December 2018 Spotlight

December 2018 Spotlight

December 2018 Spotlight


Mark your calendars for the following dates:

  • Sunday, December 2nd  - 4:00 PM Annual Tree Lighting at Borough Hall
  • Wednesday, December 5th – 7:30 PM  Education Foundation (EFLS) Meeting – Point Road
  • Thursday, December 6th – 7:00 PM Point Road Holiday Concert
  • Friday, December 7th – 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM Book Fair at Barnes & Noble
  • Thursday, December 13th – 7:00 PM  Board of Education Meeting  
  • Monday, December 17th – 7:00 PM Markham Place Holiday Concert at RBR

It’s OK to be Different – Teaching Children Respect and Empathy REVISITED

The incorporation of social and emotional learning was identified as a need for the students of Little Silver by those community stakeholders who participated in our most recent Strategic Planning Renewal Day in February 2018.  The current Strategic Plan includes objectives under the Student Achievement Goal that include cultivating the social-emotional development of students, revising curriculum to provide students with a well-rounded education, and providing professional development opportunities for teachers including, but not limited to, facilitating an understanding of LGBTQ students and creating an accepting and empathic environment.

On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, a parent meeting was held at the Markham Place School to discuss the inclusion of lessons in our 7th-grade health curriculum pertaining to embracing the LGBTQ community.  As emphasized during the meeting, Little Silver will continue to strive to build a culture of acceptance within our community.  Thank you to our five panelists who eloquently and sensitively spoke of the issues facing LGBTQ youth.  As presented, 4 in 10 LGBTQ youth (42%) say the community in which they live is not accepting of LGBTQ people.  Also shared was 26% of LGBTQ youth say their biggest problems are not feeling accepted by their family, trouble at school/bullying, and a fear to be out/open.  92% of LGBTQ youth say they hear negative messages about being LGBTQ.  In the state of NJ, LGBTQ youth are 8.9 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.  Our goal is to broaden students’ (and parents’) scope of the world and create a more comfortable environment for our LGBTQ students.

The It’s OK to be Different materials were used as a resource in our curriculum development.  Students will be exposed to basic terminology as well as lessons and activities to help facilitate an understanding of the LGBTQ community as well as how to be an ally!  The attorney on the panel discussed the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (N.J.S.A. 10:5-1, et seq.) which specifically bars discrimination in places of “public accommodation” including public school districts.  The New Jersey Department of Education Transgender Student Guidance, released on 9/28/18, provides comprehensive guidance to help school districts ensure a supportive and nondiscriminatory environment for transgender students.  State statute (N.J.S.A. 18A:36-41) directs the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education to establish guidelines to provide direction for schools in addressing common issues concerning the needs of transgender students, and to assist schools in establishing policies and procedures that ensure a supportive and nondiscriminatory environment for transgender students.  Please note that the information and vocabulary included in the NJDOE website far exceeds the content that will be taught to our 7th grade students. 

Little Silver is committed to ensuring a supportive and nondiscriminatory environment for ALL students.  In order to create a safe and supportive environment, the NJDOE recommends that school districts incorporate social and emotional learning concepts into the curricula.  On Wednesday, January 9th, the district will REVISIT the 7th grade health curriculum, via a Curriculum Café, including the lessons that focus on embracing the LGBTQ community.  We will provide terminology that will be taught to students as well as share some of the anticipated activities. 


News from the latest Curriculum CaféStack of books

No skill is more crucial to the future of a child, or to a democratic and prosperous society, than literacy.

On November 28, 2018, a Curriculum Café took place during a PTO meeting.  During the presentation, Angie Rosen, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction, shared ideas for Reading To; Reading With; and Reading By students.  Parents who attended learned about the value of reading to children throughout the early years and into middle school and were given practical suggestions to support and reinforce the belief that a child who reads will be an adult who thinks. If you were not able to attend and are interested in learning more the presentation, handouts can be found on the PTO website. 

Connor BarkeyMusic News

On Saturday, November 17th, Markham Place student, Connor Barkey (grade 7) auditioned and was accepted into the All Shore Intermediate Band.  All Shore Intermediate Band is a select honors concert band comprised of the most dedicated, advanced middle school band students in Monmouth and Ocean Counties. The All Shore Intermediate Band is organized and run by music educators from Monmouth and Ocean County Schools who want to provide their students with a challenge and opportunity to perform music at a high level. All band directors involved volunteer their time to prepare, organize, and conduct the ensemble.  Connor’s level of proficiency on the trumpet secured his coveted seat in this band.  Congratulations Connor!


