August 2018 Spotlight

Parent Survey

Mark your calendars for the following dates:

  • Thursday, August 23rd – 7:00 PM Board of Education Meeting

The middle school music teachers, Mrs. Bennett & Ms. Brush will be offering four, 45-minute small group lessons, for students entering 5th-8th grade interested in summer band or orchestra lessons. Lessons will be offered Monday, August 27th – Thursday, August 30th for $100.

Lessons will include:

  • Instruction on developing technique and fundamentals
  • Tone production
  • Music literacy
  • Small ensemble performance skills
  • Preparation for All Shore Band/Orchestra, NJ Youth Orchestra
  • Preparation for the 2018- 2019 school year!

If your child is brand new to playing an instrument, please contact Mrs. Bennett (sbennett@littlesilverschools.org) or Ms. Brush (jbrush@littlesilverschools.org) for information on instrument rental.

The summer schedule is as follows:

  • 8:15 - 9:00 - Beginners, brand new to the instrument *instrument rental may be required
  • 9:00 - 9:45 - Incoming 5th graders
  • 9:45 - 10:30 - Incoming 6th - 8th graders
  • 10:30 - 11:15 - Percussion
  • 11:15 - 12:00 - All Shore Preparation

Please register online under the Parent Link (Event Sign Up) on the district web page. Checks can be made payable to the Little Silver Board of Education.


YMCA Before Care Interest Survey

The Little Silver School District is considering offering a “Before Care” program at the Point Road school for the 2018-19 school year. The coverage would begin at 7:00 AM. The YMCA currently hosts the “After Care” program.  The rates are determined by the YMCA and reflect the following:

YMCA table of rates

Parents interested in “Before Care” would be required to pay for an hour, even if you only utilize a portion of that hour in the morning. In order to run the program, a minimum of 10 children is required. Interested parents should click here.


​Substitute Teachers Wanted!

Help wanted

Little Silver is seeking substitute teachers. Applicants need not be teacher certified. If you have 60 college credits and are interested in becoming a substitute teacher, please contact Judy Lyons at jlyons@littlesilverschools.org or call 732-741-2188 to obtain paperwork to file for a substitute teacher's credential.


Annual Parent Satisfaction Survey

Parent Survey

Each year, we seek parent feedback by distributing a Parent Satisfaction Survey. The brief survey, based on the 2017-18 school year, will take less than five minutes to complete and will help to inform our decision-making.  Further, the “Did You Know” section of the monthly Spotlight has been used as a vehicle to address concerns presented in the comment section of the survey. Please click survey to respond.


Little Silver Realizes Minimal Increase in State Aid

When the budget for 2018-19 was released in March, Little Silver was instructed to allocate $398,966 in State Aid.  This represented .026% of our $15,133,444 budget, and $41,112 more than the 2017-18 school year’s State Aid ($357,854). When the newly revised State Aid figures were released, Little Silver received $492,709. Therefore, while Little Silver did receive $134,855 more in State Aid for the 2018-19 school year as compared to the 2017-18 school year ($492,709–357,854 = $134,855), we realized a $93,743 increase from what we were told to anticipate and budget for based on the March State Aid numbers. In other words, $41,112 of the $134,855 increase in State Aid was already included in the 2018-19 school budget. The increased aid will be realized in Special Education Categorical Aid as well as Security Aid. This brings our total State Aid to .032% of our now $15,227,187 budget.

Budget table


LS School District and LS Borough Work Collaboratively to Enhance the Point Road Parking Lot

Parking lot

Given the fiscal challenges of the Little Silver School district, financial priority is always given to educational needs.  While the district annually allocates funds for facility upkeep, devoting funds within our operating budget to large-scale projects is cost prohibitive. Therefore, the Little Silver Borough Council has offered to absorb the cost of reconstructing the Point Road teachers’ parking lot. The project required the Little Silver Board of Education to subdivide that part of the school district’s property to allow the Borough to legally acquire the land before they could proceed with renovations that will result in 24 additional parking spots, new lighting, and a new ADA compliant sidewalk near the lower field. Our hopes are that overflow parking by staff and substitute teachers will be alleviated, allowing a better flow of traffic on Little Silver Point Road. The project has gone out to bid and is projected to be completed this month prior to the start of the school year!


Trimesters

Little Silver has historically operated on quarterly assessment periods. Therefore, report cards have been issued four times a year. Beginning the 2018-19 school year, the Little Silver School District will shift to three annual assessment periods, or trimesters. This change is coming as a result of the work that our Standards-Based Report Card Committee completed over a two-year period. Parents can expect the following:

Trimester Table

​At Point Road, students attend their Related Arts classes (Art, Music, STEM, Technology, PE) all year long, based on days of the 6-day cycle. Therefore, parents of Point Road students can expect to see all grades posted by trimester. At Markham Place, while PE and Spanish occur through the year and grades will be reflected by trimester, students attend quarterly Art, Music, STEM, and Technology courses. The timelines for these courses will not mirror the trimester calendar. Rather, parents will be encouraged to utilize the Parent Portal of Genesis to view their children’s grades for those courses for current information. Otherwise, the grades for those courses will be reflected on the report card once they are completed. Conferences will remain in November.  Therefore, conferences will occur before the release of report cards.


