Mental-Hop: Where Mental Health & Hip-Hop Connect


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.

Important Notice About School Renovations

May 9, 2018

Dear Visitors:

            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. 

Respectfully submitted,

Essex Valley School

Essex Valley School First Annual Music Showcase

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!

A Physically Challenging Experience, EVS Rock Climbing Wall

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!