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Language Arts


English Language Arts Coordinator, K-12
Mr. Michael Gurrieri

The Language Arts Department focuses on curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the areas of reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. To best prepare our students for life outside the classroom, our K-12 English Language Arts teachers design instruction that enables students to build content knowledge, read closely and attentively, ask relevant questions, collaborate with others, understand varied perspectives, make new meaning, revise their thinking, articulate their ideas, cite specific evidence when asserting a point of view, communicate effectively, write cohesively, and utilize technology to support and enhance the learning process.

During the 2017-2018 school year, we launched a new ELA curriculum - with revisions made during the summer of 2018 and additional elective courses, Creative Writing and Film Analysis/Screenwriting, written during the summer of 2019. This new curriculum provides a balanced literacy approach, K-12, as well as opportunities for choice in both reading and writing. During the summer of 2022 we made additional revisions, which included incorporating grammar resources, adding in diverse mentor texts, and aligning to the Learning for Justice standards. In summer 2023 we revised our K & 1 curriculum to include more science of reading-aligned practices for our emergent readers.

To support a balanced literacy approach, our K-12 teachers are currently implementing Readers' and Writers' Workshop and are supported through staff development training and coaching. Their planning is differentiated and also allows for shared reading, interactive read aloud, shared writing, and word study. Our Kindergarten-Grade 3 teachers utilize Fundations to build a strong foundation in phonics, while our 4th and 5th grade teachers utilize the Fountas and Pinnell Word Study System. All students in 2nd-12th grade will participate in book clubs.

Our goal is to support our students as they continue to develop and strengthen their language arts literacy skills through independent and collaborative experiences. The curriculum offers a wide variety of texts that reflect our diverse and multicultural society and genres that provide students with opportunities to explore various text types in narrative, informational, and argument. During both reading and writing instruction, our teachers utilize mentor texts to support the students as they develop and grow as readers and writers. Students will be prepared for the demands of college, business, and life in a democratic society by practicing the skills which require them to think logically and express themselves clearly. The stimulation of the students' curiosity, creativity, and imagination through the study of texts will assist them in making connections to their own existence and apply knowledge of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

During the school year, our students will participate in a number of educational activities including: using appropriate and effective reading process strategies to construct meaning from text, reacting, responding, and applying critical thinking/problem-solving strategies to language arts experiences, developing a positive attitude toward reading, writing, speaking, and listening, and learning current and emergent technologies to enhance the language arts experience.  These activities will afford our students the opportunity to develop as lifelong learners in the 21st Century.  Our staff works on professional development related to language arts literacy and will develop cross-curricular lessons that follow the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. They will accomplish this by designing coherent instruction, using assessment data to determine instructional goals, attending professional meetings, and following the curriculum units created for each grade level.

Our goal is to provide a safe, supportive, and caring environment where students will achieve success.  Staff members in the language arts department are experienced, bringing forth a wealth of subject area knowledge and a strong pedagogy allowing the best educational experiences for our students.  Staff members meet and plan on a regular basis to offer a consistent and cohesive educational program for the children of Nutley.  

Parents and community members play an integral role in the education of our students.  Staff members are diligent in disseminating information about content-specific activities through classroom requirements, teacher web sites, and email contact.  Parents are encouraged to communicate regularly with the language arts department regarding concerns and student achievement.  Staff members in the language arts department work collaboratively to provide sound and diverse educational opportunities for all students.



John H. Walker Middle School

Ms. Balvin/Mrs. Bassani - Grade 7

Ms. Belthoff - Grade 7 

Ms. Curran - Grade 7

Mrs. Guariglia - Grade 8

Ms. IlVento - Grade 7 & 8

Mrs. Johnstone - Grade 7 & 8 

Ms. LaRosa - Grade 8

Ms. Lauro - Grade 7

Mrs. Minervini - Literature/Media (Grade 8) & Language Arts Literature/Writing (Grade 7)

Ms. Tarantino - Grade 8


Nutley High School

Ms. Benjamin -  English I, III & IV 

Mrs. Bruno - English I & II

Mrs. Coppola - English I & III

Mrs. Crowe - English I & IV

Mr. Dickerson - English III Honors & Creative Writing/Film Analysis and Screenwriting

Ms. Freda - English II, English II Honors, & Public Speaking

Ms. Harbison - English IV and Journalism I & II

Ms. Hecht -  English I 

Mrs. Langford - English II & III

Ms. Lemire - English III & AP Language and Composition

Mrs. Marantz / Mr. Rombola - English I & English I Honors

Mrs. Pappas - English I & English III

Mrs. Rossillo - English IV & Humanities

Mrs. Toledano - English II & AP Literature and Composition

Ms. VanDyke - English II


The Nutley School District serves approximately 4,100 students in Kindergarten through grade 12. The five elementary schools serve students K-6 and include Lincoln School, Radcliffe School, Spring Garden School, Washington School and Yantacaw School. John H. Walker Middle School serves students in grades 7-8 while Nutley High School addresses the needs of students in grades 9-12.