Thurgood Marshall Elementary School is a PreK-5 school with a strong sense of community that has created an environment that is inclusive, where all stakeholders feel camaraderie, engagement, and a sense of belonging/ownership. Together, we are committed to providing a rigorous curriculum full of art, literature, and music to ensure that every scholar whose life we touch receives the highest quality instruction, as well as promoting emotional and social stability. And with excellent teaching, modeling, and mentoring, we are ensuring that we are igniting a fire in each and every scholar at Thurgood Marshall School that will lead to a lifelong love of learning.
Every day is a great day to make a difference in a child’s life at Thurgood Marshall School. When you enter these hallowed halls of learning, you feel as if you are a part of our family. As a result, we embrace the challenge of providing a quality education to our children. In fact, Thurgood Marshall School is dedicated to providing a respectful, safe, and multicultural environment that will foster passionate, lifelong, and self-directed learners. Our teachers went above and beyond the call of duty the last school year. One fourth grade class explored flexible seating with a donorschoose.org grant. Another teacher, from Pre K, received a light table to enhance science lessons. Several more grants were acquired that provided students with a Little Free Library from Impact Library Grant, Spring Break Food Packs that fed 60 families, and pets in the classroom; Room 102 had a bearded dragon and Room 209 is anticipating a snake. Several teachers were part of the Executive Board of the PTA, as President and Treasurer. Regardless of the program or event, you can always count on the staff to be in attendance and lending a helping hand.
At Thurgood Marshall, we recognize that our students need learning experiences that meet them where they are, engage them deeply, let them progress at a pace that meets their individual needs and help them master the skills for today and tomorrow. It is our belief that when our children are met with such learning experiences, it facilitates successful learners who are able to explore their global citizenship via education. Not only that, Thurgood Marshall is dedicated to providing all scholars with high standards of learning. In our quest to do so, we offer our students certified and highly qualified teachers, specialists, and paraprofessionals; curriculum and instruction that is research-based and aligned to the NJ Student Learning Standards (NJSLS) and technology that is infused into the curriculum with programs such as Envision Math 2.0, ConnectED in English Language Arts, and NJCL.org in Science with the Next Generation Science Standards. Computers are in every class with Internet accessibility, as well as interactive Smart Boards, Smart Tables, Clear Touch interactive Panels and Chromebooks for 1st through 5th grades, as well as ELL and Media/Library. View the teachers’ OnCourse websites for specific sites that they use to infuse technology into lessons.
We achieve the NJ Student Learning Standards that will lead students to success in college, career, and life through assessments such as, PARCC, Houghton-Mifflin Reading Inventory, Houghton-Mifflin Math Inventory, Houghton-Mifflin Phonics Inventory, Core program benchmarks, teacher-made assessments, work sampling, portfolios, weekly content area tests, and district cycle and unit tests. Teachers then analyze, disaggregate and use the various informal and formal data to inform instruction and prepare differentiated and scaffolded lesson plans. We offer an instructional program that accelerates learning for all scholars and builds on strengths and interests of each one.
In addition to the K-5 classrooms, our school offers a preschool Gold Curriculum program and the Creative Curriculum with highly trained certified teachers. The Gold Curriculum program is a comprehensive program that provides labs and projects that reinforce learning, self-confidence and self-direction in our young scholars. An appreciation for Visual Arts, Music, as well as the necessary Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and English Language Arts are also provided through this program. The Creative Curriculum program is research based and is offered in English and Spanish, which supports Spanish speaking students. Creative Curriculum provides for positive interaction and active communication with Teacher-Family interactions.
Thurgood Marshall School believes that respect and understanding grow when children of differing abilities and cultures play and learn together. Our school has Inclusion classes in each grade level for scholars who require additional educational support. We provide interventions such as speech, occupational and physical therapies. Our Autistic Program, servicing scholars from grades K-5, is so outstanding that we are now up to six classrooms. In the course of Autism Awareness Month, our school celebrates with the Light it Up Blue Campaign, an Autism Awareness Symposium assembly to raise Autism Awareness in the greater community. During the summer, students may attend EOY Summer Program for our scholars with special needs.
Thurgood Marshall Elementary School’s extended day and year offer a Wraparound Program that gives parents the opportunity for quality care in a safe environment that fosters mutual respect and offers children a variety of choices of developmentally appropriate and interest-driven activities. The day begins at 7:00 am and ends at 6:00 pm. Scholars in grades 3-5 can extend the learning day by attending PARCC, basic skills, and/or enrichment tutoring. There are also clubs such as Student Council that hosts Movie Nights, and National Elementary Honor Society that sponsors a St. Jude’s Math-A-thon and Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) distribution. Moreover, students in Grades 2 can participate in the Homework Club, and for students who are musically inclined, there is also the Morning Band, and Chorus Program that won first place at the Irvington Senior Citizen Annual Talent Show. .
Thurgood Marshall prides itself on greater, effective communication with parents and the community through the efforts of the Parent Coordinator, Cindy Clark, the Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the School Leadership Council (SLC). The Parent Coordinator who works with scholars, teachers, parents, and administrators by implementing programs like the Backpack program, Kids Closet Program, and the Community Food Bank of Hillside. These programs provide food, school supplies, and various other family assistance. Furthermore, open communication is encouraged with monthly Positive Parent Conversations, the Brother-to-Brother mentoring program, and Academic-based Workshops. The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) enables parents to become an integral part of their children’s education in collaboration with teachers and other community stakeholders. The School Leadership Council (SLC) comprised of faculty members and parents meet monthly to discuss important aspects of the academic and social growth of the school, budget issues, and numerous school-related matters.
Finally, we at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School pride ourselves on Celebrating “SUCCESS”, by executing ceremonies and practices that recognize scholars, parents, and staff for their outstanding accomplishments. The Positive Behavior Support in School (PBSIS) Advisory sponsors weekly drawings from Mustang Bucks the students receive for being “Safe, Respectful, and Kind,” as well as quarterly assemblies where students receive bicycles, iPods, mp3 players, telescopes, sports and educational game packs, and other incentives. The Climate and Culture Committee sponsors Honor Roll Breakfast, Father–Daughter and Mother-Son Dances and the annual Field Day activities for the end of the year.
In conclusion, the academic, social, and emotional development of each individual are realized through the collective efforts of scholars, staff, parents and the community. Working together as an inclusive, academic, and familial community, we strive to achieve excellence in all facets of education and in the lives of those we cherish the most, our scholars .
Wanda P.P. Warren, M.Ed.
School Leadership Council
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela