MORRIS PLAINS SCHOOL DISTRICT (27-3380-020)

Morris Plains Borough School

Morris Plains Borough School

The Morris Plains Borough School (Borough) features a comprehensive Common Core based curriculum for students in third through eighth grades. The continued success of Borough’s students is a direct reflection of the dedicated staff and varied programs and activities offered in academics, athletics, and the arts.

Borough is considered by many as a true “school community,” partnering with all key stakeholders by collaborating in countless ways to improve instructional practices and programs. Students, teachers, administrators, and parents have a shared interest in the school’s overall success. This collaboration has enabled Borough to make notable improvements, on a number of levels, over the past several years. Academically, Borough is implementing its second year of Writer’s Workshop in all language arts classes and Words Their Way in grades three through six. Students continue to receive reading support through Journey’s (grades three through five) and Collections (grades six through eight). All language arts classes are double periods, every day. There is a continued focus on the implementation of new science and social studies curricula, including the continued adoption of Discovery Education’s TechBook instructional tools and resources to support this initiative. Foreign language (Spanish) is a vital academic area for all students and is now offered beginning in grade three. Borough students are extremely successful after moving into the high school foreign language program, with a significant number of graduating eighth graders placed in Spanish II or III. Mathematics classes are double periods, every day, at every grade level and ability grouped beginning in grade six. Students who place into accelerated math are tracked to complete Algebra I at the conclusion of eighth grade. A hands-on, inquiry-based approach is used in Borough’s science program throughout all grade levels. All science teachers use Discovery Education’s TechBook resources and tools to support their classroom activities. All students rotate through a comprehensive related arts program, taking art, general music, STEM, and innovation lab. Physical education and health instruction are provided in small groups, with a focus on students’ overall physical and mental well-being.

New for the 2016-2017 school year are our 20-Time and Advisory programs. 20-Time is a program for our fifth through eighth graders, affording them the opportunity to work on a project of their choosing for one period, one day a week. Students are teamed up with a coach who guides them through this project that spans two marking periods. All students, grades three through eight participate in our Advisory program. Once per month, small groups of students meet with an advisory to discuss various topics of interest. This character education based program affords our students the time to have meaningful discussions and foster yet another healthy relationship with a caring adult in the school building.

Borough School continues its collaboration with the Morris School District, strengthening and supporting the send-receive relationship between the two districts. As Borough students graduate from eighth grade and enroll in Morristown High School, it is important for them to have all of the same opportunities to connect with curriculum requirements that their high school classmates had as students in the Morris School District. Administration and the district’s curriculum coordinator have seen tremendous success from this professional partnership, ensuring the success of all Borough students as they transition to high school. Borough also has very strong relationships with a number of local private high schools, supporting the application process of those students who choose to apply.

Borough uses the Google Apps for Education suite of tools to support communication at all levels, including Google Classroom. The entire school building is wired for high speed wireless Internet access and all classrooms have their own access point. This infrastructure supports a one-to-one program that allows all students, in every grade level, to have an assigned Chromebook for use throughout the school day. All classrooms in the building are equipped with either flat screen televisions or interactive whiteboards. Classrooms and other centers in the school are also equipped with Redcat Sound Amplification Systems for Sound Waves. These devices assist with student focus and make instruction more accessible for students in the classroom.

Teachers work collaboratively with the members of our Child Study Team to help support students with individualized education plans through differentiated instructional techniques, the creation and use of study guides, and teaching in small groups. This approach to teaching students with special needs helps all students succeed, regardless of their academic abilities. The school continues to take proactive measures to meet with and support staff by being committed to provide professional development opportunities to ensure the implementation of all school endeavors for the 2016-2017 school year.

Borough has a full time school counselor responsible for implementing school-wide character education programs, coordinating local and state testing (PARCC/NJASK), and supporting the emotional needs of all Borough students. The counselor also has a student group for those students new to the district, as well as a student service corp. Basic skills remediation and gifted and talented classes are offered to all eligible students using a push-in and pull-out model. For the 2016-2017 school year, the school guidance counselor will continue to assist with the implementation and monitoring of the New Jersey Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying Law/Policy (HIB). Working hand-in-hand with our local police department, Borough School runs a fifth grade LEAD program. All eighth grade students participate in a three day, two night trip to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. Sixth grade students have the opportunity to attend a three day, two night night environmental education trip at the Fairview Lakes YMCA Environmental Education Center in Stillwater, New Jersey. All students participate in educational trips throughout the school year in grades three through eight.

Borough School students have the opportunity to participate in many extracurricular activities, such as: art club, chess club, drama club, jazz band, beginner band, general band, select chorus, media crew, as well as student government and student council. Homework club is also offered to those students who need extra help in completing and organizing themselves with homework. Our after school sports programs include: boys and girls soccer, cross country, basketball and track and field teams, cheerleading, girls softball and boys baseball and a comprehensive intramural sport programs.

Borough School’s continued efforts, commitment and advocacy towards the school and the community continue to expand and improve each year. With consistent presence in administration, and strong communication with the entire community, the school district continues to stand as a top district in Morris County. The School Choice Program has been quite successful and all school choice students and families are immensely pleased with their decision to enroll in the program and have their children attend Borough School. We are committed to quality education for all of our students and continually strive for excellence. We openly share our deep appreciation of parental and community support. The town’s municipal officials, the Home and School Association, and the Education Foundation are extremely supportive of our school through the sponsorship of special events, classroom technology and instructional equipment, and the inclusion and ongoing commitment to featuring engaging and student focused assemblies. This partnership makes for a successful and enriching experience of our students.