Dear Cranford Parents/Guardians,
Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! I hope this letter finds you all in good health and spirits. It is my pleasure to extend a warm welcome to both returning and new families in our community.
Over the summer, our dedicated team of educators and staff have been diligently preparing for the new academic year, striving to create an enriching and safe learning environment for all our students. As we embark on this journey together, we remain committed to providing an outstanding education that empowers our students to achieve their fullest potential.
K-12 highlights for this year will include the following:
The District proposed referendum has already been approved by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and is awaiting final approval from the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). According to the NJDEP timelines, the District will have a response by September. The date of this approval will drive the timeline for placing the referendum on the ballot (either November or December). The proposed referendum has been guided by the results of a town wide survey which indicated that about 71% of the community were in support of District enhancements, i.e. Updating science labs, modernizing library/multimedia centers to support 21st Century STEM programs, enhancing performing arts spaces, enhancing accessibility options, installing AC in large common spaces, upgrading electrical services, making repairs districtwide, etc… The survey also indicated that approximately 65% favored full day kindergarten in the currently zoned elementary schools. We are thrilled about the new and exciting opportunities a referendum would provide for our students districtwide and our community at large. We look forward to sharing more information regarding the referendum in the upcoming weeks.
The District is excited to present the outcomes from the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan at the September 18 Board of Education Meeting. We thank our entire school community for all of the progress made throughout the past five years! As you know, we once again engaged the community last school year to create a new strategic plan for the next five years. Please review the draft 2023-2028 Strategic Plan --please note there is also a link on the page to provide feedback. We also look forward to presenting the final 2023-2028 strategic plan at the September 18 Board meeting.
Safety and Wellness
Visitor Entry - The District has added a digital visitor management system (Raptor) at each of the school building entrances. Please review these updated visitor entry protocols and procedures. Thank you for your continued partnership in keeping our schools safe!
Coordinator of Culture & Climate - We are very excited to welcome Ms. Alyssa Willner as our new Coordinator of Culture & Climate. Please see Ms. Willner’s introductory video.
Annual Safety Presentation - The District annual safety presentation will occur on Tuesday, October 3 at 6:30 pm at CHS. This meeting will be presented in partnership with the Cranford Police Department, Cranford Fire Department, and Cranford’s Office of Emergency Management. The presentation will provide safety updates as well as an open forum for the community to have input into the District's safety initiatives.
The District continues to provide training for our faculty through a Youth Mental Health First Aid Program. All new teachers participate in and current faculty will continue to be offered an 8-hour course that teaches staff how to help students who may be experiencing challenges in the areas of mental health and substance use. The training helps individuals identify, understand and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses. Approximately 300 faculty members have already been fully trained in the program!
The Cranford School Counseling Corner is the district school counseling website which provides helpful resources and links related to your child’s age development and also provides resources for parents and guardians. Please check the website often as it will be updated throughout the year.
No Place for Hate, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, is a self directed program for grades K-12 that assists all members of the school community in providing an inclusive and equitable learning environment while also decreasing acts of bias and bullying. Each of our schools has been awarded the No Place for Hate designation again in 2022-2023 and we will continue to provide programming that supports this initiative each year.
Curriculum / Instruction
The District will move into year 2 of a four-year grant to participate in the Data-Driven Instructional Coaching Model (DDICM) project with Rutgers University to assist in creating a robust coaching model for K-3 reading intervention.
The New Jersey Civic Information Consortium has awarded Cranford Public School a grant of $51,497.75 to continue providing the students of Cranford High School digital journalism and multimedia training, to grow the Dialogue’s (CHS Student Digital News Site) readership base, and to provide opportunities for Cranford High School students to earn dual enrollment credit from Kean University in Digital Communications and Multimedia.
Curricula have been updated for Middle School Reading and Writing, Elementary Music, Dance and Theater, Grades 3-5 Mathematics, Level 4 and 5 World Languages and many elective courses.
Last year, the District piloted a new schedule at the middle schools to help provide students with greater opportunities for enrichment and intervention, increased teacher and student interactions, an infusion of executive functioning skills, and lessons on the district's Full Value initiative through an additional period at the end of the day. The results of the new schedule were overwhelmingly positive, and therefore, will continue this year.
New Math and Science text books have been selected and adopted for the middle school level.
The District will implement Year 2 of its Assessment Action Plan.
The High School will continue its work with the NJ Coalition for Inclusive Education to further foster an environment where children with disabilities and learning differences are welcomed as classmates, valued as learners and empowered to succeed. Through this collaboration, the High School will continue to run the Collaborative Consultation Model in several senior elective English classes (Sports America, 21st Century Communication and Film as Literature) and add Financial Literacy to the list of options. This model provides the opportunity for students to receive the assistance of a special education teacher who will also work with students to develop self-advocacy and independence skills to assist with students' post-secondary endeavors.
The District provided Math and ELA support in grades 1-5 to approximately 75 students this summer with in-person On Ramp support classes.
New courses in ELA and Mathematics will be offered this year as dual enrollment opportunities at the high school in partnership with Kean University and Syracuse University.
The District will hold Coffee and Conversation with the superintendent meetings on Tuesday, November 21 and Thursday, April 11 from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm. These informal meetings will provide a forum to discuss topics that are important to the school community.
As part of the District’s goal to increase meaningful stakeholder engagement to enhance practices, structures and, ultimately, student learning, each school sends out climate and culture surveys, including a section on engagement in the spring to gauge current sentiments around engagement. Responses will help inform future engagement efforts.
The District will continue to enhance communication through the District website and social media in partnership with our student led communications design team who is responsible for designing and updating all district websites, harnessing social media applications as well as developing additional apps to further communication and engagement efforts.
Data and Technology
Cranford Public Schools will continue with its one-to-one Chromebook program for students and teachers to allow for innovation, communication, and collaboration.
The district is enhancing its data team model by providing each elementary teacher with a student data profile for each of their students at the beginning of the year.
Our first priority is the safety of our school community. Please be sure to read the attached letters regarding the new visitor entry protocols and the Board policy regarding permitted items at highly attended public events. I appreciate your partnership in supporting our security procedures so as to provide an even safer community. Additionally, please be sure to update and verify your emergency information in PowerSchool Ecollect Forms (formerly InfoSnap) prior to the first day of school. It is imperative that we have the most current information so that we can best provide for your child.
The PTA (Parent Teacher Association) is a wonderful organization and a crucial part of our school community. They plan special events, provide cultural arts experiences, offer an organized venue for parents to have direct feedback into the academic and social programs we offer and provide endless support. We, as a school community, would be at a great disadvantage without this organization and the resources it provides. Please be sure to join this terrific organization. We all benefit from your support and involvement!
- Visitor Entry Protocol letter
- Permitted Items at Board-Sponsored Public Events Policy #9160.1 and accompanying letter
- 2023-2024 School District Calendar
- School Scheduling including delayed opening and single session schedules
- Emergency/Crisis Protocol information
- HIB Specialist information
- and a copy of the District HIB Policy #5512; Internet Safety and Technology Policy #2361.
You will also receive information from your child’s principal which will be specific to your particular school. Should you find there is any additional information that you need, please check the school district website www.cranfordschools.org or contact your child’s principal directly.
We look forward to working with you and your children and thank you for your continued support of Cranford Public Schools.
As always, please contact my office if you have any comments, questions and /or concerns. I look forward to an academically rigorous, productive, and rewarding school year!
Dr. Scott Rubin
Superintendent of Schools