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Bellmawr Education News

Bellmawr School District Announces Appointment of Danielle Sochor as Next Superintendent

The Bellmawr Board of Education is proud to announce the appointment of Danielle Sochor as the school district’s next superintendent. Mrs. Sochor was unanimously approved at the regular board meeting held on April 29, 2020 and will assume the position on July 1, 2020.

Image credit: Twitter

The search began after current superintendent, Annette Castiglione, stated her intention to retire at the end of her contract, which will be on June 30, 2020.

Ms. Castiglione has dedicated herself to Bellmawr since she became superintendent in 2007, leading the district in achieving a new level of educational excellence. The district is so thankful for her years of service, and therefore knew how important it would be to pick just the right person to be the next great leader of the district, building upon the accomplishments of Superintendent Castiglione.

Step one in that process began in December, when the Board held open door community meetings in all three schools to allow parents, teachers, and community members to provide their input with regard to the qualities the next superintendent needed to possess. Additionally, a survey yielded hundreds of responses from community members all across Bellmawr. The Board was able to use both the survey and the in-person responses to create an advertisement for the position; one that would produce not only qualified candidates, but candidates that also fit the needs and personality of the district.

This advertisement brought in 47 applicants during January and February, which was gradually whittled down to four final candidates by March. It was then during the final round of interviews that it became clear that Danielle Sochor possessed all of the critical components the next superintendent of Bellmawr would need in order to lead the district into a new era. While all of the candidates were well-qualified, Mrs. Sochor rose above as the perfect fit. She joins us following her tenure of 10 years with Glassboro Public Schools, where she is currently the Chief Academic Officer for the district and is also serving as the principal for J. Harvey Rodgers Elementary School.

Prior to that, she served as a special education supervisor and curriculum coordinator with the Hainesport Board of Education.

“I am truly honored to be selected as the new superintendent of the Bellmawr School District. I look forward to working collaboratively with the school board, staff, parents, and community. I am committed to providing all students with an exceptional educational experience which will assist them with becoming productive members of an ever-changing global society,” says Mrs. Sochor.

The district will be working on a welcome video to introduce her to the Bellmawr Learning Community in the near future, as a formal in-person meet and greet is not yet permitted under the current conditions of the
Governor’s Executive Orders regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, as soon as we are legally able, we will be sure to invite students, staff, parents, and all members of the Bellmawr community to formally welcome Mrs. Sochor to our district in-person.


Post updated on May 6, 2020 at 11:40 a.m. to include Ms. Sochor’s letter.

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Mental Health Resources are Available for Camden County Youth

(Camden, NJ) – The coronavirus pandemic has interrupted traditional access points to mental health services for children and teenagers. To help the county’s youth stay connected to critical services during this stressful time, the Camden County Youth Services Commission has collected information for more than 20 service providers in one convenient location.

For a full list of mental health resources, visit camdencounty.com.

“One of the greatest challenges presented by this pandemic is simultaneously combatting the crises in domestic abuse, poor mental health, hunger, and others that are hidden, and in some cases worsened, by steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez. “By collecting these resources in one convenient location, we hope to make the first step in finding help much easier for families during this extremely difficult period. As we navigate a world with coronavirus, we have to make sure that we don’t ignore other factors that are critical to our physical and mental wellbeing.”

The collection includes contact information for behavioral health services, inpatient hospitalization resources, partial hospitalization programs, and intensive outpatient programs, as well as hotline information for youth and young adults, peer support and suicide prevention, peer services for mothers of children with special needs, and families working to deescalate household stress and frustration.

For all other resources not included, please visit www.nj211.org or contact NJ211 directly by dialing 2-1-1; texting your zip code to 898-211; or chatting with them online. The NJ211 statewide service is free, confidential, multilingual and always open.

The Children’s Interagency Coordinating Council, The Camden County Youth Services Commission, and First Children Services collaborated in the collection of these resources and information.

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Governor Extends Grace Period for Property Tax Payments Until June 1

On Tuesday, April 28, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 130 which allows municipalities to extend the grace period for property tax payments due on May 1 to June 1. Under existing law, towns may only allow for a grace period of up to 10 days after the property tax deadline without interest or penalty.

“It is critical in this moment that we explore every option to lessen the burden on families and residents who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. “The governor’s order provides municipalities with the flexibility to appropriately respond to the needs of their residents, and potentially offers a much-needed reprieve for many families in Camden County.”

The order takes effect immediately. For information regarding your municipality, contact your local tax collector’s office directly.

For more information regarding Executive Order No. 130, click here.

To read the order in full, visit here.

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New COVID-19 Testing Centers to Open in Camden

(Camden, NJ) Two new testing centers for COVID-19 will open in Camden to increase testing capability and bring it closer to home for many Camden residents. The new sites will replace the current testing location at Cooper’s Poynt Park, which will close May 1.

The Two New Sites Are:

  • 2600 Mount Ephraim Avenue in South Camden
    Camden Division of Motor Vehicles parking lot
    12 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday
    Opening Day: Wednesday, April 29
  • 3101 Federal Street in East Camden
    Dudley Grange Park
    8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.*, Monday through Friday
    Opening Day: Tuesday, May 5

*Hours are subject to change after the first week of operations based on demand.

