Knowledge - Challenge - Integrity - Diversity

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Dear Parents/ Guardians and Students:

It is with great pride and excitement as I reflect on the Fall 2019 semester. We are showing steady progress and growth in student growth academically, socially and behaviorally. Our high school seniors secured top college acceptances, some of which include Barnard College and NYU, and we have raised the standards within our athletic department. We have continued to encourage our students to have a higher purpose in life that stretches beyond the ordinary.

As we know, February is a brisk month with many things going on! We are very excited about Spring that is just around the corner.

To recap the first half of the year, there is strong evidence of positive school culture, team spirit, and raising expectations. Pioneer Academy is a student-centered school, where everything that happens in the building is always in the student’s best interest. This also includes our very latest endeavor to dispatch a team of change-makers to Tanzania. Twenty-four of our high school students and four teachers traveled to Tanzania to serve the community. Their contributions, fundraising, and willingness to help are portray of what every leader should aspire to be. At Pioneer, we concentrate on the academic results, always keeping in mind that our students will change the world. They have the vision and they know that they can contribute to both the local and global communities.


I am excited to share that after an amazing turnout at our last open house in February, we will be offering another opportunity for interested families to come and see our school! Please mark your calendar for Saturday, March 7 from 10 AM to 1 PM. The open house will start with a tour led by student ambassadors, followed by an informational session for interested parents. Simultaneously, students will participate in exciting STEAM activities throughout our school. Please invite your friends and family who may be interested in attending.

Finally, I want to say thank you to all our families for the never-ending support you give us. You make such a difference in our ability to succeed at Pioneer Academy. We appreciate all the feedback from our parents, students, and staff. The student survey and the suggestions box are always here so that we can listen to your feedback. As we approach the re-enrollment season, we are very excited about potential new developments for the upcoming year, offering a wide variety of clubs and activities. This includes our athletic program lead by the NBA legend Tim Thomas, who has officially joined the school this month as the Director of the Athletic Operations and Head Coach of the Men’s Basketball National Prep Team.

We encourage everyone to re-enroll early and invite your family and friends to attend our upcoming Open House. Click the link for the register;

Thank you all for your support and dedication to our students’ achievement. On behalf of Pioneer Academy staff, I wish you continued success. Go Eagles!



Owen O. Akman

Table of Contents

  1. Upcoming Events in March
  2. Montessori Events
  3. Past and Upcoming ES Events
  4. Past and Upcoming MS Events
  5. MS Saturday Academy
  6. Past and Upcoming HS Events
  7. College Counseling Corner
  8. Basketball Events
  9. Notes from the Nurse
  10. Pioneer Academy Calendar 2020-2021
  11. Quote of the Week
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Upcoming Events In March

Mar. 7 STEAM Day/Open House - School Day

Mar. 16 - 20 K-4 Parent-Teacher Conferences - No Afterschool Clubs (K-4)

Mar. 18 Full Staff Inservice, (Grades 5 - 12) Parent-Teacher Conferences - Students off

Mar. 30 - Apr. 3 Third Quarter Benchmarks

Montessori Pre-K Events

Children’s Museum

Each month Pioneer Montessori goes on a class trip to enhance our classroom learning with excursions into our community. This month we went to Imagine That!!!, a children’s museum in Florham Park. It is an important part of our students' overall development to explore, create, play, imagine, and laugh. That is exactly what we did at Imagine That!!!

Past and Upcoming Elementary School Events

Spirit Week

100th Day Celebration

Valentine’s Day

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Fossil Class

Third grade students recently learned all about fossils. They learned how fossils form and what types of fossils archaeologists can find. We made a mold fossil!

