By Maryanne Cdristiano-Mistretta
The Caldwell-West Caldwell School District is gearing up for the 2016 school year, which was set to begin Thurs., Sept. 8.
With more than 2,650 students enrolled in seven school buildings – James Caldwell High School, Grover Cleveland Middle School, Jefferson Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, Washington Elementary School, Wilson Elementary School, and Harrison School – the system has so much to offer.
The schools are staffed by 230 teachers, 15 administrators, and 210 support staff, which includes secretaries, custodial/maintenance staff and part-time aides.
Some of the staffing has been re-organized to create an Instructional Coach position at each school, according to James Heinegg, superintendent of the Caldwell-West Caldwell School District. “These educators will be focusing on how to enhance both enrichment and instructional support for our students as part of an ongoing effort to address the academic needs of all learners,” Heinegg said.
The 2016-17 school year will also be the second year of the Peace Model Project (PMP) – an elementary school counseling program run in collaboration with The Bridge Inc. – a private, non-profit community agency that provides youth and family counseling in the Essex County area – and funded by a federal grant.
“We are looking forward to continuing the excellent work this program brought to our students last year,” Heinegg said. “The grant is ensuring that there is a counselor at each elementary school building, and it also provides the funding for supervision and curriculum.”
PMP seeks to enhance the overall emotional health and well-being of elementary school students by helping them develop stress-reduction, coping, and self-regulation skills; addressing bullying and harassment behaviors by improving student relationships with peers, families, and the school community; and providing appropriate services to students experiencing mental health problems.
At the middle school, the very successful iSTEM program will be expanding. The program, which was piloted in 2015-16, was an exciting, intellectual challenge for students.
Heinegg said, “Through the program, students engage with the Next Generation Science Standards through dynamic, hands-on activities and design challenges.”
The iSTEM program was supported by a grant from Steelcase Education.
At the high school level, opportunities for enrichment through an Honors Seminar program are expanding. Heinegg said, “Several teachers and administrators participated in an exciting arts-infused initiative at Princeton University over the summer, and they will be looking to implement various aspects of what they learned.”
In addition, students and staff are participating in a “One Book” project.
“One Book” community reading projects connect people to literature through reading and discussion of a common book. In this project, the book will be “Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust,” by Michael Hingson.
As part of the project, author and motivational speaker, Hingson, will be visiting the school.
There is also a Fall 2016 course catalog now available for the Caldwell-West Caldwell Center of Community & Continuing Education, which is available online as well as in a printed brochure.
For more information on the Caldwell schools, visit: https://www.cwcboe.org/.