Oradell School Board Advances Facilities and Curriculum Revamps, Introduces New Safety Measures

In a spirited recent meeting, the Oradell School Board, led by Superintendent Megan N. Bozios, detailed a series of advancements in the district from facility improvements to dynamic curriculum revamps, all under the mission to foster “curiosity, courage, and character” in students. Key projects highlighted include infrastructural improvements with a focus on safety enhancements and a vigorous approach to equipping teachers with modern resources for student development.

The board members began with a review of an active summer season where they launched several facilities updates to enhance safety and learning experiences for students. Improvements ranged from the renovation of the gym floor to visual impairment strips in stairwells, and the installation of bottle fillers and paver patios in strategic locations. New radio communication systems and signage were also introduced to bolster safety, with Superintendent Bozios emphasizing that even “small projects sometimes make a huge difference,” reflecting the feedback from families and teachers.

As students eagerly engage with the newly installed STEAM lab, awaiting them are innovative educational tools like Lego robotics kits and an interactive “life-sized light bright” and marble run to foster hands-on learning experiences. These forward-leaning developments have not only given a fresh aesthetic touch but more critically, heightened the safety measures in the schools.

Aligning with the improvements, the curriculum is undergoing an overhaul based on extensive feedback from teachers. Noteworthy are the initiatives to embed media literacy and STEAM into a variety of subjects, a collaboration with River Edge for a sixth-grade digital photography unit, and a more robust integration of dance in the music curriculum.

In a stride for early learning, the district has joined forces with the Early Learning Network Improvement Community, pairing with Vermont districts for a paid professional development program aimed at utilizing data for instructional improvements. An upcoming pilot program is set to introduce the digital device Orcam, designed to read texts in various languages and gather fluency data, a development met with cautious optimism by Superintendent Bozios.

Highlighting their efforts to enhance home-school partnerships, a streamlined Google Calendar has been introduced on the district’s homepage, and a refresh of the website is underway. The newly introduced communication platform “Remind” is expected to nurture creativity and student engagement while providing the administrative team oversight over communications.

In a bid to personalize learning experiences, the board announced collaborations with IDE for in-person professional development and introduced a tool named “Launchpad” by DreamBox to assess students’ learning needs swiftly. These initiatives come with a committed focus on addressing diverse learning styles and encouraging creativity in the classroom.

The meeting also saw in-depth discussions on staffing, with key focus on the appointment of Mrs. Gleason to a tenure track following a first-grade teacher’s resignation, a decision justified based on her substantial experience and history with the school. Regrettably, a valued teacher resigned due to an unsustainable commute, a loss deeply felt by the board.

Looking to the future, the board identified two significant directives: initiating a climate and culture survey and reevaluating the committee structure. Plans are also in motion to re-establish a safety committee to work closely with the police chief, merging aesthetics with safety in a bid to prioritize district necessities.

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