Vol. 2, No. 2
T he A dvance:
th e vo i c e o f N ew M i lfo rd s ch o o ls a publication of the New Milford Public School District Administrative Offices, 145 Madison Avenue, New Milford, New Jersey 07646 1.1 Message from the Superintendent:
A District on the Move!
highlighting program development & innovation in New Milford schools
IN THIS ISSUE 1.1 A DISTRICT ON THE MOVE: MESSAGE FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT ✦
1.2 DISTRICT FINANCES: PROGRESSIVE MANAGEMENT SANS THE STICKER SHOCK ✦
1.3 AN ACADEMIC RENAISSANCE ✦
1.4 “THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT I’VE EVER GOTTEN.” NEW INDISTRICT SPECIAL SERVICES THRIVING IN NEW MILFORD
New Milford schools are on the move, and we want the community to know about it. The administra-on and faculty increasingly think in terms of possibility. Young at heart, vibrant and open to new ideas, they value working collabora-vely and understand the importance of ongoing professional development. Organized into professional learning c o m m u n i - e s , t h e y a r e f o c u s e d exclusively on the advancement of s t u d e n t a c h i e v e m e n t a n d t h e e n r i c h m e nt o f t h e to ta l s c h o o l experience.
Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Middle College program which awards college credit to students taking approved courses in high school. Berkley and Gibbs elementary schools were the ﬁrst to par-cipate in Bergen Community College’s College Now program which provides third and fourth graders with one-‐to-‐one mentoring in literacy and mathema-cs and exposes children early to the many wonderful resources available on a robust college campus. (more on p.2)
1.5 SUPERINTENDENT HOSTS MONTHLY MEETINGS WITH STUDENTS AND PARENTS ✦
DISTRICT ADMINISTRATION Michael A. Polizzi Superintendent Michael Sawicz Business Administrator/Board Secretary Ray Dorso Director of Special Services Danielle Shanley Director of Curriculum & Instruction NEW MILFORD BOARD OF EDUCATION Daniel Conner, President Darren Drake, Vice President Lori Barton John Bigger David Foo Judith Rabinowitz-McSweeney Geraldine Mechler Peggy Saslow Joseph Steele
essential to connecting students with resources outside school setting The District is proud of its posi-ve educa-onal climate and the dedica-on o f s t a ﬀ , s t u d e n t s , p a r e n t s , administrators, board members and the community. ACer many years of instability, a consistent administra-ve team with a common, long-‐range vision is in place. Sustainable reform is at the heart of that vision, which embraces the crea-on of partnerships with local, county and state ins-tu-ons, including higher educa-on, regional arts and cultural centers and civic organiza-ons. They are essen-al to the goal of connec-ng students with resources not readily available within the conﬁnes of a school seGng. New Milford schools enjoy emerging partnerships with the Bergen Performing Arts Center and
NEW MILFORD PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT MISSION The New Milford Public School District provides relevant, innovative and rigorous educational opportunities to students at all grade levels. The District is resolute in its attention to the development of the whole child by providing a comprehensive range of experiences essential to building capacity for independent and responsible living. The program is designed to prepare all students to meet or exceed NJCCCS, think critically, master the challenges of life-long academic, cultural, social, economic, emotional and professional advancement, as well as constructive participation as citizens in an interdependent global society. The District embraces family and community as active partners in a unified effort to develop students into self-directed, self-confident adults on their journeys to becoming the next generations of entrepreneurs, builders, artists, designers, inventors, scientists, educators, caregivers, protectors, workers and leaders.
THE ADVANCE: THE VOICE OF NEW MILFORD SCHOOLS
1.2 District Finances:
Facilities Growth @ Zero or Minimal Cost to Taxpayers
Michael Sawicz, CPA Business Administrator/ Board Secretary
In these days of economic uncertainty, high unemployment, federal, state and local ﬁscal crises and embaSled school budgets, it is certainly gra-fying to report on some upbeat ﬁnancial developments in the district. The ﬁrst is that we have been able to avoid some of the eighteen personnel layoﬀs proposed in the budget, largely due to two factors. An increase in health care premiums es-mated by the state to be 25% will actually be only 8.5% beginning in January. With district health care costs of over $4.4 million, this was a major source of addi-onal monies. We also received addi-onal unan-cipated Extraordinary Aid as a result of our increased special educa-on costs. With a stated commitment to classroom educa-on, the Board directed that instruc-onal and key support posi-ons be retained with these funds.
