he Lenape Regional High School District serves the eight municipalities of Evesham, Medford, Mt. Laurel, Shamong, Southampton, Tabernacle and Woodland townships and Medford Lakes borough. The eight municipalities comprise an area of 158,749 acres which represents roughly one-third of the entire area of Burlington County, the largest county in New Jersey.
Each of the eight communities served by the Lenape District has its own elementary school district. Each elementary school district is governed by its own nine-member school board which oversees the school budget and the education of students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade.
When the public school students in each of these districts graduate from eighth grade, they are sent to one of the four high schools that fall under the jurisdiction of the Lenape Regional High School District.
The Lenape District’s four high schools are: Lenape, Shawnee, Cherokee North and South and Seneca. Students from Mount Laurel attend Lenape; students from Medford, Medford Lakes attend Shawnee; students from Evesham (Marlton) attend Cherokee North and South and students from Tabernacle, Shamong, Southampton and Woodland attend Seneca.
The Lenape District also operates the highly successful Sequoia Alternative Program which is housed in the former Tabernacle Intermediate School.
Despite the many challenges associated with state aid funding cutbacks and enrollment increases, a dedicated board of education, administration, faculty and support staff continually find ways to do more with less. This belt tightening has resulted in a total per pupil cost that is well below the state average for a regional 9-12 school district.
Two non-profit foundations support the Lenape District, raising thousands of dollars each year to support scholarships for students, facilities improvements and a state-of-the art 1500-seat regional performing arts center where students from all of the district’s theater and music programs are invited to perform.
HISTORY OF LENAPE DISTRICT
The Lenape District was authorized by a proposal adopted by referendum on September 20, 1955. Eighteen months later, on March 21, 1957, 53 acres of land at the intersection of Church and Hartford roads in Medford Township were purchased as a site to accommodate Lenape High School. When Lenape opened in September of 1958, the initial enrollment was 548 students (freshman and sophomore classes only). By the 1961-1962 school year, Lenape was on double sessions in order to accommodate approximately 1500 students. As a result of the continuing population growth of the district, in July 1961 an addition to the original building was begun. A second addition, the North Building, was dedicated on January 17, 1965.
In the mid 1960’s, the need for another high school became necessary. In December 1967, a referendum for a new high school was passed. The school was named Shawnee and opened in the southeastern end of Medford Township on November 1, 1971. In 1972-73, the district enrollment had swelled to nearly 4,000 students. By September 1975, a third high school, Cherokee, had been built on a 71 – acre tract at Tomlinson Mill and Willow Bend roads in Evesham Township.
During the 1980’s, the overall district population still continued to grow. By 1990, another referendum was passed for an additional 25 classrooms, two gymnasiums, additional locker room facilities, storage areas, and an auxiliary cafeteria at Shawnee and Cherokee high schools (both buildings were built according to the same architectural design). At Lenape, a new media center, music wing, auxiliary gymnasium, weight room, and storage areas were constructed.
In December 1997, with enrollment soaring toward the 7000 mark, voters in all eight communities overwhelmingly approved a fourth high school in Tabernacle and an addition to Cherokee High School in Evesham. The addition, Cherokee South, which includes a spectacular 1500 seat performing arts center, was dedicated in the fall of 2001. At the same time, Lenape District renamed its highly successful Transition Program the Sequoia Alternative Program and moved it to the newly refurbished Tabernacle Intermediate School.
On September 14, 2003, the Lenape District dedicated its fourth high school, Seneca, which opened its doors to the children of the Pinelands communities on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2003. Enrollment as of September 2009 is 7,500 students.