Manchester Students: What’s New In September

Sarah Thiffault, second from right, will be the new vice principal of Manchester Township High School. She is joined by (from left) vice principal/athletic director Keith Lister, vice principal Tracey Raimondo, and Principal Dennis Adams. (Photo courtesy Manchester Township School District)

MANCHESTER – The start of any new school years brings changes. Public Information Officer Lee Bruzaitis shared some of what’s new in the Manchester Township School District.

  Manchester Township High School

The high school welcomes new vice principal Sarah Thiffault, a former high school music teacher who recently served as coordinator for the SOAR program. She replaces Dr. Stacie Ferrara, who took a principal job in Brick.

“I am honored and excited for this opportunity to be vice principal at Manchester Township High School,” Thiffault said.

In addition to a new vice principal, the high school has a new partnership with Ocean County College, which will allow students to receive dual credit for coursework. While taking high school classes, they would also count toward college credit. The school also added advanced placement courses in computer science, human geography and STEM, bringing the total to 18 AP courses.

  Manchester Township Middle School

Staff will implement “Fit Fridays,” a health and wellness initiative that has them sharing activities with students once a month.

Students will also have new fourth-quarter elective options: drama/theater arts and contemporary music. It’s an opportunity for students who can’t participate in band, chorus or the drama club productions to experience theater and music.

In terms of physical upgrades, Bruzaitis said new doors will replace old gates in several areas of the property. A new safety fence across the front parking lot will prevent pedestrians from crossing out of the crosswalk. There is much needed additional parking in the rear of the building now.

  Ridgeway Elementary School

The school is implementing “Wellness Wednesdays” once a month.

“We are taking a holistic approach to take care of our students and staff,” Principal Nikki Mazur said.

The all-purpose room got an upgrade of new, colorful lunch tables with individual seating. The new seating is compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

File Photo

  Manchester Township Elementary School

By way of comparison, the Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa, Arizona, has 16 intensive care nurses who are pregnant at once. The elementary school doesn’t have quite that many, but this year there are seven long-term substitutes covering for maternity leave. The school also welcomed one new teacher to its staff.

“Principal Linda Waldron said the school will focus on character education and will use the book ‘Wonder’ to explore themes such as inclusion and mindfulness. The school’s Broadcast News club will add yoga to their morning in-school broadcast,” Bruzaitis shared. “In addition, thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Manchester Township Educational Foundation, MTES will be creating a new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, and math) lab this year. Mrs. Waldron said classes will also be using their outdoor learning garden this fall.”

  Regional Day School

Bruzaitis reported that Principal Lisa Michallis said the school will be expanding their use of technology this year with new smart projectors and computers. They’ll also be exploring character education with the new “Color Our School with Kindness” initiative.

The HVAC system in the front of the building was replaced this summer.

The school’s preschool program, which opened last year, is growing.

  Whiting School

The old office has moved into the front of the building, using space that used to be a STEM lab.

“The work was done by our own buildings and grounds department and it looks amazing,” Principal Evelyn Swift said. “They did an outstanding job.”

A new STEAM lab will be built in the old office area using a $15,000 grant from the Manchester Township Education Association.

The school is in the process of building a garden space in their outdoor pavilion, using money from a $10,000 PSEG/Sustainable Jersey for Schools grant.

“In addition, Mrs. Swift said that Whiting School is proud to have achieved Bronze status in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools program. She explained that the school had to go through a series of action steps like having a recycling program, offering lessons on sustainability, installing water fountains that fill reusable bottles, having a no idling zone, and monitoring heat, pollution, and air quality,” Bruzaitis said. “They will receive their award at the NJ School Boards convention in October.”