technologies a powerful resource for district schools The second item involves an exci-ng project that will ul-mately spell win-‐win-‐ win for the students, taxpayers and the environment. A major capital issue facing the district this year is the DEO Middle School roof is in desperate need of replacement. Es-mates for the new roof are at $1,700,000, and capital projects of this magnitude are normally outside the opera-ng budget. While proposing a bond referendum to the taxpayers is the normal course of ac-on, passage in this economy could be problema-c. Instead, the district is moving forward with a combined solar panel and roof
project that will ul-mately—over the 25 to 30-‐year life of the roof/panels—have zero or minimal cost to the taxpayers. The district will sign a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with an investor group. In essence, the ﬁnancing is structured so the district spreads payment of the roof alone over the ﬁrst ﬁCeen years. Over that same period, the investor group pays for and owns the solar panels. B e c a u s e t h e y a r e a f o r -‐ p r o ﬁ t organiza-on, they are en-tled to a 30% e n e rg y c re d i t f ro m t h e fe d e ra l government (like the $1,500 you can get on your personal tax return), accelerated deprecia-on and income from the electricity and SREC’s sold to u-li-es. The district in turn receives a discounted electricity rate. In year sixteen, ownership of the solar panels will revert to the district at which -me the district will generate all electricity needed for the building saving about $100,000 per year in energy costs in today’s dollars. At the end of its useful life, the roof and solar panels will then have cost zero or minimal dollars. The District was faced with addressing a needed capital project and successfully found the best solu-on. But more importantly, our middle school becomes more of a GREEN building and our students will learn about the power of solar energy on a daily basis via monitors in the building. DEO Middle School reduces its carbon footprint, students learn about solar power and the taxpayers have been minimally impacted. Win-‐Win-‐Win.
1.1 Supt.’s Message (from p.1) For the long term, the District is facing signiﬁcant progressive change in the ways that schools provide relevant, innova-ve and challenging educa-onal opportuni-es to students at all grade levels. Drawing upon best prac-ce models, for example, the high school has laid the founda-ons for the development of career-‐focused concentra-ons in areas such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathema-cs), Global
DECEMBER 2010 Leadership (interna-onal business & entrepreneurship, diplomacy, language, t r a v e l ) , E n v i r o n m e n t a l S t u d i e s , Performing Arts (drama, music, dance), D i g i t a l M e d i a , A r t s & L e S e r s ( i nte rd i s c i p l i n a r y st u d i e s i n t h e humani-es) and a cross-‐disciplinary approach to Teaching as a Profession. Understanding that the implementa-on of these programs cannot occur in a vacuum, complementary curricular components are being introduced at the elementary and the middle school levels. A Junior Academy, comprehensive aCer-‐ school enrichment program, specialized programs addressing the needs of our m o s t c h a l l e n g e d s t u d e n t s , comprehensive programs in science, math and literacy at the elementary and early childhood levels are systema-cally being developed and launched. Of par-cular note is the Inner Bridge Crossing program, designed to serve children with social, rela-onal and communica-ve disabili-es including Asperger’s Syndrome, high-‐func-oning a u - s m , a n d n o nv e r b a l l e a r n i n g disabili-es. Comparable ini-a-ves oﬀering alterna-ves for students in the u p p e r g r a d e s a r e a l s o u n d e r development. Whether we are looking at healthy decisions op-ons for students, including food, exercise, and behaviors, or the introduc-on of engaging, interest-‐ oriented educa-onal programs, New Milford Schools are well poised to b e c o m e m o d e l s n o t e d f o r accomplishment, drive, crea-vity, integrity and innova-on.
