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New! – Principal’s Welcome Message – IHS 2019-2020

Welcome to another tremendously exciting school year at Irvington High School, home of the BLUE KNIGHTS! Our motto for the 2019-20 school year is “The Pursuit of Excellence.” I am proud and elated to serve as the Principal of Irvington High School.  As principal, I look forward to service through an innovative school community. As a community of administrators, teachers, staff, and parents, we will continue to provide the best educational experience for our students.

Irvington High School continues to close the achievement gap and focus on academic and cultural excellence. A few examples include:

  • The Consumer Bowl Team members are the 2019 State Champions
  • Eighteen (18) students received full athletic scholarships (ranked number 1 for student athletes receiving scholarships among NJ public schools) in the past three years.
  • We are also among thirty-nine school districts out of 373 in the United States and Canada honored by the College Board with placement on the 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll. This award acknowledges the continued focus of meeting the needs of our diverse student population and providing them with rigorous, standards based instruction while recognizing students’ individual needs.
  • Our very own Irvington High School Cosmetology Academy is contributing to the growth of the billion-dollar beauty industry one senior class at a time. This rigorous Career Technical Education (CTE) training, under the guidance of a state licensed industry professional, provides students with the essential skills needed to obtain a New Jersey State Cosmetology License upon graduation in the areas of cosmetology, barbering, makeup artistry and aesthetics upon graduation. In the 2018-19 school year, a 5-week hands on barbering training program was introduced into the cosmetology curriculum.
  • Our Junior Reserve Officer Training Corp (JROTC) continues to be recognized throughout the State. The program received accolades from the governor of NJ, US Senators, and the City of Irvington. All 43 graduates of the Class of 2019 are currently attending college/universities or serving in the military. Our JROTC seniors have amassed a million dollars in scholarship monies.
  • In partnership with Pillar College, Irvington High School offers dual enrollment. This sequence of study permits students to pursue a baccalaureate or associate degree and provides a strong and comprehensive link between IHS and post-secondary educational institutions.

The above noted accomplishments are a direct result of the hard work of our outstanding students, expert and dedicated staff of caring professionals, active and involved parents, and a supportive community.

The administration, teachers, staff, students and parents of Irvington High School will continue to work as a team to maintain a “culture of learning” where every student feels safe, supported and valued in an environment of respect. We will continue to raise our goals and expectations for both the academic and career and technical programs. Some of our goals include the implementation of more efficient instructional strategies to increase student achievement. This year we will introduce a new college dual enrollment program as well as new sports programs.

As a BLUE KNIGHT Family, we will continue to find new ways to reach academic greatness as we inspire our scholars to believe in the possible.


Ogé Denis, Jr.

2019-09-11T11:40:32-04:00Categories: School IHS Blog Posts|

New! – Principal’s Welcome Message – UMS 2019-2020

“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” – Marian Wright Edelman

Welcome to University Middle School, the home of the EAGLES, where our motto is Together Everyone Achieves More (TEAM).  This year we will continue our journey of Transforming minds, Attitudes and Futures. Our school community will maintain our vision of encouraging our students to strive for academic excellence and prepare for a successful future. This vision is intertwined with building our scholars from within as we nurture their spirit and self-actualization.

The staff at University Middle School is committed to the success of all scholars. At our school, highly qualified and dedicated staff members work collaboratively to ensure that all scholars are provided with a quality educational experience, which fosters the personal, intellectual, social and emotional growth and development of each child, which in turn, will motivate student achievement; our primary focus.

University Middle School has an approximate enrollment of 750 scholars. Our school offers everyone many valuable opportunities to participate in academic and extra-curricular activities that will assist our students in becoming a more knowledgeable, skillful and confident learners in our society.  We encourage and look forward to helping students maximize their potential during their time here at University Middle School.  Our hope is that each student will have a positive, productive, and academically successful year that will lead them closer to fulfilling their future goals.

Our school has a 9-period schedule that includes Math, English Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, and Physical Education for all students. University Middle School also offers French and Spanish, an intellectually gifted program, magnet music and visual arts programs and technology classes. All of our scholars are trained to use Chromebooks as a learning tool, and all classrooms have a Smart Board, which teachers apply in daily instruction by designing interactive lessons. Our staff and scholars will continue to develop abilities to analyze complex texts, determine evidence, reason critically, and communicate thoughtfully—the must-have skills for college and career. Additional academic initiatives aimed to improving, vocabulary-building, science instruction, and cooperative learning have been incorporated to increase student engagement. Student engagement will promote academic growth by teaching our scholars to become critical thinkers and problem solvers who will be able to function successfully in the future. Our classrooms are no longer singularly focused; there is a plethora of cross-curricular activities taking place, which makes learning more engaging.

