ORANGE BOARD OF EDUCATION (13-3880)

ORANGE BOARD OF EDUCATION

The Orange Township Public School District is committed to providing a wide range of opportunities and programs to meet the needs of over 5,768 students, supported by over 750 staff members, in our 7 elementary schools, a middle school academy, a high school, an alternative high school, a gifted and talented academy and two early childhood centers, along with 6 local providers for children, ages 3-4.

The district offers students a well-rounded education, meeting the New Jersey Department of Education's academic standards. We have strengthened content areas, focusing on Mathematics, English, Language Arts and Science to increase academic rigor aligned with Common Core State Standards. We are ensuring that our students are college and career ready upon graduation. To this end, the district completed a two-year process for Middle States Accreditation, culminating with a visit from an eight-member accreditation team, to evaluate the quality of education provided by the district, which is the gold standard for measuring and evaluating school performance. After a weeklong visitation from the Middle States Accreditation Team, in December, 2015, Orange Public Schools became one of the first districts to receive Systems Wide Accreditation from Middle States.

We have also completed our first full school year of the district’s Strategic Plan for the years 2014-2021, which included the groundwork for a STEM Academy for secondary students, and an increased four year high school graduation rate, from 86% in 2015 to 93% in 2016.

While many new programs have been implemented in the elementary schools, some of our most notable accomplishments have occurred at the high school level. The Orange High School (OHS) graduating class of 2016 received over $7.5 million in scholarships; 1 million more than the prior graduating class (a new record.) Further, new course options such as American Studies, have been introduced to further prepare students for college and to promote career readiness. Also, the Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum guides were rewritten to address emerging trends in business and industry. Additionally, the CTE Program was awarded a $500,000 grant payable over a five year period. The Health Sciences Pathway offers students dual credit with Rutgers University. This year, eleven students received Rutgers undergraduate credits from two courses. OHS continues to provide students with access and success with Advanced Placement courses.

A Newcomers’ Academy for grades 3-7 was created at Lincoln Avenue School for port-of-entry students. This is a program of gradual release. Students learn the academic vocabulary and cultural skills for a more successful initial experience in an American school. After nine weeks, the students mainstream into mathematics with their peers. From that point forward, they will enter the mainstream at their home schools based on language acquisition.

During the first week of the 2015-2016 school year, the district’s music teachers taught their students the meaning of the National anthem. On September 11, 2015, the entire school district stepped outside and sang the National Anthem. This was a national movement, and the Orange School District was featured on NJ12 News for our participation.

Visual and Performing Arts continues to shine in Orange. An extended partnership with NJPAC, through a Disney grant, was won by Rosa Parks Community School (RPCS.) 20% of the instrumental students participated in the off-campus M.A.N.Y program. Heywood Avenue won the Mercer Grant and Werner grant, which resulted in school performances, both in Orange and at NJPAC. Also, at Heywood, a mural was created under the direction of a professional artist. The El Sistema Program at Oakwood Avenue Community School performed at community events and four students attended the Princeton Blairstown Camp for the first time. The Dance Conservatory continues to offer winter workshops, a spring festival, and a summer program. Numerous awards were given across the district at the High Note Instrumental and Vocal Festival. Voices in Harmony traveled to Virginia to compete in a national competition, earning many first place awards. Once again, the Mighty Marching Tornados represented Orange in a variety of parades. VH1 Save the Music Program granted Lincoln Avenue, $36,000 worth of instruments. RPCS vocal students participated in the American Young Voices Performance at the NJPAC.

The Parent Academy is growing in number, having completed two graduating classes. In order to provide more services to parents, we announced and opened our third Community School at Orange Preparatory Academy. This initiative has been achieved much through a 21st Century grant.

To further increase rigor, the district continues to support several signature academic competitions such as "The Spelling Bee of Champions”, STEM Fairs, Geography Bee, and family events such as Math Nights and Literacy Block Party that showcased student writings. Our students also competed at the Youth Bridge National Tournament in Washington, D.C., placing in the top three positions, and bringing home several trophies.

Orange's students are given the chance to fuel individual interests while strengthening their core learning for post-graduation educational pursuits, the military and the workforce.

During the summer, we announced an agreement with the Department of the Navy, Naval Service Training Command, to establish a Navy National Defense Cadet Corps (NNDCC) unit at Orange High School.

Through our many partnerships with institutions of higher learning, Orange staff members have been able to participate in selective fellowships this past school year. They include the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellow for the training of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

We are proud of our students and staff for their accomplishments during this past school year and the opportunities offered to us. This work could not have been done without the support of our dedicated school board members, city officials, parents and other members of the community. We are also grateful to the many supporters who share our vision for excellence, including corporations, philanthropic and non-profit organizations, colleges and universities and committed individuals.

Together, we can make a change.