CURRICULUM CORNER 1.3
WHAT’S NEXT FOR NEW MILFORD SCHOOLS “Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” ~ Henry Ford
RENAISSANCE: THE ADVANCE:THE THEVOICE VOICEOF OFNEW NEWMILFORD MILFORDSCHOOLS SCHOOLS
DECEMBER 2010 NMEF FOUNDERS & BOARD: Alison Fischer, CEO Joseph LoPorto, CFO Jose Camacho Marlenis Camacho Megan Farricker Celeste Scavetta Stacey Sidorsky Joanne Spurlin Colleen Tambuscio
Incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity, the New Milford Education Foundation (NMEF) is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching, enhancing and supporting New Milford’s public education system. The NMEF supports New Milford Public Schools in providing a challenging and enriching educational experience that maximizes the learning potential of every student and prepares them to succeed in the 21st century. The Foundation provides incentives to stimulate excellence in the New Milford Public Schools by awarding grants for projects, programs and purchases that support the curriculum and facilities, by funding scholarships for students and professional development for educators, and by raising the profile of public education in New Milford. 1.3 Curriculum Corner AN ACADEMIC RENAISSANCE Danielle Shanley Director of Curriculum & Instruction
As this calendar year rapidly moves along, the district is ac-vely engaged in many new beginnings. District s t a ke h o l d e rs h av e b e e n c l o s e l y evalua-ng math and language arts programs from Kindergarten through gradua-on. This work has revealed many areas of opportunity for course oﬀerings and curricula. It is our responsibility and commitment to provide consistency and quality of curriculum, instruc-on and materials for all students in New Milford. We con-nue to work very closely with faculty members, as well as provide them more quality -me to work with one another. Each month we engage in content area ar-cula-on mee-ngs and in dedicated collabora-ons within our Professional Learning Communi-es. Ar-cula-on mee-ngs in English language arts (ELA) have included a close look at the new Na-onal Common Core 3
Standards. These new standards have replaced the former New Jersey Common Core Standards in Language Arts. The staﬀ is planning for the following implementa-on: The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects (“the Standards”) are the culmina-on of an extended, broad-‐ based eﬀort to fulﬁll the charge issued by the states to create the next genera-on of K–12 standards in order to help ensure that all students are college and career ready in literacy no later than the end of high school. The Standards are (1) research and evidence based, (2) a l i g n e d w i t h c o l l e g e a n d w o r k expecta-ons, (3) rigorous, and (4) i n t e r n a - o n a l l y b e n c h m a r ke d . A par-cular standard was included in the document only when the best available evidence indicated that its mastery was essen-al for college and career readiness in a twenty-‐ﬁrst-‐century, globally compe--ve society. The Standards set requirements not only for English
To make your donation, please send your check payable to: “New Milford Education Foundation” and mail to: NMEF 145 Madison Avenue New Milford, NJ 07646 p: 201.639.6633 f: 201.639.6634 For information on how to give, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website coming soon: www.newmilfordfoundation.org
language arts (ELA) but also for literacy in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. One of the ar-cula-on exercises included alignment of the many diﬀerent types of wri-ng students are expected to master, including document based research and literary analysis. A fully aligned ELA curriculum must be revised and implemented in Kindergarten through grade 12 by September of 2012. The reading expecta-ons include students’ abili-es to tackle a variety of texts for many purposes within and outside of the ELA classroom. The State of NJ has established a three year implementa-on window for curriculum alignment, revision and implementa-on of the Na-onal Common Core Standards in Mathema-cs: K-‐2 by September of 2011; 3-‐5 and 9-‐12 by September 2012; and 6-‐8 by September 2013. You may review them in their en-rety at hSp:// www.corestandards.org.
(more on p.4)
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SEPTEMBER DECEMBER 2010
1.5 SUPERINTENDENT POLIZZI HOSTS MONTHLY CONVERSATIONS
AN ACADEMIC RENAISSANCE
In coming to New Milford, Superintendent Polizzi envisioned an educational community that engages students and parents in the dialogue on education and what that means for New Milford residents. To that end, he established the Superintendent’s Council at New Milford High School, a group of students who meet monthly with the superintendent to discuss matters and issues of importance to the school experience. It was important that all grade levels would be represented and that participants would reflect all student constituencies, such as gender, ethnicity, academic levels and interests.
As a result of our own data analysis and these new na-onal standards, the district will undergo some signiﬁcant p r o g ra m m a - c c h a n g e s i n t h e 2011-‐2012 school year. Prepara-on for those changes is currently underway. In mathema-cs, beginning at the elementary level, we will see the addi-on of Everyday Mathema-cs, our standards-‐based math program, at grade 4. We are presently using this program in grades K-‐3.
WITH STUDENTS AND PARENTS
This year, two other groups were established: a Superintendent’s Council at the DEO Middle School and a Parents’ Cabinet, which includes parent representatives from each of the District’s four schools. Not surprisingly, all three groups share many common goals and concerns. Among them—and much of this is student generated—is the interest in improving the academic climate of schools. Students want to be respected for their brains, their scholarly achievements, in addition to recognition for their athleticism or social standing. They are interested in promoting more active engagement in school life. They are interested in greater challenges, including increased honors and advanced placement courses. And, of course, they are interested in their stomachs—the quality of food offerings at lunch, pricing, variety, and the expansion of choices to include healthier options, including more vegetarian selections. To date, district administration has met with these three groups with an open mind and has acted positively to their ideas. In the end, they are working together to communicate better and to advance the quality of life for the students of New Milford.
