Superintendent's Weblog...Welcome Back to the 2017-18 School YearPosted by Tory Gibilisco at 8/17/2017
Welcome Back to the 2017-17 School Year
Greetings Willingboro Family,
On behalf of the Willingboro Board of Education, allow me to be among the first to say Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year!
We are all very excited to embark on another opportunity to succeed in our mission to successfully educate all students through high expectations, a commitment to excellence, and equal access to a comprehensive educational program emphasizing the belief that all students will learn and become responsible, literate, thinking and contributing members of society.
It is vital as a school, organization, community, or family to remember what the ‘main thing’ is, and to keep the ‘main thing, the main thing’. As for the Willingboro Public Schools’ Family, ‘the main thing’ is captured in our mission statement cited above. Ultimately, all the decisions that we make and steps that we take, to continuously improve our school district, centers exclusively on our commitment to the mission. Regardless of your position assignment or Job Title (ie/Teacher, Parent, Principal or Secretary, etc ) the essential reason that we are all here, is to help our children to reach their fullest potential, both academically and socially.
To that end, our 12 month employees have been busily working in support of our future success. The administrators, custodians, support staff and central administration members are tirelessly doing the essential tasks... that we do not always see or appreciate.
The deep cleaning of our buildings, managing of staffing, alignment of master scheduling, rolling over of student records, upgrading of technology etc... All of these tasks are invisible to most, but truly allow us to produce the successful opening of schools necessary for a triumphant 2017-2018 School Year! So to all of them, we say thank you!
We have several new initiatives that we expect will assist us in our mission. They include, but are not limited to:
- New Advanced Placement Courses at Willingboro High School;
- Significant upgrades to our district-wide technology, including increasing our bandwidth by 5x, with new switches and routers ,while also moving to cloud based servers ;
- New partnerships with Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) for College Credit at Willingboro High School, as well as the Gateway Program for Dropout Recovery;
- Expanding our Alternative Education Program to now serve as an Alternative School;
- Updating our curriculum and programmatic offerings, including the New Generation Science Standards, Eureka Math etc.;
- New mandatory uniform initiative at Willingboro High School to support our efforts to improve our climate and culture, and increase college and career readiness;
- Online Student Registration; and,
- Online Lunch applications.
Again, all of these initiatives represent just a portion of our preparation for an outstanding 2017-2018 School Year! In closing, know that it is my pleasure to serve as your Superintendent, and I know that together we can make our District the one that we all envision it can be, and the one our community and children deserve!
Be sure to follow us on social media-Instagram @officialwillingboroschools and Twitter @willingborosch for updates and great stories of our success!
Yours in education,
Dr. Ronald G. Taylor,
Superintendent of Schools
Superintendent's Weblog...Hawthorne Awarded New PlaygroundPosted by Tory Gibilisco at 6/20/2017 3:00:00 PM
Hawthorne Awarded New Playground
Greetings Willingboro Family,
It is with much excitement that I share with you (in case you missed it) the CBS news story highlighting the ribbon cutting of the new playground won by Hawthorne Park Elementary School as a result of their recycling efforts. Follow the link below...Congratulations to Mr. Burgess and the Hawthorne Family!
Read the full news story HERE.
Superintendent's Weblog...What a marvelous 2 days in May!Posted by Tory Gibilisco at 5/26/2017 3:00:00 PM
What a marvelous 2 days in May!
Greetings Willingboro Family,
There are so many reasons that I love my job...our students, parents, educators, community members, the competitions that our students thrive in, seeing them flourish in college etc. Two recent days in May were exemplars of both the fantastic events that I have the privilege of participating in and the magnificent people that I am in the presence of.
On May 16, 2017, the annual Burlington County Teachers and Educational Service Professionals of the Year Recognition Ceremony was held at Burlington City High School. It was a grand morning with educators from all of our neighboring Districts being recognized for their tireless efforts. Our honorees took their rightful place amongst these shining stars. Each educator was featured in the program and had the honor of receiving their plaques individually on stage in front of a packed auditorium. Principals from each of our schools were there to applaud their superstars who were selected for this recognition by their peers!
