Madison has a strong public school system, which maintains relatively small class sizes and a broad curriculum. There are three elementary schools, one junior high school, and one high school. The high school is also attended by students from nearby Harding Township. In addition, St. Vincent Martyr Church operates a parochial elementary school in Madison. Elementary students attend one of three neighborhood public schools:
Kings Road School – 215 Kings Road, Madison
Central Avenue School – 50 Central Avenue, Madison
Torey J. Sabatini School – 359 Woodland Road, Madison
Early adolescents attend the Madison Junior School located at 160 Main Street, Madison and high school students attend Madison High School located at 170 Ridgedale Avenue in Madison. The district also maintains a receiving relationship with the neighboring community of Harding, whereby its high school students attend Madison High School.
Kings Road School (Pre K-5) – This school is located in a wonderful neighborhood where many of the approximately 245 students walk to school. The Madison School District’s curriculum focuses on the development of basic skills and competencies in all subject areas. In the area of mathematics, emphasis was focused on development, instructional practice, evaluation of problem-solving abilities, and mastery of computational skills. The area of language arts focused on a balanced literacy approach. The approach included combining guided reading, writing workshop, independent buddy reading, and differentiated word work/spelling. Running records were taken regularly to track students’ progress and maintain their working in appropriate level texts. Authentic performance-based science assessments provided students with opportunities to demonstrate their application of scientific inquiry learned in our elementary science program. The Social Studies curriculum addresses community development and different cultures around the world. The program is integrated with the Language Arts curriculum and emphasizes non-fiction reading.
We have many programs and experiences at Kings Road School which enrich our curriculum. We continued the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching with great success. Our morning meetings have allowed students and teachers to meet together to engage in conversations focused on social and academic learning. The students participated in cultural arts, educational enrichment and art appreciation programs. The Madison Young Playwrights Program was offered as an after-school program beginning in grade four. Selected students participated in a math enrichment program.
The subject areas of media, music, library, physical education, and art round out the curriculum. Instrumental music and chorus are offered on a voluntary basis. Some of the musical highlights of the year featured performances by students in band, orchestra, and chorus.
Professional development is an on-going process at Kings Road School. The staff is committed to the idea of continuous learning to benefit the students of the school. In addition to district wide in-service days, teachers engage in professional development activities through enrollment in graduate-level courses, workshops, professional visitations, and independent study.
Kings Road School’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is very active in supporting the school and fundraising to provide the students with enriching activities that support the curriculum. The PTO develops parent volunteer programs for various school functions that include assemblies, school beautification projects, and special events at the school. The highlights of the school year included the Fall Fair, fall and spring book fairs, school and family social events.
The school is strongly supported by the community. The Fire Department, the Police Department, and the Recreation Department provide programs and services that provide safety and sports programs for our students.
Central Avenue School (K-5) – Basic education, enrichment opportunities and special needs programs are provided to 485 students with 21 classroom teachers. The full time staff includes a librarian, a nurse, physical education teachers, resource room teachers, reading and math specialists a technology teacher, art teachers and vocal and instrumental music teachers. The part time staff includes teachers who specialize in world language, and English as a Second Language.
Central Avenue School offers regular instruction in the areas of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, reading, physical education, art and vocal music. District-wide efforts to meet content standards continue. In the area of mathematics, emphasis focused on development, instructional practice and evaluation of problem-solving abilities; appropriate calculator use; and the mastery of computational skills. Problem-solving evaluation consists of pre- and post-assessments and portfolio activities. Writing workshop settings resulting in language arts portfolios, combined with skill instruction, demonstrate our efforts to meet language arts/literacy standards. Strategies for reading fiction and non-fiction help students attain those standards as well. Authentic performance-based science assessments provide students with opportunities to demonstrate their understanding of science facts and concepts, as well as their application of scientific inquiry learned in our elementary science program. There is an elementary World Language Program for students in grades 4 through 5.
The development of curricula has been designed to fulfill the requirements of the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. We continue to upgrade our mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, comprehensive health and physical education, and arts programs in accordance with both state and national standards.
Professional staff development programs during the year have focused upon the technology, readers’ and writers’ workshops, integrating writing into all subject areas, hands-on activities for science and math, Cooperative Learning, Differentiated Instruction, and Inclusion. Throughout the year, teachers attend professional conferences and workshops to keep them at the cutting edge of awareness concerning the most recent educational practices and procedures. These teachers share new ideas and strategies with colleagues in order to enhance student learning.
Our school continues to promote the concept of “Parents as Partners” by insuring parental involvement in many areas of our school. Parent volunteers serve in the library, as Literacy Volunteers, as teachers’ clerical aides, as chaperones for class trips parties and special classroom events, and as lunch and recess helpers. They form a key component of the International Holiday Program for grades kindergarten through five, Rose City Reader Celebrations, Mystery Reader Program, Book Fairs, and many other Central Avenue School events. Parents also partner with staff in many school beautification projects including a new “Children’s Reading Garden” where students can go outside to enjoy the tranquility of a beautiful natural setting while reading and meditating.
In March, 2010 our school math team participated in the New Jersey Mathematics League contest for fourth and fifth graders. Students in grades five also participated in the fourteenth International Math Olympiad contest.
Central Avenue School is a truly place where students, teachers, administrators and parents all work together to create an environment where everyone shares in the joy of learning.
Torey J. Sabatini School (K-5) – Nestled in the midst of a quiet residential neighborhood, many of the parents often walk their children to school. The learning environment offers each of the approximately 262 children the opportunity to feel heard and to establish positive relationships with students and staff. The culture supports rigorous academics while fostering the type of social culture that encourages children to feel emotionally safe, enabling them to fulfill every facet of their academic and social potential.
Torey J. Sabatini School has adopted the Responsive Classroom as its character education program. Establishing character education as a priority reflects a clear determination to be proactive in the social/emotional area of child development. Every class at TJS begins their day with a morning meeting in which students greet each other, share, engage in group activities and review their day. This is the type of activity that will hopefully establish an empathetic culture among peers within the school. The long term hope is that, through this process, students will be more likely to engage in positive patterns of behavior as they progress through school.
TJS and the other two elementary schools in Madison are placing tremendous emphasis into developing a highly effective writing program. Consultants from Columbia Teachers’ College have worked closely with all classroom teachers in grades one through five to develop a writers’ workshop program. The goal is to empower students to see themselves as authors, and to establish writing as a natural mode of communication. Every classroom utilizes the Units of Study series by Lucy Calkins as a guide for their writing programs. A significant level of energy is focused on working within genres of writing, such as personal narrative, poetry, and how to books. Specific topics are left up to the students’ discretion. Teachers and students confer and review the writing process on a regular basis, and specific instruction is culled from those conferences.
TJS also places value on supporting its staff professionally so they can better serve the students and grow as a faculty. Teachers and staff regularly attend conferences and workshops, and oftentimes have training made available to them on site. Areas of concentration for continuing professional development have been character education (Responsive Classroom), balanced literacy, NJ ASK preparation, writer’s workshop, differentiated instruction and a variety of intervention strategies. The reading specialist at TJS has been trained in Reading Recovery and is a tremendous resource to students and staff.
TJS has moved to a balanced literacy system of providing literacy instruction, with guided reading in primary grades and readers’ workshop in the intermediate grades. Classrooms are language-rich environments, with many read alouds, choral reading, readers’ theater, and environmental print throughout the classroom. Emphasis has been placed on training teachers and staff in balanced literacy practice.
TJS serves to enrich instruction on a variety of levels. The gifted and talented teacher supervises a number of enrichment activities designed for the gifted students. There is a half-time basic skills instructor who supplements classroom instruction for students in need of a little extra. This instruction may take place either in the classroom or in a small group structure outside of the regular classroom. The Reading Recovery teacher serves individual first grade students with significant needs in reading acquisition, while following up with small groups in grades one and two. Services for students with special learning needs are always provided with a focus on the student’s least restrictive educational environment.
The Madison Elementary School Program has fully implemented a new science curriculum in which hands-on science modules thrust the student into the role of scientist and researcher. The science modules contain a full array of experiments and activities to ensure the students learn the scientific basis through direct experience of such units as pond life, simple machines, the circulatory system, and phases of the moon to name a few. Each of the modules is backed by a full complement of literature to supplement the hands-on learning.
Every classroom at TJS is equipped with a Smartboard and LCD projector. Each classroom has at least one computer and each hallway has a cart of wireless computers that are easily accessed. There is a central computer lab with twenty-five desktop computers. This is where the students receive computer instruction on a weekly basis. The computer lab is also available for students to use for research projects when scheduled by their classroom teacher.
TJS provides a variety of supplementary offerings. Music, physical education, art and library are taught to students in grades kindergarten through five. Spanish is the world language taught at TJS and it is provided to grades four and five. Grades four and five take part in chorus on an extra-curricular basis every week. TJS also has a very active instrumental music program. There is both a band (brass, woodwinds and percussion) and an orchestra (strings) and individual lessons are provided to students starting in grade four. An extracurricular drama club presents an age appropriate production each year in the spring and Young Playwrights works with a group of students after school in the fall to develop selected dramatic pieces that can be performed before the student body. Arts are a crucial component to the academic culture at TJS and artistic efforts are supported wholeheartedly.
An active PTO supports the school in a myriad of ways, funding special projects (climbing wall, sound system in the all-purpose room, playground equipment), providing constant communication to TJS families through the website, sponsoring cultural arts events and educational enrichment activities and volunteering in classrooms to instruct students in notable modes of art through “awesome art”. There are also a number of PTO celebrations aimed at parents and their children throughout the year.
TJS is striving to establish high standards of academic achievement while fostering a rich educational environment that supports the learning and social/emotional needs of every child.
Madison Junior High School (6-8) – Madison Junior School is a three-year comprehensive junior school with an enrollment of approximately 540 students. The building was opened in 1911 and originally served as the district’s high school. The goals of Madison Junior School are not only to give our students the educational foundations for success but also to enable them to become young men and women of worthwhile character. We believe that it is the student, as a whole, that needs our guidance.
The Madison Junior School is committed to academic excellence and the students continue to achieve high scores on all standardized tests (currently the NJASK for all grades). We are able to achieve high honors through the hard work and dedication of our students and staff and the active involvement of our parents. Madison Junior School continually evaluates its programs to ensure that its students are well served to become productive leaders in society. During the 2009-10 school year, a new course in Mandarin was implemented as well as a Robotics Club, both of which are well-received by students, parents, faculty, and administration. Our sixth, seventh and eighth grades are organized around the team model where the four core academic teachers: math, language arts, social studies, and science, are assigned to a common group of students. Each grade is comprised of two teams. One of the teachers serves as a team leader and orchestrates daily team meetings/coordination of tests and other activities. In addition, this model enables the teachers to not only have a common planning period but also to coordinate interdisciplinary lessons. Madison Junior School offers its students a variety of elective courses, which enhance its overall academic program.
The faculty and staff strive to develop young adults of integrity and character who continue to be contributing members of the community. Character Education and Service Learning are emphasized as an integral part of our students’ junior school experience. The Madison Junior School provides numerous opportunities in academics, clubs, and community involvement. Over 90% of our students are actively involved in our music program. Students in our band, orchestra, and chorus perform at concerts, assemblies and at various competitions, where they excel and consistently receive superior ratings. Additionally, we have a comprehensive advisory program, as well as groups such as Peer Leaders, Student Council, Peer Mediators, Green Team, R.E.B.E.L. and the Bill of Rights Club.
The school is supported by a very active and dedicated Parent Teacher Organization, which supports and enhances many of the programs available to our students. The Madison Education Foundation has also been of great support to our school by encouraging teachers to apply for grants to supplement the educational program. We have developed partnerships with the local community center, teen center, and various other local organizations. Through these partnerships we are able to foster educational, emotional, and personal growth in our students that will prepare them not only for high school but also for life. It is relationships like these that help make Madison Junior School a very special place.
Madison High School (9-12) – Madison High School is an outstanding comprehensive high school of 775 students that has been praised by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools for providing “a rich, broad and diverse educational program” for its students. The curriculum is designed to meet the needs and abilities of all students with a variety of courses being offered. Each of the past three years has seen innovation in existing courses and the addition of new courses. Madison High School offers five world languages in addition to a full array of academic courses in English, history, science, and mathematics. Sixteen (16) Advanced Placement courses and many honors courses are available. Through our Middle College Program, with Fairleigh Dickinson University, students are able to earn college credit for selected high school courses.
The district has made a commitment to increasing the rigor in its already challenging curriculum while supporting students with different learning needs and styles. Typically, 90% of our graduates attend college. Over 50% of our students who attend 4 year colleges are matriculating at schools that are categorized as very, highly or most competitive. Madison High School enjoys an excellent reputation with colleges and universities who recognize the strong preparation provided by our dedicated faculty. The guidance staff is diligent in making and maintaining relationships with college admissions officers. Over 70% of our staff members hold advanced degrees.
In addition to a rich academic environment, Madison High School provides its students with opportunities for growth in the important areas of character and service. Dozens of clubs and 22 interscholastic sports are available for students to learn leadership, teamwork, discipline, and commitment. We are proud of our Peer Group Connections Program (formally know as the Personal Development Program), a freshman orientation and guidance program led by upperclassmen that has served students since 1971. Our music program is rich in both curricular and extracurricular opportunities. Among the offerings in music are an orchestra, concert band, chorus, jazz band, guitar ensemble, music theatre, and an award-winning marching band. Beginning with the class of 2011, all students will be required to participate in our newly adopted service-learning program. Students will fulfill this annual requirement by engaging in service related projects at all Madison schools, as well as in the surrounding community. Emphasis will be placed on using the skills and concepts learned in the classroom to meet emergent community needs.
Madison High School enjoys strong community support. It is not unusual for parents of our students to have graduated from Madison High School. They have a strong connection with the school and a respect for its tradition of academic excellence and strong sense of community. We are very fortunate to have many parents with special talents (often in the corporate world) that they enthusiastically share with the school. Madison High School also enjoys the benefits of our sending-receiving relationship with Harding Township, a nearby K-8 school district. Students from Harding and Madison become a cohesive class in their four years together.
We continue to implement numerous programs and strategies to support our students, improve technology programs and infrastructure, and increase school-community partnerships. All of the aforementioned initiatives are the result of a district-wide strategic planning process the school system is currently undertaking.
Newly renovated areas of the school include a state-of-the-art library/media center, expanded music and art facilities, an auxiliary gymnasium, as well as new and renovated science classrooms. The construction project was completed in August 2008 and the new facilities have had a significant impact on the quality of the educational experiences we offer our students.
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