Welcome to the Office of Curriculum and Instruction
On this site, you find information pertaining to many of the initiatives and programs facilitated through this office, including:
- Administration of State Testing: NJSLA for Math, ELA, & Science
- Development, Evaluation, and Revision of Curriculum Documents
- Development and Facilitation of Curriculum Benchmarks/ SGOs
- Administration of District Testing - MAP, SRI, F&P, etc.
- Professional Development
Should you have any questions about any of these topics, or any other information pertaining to this office, please do not hesitate to contact me.
To get an idea what I personally think learning should look and feel like, feel free to view this video clip from Classroom Closeup of my math class in Burlington City. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (and still do)! :)
Some of the initatives within the Curriculum & Instruction Department include
Teacher Evaluation & the Danielson Model
In compliance with state regulation to choose a specific teacher evaluation model within the given parameters, Palmyra has chosen the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching. Details on the teacher evaluation program from the NJ DOE are available on the initial EE4NJ page archived here or the new Achieve NJ page available here.
District Evaluation Advisory Committee (DEAC):
The district has effectively worked together to implement the new evaluation model, complete with SGOs, SGPs, and observation of teacher practice using the Danielson rubric. One component of ensuring effective collaboration has been the DEAC (District Evaluation Advisory Committee), which includes representatives from all stakeholder groups and is instrumental in keeping all stakeholders informed throughout the evaluation process. While the DEAC is no longer required by the state, the Palmyra School District still calls upon this committee as needed to collaboratively solve problems and make recommendations regarding the observation and evaluation process.
Our 2020-2021 Palmyra DEAC team includes:
- Catherine Blatchley (Teacher - CSS)
- Ken Holloway (C.A.P.O., PMS Principal)
- Melanie Gerner (Teacher – CSS)
- Renee Hoffecker (Teacher - CSS)
- Lianne Kane (Child Study Team Supervisor)
- Brian McBride (Superintendent)
- Jennifer McCoy (Counselor- PHS)
- Amanda Milewski (Teacher-CSS)
- Lynn Mills (Teacher - CSS)
- Michele Reisinger (Teacher- PHS)
- Lisa Sabo (PHS Principal)
- Stacy Saia (Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction)
- Lauren Schmidt (Counselor - PHS)
- Chris Tracey (CSS Principal)
- Danielle Willard (Teacher- PHS)
In addition to the Palmyra DEAC, each building has developed its own ScIP (School Improvement Panel), designed to ensure, oversee, and support the implementation of the district's evalution, professional development, and mentoring policies at the school level. The ScIP also guarantees that teachers have a strong voice and significant opportunity to help shape evaluation procedures within each school.
Moving forward, additional information will be updated on the Achieve NJ Teacher Evaluation page, navigable via the menu on the left of this page.
Professional Development at Palmyra
Professional development has become a major focus in Palmyra Public Schools. We realize that the most impactful factor in a child's learning is their teacher, and that the most important component of effective teaching is meaningful, sustained, and relevant professional growth opportunities. We strive to provide a wide array of professional development offerings, spanning multiple modalities, methods, and topics. In the past years, staff have maximized the various types of professional development opportunities offered. Many staff members utilize online professional development through Simple K12 and various other platforms available to district staff.
In addition to online learning, staff participate in several in-service days over the course of the year that invited external experts in to speak with teachers on topics including special education, 21st Century Skills and Themes, effective instructional strategies, and targeting improvement in mathematical and literacy skills. Teachers are also encouraged to seek out external workshops for job-specific growth. Numerous teachers have taken advantage of this opportunity to bring back research-based ideas to the district and share them with their colleagues.
Additional information regarding professional development will be available on the Professional Development page, navigable via the menu on the left of this page. On this page, you will also find several resources for classroom activities and formative assessment. Enjoy!
MAP Testing in Palmyra
Palmyra will continue to utilize the MAP tests, short for "Measures of Academic Progress" tests, to track annual progress for all students grades K-8 in mathematics ONLY. The testing schedule for each school year is as follows:
- All students grades K-8 complete the NWEA MAP Mathematics Assessment in the Fall Testing Season for a fresh baseline (last week in September)
- All students are tested in the Winter Testing Season (first full week in January) to collect formative data on progress. This data is used by staff to inform instructional planning and check student growth.
- All students are tested again in the Spring Testing Season (late April for K-5 and mid May for 6-8) to collect data on final growth. This is used by building and district staff to review instructional effectiveness and check student growth.
For further information on MAP testing, including archived information, normative data, and parent support, please see the "State and District Assessments" page in the menu bar on the left.
SRI Testing in Palmyra
In addition to math testing through NWEA MAP for grades K-8, the district has also adopted the use of Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) to track annual reading progress and growth for all students grades K-8. The testing schedule for each school year is as follows:
- All students grades K-8 complete the SRI Reading Assessment in the Fall Testing Season for a fresh baseline (last week in October)
- All students are tested in the Winter Testing Season (mid February) to collect formative data on progress. This data is used by staff to inform instructional planning and check student growth.
- All students are tested again in the Spring Testing Season (late April) to collect data on final growth. This is used by building and district staff to review instructional effectiveness and check student growth.
For further information on the Scholastic Reading Inventory, please see the "State and District Assessments" page in the menu bar on the left.
New Jersey Student Learning Standards
The New Jersey Student Learning Standards include Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards, as well as nine K-12 standards for the following content areas:
- 21st Century Life and Careers
- Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
- English Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Visual and Performing Arts
- World Languages
The most recent review and revision of the comprehensive set of standards occurred in 2014. However, the standards in language arts and math underwent an additional review in 2015 with adoption by the New Jersey State Board of Education in May 2016. With this new adoption in May 2016, Palmyra Public Schools re-aligned their curriculum, instruction, and assessments to reflect the updated New Jersey Learning Standards.
To read more about the New Jersey Learning Standards implemented in Palmyra Public Schools or the Model Curriculum developed by the state, visit the New Jersey Learning Standards page along the left side of this page.
NJ State Assessments - NJSLA for ELA, Math, & Science
We are still awaiting the full 2020- 2021 state testing schedule from the NJ Department of Education. Once it becomes available, information will be shared here.
For more information on state and district testing, please visit the "State and District Assessments" page via the link in the top left menu.
The core component of my responsibilities in Palmyra is the oversight of the district curriculum. Since I have arrived in Palmyra almost six years ago, the district has been working tirelessly to evaluate and revise its curriculum to support the evolving needs of the student population. Curriculum changes include ongoing efforts to align to the most updated state and national standards, incoporation of best pedagogical practices to support invested and engaged learning environments, and a shift toward backmapping to reach the big ideas and away from textbook-driven decisions. Curriculum is being re-written in a new format housed within the district's OnCourse system so that it can be linked directly to teacher's lesson plans.
Below are some valuable overall resources for curricular support that can be used by teachers, students, and parents.
Reading and NJSLA ELA Resources Online