AchieveNJ Update, Intro to Budget Season and more…

Dear HTS Community:

This year, for the first time ever, teachers in New Jersey, working collaboratively with each other and with their principals, have developed Student Growth Objectives (SGOs). These SGOs are annual, specific and measurable goals based on growth and achievement for groups of students. Depending on the grade and/or subject they teach, teachers have developed one or two SGOs for the 2013-2014 school year; these SGOs will count for 15% of their final evaluation. Typically, the SGO will list a skill that the class will learn or develop over the course of the school year. For a better explanation, watch this short video.

Next up on our calendar of events is the beginning of our budget season. School districts in N.J. operate on a July 1-June 30 budget calendar. Although we are only halfway into our current budget, the process for crafting a budget for the 2014-2015 school year begins in earnest now. Our 2014-2015 Budget Guidelines were approved by the Board of Education earlier in the fall and they list our goals and objectives for next year’s budget. The budgeting process ends in late March when the budget is presented to the public and voted on by the Board Of Education.

Although it is very early in the process, this promises to be a difficult budget year. Rising health care costs related to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and diminished state aid are two major factors we have to manage to successfully maintain our status as one of the premier PreK-8 schools in the state.

On behalf of the Board of Education, we invite you to get involved in the process and provide us with feedback that can assist us in the development of our budget. Our priorities are to continue to maintain our current staffing configuration that provides two sections per grade plus existing co-curricular activities. Our state aid figures will not be released until after the State of the State Address (late February). Until then, we will continue to keep you abreast of developments at the local and state level.

 

Lastly, some dates to remember:

  • November 22, 25, 26 HTS Book Fair
  • November 27 Early Dismissal
  • December 4 – 8:30am – Vision Council Meeting. Come see famed HTS teachers Lisa Werner and Jen Baldassari present the Four Square Writing Method and learn how we are teaching your children to write and what strategies you can use to assist them at home.
  • December 6 – PTO Parent’s Night Out @ Glen Alpin House
  • December 7 – PTO Pancake Breakfast and Holiday Bazaar
  • December 17 – Winter Concert 7:00pm

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

 

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@chrisbosh, @iamwill, #HTS and The Hour of Code…

Dear HTS Community:

“You are trying to transfer something from your mind to the computer.” Chris Bosh

Our primary goal is to make certain every student is college and career ready when they graduate from high school. College ready is unofficially and loosely defined as the ability to enter college without needing remedial coursework prior to the start of freshman year and being able to academically succeed at the university level. Career ready, of course, is the more difficult term to define. Many of the jobs of tomorrow have not yet been created. We do know, however, that many of tomorrow’s jobs will involve technology. Research indicates that the number of computer science jobs is growing 3x faster than the number of computer science graduates. In short, if you want to increase the probability that your child will be able to serve in one of these high-paying positions, teach them to code.

During Computer Science Education Week (December 9-15), students in grades 6-8 will be participating in the Hour of Code in their Science class. A variety of age-appropriate, hour-long tutorials will be available to students to try out the basics of computer science, either in school or at home. We hope your children will continue to pursue this even after the hour has been completed. Students who complete the Extended Coding Curriculum (20 lessons) on or before January 31st will receive a super special prize from Dr. Anemone. For beginners, try using Angry Birds for your first coding activity. Other activities for more advanced students can be found here (still in beta until December).

As always, if you have any questions, please contact us at school.

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

NJ, HTS, NAEP and the PARCC…

Dear HTS Community:

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), often called the Nation’s Report Card, is given every two years and tests students in grades four, eight and twelve in all 50 states in both Math and Reading. The 2013 results have been released. As always, New Jersey’s public schools have excelled. Some highlights:

  • Fourth Grade Math – New Jersey 4th in nation
  • Fourth Grade Reading – New Jersey tied for 2nd in nation
  • Eighth Grade Math – New Jersey 2nd in nation
  • Eighth Grade Reading – New Jersey tied for 1st in nation

Lastly, in our continued efforts to transition to the PARCC, we are going to play a lightning round of, “Are You Smarter Than a Third Grader?” Please read this passage and answer these questions. For an example of a sample Grade 6 Math question, please click here. As always, thank you for supporting our efforts to become to premier PK-8 public school district in New Jersey.

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone

Parent-Teacher Conferences…

Dear HTS Community:

Although parents are encouraged to meet and communicate with their child’s teachers whenever they feel it is necessary, our official fall conferences begin later this month. On Friday, November 22nd, Monday, November 25th and Tuesday, November 26th, HTS students will be dismissed at 12:45 so parents can meet with their child’s teachers and discuss their progress for the first quarter of the school year.

Some helpful tips for parents, courtesy of the National Education Association. Have some questions ready regarding your child’s progress such as:

  • What are my child’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • Is my child working up to her ability?
  • Where could he use some improvement?
  • What can we do to support academic achievement at home?

Sincerely,

Alex Anemone