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WOODBROOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
A walk through the hallways of Woodbrook Elementary School reveals the wonderful sights and sounds of our children and staff at work. Student work is proudly displayed beside a growing number of magnificent murals both on the interior and exterior of our facility.
Student choice and an inquiry based culture is a growing entity as we provide time for children to determine their own learning goals and create their own pathways to meet those goals. From kindergarten through the fifth grade, students research their own wonderings in order to fulfill their natural curiosity or to expand on the curriculum.
Social learning is a top priority at Woodbrook. Students build collaboration and communication skills through varied groupings and activities in all disciplines. They test their hypothesis using their Little Bits kits, disagree about mathematical solutions, and reach consensus regarding the best artistic representation of their group topic. Whether using digital technology, traditional manipulatives, or pencil and paper, students brainstorm, create, persuade, and take learning risks with their peers as their teachers coach into both the content knowledge and the 4C’s of 21st Century Skills (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking).
Our learning environment allows our young scientists to experience and enjoy authentic hands-on activities throughout the year. Students determine mystery powders based on a series of tests, create fossils, observe the best environment for the plant’s life cycle based on a control and variables, and re-create the sun and moon’s rotations. With our many digital resources, students may participate in virtual labs and virtual field trips to discover the world around them as well. Finally, they utilize the engineering design process to define problems, design solutions, and then redesign them after receiving feedback. Our 4th Grade Student Tech Squad members lead the learning as they turnkey how to use 3D printers to students (and teachers) throughout the school. Students enjoy learning how to use CAD software to create models, logos and prototypes on our 3D printers, taking their ideas from conception to reality. We have begun a coding/robotics pilot through a grant awarded to our Assistant Principal, Mr. Narvaez allowing students to have hands on experience with real world applications of coding. Their creativity and persistence is amazing!
Mathematical discourse and the habits of discussion are at the heart of our math classes. Children share their discoveries and build a deep understanding of the concepts behind the algorithms at Woodbrook. Children problem solve in math with counters, calculators, longs, flats, cubes and money during mathematics. Teachers provide students with options for enrichment through extension projects and activities including real life mathematical applications such as coding and economics.
All students in grades 2-5 have access to the curriculum online at home and school through their personal chromebooks. Chromebooks are utilized as needed and often allow students to work in small groups or partnerships by contributing to group work on a live document. Parents are able to follow their children’s assignments and progress by logging onto their children’s Google accounts/Google Classroom, and Genesis for overall grading and progress monitoring. Journeys, Investigations, our pilot Exact Path, Discovery Education, RazKids, Lexia, Study Island, SplashMath and Reading A-Z are among the many interactive online programs or digital resources available which support our children in school and at home.
Our youngest learners in kindergarten and first grade each have their own individual iPads, however, you will mostly notice the children coaching one another as they discuss the answers before making a team decision or taking turns as they work with their partners to create their own stories or pages to show off particular text features. Information is shared digitally amongst teachers, students, and parents via SeeSaw.
The interactive Promethean boards found in every kindergarten through fifth grade classroom are highly motivating for students as they listen and learn from streaming videos on the internet or chorally read a story from our anthology. Students enjoy receiving immediate feedback as they choose their final answers for electronic quizzes. An iPad squad of upper grade students support the import of apps and troubleshoot the operation of the iPads in order to build responsibility and capacity within our community. While all students visit our beautiful library, we also utilize a virtual library system in which our children request books through our extensive on line catalog. Books are promptly delivered with the help of our library aide and our library squad.
Assessments provide proof that our goals and beliefs concerning education are sound ones. Students are assessed formally in grades 3-5 with the PARCC, curriculum based assessments and district benchmarks. Students in grades K-5 are assessed on an ongoing basis through the district's assessments in order to monitor progress and modify instruction to meet students' needs. Response to Intervention allows us to follow individual students’ achievement trajectories closely in order to make instructional decisions. We host a morning literacy program for selected students twice per week in order to support their academic growth as well.
Attention is given to the relationship between our school, our students and their families. Many programs have been initiated to support our curriculum and to address the needs of our diverse population. The annual Science/Invention Fair, International Expo Night, the Woodbrook’s Got Talent Show, Annual Family Picnic Lunch, and the Spring Concert are examples of family programs. We support our parents with curriculum and our digital programs through hands on informational sessions during the year.
Our math club for Grades 3-5 is run exclusively by parents as coaches and coordinators. Students work together to solve challenging math problems on Wednesday nights with their peers. The math club has earned recognition for high achievement in a series of global math club competitions over the past three years.
In an effort to provide more opportunities for our children to learn from one another and from experts, we offer a variety of clubs through our PTA and through our district’s Co-Curricular program. After/before school clubs currently include Student Council, Public Speaking, Computer Coding, Mad Science, Drama, Soccer, Honors Chorus, Golf, Newspaper, Odyssey of the Mind, Band and Yoga. During the day fifth grade students take on the role of Safety Patrols ensuring safe arrival and dismissal for all walkers, car and bus riders. Safety Patrols are selected based on evidence of responsibility, maturity and citizenship. Student ambassadors support new students by taking them on personal tours of the school in order to ease their transition.
Through an active Student Council, PTA and dedicated staff, special events enhance the curriculum. These events not only highlight current or historical events, but also instill in our students a sense of family, pride and school spirit. Staff members volunteer to facilitate after-school activities which support our program and encourage socialization.
We continue to reach out to our community. Our Student Council, CARE Committee and individual teachers and students hold collections throughout the year in an effort to instill a sense of community and philanthropy. Student Council collects and donates to UNICEF during October and student decorated turkeys adorn our hallways during our food collection in the fall for a Middlesex Food Pantry. The CARE Committee declares a Penny War to raise money for local Edison families in need during the fall as well. In December our students and families send in presents for children who will be spending the holidays at JFK hospital through the Kids Caring for Kids toy drive. We participate in St. Judes Mathathon, JumpRope for Heart, Walk for the Cure and St. Baldrick’s Fundraisers. Our very active PTA sponsors assemblies, subsidizes field trips and provides many wonderful extras for our students ranging from additional technology to books.
Our school is a collaborative member of New Jersey's School Wide Positive Behavior Support model. Students, parents and staff members conducted school wide self-assessments of targeted areas for improvement. They designed and implemented effective school and class wide interventions and environments that encourage pro-social behaviors. Students are recognized for positive behaviors daily and are afforded incentives on a monthly and quarterly basis. Woodbrook has been recognized by the NJ DOE for its longstanding, successful implementation of PBSIS.
As always our main goal at Woodbrook School is to ensure that all children are challenged to do their very best in a nurturing environment where every child feels valued and respected.
It is my honor to serve as the Principal of Woodbrook Elementary School.
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