Message from Superintendent
Welcome to the first issue of the Norwood School District “E” Newsletter.  We hope that you will come to enjoy this –e-news periodically throughout the year.

Having completed almost five months as the superintendent of this outstanding school district, I want to thank you and the Norwood Board of Education for your confidence and support. Though it has been only a short period of time, it has been enough time to meet so many friendly students, parents, staff, and key stakeholders. 

The Norwood School District is a great place for fostering learning and building relationships amongst students, families, and staff.  I believe teamwork and open communication are very important, and that together we can continue to ensure a positive and productive learning environment for all students.

We continue to focus on our district goals of:
  • Professional development
  • Exploring technology options
  • Enhancing elective offerings
  • Continuously evaluating security in our building

Our priority in Norwood is to create an environment that prepares students to meet the challenges and skills needed for their future. Our teachers continue to receive professional development at the Northern Valley Curriculum Center.  Teachers meet with colleagues from neighboring school districts to learn about best practices in curriculum and instruction.  Additionally, the Norwood teachers are continuing their work in their professional learning communities.  Professional learning communities provide teachers the opportunity to review student data so that students receive focused instruction.  

Dr. Nancy Sulla, author and renowned educator writes in her book, Students Taking Charge, how important it is to prepare students to become problem-finders, innovators, and entrepreneurs who can thrive in a global society.  Our focus is not only on the importance of teaching the core academic subjects such as reading, math, science, language, social studies, but also integrating instruction around the four C’s: critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication. Technology is integrated into students’ daily learning. We are excited to implement various elective offerings such as robotics, coding, and digital production skills.

Most significantly, we know the importance of making sure the Norwood School District is a safe learning environment for students, teachers, and staff.  Last month we worked with the N. J. Department of Education Office of School preparedness, and Emergency Planning, the Bergen County Prosecutor’s office, the NJ State police, and the Norwood police to review our security and emergency drills procedures. As part of our school security efforts, we continue to practice and monitor our safety protocols.

November brings with it a season to give thanks for what we have, and to appreciate one another. The year is filled with excitement, and the Norwood School District continues to focus on 21st century skills where students are learning and exploring, and teachers are engaging and embracing each child.  Our weekly newsletters give a taste of all the stimulating learning that is taking place in the classrooms on a daily basis.

Thank you for being our partner in helping your children grow to be the best. I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents and Guardians:

With the holiday season nearly upon us, it is hard to believe the end of the first trimester of the academic year is right around the corner! We have had a captivating autumn here at Norwood Public School! In the month of December, we have several highlights and activities planned, and I have updates for you as well!! 

Both “Back to School” nights were a resounding success, and it is wonderful to see the community’s participation on both occasions. The turn out, and support reiterate the strong school, parent, and community involvement that make Norwood Public School the great place that it is. We are looking forward to continued success with upcoming parent conferences and Grandfriend’s Day. 

The annual Halloween Parade was not only filled with happy and excited children, but so many familiar faces from around the community. The band and choir kept the mood spooky with their fantastic contribution, the weather was on our side and the costumes were great ! 

This year alone, our students have been so fortunate to take part in  many wonderful programs. Mr. John Halligan presented “Ryan’s Story” during Respect week. The sixth graders have been participating in “Elevate”; a study skills program. Celebrated author, Gordon Korman, came to Norwood, and shared his craft with an engaged audience consisting of students from Grades 3-8. Now, if that wasn’t enough, Tony Award winner Roger Bart, recently came to Norwood, and found time to speak to our middle schoolers as well! 

Our Volleyball and Soccer season have come to a close for 2016, and we are gearing up for a competitive Basketball season. More to follow. 

Our students are so lucky to have such enriching experiences here at Norwood Public School, and a dedicated community and staff to assist in making these opportunities come to life! 

As we prepare for the Holiday season, I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Ralph Marston, “Make it a habit to tell people thank you, to express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it.”

