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 Linden School District recently adopted the “Journeys” Language Arts Program. This reading 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.
Go Math is designed to meet the needs of Common Core instruction. The program emphasizes the critical areas and depth of understanding through interactive lessons, research based instructional approaches and differentiates instructional resources. The program offers students 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 school. Further, students receive instruction through center activities and other project based learning opportunities.
Students requiring extra support receive targeted instruction by Title I instructors. These support teachers work closely with the classroom teacher to make sure that each child receives the scaffolding necessary to achieve mastery of skills and concepts. Additionally, 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 No. Four has been proud to be a partner with The Merck Academy for Leadership in Science Instruction; providing opportunities for teachers to continue expanding their knowledge and improve instructional practice.
The Social Studies program has been updated for the 2014-2015 school year and 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 and 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 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 (Italian) programs. Every classroom is equipped with internet access. Linden is moving into its second year of implementing technology one to one (TOTO) for grades 3-5. This initiative is aimed to prepare students and faculty for the upcoming PARCC assessments (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). Furthermore, School No. Four grades 3-5 classrooms are equipped with SmartBoards, soon to be expanded to 2nd grade classrooms. During this 2014-2015 School Year a pilot “Recorder Karate” program is being integrated into 3rd grade vocal music classes.
We are proud of our continued emphasis on Character Education, integral to School’s 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. School No. Four is committed to educational excellence in every facet. We constantly strive to meet the standards as measured on the upcoming PARCC. 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.
At School No. Four, community involvement is integrated into the program through the K-Kids Club, sponsored by the Linden Kiwanis and led by the faculty. Through the support of a highly involved Parent Teacher Association, a strong and positive home-school connection is being nurtured
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 for educational excellence.
Anthony W. Cataline
Principal, Elementary School No. 4