Times of the Year That Should be Avoided for Scheduling Site Visits
First three weeks of September, the entire months of November and April, NJASK testing weeks and all Fridays.
Please email Mrs. Koller, principal, to set-up visitation and provide any specifics you may want to have included in the agenda. It is preferred that you contact the school via email.
When you arrive, ring the bell. When admitted into building, please go directly to the office (first door on right) and check in with Ms. Schneider, secretary, or Mr. Walsh, office assistant. You must sign-in and obtain a “Visitor” badge prior to meeting with Mrs. Koller.
What You Should Know About This School
Grade Levels: 5, 6, 7, 8
The school uses a flexible schedule with all students having 80 minutes each of Math and Language Arts Literacy each day, with 30 minutes dedicated to Accelerated Math or Accelerated Reader. Students also have a daily 80-minute block, which is shared between Science and Social Studies. Additionally, students have 30 minutes of Advisory or Supplemental Instruction (alternating each day), and a 55-minute special period for PE/Health, Art, Music, Instructional Technology, Critical Thinking Skills, or Spanish.
- Over the last four years, the school has engaged in a systematic approach to curriculum development, using the Understanding by Design model, the Standards Clarification Project, Lauren Resnick’s Principles of Learning, and interdisciplinary instruction as guiding principles. Essential questions and rubrics are visible in most classrooms.
- Language arts and math teachers loop for students in grades 7 and 8. The school attributes gains in grade 8 achievement to this practice.
- Teachers are actively involved in recreating their curriculum using Reeves’ Power Standard inititative and the State Standards Clarification Project to guide them. Teachers meet departmentally on six release days during the school year to collaborate on this initiative.
- Students are challenged to think about how they learn. Every student engages in the Let Me Learn (LML) Learning Connections Inventory which measures the degree to which students use one of four interactive learning processes. The student planner includes sections that require students to analyze their individual learning processes and track NJASK scores, marking period goals and grades, and their grade point average.
- The school uses technology to engage students in learning. Students use AlphaSmart Neo IIs, Renaissance Responders, Smart Boards, and Airliner Digital Slates as part of regular classroom activities.
- Each student has an advisor who serves as their school advocate. Students meet with their advisory group every other day. Advisory activities include, life skills, character education, Let Me Learn and school spirit activities.
- The school uses an extended AM or PM schedule to hold awards celebrations where students are recognized for academics, behavior, character, athletics, music, and technology skills.
- To meet the needs of students with disabilities, the school employs two full-time special education teachers for each grade-level interdisciplinary team. The teachers provide both resource and in-class support for math and language arts. The school is moving towards an ICS model with a true co-teaching structure.
- The school has been transformed in about three years due to the leadership of the principal and the commitment of the staff. Teachers developed a new behavior management plan using a positive reinforcement approach. A new vision and mission for the school was developed that connects to character education and advisory. The principal introduced Resnick’s Principles of Learning and incorporated the principles into professional evaluations.
- Teachers and students feel they have a voice in decision-making.
- Teams write yearly grade level missions and covenant statements about how they work together.
- The school uses a template for teacher planning that addresses learning connections, differentiation, assessment, and reflection in addition to traditional lesson planning requirements.