar. 

     Thank you again for your support of the Manchester Township School District. 
     
    David Trethaway
     
    Comments (7)
  • January 10th Delays

    Posted by David Trethaway at 1/10/2014 11:30:00 AM
    Parents, Staff, and Students,
     
    I would like to take this opportunity to inform you of the circumstances that caused some delays in picking up students today.  The High School, Middle School and Ridgeway students were all transported safely and on time today.  However while our buses where on the way to picking up our students from M.T.E.S. and Whiting, freezing rain began falling and immediately caused a dangerous situation on the roads.  This happened very quickly and a large number of accidents occurred in Manchester and across the area.  None of our buses were involved in any accident but they did immediately pull over to the side of the road and waited for the roads to be safe.  Township trucks came out and sanded the roads and eventually our buses went back on the road when it became safe to travel. 
     
    I realize that this caused problems as there was a delay of approximately one hour in picking up some of our M.T.E.S. and Whiting students. However, in the interest of safety for our students and drivers, this was unavoidable. When I was informed that there was a problem and there would be a delay, I made arrangements for the M.T.E.S. and Whiting parents to be called as soon as possible and  information posted on the webpage.  Again, I realize that this caused some problems, however the weather and roads became dangerous in a short time without much warning. 
     
    I would like to commend our drivers, transportation, and building and grounds  departments for their actions in keeping our students safe.  I would also like to thank our secretaries, staff and administration in the M.T.E.S. and Whiting Schools for their work in handling phone calls and providing parents with information.  Finally, I would like to thank the parents for  their cooperation and support throughout the day.  This was an extremely unique event which caused several problems but fortunately due to the work of the people mentioned above, all of our students and staff were safe. 
     
    Thank you again for your understanding. 
     
    David Trethaway
     
    Comments (10)
  • Sad News

    Posted by David Trethaway at 12/29/2013 6:00:00 PM
    Unfortunately, I have some sad news to report at this time.
     
    One of our dedicated and well-liked High School teachers, Ms. Tara Gardner, passed away this morning, Sunday, December 29th.  
     
    The High School will be open, tomorrow, Monday December 30th at 10:00 AM  for any staff member or student who wishes to come in.  We will have counselors available at this time.  
     
    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Tara and her family at this sad and difficult time.   
     
    Thank you.   
     
    David Trethaway 
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  • Happy Holidays

    Posted by David Trethaway at 12/24/2013 11:45:00 AM
    Dear Parents, Staff, Students and Community Members
     
    I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a Happy Holiday Season.  It is my hope that you all get an opportunity to spend some quality time with your friends and family during the next two weeks.  It is sometimes very difficult to find enough time to spend time on the real important things in life like our family and friends.  That is one reason  the Holiday season is  so special and important for all of us.  
     
    Starting in January, we will be developing a Strategic Plan that will guide our district through the next few years.  It is important to get input from a variety of people including Board of  Education members, parents, staff, students, and community members.   I hope you will find some time to provide input to us either by serving on a committee or by answering a survey that we will be distributing, both on-line and through paper.  Your input  and support is critical to the success of our district.
     
    I want to thank you for all of your support and cooperation you have given to me and the Manchester Township School District throughout the past years and look forward to seeing you in 2014.  
     
    Happy Holidays to you and your family!
     
     
    David Trethaway
    Superintendent of Schools
     
     
     
     
    Comments (0)
  • Strategic Plan

    Posted by David Trethaway at 11/13/2013 3:30:00 PM
    Parents, Staff, Community Members, and Students,
     
    I would like to take this opportunity to inform everyone that we are in the process of developing a Strategic Plan for our district.  This plan will identify and prioritize specific needs of the district over the next 3 to 5 years and also how best to address these needs.  Last year we began developing some target areas for this plan and several areas were identified.  Some of the areas that were identified include: Student Achievement/Educational programs, Facilities, Safety, School Culture and Climate, Finances and Resources, and Technology. 
     
    The next step in the process is to gather input from a variety of sources and form committees that include representatives from parents, community members, students, administrators, instructional and support staff, and board of education members,  We will be conducting surveys both on line and by other means to provide an opportunity for people to express their opinions and thoughts on the needs for our district.  We are also looking for people to volunteer to serve on one of the committees listed above and help develop this Strategic Plan for our  district.  This is an extremely important project as it will provide direction for our district for the next few years. 
     
    If you are interested in serving on a committee, please contact me either through e-mail or by phone.  I appreciate your cooperation and look  forward to working with you on a plan that will move our district forward.  Thank you.
     
    David Trethaway
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  • High School Incident

    Posted by David Trethaway at 10/26/2013 5:00:00 PM
    Parents, Staff and Students,
     
    Late Friday afternoon there was an incident that occurred at the High School that also involved the Manchester Township Police Department.  There was a message written on a bathroom wall that constituted a threat.  When I arrived at the High School, it was near dismissal time and the high school administrators were speaking with the police. The conversation with the police occurred shortly before and after the high school dismissal.  After the students and staff exited the building, we continued to discuss the situation with the police and it was decided to involve other police including police dogs to secure the building and the grounds.  Although the threat to the building was not specific, it was decided to be cautious and totally search the grounds and building. 
     
    After several hours, the building and grounds were declared safe by the police.  Although the threat was false, it is still a criminal act and the incident must be taken seriously.   It is our primary responsibility to ensure the safety of students and staff and the district will continue to work cooperatively with the police to take any action to ensure this safety.  I want to thank our local police and the other agencies that assisted in the search of the building and the grounds.  Threats such as this are always considered serious and we will work with the police to investigate this incident and the person or persons responsible will be held accountable.   
     
