853 McBride Avenue, Woodland Park, New Jersey 07424

    Dr. Michele Pillari                                                                                                                Email:  mpillari@wpschools.org
    Superintendent of Schools                                                                                                  Telephone: 973-317-7710


    August 2017


    Dear Parents/Guardians,                                                                                                       

    Welcome back to another exciting year!  I truly hope you were able to take some time to relax and enjoy the lazy days of summer with your family and friends.  This time each year, I take a moment to sit back and ask myself, “Where did the summer go?”  It seems to slip through my fingers faster and faster every year.  At the same time, here in our schools, we have been working tirelessly to ensure that we are ready for the students to return. 

    First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the secretarial staff for working to prepare for September.  These individuals are instrumental in ensuring that everything is in order for the first day of school.  Their dedication to our school community is beyond compare!     

    Mr. Burrows and our custodial team have been working tirelessly this summer in order to get the buildings and grounds ready for the opening of school.  Our annual summer cleaning at each of the buildings has been completed in addition to some special projects.  At CO School, new locks have been installed on the doors of the gym.  This will add to our initiative of increasing the safety and security for our students.  Also for student safety, the gym floor has been sanded and polyurethaned.  The exterior of the building continues to be a priority at CO School.  This summer, trees were removed by the parking lot, dumpster, and in the rear of building.  We are also anxiously awaiting the completion of the playgrounds! 

    Much work at BG School has also been completed.  This includes the painting and resealing of the parking lot along with repair work on the concrete walkways in front of building.  I am happy to report that acoustic panels were installed in gym in order to absorb the overwhelming echo noises in this space.  In addition, a new flag pole has been installed in front of the building.  For the safety of the students, the gym floor has been sanded and polyurethaned.  As we continue to examine creative ways to best utilize space within the building, a new guidance office was created and is ready for use. 

    Space is also limited at Memorial School, however we were able to create a new art room and is ready for use in September.  For the safety and of the students, the gym floor at Memorial School has been sanded and polyurethaned.  

    We continue to make great strides in the area of curriculum and program.  Our English Language Arts Curriculum has been edited to include more precise curriculum goals.  Fundations will continue to be implemented in grades K & 1 and will be expanded to grade 2 in September.  This program is a systematic program that focuses on critical foundational skills such as: phonemic awareness, phonics/word study, high frequency word study, reading fluency, vocabulary development, comprehension strategies, handwriting, and spelling.  Lucy Calkins’ Units of Study for Reading and Writing will remain as the primary resource in grades K-5.  We continue to remain committed to growing the individual classroom leveled libraries in order to support this work.  Vocabulary books will continue to be used with the students in grades 3-8 and grammar books will continue to be used with the students in grades 2-8 in order to support language development and writing conventions.  Handwriting continues to be an area of focus as we enter the 2017-2018 School Year.  In addition, the elementary science curriculum was rewritten to align with the Next Generation Science Standards. We have also purchased new resources to support this work.

    The district is implementing standards-based report cards for grades K-4 which will be posted on the parent portal three times throughout the course of the school year.  This revised report card better reflects the state standards for ELA and mathematics and is aligned with our revised curricula in the core content areas.  Our district committee worked tirelessly to create a report card which truly reflects daily instruction.  Rubrics have also been created which will provide the parents with more in-depth description of student performance expectations in each area. 

    We take great pride in knowing that we continue to grow programming in order to meet the need of our special education population.  This year we are opening an additional PreK Disabilities AM class at CO School. 

    The technology department has been working diligently this summer to prepare for the implementation of the 1:1 initiative in grades 2-6.  This includes the ordering of laptop cases for students in grades 5 and 6.  19 laptop carts have been built and installed in order to house the 550 new laptops we have purchased for student use.  Laptops will be ready for the students upon their return to school!  We are so excited to see this initiative come to fruition!  In addition, reimaging and regular maintenance to the computers in our district has been ongoing and continuous throughout the summer months.  Please join me in thanking our technology team for working on this during the summer months for a successful implementation in September. 


    We are in our second year of our districtwide paperless initiative.  It is imperative that our families utilize the parent portal as important information will be disseminated through the portal, such as progress reports, report cards, letters, memos, and all information pertinent to the student.  It is also essential that the schools have current email addresses and phone numbers for our families as we will be sending more and more information out through email and text message blasts.  Our district website continues to serve as a tremendous resource for all.  The website will be one of our main means of communication. Please check it frequently for important information and updates.  As a reminder, our email addresses are first initial + last name @wpschools.org.  I urge you to utilize the website to learn more about our educational programs and to stay updated on important news and upcoming events.  In the coming weeks, teachers will begin posting important class information as well as homework on their personal webpages which will be directly linked to this site.  This should act as a great resource to you at home.  Active use of the webpage is preparation for our educational community as we prepare to use less and less paper throughout the course of this school year.


    In closing, please know that I take pride in our school and community and am grateful each and every day to be here with your children.  I remain committed to and will always work with integrity to make informed decisions that are in the best interest of the students.  Our objective, as a staff, is to provide exceptional teaching and learning opportunities which take place in a caring, yet challenging academic environment.   As a school community, we realize that all students need a supportive, nurturing setting that suits their developmental needs.  As a result, we always strive to strike the balance of challenging and nurturing your children here in Woodland Park Public Schools.

    I continue to remain energized and enthusiastic about our direction.  We are moving our school district forward and it is truly amazing to be a part of the process with each and every one of you.  Our home-school educational community continues to grow because we remain focused on accomplishing our  


     “To promote educational experiences which will prepare our students to develop high levels of academic achievement, engage in a lifelong desire to learn and develop a deep respect for life and its diversity in our global society”

    If we truly believe this in our hearts, then we will achieve!

    Remember:  We are all in this together.

    Thank you for your continued support and I truly look forward to continuing to work closely with you as we embark on a new school year.   


    Yours in Education,

    Michele R. Pillari, Ed.D.

    Superintendent of Schools