School Narrative from 2013 NJ School Performance Report:
The Whiting Elementary School provides its students with a rich, textured and well-balanced program based upon educational research and sound practice. We utilize an interdisciplinary approach to instruction in order to help to make our programs meaningful and relevant for children. In addition to reading/language, mathematics, social studies and science, our students have the opportunity to participate in the fine arts, vocal music, instrumental music and art as well as physical education activities and recreational sports. World language instruction is being taught in Kindergarten through 5th grade. Technology has become an integral part of our instructional program through the use of computers, multi-media resources and calculators. Each elementary school has its own computer lab.
Whiting School is most fortunate to be able to offer full-day kindergarten. This allows children to experience the curriculum with more time for hands-on activities in 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.
We recognize that it takes more than the school staff to ensure that our children receive an excellent education. We developed a comprehensive volunteer program which includes parents and senior citizen volunteers who enable us to provide a great deal of individual attention to our children. To add a sense of community within the school, we have “book buddies”, “pen pals” and “peer tutors” between older and younger students. Our staff also serves as mentors to many of our students. In addition, all Kindergarten through Grade 5 students and staff participate in our buddy program where two classes team up as partners to work on projects and lessons.
We are very proud of our school and our activities. We were recognized in 2002 and 2003 as the Small School Site for the Reading is Fundamental Challenge. Our children in grades four and five are encouraged to participate in community service through our Junior Impact Club. Students are also challenged to support academic excellence through our Chess Club as well as our Broadcast News Program. Our outdoor garden and weather station provide numerous opportunities for hands-on authentic learning experiences. Student art work is displayed every year in our local library at our Art Show in June. Our youngsters also perform at senior villages and the local nursing homes to support our intergenerational programs. The garden work for the Children’s Garden in Toms River has been on-going for several years. Building a sense of sharing is one of our goals at the elementary level. Whiting School sponsors a yearly “Munch Night” where healthy meals are prepared by parents and shared with the school community. During this night, local community members communicate to our parents and offer services that would assist them in developing a healthy program for the young child.
We want every child to know that he/she is special, and we differentiate instruction to meet individual needs. Our efforts are designed to encourage children to meet their potential and to develop a sense of curiosity and a life-long love for learning.
Our staff members are highly skilled professionals who continue to participate in professional development that will be incorporated into the classroom environment. They are a caring staff who devoted many hours to planning lessons and units of study that are relevant and most appropriate. The sharing of ideas is encouraged with new techniques evident in the numerous walk throughs that have been initiated in the academic year. In addition to informal professional assessments, our district has investigated different research based teacher evaluation system which will be implemented in the year 2013-14 district-wide. Professional development is very important for the on-going improvement to occur. There are numerous opportunities that every staff members have available to them for enrichment in a better mode of delivering instruction. By the support of district wide supervisors in Language Arts and Mathematics and in conjunction with our Literacy Coaches and outside consultants, our staff has many different avenues that will support the educational process.
The staff at Whiting Elementary School as part of a district-wide initiative has continued to review, update and revise curriculum, programs and methods of assessment. As part of this process, faculty meetings and grade level meetings address the core curriculum standards approved by the Department of Education, including the newly revised standards. We also participate in professional learning communities, led by faculty members, to expand and improve instructional strategies. Our observation process is being refined to provide staff with additional support regarding instructional strategies and methodology. The staff creates SMART (Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Timely) goals that enable creativity of lessons that are relevant to all. The addition of support by our literacy coaches and language arts consultants allows the staff to develop plans for all children to be successful. By implementing these strategies, our children will develop their talents and prepare them for the Middle, High School and post secondary experiences.
District curriculum committees continue to analyze the core curriculum content standard and the district’s adopted curricula. As the committees work, the curriculum is being revised and updated on a timely bases to ensure that all of the standards are included. Since Manchester Township’s curriculum is based upon research and many of the standards established by professional education organizations, we believe that our staff and our programs will enable us to successfully deliver New Jersey’s standards to our students.
We have continuously raised our academic expectation and believe that we are preparing our students to successfully meet the challenges of the 21st century and our national standards.