Our landscaping class has been making great progress with various projects throughout the school. With the help of our students, we have been able to get our 1600 square foot vegetable garden to grow some great produce. We have grown tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, kale, squash, beets, carrots and much more. We are looking forward to expanding and increasing our vegetables for the 2019 growing season. We have also cleaned up the patio area behind the main office and put in landscaping and a koi pond to create a relaxing area, and an outdoor classroom for students and staff. Finally, we have been working with the Woodshop class to build a 16x20 storage shed. Some upcoming projects will include designating an area for a pumpkin patch and apple orchard.
The English Department will be going on several very exiting trips this year. As part of our poetry unit, our first trip will be to see the Mayhem Poets at the State Theatre of NJ. This trip will give students a chance to experience poetry through hip hop.
A Unique Approach to Poetry
The Mayhem Poet's unique approach to spoken word has landed them feature spots on The Today Show and Eyewitness News, after winning 1st place and a grant for 100K in the Microsoft Idea Wins Challenge in 2006. Since then they've been touring internationally from legendary venues like Lincoln Center, the Apollo Theatre, and Broadway's New Victory Theatre; to hundreds of universities, locals schools of all grades, as well as group homes and correctional facilities.
Our next trip will take place on December 3rd. Students will be going to see Romeo and Juliet, also at the State Theatre of New Jersey. Prior to attending, the English Department will be working with the Social Studies department to enrich students’ understanding of not only the play, but also the history behind it.
In January, we will be going to see Stomp the musical. This trip will take place with students from the music department. Since the play is a musical, our music teacher will instruct students on the types of instruments that will be used during the play.
The Rhythm of New York!
Matchboxes, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters and more fill the stage with energizing beats at STOMP, the inventive and invigorating stage show that's dance, music and theatrical performance blended together in one electrifying rhythm.
Finally, our April trip will be to see the play, Rent. We will also be doing this in concert with the music department. The English department will be studying Drama during this portion of the school year, and the music department will be studying how the music plays such an important part in the play.
On October 16, 2018 the National Honor Society and Student Council attended a working breakfast at the Original Pancake house in West Caldwell. As the holiday season is fast approaching, we discussed ideas to get out into the community to assist with food and toy collection for the less fortunate. The National Honor Society and Student Council look forward to working with members of our community and serving them in any way we can this season!
Essex Valley’s Student Government has been very active and productive this year! They recently attended the Dare to Dream conference, exploring ways to have a positive impact on their communities. Attending this event has set the stage for our Student Government to plan and organize a presentation for next school year. It also allowed them the opportunity to develop their public speaking skills, build confidence, and become better self-advocates. In addition, EVS students were able to engage with students from other schools, and participated in a variety of workshop activities. They’re looking forward to next year’s conference!
This spring, our Physical Education Department organized two field trips for eligible students based on their class participation and overall grade point average. To attend the first trip, at Humdingers in Paramus, students needed to achieve at least a ‘B’ average. They enjoyed a day that included bowling, using the batting cages, arcade games, and an exciting laser tag maze.
The next planned trip is truly a once in a lifetime experience and will take place on June 1st at iFly in Paramus, NJ. For students to be eligible to attend this trip, they must achieve an ‘A’. iFly, an indoor skydiving experience, will provide our student an opportunity to learn how to move their bodies in a wind tunnel to simulate actual skydiving. They’ll also get a chance to see experts demonstrate stunts and various acrobatic movements.
Springtime means softball time! This year brings a mix of returning, veteran players, along with new additions, working together to form our softball team. Each student-athlete must remain committed to positive behavior and excellent grades to be eligible for the team. The team practices twice a week and plays six games throughout the season. During each practice and every game, the team supports each other with positive reinforcement, maintaining a ‘no negativity’ mantra. Encouraging the team in this way has helped our students to build strong bonds with their peers, as well as develop a sense of cohesiveness. Coach Molly Ann Maggiore believes that building each student’s confidence, and watching as they support their teammates is truly rewarding. Best of all, our students have been able to have fun while begin positive and persistent competitors.
As a part of our commitment to providing our students with the most innovative and engaging educational experiences each year, we were able to offer the Mental-Hop program to both our middle and high school students. The Mental-Hop program, created and implemented by Dr. Randolph D. Sconiers, is a powerful set of presentations that is relatable to our young men and women, and speaks directly to the importance of their mental health and wellness. As the Hip-Hop genre is a prominent influence on youth culture, behavior, and social-media, it was utilized to provide context for group discussion, and motivated our students to participate actively and successfully in the program.