University Middle School continues to positively evolve! There are productive Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) that meet daily for collaborative Common Planning sessions. The teachers follow a weekly agenda to review student work, analyze data, create lesson plans, develop common assessments, and collaborate with content area specialists. As a result of the collaborative Common Planning sessions, it is evident that there has been an increase in cooperative groups and collaboration in the classroom. Data driven instruction has been enlightening and informative. Data PLC sessions and after school data meetings have been productive times for teachers, the data specialist, Math and ELA specialists, and building administrators to analyze and discuss student data and inform instruction.

We will continue to praise and celebrate academic excellence and positive behavior by acknowledging those scholars who work hard. The National Junior Honor Society, Honor Roll, Student of the Month, NJSLA Champions and Perfect Attendance are a few of the honors that are bestowed upon our scholars.  Our scholars have also placed in district sponsored contests such as the Martin Luther King, Jr Essay, Multicultural Essay, PRIDE Essay and the Spelling Bee. We also uplift our scholars with celebrations such as monthly assemblies, pep rallies and other exciting events. Outside excursions are planned for our scholars to broaden their life experiences to make connections with their learning experiences.

We have adopted the initiative called Restorative Practices.  Restorative practices is a social science that studies how to improve and repair relationships between people and communities.  It recognizes the importance of fostering positive, healthy school climates and helping students learn from their mistakes. We also continue to nurture the hearts of our students with the assistance of a well-rounded support staff that offers academic, as well as, socio-emotional counseling. The staff consists of guidance counselors, a social worker, and a dean. This team also works diligently with all stakeholders to serve as a community-based center providing resources to parents, as well as, opportunities for them to share in the educational process of their children. This relationship fosters open communication with parents, and help families establish home environments to support children as students, all while providing a welcoming atmosphere.

University Middle School offers a supportive environment for scholars’ academic and emotional growth. Positive behavior and character education are proven to help students acquire the knowledge, skills and positive attitudes necessary for student achievement and success in life. Our PBSIS program will continue to be the underlying force of guiding student behavior. It will instill the idea that the acquisition of positive character values promotes healthy student development.  PBSIS also supports our district wide initiative of 10 Character Traits: Respect, Responsibility, Empathy, Compassion, Attitude, Motivation, Accountability, Persistence, Trustworthiness, and Integrity

Overall, educating our scholars is a TEAM effort. As we continue our academic journey, we want to thank all of our students, parents, staff and community members for their hard work and dedication this past year.  We welcome our students and families to our school community.  We are excited about this school year and believe that it holds great promise for our entire school community.  At year’s end, we hope that we will all enjoy the rewards that will come as a result of our collective efforts to make UMS a school of academic excellence.

Best wishes for a terrific year, and welcome to the Home of the EAGLES!

Andrea Tucker

2019-09-09T12:09:13-04:00Categories: School UMS|

New! – Principal’s Welcome Message – MTV 2019-2020

Mount Vernon Avenue Elementary School, Where Scholars Learn to SOAR! The Mount Vernon Avenue Learning Community is invested in providing learning experiences to ensure that all scholars from Kindergarten to grade five, have opportunities for Success, will take Ownership for their learning and actions, will maintain a positive mindset and Attitude in all academic and social interactions and will demonstrate Respect for each other as well as the learning process.

Our mission is to provide a superior academic education in a caring environment in which every child is respected, given the opportunity to develop character, attitudes, and values, preparing them for a globally competitive workforce.

Our K – 5 curriculums are aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and evidenced in inclusive classroom environments where we employ current and research-based pedagogy. Our literacy program follows a balanced literacy framework infusing key literacy components such as phonological awareness, fluency, rich vocabulary instruction, speaking and listening, comprehension and writing, while scholarly inquiry and the challenge that comes with thinking critically and creatively to solve problems. For the 2019-2020 school year, we will introduce i-Ready Reading to our literacy program. i-Ready Reading is an intervention-based adaptive learning program using an online platform. i-Ready Reading serves to address each promoting a love for reading, student’s unique learning needs.

