In our 16th year as a thriving, child-focused elementary school, Mt. Pleasant continued to meet the needs of students as unique individuals. We hoped to attain our vision by developing and implementing integrated curricula which emphasizes reading, utilizes modern technology, differentiated instruction that incorporates hands-on cooperative activities, and which reflects standards that have been established both nationally and at the state level.
For the 2014-2015 school year, Mt. Pleasant focused on students in grades K through Five using the Everyday Math series. This series utilizes a spiraled approach to consistently address content skills. It introduces a wonderful array of resources for teachers, students, and parents. Math instruction is presented in 75 minute blocks that are uninterrupted. Classroom and On-line skill games play an important role in instruction. The series features an increased effort to infuse higher-order thinking skills and development of writing skills about Math. We strongly feel that with increased time on task and efforts to consistently incorporate cooperative thinking and project based learning we will better prepare our students for Middle School and High School.
A Balanced Literacy approach is used in all grades. We have moved to incorporate a 90 minute Block of Literacy daily. We have also added an additional 45 minute period of Writing to our schedule. Key to the success of the entire school program was the site-based Reading Specialist/Staff Developer and an Intervention Specialist. They work with all students K-S and provided numerous on-site staff development opportunities for all teachers to enhance their daily delivery of language arts instruction. Each staff member was trained in Reading/Writing Workshop, guided reading, literature circles, and other strategies to help students make meaning from text and give meaning to text. An increased development of Leveled Libraries within classrooms were added and student levels were accurately identified by utilizing a benchmark system (Fountas and Pinnell). "Being A Writer" units of study are utilized on all grade levels to teach and enhance the writing process. Our Reading Series ("Making Meaning") will focus on comprehension skills development .Our balanced literacy approach also incorporates a strong Phonetic approach, as well as Guided Spelling. We are proud to utilize the Teacher's College at Columbia University as our main resource for Reading/Writing professional development. We are extremely proud of our efforts to maintain Professional learning Communities within our school. We tailor our Professional Development to reflect the needs and interests of our staff. We have geared all school initiatives and goals to strive for marked improvement in Language Arts on the PARCC and District Benchmark assessments. Major emphasis will be placed on Word Processing and Keyboarding Skills. We will also utilize assistive Technology (Success Maker) that aligns with Common Core State Standards and PARCC assessment. Wireless laptop carts, Library Media Center and our Computer Laboratory will be utilized to immerse all students in assistive technology programs that will introduce keyboarding skills across the disciplines. Students will have ample opportunity to gain confidence in their ability to transpose thought to text.
The overwhelming support of the PTA resulted in 6 (6) outstanding cultural enrichment programs for the 2014-2015 school year. Assemblies ranged from the arts and music to hands on science, mathematics, and geography. Through PTA support we are able to equip all classrooms with Smart Boards to increase on-line and web based activities. We have also added a wireless I Pad Cart that will assist our Primary Autism Program with educational applications. Teachers will be able to record and archive Discrete Trial Data. We have also added a wireless Kindle Fire Cart that will be used to enhance Instructional as well as Independent Reading. The
PTA sponsored dances, family fun nights, picnics, and numerous treats for the entire student body. They support our growing music program and also aided each child with a monetary grant for field trips.
The faculty and staff of Mt. Pleasant School believe in collaboration and values professional development. We are West Orange's "community of learners" and are committed to a philosophy that puts the "Child First." In keeping with this philosophy, we strive to achieve a happy, warm, and nurturing school environment for all who participate.
We believe that the pinnacle of our achievements will be that our students become self-directed life-long learners, who develop into happy, healthy, and responsible citizens. Please feel free to contact us often, your involvement in the educational process is a key ingredient for its success.
Ms. Julie DiGiacomo