2015-16 BEERS STREET SCHOOL NARRATIVE
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.
Beers Street School is proud to be recognized along with all of the other schools in the Hazlet Township Public School District for receiving the title of an accredited institution from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. An “Accredited” institution is an educational organization that meets all MSA Standards for Accreditation, adheres to applicable MSA policies, and meets the requirements of the self-study protocol used. The institution agrees to adhere to all the requirements for maintenance of accreditation.
The district curricula we follow have been defined by research, experience, national benchmarks, and common 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 School staff regularly joins forces with their cross-town counterparts at Cove Road School, as well as two sending lower elementary schools, Middle Road Elementary School and Raritan Valley Elementary School, 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 include anti-bullying topics. 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 science labs. Special area instruction includes physical education, art, music, computers, and media/research skills. Students may choose to be part of a concert band and or chorus. 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.
Our faculty and students have forged ahead with innovative educational technologies like wireless devices and multimedia, video conferencing, digital video editing, 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 parent portal system. All classrooms have desktop computers loaded with academic software and every instructional classroom is equipped with an interactive Smart Board. The school also uses desktops in the Enrichment Room, Computer Lab and Media Center. Staff and students have direct access to laptops, iPads and Google Chromebooks. Students are encouraged to participate in 21st Century learning by taking 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.
Beers Street School has a varied history dating back to its origins in 1958. From 2001-2009, it was one of six kindergartens 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, 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-hours, family-oriented events, all of which adhere to our philosophy of building a community. Beers Street School 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, Hazlet Drug Alliance, RAINE and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. We offer our students with opportunity to compete in several events like Odyssey of the Mind, Science and Math League, Geography Bee, Spelling Bee, and offer extracurricular activities like Yearbook, Drama, Community, and Reading Clubs.
To encourage citizenship and promote a healthy and safe school environment, the students at Beers Street School participate in the BARK LOUD program. Students are awarded every month for demonstrating excellent behavior, having a positive attitude towards school, acting in a responsible manner and always showing that they are striving for knowledge. In addition to acknowledging behavioral traits, our students also are awarded for their academic success by accomplishing to meet the criteria in our academic award program. Students are provided a Bulldog, Teacher or Principal scholar based on academic performance in all content areas. These awards are provided to the students in a formal end of the marking period ceremony. The students are always challenged to participate in monthly contests encompassing, visual arts, writing and creativty. Whether it may be writing a poem on respect or an essay on safety concerns, we always encourage the students to take a stand and voice their opinions.
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 Susan Komer Foundation, and the Ken Tietjen Memorial Foundation. Our celebrations highlight healthy living and social responsibility, with the Week of Respect, Red Ribbon Week, School Violence Awareness Week, Veteran’s Day, Cultural Day, Fitness/Nutrition Weeks, Family Activity Night, to name a few. We welcome the opportunity to mentor student teachers from area universities. For the past six 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.
Overall, Beers Street School is more than a school. It’s a community for caring and learning and help’s to fortify the Hazlet Township Public school’s Mission of “Education our students …to achieve their maximum potential.”