Our students were given the opportunity to share openly about mental health and their perceptions of how Hip-Hop has influenced our culture and society. They learned strategies to maintain their own mental health, as well as how to prioritize their mental health as they move forward in life. In addition, students worked on projects that focus on improving their understanding and utilization of specific coping skills, triggers of common mental health disorders, local and statewide mental health resources, as well as critical thinking and decision-making skills.
Mental-Hop was also focused on student engagement, reducing the stigma associated with mental health concerns, and increasing understanding of the signs of mental health disorders. As adolescence is a critical time for our young men and women as they learn to manage their behavioral and emotional needs, this program provided our students the opportunity to express themselves in a safe environment, free from the fear of ridicule for their experience of anxiety, sadness, or aggression.
Our Art students are finishing up Adrinkra prints in celebration of the African culture. Adinkra are visual symbols, originally created by the Ashanti of Ghana. Each student chose specific symbols, each with their own meaning, to represent them in a colorful cloth display. The unique symbols and concepts selected by each student sought to convey their individual emotions, making them truly personal.
Art students who did not choose to make an Adrinka print are completing another unique project. These students created Oaxacan sculptures, called alebrijes. These creature sculptures are colorful and full of intricate patterns in their design.
The Art department previously hosted an art exhibit at The West Caldwell Library, displaying the student's amazing artwork. Members of the community were mesmerized by the students' work during the month-long exhibit. We are looking forward to exhibiting the graduating seniors' work throughout the school, as well as other students’ work.
The English Department recently took a trip to the PAX Amicus Castle Theatre located in Budd Lake, NJ. An intriguing structure, our students were amazed by the theater’s authentic castle-like exterior. They were able to see “The Life, Loves, and Tales of Terror of Edgar Allan Poe,” as an extension of their poetry unit in Language Arts. Our students were treated to a Broadway quality production of vignettes of several short stories and poems written by the great Edgar Allen Poe. The show was so well received by our group that we returned to the theater on May 4th to see “Romeo and Juliet,” and enjoyed another great performance at the PAX Amicus Castle Theatre!
May 9, 2018
On or about the week of 5/09/18 Essex Valley School will be starting our sidewalk reconstruction project to ensure that all our entrance points will be compliant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards for Accessibility. Due to factors beyond our control, most of this reconstruction will take place during the school day. Thus, we will be replacing the main walkway from the parking lot to the main entrance and community room. Additionally, the access to our school and subsequent crosswalk will also be replaced. Therefore, this reconstruction will affect us in the following ways:
We have to relocated our primary entrance point to our Henderson drive entrance located at the side of the building.
Second, we have to close our small parking lot to accommodate our construction. Therefore, you will be now be redirected to enter the large staff lot only. You will not be allowed to enter, idle, or park in our small parking lot. It will only be for our Construction Company and their equipment.
During the construction we will delineate all construction areas with cones, barricades, and caution tape. Thus, you are prohibited from entering those designated areas. We anticipate the project to be completed in three to four weeks, weather permitting. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation in this matter.
Essex Valley School
Essex Valley School’s middle school program recently participated in a unique learning experience at the Verona Community Center, a Ropes and Adventure Course! Students worked with their teachers and peers, developing skills over several hours on both low and high ropes elements. Throughout the experience, students were required to engage in active listening, communicate with peers both verbally and nonverbally, and work as a team to solve problems and overcome physical and social challenges. Staff and students had a great time, and enjoyed the opportunity to build trust and a positive rapport with their classmates. It was such a great learning experience, we hope to revisit the course with another group of students!
Essex Valley School’s music program has always been a popular staple among our elective courses. Each year, our counselors are bombarded with requests to participate in music as their chosen elective. Under the direction of Salvatore Bonafede, the music program has been transformed. Mr. Bonafede has broadened students’ understanding of music instruction, incorporating active music listening, music history and composition, as well as study of individual instruments. Key in the program’s growth has been the combination of traditional aspects of music instruction with our constantly expanding instruction in music technology and production, offering students an understanding of both worlds.
Recently, our music program held a showcase displaying our students’ musical talents, which ranged from a pair of piano soloists, a rock band ensemble, exhibition of original student compositions and productions, and a very talented songstress. Many of our musical artists demonstrated great skill on their instruments, even after playing them for only a short time in some cases. The students performed in front of a crowd of their peers and school staff in our auditorium, offering an overall outstanding performance.
