Joyce Kilmer School receives grant to transform school climate


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Joyce Kilmer School has been accepted into the second cohort of schools that will a be part of a three-year School Climate Transformation Project.

The project is sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs and the Office of Student Support Services in collaboration with The Center for Applied Psychology at Rutgers University. It is funded by federal funds through IDEA, Part B from which the Milltown school will be awarded a $2,000 grant to carry out its effort.

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The project includes the collection and analysis of data provided by the students, staff and parents of Joyce Kilmer School that will analyze current trends and perspectives with the idea of targeting specific school climate areas that may be in need of refinement or improvement, according to information provided by the school district. That data will then be used to develop focused plans of action to address the areas of need.

Responsive Classroom approach is a way of teaching endorsed by Dr. Maurice Elias at Rutgers University and the NJ School Boards Association that emphasizes social, emotional and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. The research-based model uses a morning meeting and daily announcements, along with interactive modeling, specific teacher language, logical consequences, and interactive learning structures to maximize student’s potential to succeed in school and in life, according to the statement.

At a recent Board of Education meeting, Dr. Stephanie Brown, superintendent of schools, said that intensive teacher training is in place throughout the year, which includes a series of monthly coaching sessions by the district’s Responsive Classroom teacher leader, Jaclyn Citro, as well as in-service sessions, professional learning community action planning and off-site workshops. The Board of Education viewed a video of a Morning Meeting and shared their enthusiasm for the value of the initiative.


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