Driving down the tree-lined streets of Haddonfield, New Jersey, a residential community of about 12,000 people, you can’t miss the four large pillars that welcome you to Elizabeth Haddon Elementary School, home of The Dragons. Named after the founder of Haddonfield, our school is one of three neighborhood elementary schools in Haddonfield and is currently in its 102nd year of enriching the lives of children. Elizabeth Haddon’s 354 students, ranging from preschool through fifth grade, are able to walk to school because the town encompasses just 2.6 square miles.
In 2015 Elizabeth Haddon was named a National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education. 335 schools across the nation are recognized as National Blue Ribbon Schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. Elizabeth Haddon is just 1 of 15 schools across New Jersey to receive this award and just 1 of 8 elementary schools across the state.
Our caring and child-centered faculty is committed to creating a school community that meets the educational needs of all students and supports the acquisition of those skills that will enable our students to become life-long learners and caring community members. Classroom teachers lead instruction in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, and technology.
Our language arts program incorporates the most important principles of balanced literacy by engaging children in reading quality literature, writing, speaking, listening and observing as the teacher guides and encourages independent readers and writers. Teachers implement a common core aligned math curriculum, which emphasizes problem solving and hands-on strategies to learn mathematics. We have a comprehensive social studies/geography program, and an inquiry-based science program, which promotes active participation and a natural curiosity about the world. A school garden program and outdoor classroom space with picnic tables and stadium seating support learning about ecological concepts and healthy eating choices. The New Jersey Department of Agriculture recognized and featured the garden and school salad bar during Jersey Fresh Farm to School Week.
Additional programs are designed to support instruction. These incorporate a literacy specialist to serve the needs of children in the primary grades, a full-time language arts specialist to collaborate with teachers and provide instructional support and enrichment to students, and an Instructional Support Program in reading and math. Digital learning is facilitated by teacher leaders who utilize Smart Boards, technology maps, learning benchmarks, a computer lab, laptops, Apple TVs, and 100 student iPads. Coding is taught in our library curriculum. A school guidance counselor is available to work with students, teachers, and parents. Students attend classes in physical education, library science, art, choral music, technology, Spanish, health, and keyboarding.
At “Lizzy Haddon” our children are provided extensive opportunities to serve their school and community. Extra-curricular activities include peer mediation, student council, spirit week, field day, talent show, and safety patrol. Enrichment opportunities are available such as Noontime Enrichment, Battle of the Books, Science Olympiad, Chess Club, Minecraft Club, Art Goes to School, and Reflections Program. Students have an opportunity to publish original pieces of writing through the school’s “Bookworm” publishing center. Serving others is at the heart of what we do; last year we raised over $20,000 for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope and Hoops for Heart program.
Pillars of good character are developed, modeled, and taught through the Responsive Classroom Approach, which teaches students problem solving skills, cooperation, empathy, and responsibility. Each month classrooms study a “Character Trait of the Month,” integrating this trait within various areas of the curriculum. At our monthly School Community Meetings classes share their learning and students are celebrated for displaying the attributes of the Word of the Month. Last year we introduced Universal School Rules to support an orderly and positive school climate using common, kid-friendly language.
Our school is fortunate to have an active and collaborative Parent/Teacher Association (PTA) that provides extensive support for programs and special activities. Parental involvement is extremely high. Parents arrange for assembly programs to extend the curriculum with topics ranging from anti-bullying, nutrition, and cultural diversity. Parents organize and lead many of the enrichment programs, chaperone school trips and parties, volunteer in classrooms, and raise funds to support student activities through a Fall Fair, Spaghetti Bingo, and 5K Fun Run. A Principal’s Advisory Committee (PAC) composed of teachers, parents, and the principal promotes shared leadership, meeting monthly to discuss school related issues and make recommendations to improve our school. A new playground was recently built through a community build, which included parents, alumni, faculty, and community members coming together on a Saturday to construct a new playground for our primary students. The PTA’s most recent project involved creating a new outdoor classroom space with engraved pavers from Lizzy families.
The school staff works collaboratively to promote learning and ensure that every child succeeds in ways that reflect his or her own aptitudes and interests. Our staff continuously engages in professional development through graduate work, grade level meetings, district professional development, and outside seminars. Each summer teachers work together to evaluate and revise curriculum.
Our school song that we sing each month, written by a music teacher who spent 40 years at our school, says it best, “Where do kids like to go-Lizzy Haddon School- Where do kids like to grow-Lizzy Haddon School. Reading, writing, working are what we like to do. When you come to our school, you learn something new. Teachers are the best. We always stand up tall. Lizzy Haddon- you’re the greatest of them all!”
EH School Song from Gerry Bissinger on Vimeo.
The mission of the Haddonfield Public Schools, working in partnership with families and community, is to develop the unique potential of each individual by creating a challenging and diverse learning climate that promotes the development of the whole student and prepares its students with the knowledge skills, and integrity to meet life’s challenges and enrich their community.