370 Walnut Ave.
WAS NJ STATE REPORT CARD NARRATIVE
Walnut Avenue School is a primary school setting serving kindergarten through grade two students. We also serve as home to the district’s special needs pre-school program. The Walnut Avenue School staff is committed to providing a child-centered, family oriented learning environment that recognizes and values the individual differences of our young learners. Our school seeks to nurture and support their special abilities and talents through a program dedicated to continuous improvement and growth.
Our school community strives to provide students with the academic and social skills required to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Fundamental to our efforts across the curriculum is an approach that seeks new and effective ways to encourage cooperation, problem solving, creative thinking, respect for others, and a lifelong love of learning.
Walnut Avenue School has fully integrated the NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards and the Curriculum Frameworks into all subject areas. This past year we focused on improving student literacy skills through an increased emphasis on timely formative assessments combined with extensive professional development targeting effective strategies to strengthen critical reading skills.
We are strongly committed to providing a highly individualized program that speaks to the specific needs and abilities of our students. Over the past year, we have continued to refine and improve a balanced reading program that regularly provides children with small group instruction in order to target and improve beginning reading strategies.
We are also proud of our on going efforts to enrich our primary classroom curriculum through extensive use of technology. Our teachers have an impressive array of hardware and software available in their classrooms that allows them to infuse technology into all aspects of the curriculum. Widespread Internet access, combined with an ambitious professional development program, has made it possible for teacher, parents, and students to share ideas and collaborate in new and exciting ways.
As home to the district’s special – needs pre-school program, Walnut Avenue School provides an early intervention program that addresses the needs of children, 3 – 5 years of aged who, through an initial screening and Child Study Team Assessment, have been identified as having one or more of a wide variety of developmental delays. Staffed by fully certified teachers with specific training in early childhood issues, the program addresses the goals and objectives of each student’s Individualized Education Plan. A typical daily regimen is built around creative and purposeful play activities designed to help young learners develop and expand emerging language and reasoning skills. Related services provided by speech and occupational therapists help to round out a highly individualized program that provides the early intervention needed for students to successfully enter the mainstream learning environment.
Our staff and parents alike have also been active in exploring models for thematic planning. In recent years, we’ve achieved considerable success by framing instruction within a multicultural theme entitled, “It’s a Small World,” itself divided into three sub-themes aligned with our Trimesters:
Term 1: FAMILIES, FRIENDS & COMMUNITIES: Activities developed for this theme will help students build feelings of self worth and self esteem by leading them to appreciate their importance within the family and the school. Their awareness of the commonality of families should, naturally, begin with their own and extend to others. An important part of this awareness should be an understanding that there are many different kinds of families and that all of us rely on them as sources of learning, love, encouragement and support. We will also ask children to examine their own relationships to learn what they have common with their friends. This will include discussions about how people organize and support one another in communities including an exploration of careers and the work place.
Term 2: CELEBRATING DIFFERENCES: Activities presented within this theme will reinforce multi cultural topics. Children will be led to discover that each of us is special and that the differences of race, religion, and culture make for a richer world. The central awareness stressed here will be that we must resist the tendency to judge cultures or customs which are different from our own as being wrong or odd. Indeed, if we learn to look deeper we will eventually see that our differences really only serve to underscore the fundamental humanity we all have in common.
Term 3: SAVE THE PLANET: This final theme will present activities designed to help students consider the problems we all face as a result of increasing population and diminishing resources. The main objective will be to raise student awareness of ecological issues. Children will be led to understand that the earth must be shared and respected, not exploited and used for short-sighted ends. The importance of preserving natural resources for future generations will be stressed.
Taken together, these three themes are designed to promote the belief that all people share the common bond of humanity, and that all of us, regardless of differences in race, religion, or culture, are brothers and sisters who can learn to share, cooperate and respect one another.