Cranbury Township School District (23-0970)

Cranbury Township School District

The Cranbury School serves students in Pre-K through grade eight. Since the school’s inception in 1896, tradition and innovation have been equally valued. Students are afforded every opportunity to discover their unique strengths and talents in a small, supportive learning community. Our teachers demonstrate a passion for their chosen profession and possess strong educational backgrounds. Teachers create learning environments that are engaging and motivating to students by modeling their own willingness to experiment, collaborating with others, taking risks and embracing lifelong learning.

Cranbury School uses a comprehensive, standards-based core curriculum consisting of English language arts, world language, mathematics, science and social studies. These subjects are taught in a thoughtful progression from kindergarten through eighth grade. In addition to the core curriculum, students are also instructed in art, vocal music, instrumental music (grades 4-8), computer literacy, physical education, health/family life, study skills, and media science. Supplemental supports and services are available before, during, and after school hours.

There are a number of key strategies used within the school that encourage and challenge all students to develop their full potential. Instruction is child-centered and based on current research. Multi-sensory learning strategies and materials, progress monitoring through a Response to Intervention (RTI) framework and a flexible continuum of enrichment and acceleration opportunities are designed to actively challenge and engage students within the learning continuum while also building their competence and confidence.

In 1996, 2009, and most recently in 2016, our school was recognized as “A National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.” During the 2015-2016 school year we were named a “High Progress Reward School” and a Title I exemplar by the New Jersey Department of Education for demonstrating a remarkable rate of progress as measured by the Student Growth Percentile (SGP) methodology. These recognitions have served our school and community well by affirming the value we place on data-driven instruction, flexible grouping, professional learning communities, and continuous improvement in order to provide the best possible educational experience for every child. Our students continue to flourish under the guidance of outstanding teachers and supportive parents. The school staff works with the greater Cranbury community to ensure the success of all students.

As educators, we remain committed to developing assessment tools which monitor and track student progress and structure activities that provide cross-curricular learning. We strive to develop authentic assessments including portfolios, project-based experiences, awareness and application of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences, and cooperative experiences linked to brain-based learning. Standardized methods of assessment include the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA), Developmental Task for Kindergarten Readiness (DTKR), CoGAT, and Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) Assessment. On-going benchmark assessments are also utilized to monitor student progress and inform instruction.

An exciting educational innovation continues to be our Aquaponics program. Aquaponics provides opportunities for STEAM Education through integrated active learning in a constantly evolving learning laboratory. Students are learning about sustainability through hands on lessons in Biology, Chemistry, Math, Agriculture and the Life Cycles of Plants and animals through this project based experience. Our students will be involved with Cranbury’s sustainable farming initiative for years to come, harvesting vegetables and farm raising fish. Aquaponics also provides our students the chance to culturally connect with their peers around the world by exploring a variety of ecosystems as well as gaining a deep understanding of food deserts in the United States where fresh produce is difficult to grow. Our students are engaged with partner schools in the United States and abroad, allowing Cranbury students to become environmental stewards.

Cranbury School provides a sound professional development program that is data-driven, based on best instructional practices, collaborative in nature, and reflective. The Connected Action Roadmap (CAR) framework was introduced during the 2011-2012 school year as a means to foster student achievement and continues to be utilized as the design structure for curriculum development and instructional delivery. The CAR model, developed by Wright and Bormann, provides a framework for the school-based structures around which student achievement should revolve, and includes components that address staff member feedback when planning for district adult learning. The introduction of the Common Core State Standards presented an opportunity for staff members to work collaboratively during the ‘unpacking process’ in the areas of English/Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics, which resulted in a deeper understanding of the standards within the scope of the K-8 educational structure. A combination of embedded professional development, four district staff development days, and 15 additional staff training meetings are used to foster professionalism among teachers. Tools to support the development of 21st Century skills as well as the transition to the PARCC assessment model include technology laboratories, iPads, Chromebooks and other handheld devices for student use.

Technology is an area of strength for the district. Technological skills are incorporated in all content areas and provide a multi-focused, highly integrated approach to learning. In addition to four formal computer labs and ten portable labs, computers are available in every classroom and in the media center. Students have access to computers for research, desktop publishing, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, i-Movies, GarageBand, and streaming video. RedCat classroom listening systems increase sound clarity and understanding of auditory material. SMART Boards and Mimio Interactive Whiteboards provide state-of-the-art interactive learning in thirty-three of our classrooms. LCD projectors are located in all classrooms and computer laboratories. In addition, an LCD/interactive projector is available in the Large Group Instruction Room for school and community use.

The Cranbury School Arts program is a hallmark of the school. General Music and Art classes promote student creation, performance and presentation of art and music. The arts are an ideal vehicle for higher order thinking skills, such as evaluation and critique in response to art and music. We aim for each student to develop a personal connection to art and music. Toward this end, students study a wide range of music/art from historical, cultural and analytical perspectives. Art projects integrate research and connect to the work of Master artists.

In addition to general level music courses, students may join the Instrumental Music program and receive instruction in the woodwind, brass or percussion instrument of their choice. Grade level participation is as high as 95% and remains well above 50% at every grade level. Our Viking (Grade 4), Cadet (Grade 5), Colonial (Grade 6) and Concert (Grades 7-8) bands perform in concert and for other functions, including charity and community events. Elective jazz and percussion ensemble groups apply skills acquired during instrumental lessons to create these traditional and popular music styles with their peers.

Service learning partnerships have a significant presence in the Cranbury School and serve to motivate students and extend learning. For example, “Grandpals” is a partnership with the Cranbury Public Library in which senior community members and kindergarten students enjoy the love of reading together. Scouting service award projects have resulted in a science courtyard makeover; hydration stations; school store; a “Buddy Bench” to foster kindness and conflict resolution; garden beds to integrate gardening into the curriculum; and the “Quarters for Water” campaign to bring clean drinking water to students in Migyera, Uganda. Our Student Council serves as the voice for our student body, offering suggestions, brainstorming solutions to school-wide issues, and organizing community service projects. Students also have numerous opportunities to develop their leadership skills through peer leadership, peer mediation, buddy classes, character education and diversity programs. Cranbury School utilizes a proactive approach to character education, fostering the social, emotional, and academic development of all students. Both Positive Behavioral Support and the Responsive Classroom models support the academic engagement and achievement of students using an inclusive, preventative and interactive approach. All students at Cranbury School are expected to be RESPECTFUL, RESPONSIBLE and READY to learn each day. These school-wide expectations promote a safe and secure learning environment. Students are expected to follow the specific guidelines established for each class and area of the school, thereby creating a common language throughout the grades. These guidelines are intended to ensure a safe, orderly and cooperative environment and to foster good citizenship and self-discipline.

Students are involved in a variety of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities including intramurals and interscholastic sports, drama club, music composition, culture club, literary magazine, Viking Voice investigative reporters, Kindness Club, mathematics competitions and clubs, Science Olympiad, Odyssey of the Mind, and the annual school musical.

At Cranbury School, excellence is the norm, not the exception. Outstanding educational programs and opportunities for students’ growth have become the hallmark of our district. Through a wide variety of activities, students grow academically, socially, physically and emotionally as they strive to achieve excellence and experience success. The support of the board of education, parents, community, and staff is truly appreciated and is integral to the continued success of the Cranbury School District. In addition, our Web site is regularly updated for the benefit of our community. Please visit our site for more information!