Dr. Cooper

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year!

Hoping that your summer was a wonderful one, despite the unprecedented times in which we live. I also hope that you are enthusiastic, rejuvenated and ready to start a brand new school year. I am so delighted that you are part of our amazing learning community. I welcome and value your positive energy and dedication to excellence in education, and I look forward to working with all stakeholders in our prodigious school community.

All signs point to another incredible and productive school year. Our highly qualified and devoted team of teachers is already planning coherent instruction designed to maximize the individual potential of each of scholar. Our office team is working steadfastly to register new families, obtain necessary resources and update student files. Our hard working custodians have spent the entire summer meticulously cleaning and sanitizing the building to ensure the safety of everyone who enters. Our much appreciated PTA is gearing up to welcome families, provide volunteer opportunities, and offer other exciting events and programs. We are indeed a joyous and caring school community with the common goals of developing responsible, respectful and motivated scholars and promoting academic excellence; one scholar at a time.

We have been working assiduously to plan for a safe opening of school and to implement best practices intended to mitigate the risks associated with Covid-19. Students will utilize their individual school supplies, chrome books, and manipulatives. Our classrooms have been physically modified to increase social distancing, signage has been installed throughout the building to guide students, and our schedule has been adjusted to allow time for mask breaks, hand washing, and opportunities to access outdoor learning spaces. Additionally, a stronger emphasis will be placed on social emotional learning. 

Grove Street Elementary School is one of eight elementary schools in the city of Irvington, NJ.  There are currently 360 students in Pre-K to Fifth grade. Our staff consists of 44 highly qualified professionals and approximately 25 support staff. Our primary goal is to provide all students with effective and meaningful learning experiences. At Grove Street School, we also strive to create an academic environment that is both enjoyable and challenging; one that gives students various opportunities to demonstrate and reinforce their talents through authentic work. We envision a community of 21st century learners who are college and career ready. Our students are remarkable scholars with a wide variety of talents, interests, and an extraordinary sense of pride and resilience. We are also cognizant that the teaching-learning process develops uniquely for each student. An analysis of students’ performance on state and district assessments indicates considerable improvement in students’ performance. We are also very proud of our English Language Learners who continuously perform remarkably well on the ACCESS. (Assessing Comprehension and Communication in English State-to-State).

Students in fourth and fifth grades receive Spanish instruction from a highly qualified teacher. Through language learning, students are exposed to a different set of aesthetics, cuisines, philosophies, politics, histories and traditions.  It is our hope that this instruction will become the catalyst for students to travel and study abroad to further enhance their international education through observing and experiencing foreign cultures.   

Additionally, the ability to communicate in multiple languages is becoming more important in the increasingly integrated global and inclusive business community as well as society in general.

When children are placed in a well structured, secure, and nurturing environment, surrounded by responsible and enthusiastic adults, they are able to thrive and surpass expectations. The team at Grove Street School is dedicated to providing a safe and encouraging atmosphere where all students receive unique learning experiences. The competence and passion of the staff are evident as we work steadfastly to engage, motivate, and educate all students. Instruction is delivered with patience and confidence by highly qualified teachers who possess additional expertise in best practices and strategies that will augment the teaching-learning process. Through persistence and the undisputable commitment of the team, students understand that they are respected and essential members of the school community. We are also proud of our supportive Parent Teacher Association (PTA), which is responsible for implementing many activities designed to enrich the social and academic lives of students.

In mathematics, we have begun to promote conceptual understanding, which has provided students with a conjectural prospective. We have successfully implemented the Eight Mathematical Practices and have witnessed a pattern whereby students are now able to solve problems using at least two different methods, while displaying the ability to communicate their rationale. Our students are beginning to develop a mathematical mindset and observe math in the world around them. We are creating scholars who believe that with determination and effort, they are capable of making sense of problems and are able to solve them while reasoning abstractly and quantitatively. The district has recently invested in i-Ready which is proven to predict student performance on state assessments. It can be described as an adaptive diagnostic that pinpoints student needs down to the sub-skill level, and ongoing progress monitoring shows whether students are on track to achieve end-of-year targets.

Our primary goal is to ensure that students develop proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and comprehension. The English language arts curricula is overarched by the district’s adoption of Balanced Literacy. It incorporates Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Comprehension, Vocabulary, and students’ ability to read with fluency. Strategies include confirming predictions, using prior or background knowledge, self-questioning, regulating reading pace, using clues, visualizing, rereading, and using text features and illustrations to expedite comprehension. It is aligned with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) and focuses on informational text along with an attentiveness to the author’s purpose. Students also have access to i-Ready Read. Data gathered from the recent district assessments and benchmarks revealed a considerable increase in students’ ability to better comprehend text and to read with expressiveness and fluency.

The Science Department will continue its partnership with The New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning (NJCTL), American Chemical Society (ACS), and Students 2 Science (S2S). Cooperation with private and public entities is vital to helping us develop tomorrow’s 21st Century workforce. We are proud to announce a partnership with The Science Education Institute at Raritan Valley Community College, a consortium of three higher education institutions that include Rider University and Princeton University. Our three priorities this year will be the use of authentic problems to challenge and engage students, communication and scientific argumentation, and assessment using technology.  We understand that effective education for science literacy requires that students are regularly and actively involved in exploring nature in ways that mimic how scientists conduct their research. They are provided opportunities for exploring, leading observations, testing ideas, repeating processes, and discovering. Coherent instruction revolves around the logic that science is exciting and inquiry-based.