Yours in Education,

Principal DeLaura

Norwood Board of Education
B.O.E. -  FAQ's.
What can I expect when I come to a BOE Meeting?  ….
There are two meetings scheduled per month - a  "WORK" session, and a "REGULAR" /Voting session.

In the "Work" Session the BOE will discuss recommendations made by the of the Chief School Administrator (Superintendent). These agenda are broken out into 3 separate categories …Administrative, Curriculum and Instruction, and then Finance. Some examples of these recommendations for approval are - teacher professional development courses, field trips, teacher hires, and the monthly school disbursements.

The following meeting, the "Regular" /Voting meeting, will be when the BOE will vote to approve these recommendations. In this meeting a BOE member will make a motion to to approve the items from the prior meeting, it will be "seconded" by another member, and then all members vote yes or no.

All agendas for both meetings are always posted on the NPS website a few days prior to the meeting.

While its always encouraged for the public to attend both meetings, it is the Work Session that is often the best time to respond, or make suggestions seeing as it is often the last time the public can do so before it goes to a vote.
Lastly, all meetings of the school board are open to the public, except for specific topics that may be discussed in “executive,” or closed session. Executive sessions are limited to matters deemed confidential, including matters that by law must remain private, such as student records; pending litigation; ; and personnel issues.

What does the BOE do?
The board of education adopts policies under which the school district operates;  oversees the budget; approves the curriculum; hires and evaluates the superintendent; represents the public during contract negotiations; and serves as a  communications link between the community and the school system.  The function of the school board is not to run the schools, but to see that they are  run effectively. The board establishes school district policy and goals and communicates those goals to the superintendent. The board is responsible for adopting the policies, rules and regulations that define the responsibilities of teachers (as well as other school employees), and for approving all employment contracts.

Message from Supervisor of Instruction
Fran Orefice, Supervisor of Instruction

Curriculum and Instruction Updates:
Trimester #1

Word Study: Grades K-5 are enjoying our newly adopted Word Study program, Spelling Connections. It is not your typical spelling program. Backed by extensive research, it uses carefully-curated spelling lists to teach patterns, build vocabulary, and develop the skills students need to become proficient spellers. Proficient spelling leads to improved skills in other areas, including more fluent writing.  Spelling Connections incorporates hands-on activities, and differentiated instruction to make students savvy spellers!
Cycle Classes: Grades 6-8 are completing their first round of cycle classes.  There are many exciting activities within these classes   A few highlights: In 8th grade career exploration, visitors from various career fields came to speak to the students to share first hand accounts of their chosen career. In 7th grade environment cycle the students focused on Sustainability, exploring ways to make Norwood more sustainable. In 6th grade Art cycle painted a watercolor incorporating stippling, scumbling and cross hatching drawing techniques.

Kindergarten Maker Space:  Our Kindergarten classes meet with Mrs. Rienas once a week to create projects based on literature that they are exposed to in the Library.  After reading, The Three Little Pigs, the students worked in groups to build a house that would sustain the blow from the wolf.  Using problem-solving skills they constructed several types of houses.  The students were so proud of their creations!

Special Services Department

Dana N. Sir, Director

Title I
Title I programs are back! We kicked off the school year with the return of our Great Start and Foundations programs to continue our focus on providing support in the areas of executive functioning (study skills) and mathematics.  This year we have added the Writing Lab program for grades three through five.  Since these programs run before school from 7:30am-8:15am, our district utilizes students’ and teachers’ time more efficiently.  We have already seen the positive effects that these programs have had on our students’ growth.

Special Education
Our department is proud to introduce new members to our team.  Lauren Velten joins us as our newest Orton-Gillingham trained English Language Arts Special Education Teacher for grades first through fourth.  We also welcome Ashley Bodrato, Nicole Johnson, Mary Leocata, and Linda Weissenborn, who join us as instructional aides.  Our department is grateful to include such wonderful additions.

