Beers Street School is a community of students, teachers, parents, administrators, and local businesspeople who value a progressive and constructive view towards children’s learning, diversity, and personal and social responsibility. The mission of its members is to provide a caring, safe, and stimulating environment in which each student can discover and develop his or her innate abilities within the context of preparing for higher education, future careers, good citizenship, and global involvement. Our mascot, the bulldog, represents strength, loyalty and tenacity, traits we strive to emulate. The district curricula we follow have been defined by research, experience, national benchmarks, and core standards which together define essential understandings, knowledge and skills to be developed by all of our students. We are determined to help them exceed these standards through a variety of authentic experiences that match their interests, abilities, and varied rates of intellectual and emotional development at the grade 5-6 level. Our highly qualified and specialized teachers actively participate in sustained professional development based on identified areas of need and essential teaching behaviors. In several subject areas, we follow a co-teaching/inclusion model; unit planning is collaborative and cross-curricular; and student performance data from a variety of sources are regularly collected and analyzed to individualize instruction. Beers Street staff regularly join forces with their cross-town counterparts at Cove Road School, as well as two sending lower elementary schools, Middle Road and Raritan Valley, and Hazlet Middle School to provide a unified educational program. The major academic subjects at this level utilize a hands-on, inquiry-based, multimodal approach. Health classes create anti-bullying video public services announcements, shared online. A civics unit includes a mock election. Math students manipulate 3-D forms to learn about real-world geometry. Science students build ecosystems in two fully equipped labs. Special area instruction includes physical education, art, music, computers, health education, and media/research skills. Students may choose to be part of a concert band. The student enrichment program expands on writing, performing arts, creative thinking and problem solving skills. Basic skills support is available to help students improve achievement, and resource rooms and small self-contained classrooms are designed for students' special needs. Students experience Spanish language and cultural experience in the first trimester. English language learners (ELL) have targeted support. Response to intervention techniques help identify particular strengths and needs to develop individual education plans for the majority of students. An integrated and assertive anti-harassment, intimidation and bullying program has helped build a safe educational climate in which students can feel comfortable to learn and be themselves. Beers Street School has a varied history dating back to its origins in 1958. From 2001-2009, it was one of six kindergarten through sixth grade schools in the Hazlet Township public school district. Prior to that it was a middle school, and before that an upper elementary, which it returned to in 2009-2010 with a focus on grades 5 and 6. It has been highly diverse in terms of native languages and special education, acting as the magnet ELL school and serving students with a variety of learning disabilities. A highly active Parent-Teacher Organization has worked with families, staff and students to sponsor activities that have included assemblies, gardening, art appreciation, career days, cultural events, murals, fundraising, and many after-hour, family-oriented events, all of which adhere to our philosophy of building a community. Beers Street regularly opens its doors to visitors with concerts, evening events, and curriculum-based fairs, and draws on local services like the fire and police departments, county sheriff's office, YMCA, NJ Transit, Hazlet Drug Alliance and the mayor's office. Our students walk up the road each month to local health care centers to share time with senior citizens, and fifth and sixth graders have offered in-house, six-week computer courses to the “more experienced” generations. Based on student interest and imagination, we have offered student-guided recess activities such as the Acoustic, Art, Building, Charity, Cooking, Dance, Game, Science/Nature, Photography/Video, and Technology Clubs, competitive events like Odyssey of the Mind, Science League, Math League, Geography Bee, Spelling Bee, and extracurriculars like Yearbook, Drama, Community Club, Reading Club, and Peer Mediation. Beers Street students, parents and staff have made helping others an educational opportunity, supporting local and national causes through sponsorship activities like Math-a-thons, Walk-a-thons, Pennies for Patients, and Hoops for Heart, and food, clothing, and toy drives. Our students have learned about and helped others with cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, autism, multiple sclerosis, and families with connections to 9-11, as well as such organizations like Hazlet's RAINE, the Deborah Children’s Hospital, the Make-a-Wish foundation, Saint Jude’s, Sylvia's Children and the Mbiriizi School in Uganda, schools in Guatemala, the Susan Komer Foundation, and the Ken Tientjen Memorial Foundation. Our celebrations highlight healthy living and social responsibility, with Red Ribbon Week, Veteran’s Day, International Peace Day, Cultural Day, Fitness/Nutrition Weeks, Family Activity Night, and Turn Off Your TV Week, to name a few. We welcome the opportunity to mentor student teachers from area universities. For the past four years we have been a part of a district initiative with Monmouth University, which yielded sustained professional development in unit planning, Understanding by Design, essential teaching practices, and evaluative methods. Our Professional Development Academy and building Professional Development Committee have helped create professional learning communities that have brought together the brightest minds to help spark new ideas for teaching and learning.
Our faculty and students have forged ahead with innovative educational technologies like wireless devices and multimedia, video conferencing, LeapPads, digital video editing, and adult training, while always critically assessing how such technologies can enhance learning. Students are educated on the safe and effective use of web resources, and we have offered additional parent workshops on internet safety, basic skills, reading, and math. Parents and students have access 24/7 to grade information via a Realtime online portal. All classrooms have multiple computers loaded with academic software. The school has iPods and iPads for staff and students to use. The computer, math, and science labs are each equipped with a Smartboard and projector, as is the self contained special education classroom. Multi-laptop mobile labs, six computers and projectors on wheels (COWs), and a media center mini-lab capable of distance learning with Mac and PC computers allow students access at any time of the day. Students take digital photographs and edit video for school year presentations and design and layout the school yearbook. Our continued focus on 21st Century Skills also includes preparing students for future careers, multiple literacies, and global citizenship. Most importantly, we value the background and ideas that students bring to the classroom, and use them to steer the school and classrooms towards meaningful experiences.