• Verona Public Schools Program Summary

     

    Programs

    Grade Levels

    Description

    Elementary Conflict Resolution Program


    (to view curriculum, click here: https://www.veronaschools.org/Page/6024)

    K-4

    • Based on the research compiled by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation (NJSBF) - Conflict Resolution (CR) teaches students to explore the various forms of conflict and the tools needed to resolve them.  

    • Peer Mediation (PM) is another effective tool that is used by students and staff to help settle conflicts.  It enables students to settle their disputes creatively and cooperatively. Mediation is voluntary and students choose to work with mediators. The mediation process helps students develop critical thinking skills and encourages them to analyze conflict and to think creatively about its resolution.  These skills are further enhanced as they are applied to each student’s life experience.  

    • CR and PM help reduce disputes.  In the process of learning and using these skills, students can build life-long habits that will improve all their relationships.

    • Our students explore the following areas through the CR and PM approach:

      • Dealing with Conflict

      • Using I Messages

      • Reflective Listening

      • Dealing with Peer Pressure

      • Understanding and Applying the Win-Win Guidelines

      • Brainstorming Solutions

      • Anger Management

      • Guided Imagery for Anger and Mood Control

      • Mediating a Conflict

      • Dealing with Feelings

      • Building Self-Esteem

      • Exploring the issue of Stereotypes

      • The concept of ‘Honor’

      • Distinguishing between Bullying vs. Conflict and how to follow up accordingly.  

    • Students also have the opportunity to explore various character traits through an integrated approach.  The traits include - citizenship, compassion, fairness, honesty, integrity, perseverance, respect, responsibility, self-discipline and trustworthiness.

    • Assemblies are student led with a focus on the various traits.    

    • Discrete instruction, role plays, student led assemblies and home-school connections assist students internalize the skills and creates a more positive school culture and climate. It also encourages parent involvement.   

    Grade 5 & 6 Advisory


    (to view curriculum, click here: https://www.veronaschools.org/Page/6024)

    5-6

    • The Self-Esteem and Uniqueness units focus on boosting confidence and self-worth, thereby increasing one’s mental well-being.  

    • The Peer Pressure unit helps students to strategize ways to resist at-risk behaviors which could lead to mental health issues (i.e. self injury).

    • The Anti-Bullying unit teaches students how to be upstanders so that we prevent students from becoming targets.

    • The Tolerance and Diversity unit helps students to accept each other’s differences so that students do not feel ostracized or alienated, thereby preventing feelings of rejection.

    • The Friendship and Conflict Resolution units address how to be a good friend so that all students feel included and never alone, which may lead to mental health issues.

    DREAM Team Club

    5-8

    • The D.R.E.A.M Team’s mission focuses on serving the community in a positive way.  Participants realize the importance of volunteering and community involvement.  

    • Our goal is to teach the students the importance of being valuable members of society which  also enhances their self-esteem and positive self-image.  Many of our ongoing programs help raise awareness of healthy alternatives to drugs and alcohol use - while at the same time having a positive impact on the community both locally and globally.

    Best Team Club

    5-8

    • Best Team Club is a place where students learn that self-esteem and feeling good about yourself can happen as a result of many different things.  

    • Some of our topics and activities include helping others, raising money for Mustard Seed through a Walk-A-Thon, rope course, personal fitness classes, learning about health and food preparation, and discussing and fostering friendships.

    Peer Leaders (High School Staff)


    (to view curriculum, click here: https://www.veronaschools.org/Page/6024)

    5-12

    • The VHS Peer Leadership curriculum was rewritten and approved August 2016.

    • Themes include H.I.B., dating violence, transition to high school, introduction to support staff and resources available, emotional health, academic pressure, respect for self & others, and violence awareness.

    Heroes & Cool Kids Club


    9-12

    • The Heroes & Cool Kids Club utilizes VHS student athletes in roles where they visit the elementary schools to mentor our young students on conflict resolution, sportsmanship, and positive lifestyle choices highlighting drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention.

    STAR Club  


    9-12

    • STAR Club stands for Students Teaching Alternative Resources which is a program funded by the Verona Municipal Alliance Committee.

    • It is designed to teach healthy living habits to the Township's fourth grade students.

    • Each member is expected to work with their peers to enthusiastically facilitate a memorable and relevant activity to prepare the fourth graders for their transitions into middle school.

    • The group envisions a healthy school community which is inspired by positivity and service to others.

    • As a result of joining this program, students become more friendly and cohesive as a group, demonstrating increased leadership throughout the program.

    • There is much emphasis put on team building which essentially fosters problem solving skills and improves communication as students work together to achieve a common goal.

    Student Council

    9-12

    • The Student Council encourages our students to work collaboratively to solve problems raised by students, raise awareness about various community service opportunities and become independent student leaders.

    • Our student organization empowers not just the class officers, but students in the general population as well to take initiative by becoming actively involved at Verona High School.