In the spirit of teamwork and supporting our Norwood students, the Child Study Team and Guidance Counselor have teamed up for a second year to offer Consultation and Collaboration (C&C) Meetings.  Through these meetings, teachers share concerns and/or questions to gather strategies to support student learning and behaviors.
We are starting a book club, focusing on topics in education, for the Norwood staff.  Our first book is Lost At School by Ross Greene.  Greene’s book focuses on helping students with behavioral challenges.  His philosophy is driven by the recognition that "kids who haven't responded to natural consequences don't need more consequences, they need adults who are knowledgeable about how challenging kids come to be challenging."  We look forward to the discussions that will develop from reading about Greene’s philosophy.

Building and Grounds           Business Office
Building and Grounds

Who we are:
Six full time and 2 part time employees make up the Building and Grounds Department. The work is divided into 2 shifts, daytime from 7am until 3:30pm and nighttime from 3pm to 11:30pm. There are 2 custodians and one maintenance person working the day shift and 4 custodians who work the night shift. A supervisor oversees both shifts and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the school building.
The custodians and maintenance staff is dedicated to providing a safe, clean and healthy environment for students to learn in.  From cleaning to setting up for events, maintaining equipment, or just lending a helping hand our staff is always ready to assist the students and staff at NPS.

What we do:
Over the summer our staff was busy cleaning and preparing all the classrooms for the start of school. Each classroom is cleaned from top to bottom, the furniture is removed, the floors are stripped and a new finish is applied. In addition to cleaning, maintenance was performed on all the mechanical equipment through out the school. Our staff also assembled new desks and chairs for the entire 2nd grade. New tables and chairs were put together for the computer lab. We added a fresh coat of paint to numerous classrooms and hallways through out the school. Contractors were busy replacing parts of the heating system as well as installing 2 new roof top heating and air conditioning systems. The faculty room was also outfitted with a new air conditioning unit. New science cabinets, tables and stools replaced the old furnishings in the 5th and 6th grade science room. This gave the science room a more modern look and a better hands-on experience for the students. Over all it was a busy and productive summer.   

Business Administration Department:

Norwood has its Sustainable New Jersey Certification and is one of only a handful of schools in Bergen County with that certification.  This Certification means that we are committed to conserving valuable resources and protecting the environment and we will continue to participate in projects to support this initiative.  

Eli Levenshus has built and stained the deck in Cricket Court for his Eagle Project.  The Norwood Board of Education thanks him for this project.
District Technology
  Norwood Public School Technology Department:

Network Administrator
In addition from day to day issues with the computers, the Network Administrator is also responsible for maintaining the phone system, security cameras, door access system, servers, lightning detection system, website, and PARCC technical support during testing.
Over the summer, most of the classrooms had new, state of the art projectors installed.  New furniture was purchased for the computer lab and it was redesigned and rewired. We were also fortunate enough to replace four laptop carts with new computers for student use as well as replacing the desktop computers in each classroom. Two new SMARTBoards were installed as well as three printers.
In the upcoming months, we are projecting to install software updates and prepare the laptops for the upcoming PARCC testing.

Technology Teacher
Students in the middle school are exploring different options to learn concepts in Technology through cycle classes that are being offered at Norwood Public school.  The students will work in the following areas:
  • 6th Grade - Robotics.  The students use computers to program their Lego Mindstorm Ev3 robots to complete a number of different tasks.  We use the “Robotics Academy” curriculum created by Carnegie Mellon University.  In the Robotics Academy, students learn concepts important to computer programming, problem solving and team building.  The curriculum uses “real life” robots as examples in their lessons.  The students learn the concepts that allow robots to complete their assigned tasks and are challenged to program their robots to complete a simulation of the “Real life” robot’s job.
  • 7th Grade - Coding.  Students in the 7th grade will be using the program language Scratch to learn some of the basic concepts behind computer programming.  We will use CS First, a curriculum developed by Google to teach Computer Science to students across the globe.  Students will be challenged to create a number of different types of computer programs throughout the quarter.
  • 8th Grade - Digital Media Production.  The 8th grade this year is taking over the responsibility of producing the Norwood Network News in their digital Media Production Class.  The students will gain an understanding of what it takes to produce a television show as they work in teams to record, edit and publish the morning announcements for the Norwood Public School community.