2012-2013 Initiatives: Common Core, EE4NJ Evaluations & Sustainability

BC Sketch The 2012-2013 school year is an exciting time for all of us in the curriculum office. This year we are continuing our many partnerships with community groups. I am especially looking forward to working with the League of Women Voters who are organizing another great Running and Winning program for our students in March.

Also, as part of our district’s Long Range Education Plan, each of the schools are making the transition to 21st-century learning. That is why in today’s classrooms, we are promoting curricula that fosters student collaboration and active participation through discussions, explorations, and performances. By 2014, concepts of Sustainability and 21st Century Skills instruction will be deeply integrated into the daily activities of learning. Professional development opportunities will support staff in understanding these concepts and in implementing instruction to promote authentic learning. We are especially dedicated to providing optimal learning environments, systems, and procedures conducive to sustainable education. Learn more below.

Furthermore, our teachers and administrators are diligently preparing for two major changes from both state and national mandates. The first, from Trenton, focuses on teacher and administrator observations and evaluations. We have formed an EE4NJ Committee that is focusing on this state mandate and you can keep track of our progress at the website below. Also, New Jersey has joined over 40 other states in adopting new Common Core Literacy & Math Standards. This adoption will bring needed change to our curriculum program.

Excellent Educators for New Jersey (EE4NJ) Resources: Teacher Observations

The district's EE4NJ committee's mission is to learn about the state-mandated EE4NJ initiative and research the state-approved observation and evaluation models for both teachers and administrators. Since 2012, the committee has met three times and our findings have been sent to Dr. Mucci and the Board of Education who voted on our district's instrument model in December 2012. Click HERE to access our documents, the resources we used and the notes from our meetings.

Running & Winning 2013

Sponsored and run by the Mountain Lakes League of Women Voters, the daylong Running & Winning workshop willgive sixty 10th-12th grade MLHS girls the opportunity to explore public service as acareer. This year we are also partnering with our Paterson Connection colleagues and inviting twelve Kennedy High School students to join us. Highlights of the workshop will include interviewing female electedofficials and political operatives about their experiences running for officeand planning and running their own mock campaign. By collaborating in smallgroups, the students will be encouraged to explore and develop their ownleadership abilities. At the conclusion of the workshop, each student will begiven a certificate of participation. Lunch will be provided. Learn more at the link below.

Implementing the Common Core Standards

The Common Core State Standards Initiative "is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce." At Mountain Lakes, we have made great strides in incorporating the Common Core Standards before the new 2014-2015 PARRC assessments are implemented. For the past two years, all curriculum revisions have incorporated the new Common Core standards, including the Briarcliff Language Arts curricula that was revised in 2011. In 2012, the Briarcliff math team selected a new math program that is directly correlated to the Common Core. This year Wildwood teachers are piloting a new math program as well, and we look forward to implementation for the 2013-2014 school year. To learn more about the Common Core, click on the link below.

Sustainability Resources

In 2012, Mr. Frank Sánchez received a generous grant from the Dodge Foundation (that was matched by our Board of Education) to become a certificated NJ Learns sustainable educator. Through attendance at various workshops, the district's administrative team has highlighted incredibly, rich K-12 resources that incorporates sustainability in our curriculum. Moreover, under Mrs. Azar's leadership, our elementary school has also adopted "Sustainable Wildwood" program this year in which various K-5 projects will be launched. This pilot will soon move to all of the schools, especially as we partner with community organizations. To find out more check out the ML Environmental website below that was designed by the MLHS computer class.