Several different departments came together to help make the music showcase a resounding success. Thanks and appreciation go out to the Culinary Arts department for providing refreshments for the event, as well as the Digital Media program for producing both audio and video recordings of the performances. Special thanks are also extended to Mr. Bonafede for all of his hard work in preparing the students to perform for their school community. His hard work and vision came together and lead to a successful event. We can’t wait to see what will be next!
Essex Valley School has completed a significant makeover to our community room. Here at EVS, the community room serves as a haven for our students to relax from the grind of the school day and have some fun during breakfast and lunch. One new addition to the room includes two arcade quality NBA Hoops games. One of our students has already amassed an unbeatable high score of 100 points in 60 seconds, which is very impressive! We’ve also added the popular Dance Dance Revolution Extreme Arcade game, giving our students a chance to show off their favorite dance moves. Last, but not least, a pinball machine and new ping pong table have also been added to the room, and the pool tables have all been recovered with new felt. Eligible students on Level 3 and above are also able to enjoy diner style booths, seating up to 20 students, during their meal times. With all of these incentives, students are already showing their motivation to work hard and achieve the Levels that allow them to enjoy the community room when they choose.
The Essex Valley School Physical Education department has an exciting new addition to their program! They recently added a 20-foot-high state-of-the-art rock climbing wall in the gymnasium! The rock climbing wall features four different routes of varying difficulty, and an auto-belay system. This allows one teacher to safely monitor up to four students at a time. Donning a safety harness and helmet, students can climb nearly to the ceiling of the gymnasium on a route of their choosing, developing their technique from novice to expert. This unique and challenging experience is sure to encourage some fun and healthy competition, while students also get a great workout!
Essex Valley School students recently visited the Morris County School of Glass where they participated in the unique experience of learning the art of glassmaking. While students have practiced such traditional art methods as drawing, painting, or sculpting clay in their classes at EVS, their visit to the School of Glass exposed them to the media and methods used in fine arts glass industries. During their glassmaking experience, each student created a glass bowl and a paper-weight, while learning the safety techniques necessary for glass sculpting.
At Essex Valley School, our Thanksgiving Feast is a yearly tradition we’re always excited to participate in. Each Thanksgiving, EVS alumni return to enjoy a friendly basketball game with our current students. The game is always fun and highly competitive, and this year was no exception! After the game, the alumni, current students and staff enjoy a lovely feast prepared by our Culinary Arts department. This year they prepared a feast that many students and alumni stated was the best one to date! On behalf of all the staff at Essex Valley School, we would like to give a special thanks to our Culinary Arts department for the hard work it took to prepare such a delicious feast. Everyone ate until they were stuffed full, and some even went home with leftovers!
Each year, the alumni students’ visit has such a positive impact on our current students, as it gives them the opportunity to talk with and learn from their peers who have had a similar school experience. Essex Valley School staff also appreciate the opportunity to visit with former students, as they are able to hear the students’ stories of success and watch as they work to reach their potential. It is a rewarding experience for all!
In partnership with Valley National Bank, Essex Valley School held an exhibition showcase to display our talented students’ projects. EVS sent an open invitation to many business owners and members of the Caldwell community to attend and view the works of art that our students have created. In fact, many of our school’s departments were able to display the students’ work, including fine art paintings, audio recordings of students’ original work, a hydroponics garden, custom painted and restored bicycles, and a delightful spread of refreshments that were prepared by the culinary arts students. The event yielded a great turnout, as many members of the community came to support Essex Valley School’s hard work, as well as to learn more about the school’s programs and ways in which that can contribute to students’ success. The partnerships and relationships developed that night will greatly benefit our students in the future.
On behalf of the entire staff at Essex Valley School, we would like to thank everyone that was in attendance at the Meet the Community event. Your presence and interest truly made this event a success. We would also like to extend our deepest gratitude to Valley National Bank for their ongoing partnership with the school and being such a generous host of the event.
In what would be a dream project for any automotive enthusiast, the current freshman class will spend the next four years restoring a 1966 Ford Thunderbird to its original condition. This project will involve our students in a unique hands-on learning experience that will encompass every aspect of vehicle repair. Any student who participates in this project will have invaluable experience in understanding the ‘nuts and bolts’ of any vehicle they may encounter, as well as a unique item to add to their resumes if they pursue a career in the automotive repair industry.