During the 2018-2019 school year, Mt. Vernon successfully implemented enVisionMath. Through job-embedded professional development and the support of our content supervisors, our students met our annual learning target as measured by September 2018 baseline data. While we celebrate our success, we recognize that there is much more work to be done. We are resolved in providing instruction that seeks to help students develop an understanding of math concepts through problem-based instruction, small-group interaction, and visual learning with a focus on reasoning and modeling.

Mount Vernon is dedicated to producing STEM proficient scholars who can answer complex questions, investigate global issues and develop solutions for challenges and real-world problems while applying the rigor of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics content. Students participate in an integrated science program aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science, based on the Next Generation Science Standards, exposing them to topics within the physical sciences, life sciences, and earth and space sciences each year. The science program is focused on moving students toward a deeper and richer understanding of scientific concepts and their application by engaging students in authentic, relevant learning experiences. Scholars participate in Virtual Learning Labs where they conduct experiments and engage in learning opportunities with a scientist.

The Social Studies curriculum is organized thematically around the central concepts of civics, geography, and economics for kindergarten through third grade. In the fourth and fifth grades, the historical understanding of the United States and New Jersey are studied. Interwoven throughout each grade level are learning objectives that involve social scientific problem solving, decision making, social political participation skills, critical thinking, cooperative skills, and personal skills. Through these learning experiences our scholars will develop the ability and inclination to employ critical thinking and decision-making strategies and an understanding of the uniqueness and interdependence of regions and nations in a global age.

Fine arts and physical education are an integral part of a comprehensive curriculum and are essential for 21st century learning. All scholars engage in Visual Arts, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, and Physical Education. Our arts education program enables students to develop an appreciation of the arts, broaden their perspectives and understand their world and the diverse cultural influences that surround them and sharpen their critical and creative thinking skills. Our physical education program provides a motivating and enriching curriculum that meets the physical, mental, emotional, and social needs of our scholars. The curriculum takes on an interdisciplinary approach addressing the core subjects in various forms. The overall goal of our physical education program is to provide scholars with the necessary skills to improve and maintain their health and wellness for a lifetime. 

Technology literacy is an integral component of a balanced educational experience. As such, technology is infused in all aspects of our curriculum. Our scholars interact with Smart Boards, Google Chromebooks, and instructional software present in our core curricular programs. Lesson components include student and teacher use of technology employing interactive SMART Exchange lessons to increase engagement and promote collaboration. 

Mount Vernon celebrates and recognizes the diversity that exists in our learning community. As such we are intentional in our practices in ensuring our curriculum and school climate is culturally responsive allowing opportunities for each student to succeed. To this end, our teachers teach transferable life skills and provide instruction that is differentiated, fosters high student engagement, communicates high expectations, connects students’ prior learning experiences and involves parents in the school community, all which promote a sense of belonging while preparing them to be problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and confident learners. 

The Irvington Public Schools is an inclusive school district. Our Special Education program is designed to meet the specific needs of scholars with disabilities in the least restrictive setting. The school-based Intervention & Referral Services (I&RS) Team provides support and services to general education scholars suspected of having academic, social or behavior difficulties. For the 2019-2020 school year, we will introduce Restorative Practice as a part of our PBSIS initiative, further supporting students social and emotional learning. 

Mt. Vernon Avenue Elementary School addresses the whole child and offers scholars a unique opportunity to play a larger role in the school community, forming stronger relationships with teachers, and their peers. Research has shown that structured extracurricular activities support academic achievement, high attendance rates, positive behavior, and identity development. Scholars can participate in the National Elementary Honor Society, Student Council, Newsletter Club, Digital Learning Club, School Safety Patrol, Chess Club, Cheer Team, Literacy Academy and/or Eagles Academy. Additionally, our scholars are also able to attend several exciting field trips aimed at enriching their curricular experience. Scholars have ventured to the Liberty Science Center, Turtle Back Zoo, The Bronx Zoo, NJPAC, SOPAC, Medieval Times, Jenkinson’s Aquarium, along with visiting the beach. 

Only by working together, will we ensure the success of our children. Our parents and community partners are active participants in the education of our scholars. They coordinate with the school on various events in collaboration with the Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), Parent Coordinator workshops, and volunteer and fundraising events and programs. With community partnership playing a vital role in what we do, Mount Vernon has afforded the community a myriad of after school events to increase parent and community presence within the school. A few of our events include, Family Movie Nights, a Multicultural Dinner, Scholar vs. Teacher Basketball Games, a Family Dinner Dance, Game Nights, Skating and Bowling outings culminating in our annual Field Day with the inclusion of parent volunteers. These events aid in a comprehensive collaborative atmosphere between staff and the community at large. 

