Green Brook Township Public School District (35-1810)

Green Brook Township Public School District

The Green Brook Township Public School District is a preschool to eighth grade district. There are two schools: the Irene E. Feldkirchner Elementary School, which houses preschool to fourth grade; and the Green Brook Middle School, which houses fifth to eighth grade. Upon graduation form eighth grade, students attend Watchung Hills Regional High School.

During the 2015-2016 school year, curriculum and instruction underwent a major shift with the implementation of a balanced literacy model of language arts instruction. In kindergarten through fifth grade, teachers used the workshop model of teaching for Reading and Writing instruction. They also incorporated into their daily instruction shared reading, read alouds, and a word work component. In order to support this major transformation of instruction, the district created a partnership with Teacher's College Reading and Writing Project for ongoing professional development of the K-8 teachers. Through a combination of sending staff members to Teacher's College for workshops as well as hosting staff developers in-district to support and coach the teachers, the transformation in instruction and outcomes for students was powerful. This relationship with Teacher's College will continue into the 2016-2017 school year.

Professional development opportunities were numerous during the 2015-2016 school year. In addition to the relationship with Teacher's College, the district worked to enhance opportunities for teachers through choice and variety. In October and January, teachers were given the ability to select the courses they wanted to take on in-service dates, allowing teachers to guide their own learning. By working with fellow sending districts Warren, Watchung, Long Hill, and Watchung Hills Regional High School, teachers were also afforded a greater variety of professional development opportunities as well as the ability to articulate with staff members who teach similar grade levels or content areas.

Another key transformation in curriculum happened at the middle school level where students were offered choice in their related arts selection as well as enrichment courses. To support this transformation, curriculum was written for related arts areas that allowed for a wider variety of courses including 2D and 3D Art, Virtual Worlds and Computer Programming classes, Playwriting, and Chorus. These options will continue to expand for the 2016-2017 school, which will see additional courses available like orchestra and STEM Lab.

Our curriculum is supported by a variety of instructional technologies, including Chromebooks, Mac labs, iPads, projectors, interactive displays, document cameras, fast WiFi and a gigabit connection to the Internet. Teachers are encouraged to make use of these resources to add depth, breadth, and differentiation to their lessons and staff are supported by an Instructional Technology Coach. With these tools, students are able to explore online, create, and collaborate, guided by their teachers in a safe, secure environment.

The Department of Student Services in Green Brook Township Public Schools has undergone a significant change in terms of its philosophy and focus on supporting students. In the past, the department has primarily supported students with special needs. In the 2015-16 school year, the Department shifted its focus to encompass the entire continuum of student needs in the school community. These included special education and related services, Section 504, English as a Second Language, at-risk/basic skills, health and medical, guidance, homeless/displaced students, and gifted & talented. Green Brook Township Public Schools recognizes the importance of serving the entire student community in which all these student profiles exist.

In the last school year, in order to address the diverse needs of Green Brook students, the Department of Student Services has grown in terms of its program options, including a Behavioral Disabilities program and a revised split-session Integrated Preschool program. Educationally, the department and district has moved to a utilization of a research-based intervention philosophy for at-risk students called Response to Intervention (RTI). The Department of Student Services has aligned with the district's goal of promoting literacy through the introduction of a new multi-sensory approach with the Fundations and Wilson Language System.

The Green Brook Township Public School District is extremely fortunate to have an active and supportive Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). The PTO has made generous donations to support all aspects of the school community, including technology, libraries, and playgrounds. The Green Brook Education and Athletic Foundation (GBEAF) also raises funds to support the programs and facilities in the district. The GBEAF donated over $50,000 in teacher grants in the 2015-2016 school year. The efforts of the PTO and GBEAF, combined with the support of the Board of Education, parents, and greater community, clearly demonstrates our community’s commitment to provide a quality education for our students.