“EXCELLENCE ON THE HILL”
A major attraction of Watchung is its traditionally outstanding elementary school. Dedicated to excellence, Bayberry School offers a rare combination of enriched quality education and the advantages of a small school. We began our new preschool program in September 2012, adding three and four year old students to our kindergarten through fourth grade enrollment. The Creative Curriculum for Preschool is utilized to prepare the students for a smooth transition into our kindergarten program.
Our motto, “Excellence on the Hill,” truly expresses life at Bayberry. The school is nestled on a quiet, hilly lane surrounded by trees and wildlife. Inside there is an atmosphere of vitality that permeates the building. Hallways are filled with eager, smiling students whose work is proudly displayed on every wall. Student activities begin before school and continue well into the afternoon and early evening.
Bayberry School’s configuration can be described as a tree whose branches reach out and embrace the community. The active PTO is continually planning fundraisers and activities to support the educational program. This year, they provided the funds for e-readers in our fourth grade, new playground equipment for our preschool and younger children, along with grant money for special subject teachers. The Watchung Educational Foundation helps to fund additional programs and activities for our students and teachers. This year, they purchased thirty iPads with charging stations for our schools. Their “Minutes to Win It” Reading Incentive Program allowed classroom teachers to receive $200.00 grants for Language Arts Literacy. Through our PTO Community Outreach program and the Bayberry Community Service Club, our students are encouraged to develop a life long commitment of service to others and an acute sensitivity towards difference and diversity. Parents are viewed as our partners in education and assist during the school day in classrooms, our library and in the lunchroom. Community groups, police and fire departments, the mayor, members of the borough council and state government, visit our school annually and work with our students.
Bayberry’s outstanding teachers are truly the bedrock of the school. They are a highly professional group of life long learners who constantly strive to improve the art and craft of their teaching. All teachers are involved in Professional Learning Communities. The collaborative team is the engine that drives the school. Veteran teachers serve as mentors to new teachers and a teacher liaison at each grade level coordinate weekly grade level meetings with their team. In-service days are held periodically during the school year to present models, exemplars, and strategies to enhance our curriculum and teaching. Teachers conduct our after-school programs. Students are involved in clubs such as Girls on the Run, Peer Mediators, Community Service, Literature, and Sports. Family Math, Family Reading Night, and Family Fun Night are all held in the early evening so all parents and students may participate.
Character education is integrated into all aspects of school life through monthly character traits, cooperative activities, peace journals and the character quote of the day. Our students participate in a service-learning project with their grade level peers. Projects have included helping with a local food bank, senior citizens, and those less fortunate in our county and state. All of these programs have a direct impact on the positive climate throughout the school.
The curricula focus on the N.J. Core Curriculum Content Standards and the Common Core Standards for Language Arts and Mathematics. Students are encouraged to read each night and reading incentive projects are developed through our reading specialist. Students use math manipulatives and talk about their thinking and problem solving in math class. An inquiry-centered approach to science supports the way children learn and is easily integrated with other areas of the curriculum. In social studies, students learn how the decisions and events of the past affect their lives today. Our SOAR program is available to challenge academically gifted students. The BLT program offers additional enriching programs such as chess, poetry, geography and cartooning to name a few. The program is available for all interested students during their lunchtime. Our World Language Program begins in kindergarten. Teachers use the Muzzy Spanish Program in kindergarten through third grade. Our fourth grade students learn Latin through the use of Rosetta Stone.
Teachers and students use technology as a tool to enhance their learning throughout the day. Classrooms are equipped with internet-connected computers. A computer lab is available for whole class lessons. SmartBoards are used in the classrooms, the library and computer lab. All classes use a distance-learning lab. Students have interacted with NASA scientists, nationally known paleontologists, as well as students in schools across the country. This year the teachers began using the Atlas Rubicon Curriculum Mapping Software. Grade level and subject area teachers work collaboratively to create curriculum maps and lesson plans.
Bayberry School will continue to provide exceptional educational opportunities for all its students. Our school family of students, teachers, parents, and community support our mission to introduce the young child to formal learning by building a foundation of knowledge and skills within a nurturing environment that promotes self-confidence, encourages love of learning and celebrates the uniqueness of each child.
Watchung Borough Schools