Markham Place Class hosted “Friendsgiving Day” Celebration

On Tuesday, November 20th, the students of Mrs. Poland's class hosted a “Friendsgiving” celebration and invited friends and staff members at MPS to join in the fun!  The students cooked a traditional Thanksgiving meal for the holiday.  Staff members brought Thanksgiving themed activities and crafts for the students to enjoy after the feast!  Mrs. Rosen (Director of Curriculum and Instruction) taught Mrs. Poland's students how to make “turkey-themed” Thanksgiving cupcakes which were later enjoyed by all! 

Watch this quick video of the Friendsgiving Event!


The Bag Brigade was a SUCCESS!


Dog and Cat clip art

On Friday, November 16th, the Little Silver PTO hosted its 5th Annual Bag Brigade.  As a result of the generous donations from our residents, well over 200 “bags of kindness” were filled and prepared to be shipped to the Monmouth County SPCA.  Thank you Little Silver Warriors for your support of our furry friends!


Mark Your Calendars for the Barnes and Noble Book Fair

Barnes & Noble On Friday, December 7th, between the hours of 4-7 PM, come visit Barnes and Noble at the Eatontown Mall to listen to students and staff read and Markham Place musicians perform.  Purchase books for holiday gifts to help raise money to support the Point Road and Markham Place libraries. 


2018 Computer Science Education Week is December 3rd-9th

Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).  The students in both schools will be participating in the Hour of Code (see  The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.  Ask your children about coding!

The New Jersey Department of Health Promotes Flu Vaccines

While vaccination is an individual decision, during December 2nd-8th, the New Jersey Department of Health is honoring National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) by reminding residents to get their annual flu vaccine. Flu vaccination coverage estimates from past years have shown that influenza vaccination activity drops quickly after the end of November. Therefore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and their partners chose December for NIVW to remind people that even though the holiday season has arrived, it is not too late to get your flu vaccine. 

Budget Challenges Continue to Loom

During the 2018-19 budget presentation to the community last year, Little Silver residents were disappointed to learn that the budgetary challenges that have been discussed for years were resulting in very difficult staffing decisions.  Sadly, we were forced to eliminate: 1 administrative position, 2.5 teaching positions (moving all K-4 classes into four sections), and 1 support staff position.  We also decreased two positions from full-time to part-time.  In August 2018, the Spotlight featured an article called, “Little Silver Realizes Minimal Increase Anticipated State Aid.”

The article explained that when the budget for 2018-19 was released in March 2018, 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 was realized in Special Education Categorical Aid as well as Security Aid.   That brought our total State Aid to .032% of our now $15,227,187 budget.









Special Ed












NJ Senate President, Stephen Sweeney (NJ District 3), proposed legislation, NJS2, which passed on July 24, 2018.  S2 will phase out adjustment aid, or the hold harmless provision that has allowed some districts to receive more aid than others, and eliminate growth caps so districts with growing enrollments can receive more funding.  The changes will shift $68 million from districts the state Senate president considers overfunded to some of the most underfunded ones and ensure every district receives at least 58 percent of the funding they should receive from the state.  Little Silver is not considered “underfunded”, but we are scheduled to receive “marginal increases” over the next several years.  The projected increases “assume” that the State of NJ will appropriate an additional $200 million each year.  As noted earlier, for this current school year, FY2019, we received a total of $492,709 in State Aid.  For this coming school year, FY2020, we are scheduled to receive $540,380.  This $47,671 increase will be welcomed if received.  Please recognize, however, that $47,671 does not cover rising expenses.  Therefore, as the district begins to prepare for the 2019-2020 school budget, the district’s intent is to maintain staff while seeking other avenues for revenue generation.  Please stay tuned!


Did you know

Did you know that technological innovation in schools is not a “nice to have” but rather a necessity?  As educators, we need to prepare our students beginning at an early age to be prepared for high-skilled jobs – all of which will involve technology.  Many careers today are no longer as linear as they once were.  In a publication from the International Center for Leadership in Education, the author  indicated that Facebook is the world’s largest media provider, but it owns no content.  Alibaba is the world’s largest seller of products, but it owns no inventory.  Airbnb facilitates housing for more travelers than any other hotel company in the world, but it owns no properties.  Uber is the world’s largest provider of automobile transportation, yet it owns no cars.  Each transition away from how these industries have historically operated represents change in jobs and skills.  We want to ensure that the children of Little Silver are well equipped with the technological skills necessary to pursue any of their desired career paths.