"Proud to Be EHT!"
Across New Jersey, local school districts are a point of pride for our communities. As Superintendent of the Egg Harbor Township Schools, a resident, a graduate, a former teacher, and a parent of two children in the school system, I can tell you that as a community, it is not just our slogan, we are truly "Proud to Be EHT!"
That pride is built and sustained in large part by our ongoing relationships with numerous community partners. In addition to our traditional partnerships with parents and families in our local Parent’s Clubs, Sports and Activities Boosters, and local Service Clubs, we have two very active foundations.
While each has a slightly different focus, they both utilize the same approach – bringing community partners together to support our schools and raise funds that the district would otherwise not have for our faculty, staff, students and programs. The leadership of the foundations is comprised of teachers, administrators, Board of Education members, parents and members of the greater community at large. We include leaders from the health care industry, banking, higher education, local businesses and restaurants, retired educators and administrators and even local political leaders.
The Egg Harbor Township Education Foundation, established in 1984, exists primarily to provide scholarships for graduating seniors and to provide mini-grants for teachers in our PK-12 system. To date we have been able to give nearly $300,000.00 in scholarships and another $150,000.00 in mini-grants. Our mini-grants have provided curriculum extension activities, assemblies programs, field trips, access to state and national competitions in areas such as health and wellness, self-esteem, life skills, character education and my favorite mini-grant this year, "STEM: Manufacturing the Proton Membrane (PEM) for the Hydrogen Fuel Cell." Yes, I had to look it up too!
The Community Partnership for Egg Harbor Township Schools, established in 2006, exists to raise funds for academic enhancement, cutting-edge technology, extra-curricular activities and capital projects. To date, we have raised more than $210,000.00 and funded projects such as: supplementing student costs for Advanced Placement Tests, construction of an electronic marquee sign at our HS, a Steinway grand piano for our Performing Arts Center (see photo), equipment and uniforms for sports programs, substantial upgrades to our television studio, the development of an alumni website, the resurrection of student activities cut, anti-drug assemblies, playground equipment, classroom technology, and defibrillators for each school and sports arena. This year’s proposed project is to purchase and upgrade kitchen equipment needed for our concession stand as part of a district renovation to the high school field house.
Our community, working together with its partners, has been able to bring over $700,000.00 to our schools. Absent our partners the opportunities we have been able to provide would not exist. In addition, we have made and strengthened relationships that have opened doors to new and creative ideas and we have been able to use these relationships to get better feedback from and provide more information to the community. It has been a huge benefit for everyone - most importantly our students!