Heywood Avenue Elementary School
Faith Alcantara, Principal
421 Heywood Avenue
Orange, NJ 07050
One of seven elementary schools located in the City of Orange Township, Heywood Avenue School, serves students in grades Pre-K through Grade 7 with a student enrollment of 375 students. We are a community of learners dedicated to providing an academically challenging and nurturing learning environment with high expectations for our students. Our dedicated staff, supportive parents and community partnerships worked collaboratively throughout the year to provide opportunities for all students to achieve academic success, explore their interests, develop their individual talents and move forward in preparing for college and career readiness. We are especially proud of our distinction in receiving Middle States Accreditation along with all of our district schools.
Instruction in all content areas was aligned to the Common Core State Standards and NJ CCSS with students reading and writing across the curriculum, utilizing a host of technology-based tools to support their learning including but not limited to: READ 180, MATH 180, IREAD, Readorium, Spelling City, BrainPop, Discovery Education, Study Island and Google Classroom/Drive.
For our Middle School program, we implemented a STEAM focus in our course selections for students. All 5th grade students were provided a full year course in Coding using the Code.org curriculum. All 6th and 7th grade students were provided a full year Engineering course, Design and Modeling, utilizing the Project Lead the Way Engineering curriculum. All students in grades 5 – 7 selected one of four Art courses including: Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Visual Art and Dance, to intently study for the full school year. Students participated in a number of learning experiences during Computer Science Education Week and National Engineering Week, engaging directly with practicing Engineers in Artificial Intelligence, Mechanical Engineering and Chemical Engineering, as well as with undergraduate and graduate students/professors from Rutgers University, NJIT and Stevens Institute of Technology. Select 7th grade students participated in the NJIT Real World Connections STEM program and select 5th, 6th and 7th grade students participated in the NJIT Pre-Engineering Summer Program. To extend our student opportunities for after school programming in STEAM, Heywood Avenue was selectively chosen as one of four district schools to receive state funding for the 21st Century Learning Grant, offering students in grades 4 – 7 with STEAM experiences after school from 3 pm to 6 pm everyday.
Student achievement was celebrated in awards assemblies held each quarter with students recognized for High Honor Roll, Honor Roll, Perfect Attendance, Citizenship, Rising Stars and induction as members of our chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. Our students continue to shine artistically and participated in two selective programs in collaboration with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, M.A.N.Y. (Music Advancement for Newark Area Youth) in the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) Symphonic Band Program/New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (NJSO) Youth Orchestra Training Ensemble and the Mercer Musical Theater program with both programs culminating with student performances held in the Victoria Theater at NJPAC. Our Robotics Team participated in the FIRST LEGO League Competition in association with the Montclair Society of Engineers. Additionally, district wide competitions and student showcases held throughout the year to included: Spelling Bee, History Bee, 24 Math, and Writers Block Party, exposed our students to the work of their peers and recognized their talents and learning achievements throughout the school year.
Our parents are active school partners who supported and attended many school events held during the year. Our Winter and Spring Concerts filled our auditorium with parents, family, and friends wherein our students showcased their talents in Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, and Dance. Meetings were held to inform parents of the PARCC assessments and ways to support their child's learning at home. Back to School Night, Kindergarten Orientation, monthly "Coffee with the Principal", Family Math and Literacy Nights and Scholastic Book Fairs were all opportunities for parents to involve themselves in our school.
Continuous professional development of our staff in core content and research-based pedagogy was offered within district over the school year through various training consultants as well as university partnerships. Select teaching staff participated in the WIPRO Science Education Fellows program through Montclair State University. All Mathematics staff continued to receive intensive training in our new Math program, grades K - 5, Math in Focus (MIF). All staff participated in Common Core PLCs with training in their respective content areas. Developing our teaching practices translates to improved student learning experiences and increased student achievement.
A host of activities and events designed to extend student learning experiences were held during the school year to include: Black History and Multicultural Day programs, Field Day, "Day of Service" with students participating in service learning projects, Heywood Alumni Day where our graduates returned to speak to our middle school students about their college and career experiences, "College and Career Day" hosting our invited guests to speak to our students about their careers and preparation for college, family events and field trips providing experiential learning beyond their classrooms.
Heywood Avenue School is committed to "keeping our students first" and all that we do is focused on encouraging them to believe in what is possible within, guiding them to reach their fullest potential and celebrating their accomplishments at every opportunity.