853 McBride Avenue, Woodland Park, New Jersey 07424

    Dr. Michele Pillari     
    Superintendent of Schools                                                                                                                      

    August 2023

    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 return.

    We are excited to continue the work of supporting all learners by implementing new resources that will help with differentiation and small group instruction.

    In ELA, for staff and students in grades K-5, we have purchased all new materials to support Word Study. This includes Fundations durables for students in grades K-3 and a new program called Just Words for students in grades 4 and 5. Decodable readers have been purchased in order to support the transition and application of word study into reading text for students in grades K-5. In addition, students enrolled in BSI, ESL, and LLD classes will have access to decodable readers.

    Students and teachers at Beatrice Gilmore School will have full access to a Guided Reading Library with supporting lessons to assist with moving students through reading levels. Students and teachers at Memorial Middle School will have access to Scholastic Short Reads to utilize in small group instruction as well.

    In Mathematics, we continue to dig deeper into Ready Classroom and data available through the i-Ready platform. We are looking to implement additional Professional Development in order to support instructional practice. The district has purchased supplemental resources to support intervention for BSI, LLD, and Inclusion instruction with a focus on skill based instruction.

    Students in grades 6-8 at Memorial School will be implementing new Science and Social Studies programs. Professional Development for teachers is scheduled for September 6th.

    As we finalize preparations for our students to return to school on Sept. 7th and we begin our tenth year together, I remain energized and enthusiastic about our direction. 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.

    All 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. Also, the district has purchased Atlas to house all curriculum in one platform for easy access.

    The Department of Special Education and Student Support Services has been working on a few initiatives over the summer that include expanding services for students, enhancing classroom environments, strengthening programming, and building capacity among our special education teachers and Child Study Team.

    We are proud to announce that we have expanded our CST Team by hiring an additional School Psychologist, Preschool Speech Language Pathologist, and School Social Worker in order to meet the growing needs of our students and community.

    New furniture was purchased to create flexible learning environments for all special education classrooms across the district as well as for grade 3 classrooms. This furniture will support the varying needs of the students and promote collaborative interactions while learning.

    In collaboration between the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Special Education and Student Support Services, we were able to purchase supplemental resources to support reading and math instruction as well as a universal screener and intervention program for Social Emotional Learning.

    Throughout the summer months, The Department of Special Education and Student Support Services began the work of the Developing Resiliency with Engaging Approaches to Maximize Success (DREAMS) initiative, which is a grant the district was awarded to assist with building positive school cultures through trauma informed and healing-centered training and resources, focused on the Nurtured Heart Approach.

    The Department also began the work of refining our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support across the district to streamline systems and expand teacher, administrator, and CST capacity, to strengthen intervention instruction.

    We are excited to be able to say that our Preschool Program continues to grow! Much of the summer has been spent preparing for the opening of the Early Childhood Center. This will be the first year opening a multiage preschool classroom which will be housed at Charles Olbon School.

    We proudly announce our partnership with the Passaic County Department of Health. This partnership will provide us with free screenings for our preschool students, such as lead screening, vision, screening and dental

    The technology team has been busy preparing for the opening of schools. All technology, such as computer carts, devices, SmartBoard Panels, printers, and desktops, to name a few, have been sorted through, reassembled and ready to go for the new school year. A large number of wireless access points were replaced throughout the district. In addition, Memorial School received new Chromebooks for students in grades 6 and 7 that will remain in an Always On Case in an effort to reduce damage to new machines. All students in grades K -8 will receive an upgraded set of headphones.

    ECC saw the bulk of the work done this summer. We started with an empty building and began prioritizing needs, such as running fiber to provide connectivity and running internal wiring as well as installing network switches to support technology utilization. We also installed access points for wireless connectivity. Security cameras were put in place both inside and outside of the school. Work is ongoing and will continue throughout the school year.
    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.

    In addition, a tremendous amount of work has taken pace at the ECC in order to be read for the opening of the new school year. We ae looking forward to welcoming our youngest learners to our school district.

    At BG School, Phase 1 of our Air Conditioning project has been completed.

    The parking lot at School 1 has been repaired and resurfaced. An additional vehicle gate was installed for potential future parking lot reconfiguration.

    The hallways at CO School have been freshly painted and shelving was installed in the classroom closets for grades 1 and 2. In addition, the Gym floor was resurfaced and sealed.

    The Memorial School halls were painted. Air conditioning units were installed in three classrooms and vape sensors were installed in student bathrooms. Repairs were also made to the water fountains throughout the building.

    For increased safety, all schools across the school district have updated fire alarms.

    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 eighth 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 Parent Portal will be opened and accessible on Thursday, Aug. 31st 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.