Dear Website Visitor,
Welcome to Forest Avenue School, a community of learners in Verona, New Jersey. Each Forest student is guided to become a self-reflective individual who can effectively function politically, economically and socially in a democratic society. Our district curriculum assures that each student receives an enriching educational experience. Teachers are continually engaging in reviewing their instructional skills and expanding their knowledge base. The wealth of program offerings we have reflects the professional community commitment to provide an appropriate and challenging educational environment for all students.
Students are challenged by the district curriculum that exemplifies the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Classes are a heterogeneous mix of students. Instruction is often thematic in nature to provide students with experience in the interconnectedness of curriculum.
Immersion in print guides our Language Arts Curriculum. We have adopted the Wilson Reading Fundations Program to supplement our reading instruction in kindergarten through third grade. It is a multi-sensory direct instruction approach to the teaching of phonics. We utilize the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) to assess and drive our reading program. Literature is the base through which much learning is initiated. Students participate in Writing Workshop in which teachers and students model, demonstrate, confer and celebrate writing together. All grades utilize Reading Workshop where students are reading at their “just right” reading level and teachers are engaging students in small group instruction to support the needs of all students. Our goal is to connect reading, writing, and speaking with other subject areas. These connections also encourage higher level thinking skills. Teachers recognize that this approach to teaching instills a sense of wonder and enjoyment of reading in students. A continuing student portfolio in language arts tracks and demonstrates growth in this area.
Our mathematics program is centered on “discovering” procedures through manipulating objects, communicating understanding through writing and solving life problems. Beginning in kindergarten, students explore such diverse topics as geometry, probability/statistics and patterns/relations. Authentic tasks are frequently used to assess student skill development and understanding. The Science Curriculum is rooted in scientific inquiry. Students hypothesize, engage in investigations and draw conclusions about the natural world. The local community is where the social studies curriculum begins. Through field trips and community speakers, students gain an appreciation for their locale. Study advances into the larger county, state, national and international communities. Technology and communication skills are frequently linked to the curriculum. Interactive white board technology is available in all of the classrooms to enhance learning. This interdisciplinary approach to instruction is building skills that prepare students for the 21st century. The curriculum is rounded out by instruction in visual arts, performing arts, and physical education.
One way we are meeting the challenge of the 21st century is to expose all students to the Mandarin Language and the culture of China. We believe this experience, in the most widely spoken language on the planet, will allow our students to fully participate in our global village.
Our technology program, which includes weekly computer instruction along with Internet and network connections using Chromebooks, is yet another way we engage students in global learning. Students and teachers use Google Applications for Education (GAFE) to support instruction. Through an interdisciplinary approach our students explore a variety of topics at various grade levels. Our fourth graders bring NJ history to life for the entire student population and their parents through their “Wax Museum” project. The students research famous New Jerseyans in our computer lab and prepare a short speech with highlights of their lives. Then, dressed as their chosen character, they turn our gymnasium into our very own “Wax Museum” where they portray wax figures that come to life and share interesting facts. The team approach and interconnected subject area presentation help prepare students for the world of work.
Student success is measured through a variety of assessments: daily class work, cumulative projects, portfolios, performance assessments and standardized testing. The third and fourth grade students participate in the New Jersey Student Learning Assessments (NJSLA) in English Language Arts and Mathematics.
Our staff members were trained in the New Jersey State Bar Foundation Conflict Resolution and Peer Mediation programs. These programs assist students with exploring the various forms of conflict and the tools needed to resolve them. It provides a common language and approach that the entire school community embraces. Third and fourth grade students can volunteer to be peer mediators after completing a comprehensive training program.
The school has a Makerspace that is used by the media specialist and classroom teachers to enhance and supplement their individual programs. This is a place where the students can use the design process to problem solve and are provided opportunities to encounter challenges that develop their problem solving and critical thinking skills
Forest Avenue School is a true community of learners. Students are afforded many opportunities to build warm and lasting relationships with teachers and other adults as they engage in a wide variety of educational experiences. Parents are our constant partners at school and at home, helping students to reach their full academic and social potential. Parents’ daily contributions to our school include volunteer efforts in our classrooms, the media center and the cafeteria. Others work tirelessly behind the scenes to publish a weekly bulletin, raise funds to provide curriculum enhancements and build a strong, supportive parent base. The School Community Association (SCA) is extremely active and supports enrichment activities that enhance our program. A mutual understanding of the importance of cooperation between home and school forms the final piece of our community of learners. This culture of collaboration enriches the educational atmosphere of Forest Avenue School.