In response to the reduction of a few teacher assistant positions at the last Board meeting, it is the intention of the Board to keep the daycare schedule the same during the next school year and during the summer, including this summer. Even though two full time daycare teacher assistants were reduced due to economy, they will be replaced with hourly staff to cover the hours of the former FT TA’s. There will still remain a full time TA in each daycare classroom in addition to the hourly staff. The TA’s who were not renewed will be considered first for these part time hourly positions. Given the increase in expenses to run the summer program (no BCIT students involved and outside of the contracted year for staff), a higher rate will be provided for the summer session than the school year. A letter will be sent to parents with the details within a week. The superintendent will provide an update at the next Board of Education meeting.
During the past two months, BCIT Engineering and Architecture Design Technology teachers have received training on the addition of Drone Technology to the existing curricula. Starting in September, students in these programs will now have the opportunity to build, design and fly drones and quality to sit for the test based on skills learned to earn a FAA Drone Pilot License. In addition, students on the Medford campus will now have access to a large format 3D printer that is able to print projects that are 3’Lx3’Wx1.5’H. Ultimately, students will be able to design and 3D print their own drones. Discussions about starting an after school Drones Club have commenced to promote student engagement beyond the traditional school day.
During the annual Burlington County Teacher of the Year and Educational Services Professional of the Year Recognition Program today, hosted at Burlington City High School, four BCIT staff were recognized. Districts from all around Burlington County were represented and 141 honored. The BCIT honorees for this year as selected among their peers are:
Westampton Campus: Information Technology teacher – Joseph Rivera
School Psychologist – Kyle Lawrence
Medford Campus: Mathematics teacher – Terrence Ward
Social Worker – Lori Ilconich
Taking a proactive step, the Burlington County Institute of Technology School District, through the two principals who sent letters home this week, wanted to call the attention to our parents of the new Netflix original series entitled Thirteen Reasons Why. The series is popular among teenagers in our schools and across the United States. The miniseries is based on the 2007 John Asher novel of the same name. The series tells the story of seventeen-year-old Hannah Baker, who takes her own life, and leaves behind audio recordings to people who she believed were part of her decision to commit suicide.
The show has generated a lot of discussion in social media and among mental health experts. In keeping with our mission to keep the students of the Burlington County Institute of Technology School District safe and secure, parents informed and parents and their children positioned to enhance the essential conversation about teens, suicide, and mental health issues at home, a number of resources were offered in the letter to allow for informed discussions at home and avenues for assistance. More information may be obtained from the high school principals.
On May 11, I had the opportunity to attend the concert, which was well attended. The number of students who were able to play multiple instruments was impressive. Students involved in vocal, instrumental, popular music ensemble and the Jaguar Band played and sang before a large crowd. One student will be auditioning for the TV program The Voice within the next few weeks. More to follow. Congratulations to the all those who made the evening a jazzy affair.
On May 3rd 2017, BCIT West Tech's Vocationally Talented and Gifted program (Vo-Tag) held the annual Senior Citizen Prom whose theme this year was Leaning Into Love. Zubaidah Khan and Maya Johnson, 10th grade Marketing students, coordinated the 12th annual Senior Citizens Prom in honor of Older Americans Month. In attendance were two nursing homes, Masonic Village and Granville Place. From dinner to dancing with a live band, festive attire, fanciful Italian-themed decorations including photos on the red carpet and boutonnieres for the occasion. Due to collective effort of our Vo-Tag, Entertainment Technology student volunteers and Culinary Arts student and staff volunteers, it was a night to remember and worthy of a round of thank you’s (Grazie in Italian) by pleased guests.
This annual activity provided VO-TAG, National Honor Society and Culinary Arts students an excellent opportunity to pay it forward and experience what it means to volunteer, interact with our community and be of service to the elderly, some of whom never had a chance to attend a Prom. It was truly a night to remember and smiles that speak a 1,000 words. We salute our students and volunteer staff!
In an effort to provide additional information regarding questions posed during public comment at the Board of Education meetings, I will utilize this blog as a platform to provide additional information and timely responses to public comment that are not considered a personnel matter or are confidential in nature.
The administration has conducted research and will be sending out a letter to parents the week of May 22nd to those who have children in the daycare program at BCIT West. The letter will address the confirmation of hours, hours of operation during the school year and the summer and related personnel who will be in the daycare rooms. It is understood as a result of the reductions of a few teacher assistants what parents should expect to experience moving forward.
The Board meetings will begin at 6pm commencing in September 2017.
Medford Senior Amos Koffa is competing Nationally in the Poetry Out Loud National Competition tonight at 7 p.m. See the attached viewing information. Amos, we are so proud of your accomplishments. Best wishes.
Click HERE for viewing information.
On Thursday at the Merion in Cinnaminson, I had the honor to witness the top high school students in each school and grade level from 10-12 from across the County recognized at the annual BCPSA County Academic Awards Dinner. BCIT and BCSSSD were well represented with four tables of students and parents. The annual event was sponsored by the Burlington County Principals and Supervisors Association. Congratulations to our honorees:
School Grade 12 Grade 11 Grade 10
BCIT Medford Samantha Stiehl Amanda Wells Annaliessa Williams
BCIT West Jacob Bauldock Danielle Ambroise John Schulyer/Nazim Tijani
I look forward each year to the Spring. It is a season that indicates a shift from the cold and nasty weather to warm temperatures, sun, longer days and a sense of optimism. It is also a season that ushers in the spring flowers and buds on the trees, not to mention allergies. Spring is also a reminder of the great things that are upon us in the Burlington County Institute of Technology. In addition to the seventy-degree weather this week, we celebrate the successful musical Singin' in The Rain, which captured the hearts, laughs and wonder of those in the audience over the past two weekends as the rain came down on stage and we all hummed along to those familiar tunes. Recently, we celebrated Read Across America Day and our Literacy for Life initiative. We value the opportunity to promote reading and writing across the district.
This past Thursday, we honored seven of our students at the Annual New Jersey Principal and Supervisor Academic Awards Dinner for the top sophomore, junior and senior in each school. This week, the Annual Program Advisory Dinner celebrated Career and Technical Education with our schools. We are grateful to our local businesses and men and women who support our efforts to provide a state-of-the-art skill-based education and dual credit opportunities for our students to earn college credits in our partnership with Rowan College at Burlington County. This month, thanks in great part to our armed service partners, we celebrated STEM awareness and the awesome power that perseverance and hard work play along our journey to become the best we can be. Last, we look to Spring as a reminder that we have a few months left to make the best of our coursework and put in our best efforts before finals. In this Spring newsletter, there is so much more to read about what is happening in the district.
That is why I like the Spring. We have so much to celebrate and it all begins with all of our staff, parents, and students who make the district a special place to be, work and learn. Happy Spring!