School No. Four is one of eight elementary schools in Linden, New Jersey and is strongly committed to providing exceptional educational experiences for students in pre-kindergarten through grade five. School No. Four also provides a nurturing environment for all students. The outstanding professional learning community strives daily to equip students with the skills and mindset necessary to allow for the achievement of individual goals. Students are presented with challenges in the area of critical-thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. Staff have successfully created rich learning environments within their classrooms including differentiated instruction and a myriad of learning opportunities, reflective of multiple intelligences and varied learning styles.

The “Collaborative Classroom” Language Arts Program possesses a rigorous Common Core instructional design. The instructional design is based on the Publishers’ Criteria for the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy, Grades K–2 and Grades 3–12. This program offers a unique close reading routine which builds better readers while simultaneously providing intervention for struggling students. Common Core-based instruction is integrated into every unit and lesson. The explicit, systematic instruction in Journeys Common Core incorporates the Response to Instruction model that helps students succeed on reading assessments and features a wide range of print and digital texts and activities to support and engage all students at school and at home.

The “Into Math” Program is designed to meet the needs of Common Core instruction. It emphasizes critical areas and depth of understanding through interactive lessons, research based instructional approaches and differentiates instructional resources. Throughout the program students are afforded the opportunity to write and strategize. In addition to a textbook, students have the opportunity to have computer review and other reinforcement activities at home and in school. Further, students receive instruction through learning center activities and other project based learning opportunities.

Students requiring extra support in grades 2-5 receive targeted instruction by two Title I instructors. The support teachers work closely with classroom teachers to ensure each child receives the scaffolding necessary to achieve mastery of skills and concepts. Speech, resource and other special education services are available to students during the school day according to need.

Science instruction is constructive and hands-on. Teachers and students engage in science together when they open each unit’s FOSS kit; tackling real experiences that command critical thinking and lead to a deeper understanding of the natural world. To further enhance our curriculum, students take field trips to places such as Sandy Hook, Hawks Landing, and Trailside Museum. School Four is the recipient of The New Jersey Agricultural Society Learning Through Gardening grant. In its first year the garden program has enriched all subject areas and has garnered the involvement of the community. Two additional 6’x8’ garden beds have been added this fall thus expanding the initiative.

The Social Studies program includes New Jersey, United States and World History. The program also develops social study skills, teaches Civics, Economic Literacy, and Geography. All grade materials are linked to the Common Core Standards. The Social Studies curriculum provides a great deal of integration with Language Arts, Mathematics and Science as students learn to read and write in the content area, complete timelines, graphs and charts.

Pre-Kindergarten implements the Tools of the Mind program. The central focus of this program is aimed at helping students develop cognitive and social-emotional self-regulation. In the “tools” classrooms self-regulated learning is embedded in all lessons. Teachers use strategies to promote dramatic, make-believe play and instructional activities are designed to teach self-regulation and reflective thinking.

School No. Four additionally, strives to enrich students’ learning through vocal and instrumental Music, Art, Physical Education, Library, Technology and World Language (Spanish) programs. Every classroom is equipped with internet access. Linden continues to implement technology throughout the district . This initiative is aimed to prepare students and faculty for the NJSLA assessments (New Jersey Student Learning Assessment). School No. Four carries forward District Goals to implement computer centers in grade two and expand the use of online curricular components in all subject areas. Furthermore, School No. Four grades 1-5 classrooms are equipped with Smart Boards. This is the eighth year of a “Recorder Karate” program infused into 3rd grade vocal music classes and a “Can Band” provides additional opportunities for student participation.

We are proud of our continued emphasis on Character Education, integral to School Four’s vision for developing excellence. At School Four, we educate the whole child and we are committed to providing the support necessary to ensure personal growth. Towards that end, School No. Four offers numerous parent workshops and community events. A full time School Social Worker, Social Work Interns and a highly successful PBSIS program also enhances those endeavors. We constantly strive to meet the standards as measured on the NJSLA. Teachers continually strive to grow in their professional knowledge and expertise. With the help of school based instructional leaders, in the form of mathematics and literacy coaches and numerous outside consultants, School Four staff participates regularly in study group sessions, data and research analysis, and varied other professional growth opportunities. Instructional Leadership Teams and Professional Learning Communities lead these initiatives.

At School No. Four, community involvement is integrated into the educational program through K-Kids Club, sponsored by the Linden Kiwanis and led by the faculty. Through the support of a highly involved Parent Teacher Organization, a strong and positive home-school connection is being nurtured. For a seventh year, School Four also hosts a District sponsored (for a fee) Aftercare Program.

School No. Four is a school of which our constituents may be proud. With the support and commitment of all stakeholders, inclusive of parents, guardians and the community in general, School No Four continues to set rigorous standards and goals to achieve educational excellence.

Suzanne Olivero
Principal, Elementary School No. 4