The Tale of Despereaux

The fourth grade classes had such a fun morning! First, we finished our novel study of “The Tale of Despereaux” by watching the movie in the auditorium. We enjoyed some movie snacks of popcorn and juice--it felt like we were actually at the movie theater! Afterwards, we discussed the many differences between the book and the movie. After the discussion, we had our Publishing Party in the style of a museum. The students’ persuasive writing was hung up on the auditorium walls. The students walked around and read each writing piece, leaving positive feedback for the authors on Post-it Notes. Mr. Bilgin even came in and read them! Ms. Regan and Mrs. Hickey are so proud of how hard the students worked on their persuasive letters!

Past and Upcoming Middle School events

Awards Ceremony

The middle school held its quarterly awards ceremony this past Friday. Over twenty students made the Honor Roll, and fourteen students earned the distinct honor of making the Principal’s List! We are very proud of all of the students and their amazing achievements this past quarter.

Movie Trip: Dolittle

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Last Thursday, the middle schoolers went on a field trip to see Dolittle starring Robert Downey, Jr.. Students enjoyed popcorn and other snacks while watching this entertaining movie about a veterinarian who can communicate with animals.

Middle School Saturday Academy

Saturday Academy spent this past Saturday analyzing song lyrics, scripting a mailing address program, reading and analyzing reactions to Kobe Bryant’s passing, and preparing for their upcoming Math League competition. After their morning studies, students attended a trip to Monster Mini Golf where they were able to practice their short game and navigate through the interactive laser maze.

Past and Upcoming High School Events

NHS Feed the Homeless

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As part of the National Honor Society, each member is responsible for serving a minimum of 30 service hours at a local nonprofit organization. NHS members have the responsibility to raise personal awareness of issues teenagers face. Coupled with their interests in the area they choose for service, they are also given the responsibility to spread healthy habits to their school community and impact school culture. This year, members are focusing their attention on adolescent homelessness, which is an issue that is often overlooked when talking about the difficulties many teens face. This month, the senior members joined Bridges-Feed the Homeless, an organization based in Summit, NJ, that fights to reduce the cases of homeless people seen each year. They distributed over 300 meals, with the food they prepared the night before, to the hungry. Accompanied by a group of students from West New Jersey, they later visited a local shelter where they distributed warm clothing and personal toiletries to the residents.

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Students are learning that the circumstances under which others find themselves homeless vary from individual to individual. By educating themselves they learned that they can be part of the solution, and can help others understand these valuable lessons as well. Later this year, students will attend the Bridges Teens Tackle Homelessness Conference at Kent Place School in Summit, NJ. They will network and brainstorm with peers from different parts of New Jersey to raise awareness and help decrease the number of teenagers that find themselves homeless each year.

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Student Government Association Updates and Events

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SGA continues to promote school spirit and student involvement! February brings the opportunity to celebrate friendship and love. SGA hosted a Valentine’s Day dress down to benefit the sophomore and freshman classes. The money they have raised will fund class trips throughout the school year. SGA also sold delicious milkshakes and Nutella croissants to help raise money for student events and activities.

This Spring, SGA is supporting the return of The Pioneer Broadcast, a video news segment that is watched by students in their classes each month. The broadcast highlights school events and how to be more involved. This year, the Broadcast is being produced by a group of students led by juniors Zek Halilovic and Hikmet Ozdemir.

High School Science and Health Connection

Freshman year Biology is an experience every high schooler must go through! Finally finishing the topic of the inner cell, students are beginning to make connections between what we learn from books and what we learn from life! Human Health and medicine are perhaps the most exciting and relevant areas where Biology can be applied. After learning how our cells process gases and how the process of photosynthesis and cellular respiration are related, they tested their hypotheses against their own bodies. Students learned to calculate their own heart rate, breathing rate, and used chemical indicators to determine their levels of Carbon Dioxide production.

College Counseling Corner

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Whether you've never written an SAT Essay or didn't get the score you wanted on your last test, you can benefit from knowing more: both about the essay itself, and what really matters when the graders are reading your essay.

Give a Clear Thesis

What this means is that your essay needs to make a clear argument that the reader can easily identify. All you have to do to create your "precise central claim" is to identify the main idea of the passage and list the methods the author uses to support it.

Include Both an Introduction and a Conclusion

The SAT essay rubric states: "The response includes a skillful introduction and conclusion.”

Including an introduction paragraph in your essay is absolutely essential to getting a Writing score above a 4 (out of 8). The introduction paragraph introduces the reader to what you’ll be talking about and allows you to set up the structure for the rest of the essay. Plus, an introduction can be a pretty good indicator of the quality for the rest of the essay—a poorly constructed introduction is often a warning that the essay that follows will be equally discombobulated.

Use Effective Language and Word Choice

There are a couple of parts of the Writing score section on the SAT essay rubric that pertain directly to style.

The SAT essay rubric states this about a perfect-Writing-score essay: "The response is cohesive and demonstrates a highly effective use and command of language."

For most of us, "command of language" is an area that takes a long time to develop, so unless your language skills are really rough or you're prepping at least a year ahead of time (or both), you'll probably get more out of focusing on the other components of the essay.

Only Use Information From the Passage

All the relevant information is in the passage, so avoid getting drawn into the topic and using your outside knowledge—you want to be sure to show that you’ve read the passage.

In real life, there are many ways to support a thesis, depending on the topic. But on the SAT, there's one kind of correct support: specific details drawn from the passage you’re asked to analyze.

Focus Your Essay on Relevant Details

You don’t have to mention every single detail that makes the argument effective. In fact, your essay will be more coherent and more likely to score higher in Analysis if you focus your discussion on just a few points. It's more important to show that you're able to pick out the most important parts of the argument and explain their function that it is to be able to identify every single persuasive device the author used.

Basketball Events

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Tim Thomas, former NBA player, is officially the Director of Athletic Operations and Head Coach of the Men's Basketball Team at Pioneer Academy.

He was a legend at Paterson Catholic and named a McDonald’s All-American his senior year. After a season at Villanova, Thomas spent 13 seasons shining in the NBA.

He returned to New Jersey this past December to run his first annual Tim Thomas NJHS Hoops Showcase. Now he’s coming back to the Garden State full time to help develop a basketball program at the Pioneer Academy in Wayne.

“This is an absolute blessing,” Thomas said. “This is an opportunity that I’ve always dreamt of having. I’ve always wanted to be part of an academy to help kids achieve their goals, whether that is in academics or in sports.”

Thomas will coach the prep team, while Jim Carr will coach the national team. The Pioneer Academy will also be rolling out a high school girls basketball, middle boys and girls team, elementary boys and girls team starting next fall.


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Consider keeping your child at home for an extra day of rest and observation if he or she has any of the following symptoms:

• Very stuffy or runny nose and/or congested (wet) or croupy cough

• Mild sore throat (no fever, no known exposure to strep)

• Headache

• Stomachache

• General malaise or feelings of fatigue, discomfort, weakness or muscle aches

Definitely keep your child at home for treatment and observation if he or she has any of these symptoms:

• Fever (greater than 100 degrees and your child may return to school only after his or her temperature has been consistently below 100 degrees for a minimum of 24 hours)

• Vomiting (even once)

• Diarrhea

• Chills

To help prevent the flu and colds, teach your children good hygiene habits:

• Wash hands frequently

• Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth

• Cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, use a paper tissue, throw it away and then wash hands

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Ensure your child receives a flu shot if no existing contraindications

Colds/Flu are most contagious during the first 48 hours. When a child awakens with vague complaints (the way colds and flu begin), it is wise to observe your child at home for an hour or two before deciding whether or not to bring them to school. Your child should be physically able to participate in all school activities upon return to school. Keeping a sick child at home will minimize the spread of infections and viruses in the classroom.

Pioneer Academy Calendar 2020-2021

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Quote of the Week

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Open House-March 7

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Rated Niche's 2019 #1 private school

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Pioneer Academy is a leader in education. It is rated the #1 private school in Passaic County by Niche and College Board's Highest SAT performance in Passaic County among both public and private schools.

Pioneer Acceptance

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