(more below…) The professional development necessary, both refresher courses for K-‐3 teachers and new training sessions for grade 4 teachers of Everyday Math, are already in place. This type of standards-‐based, algebra-‐rich mathema-cs instruc-on will become an inherent part of the middle school program in both grades 6 and 7 next year. We have a team of dedicated professionals inves-ga-ng mul-ple programs to determine which will best prepare our students to master the new common core standards in mathema-cs. This implementa-on will result in i m p ro v e d re a d i n e s s fo r C o l l e g e Preparatory Pre-‐Algebra or Honors level Algebra I for all eighth grade students. The ul-mate goal is to increase achievement in mathema-cs, where students will be ready to access higher level math courses, including Advanced Placement math courses at the high school level. In English Language Arts, we are exploring more training for our elementary teachers in Guided Reading instruc-on and the Writer’s Workshop process to increase independence, 4
ﬂuency, literary conven-ons and vocabulary development.
junior academy high school concentrations alternative ed programs 21st C. learning K-8 enrichment academy middle school standards-based math real science grades 3-5 new AP courses at h.s. Standards Solu-on LLC has worked with our faculty members on numerous
occasions this year to assist them with strategies for teaching wri-ng as a process versus wri-ng as a product, and in increasing student achievement through working with text and analyzing text. Math teachers at each grade level also experienced grade-‐span speciﬁc, math speciﬁc workshops with Standards Solu-on. The feedback for all workshops was beyond our expecta-ons! Teachers a re a p p l y i n g t h e re c o m m e n d e d strategies in their classrooms, accessing the interac-ve website for benchmark assessments, and crea-ng ac-vi-es and engaging lessons in each of the math and ELA cluster areas. The HS faculty has been involved in proposing new courses for the 9-‐12 programs. They are revising courses of study and sequences of those courses within the departments. The most exci-ng and relevant change to the HS program will be the op-on for students to become members of one of the Academies @ New Milford High School. W e a r e b e g i n n i n g w i t h t h r e e concentra-ons: The Academy of Arts and Le9ers (with op-ons for performing and
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1.3 Curriculum Corner (from p. 4) non-‐performing studies), The Academy for Global Leadership (which includes many new Business oﬀerings), and The Science Technology Engineering and Mathema@cs (STEM) Academy. All Academies will oﬀer courses at the College Preparatory, Honors and Advanced Placement levels. We are currently seeking permission from The College Board to oﬀer three more Advanced Placement courses next year. We will also con-nue to embrace our Tomorrow’s Teachers prepara-on program for students in any one of the Academies who might like to explore or pursue a career in educa-on. Pending Board of Educa-on approval, The NEW NMHS Program of Studies and the details of the Academies and oﬀerings will be available toward the end of January 2011. The addi-on of Academies at the High School requires us to look at the scheduled school day, the curriculum and the programs at David E Owens Middle School. A Junior Academy for 8th graders will begin in September 2011. The enrichment program for all students will undergo a make-‐over, as we b e g i n to i n co r p o rate m o re enrichment aligned with High School Concentra-ons. In grades 6 and 7, we will be adop-ng a standards-‐based, algebra-‐rich mathema-cs program. Addi-onally, we will dedicate signiﬁcant -me aligning our English Language Arts programs to the new Na-onal Common Core Standards, and will require a minimum of four, common, process wri-ng pieces each year, to ensure more con-nuity for all of the students. Since The Na-onal Common Core Standards make speciﬁc demands for reading and wri-ng in all content areas, we will, of course, be incorpora-ng those expecta-ons into our curricula. 5
DECEMBER FALL 2010 2009
Although we are only four full months into the school year, there has been signiﬁcant test data analysis and program evalua-on completed. We are taking careful ac-on to plan, budget and train for a rela-vely quick implementa-on of strategies to address numerous areas of iden-ﬁed areas of opportunity. Despite limited resources, we believe we can and will see noteworthy and per-nent changes for our district in the very near future.
As a result, we decided to develop our own in-‐district program to meet the needs of students who require intensive services. Our goal was to develop an excep-onal program based on research and best prac-ces. During the planning process, we ac-vely included parents to ensure they were aware of our progress in the program’s development and to ascertain parental sugges-ons and perspec-ves.
1.4 “The best Christmas present…”
Special Services Thriving in New Milford Ray Dorso, Director of Special Services
Signiﬁcant changes have occurred within the Department of Special Services over the past year and a half. In part, many of the changes have been a result of increased stability within the department and a convic-on to educate all of our students in-‐district. Parental involvement and support have also contributed to the changes that have taken place. The two programs listed below represent examples of some of the signiﬁcant changes that have occurred during this -me period. Inner Bridge Crossing at Berkley Street Elementary School Following an assessment of district needs early last school year, the administra-ve team determined a need for an in-‐district program for pre-‐school and kindergarten students with social a n d co m m u n i ca- ve d i s a b i l i - e s , including Au-sm Spectrum Disorders. This was iden-ﬁed as an area of need because many of our students were being educated in schools outside of New Milford. As a district, we believe, with convic-on, that all of our students should have the opportunity to be educated with their peers.
