Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Knowlton Township Elementary BOE Calm Before the Holiday Rush

Upcoming Dates:
Knowlton families can enjoy some wintry cheer at the holiday concert on December 12 at 6:30 p.m.
● The next board of education meeting will take place on December 18 at 7 p.m.

Mason D. won Knowlton’s Citizenship Award this month for respect, accountability and sportsmanship. Photo by C. O’Chang.

The holiday season can bring both blessings and headaches, especially in an elementary school full of exuberant youthful emotions. The holiday rush hadn’t quite hit the Knowlton Township Elementary board of education meeting on Tuesday, November 21, though the
board did share some updates of interest for the months ahead.

Instructional Updates:

● Educator of the Year nominations – Superintendent Jeannine DeFalco noted that Educator of the Year nominations “have been a little light this year.” Nominations for both classroom teachers and educational professionals will be accepted through November 27.
● Tests ahoy – Prepare yourself, fourth graders. Knowlton will administer the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to fourth graders on February 15. This nationwide assessment helps educators and policy makers check how schools are doing at the local, state and national level. It’s not designed to give individual scores, which should take the pressure off the fourth graders.
● New standards incoming: Vice Principal Dana Carroll announced that new standards are incoming for English language arts (ELA) and math. Kindergartners and first graders will learn about money in their math classes. In ELA, phonics will return after an absence of a few years. Knowlton is one of many schools moving toward a more phonics-based
reading approach after several recent studies showing its effectiveness. The new standards will be in place next September.

Giving and Fundraising Updates:

● Two fundraisers finished, one in progress: The baketivity and pumpkin arrangement fundraisers have now finished. Parents can still support the school while beautifying their homes by buying poinsettias, a fundraiser that’s still ongoing.
● Giving for Thanksgiving: The EarlyAct club “has been working diligently” to prepare Thanksgiving baskets for the needy. Donations came from school families, community members with no children attending Knowlton, and local businesses. Their efforts have paid off: “It’s a lot of stuff,” DeFalco said.
● Giving for Thanksgiving, Vol. 2: Not to be outdone, Knowlton staff are busy collecting mittens, scarfs and other cold-weather items for DASACC, the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Warren County.
● Set in stone: Board member Ali Stiehl helped secure a donation of stone for the school garden, which is now prepped for winter.

Building & Facilities Updates:

● Picking up the speed: Knowlton is taking steps to replace their internet service, undoubtedly bringing relief to staff and students alike. Funding and timelines are a factor and the process will be ongoing.
● Searching for funds: DeFalco received a response from the School Development Authority about her request for funds to replace the now-defunct modular buildings with a permanent structure. Unfortunately, Knowlton isn’t eligible for these grants due to its low current and projected enrollment. DeFalco will continue hunting down other opportunities for funding.
● Quotes & more quotes: Board member Todd Spain explained that the facilities committee is getting quotes for several projects: fixing two HVAC units, moving the modular structures toward demolition and replacing the oil tank.

Student Update:

The winner of this month’s Citizenship Award is Mason D., who earned the award for accountability, respect, kindness and sportsmanship.

Chip O'Chang
Chip O'Chang, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Chip O'Chang is an educator, fiction writer, and lifelong resident of New Jersey. He has also written for My Life Publications and NJ Indy. He lives in the NJ Skylands with his partner, two cats, and and a bearded dragon.