Full-day kindergarten a collaborative effort in Woodbridge


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WOODBRIDGE — It was a monumental accomplishment when some 1,000 youngsters began their education as full-time kindergarten students earlier this month.

That result was the first for the Woodbridge school district.

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In March 2017, voters overwhelmingly approved a $57.7 million bond referendum, which moved forward construction of a new elementary school, renovation of a middle school, the implementation of full-day kindergarten and district-wide technology/security upgrades.

“It was made possible by our sublease with the township for Oak Tree Road Elementary School No. 29,” Schools Superintendent Robert Zega said. “Students from Kennedy Park Elementary School No. 24 moved down the street to School No. 29 over the summer. School No. 24 is now our overflow kindergarten school as well as home to some of our special programs. This move provided the classroom space throughout our other 15 elementary schools to house more kindergarten classes.”

The referendum included $8 million in funding to lease and renovate the former St Cecelia’s School in Iselin, which accommodated the move of students at Kennedy Park Elementary into Oak Tree Road Elementary.

“As you can imagine, this initiative took a great deal of planning, coordination and cooperation,” Zega said. “We are grateful for everyone – our administrators, our teachers and staff, and our students and parents – who helped us in this endeavor. We are also thankful for our Woodbridge Township Board of Education, Town Council, and Mayor John McCormac for their dedication to the students and parents of Woodbridge Township.”

School No. 24 will be used for full-day kindergarten and special programs.

The 85,000-square-foot Oak Tree Road School has 19 elementary classrooms designed to support collaborative teaching and learning. The desks can be arranged in traditional style when necessary or can be placed together so students can interact and share in small groups.

State-of-the-art information technology upgrades have been installed throughout the building. Four new ADA-designed kindergarten classrooms, three small group instruction classrooms and instructional spaces, art room and vocal music room, a multi-purpose gymnasium with new bleachers and a fully-renovated cafeteria with warming kitchen complement the educational experience. Additionally, the new design includes administrative offices, teacher workrooms and parent/teacher conference rooms.

Township and school officials celebrated the opening of Oak Tree Road School, the first renovated Woodbridge Township School District building to open in nearly 50 years, with a ribbon cutting on Sept. 7 and welcomed 520 first through fifth grade students.

McCormac said officials are proud to work together to make the township schools “the best they can be, not only in appearance, but in the quality of education received by each and every student.”

Zega said the district’s goal is “to empower students who are life-long learners starting in an environment that fits their learning style.”

“By providing an environment that is engaging, interactive and new, our teachers can play to the strengths of students’ learning style,” he said.

Contact Kathy Chang at kchang@newspapermediagroup.com.

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