Montvale Public Schools

Fall 2015: Volume III Issue I

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Superintendent's Message

Dear Montvale Families,

Welcome Back! The 2015-16 school year is off to an excellent start. On September 3rd, we welcomed 88 new kindergarten students. The current kindergarten class will graduate from high school in 2028! This newsletter will provide you with the latest information on district happenings from the summer and for the upcoming fall.

In the August 2015 edition of New Jersey Monthly magazine, Montvale was ranked #12 out of 510 as Best Places to Live in NJ! The rankings were based on the most recent available data for home prices, property taxes, crime rates, school results and various lifestyle attributes. Montvale is considered a special place to raise a family because of its child-centeredness, excellent schools and small town charm. This year, I hope you will join us in Strategic Planning to help us collaborate on ways we can continue to grow as a learning and caring community. Please see below for more information about Strategic Planning. We appreciate all of your support!


Darren Petersen

Superintendent of Schools

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Strategic Planning - Save the Dates!

This school year, the Montvale School District invites you to participate in the creation of a Strategic Plan. We encourage parents, teachers, staff members, community members and even some students to participate. This group will meet on 3 evenings beginning Wednesday, September 30, followed by Thursday, October 22 & Thursday, November 19 for approximately 90 minutes each session.

The purpose of Strategic Planning is threefold: 1) to identify the strengths, accomplishments, and challenges of our school district, 2) to envision a desired future and 3) to determine goals and a sequence of steps to reach our collective goals. By working together in small groups, we will be able to dream, determine and design our vision for our schools. All meetings will be held in the IMC at Fieldstone Middle School and will begin at 7 p.m. Since each meeting has a specific purpose and task, please know that we welcome you to attend any, if not all, of the meetings. Please click HERE to RSVP for this event.

Retirement Announcements - Thank You & Best Wishes!

This fall, two outstanding educators will be retiring from the Montvale Public Schools, Mrs. Audrey Levi, Supervisor of Special Services and Dr. Brian Chinni, Supervisor of Curriculum & Instruction. The Montvale Schools has benefited from their knowledge, leadership, and collaborative efforts to always focus conversations and resources on the needs of children. Below are brief summaries that barely scratch the surface of the impact both Mrs. Levi and Dr. Chinni have had in Montvale.

Mrs. Audrey Levi – Supervisor of Special Services:

Mrs. Levi has served as the Supervisor of Special Services since October 1, 2004. Mrs. Levi has supervised all programs for students with special needs, as well as those for gifted students. Mrs. Levi’s leadership has been instrumental in improving our special education program. Mrs. Levi has been a strong advocate of developing several new programs in Montvale to meet a child’s social, emotional and academic needs. She has established a peer mentoring program to support students in need of friendship, counseling and/or coaching. Mrs. Levi has initiated the use of assistive technology, therapy dogs, brain breaks and yoga to connect with students. Mrs. Levi’s Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) meets a few times during the school year to provide an open forum for parents to actively engage in a dialogue centered on our district special education program. At these meetings, Mrs. Levi shares the latest research, district updates and her SEPAC newsletter. The newsletter provides invaluable information for parents in Montvale. Her communications are always clear and supported with the latest research material. Furthermore, her collaboration with schools, agencies and colleagues allows her to build strong relationships with professionals that help support our staff and students.

Mrs. Levi is still a student at heart. Mrs. Levi tries to learn something new every day or tries to improve upon a skill that will help her help students. Mrs. Levi will be missed.

Dr. Brian Chinni – Supervisor of Curriculum & Instruction:

Dr. Chinni has been an instrumental part of the Montvale School District since 1998. During his 18+ years in Montvale, Dr. Chinni has served in various administrator positions. In recent years, Dr. Chinni has served in the district as Supervisor of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment at 60% of full time equivalent. His position involves the coordination and organization of all curricula for the district, its alignment to the state standards and all of the related aspects of curriculum development. Additionally, with reference to instruction, Dr. Chinni was responsible for organizing and providing professional development and training activities for the district staff, including their participation in all of the regional committees. Through his collaborative efforts, Dr. Chinni has orchestrated professional development opportunities for teachers to be able to 1) create opportunities for students to network, share information, and multi-task in real time, 2) engage students in problem-solving assignments that have real-world applications, 3) improve reading, writing and speaking skills, 4) challenge staff to obtain, evaluate, analyze and apply data and 5), guide staff in helping students become responsible digital citizens. Dr. Chinni has coordinated all ESL, ELL and basic skill services for students at the Montvale Schools. Finally, Dr. Chinni oversees all of the formal assessments that take place in both schools, analyzes the related data, and provides for the distribution of this information to teachers and parents. While this concise description is certainly appropriate, Dr. Chinni’s involvement in this district extends well beyond its confines. His ability to inspire others to approach education with a noble purpose is unique. His ability to build relationships is special. His message to staff is that we need to meet the individual learning needs of every student academically, socially and emotionally. Dr. Chinni recently said, “Montvale has never been my community of residence; however, I have always felt as if it were my own. While I certainly enjoyed every aspect of my work, it is the people of the Montvale learning community – teachers, staff, administration, parents and students – that have inspired me each and every day.” Dr. Chinni will be missed.

The New School Year Begins!

Summer Happenings in the Montvale Public Schools

Over the summer, the administrative team, support staff, and custodians were busy getting ready for the school year. Below are just a few highlights from the summer:

  • New classroom flooring in 2 classrooms at Memorial and 2 classrooms at Fieldstone
  • Window film added to entrances at Memorial to improve safety and security (1st grade and kindergarten annex)
  • New section of hallway flooring at Fieldstone
  • New 21st century desk furniture for 2 classrooms at Fieldstone (Thank you PTO and Board)
  • New Advisory program for Fieldstone
  • Preparations for 2nd Year of Readers Workshop
  • New Virtual Digital Media Cycle class at Fieldstone
  • New kindergarten playground surface at Memorial
  • Summer curriculum work (Thank you to Mr. Collier, Mrs. Hickey, Dr. Chinni, Dr. Walsh and over 20 teachers who worked on Units of Study)
  • New district website
  • Montvale Summer Institute (Thank you to Mr. Pellegrino for coordinating a successful program and for all of the teachers and students for their efforts)
  • And more…

Please stay tuned during the course of the school year as we look to expand our summer program in 2016.

Montvale Public Schools

Montvale Board of Education:

Mr. Scott Rossig, President

Mrs. Debra McGauley-Eichhorn, Vice President

Mrs. Marie Muller-Noonan, Board Member

Mrs. Carol Harris-Bardes, Board Member

Mrs. Anita Bagdat, Board Member

Mr. John Carvelli, Board Member

Mrs. Rachel Baskin, Board Member