SOMERVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT (35-4820)

SOMERVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT

Somerville Public Schools provides a full range of educational services for students in preschool through grade 12 residing in Somerville Borough, and grades 9 through 12 for students residing in Branchburg Township. The total enrollment in the district is approximately 2,400 students. Somerville Public Schools provide an environment that is both academically challenging and developmentally responsive to the needs of our students. Our mission is to nurture intellectual achievement and civic responsibility, and foster positive self-esteem for all students. Our students are challenged with a rich curriculum that infuses New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS), technology, and rigor. We want our students to graduate with the knowledge and skills needed to be college and career ready. The Somerville School District prides itself on providing a multitude of programs and course offerings to ensure an educational experience tailored to the needs of all learners. We encourage and welcome the partnership of parents and community members in working together to see our students reach their full potential. The Board of Education believes that students must be guided to attain the knowledge and skills needed to be successful in future endeavors, to be contributing members of the community, and to excel in their chosen vocation. It is also our aim to promote a collaborative learning environment and an appreciation of our multicultural society.

As part of the district #VISION2020 strategic plan, the Board of Education operates with a focus on three strategic themes; Building Cultural Competence; Preparing for College and Career; Growing Professional Development Opportunities. Progress towards each school’s Wildly Important Goal (WIG) can be found on the district homepage through the District Dashboard.

The district has formed a plethora of partnerships. Focus on the PreK-14 continuum was emphasized in the district's recent partnership with Raritan Valley Community College through an Academy of Liberal Arts. Students enrolled in this Academy have the opportunity to receive an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts and High School Diploma upon completion of their high school experience. The district also partners with Robert Wood Johnson for a Medical Sciences Academy where students take courses at the hospital and shadow members of the Allied Health professions. The LaRue PR Public Relations Academy provides students with the opportunity to explore Public Relations careers and gain real life experiences through the Manhattan Vintage Show. The District also partnered with community leaders in the formation of a volunteer, comprehensive mentoring program for identified disaffected students. In addition, the district adopted a one-to-one Chromebook initiative for students in grades 3-12.

The district launched a non-traditional High School with a modified school day that features long, uninterrupted blocks of blended learning, competency-based education, and personalized instruction tailored to the students’ individual needs and plans. The program contains a rolling graduation model with an emphasis on credit recovery and self-guided learning progress.

The District has a transitional program for classified students. The program includes job skills training, job coaching/shadowing, and developing connections with community resources. The district's self-contained life skills/ABA programs provide support services for PreK-12 for disabled students.

In October 2012, the Somerville Board of Education created an Academic Achievement Officer position. The Officer's primary focus is to assist teachers and administrators with the usage of data to individualize instruction for every student through the district’s Digital Data Walls (Assess, Analyze, and Achieve program). The program received a Districts of Distinction Award and garnered international interest with a visit from an official from Denmark. These shared files allow teachers to tailor instruction to meet the individual needs of every student. Van Derveer staff members also shared student performance information through data walls and collaborative data files (assists in monitoring progress and developing instructional interventions). The Academic Achievement Officer hosted informational sessions to inform parents of this paradigm shift in utilizing student achievement data in the classroom. During these sessions, parents were provided with their child's performance data, how it can be used, and the resources available.

District staff members have access to a “best practice” repository of instructional strategies through the 3DPD (Three-Dimensional Professional Development) program. Lessons are recorded using Swivl device and iPad or camera and uploaded to a private video database. Stakeholders can keep abreast of district happenings through the Somerville PS app, District Dashboard, and Dr. Purnell’s “Talk with Tim” initiative.

Our education philosophy is integrated throughout our PreK-12 curriculum and is captured in the Somerville Public School District’s Mission Statement and recently adopted Core Values/Belief Statements:

MISSION STATEMENT

Somerville Schools provide the highest quality education through an environment that promotes individual excellence.

CORE VALUES/BELIEF STATEMENTS

1. We believe that children learn best in a challenging, motivating, safe, secure, nurturing, encouraging, and respectful environment that fosters a love of lifelong learning.
2. We believe in providing learning opportunities to meet the diverse needs of each individual child.
3. We believe that the mosaic of every child includes the fine arts, STEAM, and extracurricular activities.
4. We believe that professional development is essential to the fabric of the teaching profession allowing teachers to build on current practices and
constantly improve instruction.
5. We believe in a collaborative approach to learning and engagement that
includes students, district employees, parents, community members, and community partnerships.

If you have any questions about the district, please do not hesitate to call, email, or access our comprehensive website (www.somervillenjk12.org).