Tuckerton Elementary Hires New Principal

Subsidized Breakfast Approved for Qualified Students
Sep 26, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson Stephanie Wroniuk will take over the position of principal of the Tuckerton Elementary School in October. Her daughter Chloe joined her for the Sept. 24 board of education meeting.

The Tuckerton Board of Education has hired a new principal of the Tuckerton Elementary School to replace Siobhan Grayson, who has taken the position of superintendent of Bass River School District and will leave in October. The board on Sept. 24 unanimously hired Stephanie Wroniuk as principal at a salary of $90,000 a year. Wroniuk comes from Hamilton Township School District, where she was vice principal at the William Davis Middle School for eight years; she also taught elementary school for 11 years.

Tuckerton Superintendent Janet Gangemi said Wroniuk was chosen from a “boatload of applications” that was whittled down to nine people and then to two. After the second interviews, the committee of five unanimously decided on Wroniuk as its choice. “She is familiar with standards-based grading, is a literacy interventionist, is Spanish bilingual and tech savvy,” said Gangemi.

Tuckerton Board President Trisha Horner welcomed her to the school.

“I’m very excited,” said Wroniuk.

The board also thanked the Little Egg Harbor/Tuckerton PBA 295 for its donation of $1,443 to purchase cameras and supplies for a new camera club open to fifth- and sixth-graders and facilitated by TES speech therapist Melanie Cudnik. Cudnik is a professional photographer in her spare time. “I’m always taking photos at school events and so many kids ask questions about my camera, so I thought they would be interested,” she said. With the funds, she was able to purchase two Nikon 3400 cameras with two interchangeable lenses. “I plan to teach them about focal points and aperture settings. We’ll start by taking photos without instruction and then after so they can see the difference.”

A new Video News Club is also in the works to expand the morning school news program. Other after-school activities include a book club, student council, circle of friends, sewing club, ceramics club, newspaper club, yearbook club and sports programs. After-school activities begin Oct. 1.

“We have the best after-school programs anywhere,” said Gangemi.

The board of education approved subsidizing the cost of breakfast during the Breakfast Before the Bell program for students who qualify for reduced-cost lunches. The budget is not to exceed $2,000 for the year.

“The cost is minimal (30 cents), and it’s so important that everyone get breakfast every single day,” said Gangemi. Teachers have been asking students if they have had anything for breakfast, and “lots of kids” have said they have not. “It’s unusual for kids not to eat lunch because that can be charged to their account, but we need them to have something in their stomachs in the morning so they can learn, and it cuts down on behavior problems,” she said. She also noted that some students do not get lunch until 12:15 or 12:45 p.m.

Students who come late can get a “grab and go” breakfast and eat in class.

The district has received the results of the spring 2017 PARCC tests. Gangemi made a presentation showing that the largest grouping is the “approaching proficiency.”

“We’ve been looking at trends over the last three years, and there are a lot of positives going on. The numbers of children not meeting some of the basic classroom expectations are going down, and those numbers that have met and are exceeding (expectations) are going up. A lot of kids are almost there; they just need that extra push.”

Gangemi said many of the school’s children are coming to kindergarten without preschool experience, and that has meant a lag in the earlier grades. “It takes a while to get them caught up.” The school has 41 kindergarteners this school year; 17 had not been to preschool.

In a telephone interview on Tuesday, Gangemi acknowledged Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration is looking to do away with PARCC, but there will always be a need for some sort of standardized testing. “We do use the data to drive instruction.”

On a positive note, all the teachers met the PARCC score of 3. Using the results of PARCC for teacher evaluations has less weight now – only 5 percent.

— Pat Johnson

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

Speech therapist Melanie Cudnik (left) with officers from the Tuckerton/Little Egg Harbor PBA who donated cameras for her Camera Club. (From left) Cudnik, Detective Joel Mahr, Tuckerton Patrolman Nick DiMeo, TES  Superintendent Janet Gangemi and Detective Steve Martin from Little Egg. (Photo by: Pat Johnson )
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