Willingboro Public Schools

Dr. Ronald Taylor - Superintendent of Schools



WPS has a never-ending commitment to creating and maintaining a guaranteed and viable curriculum that will ensure the academic success of our students. This newsletter is a part of this equation, helping to communicate our curricular happenings and instructional activities across grade levels and content areas to district educators, parents and students.

While all of our curriculum guides are available through an online database called edConnect, this newsletter is intended to provide a closer look at the some of the learning experiences and outcomes that our students undertake.

Please feel free to browse through the curriculum updates provided by our talented team.

WPS Literacy Corner

Summer Slide refers to the decline in reading ability and other academic skills that can occur over the summer months when school is not in session. Research has shown year after year, that reading achievement scores decline over summer vacation and that the decline is larger among older students. Armed with this information, educators and parents can work together to address this well documented reality and prevent our students from going down the “summer slide”.

Since the ability to read on grade level is the most authentic indicator of student success in school, it is critical that we continually address reading engagement, even during the summer months. We also know that the struggle to engage students as readers during the summer months is real! There are, however, many ways we can support, encourage, and most importantly, help our children find joy and purpose for their reading lives.

Try these strategies to engage students as readers during the summer months and beyond:

  1. Time. Set specific times to read. We want to encourage students to READ everyday, all summer long! The wonderful thing about reading is that it can happen anywhere and at anytime of day. At home, traveling, running errands with mom. Encourage your child to carry their books along with them all summer long and squeeze in reading time throughout the day. Also, set specific times (15, 20 or 30 minutes a day) to shut down all technology and noise to relax and read.

  2. Choice: Students need to make their own choices about reading material. While it is important to guide students toward books that match their reading abilities. We must also provide them with opportunities to choose books that speak to their individual interests. If your child picks a book that interests him or her that is above their reading level, read it to them.

  3. FIND just right Books. Finding the right books to engage readers is critically important. Let us help you!!!

  4. Come out to LITERACY NIGHT! Willingboro Public Schools will hold two literacy nights in the month of June: June 12th at 6PM at the Country Club Administration Building and June 13th at 4PM at the Early Childhood Development Center

  5. Take advantage of our local library! Make weekly or bi-weekly trips to the Willingboro Public Library. The annual Summer Reading Kick-Off Party is Saturday, June 15th at 2PM. Sign Up for the 2019 Summer Reading Club. It’s free!

  6. Book Clubs with friends! Encourage your child to start a book club with their friends. Host a club meeting in your own backyard. It’s simple! Let your children pick a book, make invitations, send them out to their friends, read the book and talk about it with friends.

  7. Try Audio books. Many readers enjoy listening to books. Let your children give it a try this summer. Read more about how to get free audio books here and why this multi-sensory approach to reading might help your child.

  8. Stop in local bookstores and browse. Barnes & Noble has story time and other events throughout the summer for young readers. B&N summer reading program gives students a free book after reading eight books. Check out their website or visit a local bookstore (see this link to access ways to find free books).

WPS Academic Support Corner

Summer is a great time to catch up on reading for pleasure and to also reduce summer slide. One of our goals here at Willingboro Public Schools is to foster a life long love of reading. Summer is a great time for students to practice and apply all of the comprehension skills and strategies they have learned throughout the year. The Office of Curriculum and instruction would like to offer the titles below for Summer Reading. These suggested titles from the American Library Association are certain to help you and your child get “lost in a book” this summer.

Happy Reading for all ages!


Kindergarten-Grade 2

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

High School Title List:

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie; Ellen Forney (Illustrator)

After the Ashes by Sara K. Joiner

Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar

Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez

A Beautiful Lie by Irfan Master

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly; Betsy Peterschmidt (Illustrator)

Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis; D. Ellis

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

Brotherhood by Anne Westrick

Call Me by My Name by John Ed Bradley

Diamond Boy by Michael Williams

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

The Glass Collector by Anna Perera

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

The Good Braider by Terry Farish

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry

Hold fast by Blue Balliett

The House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

If I Ever Get Out of Here by Eric L. Gansworth

Jump into the Sky by Shelley Pearsall

Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott

The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau

Like Water on Stone by Dana Walrath

The Lion Who Stole My Arm by Nicola Davies; Annabel Wright (Illustrator)

A Long Walk to Water: A Novel: Based on a True Story by Linda Sue Park

Lupita Manana by Patricia Beatty

A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury

Mosquitoes Don't Bite Me by Pendred Noyce

Mountain Dog by Margarita Engle; Aleksey & Olga Ivanov (Illustrator)

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick

Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Parvana's Journey by Deborah Ellis

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park

River Runs Deep by Jennifer Bradbury

Serafina's Promise by Ann E. Burg

Silver People: voices from the Panama Canal by Margarita Engle

Skating with the Statue of Liberty by Susan Lynn Meyer

Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper; Sarah Jane Coleman (Cover Design by)

Sugar by Jewell Parker Rhodes

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay

The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata; Julia Kuo (Illustrator)

WPS Science Corner



"Surprising to some, a science fair project is one of the best learning experiences a student can undertake. And, if it is taken seriously, it can be an excellent way to earn significant prizes, qualify for scholarships, and distinguish a college application."

In a great article entitled "The Value of a Science Fair Project" on the Science Buddies website, the important role a "Science Fair" event is detailed. Take a look and see why WPS continues to raise the bar of excellence in science education.

Please join us in acknowledging all our students that rose to the occasion and submitted some stellar STEM projects!! Congratulations to a job well done and check out the pictures below!!!!

Stay tuned for the results of the District STEM Conference which takes place on June 17th at the Willingboro Public Library.

WPS Mathematics Corner

Regardless of how your child performed in Math class during the 2018-2019 school year, there are steps that can be taken to improve that performance over the summer.

One such concern is “backsliding” where students forget much of what had been taught during the school year during a 10 week break. This can be solved with a visit to the Willingboro Parent Page for Mathematics that will take you to the listing of Eureka’s mathematical content by grade and module. From there, you (or your student) can move directly to the textbook to review material from last year or preview material for the coming school year. Combine this with visits to Khanacademy.org for video lessons and review pages.

Students who were in grades 1-4 for the 2018-2019 school year still have their Zearn accounts active, and are encouraged to log in over the summer to practice their skills in the various contents. Again, students are permitted to work ahead, noting that Khanacademy.org may be able to help students (and their parents) when they get stuck.

Parents who would like their students to practice their math facts can view the links for Xtra Math (www.xtramath.org -- it’s free!) as well as proven practices to help maximize efficiency with flashcard use. This information can be accessed through the Willingboro Parent Page for Mathematics.

If you have a child who was enrolled in our Educere program, please remind them that they have until mid-August to complete their coursework for credit. Encourage them to do as well as they can. Their Educere tutors will be available all summer, too.

Check us out on the Web!

WPS Curricula: Unit Competencies

As part of the district's curriculum writing initiative in Grades 1-12, unit competencies were embedded into every unit of study within every curriculum guide. These unit competencies are summative assessments that measure mastery of the knowledge and skills as laid out in the NJ Student Learning Standards.

Students in Grades 1-4 take one competency at the end of each unit of study in their major content areas while students in Grades 5-12 take two competencies at the middle and end of each unit of study in their major content areas.

As the district focuses on fewer overall summative assessments that more accurately measure what a student knows and is able to do, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Every unit of study in every content area does not start and end at the same time - a student may be in Unit 2 in Math but in Unit 3 in Science
  2. Each Marking Period's start and end dates do not necessarily coincide with the start and end dates of any particular unit of study in any course
  3. The Report Card Grade represents the student's grade in each course at that exact moment in time. The student will continue to be formatively and summatively assessed and graded and as such, his/her overall grade in the course will remain in a state of flux up until the end of the course.

The video below, from the Wisconsin Department of Public Education, does a great job of explaining the important role summative assessments play in the evaluation of student learning. Take a look!


Curriculum Writing & UbD

This past spring and summer, the Willingboro Board of Education approved a massive revision to over 85 of our courses in preparation for the 2018-19 school year. All of our curriculum guides utilize the Understanding by Design (UbD) methodology, written by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, that offers a framework for designing courses and content units called “Backward Design.”

The backward design approach has instructors consider the learning goals of the course first. These learning goals embody the knowledge and skills instructors want their students to have learned when they leave the course. Once the learning goals have been established, the second stage involves consideration of assessment. The backward design framework suggests that instructors should consider these overarching learning goals and how students will be assessed prior to consideration of how to teach the content. For this reason, backward design is considered a much more intentional approach to course design than traditional methods of design.


Willingboro Public Schools Board of Education

Dennis Tunstall - President

Grover McKenzie - Vice President

Tonya Brown

Gary Johnson

Kimbrali Davis

Debra Williams

Laurie Gibson-Parker

Carlos Worthy

Alexis Harkley

WPS Office of Curriculum & Instruction

Ron Zalika

Director of Curriculum & Instruction


Marti Hill

Associate Director of Instruction & Programs


Jennifer Brandon

Supervisor of Instruction - Science


Michael Braverman

Supervisor of Instruction - Math


Sharon Williams

Supervisor of Instruction - Literacy