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Teacher Talk - December 5, 2022

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Message From Dr. Reilly

Dear Teachers and Instructional Staff,

I had occasion this weekend to visit several high schools as they welcomed and began teaching junior year students at Saturday Academies. What struck me as being most profound was the community among students, administrators, teachers, and security guards that fueled interest and attendance. The familiarity and friendliness shown by students in cafeterias, hallways, and classrooms reminded me that the sum of teaching is always greater than what we might initially calculate. Since the report, “A Nation at Risk” was penned nearly 40 years ago, generations of students have learned that performance on high-stakes reading and math state and national tests constitutes what it means to be academically successful. Such thinking though would be faulty. Conflating passing tests with the development of intellectual life is an error.

Lev Vygotsky wrote, “Children grow into the intellectual life of those around them” (1978, p. 88). That is the main work of teachers: to emulate intellectual life and apprentice students. Beyond the caring I saw at our high schools last Saturday, our work also is to immerse children into a life of robust learning by leading intellectual lives ourselves in our classrooms, schools, SLTs, and offices. It means apprenticing thinking. To embrace Vygotsky’s quote, we must ask ourselves what kind of intellectual life are we modeling every day?

I saw student thinking on Saturday exemplified in the rich problems being discussed and solved. I saw it in the need to reread sections of dense text. I heard it in the theory making students trued in as they grappled with making meaning.  At one high school, I asked students who were well into a Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, to consider instances when our behaviors might resemble the enchainment to the shadows that Plato depicted. How is it that we fail to see beyond the limitations we think define us? What is it that affords some to seek the sun?

In a previous Teacher Talk, I referenced Building Thinking Classrooms in Math by Peter Liljedahl. His research emphasizes the need for us to perform less schooling and instead engage students in more thinking.  Today I want to challenge you to consider what you do each day with students that apprentices them to be deep thinkers—to not merely be good at school, but rather to develop profound knowledge and truth.  When knowledge and truth building repeatedly happens across classrooms, grade levels, schools, SLTs, and central offices every day—the academic successes we are seeking will be known. 

Dr. Reilly



Pre-K Learning Environment Expectations Checklist (New)

Contact: Mara Kaplan, Office of Early CHildhood

The Office of Early Childhood has created the Learning Environment Expectations Checklist to support teachers in understanding the expectations of a Pre-K classroom. The purpose of this document is to ensure consistency across all Pre-K classroom as we continue to focus on Priority 2 of The Next Decade. Hyperlinks to supporting documents as well as examples have been included. Please reach out to your Teacher Coach for additional support around specific items.


OEC Teacher News Blast (New)

Contact: Mara Kaplan, Office of Early CHildhood

The Office of Early Childhood emailed the November Teacher News Blast to all Pre-K teachers. Please reach out to your Teacher Coach or PIRS Coach if you did not receive the News Blast or if there are any items that need further clarity.



Office Hours

Contact: KeLee Brown

The Office of Early Childhood is offering Office Hours for Pre-K teachers to support with lesson plans, Creative Curriculum and Assessment. Please see the dates below, and note the hours are from 3:15PM-4:15PM.

Office Hours link-

  • Monday, December 5, 2022
  • Monday, December 12, 2022
  • Monday, December 19, 2022



ELA Make & Take Workshops - Grade K-8 ELA Teachers

Contact: Heather Lieberman, Office of ELA

We are pleased to offer a series of ELA make and take workshops for K-8 teachers. Please see the attached flyer for more information and how to sign up if you are interested.



NBOE Community Roundtable (New)

Contact: Jazleen Othman, Office of Teaching & Learning

On December 15th, the Office of Science and the Office of Visual & Performing Arts will be hosting a Community Roundtable. Please join the NBOE Facebook Livestream at 4:00 PM to hear about the exciting initiatives being implemented across the district.


Computer Science Education Week (New)

Contact: Timothy Nellegar, Office of Educational Technology

December 5th-11th, 2022 is Computer Science Education Week. Students across the world will be engaging in activities to promote Computer Science Education. There are many opportunities to get your students involved. For more information and resources including links to Hour of Code resources go to:

The Office of Educational Technology will award LEGO STEM Kits to 15 teachers who complete the Google Form and provide information and pictures of their Hour of Code activities.

Share the activities happening in your classroom including pictures here:


The Office of Special Education Monthly Updates (New)

Contact: Maria Jara, Office of Special Education

See resources available for Inclusive Schools Week. Professional development opportunities for CSTs and teachers are are also included.


Enter the Annual YBTF Stop the Hate Student Competition (New)

Contact: Margaret El, Office of Visual & Performing Arts

The NJ Division on Civil Rights 2nd Annual Youth Bias Task Force: Stop the Hate Student Competition. The theme for this year is “Our Anti-Bias Vision for the Next Generation”. Youth under the age of 25 can submit original art work or video that raise awareness around bias and prejudice. Winning submissions will be displayed at a rotating art exhibit throughout NJ. Entries accepted until December 15th

For more information and how to submit:


AIA Newark & Suburban Architects Holiday Student Art Contest (New)

Contact: Margaret El, Office of Visual & Performing Arts

Holiday Student Arts Contest

Do you find architecture interesting? Do any places or buildings inspire you? Do you think about how architecture and design influences our everyday life? Do you like to draw or make art?

To celebrate the holidays, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) of the Newark & Suburban area would like to see what places you like and find interesting.

  • What: An art and drawing contest
  • Ages: Grades 6-12
  • Prizes: will be awarded in 2 age groups (Grades 6-8) (Grades 9-12)

Requirements and submission information are found on this flyer.


