853 McBride Avenue, Woodland Park, New Jersey 07424

    Telephone:  973-317-7710          Fax:  973-317-7713

    August 2016

    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!     

    I would also like to thank Mr. Wittig and the custodial team for working so diligently in getting the buildings sparkling clean for the opening of school. Their hard work is clearly evident when we walk the bright hallways of our schools! This is essential for effective teaching and learning; it is important that students have an environment that is comfortable, welcoming, safe and secure. 

    We continue to make great strides in curriculum development. Our English Language Arts Curriculum has been completely rewritten. In order to support the successful implementation of this new curriculum, resources have been adopted and purchased. Fundations will be implemented in grades K & 1. 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 be utilized as the primary resource in grades K-5. In grades 6-8, a team of teachers worked with our Language Arts consultant to develop Units of Study in both reading and writing. Independent resources have been purchased to support the work. Vocabulary and grammar books have been purchased for students in grades 3-8 in order to support language development and writing conventions. In addition, the middle school science curriculum was rewritten to align with the Next Generation Science Standards. We have also adopted and purchased new resources to support this work.

    In order to provide a continuum of services for our special education students, we are excited to announce that a class for our students with Behavioral Disabilities will be opening in September. This class will be housed at Beatrice Gilmore School. We are also proud to announce that our Middle Grades Growing Minds Class will be moved to Memorial School. 

    In the area of technology, we continue to increase the number of laptops and carts available for student use throughout the school district. Students in grade 4 at Beatrice Gilmore School will now have a 1:1 technology opportunity. We are very excited to embark on this initiative! 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. 

    This summer, our annual summer cleaning at each of the buildings has been completed. This includes cleaning and waxing of classroom and hallway floors, cleaning inside and outside of all windows, cleaning of all classroom furniture, landscaping on all building properties, and the cleaning of all boilers in preparation for the winter months. At Beatrice Gilmore School, the library has been completely renovated creating a workspace conducive for 21st century learning. In order to better regulate the heat in the gym at Memorial School, a new air handler has been installed. Both Memorial School and Charles Olbon School received security upgrades this summer with the installment of cameras and security locks at the main entrance of the buildings. Charles Olbon School has also received many building upgrades. This includes a new fence area at the front on the building. This decorative fence was installed in an effort to protect the new grass which has been grown this past spring. An extensive amount of painting has also been completed including hallways, classrooms and bathrooms. A new building-wide intercom has been installed at Charles Olbon School. 

    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