853 McBride Avenue, Woodland Park, New Jersey 07424

    Dr. Michele Pillari     
    Superintendent of Schools                                                                                                                      

    August 2021

    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. 7th, there are a few items I would like to review. It is to be noted that all students and staff are required to wear masks in the buildings. This will be enforced and maintained until the executive order states otherwise. Desks shields will be maintained on the desks/work stations. This serves as an extra level of protection for both students and staff alike. All PPE will be readily available for anyone in need as we did last school year. This includes, but is not limited to, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc. Please know that we have examined and taken into consideration the health and safetyrecommendations/guidance provided to us by the NJDOE for a safe reopening. I will continue to keep you informed with updates and/or changes as the school year progresses.
    As we begin our eighth 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.
    In maintaining our mission to grow academic excellence, we are 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 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 math, we are in year two of implementing Ready Classroom and i-Ready. 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. The purpose of our math program is 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. This summer, time was spent developing a more comprehensive, advanced curriculum for 7th and 8th grade Pre-Algebra. 
    In the area of ELA, we will continue to implement the work of the NJTSS Early Reading Grant. The focus remains on a tiered system of supports for all grade levels. Data analysis and progress monitoring allows us to target and accelerate instruction. Curriculum revisions remain ongoing. We will begin working on the creation of integrated units of study with an emphasis on the updated Social Studies Standards.
    We will continue to use RAZ Kids, NEWSELA, Maxscholar and Sadlier Oxford Vocabulary and Grammar in order to support ELA instruction. 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. In addition, Grades 4-8 will be implementing i-Ready. This is a new resource which will provide all stakeholders access to instant reports in order to assist in closing learning gaps and advance student achievement.
    Additionally, the curriculum department will be working with special area teachers in order to rewrite all curriculum based on the newly released NJSLS.
    The technology department continues to support our utilization of one-to-one technology across the school district. This school year, Preschool and Kindergarten will be provided iPads to enhance teaching and learning. A total of approximately 280 iPads will be added to the existing inventory of devices. In addition, a new management system was put in place to manage the IOS operating system.
    Fourth grade will receive new Chromebooks which are individually assigned for the student’s entire schooling career in WP through grade 8. All devices for students in grades 4-8 have been assigned, and have a case and charger to accompany it. Laptop carts have been reassembled for students in grades 1-3 and placed in teachers’
    classrooms. In addition to the carts, homeroom teachers were given cases and extra charges so that devices can be sent home with these students as needed to support the one-to-one initiative for at-home learning.
    A new inventory system was put in place to keep track of devices assigned to individuals in the district. The District Website was redesigned and looks fantastic! 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.
    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!
    Our custodial team has 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 as noted in this letter. Please join me in thanking these individuals for helping to keep our facilities safe.
    At CO School, the room designated for speech instruction has been restructured and additional air conditioners were added to three classrooms in order to better meet the needs of the students.
    The outside picnic areas at CO and Memorial Schools have been upgraded to ensure the area is safe for use during outside learning opportunities. Also, all outside storage bins have been repaired and newly painted. Our school district WP Logo will be featured on these bins.

    At School 1, new flooring has been installed in the classrooms and additional upgrades were completed in order to accommodate the growing number of preschool age students entering the school district.
    For the safety and security of all staff and students, lighting has been updated throughout the school district. A districtwide maintenance helpdesk system, School Dude, has been installed and is up and running. The purpose of this system is to streamline requests for repairs and maintenance as well as provide a system of checks and
    balances for work completion and tracking.
    In addition, the gym floors in CO and BG Schools have been sanded and polyurethaned.
    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! Our school district continues to demonstrate success 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.

    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.