The culmina-on of our planning and hard work has resulted in the very successful opening of the Inner Bridge Crossing program in September! The Inner Bridge Crossing program is comprised of two classrooms located at Berkley Street Elementary School. The pre-‐school class oﬀers a full day program with a one-‐to-‐one student to staﬀ ra-o. The K-‐2 program oﬀers a two to one student to staﬀ ra-o. There are many factors that have contributed to the program’s early success. First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that we have a great group of students in our program! We cannot wait to see how they con-nue to progress throughout the year. Secondly, our parents are very suppor-ve and involved. Research consistently notes a strong correla-on between involved parents and success. Lastly, our dedicated staﬀ has done an outstanding job of making sure we are mee-ng the needs of all of our learners. As a district, we are fortunate to have staﬀ
NEWADVANCE: RENAISSANCE: THE MILFORDTHE KNIGHTLY THEVOICE VOICEOF NEWS OFNEW NEWMILFORD MILFORDSCHOOLS SCHOOLS
members passionate about their profession. We have heard from many of our parents about how thrilled they are with this program. One of our parents, Mr. Day, was kind enough to let us share with you, his personal perspec-ve on how the program has impacted his son and family. We are very apprecia-ve of his willingness to share his story detailed below. It represents one of the stories he shared with us. “My son Haydn is a ﬁve year-‐old boy with Asperger's Syndrome and is currently a9ending the K-‐2 class in the Inner Bridge Crossing Program. Prior to the start of kindergarten, c o nv e r s a @ o n s w i t h H a y d n w e r e prac@cally non-‐existent. They usually involved my asking ques@ons, possibly geTng an answer, and Haydn making a li9le speech about fans or lights.. At the beginning of the school year, I would ask Haydn about school and the following conversa@on would follow: "How was your day at school, Haydn?" "Good, Daddy-‐o." "What did you do at school today?" "School stuﬀ." Out of the room and on to new adventures. On Dec.17th: "How was your day at school, Haydn?" "Good. Today is Thursday, music was my special today. I like music." "What did you do in music today?" "I watched a movie. I played a drum." "Sounds like fun. What did you do in Mr. Flynn's Class today?" "I did my sensible pencil. I don't like math." "Did you have fun today?" "Yes. Daddy-‐o. I ate pizza for lunch." In four months, Haydn has evolved from a one and done conversa@onalist, to 6
where he answers my ques@ons about school, and even volunteers informa@on (pizza for lunch).
”Without ques,on, the best Christmas present I've ever go9en.” —Haydn’s Dad
CONTRIBUTORS AND STAFF Michael Polizzi Superintendent Michael Sawicz Business Administrator/Board Secretary
Again, we would like to thank the Day family for sharing their story!
Raymond Dorso Director of Special Services
New Milford Knight School: A 2 1 s t C e n t u r y C a r e e r a n d Alterna,ve Educa,on Program
Danielle Shanley Director of Curriculum & Instruction
The New Milford School District is preparing to open the New Milford Knight School on 1/4/11! This is a program to meet the needs of high school students that may require an alterna-ve approach to learning. The core academic courses are oﬀered aCer 3:00PM at New Milford High School. This program was developed because we u n d e rsta n d t h at st u d e nt s l e a r n diﬀerently and, as a result, some students require a diﬀerent seGng to reach their academic and future goals. The program will have its own supervisor, counselor and a Structured Learning Experiences coordinator. The SLE coordinator will work with students (16 years of age and older) to secure internships/work experiences in the community. These work experiences occur during the day, prior to aSending the “Knight” component of the program. Instruc-on in the following content areas will be oﬀered: Physical Educa-on, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science and Math. In addi-on to the emphasis on 21st century careers, the program will also
Walt Pevny District Webmaster
focus on the following: Inter-‐disciplinary Instruc-on Social & Emo-onal Learning Literacy Instruc-on Across All Content Areas High Academic Expecta-ons We are excited to provide our students with this opportunity, an opportunity to ﬁnd a spark of inspira-on that leads to a successful life! The development of both programs, IBC and the Knight School, has occurred as a result of our district’s dedica-on to mee-ng the needs, at an excep-onal level, of all of our students. Both programs are based on research and best prac-ces. And lastly, both programs are ﬁscally responsible! As a result of developing our new programs, we have saved the district signiﬁcant resources. This, in turn, has enabled us to invest in other programs that increase student achievement for all New Milford students.