State Report Card Narrative for 2016-2017
"Students don't care how much we know until they know how much we care"
Elementary School, located on Pleasant Hill Road in Succasunna, is
comprised of grades Pre-Kindergarten through Four. We have two sections
of full day kindergarten and two classes on all other grade levels with a
total student population of 243. The Pre-K program is comprised of two
separate classes, both with mixes of three and four year olds.
We strive to provide students with a challenging and rigorous academic program which prepares them to reach their full potential. Our faculty is committed to motivating students to think creatively, solve problems, and encourage curiosity for independent learning. The delivery of the curriculum is differentiated to meet the needs of varied learners in a developmental approach for enhancing skills and advanced performance. We emphasize a thematic and integrated approach within our classrooms. Art, music, physical education, media instruction, technology, enrichment activities, and guidance services are provided. State-of-the-art computers can be found in our technology lab and all of our classrooms. We have Smart Boards in every classroom which we have enhanced with Smart Response Clickers and Smart Document Cameras over the past two years.
Special Education supports available at Kennedy School include two Language Learning Disability (LLD) classrooms (one K-1 and one 2-4). We also have an Out of Class Resource (OCR) teacher on staff for students who need that level of support.
In the area of technology, we have added a cart of 32 Google Chrome Books and are encouraging our teachers to be Google Certified Educators. Every regular education and special education classroom teacher has been provided with an iPad to use in their classroom. Each classroom is also equipped with a "reflector" app which allows the teacher and students to project work that they are doing on their device onto the Smart Board. We also have two iPad carts which house 26 devices each, allowing our teachers to begin to meet our students on their own ground with regard to how they use technology to create and communicate in their everyday lives. In an effort to encourage STEM education we have outfitted a classroom for the purpose of conducting science experiments and are encouraging teachers to make use of it. Last year, we participated in the Hour of Code and we continue to explore the use of Lego Robotics kits and how we can use them to introduce students to computer programming.
Our English Language Arts and Math programs are recently revised to better reflect the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. We are teaching the Readers' and Writers' Workshop models in ELA with the recent addition of Wilson’s Fundations in kindergarten and first grades. In mathematics we continue to transition to the Singapore-based philosophy of the Math in Focus program in all grades. Classes are increasingly differentiated in both ELA and math as teachers continue to introduce more centers in their classrooms and conference individually and in small groups in order to focus on specific areas of growth for each student.
Our Science instruction is now aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), with our third and fourth grades introducing the FOSS science program this year. FOSS will be rolled out in the younger grades in the 2017-18 school year. Students who were a part of the pilot program last year were excited about the hands on approach to learning science that FOSS fosters. Teachers are similarly excited to begin teaching the program.
Kennedy parents are an integral part of our school family. The PTA brings our community together in productive and entertaining ways. The Cultural Arts Committee brings us enriching presentations and interactive learning experiences throughout the school year. Teachers are inspired through the PTA's grant program, which funds worthwhile educational activities. Volunteers organize the PTA Reflections Program which allows students to demonstrate their creativity in the areas of photography, visual arts, literature, film, video production, and dance. Many of our students participated in the 2014 Reflections Program, with several students earning county recognition, and three were selected for state level recognition. Book Fair, Holiday Boutique, Bingo, and Family Craft Night are other events that make Kennedy a place where family and school support each other to create a caring, nurturing place which maximizes learning and growing. This year the PTA will also be sponsoring a Halloween Dance.
Our staff fosters a safe, respectful, healthy environment by empowering students and supporting ethical decision-making. Students are taught to stand up for themselves and others in a peaceful manner. This year, we are continuing to take a proactive approach to the state's "Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying" initiative, with the aim of reducing HIB. Emotional, social, and intellectual development is factored into the academic process and our aim is to teach the whole child.
We support our district's vision of "Preparing the children of today for tomorrow" by teaching our young people to be lifelong learners with skills to think creatively and work as part of a team toward a greater good.