Clifton Public School District (31-0900)

Clifton Public School District

The mission of the Clifton Public School District is to provide all students with a quality education to develop the twenty-first century skills necessary to become literate, life-long learners who are responsible and productive citizens contributing to a democratic society in an ever-changing world. The school district strives to do this in a partnership with the parents, community, students and the staff in an atmosphere of openness and transparency. Our school district is the 16th largest in the State, with approximately 11,000 students enrolled in fourteen elementary schools, two middle schools, and the second largest high school in New Jersey. As a recipient of an NJDOE preschool expansion grant, the district is in its second year of providing preschool for income eligible four year olds. Clifton is a linguistically diverse district with over sixty-four different languages spoken in the homes of the children that attend our schools. We view this diversity as a strength that fosters tolerance and an understanding of the global community in which we all live. Clifton is a microcosm of today’s world.

We provide extensive staff development for all of our staff to assure quality instruction based upon individual student needs. Teachers are consistently supported to prepare students in attainment of the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Training is provided to teachers on the differentiation of instruction to meet varied student learning needs and styles including the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Training in the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol is used to address our linguistically diverse student population and teachers are provided with professional development to support co-teaching in inclusive classrooms. The district has established a culture of using data to drive instruction. Teachers and administrators are using standardized tests, local formative assessment results and formal and informal inventories of student performance to individualize instruction. Staff employs a data management program that allows the comparison of multiple data items to get a more complete picture of the whole child when making instructional decisions. State mandated training including the prevention of suicide, harassment, intimidation and bullying and dyslexia identification, among others, have also been provided to all staff. Technology is infused throughout the school district and we have begun a multi-year initiative to streamline technology use through Google classroom in addition to Moodle, Smart Boards and other devices and software applications that facilitate learning. All of the K-12 general education classrooms are equipped with Smart Boards. The district state-of-the-art wireless network and extensive deployment of Chrome books provides flexible learning opportunities, allows seamless integration of technology in instruction and simplifies implementation of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers Assessment (PARCC).

We offer a comprehensive K-12 New Jersey Student Learning Standards based curriculum allowing each of our students to progress along the path of becoming college and career ready. The school district implements the Danielson model of instructional best practices to help each child reach their academic potential. Our K-5 elementary schools focus on meeting individual student’s needs. The district has joined the NJDOE Kindergarten Initiative, supporting more developmentally appropriate instruction and assessment in Kindergarten. We have expanded our focus on a balanced literacy approach from the primary grades into the middle grades together with a balanced literacy readers’ and writers’ workshop approach. An independent reading motivation and assessment program, Renaissance 360, continues to be used in Grades 3-10 in order to motivate and track student independent reading activities and successes, assigned activities and reading strengths. Intervention programs are constantly evaluated to provide individualized support. Reading interventions including Wilson Fundations K-2 at every elementary school, as well as, Wilson Reading and Orton Gillingham are available. We implement a New Jersey Student Learning Standards based math program in K-8 balancing basic numeracy and skill development with a constructivist approach to math. Study Island provides online remediation and practice in Grades 3-12 in mathematics. Pacing is constantly adjusted to ensure preparation for PARCC standardized testing requirements in Grades 3-11. Each of these initiatives concentrates on the teaching of critical thinking skills for all students in which the goal is to encourage active student engagement throughout the school day and the provision of a rigorous academic foundation for success at the secondary level (6-12). This includes but is not limited to the core academic curriculum, the visual and performing arts, computer sciences, health and physical education, vocational offerings and world language in preparation for entry into quality post-secondary programs. Clifton High School has been recognized by the Department of Education as having model programs in the performing arts. Clifton High School also offers advanced placement courses in each of these areas including many challenging electives, for example: medibotics, forensics, psychology and sociology to mention a few. The high school has consolidated its Freshmen Academy for all ninth graders, extending the supportive team concept from middle school to the critical first year of high school. The Positive Behavioral Supports in Schools (PBSIS) program provides support and motivation from the middle grades into high school. We have an extensive Fine and Performing Arts Department and offer a complete program including, but not limited to dance, visual arts, marching band, instrumental music (strings & woodwinds), chorus, graphic arts, photography and drama.
Students may also choose to be involved in over eighty district athletic team offerings, participate in community service ventures or be involved in over one hundred extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.

The Clifton School District continues to assure all of our students are acquiring and developing the skills, knowledge and comprehension needed to become caring and contributing members of society in the twenty-first century. Dual credit opportunities and partnerships with local colleges continue to be expanded. Our district offers opportunities to be involved in career internships for high school seniors, as well as giving them opportunities to participate in college course offerings from Montclair State University, Seton Hall University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Berkeley College and Passaic County Community College. Also, the Marine Junior ROTC program is very popular and continues to grow. For our younger students, all of our elementary schools offer a full-day Kindergarten program. We also offer Extensions, an after- school program for K-5 students.

The Clifton Public School District serves as the nexus for the City of Clifton. Programs at the high school auditorium are often attended by our senior citizens as well as students, parents and teachers. The children are our future hope and give all of us the opportunity to unite together in one mutually supportive community-wide effort. The Clifton School District provides all of our students an excellent education in order to prepare them for success in the complex global economies of the twenty-first century.