New website provider

In September 2017, the district received a letter from the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) indicating that OCR received a complaint alleging discrimination based on disability because the District’s website was not accessible to individuals with disabilities; including, but not limited to, those with visual impairments and who are deaf or hard of hearing. OCR opted to investigate the allegation. Little Silver was among the first of a few school districts to receive such a complaint. However, over the course of the 2017-18 school year, complaints were filed against many school districts across the State. While the Board of Education had a policy regarding website accessibility, in November 2017, the Board adopted a new policy (1511 – Board of Education Website Accessibility) that included language that is far more specific than the previous policy. The parameters of the new policy required that the district contract with a new web provider, as our existing web provider could not accommodate all of the provisions of the new policy. Therefore, the Board contracted with a new web provider, created an Action Plan for the development and training of the new website, and successfully executed a Resolution Agreement with OCR to satisfy the concerns set forth in the initial complaint. What does this mean for parents?  Because of the requirements of the agreement, oversight of the website will be far more time-consuming than ever before.  Therefore, teachers will no longer have individual web pages. They will primarily be using the Parent Portal in Genesis (our student management system) to share information with you including, but not limited to: teacher contact information, class rules, homework, important dates, class requirements etc. Information will be accessed through Course Pages. Please read the next section on Parent Communication! The new website will go LIVE on August 20, 2018!


Parent Communication

Parents have asked that we streamline forms of communication. This continues to be challenging in a day and age where we have access to so many different forms of communication and the teachers’ comfort level using various technologies differ. That said, we are working to have parents utilize the Genesis Parent Portal as our primary source of communication! The Genesis Parent Portal will have a new communication feature called Course Pages.

Parent Portal

  • School Posts (replacing the Virtual Back Pack and schoolwide resource web pages) Schools will continue to use Twitter and Facebook to communicate events and happenings.
  • Class Posts (replacing teacher websites for homework, rules and procedures) Teachers may still use Twitter and Class Dojo. For those teachers that used the REMIND app in the past, they will be permitted to do so but NOT in lieu of using the Genesis Parent Portal.
  • Guidance Posts (replacing Guidance Department websites)
  • Grade Level Posts (for information specific to grade levels such as supply lists, grade level events, etc.)
  • Sports Posts (for rosters and schedules) Coaches will still use the REMIND app for practice information, game cancellations, or other pertinent notifications.

Teachers will neither be required nor prohibited from using these additional vehicles (Twitter, Class Dojo, Remind) to showcase class happenings. They are, however, required to utilize the parent portal of Genesis daily for homework etc.

Code Red emails and text messages will be used for emergency notifications such as snow days, bus delays, etc.  It will NO LONGER be used for basic reminder notifications.

The information on the district website, http://www.littlesilverschools.org, will be greatly streamlined but will still contain basic information regarding:

  • Department & program information
  • School information
  • Board of Education information

The district calendar is a Google calendar that can be easily downloaded from the website.

The district will continue to use Facebook and Twitter to post information including:


Homeroom Assignments

As per our new streamlined Parent Communication vehicle, Homeroom Assignment Information for the 2018-19 school year for students entering grades 1-8 will be available on the Genesis Parent Portal Summary Page on Monday, August 20th. The Parent Portal will be closed until August 20th. On that date, your user name is your email address. If you forgot your password, click the forgot my password button.

Parent Access Login

Letters for incoming Kindergarten students will be mailed ensuring that all assignments have been received, as new parents to the district are not yet familiar with Genesis. Students in grades 6-8 will receive their schedules during the first day of school.

Drop-Off and Pick-Up

​Student drop-off and pick-up are always challenging, but morning drop-off tends to present a host of issues. Parents who drop-off at Point Road are encouraged to park on Lippincott and walk their children to school. Parents are urged to be courteous. During the 2017-18 school year, we experienced incidences of unsafe driving including, but not limited to: tailgating, rear-ending vehicles, cutting drivers off, etc. This is not only unsafe for drivers, but extremely unsafe for students who are exiting vehicles. Please be cognizant of school start times (Point Road 8:05 AM and Markham Place 8:07 AM) and allow yourselves adequate time. In addition, should an accident occur, please do not leave the scene. PLEASE be cognizant of prohibited drop-off locations including North Lovett.

Alyssa’s Law (A-764)

​After the shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018, many people across the country were inspired by the surviving high school students who facilitated a call for action. The survivors of the shooting put forth a clear message: enough is enough. On 4/13/18, “Alyssa’s Law”, named after 14-year-old victim Alyssa Alhadeff who was a NJ resident up until a short time ago, was enacted.  Alyssa’a Law requires that all school buildings in New Jersey be equipped with an emergency light and panic alarm linked to local law enforcement, which can be activated in the event of a life-threatening emergency. Little Silver is working to install strobes in the front of each building to be used during lockdowns. This will accompany our existing panic alarm systems. Therefore, come September, if you were to come to one of the schools and the strobe was flashing, the office staff will not be able to respond to your request for entry.

Did you know

Did you know that NJ public schools undergo a State monitoring process every three years called NJ QSAC (New Jersey Quality Single Accountability Continuum). School districts are evaluated in five categorical areas including:  1. Instruction and Program, 2. Fiscal Management, 3. Governance, 4. Operations, and 5. Personnel.  Little Silver will be a part of an on-site monitoring process during the 2018-19 school year to determine our overall level of effectiveness.