The School District of the Chathams is a regional public school district serving the students of Chatham Borough and Chatham Township for grades K through 12. The highly ranked district is comprised of six schools and was designated by the State of New Jersey as a “Blue Ribbon” district in 2004. The schools are within walking distance of most households and provide an excellent education from kindergarten through high school. With a student population of approximately 3,500, the district is comprised of the following schools:
Elementary students (K-3) attend one of three neighborhood schools:
- Milton Avenue School – 16 Milton Avenue, Chatham
- Southern Boulevard School – 192 Southern Blvd. Chatham
- Washington Avenue School – 102 Washington Ave., Chatham
- Lafayette School (4-5) – 221 Lafayette Avenue, Chatham
- Chatham Middle School (6–8) – 480 Main Street, Chatham
- Chatham High School (9–12) – 255 Lafayette Street, Chatham
Milton Avenue School (K-3) – The Milton Avenue School learning community exemplifies the district’s commitment to educational excellence. Our mission is to provide a learning environment with rich experiences to enhance the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development of the whole child. The school climate is one in which students acquire self-confidence and independence as learners and develop positive attitudes about learning and school.
Milton Avenue School is one of three kindergarten through third grade elementary schools in the School District of the Chathams. With a student population of approximately 375 students, Milton Avenue School has been able to maintain the neighborhood school feeling and concept. It is home to the special education PREP program for three and four year olds. This Preschool Readiness and Enrichment Program addresses the needs of classified students who are experiencing significant delays in language, motor development, and /or social or emotional development. Additionally, self-contained special education classes are available for classified students in kindergarten through third grade who need more direct instruction than can be offered in the Resource Center.
Milton teachers are committed to their professional growth. They are continually involved in increasing their professional knowledge by attending conferences and in-district professional development classes and by enrolling in graduate school courses. Staff members also play a key role in the district’s curriculum development and revision process.
The comprehensive kindergarten through third grade instructional program is aligned with the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. A literature-based reading program, differentiated instruction, a problem solving approach to mathematics, and the use of technology are elements that contribute to a developmentally appropriate curriculum for young learners. Additionally, the district’s commitment to providing a strong related arts curricula includes programs taught by specialists in the areas of vocal music, physical education, health, art, and media.
Schools of excellence emerge as a result of the collaborative efforts of staff, parents, and community. At Milton Avenue School, parent and community involvement is welcomed and encouraged. The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is an extremely active group that supports the educational environment with fundraisers and numerous parent volunteers. The PTO supports our annual Author’s Day, Theme Day, and Field Day, as well as conducting Milton’s Reading Club, New Family Picnic, and Family Fun Night. Throughout the school year, the PTO organizes the after-school Enrichment Class Program.
Southern Boulevard School (K-3) – Southern Boulevard School has a student body of approximately 490 and is an exciting and stimulating environment for children to grow and learn. The myriad of opportunities for beginning learners to master fundamental cognitive skills is great, as are the opportunities for their social, emotional, and physical development. The first few years in the educational life of a child are significant. It is during this time that they form their attitudes towards school and learning in general. Our primary academic mission is the teaching of reading and the related communication skills, as well as problem solving and analytical thinking. We have a vast library of materials so that visual, auditory and tactile learners will have opportunities to grow in a manner commensurate with their learning style.
Southern Boulevard School also recognizes how important it is for children to grow and learn in a secure and caring environment. When a school’s atmosphere is encouraging, motivating, orderly and consistent, students flourish and are able to develop their individual potential. Our program includes regular procedures for students and staff to handle a potential crisis, i.e. fire, evacuation, etc. Practice makes perfect as we strive to make emergency procedures non-threatening and a natural part of keeping safe at school.
Our school offers instructional and support programs which are thoughtfully planned and implemented. We teach reading, writing and language skills through balanced literacy in which children are immersed in literature beginning on the first day they enter Kindergarten. Our balanced literacy program includes the teaching of phonics and other decoding strategies. Good reading instruction demands the inclusion of word attack skills which allow children to understand the relationship between letters and sounds in order to decipher the new words they encounter. The large collection of books and other materials in our award-winning library/media center, along with large classroom collections, provide our children with a wide compilation of high quality reading materials.
