Brookside Place School (Grades K-5)
Michael Klimko, Principal
700 Brookside Place
ABOUT BROOKSIDE PLACE SCHOOL
Brookside Place School is a wonderful community of students and educators. Together with our school families, we strive to create a culture that emphasizes education, personal growth and the development of character. Our goal is to foster a strong love of learning in our students and help them create connections to their community. This is accomplished through classroom rigor, enrichment programs and an ideal nurturing environment for young children.
Brookside Place School is one of six elementary schools in Cranford Township. It is a neighborhood school with many of our 344 students walking to and from school with family and/or friends. The school services students in kindergarten (half day with morning and afternoon sessions) through grade 5.
At Brookside Place School our faculty works hard to meet our district goal of personalized learning. Specifically, we work to use personalized teaching approaches to promote engagement, achievement and satisfaction. Knowing each child learns differently, teachers use varied approaches across all disciplines. Technology aids in this effort. Each classroom is equipped with a Smartboard. Document cameras, laptop computers and iPads are readily accessible within the building. In addition to creating engaging lessons that challenge students to meet their academic potential, our teachers are continually collaborating to improve their craft. This includes serving on district-level committees for math, social studies, science and english/language arts. We are proud to report that our students scored very well on the 2016 PARCC assessment, a tangible result of our concerted effort as a school. In addition, our workshop model of instruction for reading and writing has steadily increased the level of student choice in what they read and write while simultaneously delving deeper into learning so they become insightful problem solvers and critical thinkers. We utilize the EnVision Math series to guide our math instruction helping students to understand number concepts, calculations and ultimately more abstract mathematical ideas. The science program includes many hands-on learning opportunities as well as small and large group discussions. During social studies programming, relevance and connections to our world are the focus and impactful literature is often embedded in the lesson.
The development of the whole child is a core belief at Brookside Place School. Each month we focus on a different character trait and explore it through a read-aloud book program with corresponding activities. Examples include Respect in October, Generosity in December and Loyalty in June. We call upon our students to find their inner voice and to do the right thing, even when they know that no one else is watching. We often work together to model these ideals, turning our words into actions. Our PJammin Day fundraiser supports children fighting cancer and the annual Veteran’s Day assembly honors military service members for their sacrifices.
Our students also have many opportunities for enrichment. Our special teachers provide instruction in art, music, physical education and media center/library. Our robust music program includes chorus, orchestra, band and instrumental instruction. Members of the Healthy Kids Club explore the idea of living a healthy lifestyle. Students in the Environment Club focus on improving the world we share. The Student Council works together to lead the school community.
School spirit is plentiful at Brookside Place School. Students study diligently in the classrooms, but we also enjoy each other’s talents and personalities. These are on full display at two beloved events, the BPS Olympics and the BPS Talent Show. Our Olympics includes field day activities with an Olympic twist. The students (and staff) are very enthusiastic about their “countries,” which are cross-grade teams that compete for the honors of gold, silver and bronze. The Talent Show shines a light on the considerable talents of our students and their families. These are just two of the many programs that bring our students and families together.
We are very fortunate to be supported by a dedicated and highly effective Parent Teacher Association (PTA). This non-profit organization fundraises to provide our students with wonderful experiences, such as the annual Fall Fest and other student-centered social events. They also provide a teacher grant program for enhanced learning opportunities and they collaborate with the school to bring assembly programs that extend our students’ reach into the world. Their work and dedication is appreciated as it makes a significant positive impact on our school. A strong connection between home, school and the community is at the heart of our success.
When thinking about our approach to education we often refer to the child’s metaphorical “toolbox.” This refers to the place where students store the skills and lessons that will guide them through school and beyond. As educators, we aim to add many academic skill sets, things like number reasoning, summarizing key themes in stories, facts about our culture and our earth and of course much more. We also look to add social and emotional tools like kindness, perseverance and respect for differences. We are joined in this effort by our student’s families who do their own work at home to stock these toolboxes so that by the time each student graduates fifth grade they are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in middle school and beyond. It is truly a privilege to work with students, educators, and families to create this exceptional community of learners.