Just two days later on May 18th, I had the enviable challenge of trying to attend two (2) awesome events at once! That evening, beginning at 6pm, our Annual Family Math and Literacy Night was scheduled to begin here at the Country Club Administration Building...at the same time I was invited to speak at an event at the Senior Center (@JFK Community Center) entitled Democracy Speaks. This event was commemorating the 1954 historic landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case. The event was organized in conjunction with the Federation of Democratic Women -Burlington County Chapter. The event featured a joint panel of senior citizens and Willingboro High School students. The panel discussed topics that centered on democracy from each participant’s personal perspective. I had the pleasure of introducing the student participants and giving words of reflection at the beginning of the event. I must thank Principal Ash for assisting in mobilizing the student participants when I requested their presence at this worthwhile event.
After my time at the Democracy Speaks event, I came back to Country Club to participate in the Annual Family Math and Literacy Night. The event was wonderful! There were many students and their families participating with the teacher organizers at stations that reinforced skills necessary for academic success. Students were engaged in meaningful activities and were given brand new books to take home! The committee did an outstanding job of decorating for the event and made it a special time for all.
If you were not able to visit any of the three (3) events I described above, please enjoy the pictures below! Also check out our social media accounts:
Burlington County Teacher of the Year and
Educational Services Professional of the Year Recognition Program
Annual Family Math and Literacy Night
Superintendent's Weblog...WHS Academic CompetitorsPosted by Tory Gibilisco at 4/17/2017 1:15:00 PM
WHS Academic Competitors
Greetings Willingboro Family,
We often praise our student athletes for their performance on the fields of competition and in the classroom. We revel at the commitment it takes to maintain academic requisites while striving for a high level of physical performance. However, we also know that there are scholars who represent our District in academic competitions as well. This blog is dedicated to these young people who are maintaining their academic obligations and also preparing to put their strategic and scholastic prowess to the test.
The Willingboro High School Chess Team, Debate Team and Model Congress Participants have had an outstanding year!
The Chess team under the guidance of Mr. Adam Smith recently wrapped up their 2016-17 season. They had a very solid season, going 6-6 in the Greater South Jersey Scholastic Chess League (16 schools), while also competing in three tournaments:
- Individual Championships; and,
- Team Championships.
The tournament performances were excellent, and combined with the Chimeras regular season record, the team achieve a 3rd place in their division overall.
Ms. Gaunt led both The Debate Team and the Model Congress Representatives. I was proud to recognize the Debate team at a recent Board of Education Meeting. They had an outstanding year! The Team Members who were recognized as the ‘Best Speakers’ were actually siblings:
- Varsity- Chinwendu Chukwu (2nd year in a row)
- JV- Uchechi Chukwu
The Team finished fourth in their division for the year. Ms. Gaunt stated that the Varsity Squad is all seniors and will be greatly missed!
This year at Model Congress Willingboro was represented by a group of standout students. The students impressed with their use of persuasive language and general linguistic abilities. Willingboro High School was successful in turning 2 bills into laws! This is not an easy task; they must speak confidently in front of over 150 students and convince a majority of the students to vote yes on their bill. Senior Kenneth Barrow and Junior Abdul Ray- Moore both were persuasive enough to get their bills turned into laws! Willingboro High school was also honored by having Junior Nasir Jones as Committee Chair Leader and outstanding delegate. This year’s attendees embodied leadership and poise.
To find out more about Model Congress click the link below.
We are so very proud of these young people and their sponsors, please enjoy the pictures below. #boropride
Superintendent's Weblog...State Of The District 2017Posted by Tory Gibilisco at 4/6/2017 8:00:00 PM
State Of The District 2017
Greetings Willingboro Family,
SOD 2017 Blog
On February 28, 2017, the Willingboro Public Schools produced a celebration of learning for our community. The 6th Annual State of the District Superintendent’s Address and School Showcase was an evening to remember. More than 800 stakeholders packed the Willingboro High School Auditorium to witness not only Dr. Taylor’s Annual State of the District Presentation, but also each of our schools’ performances. This year’s theme was “Cultivating our Culture”. We focused each of the schools’ presentations on the achievements of a deserving figure in Black History. The Principals and Coordinators took this guidance and led our students in the creation of engaging, creative and informative masterpieces! The crowd was so impressed by the evident preparation, poise and relevance of each presentation.
One highlight of the evening was the honoring of our Teachers of the Year and Educational Professionals of the Year for the 2016-2017 school year. These individuals were voted by their peers to receive this meritorious tribute. The students in the crowd gave rousing applause to some of their favorite educators!