    As this is an ongoing investigation, I cannot provide any other information at this time. I want to thank you for your cooperation in this matter and ensure you that we will continue to work with our police department to provide a safe and secure environment for our students and staff. 
     
    David Trethaway
    Comments (0)
  • August Update

    Posted by David Trethaway at 8/8/2013 4:30:00 PM
    Parents, Staff, Students and Community,
     
    I hope you are all enjoying your summer and have found some time to relax and do the things that you really enjoy including spending some quality time with your family and friends.  The summer has been even more busy than usual in the Manchester Township School District. 
     
    Our high school administration team is now  set with  Dennis Adams as Principal and Tracey Raimondo and Stacie Ferrara as Vice Principals.Please refer to the web page to find out more about our new High School Administrative Team.  There will be an opportunity to meet the the Principal and Vice Principals at the High School on Wednesday, August 14th at 6:30 as we have scheduled a Meet and Greet Night.    This is also a night for Freshman orientation at the High School.  I hope you will take the opportunity to come out and welcome and get to know our new administrators. 
     
    As I previously mentioned, Mrs. Evelyn Swift is our new Principal at the Whiting School and we have scheduled a Meet and Greet Night for her on Thursday August 22, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Whiting School.  I hope to see you there to welcome Mrs. Swift to the Whiting School. 
     
    We continue to do a lot of work in all of the schools in the district.  We will be installing additional security equipment including additional cameras and a new card system for access by our staff.  We will be installing an additional set of doors in the Whiting School to improve our security in that area. 
     
    Lastly, work is being done at the Ridgeway School to insure that everything will be prepared for the start of school.  We are replacing carpets,  student desks and classroom furniture in certain areas  that have had any indication of mold.  Dehumidifiers, air scrubbers are being used to insure the entire building is ready for the start of school.  The majority of the school has been tested and is in excellent shape but flooring and furniture still needs to be replaced.  We have moved the Ridgeway Kindergarten orientation to  August 28th so students will have access to all of the classrooms. 
     
    We will be ready for the start of school in all of the buildings and please refer to the website for information on Orientation and Back to School Night Programs.  Thank you again for your support and cooperation to our district. 
     
    David Trethaway 
     
    Comments (2)
  • Summer Work

    Posted by David Trethaway at 7/26/2013 3:40:00 PM
    Parents, Staff Students and Community
     
    I would like to take this opportunity to provide another update on the work being done in our district, particularly at our Ridgeway School.  As I had mentioned previously, during the high heat and humidity days, we noticed several areas of mold in our Ridgeway School.   Since we are all aware of the situation from the Middle School last year,  we have been very watchful of any problems.  As a precaution, we had the entire school tested and the majority of the school is in good shape.  However, there are some areas that require some intensive cleaning.  In areas of concern, we are again removing carpeting and replacing it with tile flooring as this is much more resistance to mold.  We are also removing and replacing desks in any areas that may be a concern.  Dehumidifiers and air scrubbers have been in place to avoid any further problems.  We will be cleaning the entire school using special equipment and working with outside professionals as well to insure that the entire school is clean and retested before the start of school.  As I stated before, the majority of the school is in good shape however as we continue to clean the entire  school and replace carpeting and furniture in certain areas, the access to the school will remain limited.  I will again keep you posted with additional information, but at this point we are confident that all the work will be completed in August. 
     
    The Middle School is excellent shape as we have used dehumidifiers during the summer to control humidity throughout the high heat days.  We will begin to install some of our new security equipment, new phone equipment, and new  wireless equipment next week and this work is also scheduled to be completed during August. 
     
    As the work is being completed, I will keep you informed through our website.  If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to call my office.  Thank you again for your patience and understanding and I hope you are all enjoying the summer.  
     
     
    David Trethaway
    Comments (0)
  • Middle School & Ridgeway School

    Posted by David Trethaway at 7/10/2013 2:00:00 PM
    Manchester parents, staff, students and community members,
     
    I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with some  information on the work currently being done at the Middle School and the Ridgeway School.
     
    As we are all well aware, we had a serious mold situation at the Middle School last year that required extensive remediation and delayed the opening of the Middle school until the end of November. We  planned to be proactive this year and put in place some heavy duty dehumidifiers and air scrubbers at the beginning of the summer at the Middle School to prevent this from occurring again.  Additionally, some of the tile floor that was put in last year was not wearing properly and it was being replaced by the installer. At this time, some community groups are not being allowed to utilize the Middle School facilities while this work is being done.  I apologize for the inconvenience, but it is critical to take these measures to insure that we do not have a repeat of last years problems at the Middle School. With the dehumidifiers in place,  the Middle School is in  good condition.
     
    As you know, we have had extremely hot and humid conditions over the last several weeks.  Due to these conditions, we are carefully inspecting  each of our buildings throughout the district. During one of these inspections in the  Ridgeway School, we noticed that there are several isolated areas where mold has begun to be present. While this condition is only noticeable in a few areas, we have made arrangements to test the entire school.  We have permission to use some of the building as much of the school does not appear to be affected,  however, as a precaution, we have moved the Jump Start Program to M.T.E.S. Students and staff will continue at that location until every area in the school  has been tested and proven to be safe.  Fortunately, this situation was noticed quickly.   
     
     I will provide you with additional information, when we receive the test results and confer with the professionals on the correct course of action,  I want to assure you that we are taking every step to be proactive and to make sure that this situation does not become serious. 
     
    I want to thank you again for your cooperation and understanding and I will keep you posted when I receive more information. 
     
     
    David Trethaway

     
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