Jersey Shore schools — where curriculum and programs grow
By LAURA JAMESON
JERSEY SHORE — Jersey Shore Area School District is continuing its expansion of various projects and curriculum to foster a love of education and compassion toward others.
All three elementary schools — Jersey Shore, Avis and Salladasburg — are continuing to build on their science curriculums.
At Avis Elementary School, Alison Confer’s fourth grade class has been studying various ecosystems where they’ve learned the differences between abiotic and biotic factors. Abiotic factors are non-living things and biotic factors are living things.
Students chose an ecosystem to study and identified the abiotic and biotic factors.
The class then researched how the factors interacted with each other in their specific ecosystem. The class created dioramas of their ecosystems with the help of their parents and presented the information to their classmates.
At Salladasburg Elementary School, Beth Gill’s and Karen Kinley’s second grade classes took a virtual field trip with Discovery Education.
The classes participated in a live feed from Manitoba, Canada where scientists took questions from the students about polar bears and the tundra habitat. The class was even given the chance to send questions to the scientists through Twitter.
The virtual field trip coincided with the information writings and dioramas the students worked on in class.
At Jersey Shore Elementary School various programs are being implemented in the curriculum to focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math).
Through two $500 Exxon Mobil grants, the PTO, support from the district and donations for paint and supplies from Sherwin Williams and STEAM Committee was able to revamp an old computer lab and create a STEAMlab.
The lab is a gathering spot for resources and materials that foster a hands-on approach to learning the five main areas that make up STEAM.
Although only Jersey Shore Elementary students and teachers have access to the lab, the district’s technology department is working to give both Avis and Salladasburg access to the materials.
The district’s librarian, Katie Wert, has also been a key part in expanding access to the lab.
“The community can celebrate that we are encouraging a learning environment that allows students to “tinker” by providing materials that engage students in hands-on activities that teach 21st century skills,” said Jennifer Berry-Propst, JSE principal, said.
Jersey Shore Middle School is continuing to expand its Come Alive program in the 2019-2020 school year.
Teachers and staff encourage students to discover what they are passionate about and find ways to connect it to their education. They can accomplish this through passion projects, personalized learning time (PLT), Innovative Fridays and during the school’s new Come Alive period.
Come Alive time is everyday either before or after lunch. During this time, teachers and staff focus on building relationships, discussing current worldly events or addressing pressing topics within the buildings.
At times it means taking a walk outside or enjoying a competitive game of kickball. The district’s PTO provided a lot of small games for indoor use.
Other sessions are spent breaking down current events, receiving presentations on safety or working through the Second Step Program.
The Second Step Program is also new this year and is a social emotional learning curriculum. Every other Thursday students gather with small groups of their grade-level peers to discuss the importance of building and maintaining healthy relationship.
The Come Alive period came from student feedback. Students said they feel challenged to “Come Alive” but didn’t believe there was time in the day to truly embrace it.
The middle school also made changes to its Innovative Fridays which has been operating very strongly for several years.
Instead of one monthly insentive for everyone to participate in, the school has instead given students the choice to sign up for different activities throughout the building.
The activities in the past have been selected by teachers as they shared opportunities they were passionate about such as basketball clinics, dancing, yoga, art and a couch to 5k program.
In the second semester, students have been able to offer their own passions to share with their peers.
Personalized Learning Time is also being utilized each morning by students to set goals for the week and check their progress each day.
Jersey Shore Senior High School is continuing to promote and develop 21st Century Skills through elements of positive and healthy communities.
The school’s theme for 2019-2020 is “Building Characters through Compassion.”
Building character is directly tied to the school’s School-Wide Positive Behavior program which promotes education and cultural support. Their school wide mantra is SHORE (Safety, Honesty, Ownership, Respect, Enthusiasm).
The school fosters these ideals through various programs and curriculum including:
— Building character through Compassion Action Quotes, daily inspirational quotes that are read during the morning announcements that connect to these values.
— A Good Vibes wall that showcases shout outs to faculty, staff and students who are doing positive things.
— Continuing to bolster school-wide positive behavior through various clubs such as Key Club who started the school year with positive messages from the students, staff and faculty and the Renaissance Club that lead various activities throughout the year.
— FBLA’s #weSHOREcare project which exceeded expectations for the second year in a row and helped provide over 1,000 holiday food boxes for families in need for The New Love Center.
— The Key Club, CTE Building Maintenance Program and kindergarten classes have partnered to create Open Library boxes that look like bird houses.
— The Youth Development Task Force and Key Club plan to host a United Way Youth Volleyball Tournament this year.
— The school has donated 31 units of blood through the Red Cross Club’s coordination with the American Red Cross. The units can potentially help 93 people.
In the future the school plans to give students access to the CAT Simulator in the Building Maintenance Program due to a multi-year grant from the Jersey Shore Education Foundation.
Maintenance Engineering will also begin a pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship with local industry and regional career and technical schools.