FORT LEE BORO (03-1550-100)

Lewis F. Cole Middle School

Lewis F. Cole Middle School has flourished as a stepping-stone to high school for 55 years. Each year, we build upon successful programs and add to our list of new accomplishments through the infusion of innovative technologies and teaching strategies. The professional teaching staff and administration at the middle school take pride in developing students who are succeeding academically at each new level of learning, while incorporating the character elements needed to foster civic responsibility and good citizenship. Our large and culturally diverse school population continues to strive for excellence at every academic and social level. At the same time, we have been able to maintain a positive community profile, which embraces the spirit of volunteerism and intergenerational activities.

This is an extremely exciting year at LFCMS, which is led by the completion of a $10.5 million addition and renovation. This brings us a brand new wing to our facility and a total of 20 new and renovated classrooms. We are also celebrating the addition of a new media center, new instrumental band room and brand new science labs. Our students will benefit tremendously from the new facilities and grow academically with a cleaner and healthier school environment.

Our school is also in the midst of a 1:1 Google Chromebook initiative. All students were issued Google Chromebooks as a tool to assist them with their academic studies. Our teachers are working hard to engage the students by using virtual classroom forums such as Google Classroom and Edmodo and delivering instructional software to keep our kids engaged and active in the classroom. Our teachers have been preparing for this over the last several years and are now reaping the rewards of student learning at its finest.

We continue to offer a comprehensive program of content studies. While accelerated programs in Geometry, Algebra, and Language Arts meet the needs of our gifted and talented students, our basic skills programs help struggling students meet levels of proficiency in reading, writing and math. Special education teachers are able to fully accommodate students' needs in a regular classroom setting through collaborative teaching programs. The library's technology lab and the implementation of a 1:1 Google Chromebook initiative help to supplement existing middle school programs and prepare middle school students for the rigorous demands of high school and beyond.

Along with academic growth, we promote social and emotional growth through our character education programs. Core values of accepting differences, respecting rules, identifying negative peer influence and making positive choices are all instilled in the curriculum of every content area. Our students will be trained on the laws involving harassment, intimidation and bullying and will be expected to avoid the decisions that lead them into negative consequences dictated by the legislation. Social media and texting are also influences in the decisions that our students make. Our students will be taught the dangers of social media and the importance of creating a positive digital footprint. All of this will be the focus of our character education programs, assemblies and classroom lessons.

Lewis F. Cole Middle School offers a wide range of clubs and activities for our students to get involved in after school hours. Intermedia, our school's literary and fine arts magazine, just received its highest score ever for its outstanding publication from Columbia Scholastic Press. We also offer a yearbook club, student council, peer mediation team, bias busters club, math team, science team, instrumental band, chorus, bells ensemble, Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.), and after-school intramurals. We are also celebrating the third year of existence for our school's Girls Volleyball team. Our commitment to developing well-rounded students goes way beyond the classroom and reaches out for social and emotional belonging.

Our curriculum is consistently being modified to meet the individual needs of our students and to align our instruction with Core Common Standards dictated by the State of New Jersey and United States Department of Education. It is always our goal to revise our curriculum so that it remains a living, breathing document which provides guidance and resources for teachers, students, and parents alike. Last year, we started the process of developing new curricula in science and social studies. This year, we will continue that work with the goal of implementation in September 2016. For science, this will include the Next Generation Science Standards. Our ultimate goal is to align teacher lessons with Common Core Standards and integrate technology at every level.

Along with all of this, our teachers are in the first year of a new evaluation system. We now are working under the Kim Marshall teacher evaluation system and using our new student information system, Genesis, as the tool to report all observations and evaluations. This is a major shift for our teachers who have been working hard to meet accountability demands from our local, state, and federal agencies. All teachers must also have two Student Growth Objectives completed by October 15, 2015 in order to begin the process of measuring student growth through data. Language arts and math teachers will be given an SGP (Student Growth Percentile), which will measure student growth on standardized tests given to students last spring.

As a professional community, we are committed to moving LFCMS forward. It is always our goal to further reinforce an already strong academic program that will prepare our students to be future communicators, analysts, and synthesizers of knowledge. All students must become critical thinkers, life-long learners, and contributing members of our community. We always take pride in our work and look forward to assisting all students in their academic, social and emotional challenges.