    Girls Learn International (GLI)

    9-12

    • GLI is part of a national organization whose focus is on raising awareness about the need for equal education for girls worldwide. We have informative meetings and have held fundraising events, such as yoga, movie nights, womens’ self-defense classes, and guest speakers, with all money raised donated to GLI to be distributed to partner schools in need throughout the world.

    • We also have participated in helping more local communities, including a womenÅ› sanitary product drive for St. AnnÅ› shelter in Newark, book drives, and prom dress drives.

    • GLI chapters can send delegates to the United Nations for the annual Commission on the Status of Women meeting held in March.

    • GLI empowers our members to help empower others through awareness and education.

    Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

    9-12

    • The Gender Sexuality Alliance (formerly the Gay Straight Alliance) is a student-run club that brings together LGBTQ and straight ally students to support each other, provide a safe place to socialize, and create a platform to fight for racial, gender, LGBTQ, and economic justice.

    • The GSA reviews federal, state and local laws, as well as school policies.

    • Members are encouraged to become aware of their rights in accordance to Title IV and the HIB policy.  

    • Speakers, resources, and events promote tolerance and acceptance of all students regardless of their sexual gender identity or gender expression.

    Interventions and Support Services

    Grade Levels

    Description

    Building Administration

    K-12

    • Instructional Leadership.  The principal fosters the success of all students by facilitating the development, communication, implementation, and evaluation of a shared vision of teaching and learning that leads to student academic progress and school improvement.

    • School Climate. The building administrator fosters the success of all students by developing, advocating, and sustaining an academically rigorous, positive, and safe school climate for all stakeholders

    • Communication. The building administrator fosters the success of all students by communicating and collaborating effectively with stakeholders.

    • Professionalism.  The building administrator fosters the success of all students by demonstrating professional standards and ethics, engaging in continuous professional development, and contributing to the profession.

    • Student Academic Progress. The building administrator’s leadership results in acceptable, measurable student academic progress based on established standards.

    Teachers

    K-12

    • Learning development. The teacher understands how learners grow and develop, recognizing that patterns of learning and development vary individually within and across the cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, and physical areas, and designs and implements developmentally appropriate and challenging learning experiences.

    • Learning differences. The teacher uses understanding of individual differences and diverse cultures and communities to ensure inclusive learning environments that enable each learner to meet high standards.

    • Learning Environments. The teacher works with others to create environments that support individual and collaborative learning, and that encourage positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self motivation.

    School Counselors

    5-12

    • The HBW Counselors’ responsibilities include:

      • Meeting with students as needed at the request of all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, peers) to help them develop coping strategies to deal with difficult situations which could be causing them stress and/or anxiety.

      • Teaching daily Advisory classes to students in Grades 5 & 6 (see Program section for pertinent topics).

      • The Anti-Bullying Specialists (ABS) works with students who feel they are being targeted for their distinguishing characteristics. The ABS and building principal follow NJ HIB guidelines when conducting HIB investigations and determining if the incident between students is defined under the HIB law. Most importantly, each case is reviewed to determine what, if anything, was inappropriate conduct by students. Each case is reviewed and a combination of discipline, counseling, and targeted education is provided to remedy the matter and improve student behavior.

    • The VHS Counselors’ responsibilities include:

      • Collaboration with students, parents, teachers, and other stakeholders, as needed

      • Meeting with each family to discuss academic planning and future goals.

      • Working with juniors and seniors on the college process (Letters of Recommendation, Application Assistance, Essay reading, etc.)

      • Scheduling adjustments

      • Participation in  I&RS committee

      • Development and monitoring of 504 plans

      • Participation in HIB investigations, as necessary.

      • Addressing daily student issues (struggling in class, peer relationships, anxiety, etc.).

      • Provide resources/programming for students, as needed.

      • Assisting with standardized testing.

    Student Assistant Counselor (VHS Staff)


    9-12

    • Develop, coordinate, and monitor substance abuse prevention and intervention programs and services for students and families.

    • Serve as a resource to the school and community regarding issues relating to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, mental health, and behavioral health.

    • Provide assessment, intervention, referral, and counseling services to students experiencing difficulty due to depression, stress and anxiety, family issues, self-injury, bullying, gambling, gender identity, or other issues.

    • Coordination of substance abuse assessment/re-entry to school.

    • Memorandum of Understanding between Verona Public Schools and Verona Police Department on student matters.

    • Parent programing

    • Building Anti-Bullying Specialist

    • Member of I&RS/504 team and crisis team.

    Academic Support and Engagement Program (ASE Program)

    9-12

    • Verona Public Schools is committed to providing quality education to its students. In an effort to achieve this goal, parents/guardians or school staff may refer students for counseling, or students may request counseling. The focus of the counseling program is to support students who are having difficulty attaining and sustaining performance in the school environment.  This support allows for identified students to receive individual and group counseling during their academic day from a licensed clinical social worker or psychologist.  The goal is to work collaboratively with outside service providers in order to have students achieve a higher level of social, emotional, and academic functioning.