Oakland Public School District (03-3760)

Oakland Public School District

Nestled in the foothills of New Jersey’s Ramapo Mountains, Oakland is one of those rare communities that, despite growth, has retained its small town charm and caring heart. A community spirit prevails that is virtually impossible to resist. In a recent year, Business Week magazine recognized Oakland, N.J. as one of the top 50 smaller towns in America to raise children. The town’s specialness is a commitment of residents and engulfs newcomers. New Jersey Monthly also named Oakland as the “Number One” Town for Young Families for 2013.
That Business Week rated our schools as #7 among the top 50 small towns was an immensely gratifying recognition. Our schools reflect the goodness of our community, and our school district appreciates how highly residents prize children and value education.
In The Oakland School District, children are our focus. The District strives to promote high achievement in a supportive, challenging and exciting environment. High expectations are held for each child, and each student is inspired to be the best person and the best student that she/he can become. While staff members pursue these objectives, each child's individuality is valued and our staff commits to a comprehensive educational program that meets the needs of diverse learners. Our schools aim to develop skills that enable students to function competently and successfully as citizens of the world. As reading, writing, and mathematics skills are mastered, students are motivated to be curious, creative, and analytical.
Our district curricula are updated and aligned regularly to meet the 2014 Core Curriculum Content Standards in Science, Social Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, Comprehensive Health and Physical Education, Gifted and Talented, Technology and 21st Century Life and Careers. Subsequently, the newly adopted 2016 New Jersey Learning State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics were also updated to meet the demands of the changing needs of today’s learners. The English Language Arts curriculum has been realigned to the Balanced Literacy model of Readers and Writers workshop. Our Math In Focus as also been realigned to the NJSLS.The Financial Literacy curriculum for grades 7 & 8, is in partnership with Junior Achievement's Finance Park, students will learn about the necessities of finance and complete a virtual simulation that will take them through the steps of exploring real life experiences. Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, the Next Generation Science Standards which were also named New Jersey Student Learning Standards - Science in May of 2016. outlines for unit instruction and looked at programs to be adopted for students in grades 6 - 8. STEAM visitation workshops were introduced to grades 4 and 5 at the elementary schools. Language development is fostered through the Introduction to Italian curriculum for grade 7 in the Summer of 2015. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs of the middle school students developing a language and its culture. Since the needs of middle school vary a great deal, realistic expectations have been established in accordance with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards for World Language.
Teachers remain current in content and methodology with effective professional development and participation in continuing education opportunities. Technology enhances learning and the Board’s commitment to equipping schools with current technology tools has resulted in partnerships with each school’s PTO and the Oakland Education Foundation. Mobile carts with laptop computers are in every school, and they support any time, any place learning. SMARTboard interactive technology engages students and promotes student-centered classrooms. The PTOs continue to partner with the Board of Education in the area of Library Media Technology as well. Our libraries are all equipped with – Follett’s Destiny library management program. This tool has expanded our libraries beyond its walls and is reachable by children from any point in the school building or from their home via their tablet. Finally, each teacher maintains a current web site that enhances parental communication and involvement.
In the academics, the arts, and athletics, our students’ achievements continue to bring community pride. Of particular note are the competencies that our students continue to demonstrate on the NJ ASK - the State's proficiency assessments. Repeatedly, our students' abilities have been applauded as the 1st Place Winners in the New Jersey Future City Competition and have represented our State at the National Finals in Washington, D.C. numerous times. Oakland's students have also excelled in the New Jersey National History Day contest, the national Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision contest, and other academic competitions. In the spring, our budding student artists’ talents are celebrated at our Annual Art Show in the Public Library. Through Student Leadership Day, Student Councils, and overnight trips to Philadelphia and Frost Valley, our students continue to learn the value of community, history, and government. Character and citizenship are reinforced by our students' commitment to service.
Our schools foster cultural awareness, social consciousness, and respect for the environment. Through our global education initiative, reading selections, interdisciplinary thematic units, eighth grade projects, and character education programs, young people learn to respect and appreciate cultural differences, wrestle with social problems, and ponder environmental challenges. Our commitment to gender equity is reflected in curriculum, library collections, athletic programs, and school practice.
Active parent organizations enrich each school, and a strong partnership exists with the Borough. Intergenerational community members join with students in activities such as our YES Club (Youth-Environment-Seniors), which celebrated its 28th year of Town Cleanups; our Senior reading program; and, our JOY (Joining Old and Young) poetry workshops. After hours, schools become community centers as recreation and civic groups host many programs. In summer, schools remain learning sites for students with our Summer Enrichment, Safetytown, Preschool, and Threshold Programs. They are also auxiliary homes for Oakland’s Recreation Camp.
Additionally, the District sponsors several Parent University Nights to acquaint parents with PARCC implementation and a K-8 Curriculum Fair highlighting areas of the curriculum in the Oakland School Learning Community.
The Oakland Board of Education has high expectations for the operation and quality of its schools. As a result, the District has high expectations for students and staff. These high expectations inspire Oakland’s students to be the best that they can be, and they ensure that Oakland will continue to be a learning community committed to excellence.