Our curricula are always under review as well as the practices we use to deliver instruction. Teachers engage in regular staff development to review and revise, if needed, the programs of study in all content areas. A five-year cycle enables a particular content area to be the focus of attention each year. Teachers attend many professional workshops to help them reflect on our current practices and look at the most effective ways to present instruction to the children. Engaging students, early and often, has been an operative concept these past years.
Classroom Netbooks have been added to our technology resources beginning in September 2010. In addition to interactive Smart Boards, our classrooms are equipped to help lead our young students in a technologically oriented world.
Each year a Special Event Day draws together parents and staff working to create a memorable day on a unique topic. In March of 2011, a medieval festival will be held devoted to learning about the people, times and cultures of an age long gone.
The Arts are an important piece to the development of the Whole Child. We offer a wide range of art related experiences for young students. Our third grade students will participate in the musical, Cinderella, on April 20 on the Chatham High School stage. Holiday concerts allow students to showcase what they learned in music, and a spring Student Art Exhibit allows student artwork to be viewed by many. Art and Music History components have been incorporated in an exciting project called “Meet the Masters”. In art, students study two famous artists a year and in music, two distinguished master musicians. Parents are the key to introducing this well-planned and focused program brought to the classroom.
Character Education is an area of renewed focus. Our Six Pillars of Character program addresses such timely issues as bullying and other inappropriate behaviors. “Cool to Be Kind Day” is held in November, highlighting many core values and contemporary concerns.
We understand the all-important role parents play in the education of their children. We strive to establish a close partnership between parents and teachers for the benefit of our children. We feel fortunate to have supportive parents at Southern Boulevard School who are interested in their children’s education and who participate in the life of our school. Through our PTO they enrich children’s learning experiences by sponsoring school assemblies, after-school enrichment programs, Author’s Day, Field Day and many other activities throughout the year. A book talk experience brings together parents and teachers to dialogue about the art of raising young children in a loving, caring and meaningful way.
The many strengths of our school…motivated and enthusiastic students, a caring and competent professional staff, active and supportive parents, a strong instructional program, a rich collection of learning materials, and a school climate that promotes learning…provide our children with opportunities to learn, grow and develop in positive ways. We are proud of our school and we are committed to find ways to continually improve the quality of learning at Southern Boulevard School.
Washington Avenue School (K-3) – Washington Avenue School is located in Chatham Borough, and is one of six schools in the School District of the Chathams. The school is home for 454 students with an average class size of 24 students. Our learners’ needs are addressed individually and supported through enrichment opportunities, our Basic Skills Program and Special Education Programs.
The school’s faculty is committed to planning and implementing a variety of activities that facilitate the preparation of our students for the challenge of mastering the NJ Core Content Curriculum Standards as well as beginning to address the National Core Standards. Primary teachers base instruction on the district’s curricula and often use thematic and integrated units of study. The successful utilization of technology in all curriculum areas, an inquiry approach to science, a balanced literacy program, writing workshop time and the integration of both visual and performing arts are many of the elements that afford the students an exciting educational environment.
To further enrich our curriculum students participate in field trips to local museums, outdoor environmental centers, and community theaters. The Fine Arts program is enhanced with opportunities for choral and instrumental performances and exhibitions of student artwork both in the school and in the community. Quarterly, through our Museum on the Move program, parents meet with each class to do presentations and activities related to the study a variety of artists.
The teachers are committed to professional growth and augment their knowledge and skills through attendance at workshops, both within and outside the district. Staff members are also active participants in district-wide committees that assess and revise curriculum. New this year is their participation in Professional learning Communities where they meet to discuss student progress and research best practices to address students who need different approaches to writing and word study.
