Learning Update Feb. 2017
A curriculum update for Parents/Guardians
High School Students That Are Fluent in Two Languages?
The test will assess reading, writing, listening, and speaking of the following languages:
We anticipate all assessment data will be complete by the end of the month. Stay tuned for our results (we even hope that the NJ DOE will recognize our students & district for going the extra mile...)
To learn more about NJ's Seal of Bi-Literacy, please click the below:
Elementary Gifted & Talented Program - Grade 3-5
Did you know that our Gifted & Talented students (in grades 3 and 4) study Robotics? Using a program created by LEGO Education, the students utilize the WeDo Program during their marking period course.
In grade three (LEGO Robotics I) students begin to undertand all the "working parts" of a robot and how they are programmed. By the end of the marking period, students develop a deeper understanding of Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM).
In grade four (LEGO Robotics II) students apply their knowledge of STEM and robotics, and build more complex robots. Greater emphasis is placed on writing code (programming).
Our Full STEAM Ahead unit for fifth graders is an exciting opportunity to add art to STEM.....which we call STEAM. By the end of the unit, students construct their own shaker tables to test a simulated earthquake.
New Science Standards in Middle School
In September of 2016, all middle school science programs transitioned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). New Jersey's shift to these standards had Districts closely examine their current science sequence. Traditionally our middle school students study earth science in sixth grade, life science in seventh grade, and physical science in eighth grade.
With the implementation of the NJ Student Learning Standards for Science, we began a "blended" approach to middle school science instruction. This year, the blended approach was most evident in our grade six science program. By the end of the year, sixth grade students will experience topics aligned to earth/space science, life science, and physical science. To supplement instruction, the District adopted ScienceFusion (by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
In addition to a content change, science instruction places a greater emphasis on Scientific & Engineering Practices. These are practices that engage students in:
- asking questions & defining problems;
- developing & using models;
- analyzing & interpreting data;
- engaging in argument from evidence.
For more information about our middle school science series, please click the link below.
How Are Teachers Evaluated?
Teacher practice is based on classroom observations. Evaluation of "the teacher's practice" must be aligned to a framework (rubric) and have four areas of performance rating. Our District currently uses the Danielson Framework to formally assess teaching. The framework is broken down into four main areas (domains):
- Planning & Preparation;
- Classroom Environment;
- Professional Responsibilities.
The first three domains are assessed during short and long observations; whereas, professional responsibilities are assessed at the end of the year (based on all the work the teacher has done over a ten month period).
We are very proud of the work our staff has done with transitioning to the Danielson Framework. For more information about Educator Effectiveness, please visit the teacher evaluation section of our webpage.
Professional Development Update
On Tuesday, January 16th, our staff participated in our district in-service. These days are meaningful because they provide the staff with an opportunity to further collaborate with their colleagues, acquire new skills, attend necessary trainings, and/or refine existing practices.
Some the sessions included (but were not limited to):
- Diversity, Identity, and Inclusion - Through Student Art Making;
- APEX Training;
- New Course Development;
- Response to Intervention Planning;
- Book Study;
- LEGO Articulation;
- ESL Training;
- Horizontal & Vertical Articulation;
- ...and so much more.
It was a full day of "learning" and our staff earned 6.0 hours toward their professional development requirements.
We are very proud of our staff and their continued focus on professional learning!
Five Fast Facts (Tips) for Parents
2.) Are you making the most of your report card talks?
3.) As much as possible, sit and have dinner as a family.
4.) Be a role model to build (your child's) reading interest.
5.) You can help your child develop valuable leadership skills.