By Cheryl Conway
Lazy days of summer at the Jersey shore with her family have set like the sun for Superintendent of Schools Carol Grossi who is full steam ahead into her tenth year heading the two local high schools: Hanover Park High School and Whippany Park High School.
“I am looking forward to another successful school year!” says Grossi of Bergen County, pointing out that both schools were recognized as one of the Top 100 High Schools by “New Jersey Monthly.”
This year may even be that much better with more programs planned.
“I enjoy introducing new and relevant academic; extra/co-curricular, fine/practical arts; STEM/STEAM and athletic programs to our students and staff that support 21st Century learning,” says Grossi. “We offer a variety of activities, courses and programs that appeal to our students’ interests.”
Among the new offerings, science, technology, engineering and math are being enhanced.
“This year we are offering a STEM/STEAM program at both high schools,” says Grossi. “We opened two STEM/STEAM labs, one at each school; introduced a new senior English elective program; introduced the AP Capstone Program; added an 18-21 year old Special Education Life Skills program; and, continue to evaluate and upgrade our school security.”
With about 1,500 students under her realm, Grossi looks forward to year number ten with some goals in mind.
“I am honored to work with three communities that are caring and supportive of our schools’ programs, staff and students,” says Grossi. “We have been honored with being named a National School District of Character by the Character Education Partnership of Washington D.C. for the second time and recognized as A No Place for Hate by the Anti-Defamation League for the fourth consecutive year with Gold Status for the third consecutive year. Our students and staff are caring individuals who are always willing to help others in need; very involved in service learning and community service which support our character education initiatives.”
She says the district’s “biggest challenge is working within budget constraints while still offering our students a thorough and efficient education.”
The goals this year are to: “Create a safe and secure learning environment by promoting social and emotional learning to enhance the building of a positive school climate and the healthy development of our students.
“Create a culture for character education so that students will develop into responsible, trustworthy, fair, caring and involved citizens.
“Evaluate the academic program of study in an effort to provide courses and programs that promote relevancy, real world application, and challenges for all students to attain high academic growth.”
A fourth goal is to “enhance articulation with the sending districts to align programming and academic expectations.”
New and Continuing Programs at Hanover Park Regional High School District for the 2018-2019 school year:
AP Capstone Program: The College Board’s AP Capstone Program is an innovative college-level program based on two courses – AP Seminar and AP Research – that complement and enhance discipline-specific AP courses. The program provides students with an opportunity to engage in challenging scholarly practice of the core academic skills necessary for successful collect completion. The ability to think independently, write effectively, research, collaborate, and learn across disciplines is essential for success in college, career, and beyond. Students who earn scores of three or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing will receive the AP Capstone Diploma. This signifies their outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills. Students who earn scores of three or higher in both AP Seminar and AP Research but not on four additional AP Exams will receive the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.
Technology Education: Technology Education is the means by which students are taught the Technology and Engineering components of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Effective Technology Education combines knowledge of content, processes and skills to provide students with a holistic approach to learning. Technology Education offers students unique opportunities to apply numerous academic concepts through practical minds-on/hands-on applications giving these academic concepts relevance. The program is getting introduced for the 2018-19 school year and includes two courses:
Introduction to Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD): This semester course is especially valuable for students who are interested in pursuing a career in the areas of Interior Design, Art, Architecture, and all forms of Engineering, Construction, Manufacturing or Machine Trades. The coursework is designed to develop students’ knowledge, understanding, and skills related to each individual’s ability and career goal(s) or vocational interests. Topics of instruction and activity will include sketching, lettering, measurement, scale drawing, orthographic and isometric drawings, section views, and drafting constructions. Pencil and paper techniques will be introduced prior to introduction of computer-aided drafting. Students will be using AutoCAD.
Pre-Engineering and Robotics: This semester course emphasizes the application of the design method to invent solutions to real world technological problems. Students will identify problems, perform internet research, design, and fabricate models or prototype solutions. Problem solving and design skills are taught through a variety of problem solving activities. Hands on themes for this level include, but are not limited to, structural, fluid powered and robotic systems. This course provides all students with the valuable skills such as: problem solving, design, creative thinking, systems thinking, team work, documentation, computer applications, applied math and science.
The district has partnerships with Seton Hall University and Fairleigh Dickinson University where 11 dual credit courses are offered at a minimal cost. The district also has a partnership with Rutgers University Health Science Career Program where four courses are offered for dual credit at no cost to the student. The district is offering twenty-three Advanced Placement courses for the 2018-19 school year.
A Decade Of Difference
Since coming to the district, Grossi has played a part in expanding the curriculum with new semester courses, dual credit courses, additional advanced placement courses as well as other advances such as
increased graduation credits, upgraded technology, improved building and athletic facilities, strengthened school‐to‐home communication, enhanced school security, increased test scores, strengthened special education department’s program, introduced a STEM program and many other enhanced programs and initiatives that support the district’s goals and objectives.
Grossi attended New Jersey City University where she received her undergraduate and graduate degrees. She began her career as an educator in Bogota, working at Bogota High School for 25 years, 15 years as an English teacher, two years as a guidance counselor, five years as a vice principal and three years as a principal. Before coming to the Hanover Park Regional High School District, Grossi was principal of West Essex Senior High School and Cranford High School. She was also an adjunct professor for Kean University and St. Peter’s University.
Grossi takes pride in that a referendum passed to upgrade fields and the physical education facilities. Hanover Park High School and Whippany Park High Schools each have a state of the art athletic facility inclusive of a multi‐purpose turf field, a new track and other field improvements.
Professionally, Grossi is involved with the N.J. Association of School Administrators of Morris County, N.J. School Boards Association, N.J. Association of School Administrators, N.J. Council of Education, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, N.J. Superintendents’ Study Council, the N.J. School Boards Special Education Task Force and the Morris Area Coalition for Education and Positive Choices.
Some of her accolades include: 2006 N.J. Coalition of Educational Leaders Service Award for Outstanding Service and Leadership; 2014 Woman of the Year Award from the East Hanover Italian American Club; 2015 Morris County Superintendent of the Year recognized by the Morris County Association of School Administrator.
“I am honored to serve the communities of East Hanover, Florham Park and Hanover Township as the Hanover Park Regional High School District Superintendent of Schools,” she states. “Our communities and Board of Education support our staff and students and are always willing to lend a helping hand.”
She concludes: “This year, as in the past, we will concentrate on the processes that spur continuing advancement: evaluating what we have, determining what we can do to improve, and identifying what we need to make those improvements.”