The Washington Avenue School Parent – Teacher Organization continues to be a driving force within the school. Fundraising efforts provide an excellent cultural arts program as well as funds to extend classroom projects. Parent volunteers assist in the library, chaperone field trips, provide school wide enrichment programs such as a Special Events Day that tap into parents’ talents, organize class celebrations, and assist teachers with special curriculum projects. Our After School Enrichment program is organized by parent volunteers three times during the year and offers many different experiences such as Karate, Spanish, Rockets, Beading, Kids in the Kitchen, Sports & Games, Drama and Technology. For the third year, about 100 of our students are involved in a musical that is performed in the Spring. This is a cooperative effort with parents and teachers working together.
Students also learn from their parents and teachers the importance of giving to the community as citizens. Our Character Education Program encourages children to talk about the character traits of Citizenship, Respect, Responsibility, Honesty and Caring. Students are learning that “Good characters do the right things when no one is looking.” School wide activities such monthly donations to the Food Pantry, fundraising for local charities and visits and gifts for our town senior nursing home encourage students to take an active role in their community.
The Work-Family Program, which provides before and after school child care, operates when school is in session and during most school vacations. Outdoor play, crafts, games, computer activities and a quiet homework period are some of the activities available to participants.
The administration, parents and teaching staff of Washington Avenue School are dedicated to developing students who demonstrate high achievement and enjoy learning. Students are learning how to contribute to their community and acquire workplace skills to be successful in the 21st Century. As a result, Washington Avenue School’s students are inspired to become lifetime learners and conscientious citizens.
Lafayette School (4-5) – The Lafayette School has a student body of approximately 636 children and is designed to meet the special learning needs of students in grades four and five. Students are exposed to an academically challenging curriculum in an environment that stimulates, motivates, and encourages the students to be good citizens. Many assemblies and special projects extend and enrich the program and provide nine and ten year old children with a vast array of exciting learning experiences.
Individual differences are supported within the group setting, providing students an opportunity to achieve their potential. The building’s proximity to the high school allows us to provide some unique, mutually beneficial experiences for our children. A mentorship program and humanitarian projects such as a food drive are coordinated yearly.
The “Lafayette Cup”, is a community service initiative that raises awareness of the world around our students and encourages students to give back to their school, community and surrounding communities in a competitive format. Points are awarded for activities like: Academics (Estimating, Battle of the Books, Spelling Bee, Brain Bowl, Continental Math), Athletics (Mini-Marathon, Kick Ball and Wiffle Ball Tournaments) and in Community Service (Food Drives, Clothing Drives, Coin Drives, UNICEF, Walkathon, Spirit Days). All of Lafayette students visit the Community Food Bank in Hillside, New Jersey assisting with the preparation of meals to send out the community. Our PTO Community Service Representative arranges monthly activities for families and their students to participate in i.e. coat drives, food drives, etc. Just recently, Lafayette fostered a relationship with the King Arthur Flour Company. On alternate years a King Arthur representative comes to Lafayette and teaches the students and faculty to make bread. Each student is sent home with baking supplies to make two loaves of bread. One loaf stays home and the other loaf is donated to the local food bank. Lafayette donated close to 600 loaves of homemade bread to local food pantries.
Our Library Media Center is the educational hub of our school. Students can access resources in a fully automated media center. Our library/media specialist provides challenging activities that encourage our children to read such as Battle of the Books and RIOT (Reading Instead of Television). The Library Media Center (LMC) has multiple resource periods to assist teachers in the creation and completion of larger resource projects within the LMC. Students use the EZpass system to visit the library during their recess. The LMC also hosts “Chicken Soup” lunches in the winter. Students are invited to eat Chicken Soup and listen to snippets from the popular books “Chicken Soup for the Soul”.
Our two technology centers provide our students with the latest in computer technology as they are able to connect with other schools via the internet. A matrix of skills developed specifically for this grade level is matched with a variety of challenging projects that emphasize our district’s philosophy that ensures that our curriculum drives our technology, and not the other way around. All classroom teachers also have access to the SmartBoard technology, an interactive approach to instruction. Lafayette teachers continue to use multiple on line resources to maximize their instruction such as blogs, Skype, and ePals. The teachers also have access to two laptop carts which allows more computer resources to be brought into the classrooms.