“Every day of this pandemic is a learning experience,” said Louis Cappelli Jr., Camden County Freeholder Director. “We believe that adding new locations will not only expand testing capability, but also improve access for residents of Camden County. Collaboration among Virtua, Cooper, and Camden County and the sharing of resources is the best way for us to help the communities that we all serve.”

“The jointly operated site at Cooper’s Poynt Waterfront Park has been a tremendous resource and we have been able to test more than 1,600 Camden County residents at that site,” Cappelli continued. “We recognize, however, changing the geography of the sites will allow us to serve more residents and increase our capacity. In addition, by opening two locations, we can better serve other neighborhoods in the city for individuals who don’t have access to a vehicle.”

“Testing is one of the most important weapons we have in our fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.  In order for testing to be effective, it must be widely accessible.  By opening a second testing location in Camden, we are taking another positive step forward to expand testing options for all communities,” said Kevin O’Dowd, JD, Co-President/CEO of Cooper.

“Cooper is committed to improving access to COVID-19 testing for City residents and our dedicated teams are setting up sites that are convenient to as many residents as possible,” said Anthony Mazzarelli, MD, JD, MBE, Co-President/CEO of Cooper.

“We feel confident that these two new testing locations will help us to better meet people where they are,” said Virtua Health President and CEO Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE.

Virtua staff will operate the South Camden location; Cooper employees will manage the site at Dudley Grange Park in Stockton neighborhood of East Camden. Patients can access either site by car or on foot. Each site will test any Camden County resident by appointment who has a referral for testing from a medical provider at Virtua, Cooper, CamCare, or other provider. 

To make an appointment, call 856-968-7100 (Monday through Friday 8am-5pm). The initial site at Cooper’s Poynt Park discontinued operations on May 1.

The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers will support the testing with a community information campaign that will promote the availability of the new sites to Camden City residents. Cooper’s Ferry Partnership also collaborated with the two healthcare institutions and the county department of health to facilitate the mobile testing sites.

*Hours are subject to change after the first week of operations based on demand

Post has been updated.

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Verchio’s Produce & Deli Announces Several Employees Have Contracted COVID-19

SJO Readers:

My apologies for any confusion in my article about Verchio’s and for not initially clarifying that my article pertained to the Brooklawn location. I just spoke with Tony Verchio and here is an additional further update/clarification from him.

Anne Forline, Editor/Publisher South Jersey Observer

An update and clarification from Tony Verchio:

I want to thank all of those who reached to wish our team at Brooklawn wellness during the scare they had encountered.

I want also want to inform everyone that the Washington Township location has had NO employees test positive for COVID 19 nor has had any working employees show or report any symptoms since this whole pandemic started. We do not share employees with our other location so our staff has not been in contact with the team at the other store.

We work very hard to ensure our location is safe by sanitizing often and regularly. We have also acted early in installing plexiglass counter barriers to protect occupants at checkout. Furthermore, we require masks for all individuals to enter inside our location.

We offer curbside services Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 1 pm to accommodate those who would prefer to shop over the phone.

We also open at 6:30 am Tuesdays and Wednesdays to allow high risk individuals a tailored environment to shop in.

We will continue being here for those in need as we are dedicated to serving our customers.

We want to thank you all for your support.

God Bless you all.

************************************************************************

“Several” employees of Verchio’s Produce and Deli have contracted the coronavirus, according to an April 28, 2020 post the store shared on Facebook.

“As you know from the beginning of this historic pandemic, we have taken and continue to take as many precautions and enacted as many policies as humanly possible to maintain the safety of our workers and customers. In spite of those measures we have, at this time, had several of our employees contract the virus. So we have had to shorten our staff while those sick recover. We are getting as many employees tested as possible with or without symptoms,” the post stated.

In order to combat the virus, the store has implemented many precautions and safety measures. “All areas both for customers and workers have been sanitized, beyond our usually daily sanitizing, several times. And will continue to be a priority. As always the doors are kept open to keep the air as fresh and circulated as possible. We were the first to install barriers between customers and workers for this very purpose.”

Business hours have been shortened from 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m. Face masks are required to shop in the store. To reduce crowding and increase safety, shopping parties have been reduced to one person. Floor arrows help to keep the flow of traffic in one direction.

Special shopping hours for senior citizens and high risk customers have been set aside on Wednesdays from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Verchio’s remains open and strives to stay open to help families through this difficult time, the post stated. “Please look out for each other and God bless you.”

Update:

Verchio’s – Washington Township has issued a clarification:

“As of today, our location in Washington Township has not had an employee test positive for the Covid-19 virus. We will continue to monitor day to day operations with the number one priority being the health and safety of customers and employees. In these trying times we implore all our customers please wear appropriate face protection and be mindful of fellow patrons when shopping our store.”


Post updated on April 29, 2020 at 12:20 p.m. 1:00 p.m. 4:10 p.m.