A Star School in the Paterson Diocese is a school identified as being on the “cutting edge.” It promotes high student achievement and has an identifiable specialization which addresses the educational services and needs of students. The faculty is engaged in professional development; there is administrative and fiscal efficiency demonstrated in the educational program. Outstanding performance is measured in terms of student results and school accomplishments and there are collaborative efforts with parents, parish and community.
Saint Joseph Regional Elementary School in Newton, New Jersey has been awarded the accolade, “Star School” by the Diocese of Paterson. Faculty and administration identified their specialization as efforts put forward to enhance Mathematics and Science curriculum and instruction. This effort involves the students in K-8, the faculty, administration, parents, and community at-large.
In order to achieve their desired goals, the school partnered with New Jersey Statewide Systemic Initiative (NJSSI) resulting in resources for professional development opportunities, innovative teaching resources and a $5,000 grant.
The school’s objectives were identified: to create Science and Math Lab/Classrooms, to use hand-on activities, to create smaller classroom enrollments, to improve analytical skills, and to improve both student and teacher motivations for life-long learning.
The school provided evidence of moving forward with these objectives. The lab is in full operation, using specialized science kits and advanced math instruction methods. The lab reinforces classroom instruction and is taught by a full-time science teacher with the assistance of an aide. Math instruction is based on several Connected Math modules. Five classroom teachers have attended a 60-hour course for Excellence in Math, Science, and Technology.
The administrator of this school facilitates and encourages the professional staff to attend professional development classes and workshops. They are all on the “cutting edge” of instruction in these areas and in partnership with NJSSI.
The success of these curriculum enhancements is evidenced in both success in competitions and honor programs as well as in the excellent results attained on the standardized Terra Nova testing. The school also provided evidence of the collaboration that exists between administration, faculty, students, and parents. In their own words, “All of these activities provide our school family with an opportunity to participate with the community at-large, sharing our knowledge and continual love of learning.”