Enter the 22-23 Protect Me With 3+ Poster Contest (New)

Contact: Katherine Brodhead Cullen, Office of Visual & Performing Arts

Protect Me With 3+ is an annual poster and video contest, and a collaboration between The Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey and the New Jersey Department of Health.  This contest aims to raise awareness about the importance of adolescent immunizations among preteens, teenagers and parents, and increase vaccination rates for several important vaccines. 

Prizes will be awarded in the categories of middle school (5-8) and high school (9-12). 

Submission information located at:


Attend the IgniteSTEM Educator Conference at Princeton University (New)

Contact: Kathleen Tierney, Office of Science

IgniteSTEM invites teachers to participate in the Elevating Education Conference held at Princeton University on December 10th from 10am-5pm.  The event will have workshops, keynote speakers, and networking opportunities- all geared to introduce attendees to innovative ideas about design thinking. The event is free. 

To RSVP for the conference, complete the registration link here:


Rethink Ed SEL & Mental Health PLC Series (New)

Contact: Jennifer Rodriguez, Office of Federal Programs and Grants

The Rethink SEL & Mental Health PLC series is now open for registration in Whetstone. The PLC series is offered for K-12 teachers and support staff from December 6 through January 19 every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

One topic per week will be offered. Participants will receive the contractual supplemental pay. Please see the session descriptions and access the registration links in the attached calendar. For more information, contact


Mandatory Affirmative Action Training (New)

Contact: Nichola Camacho, Human Resource Services

All Staff,

Board policy requires all employees to participate in Affirmative Action training. The training will be launched on 12/5/22 from Vector Solutions. All training must be completed by 1/27/23.

You will receive an email from the Newark Board of Education. Please click on the link to log into Vector Solutions using your NBOE username and password. After taking the course, please complete the assessment and print/save the certificate.

Course Title: Discrimination Awareness in the Workplace 

NOTE: Managers shall provide all employees access to computers to complete the training.


Assessment of Classroom Technology Readiness and Needs

Contact: Abdullah Ansari, Division of Information Technology

The Division of Information Technology (DIT) strives to facilitate digital learning in our schools by providing classroom technology resources and the associated technical support services. To ensure that teachers have the necessary technology resources in their classrooms to perform their daily tasks, DIT hereby requests that all teachers promptly take the following technology readiness survey. The survey results will enable DIT to address any remaining technology related concerns that teachers may have and provide any additional technology resources that may still be needed in the classrooms.


SNAP Electronic Health Record

Contact: B. Helena Blackwell, Office of Health Services and Nursing

School nurses are now using the SNAP program. The SNAP program is an electronic health record created specifically for school nurses. A SNAP review will be offered to all nurses once a week on Fridays at 2pm to provide ongoing support. The program is the required documentation format for the district. It is tied to the nurse framework and will be an integral component of the evaluation.


New Teacher Induction

Contact: Herb Daughtry, Educator Effectiveness

The next New Teacher Induction session will take place on Tuesday, December 6th, 4-6pm.  All teachers who are new to Newark (regardless of previous years of experience) are expected to attend at least 6 of the 10 monthly sessions that will be offered this year. One of the sessions will focus on reviewing and planning for improvement before Annuals, (possible second year panel) led by the Office of Educator Effectiveness.

The registration, session descriptions, and meeting links can be found in the schedule linked here:


Training of Vista Learning Resource- Elementary/HS Spanish & French Teachers

Contact: Adalis Alvarez-Craft, Office of Bilingual

Vista Higher Learning initial implementation training will be taking place in person on Friday, December 9th at the Marion A. Bolden Student Center 230 Broadway, Newark, NJ.   Spanish and French Teachers must attend during their appropriate sessions. High School Teachers 8:30am-12:00pm and Elementary Teachers 1:00pm-3:00pm.  Please see the link below to register.


Homework Hotline is Open

Contact: Timothy Nellegar

Homework Hotline is open and ready to help students for the 2022-23 school year. Students can call and get assistance on homework, reviewing the day's lesson, or other instructional questions Monday through Thursday from 3:30-5:30pm. For more information, as well as a list of our current instructors and their contact information, please visit the Tutoring Resources page under Students on the Newark Board of Education website.

Please encourage your students to use this free service to help them throughout the school year.


SEL/Mental Health Programming Supports SY 22-23 

Contact: Mary Harvey, Office of Student Life - Student Support Services

Attached is an informational resource on the NBOE SEL/Mental Health Programming Supports being delivered for the 2022-2023 school year.  As you move forward through the school year, should you have questions and/or need support, you may contact our office.


2022-2023 Educational Technology Office Hours

Contact: Timothy Nellegar, Office of Educational Technology

The Office of Educational Technology will have virtual office hours every Monday from 3:00p-3:45p. This will allow educators to drop in, receive a quick training on an educational technology strategy or platform and to ask questions to help them better use technology in their classroom.

To join office hours, please use this link:

We look forward to seeing you there.


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Teacher Talk will be delivered every other Monday.

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NBOE in the News

Stay informed on everything happening within Newark Public Schools and the Newark Board of Education! Read up on all of the many ways the district is garnering media coverage. 

Press Releases
Nov 23, 2022: Newark Public Schools Launches Aviation Program with Aviation Institute of MaintenanceNov 23, 2022: 36th Annual Title I Citywide Parent Conference: Let’s Go to Work


NPS Mobile App! 

The district's NPS Mobile App is now available for download for both Apple iOS and Android. With this app you, can:

• Receive Push Notifications when there is inclement weather and school closings

• Track news feeds (powered by your school web site, Facebook and Twitter accounts) at the district and school level

• Look up commonly-sought information directly from the mobile app


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