This year’s State of the District Superintendent’s Address reviewed the systemic student achievement data of the Willingboro School District and focused on the products of our efforts (students of Willingboro High School -Past and Present). We were able to feature current dynamic Willingboro High students who are excelling, three Alums who are prospering at Spelman College (the #1 rated Historically Black College in America) and an Alum who was a campus leader at Villanova University and is now a first year law student at Temple University. Additionally, we profiled a prolific math instructor at Willingboro High School who is making a difference in students’ lives daily. The presentation concluded with the launching of the District’s social media accounts on both Twitter -@willingborosch and Instagram-@officalwillingboroschools.
A special note of thanks and recognition is given to the State of the District Ad Hoc Planning Committee, under the leadership of Dr. Talbert-Deputy Superintendent. Without the committed efforts of this committee, our Tech Department, our School Coordinators and most importantly our students this night would not have been possible. It was such a positive evening for all. Many still reflect on this beautiful event which was capped off by Chef Harvey and Willingboro High Schools Culinary Department’s catering of the reception.
If you were not able to attend please click the link below to view the State of the District Project and also view the pictures below.
Superintendent's Weblog...Congratulations Miss Ayoola OgunyimikaPosted by Tory Gibilisco at 2/7/2017 4:00:00 PM
Congratulations Miss Ayoola Ogunyimika
Greetings Willingboro Family,
It is our pleasure to congratulate Miss Ayoola Ogunyimika for receiving the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship for her tireless work supporting the cause of sickle cell anemia.
The Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program is a nomination-based award, and only one student per school may be nominated by their principal or guidance counselor. Leaders and Achievers, funded through the Comcast Foundation, recognizes high school seniors from Comcast communities for their commitment to community service, academics and demonstrated leadership. To acknowledge these accomplishments, Leaders and Achievers students are awarded one-time scholarships, with a base award of $1,000.
Since the inception of the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Program in 2000, more than $26 million in scholarships has been awarded to nearly 25,000 students. Approximately 52 percent of the scholarships awarded last year benefitted students from diverse backgrounds.
Scholarship requirements include:
- Full-time high school senior currently enrolled at a high school in a community served or approved by Comcast.
- Student grade point average of 2.8 or higher.
- Student demonstrates leadership abilities in school activities or through work experiences.
- Student shows a strong commitment to and involvement in community service.
- Student plans to attend an accredited, non-profit college, university or vocational/technical school in the United States.
- Student will need to complete and approve the terms and conditions set forth in the media release included as part of the scholarship acceptance form. If the nominee is not over the age of 18, the parent/guardian must complete and approve the terms and conditions set forth in the release.
While maintaining a weighted GPA of 4.05, Ayoola has continued to passionately support the worthy cause of Sickle Cell Anemia. Some of the philanthropic work that had earned Ayoola this most deserving honor includes being selected in 2013 to serve as the Teen Spokesperson for The Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey (SCANJ). According to Mary Bentley, the founder and executive director of The Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey, Ayoola thrived in the organization.
“She has excelled in raising awareness about sickle cell disease and the importance of blood and organ donation. She has served over 300 hours of community service in her capacity as SCANJ’s Teen Ambassador.
Although Ayoola's term as Teen Ambassador has concluded, she has continued to be a great volunteer for the organization. This year we recognized Ayoola, and her family, with the Dr. Charles F. Whitten Award for Outstanding Advocacy on Sickle Cell Disease.
Ayoola’s activities include, but are not limited to:
Representing the Sickle Cell Association of New Jersey (SCANJ) at two national conventions of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (a 3 day national medical conference in Baltimore)
Supporting the 24 Seven Line Dance Marathon-a 24 hour event raising funds and awareness for sickle cell disease
Promoting and recruiting donors for American Red Cross Blood Drives
Serving on the planning committees for
-The Sickle Cell-abration; an educational festival on sickle cell disease
-The Statewide Sickle Cell Symposium (panelist and youth workshop leader)
-The December Holiday Party South
Spokesperson at The Kente Carpet Movies Under The Stars
Serving as a host for the December Holiday Party Program
Appearing at numerous health fairs, programs and events to raise awareness for sickle cell disease
Ayoola has served her community well and we are thrilled that you are recognizing her considerable talents.”
On behalf of the Willingboro Board of Education, please accept our congratulations, we are very proud of you and know you will continue to represent our District and community in an extraordinary manner.