Mount Vernon’s dedicated staff work to build a strong school culture and climate that plays a role in improving student performance by maintaining a safe and positive learning environment, that expects staff and scholars to perform at high levels, celebrates accomplishments and believes in a shared system of accountability. Students reflect daily on our school mantra, Where Scholars Learn to SOAR and, recite the Eagle’s Oath. They are rewarded for modeling outstanding behavior through our Student of the Month award, daily raffles, Class Dojopoints, and Eagle Bucks. We adhere to a school wide behavior program following the principles of Positive Behavior Supports in School (PBSIS). 

Student success is the goal of every staff member at Mount Vernon Avenue Elementary School. We are devoted to utilizing research-based best practices to guide every student, every day, to reach their full potential. Through intentional and reflective practices, we will continue to be a learning community that values collaboration, lifelong learning, and collective responsibility, evidenced by increased student achievement. 

Nicole Gilmore

Where Scholars Learn to SOAR! Success, Ownership, Attitude, Respect

2019-09-02T22:02:57-04:00Categories: School MTV, School MTV Blog Posts|

Principal’s Welcome Message – FAS

September 3, 2019

Dear Florence Avenue Falcon Family,

My name is Mary Michailidis and I am the newly appointed principal at Florence Avenue Elementary School (officially as of August 26th). I bring to Florence Avenue Elementary 28 years of public high school experience from CT urban districts (Stamford and Norwalk) and 3 additional years now as former principal of Irvington High School. My academic training and professional experiences will help me lead the F.A.S. community achieve great things with your support. That is, F.A.S. has made good progress over the last few years, but I hope to continue this progress and achieve so much more. Providing our students with a world-class primary education which will allow them to manage the rigor of high school and then ultimately pursue higher education, plan careers, and become entrepreneurs in an ever-changing society will be our common goal. It is imperative that every teacher, staff, parent, and community be committed to the goals of the school which in turn will help all students reach their full potential.

Mr. Evans, Berkeley’s principal this year, shared with me that Florence Avenue’s 2018-2019 school year was filled with notable growth academically and with regard to our culture and climate.  A few of the accomplishments he shared are listed below:

  • Increased after-school activities, programs and events
  • Increased NJSLA proficiency levels
  • Scholars and staff exceeded the NJ Department of Education’s Attendance rate of 95%
  • Increased support to students presenting behavioral challenges with the support of certified behaviorists, CarePlus Program and Intervention and Referral Services
  • Increased parental involvement
  • Increased school activities for student and parent involvement
  • Increased technology available in the school through purchase of additional
    chrome books, installation of clear touch monitors, and etc.

Florence Avenue Elementary School takes great pride in creating an educational atmosphere where students can learn in a caring and creative environment. Together our staff encourages scholars to engage in a lifelong love of learning. As we focus on student achievement we will provide a variety of academic and educational experiences that promote student growth and learning throughout the year. Our teachers are prepared to work collaboratively, analyze data, plan instruction, and develop common assessments to ensure student achievement is attained throughout each grade level.

As parent involvement plays a critical role in our school’s success. During the upcoming school year, I encourage you to take an active role in your child’s learning and school environment through your involvement in the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and school events whenever possible.  The first PTA meeting is Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 6:00 p. m. to 7:00 p.m.

This school year brings great opportunities and I am looking forward to working with you toward our mission of improving student academic achievement. The first day of school is Wednesday, September 4, 2019. School begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. Scholars must be in full uniform (solid green or yellow buttoned-up or polo shirt, green pants, skirt/skort and closed-toe shoes or sneakers Khaki). Breakfast will be held in the classrooms up until 8:40 a.m.

Open House is scheduled for Monday, October 7, 2019 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. During Open House, you will have the opportunity to visit your child’s classroom, review the Parent-Scholar Handbook, sign up for the Parent Teacher Association and receive an overview of the district curriculum. We are confident that our returning parents and scholars are aware of arrival procedures and comfortable with school staff escorting and/or directing children to their correct classrooms.

We look forward to starting the new school year, where we will continue to build on these accomplishments while ensuring that our students to become 21st Century thinkers and learners, productive citizens, and future leaders.

Mary H. Michailidis

2019-10-15T10:37:57-04:00Categories: School FAS|
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