Schools throughout Egg Harbor City, Absecon, Galloway Township and Port Republic have implemented many new programs, expanded their staff and course listings and renovated their facilities in the hopes of giving students an improved educational experience for the 2013-14 school year.

With the exception of charter schools, all public schools in New Jersey will this year implement an overhauled evaluation system called Teach NJ, which reforms the process of earning and maintaining tenure through improved evaluations and opportunities for professional growth.

Absegami High School kicked off its Focus on Freshman campaign with a two-day workshop in August to help freshmen create common discipline, grading and note-taking plans. Teacher Jaime Howey has led a literacy initiative called Project READ - Reading to Explore Absegami's Diversity - and the school has also renovated its media studio and expanded class offerings to include Management, Sales and Hospitality, Communication in the 21st Century and Music Lab.

The school also has expanded its staff, bringing math teacher Denise Murray, school psychologist Kathryn Taylor and English teachers Brian Bowles and Catherine Lomicky into the Braves' fold.

Cedar Creek High School has added several new activities, including girls volleyball, girls and boys lacrosse and engineering and environmental science competition clubs. The school has also added Film Appreciation, Debate and Discussion, AP Spanish, Engineering Design and Development and Honors Linear Algebra as well as the Management, Sales and Hospitality class offered at Absegami to its course listings.

Gabe Arce and Doug Mroz have joined Cedar Creek as business teachers, Danielle Hagel as a math teacher, Laura MacConnell as a science teacher, and Michael Padover as a special education and English teacher. English teacher Mandy Franklin-Kelley and special education and physical education teacher Erin Ahlberg are new transfers from Absegami.

The Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District, to which Absegami and Cedar Creek belong, has implemented technological overhauls over the summer, including increasing Internet bandwidth to 100 mb/s, upgrades to the district phone system, expansion of the bring-your-own-device initiative for teachers, and a new parent notification system which facillitates communication between school staff and parents through voice, text messaging, email and social media.

The Galloway Township Public School District has expanded its Envision Math elementary math program to sixth grade, implemented a new math program called Digits Math for seventh- and eighth-graders and revamped its social studies program for sixth to eighth grades to include document-based questions. The school has also improved its technology integration through expansion of its iPad initiative at the elementary level and implementation of laptop carts at the middle school level.

The Absecon School District has purchased 90 new computers and 50 portable Chromebooks as part of an overhaul of its technology program. Facility improvements include a new outside basketball court and an array of solar panels on the school's back field, which will assist the district in reducing energy costs. The school will also hold additional Walk to School Days and pedestrian programs as part of the New Jersey Safe Routes to School program.

Absecon's Holy Spirit High School has added Introduction to Law and Business Ethics and Sports Medicine and Athletic Training to its course catalog, and has completed renovations over the summer including improvements to its chemistry lab, locker rooms, main office and some classrooms. The school will also add boys and girls lacrosse for the Spring 2014 season.

Charter Tech High School, which is based in Somers Point but is open for students from throughout Atlantic County has built eight new classrooms for the 2013-14 school year which will feature state-of-the-art technology and will allow for smaller class sizes. The school is also offering new community education classes in filmmaking, Photoshop, voice and piano and will bring back its popular Rockademy after school music program, which was a staple for eight years but was not offered last year.

Contact Braden Campbell: