Office of Curriculum & Instruction
Westwood Regional School District
Here, in the Westwood Regional School District, we are deeply committed to fostering progressive, research-based practices that support the personalization of learning for all students in the district. This website is designed to provide you with access to information and resources about the educational experience in our district to help you feel more connected to what our students are learning in the classroom to prepare them for success.
Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment News
Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, the district will offer the following new curricula:
- a Theatre unit in the K-5 Music Curriculum
- a Dance unit in the K-5 Physical Education/Health Curriculum
- Filmmaking III
- a Grade 8 Physical Education Wellness unit
- AP French
- Pull-out instruction using the Defined STEM curriculum for students in grades K-3 who are identified as being gifted & talented. Defined STEM provides real-world, project based learning experiences on a wide variety of topics. Please note participation in this program is dependent upon identification criteria that evolve over the years; a student identified in K-3 may not qualify for the program in later years.
- Revised Physics curricula at the high school level
We are excited to continue to expand our offerings to meet the diverse needs and interests of our students.
The district's Reading Workshop Professional Development in grades K-7 has gone very well this year, and the students are enjoying the implementation of the new program.
Reader's Workshop is a framework for literacy instruction that provides students with a supportive environment and involves them in authentic reading experiences that focus on the strengths and needs of each individual student. It features the following:
-daily, extended time working with authentic texts
-classroom libraries of leveled books
-opportunities for talk a priority
-students read and practice strategies in “just right” books
Lessons consist of a teacher-led mini-lesson that focuses on a specific reading strategy, a demonstration of the strategy in a sample or mentor text, guided practice of the strategy, and then time for students to try the strategy on their own through independent, leveled texts that are just right for them.
Here are a few comments from teachers about what they are seeing and how they feel about the model:
New Dual Enrollment Classes Added at Jr/Sr High School
There are several new dual enrollment courses at the high school this year. We have partnered with Bergen Community College (BCC) to offer credit for the following:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Introduction to Psychology
- French IV Honors and CP
- Spanish IV Honors and CP
- Italian IV Honors and CP
- English IV Honors and CP
The cost for these classes is 50% of the current BCC tuition rate. Students who receive a grade of 70% or higher for the course will receive BCC credit. This partnership illustrates our commitment to providing new opportunities for students. For more information about our additional dual enrollment offerings, please click here.
Kindergarten registration has begun!
In-person Kindergarten registration started on January 15 and continues through January 25. Late registrations will be accepted starting January 26. For registration information, please visit this link.
Updated and blended curricula are being implemented
Within the past 12 months, teachers in the district have worked with the Assistant Superintendent to put our curricula into Atlas, our curriculum mapping software program. The end of the project is nearing, and we are pleased to report roughly 320 curricula have been updated during this past year! Not only are our curricula completely up-to-date, they feature blended lessons as well. Part of the district's strategic plan is to offer new and innovative curricula. Here is the progress we have made so far:
- Summer 2017 - 25 grades 6-12 teachers created 75 blended lessons called playlists for their curricula. Time to “tweak” them was provided on the October professional day.
- October 2017 - 11 grades 6-12 teachers participated in Flipped Classroom professional development with the Bergen Educational Technology Training Center (ETTC). Time to implement what was learned was provided on the October professional day
- January 2018 - grades 6-7 teachers created additional playlists during the January professional day
- K-12 ESL and grades 6-12 Spanish teachers received new blended learning resources for their curricula this year.
We are proud to offer and to continually develop progressive curricula that meet the needs and interests of our students. Our teachers work very hard to ensure our curricula are detailed and meaningful.
School Performance Reports Released
The New Jersey Department of Education recently released the 2016-2017 school performance reports.
The School Performance Reports reflect the NJDOE's extensive efforts to engage with parents, students and school communities about what information is most valuable in providing a picture of overall school performance. Communities are encouraged to work together and can use these reports to:
- Learn more: The School Performance Reports contain a wealth of data, going far beyond a school's test scores to include information about the staff working in a school, student discipline rates, industry-valued credentials and preschool and Kindergarten offerings.
- Ask questions: All members of school community are encouraged to use the reports to help start local conversations by asking questions, such as: "Are our students on track for success? Are all of our students making progress from last year? What areas is our school doing well in, and in what areas might we need improvement?"
Click here to see the data for the Westwood Regional School District.
The Student-Centered Math Classroom
On the January 15, 2018 Professional Day, members of the Grades 6-12 Math Department will participate in a workshop called "The Student-Centered Math Classroom." Participants will explore best practices in creating a student-centered, inquiry driven 21st-century technology-enhanced math classroom. Teachers will take on a student role throughout the day and will walk away with dynamic math tools and instructional strategies to improve and highlight mathematical communication. They will also develop a formative assessment system that supports differentiation and flexible grouping and formulate an effective means to blend and flip math instruction. Teachers will explore student voice and how students understand more deeply when they can communicate their findings, wonderings, and thoughts through creation. The workshop focus is hands-on to develop a portfolio of strategies and tools for math classroom instruction. The goal is for each participant to complete the workshop with a toolkit of new instructional designs for their math classroom!
Reading and Writing Workshop Professional Development
The district has contracted with Gravity Goldberg, LLC to conduct 29 days of professional development on the Reading and Writing Workshop Model with grades K-7 teachers this school year. During each session, the Gravity Goldberg coach introduces a workshop component to the teachers and then models it in an actual classroom. That way, our teachers are able to see the teaching strategies in action and can debrief what they observed with the consultant afterward. The efforts of the outside trainers are being supported by our own in-house Literacy Coach, Danielle Councilor. The district decided to move to the Reading and Writing Workshop approach after surveying parents/guardians and teachers during the last school year. The results of those surveys overwhelmingly supported a switch to this model of instruction.
Parent/Guardian Surveys for G&T and Social Studies
We are in the process of surveying parents/guardians on our Gifted and Talented programming and our K-12 Social Studies Curriculum. Please take a moment to complete these surveys by December 22, 2017. Your input is valued and appreciated. It will help shape our future programming.
Gifted and Talented Grades K-7 - please only complete this survey if your child is part of the G&T program.
Revised NJDOE Science Assessments Coming Spring 2018
The New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) is in the final phase of the state-required procurement process for the new science assessments that will be administered this school year. The NJDOE expects the procurement process to be finalized in the coming weeks, at which time they will release detailed information and guidance for districts on the new science assessments. However, to assist school districts in preparation for such changes, the NJDOE has provided the following information so far:
- The science assessments will be administered in grades 5, 8 and 11. There will be no 4th -grade science assessment this school year. The grade 11 high school assessment will be a comprehensive science assessment rather than an end-of-course high school biology assessment.
- The new science assessments will be computer-based tests and will feature technology-enhanced items.
- The new science assessments will be administered in spring 2018 and will be aligned to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for Science, which all school districts were required to implement by the 2017-18 school year.
As described above, once the procurement process is finalized, information and guidance about testing dates, procedures and other operational details will be released to districts. This information will be relayed to the Westwood Regional parents/guardians once it is available.