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Garden State Coalition of Schools
Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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9-19-13 Education Issues in the News
NJ Spotlight -State Funnels $1M to Schools Ranked Lowest for Performance, Achievement…Grants ranging from $20K to $200K doled out to 15 “Priority” and “Focus” schools

The Record - Curriculum addresses lessons about Sept. 11 attacks in Tenafly schools

NJ Spotlight -State Funnels $1M to Schools Ranked Lowest for Performance, Achievement…Grants ranging from $20K to $200K doled out to 15 “Priority” and “Focus” schools

John Mooney | September 19, 2013


When the Christie administration yesterday announced $1 million in special education grants, what would normally be routine had a new twist: only the state’s lower achieving schools need apply.

The state Department of Education said that, for the first time, it steered these particular federal funds aimed at students with disabilities to districts deemed “Priority” or “Focus” schools -- the administration’s new nomenclature for schools with either the lowest performance overall or the widest achievement gaps, respectively.

Nineteen schools received the grants, out of 29 that applied. Fifteen of the recipients are “Priority” schools, the term for the lowest performing overall. The overall list included both suburban and urban schools, from Morris to Jersey City, receiving grants ranging from $20,000 to $200,000.

"We have focused intensive efforts this past year to help turn around our lowest-performing schools, and these grants will provide additional support to those schools," said state Education Commissioner Chris Cerf in announcing the grants.

"Whether they provide classroom programs, new reading materials and technology for students, or professional development for teachers and training for parents, the students will benefit."

The following schools were awarded grants:

·         School #6, Cliffside Park

·         Patrick Healy Middle School, East Orange

·         John Adams Middle School, Edison

·         Glassboro Intermediate School, Glassboro

·         Ezra L. Nolan School #40, Jersey City

·         Alexander D. Sullivan School #30, Jersey City

·         James F. Murray School #38, Jersey City

·         Lakewood High School, Lakewood

·         Clifton Ave. Grade School, Lakewood

·         Lakewood Middle School, Lakewood

·         Sussex Avenue School, Morris

·         Normandy Park School, Morris

·         Jonas Salk Middle School, Old Bridge

·         Abraham Clark High School, Roselle Borough

·         Maplewood Middle School, South Orange/Maplewood

·         South Orange Middle School, South Orange/Maplewood

·         West New York Middle School, West New York

·         Edison Middle School, West Orange

·         Glenwood Ave. Elementary School, Wildwood City.


The Record - Curriculum addresses lessons about Sept. 11 attacks in Tenafly schools


TENAFLY — As many towns hold somber ceremonies paying homage to those lost during the Sept. 11 attacks, teachers are educating a generation of children who are either too young to remember or were not alive in 2001 about that devastating day.

Students who are now seniors in high school were 5 years old when the attacks happened. Other students weren’t even born yet.

In 2011, to mark the 10th anniversary of the attacks, the state rolled out a detailed curriculum called "Learning from the Challenges of Our Times: Global Security, Terrorism and 9/11 in the Classroom."

This set of guidelines helps educators become comfortable with the topic and teach an array of subjects ranging from "Impact of Hateful Words," for elementary students to "What is Terrorism?" in middle school and "Reaction to and from the Muslim and Arab Communities" for high school students. Also included are lessons on acts of kindness that occurred on Sept. 11, and ideas for students to help their town, community and the world.

Though the curriculum is optional, Anthony Gardener, Executive Director of the New Jersey State Museum, is pushing to make the curriculum state mandated. Gardner is working with Bergen officials, and counties statewide, to have school districts teach a curriculum about Sept. 11 and the Garden State that he developed out of his work at the state museum and with various victims groups.

He briefly commented about its importance during the county’s Sept. 11 ceremony.

"We’re going to start going county-by-county and enlisting their support in implementing what is a very important program," Gardner said. "We’re teaching young people who don’t have direct experience and memories of the day itself."

During a Board of Education meeting on Sept. 10, Tenafly Assistant Superintendent Barbara Laudicina, who worked on this year’s curriculum, outlined district activities planned for that day.

"The schools will acknowledge and observe the day in different ways that are age appropriate for different levels of students," Laudicina said.

In Smith Elementary School, students gathered around the flag pole, recited the pledge, sang "America" and observed a moment of silence. Principal Neil Kaplicer read poems "The Dream Keeper" and "Dreams" by Langston Hughes.

Stillman Elementary School students gathered around the flagpole dressed in red, white and blue and sang patriotic songs. Teachers followed up with discussions about the day’s events.

At Maugham Elementary School, students attended an assembly and observed a moment of silence. Educators then continued the discussion in the classroom and read stories about the day of the attacks. Students were also taught about first responders and community volunteers.

Mackay Elementary School Principal John Fabbo read "Fireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John Jay Harvey," which is a picture book about a boat that went into retirement until it was called upon on Sept. 11 to assist firefighters battling flames from the Twin Towers.

The middle and high school’s Sept. 11 observances were noted during morning announcements and activities in the social studies department included viewing grade appropriate news and commemoration footage, and reflecting on what the day means.

"Many of these children are too young to remember it or know it and it’s comparable to what Pearl Harbor was probably to many people here. But, the relevance and honoring of that day isn’t lost," Laudicina said.

Students also engaged in a homework challenge, which asks students to perform an act of kindness or service in the community.

Students analyzed the causes and consequences of the Sept. 11 attacks in some classes and also compared foreign policy from 2001 to that of today.

Student representatives Joanna Weingast and Emma Bochner said history classes examine the events and relate it to current events.

"Our teachers and administrators have made very good efforts in finding ways of making this tragic event a learning experience," Laudicina said.


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608