Many of our students continue to emerge as frontrunners of district and county sponsored essay writing and poetry contests. We also participate in “Law Day” whereby students partake in a Mock Trial as the NJ Bar Association simulates a trial before students using a specific fact pattern. This project allows students to serve as attorneys, defendants, bailiffs, prosecutors, witnesses, and members of the jury. The Social Studies Curriculum provides students with the tools to understand and appreciate the values and principles of American democracy and traditions in addition to a reverence for different cultures. Its study also facilitates an understanding of the present and the past. Additionally, the errors and successes that this world has made throughout time serve as catalysts for future behavior. It is through social studies that students can learn to appreciate different values, beliefs, and environments. Such knowledge and exposure foster respect for differences and a better understanding of current events and environmental issues.

Educational trips include visits to the Jenkinson Broadwalk & Aquarium, American Museum of Natural History, Bayshore Learning Center, Turtle Back Zoo, Land of Make Believe, Liberty Science Center, The Bronx Zoo and a variety of interesting places. Each year, efficient budgeting and vigilant planning result in our students being entertained via a number of assemblies. These include Chinese Acrobats, Rainforest Animals, Omega Man Anti Bullying Workshop, African Folk Dancers, Pitter Patter Feet and the Brain Show, to name a few.

Pre-school students are guided by the Creative Curriculum. This incorporates learning objectives and activities which address all areas of growth in the preschool child. It is an inclusive educational program that builds on learning experiences that help to develop lifelong learners who work to analyze and solve problems. Learning is augmented and builds on the strengths and interests of each student. It also involves them in all phases of the learning process and documents their progress through continuous and authentic assessment. Hands-on activities and projects encourage comprehensive understanding by connecting learning and the attainment of knowledge to memorable events. The Creative Curriculum preschool program reflects upon the evolving needs of young learners and concurrently fosters their academic and social emotional development.

Grove Street School continues to be one that promotes healthy eating habits. Our students are aware of the importance of good nutrition and view healthy eating as a regime. They are reminded to avoid sugary snacks and beverages. During physical education we continue to maintain the Beginners Bike Program where students are taught how to ride a bicycle.

The school is home to two fully equipped Technology Centers. Students utilize, desk tops, and chrome books during weekly visits to the centers. Teachers provide numerous opportunities for students to master a variation of software programs. These include the use of Measuring Up, Study Ladder, Extra Math, Brain Pop, Razz-Kids, and a plethora of tools, which are used to enhance and supplement instruction. Additionally, each classroom is equipped with desk top computers, chrome books, and a smart board. As the world is rapidly moving forward and international communication has taken a new course, it is essential that students are prepared with the skills necessary to embrace 21st Century philosophy and technological superiority. Our staff and student utilize a plethora of technology platforms. These include Pear Deck, Padlet, Flip Grid, Nearpod, Whiteboard. Chat, Whiteboard.fi, Google Suites, and many more.

Students are honored for both academic success and commendable behavior by acknowledgments such as Student of the Month, Good Citizenship, Most Improved, Honor Roll, Perfect Attendance, Super Honor Roll, and Good Deed Award recognition programs. The Positive Behavior Support in School Program (PBSIS) along with the Student Code of Conduct have become necessary components regarding the anticipated conduct of students. Performance contracts based on the core values also provide the basis for individual accountability and deportment.

Cheerleading, Dance Club, Step Team, Music Club, Book Club, Soccer League, and Basketball Teams, are a few examples of the extra-curricular activities offered at the school. Additionally, a National Elementary Honor Society, as well as a Student Council, have been implemented. In addition to allowing the school to bestow honor and recognition to outstanding scholars on a national level through the local chapter inductions and activities; this affiliation provides the school with a means to promote intellect, culture, citizenship, and service, as well as character and leadership within the school and the community.

The Irvington Public Schools’ Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) Policy will continue to be rigorously implemented. All students are encouraged to demonstrate compassion, integrity, tolerance, understanding and respect. Since children learn by example, the school’s administrator, staff, volunteers, members of the community and all adults are responsible for demonstrating respectful comportment and a positive attitude at all times. At Grove Street School we faithfully refuse to tolerate harassment, intimidation, or bullying on any level.

On a daily basis we are surrounded by phenomenal parents, community members, dedicated staff, and outstanding students who project levels of resilience, pride, and passion that are unparalleled. The Grove School Community continues to be one that is enlightened and nurturing where all decisions are made in the best interest of students. It is indeed a privilege and an honor to continue to serve as the instructional leader of this incredible school community.

We welcome our new and returning scholars and their families and we look forward to an outstanding 2021-2022 school year!

Dr. Deniese Cooper
Email: dcooper@irvington.k12.nj.us
Office: 973 399-6867
Fax: 973 399-2442