Dear Nutley Parents, Staff and Community Members,
Tonight, we will watch as our Nutley High School Class of 2019 graduates walk out onto the Oval for the last time as our students. When they next return, it will be as alumni.
We are so proud of their individual and class accomplishments; academically, athletically, artistically and as members of the community. In addition to these achievements, the Nutley Public School district has much to celebrate this year as well.
The school year of 2018-2019 was not without challenges, but the work our staff has done to better the education of our Nutley students provides much to recognize. Often times, the work of our teachers, administrators and district staff goes on behind the scenes to better the programs and opportunities for our students. While having a positive impact on our students, it often goes unseen by the public. With each decision, each improvement, each change, we ask the question, “Does this benefit our kids?” And if the answer is yes, we are able to move forward, knowing that we are making a difference in our students’ futures.
On the elementary school level, this year, the district implemented Fundations, a multi-sensory phonics program, in all kindergarten classes to help better focus students as they begin to learn to read and write. Math teachers, across grade levels, participated in the Lesson Study professional development protocol to help aid them in their instructional practices. Newly revised Mathematics and World Language curricula was implemented at the elementary level this year and all K-2 students were provided with access to RazKids, a comprehensive leveled reading resource for students.
At the middle school and high school level, we also introduced new World Language draft curricula, which includes Progressive Performance-Based Tasks. Thanks to our Algebra I Strategies Program launch, we brought 33% more students up to grade level expectations due to the extra, focused help they were provided. This year, 25 NHS students received the State’s Seal of Biliteracy and over 30 NHS students earned Rutgers University credits through the Academy of Health Related Sciences. NHS was selected as a model school for ELA Professional Development. In addition, now in its second year, the NHS digital newspaper, The Maroon and Gray, published seven times during the school year, and the “Girls Who Code Club” was introduced at JHWMS.
On a district level, we are excited to we begin the roll-out of the Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology, with initial training for all teachers completed. The LMS will help teachers streamline classroom management like assignments, assessments and communications. We have once again continued to enrich and enhance our Extended Day program to include computer science, mindful crafts, yoga, taekwondo, chess and the second year of the successful TREP$ Program. Our important curriculum review process continues as we focus on the program reviews, districtwide, for science and physical education and health.
As a district, we enter into year two of our Strategic Plan, with a focus on health and wellness, safety and security, curriculum and programming and configuration and infrastructure. We will report on year one at the July 22nd Board of Education meeting.
Safety and security remains a primary focus of the district. We added two School Safety Officers to our district, implemented the permitted and non-permitted items protocol for public events at Nutley High School and John H. Walker Middle School, upgraded the photo identification cards for staff and students, implemented a swipe card system for the bathrooms, alarmed non-secure doors at NHS, and upgraded signage districtwide. In addition to these changes, there are numerous improvements that are not so visible publicly, but continue to strengthen safety and security throughout the district. We will continue to monitor and add to our protocols and procedures on an on-going basis.
However, we still face challenges as a district. Our class sizes continue to rise. Our buildings are overcrowded and we will be adding a trailer at Spring Garden School and an additional trailer at Washington School in the fall. Local, state and federal funding continues to limit us, requiring us to think creatively and to do more with less.
We could not have had the year we had without the support of all our parents, staff and the Nutley community, as a whole. We are grateful for our partnerships with the Nutley Police and Fire Departments, Nutley Educational Foundation, the Nutley Family Service Bureau, as well as the countless other local organizations who provide scholarships and programming for our students, and, of course, the Board of Commissioners and their staff who collaborate with us on programs and services to further strengthen the experience for students and the community.
As we all get ready to enjoy the summer months, I wish you time spent with family and friends, full of sunshine and relaxation. School will resume for teachers on Tuesday, September 3 and for students, on Wednesday, September 4.
Sincerely, Dr. Julie Glazer