BERKELEY HEIGHTS SCHOOL DISTRICT (39-0310-040)

Mountain Park School

Mountain Park Elementary School currently houses an enrollment of 211 students in second through fifth grade. This academically- and chronologically-diverse group of students is cared for in a stimulating learning community that is geared toward providing a safe environment in which physical, emotional, and academic growth can take place. As a staff we are very proud of our ability to focus on our student’s most fundamental needs of safety and security while exposing them to the most modern, as well as tried and true, educational tools and materials available.

The focus of our language arts and literacy program provides our emerging students with the support necessary to enable them to grow as readers at their own pace. Teachers have the Wilson Reading Fundations program, guided reading activities, and extensive leveled reader libraries available at all grade and ability levels. All students are exposed to a wide variety of high-interest literature that is designed to inspire their curiosity as well as challenging them to move on to more difficult material. All instructional staff members have been formally trained using the Columbia Writing Program in an effort to build consistency between the grade levels and to ensure that each student learns to write in a sequential manner. We also recognize the importance of providing students with “writing on demand” opportunities to help them prepare for state testing. All staff members who teach reading have recently been trained in the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark system in order to be consistent with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards.

Our students continue to reap the benefits of a technology-based, student-centered and differentiated GoMath program. Students are not only exposed to knowledge and facts that are deemed necessary by curricular mandates, but are treated to a great deal of hands-on activities and authentic presentations during social studies and science instruction. Learners are provided opportunities to experience and process this information.

Special area subjects are presented in a very enthusiastic and creative way at Mountain Park School. Art, Library, Music, Computers, Spanish, and Physical Education all receive a high level of emphasis throughout the year. Each subject is presented in an environment designed specifically for its purpose and by a highly- trained faculty member. The diverse club/activities program at Mountain Park includes student council, MP Live (drama club in the digital age), computer club, yearbook, math club, safety patrol, circle of friends, and writing club.

The guidance program at Mountain Park is an active part of our educational process. Staff members are encouraged to get involved with their students in order to foster an environment that provides extensive opportunities to create connections and develop relationships. We have craft opportunities where teachers share their expertise during informal lunch/recess sessions. Throughout the year, thematic book clubs are established to target certain age- and gender-appropriate issues and subjects. Lunch bunch discussion groups are designed to help students find a venue of support and behavior modeling. The week of respect in early October continues to be a very important week for us. It is a time when many students get the opportunity to take an active role in reinforcing the message of respect. Our PTO generously supports community service day, music day, and hobby day on an annually rotating basis.

The success that Mountain Park enjoys as a school can often be traced back to an outstanding school community. We have a very supportive parent population that contributes to our building’s sense of community. Our support system helps us maintain an environment where differences are celebrated and where tolerance is the norm. Our PTO frequently provides the much-needed funds and physical support necessary for all children to get the academic, social, emotional and physical growth foundation they will need to establish a routine of success for their future.