Dear Parents, Guardians, and Friends of the Manito School Community,
Welcome to the Manito School web site and to the 2016-2017 school year. As you navigate your way through the site, we hope to provide you with a unique perspective into our child-centered educational program. This comprehensive program addresses the academic, social, emotional, and physical needs of our students as they progress through these crucial formative years. The ultimate goal of such a program is to create a dynamic environment that fosters Success for Every Child. The foundation of each day is built upon a simple, but important philosophy: every child can learn and experience success. Our challenge as educators lies in discovering how to facilitate that process. As our dedicated teachers and support staff help our students to reach beyond their potential, they work to inspire a genuine love of learning in every child. The result manifests itself in children who are excited about education, feel positive about themselves, and who develop the skills needed to build positive and productive relationships with adults and each other.
Combined with this positive climate is a strong academic curriculum that meets or exceeds the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS). The core of the academic program is based on a solid foundation of study in reading, language arts and mathematics. Our new balanced literacy program will provide students with a supportive environment that immerses them in authentic reading experiences that focus on the strengths and needs of each child. Reader's Workshop helps children develop strong reading skills through the use of a mini-lesson, shared reading, read aloud, conferencing, independent reading, paired reading, and literature response journals. The basic philosophy of the program is to allow students to spend an extended amount of time each day reading appropriately leveled, authentic, high-interest texts, and to provide opportunities for them to discuss literature. The ultimate goal of Reader's Workshop is to develop life-long, passionate readers and critical thinkers. Complementing the reading program is our recently adopted Writer’s Workshop program, which aims to foster lifelong writing through relevance, consistency, authenticity and independence.
Teachers in Grades K-5 will implement the Math In Focus program, which is aligned to the NJSLS and emphasizes depth of content and mastery learning in the tradition of the Singapore mathematics model. Bar models and other manipulatives are used to facilitate instruction and help students internalize curricular concepts. Because differentiated instruction for advanced, grade level, and emergent learners is embedded within the curriculum, general education students in Grades K-4 will remain in their homerooms for mathematics instruction. There, students will be assigned to flexible groups based on their level of understanding of specific topics, as determined through formative assessments at the beginning of each new unit. Students in Grade 5 will continue to be assigned to math classes based on demonstrated ability level and teacher recommendation.
Our rigorous academic curriculum is complemented by special area teachers who present lessons in physical education, library/media, health, art, and music. Our technology and World Language programs will continue to be integrated into each child’s classroom schedule. (World language study begins in Grade 3). Elementary students across the district will receive World Language instruction from a certified World Language teacher.
Teachers utilize the available technology in the school to create challenging, problem-based applications that can be integrated into each content area throughout the year. Facilitating that process is the fact that we have SMART boards and document cameras in all of classrooms for our current population, and we have two class sets of i-Pads that will be shared among all of our students. This year, students in Grades 2-5 will also enjoy the use of Chrome Books, which will support the acquisition of critical 21st century skills including critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and communication. Of course, many thanks go to the Manito PTO for generously supporting our technology initiative for the past several years.
In an effort to promote positive and responsible decision-making while eradicating negative behaviors such as harassment, intimidation or bullying, our character education initiative will continue to be integrated across the curriculum. During the year, students will learn about and apply the tenets of the Josephson Institute’s Six Pillars of Character (Trustworthiness, Citizenship, Respect, Fairness, Responsibility and Caring). Whenever possible, students will be recognized for consistently practicing these traits and contributing to a positive environment that promotes the social, emotional, and physical well-being of everyone in the building. In addition, our Project Wisdom program will continue to provide daily positive messages to students and faculty alike. Recently, the aspect of our character education program that focuses on supporting local charitable causes (e.g. Education with Heart) was rewarded with a Promising Practices designation from Character.org, a national organization that promotes outstanding character in U.S. public schools. A banner noting our achievement will be proudly displayed outside the main office throughout the school year. I'm extremely proud of the entire Manito School community for this outstanding achievement.
As a reminder, the Parent Portal is now “live” and can be used to view school information, along with current information related to your child's educational experience. All parents will receive log-in credentials for their children. Parents are encouraged to log in regularly, as each child’s daily homework assignments and quarterly report cards are posted on the Portal. To access the Parent Portal, simply navigate to the District’s home page (www.oaklandschoolsnj.org) and click on the “Parent Portal” link on the right menu bar.
The Manito experience would not be complete without the ongoing support of our PTO and greater parent community. Throughout the year the PTO sponsors several special events and assembly programs that enrich the children’s educational experience. The key to any school’s success has and always will be a strong partnership between the parents of our community and the school. I look forward to maintaining that strong relationship, which has always been a hallmark of the Manito community, and I encourage all of our parents—both moms and dads—to actively participate in at least one of our PTO-sponsored events during the course of the year.
As always, I look forward to another fantastic year of working with you and your children.
Adam I. Silverstein