Our guidance counselor provides our students with a number of worthwhile opportunities to elicit their most positive behavioral traits. The Lafayette Way “Where Kindness Counts and Manners Matter” program provides the students with an array of appropriate responses to any conflict situation. Students are often asked to reflect upon their mistakes and rethink how they would handle situations using our “Stop and Reflect’ Form. Individual and group counseling allows our students to see the value in altering their behavior for positive results. In September, our new student welcoming program provides school tours and a new student breakfast. The Lafayette teaching staff works with our counselor to emphasize the acquisition of appropriate social skills among our students.
The Lafayette Students are also encouraged to participate in the Student Advisory Committee. This is a committee of students that works with the principal and assistant principal to make changes in and around the school. The students create role play situations to share with Lafayette students in the bi-monthly student assemblies. The fifth grade student advisors will also begin to broadcast the morning announcements thanks to a grant from the Junior League of Summit.
Our PTO is a very active and involved organization. A major fundraiser each year provides the school with additional resources for our library, playground, classrooms, and overall school programs. Additionally, a number of school committees that function throughout the year all have parent representation, giving us the opportunity to have community input on certain school decisions. The PTO supports our after school enrichment program. Twice a year a series of classes are offered to students ranging from Sports, Quilting, Scrapbooking, Chemistry and Rocketry.
Our challenge this year and in the future will be to ensure that our students are well prepared for the fourth and fifth grade NJASK (New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge). Our Language Arts and Math Supervisor/Specialist as well as curriculum leaders have received training in the application of math and language arts strategies to meet the requirements. Our district curriculum committees have addressed this need through a vertical articulation of the curriculum and our staff here have adopted their recommendations and made adjustments to their methodology. They also meet by subject area once a week to discuss the test’s implications and how best to meet the needs of our kids.
Chatham Middle School (6–8) – The vision of Chatham Middle School (CMS) is to provide a secure, stimulating learning environment in which students find both challenge and support. Our school fosters a fundamental respect for oneself, the environment, and the world’s diverse population, while recognizing the unique and complex nature of the middle school student. There are approximately 960 students attending this school.
Chatham Middle School offers broad exposure to, and opportunities for, exploration so that individual interests and strengths can be developed.
We encourage intellectual risk-taking, responsibility for one’s actions, and the development of strong inter-personal relationships. Our school promotes learning that is relevant and establishes connections to the outside world, so that students may become successful, responsible and contributing citizens.
The middle school years are a time of transition and present many challenges to students. To better address student needs, each grade level is divided into three Houses- each with a team of teachers. Smaller groups allow for more interaction between students and teachers. This also makes it possible for teachers to focus on the unique needs of individual students. Everyone at CMS works to provide a nurturing, yet academically challenging setting in which students can grow intellectually, emotionally, and socially.
CMS encourages all students to become active learners and creates opportunities to seek, analyze, synthesize, and apply information to solve problems. Our instructional design fosters meaningful learning and provides an in-depth exploration of curricular content. One example of this encompassing approach is the three-day seventh grade environmental field trip to the Frost Valley YMCA Camp in the Catskill Mountains of New York. This curricular endeavor employs an interdisciplinary mindset and hands-on learning. The active learning model used during this environmental field trip creates a unique learning laboratory for our students.
Our Mathematics program is designed to help students master the abstractions of the subject using manipulatives and interactive strategies. The exit level mathematics course for all CMS students is Algebra 1. Our Science program consists of Earth, Life and Physical sciences- all housed within lab equipped classrooms. Our Language Arts program uses novels as a springboard for literary exploration. Additionally, writing commands a significant portion of our focus and is applied across our curriculums. Social Studies courses focus on critical social issues from ancient times up to the present day with many connections to the lives of students. Physical Education and Health classes at CMS include content knowledge and healthy living as a life goal. Our World Language program offers students academic curriculums in Chinese, French, German, and Spanish. Our core curriculum areas are complemented by exploratory classes in Visual Arts, Performing Arts (Band, Chorus, Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble), Family and Consumer Science, Public Speaking, Health, Journalism, Drama, Economics, Music Technology, Web Design, Problem Solving, Theater Arts and a Language Arts based cycle class at each grade level.
The use of 21st Century technology is a regular and meaningful part of instruction here at CMS. Every classroom has SMARTBoard technology. This greatly expands teaching options and student interest. Our Library/Media Center features twenty desktop computers and a teaching station complete with SMARTBoard technology. Our entire building has wireless technology, including the reading garden in the Library courtyard. Students and teachers have many options for accessing the internet including classroom desktop computers or any of our eight laptop carts. This year we installed RFI sound technology in every classroom in the building.
All CMS students participate in the State of New Jersey NJASK testing which measures student progress in Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics. Science is measured in grade eight only. Our 8th grade students take the state Algebra 1 end of course exam as well. We utilize the information garnered from these state assessments and, in combination with school-based measures, assess whether our curriculums and teaching strategies are properly aligned with content standards and meeting the needs of our students. Our students consistently perform at a very high level on state assessments.
Many co-curricular activities are offered at Chatham Middle School that attract students to areas of interest outside the regular curriculum. The Builders Club, co-sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club, undertakes a variety of community service projects and provides volunteer opportunities for a number of worthy causes. The Chatham Middle School Student Council is an active leadership group that sponsors projects such as school wide recycling and food and holiday gift drives for those in need. We also have a student peer leader group. Our “Pro Leaders” assist with student and parent orientations and our Back-to-School Night. Additionally, our annual All School Production employs the skills, talents and cooperative spirit of a large number of students. These programs, along with other clubs and organizations, provide our students with an opportunity to grow and learn beyond the confines of the regular school day.
Perhaps the most important feature of Chatham Middle School is its emphasis on communication. Daily common planning periods give teachers the necessary time to organize activities, discuss student progress, and meet with other professionals and parents. This design allows us to continually refine and strengthen our programs. Our Site Council is composed of staff, administrators, and parents. This collaborative forum addresses school-wide issues with the goal of mutually agreeable resolutions. Our PTO is incredibly active and supportive and serves as another communication tool. Orientation programs for students and parents; an informative school website; student agendas; progress reports; teacher web pages and open houses attest to the high priority placed on communication between Chatham Middle School and our parent community. Our programs and activities, combined with this purposeful communication, allows us to address the needs of our students as we prepare them for the many challenges that lie ahead.
Chatham High School (9–12) – Chatham High School (CHS) is a high-performing educational institution serving the students of Chatham Borough and Chatham Township. Education is valued by members of the community, as many people move to Chatham because of the fine reputation of the schools. Community members generously offer their support and participation in the education programs and student activities at Chatham High School.
Chatham High School is recognized nationally and locally as a premier secondary institution. It was accorded No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon status in 2004, consistently ranks among New Jersey’s best high schools in various publications, and is fully accredited by the New Jersey Department of Education and the Middle States Association of College and Secondary Schools. The school’s total student enrollment is approximately 1110, with over 98% of the 243 graduates of the Class of 2010 continuing their formal studies including 92% at four-year colleges and universities. The school enjoys consistent and substantial community support and is committed to the social, intellectual, and emotional development of students.
Chatham High School is dedicated to meeting the needs of every learner by offering a diversified curriculum in the areas of fine and performing arts, business and computer education, English, family and consumer sciences, mathematics, physical education, science, social studies, world languages, and technology education. Cooperative and vocational education subjects are available in shared-time programs.
Students are encouraged to pursue an individualized program of study, and Advanced Placement opportunities are available in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Physics, European History, Psychology, Government and Politics: U.S., United States History, French, German, Spanish, English Language/Composition, English Literature/ Composition, Calculus, and Statistics. Support is also available for all students with special educational needs through a foundational and learning skills program. Technology is an integral part of the entire curriculum, with a school-wide integrated network and e-mail software program available to all students and faculty.
The rigorous academic program, coupled with an infusion of technology applications, helps make CHS a place that values innovation and welcomes initiatives that will prove relevant in a world that changes at an accelerated rate.
Chatham NJ Public School Links