Dr. Taylor, Board President Hopson and Ayoola
Superintendent's Weblog...Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday BlogPosted by Tory Gibilisco at 1/31/2017 8:00:00 PM
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Blog
Greetings Willingboro Family,
On January 16, 2017, the Willingboro Public Schools joined the efforts of countless others, both nationally and internationally, in honoring the memory of Civil Rights Icon- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many see this annual holiday as a day of service and a time to reflect on the sacrifices made by not only Dr. King, but the myriad of organizers, marchers and supporters who together changed the history of our country. I am both proud and humble to acknowledge that Dr. King and I share the honor of both being alumni of Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia. Dr. King’s legacy looms large over the campus still, almost 50 years after his assassination. His selfless work on behalf of others has always served as a source of inspiration for me.
As in previous years, our community was filled with examples of people who are living ‘the Dream’. I had the privilege of representing our District at one such event. I have blogged in the past about the many wonderful deeds of the WR James PTA. Led by President Jennifer Noble-Slaton; the PTA has been recognized repeatedly, both locally and state-wide, for their efforts in supporting the mission of WR James School. They have done such an exceptional job; they now sit as leadership for Burlington County’s PTA!
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, Pi Mu Omega Chapter, also recognized the efforts of the WR James PTA. So much so, they selected Mrs. Noble-Slaton et al, as honorees for their community service, at the organization’s Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Breakfast. It was a fantastic event with several hundred attendees. PTA representatives received a very warm reception from those in attendance. Principal Miles-Wright and I were able to join the awardees on the podium, to support them as they received their well deserved praise. Please join me in giving kudos to Mrs. Noble-Slaton and her team for a fantastic job.
Other efforts in our community honoring Dr. King also include the Willingboro High School Honor Society students’ participation in the Volunteer Center of Burlington County’s MLK Day-of-Service. Principal Ash and Sponsor Ms. Graf shared with me some wonderful details about this event. This service opportunity was held at the Burlington County Library on Monday, January 16, 2017. Students explored new volunteer opportunities and created cards for Burlington County residents in local nursing homes. Two National Honor Society students, Agnes Armstrong and Aminata Jackson, sat on a panel of county residents that discussed how to improve the Volunteer Center of Burlington County’s MLK Day. Armstrong and Jackson are both seniors who stressed the importance of seeing the impact their community service has on individuals. All student participants felt encouraged to do more.
The effort to contribute to our community was not limited to our High School students, both Hawthorne and Twin Hill Elementary Schools participated in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. service events as well. Hawthorne Principal Mr. Dumar Burgess led an effort to collect and sort donations from his school community to the 22nd Annual Greater Philadelphia Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Donations were made to benefit local homeless veterans. Twin Hills students, led by Principal Nock-Lemons and organizer Mrs. Gregory, also participated in the event at the Burlington County Library. The students created greeting cards for community care facility residents county-wide. They had a chance to witness the great example set by the Willingboro High School National Honor Society.
We are so very proud of the efforts of all those who gave of themselves to truly carry forward the example set by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. - A drum major for justice.
Hawthorne Park Elementary Project
Twin Hills Elementary Project
Alpha Kappa Alpha Program
WR James PTA Page
Mrs. Jennifer Noble-Slaton
Willingboro High School National Honor Society Members on their day of service
Superintendent's Weblog...Return of Cosmetology to Willingboro High School–Career Technology EducationPosted by Tory Gibilisco at 1/18/2017 7:00:00 PM
Return of Cosmetology to Willingboro High School–Career Technology Education
Greetings Willingboro Family,
A few years ago, during a lengthy budget discussion, Board Member Theresa ‘Rita’ Owens spoke about how valuable the former Cosmetology Program was to the community. The program was abolished due to a significant budget shortfall in 2009. She spoke passionately about how the program not only helped prepare students to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs, but also provided services for the seniors in our community at a very reasonable cost. Other Board Members concurred with Ms. Owens and further expressed that the program brought segments of our community together (students and seniors) in a collegial environment.
This discussion resulted in the Board of Education funding the return of the Cosmetology Program. After this action, I informed Principal Ash of the charge that we received from the Board of Education. We began this resurrection by re-hiring the former instructor, Ms. Elizabeth Collier. We activated the courses in Genesis (our student information system) and where necessary, we updated the curriculum and text per the state’s standards. We worked with our Facilities Department, under the leadership of Facility Manager Mr. Chandler, to build the stations and necessary water lines to meet the needs of the classes. Instructor Collier, with the assistance of the Willingboro High School Leadership Team, needed to establish an advisory panel with professionals in the community who have expertise in this area. These are just a few of the many steps taken to bring this worthwhile goal to fruition.
We are proud to announce that now, three years later, our students have matriculated through the courses and lab work; and now have a functioning Cosmetology Clinic! I attended the ribbon cutting of the Cosmetology Clinic, along with Board Vice President Tonya Brown and Board Member Dennis Tunstall. Principal Ash, her leadership team, Instructor Collier and her students were extremely proud of this wonderful accomplishment. They can now utilize (and further develop) their valuable skill-set on paying customers! Ms. Collier surprised her protégées by bringing a former student to the event to tell the class how she is utilizing the abilities she gained in this program to support herself as an adult.
These young people are well on their way to a lucrative career and it all began with a discussion during our Board budget meetings. Please call the WHS Cosmetology Clinic and make an appointment for a service!
Our students’ previous year’s preparation
Ms. Collier and her students
Principal Ash, Assist Principal Walker and Ms. Collier address the students during the Clinic’s grand opening.
Board Vice President Tonya Brown and Board Member Dennis Tunstall congratulate the students.
Superintendent's Weblog...Board HappeningsPosted by Tory Gibilisco at 1/9/2017 4:00:00 PM
Greetings Willingboro Family,
Happy New Year!
The New Year often brings a feeling of hope and renewal. For those of us in school leadership, it also brings about mandated processes for the governance of our school district. Specifically, the Board of Education elections are certified and new (or returning) Board Members are sworn in. Additionally, new Officers (President and Vice President) are brought forth through a nomination and voting process from sitting Board Members.
The Board also verifies the outside professionals who we have contracted services with. These services include Solicitor, Architect and Engineer of record etc. The Board also confirms the textbook and curriculum adoptions that guide our educational practices.
Please join me in congratulating our newly elected (and returning) Board Members, pictured below as they are being sworn in by our Business Administrator/Board Secretary Mr. Kelvin Smith.
Mr. Dennis Tunstall
Ms. Kimbrali Davis
Mr. Grover McKenzie
Congratulations to our newly appointed Board Officers
President Felicia Hopson and Vice President Tonya Brown (L to R)
Superintendent's Weblog...Winter Holiday Celebrations and Giving BackPosted by Tory Gibilisco at 12/23/2016 11:30:00 AM
Winter Holiday Celebrations and Giving Back
Greetings Willingboro Family,
During the Winter Holiday Season it is always wonderful to see members of our community contributing to worthy causes. I have had a chance to personally witness and participate in a few fantastic ‘give-back’ celebrations in our community this year. My last blog highlighted the work of Assemblyman Troy Singleton and the Jump into Reading Celebration. This blog will focus on two recent events in our community; the Willingboro Educational Association’s Holiday Party for students with special needs and the Community Toy Give-Away.
The Willingboro Educational Association (WEA) approached me with an idea to provide a holiday party for special needs students in our District. What made the idea irresistible was that it would include student volunteers from our National Honor Society. I was able to attend and witness both the magical time the students enjoyed, as well as the caring leadership of members of the WEA, our National Honor Society Students as well as community volunteers. The afternoon was filled with food, music and dancing.
In addition to this opportunity, our Township Council held their annual Toy Drive Giveaway. Led by Councilman Chris Walker, many donations were solicited with a goal of giving a free toy to any child from the community who came to the event. My administration and I were thrilled to contribute to this worthwhile occasion.
I was overjoyed to see a line of an estimated 800 excited students, at the JFK Community Center, with their families waiting to see Santa. Board President Kimbrali Davis was in attendance with Board Members Sarah Holley and Tonya Brown. Of course, Mayor Anderson and the Township Council (Martin Nock, Chris Walker and Jacqueline Jennings) were also there; along with members of the WEA who set up a refreshment table for the students and their families.
Both of these occasions were tremendous successes for our children, made possible by the efforts of volunteers in our community. I salute all who contributed to this worthwhile endeavor! Happy Holidays!
WEA Student Holiday Party
National Honor Society Volunteers Community Volunteers
Toy Give Away
(L to R)
Board Member Holley, Councilman Walker, Santa, Dr. Taylor and Councilman Nock
Board President Kimbrali Davis (Third from the Right) and Volunteers
Excited students and families waiting for their turn to see Santa