Narrative from 2013 NJ School Performance Report:
Ridgeway Elementary School is one of three elementary schools within Manchester Township School District. Ridgeway School accommodates 525 students with classes spanning from preschool through fifth grade. The Ridgeway School is a community of caring individuals dedicated to meeting the needs of all students, while maintaining a safe and positive school climate in which all learners have the capacity for growth and achievement. At Ridgeway School, all stakeholders understand that our students and staff deserve respect and an environment that values diversity. It is the mission of the Ridgeway School to “cultivate a strong partnership between the school and community” and to foster responsibility, integrity, excellence, and academic achievement in order to yield productive, caring citizens.
The Ridgeway Elementary School continues to provide its students with a well-balanced program based upon educational research and Best Practices. An interdisciplinary approach to instruction is used which helps to make our programs meaningful and relevant for children. Programs are designed to address their academic, social, and emotional needs. The teachers of Ridgeway Elementary School regularly integrate various new teaching techniques and effective behavioral strategies to promote student academic achievement. Reading and Writing is taught through a balanced literacy framework that gives all children extended periods to read, write, speak and think critically. This, along with high interest accessible books that are aligned on each students reading level, provides our students with the essential 21st century literacy skills. We are fortunate to have a literacy coach as part of our team. The English as a Second Language program for the district continues to be concentrated in Ridgeway School. In addition to English language arts, mathematics, social studies and science, our students have the opportunity to participate in vocal and instrumental music, art, physical education, health, and world language instruction. Ridgeway School has a computer lab, along with computers in the Media Center and additional computers with Internet access in each classroom. Collaboration between teachers and students is essential, and at Ridgeway School, the staff insures that all students have many opportunities to explore and develop the 21st century skills and themes that are outlined in the New Jersey Common Core Curriculum Standards. Cooperative learning, the use of problem-based learning units, manipulatives, and a variety of technology devices, such as Elmo machines, Promethean boards, Epson Brite Projectors, I pads, Mobis and E-Clickers. This type of technology is often used to reinforce visual, auditory and tactile learning styles.
Kindergarten is a full-day program that focuses on academics as well as social growth. A full-day program allows children and teachers time to explore topics in-depth and provide an environment that favors a child-centered, developmentally appropriate approach. In addition, children engage in all of the special area activities, including physical education, art, music and library.
Ridgeway School utilizes a variety of resources to ensure an excellent education for all of our students. We recognize that it takes more than the school staff to ensure that our children receive an excellent education. In addition to our regular staff members, classroom volunteers are used extensively throughout the school. These volunteers are comprised of parents, local senior citizens, and community members. Our PTA is active and arranges many programs that support instruction and expose children to a wide range of topics and interests. An after- care program is offered at the school through Y-Kids and the Ocean County Girl and Boys Scout groups hold their weekly meetings on our campus.
Additional programs are also in place during school hours and before or after school. NJ ASK 3, 4, & 5 test preparation programs provide test taking strategies and problem solving techniques that assist the students in meeting the challenges of the state testing requirements. Our SHAPE (School Home Achievement Partnership for Education) after school program gives students an opportunity to learn cooperative skills, tolerance for others along with an academic focus in the areas of math and language arts. Power Hour is an after-school basic skills program. Students are tutored in specific areas of weakness, identified by the classroom teacher, helped with homework and given reinforcement with basic skills appropriate to their grade level (through interactive, engaging activities). Ridgeway School is also a recipient of a $10,000 Media Center Enhancement Grant provided by Ocean First Foundation. Grant writing is ongoing at Ridgeway School and staff members have been active in applying for grants to subsidize technology items as well as project based learning materials.
Our Junior Impact Club promotes student learning, civic responsibility and service to others. The club provides elements of community service with activities sponsored by the local Rotary Club. Our “Value of the Month” support programs such as “Second Step” and “Steps to Respect” to promote a positive school climate, tolerance and respect for one another. All children, grades kindergarten through fifth grade are exposed to a number of character education lessons that emphasize conflict resolution, peer mediation, and an anti-bullying awareness. Fifth grade students may also volunteer in their school community by serving as School Safety Monitors, which is an activity that helps develop responsibility and leadership skills. We want every child to know that he/she is a special, unique individual who is an integral part of our school community.
The staff at Ridgeway Elementary School has continued to review, update and revise curriculum, programs and methods of assessment. This is an ongoing process that ensures that all the Common Core Curriculum Standards are being addressed within our curriculum. Ongoing staff development is provided at building and district levels with the primary focus on differentiating instruction for our students and enhancing writing skills. Teachers have formed study groups to address various interests and to further enhance their own professional development. All staff members participate in Professional Learning Communities, which is another opportunity for all stakeholders to monitor progress and design relevant lessons geared toward student achievement.
Curriculum revision is ongoing, research-based, and is consistently evaluated to insure compliance with the Common Core Curriculum Standards. Our expectation is that every student be exposed to a global education, rich in experiences to promote future career and college readiness. To this end, teachers continue to work on district, county, and other professional committees in order to provide high quality curriculum, dynamic instruction, and a safe and respectful educational environment.