853 McBride Avenue, Woodland Park, New Jersey 07424

    Dr. Michele Pillari     
    Superintendent of Schools                                                                                                                      

    August 2022

    Dear Woodland Park Families,

    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 for full-day, on-site instruction.

    As we finalize preparations for our students to return to school on Sept. 6th, there are a few items I would like to review. As you know, masks and desk shields are no longer required for schools. However, we will maintain access to all PPE for anyone interested in using it as we did last school year. This includes, masks, gloves, face shields, gowns, hand sanitizer, etc. In addition, contact tracing for all and weekly testing for non-vaccinated staff is no longer required. Please know that we continue to take into consideration the health and safety recommendations/guidance provided to us by the NJDOE for a safe reopening when preparing for the first day of school. As always, I will continue to keep you informed with updates and/or changes as the school year progresses.

    We will resume assemblies, in-person evening events, field trips, etc. as we return to a more traditional school year!

    As we begin our ninth year together, I 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. Our recent designation as a “high performing school district” is a true testament of our hard work, dedication and commitment to the children in our community.

    As we return to the school buildings, we continue to build upon and grow all academic programming while at the same time, remaining committed to working towards refining what is already in place. This includes our partnership with Discovery Education for students in grades K-5 and Amplify for students in grades 6-8 in order to continue to effectively support science instruction. Both programs support teaching of the Next Generation Science Standards and take an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning.

    In addition, time was spent this summer revising curricula in the areas of Physical Education and Health, World Language, Social Studies and Visual and Performing Arts.

    In math, we are in year three of implementing Ready Classroom and i-Ready. We are committed to using the comprehensive data made available through the i-Ready platform to provide families and students with real-time data in order to inform instructional decisions and enable powerful conversations between the student and teacher in order to drive student learning. In addition, the information collected will be used to strengthen instructional practice in turn supporting the increase of student achievement. We are reminded that these resources are designed to assist all stakeholders, families, students and teachers alike, to better understand the areas in which individual students need assistance and support.

    In the area of ELA, we are now in Year 4 of the NJTSS Early Literacy Grant. The purpose of this grant is to support the implementation of a tiered system of supports for all grade levels. Data analysis and progress monitoring allows us to target and accelerate instruction. This year’s focus is progress monitoring. ELA will continue to implement the Readers and Writers Workshop model. Students in grades K-3 will maintain the use of Fundations, while students in grades 4 and 5 will utilize Words Their Way for Word Study. DIBELS 8th and Running Records will be used as benchmarks for all students in grades K-8.

    Supplemental resources such as RAZ Kids, NEWSELA, Flocabulary, Starfall, Generation Genius, I-Xl and BrainPop have been renewed for the upcoming year to support instruction.

    Please join me in thanking our technology team for working on this during the summer months for a successful implementation in September.

    Our custodial team have been working tirelessly this summer in order to get the buildings and grounds ready for the opening of school. In addition to all of the regular cleaning and routine maintenance which takes place during the summer months, the team was able to complete many enhancement projects, painting districtwide and the installation of new boilers at every building.

    For increased security measures, alarms will be installed on all exterior doors districtwide and fencing was installed surrounding the parking lot at BG. In addition, exterior doors have been replaced at CO School. Safety door locks were installed at School 1. Also, any visitors to the buildings will be required to provide a photo id and sign in using a digital registration system.

    At School 1, additional storage in classroom closets was installed for teacher use. Also, modifications to the staff bathroom were completed. The preschool playground has finally been installed at School 1 after much delay due to production and manufacturing issues happening in our world today.

    Bottle filling stations were installed at BG and Memorial Schools.

    At Beatrice Gilmore School, the gymnasium had electrical upgrades and an additional cafeteria table installed. In addition, three new air conditioners have been installed to accommodate students in need.

    The Guidance Office at Memorial School has been refurbished and a wellness area for students has been established. The Gym Door divider has been upgraded and brought up to safety standards as required. The faculty room has been reconstructed!

    These are only some of the many things that have been happening here in the schools this summer. As you can see, we have been quite busy! As we begin our ninth year together, 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 recent designation as a “high performing school district” is a true testament of our hard work, dedication and commitment to our families and love of our life’s work as educators. Our team continues to grow because we remain focused on accomplishing our mission:

    “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.
    Please make sure you read the principal’s message located in the Principal’s Corner Tab on each school webpage for specific information relative to arrival and dismissal procedures and important information regarding school opening. The portal will be opened and accessible on Monday, Aug. 29th for families to access final student schedules. In addition, please make sure you regularly check all social media for the most current and updated happenings throughout the school district.

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

    Your Partner in Education,
    Michele R. Pillari, Ed.D.