Pequannock Valley School is a community of learners consisting of approximately 462 students in grades six through eight. All grades are organized around a teaming approach where teachers are assigned to common groups of students. This allows for a coordinated approach to instruction and the possibility for interdisciplinary or thematic units within teams. It also encourages teachers to collaborate in helping students reach their educational potential.
Each of our grades is organized into two teams. Each of these teams shares four academic teachers. These teachers have common planning time and coordinate instruction within and across disciplines. Sixth graders receive academic instruction in English, Math, Social Studies and Science. A 21st Century Skills course sets the foundation for a safe school environment for all sixth graders. In grades six through eight students take elective courses in three areas: Visual and Performing Arts, Technology and Engineering and Business. Students can choose to take French or Spanish starting in Grade 6 and continue their study of the language through high school. Students also take Physical Education and Health during the school year.
The focus of our instructional program is help students become independent learners in preparation for high school and beyond. The acquisition of essential skills is most important as students progress through our educational system. A staff of approximately sixty professionals provides instruction for our student body with this goal in mind. We recognize the importance of students as active learners and encourage them to use higher level thinking skills and a variety of instructional approaches to construct knowledge in the classroom. Cooperative learning, active participation, student research, and long-term projects are typical of the activities that help students achieve these goals. We recognize student differences in terms of learning styles and sense modalities and we plan instructional activities that honor these differences. Pequannock Valley School has a National Junior Honor Society Chapter that recognizes those students who excel in all aspects of their education and community service.
The schedule is focused on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in all disciplines. Although the Common Core Standards focus on Language Arts Literacy and Mathematics, all courses play a key role in our students’ skill development. Each student meets for sixty minutes every day in their Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science classes. Physical Education, World Language and Electives follow a rotational model. The schedule affords our faculty the opportunity to provide time for daily meetings in Professional Learning Communities (PLC). Every member of the faculty is assigned to a PLC and contributes positively to our school improvement initiatives. Pequannock Valley School has gained statewide recognition for the development of PLCs in the school.
We realize the importance of shared core values and beliefs and continue to stress character education in our school. Our students focus on six pillars of character -- Responsibility, Citizenship, Respect, Caring, Fairness, and Trustworthiness. This focus on character development has had a strong positive impact on our school environment. Our students participate in a variety of team building activities and community service projects through our “House Initiative” that is facilitated by our Student Council.
PV’s new STEM initiative continues to grow and develop in grades 6 through 8. A “state of the art” science lab and new computer lab add to an existing industrial technology room and a second computer lab to create a STEM suite. Students are learning how to think critically and scientifically as they create, design, build and test their own models. In grade 6 students are introduced to technology in “Technology Revolution.” In Grade 7 students take a robotics course and in Grade 8 the students develop and design prototypes in the “Engineering and Design” course. For the 2015-2016 school year the Media Center was redesigned to introduce “makerspaces” and provide students with a friendly atmosphere designed to promote literacy, creativity and collaboration.
Pequannock Valley Middle School strives to prepare our students for our technology-rich society. Our staff is committed to infusing the use of computer technology in instruction throughout the curriculum. Our computer program affords each student opportunities for varying levels of instruction in computer technology. Our students engage in meaningful learning experiences that connect to the real world. These experiences range from basic computer skills in word processing, database, and spreadsheet to independent research using a variety of on-line services and the Internet. All of our classrooms are connected to the Internet as well as a local area network for attendance and grading. Our classrooms have all been equipped with SMART Boards, laptop carts, and Google Chromebooks that bring the computer lab experience into individual classrooms. Our Social Studies curriculum is entirely online through Discovery Education. All teachers at PV School utilize IPADS to supplement their instruction. During the 2016-2017 school year all students in the district in grades 6-12 will receive a chromebook as part of our 1:1 implementation program.
Students at PV School can participate in a variety of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities including musical performing ensembles, drama club, special interest organizations such as the computer club, world language clubs, literary magazine, Young Astronauts Club, and interscholastic athletics. All of these programs enjoy strong student interest and participation and are geared to allow our students to explore and develop a wide range of talents.
We are blessed with a high level of parent and community involvement in our school. The Home and School Association actively supports our educational program and offers parents a chance to become directly involved in a variety of projects. Volunteer faculty committees work cooperatively to bring about change in various aspects of school life. Our high level of community support was most evident in helping us become the first middle school in New Jersey to adopt and implement a voluntary random drug testing program. This program encourages our students to make a personal commitment to remain drug and alcohol free. During this, our eighth year of testing, an impressive percentage of our students have voluntarily joined the random drug testing pool. Our students have also served as advocates for the expansion of this program to other middle schools in New Jersey.
Pequannock Valley School recognizes its role in supporting the many changes that occur in the middle years of child development. We understand the importance of providing support for the whole child to foster academic, personal, physical, emotional, and social growth. We welcome your feedback and your participation in our program. By working together, we can help each child strive to reach his or her highest educational potential and make Pequannock Valley School a great place to learn and grow!