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Teacher Talk - February 13, 2023

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Message from Dr. Reilly

Dear Teachers and Instructional Staff,

It was late in the evening when I opened Ms. Salerno’s email. Attached to it were samples of first-grade children’s writing about Africa. These were full-page texts with deliberate leads, a variety of details, and conclusions. Capitalization of sentences and proper nouns, along with punctuation, were not only present but correct. The texts were written in response to the curriculum and demonstrated knowledge about the African continent that the children had learned. As I read the work, I wondered about the implementation of the Writing Revolution (TWR). Ms. Salerno confirmed that she and the other first-grade teachers at Elliott Street School were directly teaching the content from TWR as well as our reading curriculum.

A week later I was standing in the back of a third-grade classroom reading compositions about the differences between political and physical maps in Ms. Tavares' third-grade classroom at Park Elementary School. What struck me about the compositions in grade 3 was the specificity of comments by the teacher. All feedback was actionable. Like the first-grade teachers at Elliott, Ms. Tavares also included comments referencing learned content from TWR and the reading curriculum.

Last Friday, I read the posted composition of grade 2 students at South 17th Street School in the hallway outside Ms. Simpson’s classroom. The children were writing in response to the text, Stitchin’ and Pullin’. In writing about the subject of the book and quilting, one child explained that Baby Girl wanted to begin to quilt like Mama and Grandma. “You need to find your heart,” her mom told her. “So, Baby Girl…cut her uncle’s old corduroy pants and her cousin’s white handkerchief. However, Baby Girl was not finished. She had to find her heart. A few days later she found her heart. It was grandma’s old dress”, the second grader wrote. The writer went on to explain how Baby Girl added pieces of cloth from her grandma’s dress and that completed the quilt. This level of explanation and detail was present in many of the writings. Later, Ms. Simpson explained how much she loved teaching the text, what she did last year, and what she decided to do this year. As I listened, I thought about the importance of teaching rehearsals when teaching complex curricula.

This week, the Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics residency launched with 100 Newark teachers from 44 NPS schools. Teachers engaged with the infamous Bridge and Torch thinking task. On Wednesday, the grade 4 students in Ms. Jara's class at Lafayette Street School engaged in the same thinking task. Ms. Jara's facilitation of the task promoted authentic student thinking, productive struggle, student collaboration and discourse, and the joy of the "a-ha" moment when students arrived at the solution.

To move academic achievement in Newark Public Schools, the implementation of curricula must be realized. Deep implementation requires rehearsals like Ms. Simpson and Ms. Jara did and the follow-through to bring that work to the classroom. It requires teamwork as the first-grade teachers did. It requires specificity of language to guide the development of students’ thinking as Ms. Tavares did. In all cases, these teachers demonstrated how their students’ successes were directly connected to how well they planned. One might say they practice relentless implementation of the curriculum.

Great planning is needed to practice the relentless implementation of the curriculum. I urge all to make great use of PLC time for planning instruction with colleagues and for school administrators to make sure that this is realized. Unclutter PLCs from other demands and plan well. Give yourselves time to collaboratively create a deeper understanding of and adaptations to the curriculum to meet the emerging needs of students.  

If you are one of the 50 teachers signed up for the Teaching Comprehension Conversations in Grades 3-5 Residency that begins on February 23, I look forward to working with you.

What rests in your hands is consequential. It always has been. Consistently effective planning will help NPS realize better academic outcomes for all of our learners.

Dr. Reilly



Optional Office Hours for Preschool Teachers

Contact: Marialana Juliano, Office of Early Childhood

The Office of Early Childhood is offering Office Hours for Preschool teachers to support with lesson plans and Creative Curriculum and Assessment. Please click the link below to the schedule and Webex, and note the hours are from 3:15PM-4:15PM.


Pre-K Learning Environment Expectations Checklist

Contact: Mara Kaplan, Office of Early CHildhood

The Office of Early Childhood has created the Learning Environment Expectations Checklist to support teachers and administrators in understanding the expectations of a Pre-K classroom in alignment with Academic Walkthrough Protocol. The purpose of this document is to ensure consistency across all Pre-K classrooms as we continue to focus on Priority 2 of The Next Decade. The intention is to pause at the mid-year point and check to see how many elements are present and discuss what supports are needed to ensure that the checklist items are in use in the classroom. 

Please reach out to your OEC Teacher Coach if you want to discuss how you can use this document to support your classroom.



K-5 Classroom Libraries

Contact: Heather Lieberman, Office of ELA

The Office of Teaching and Learning is excited about the new K-5 classroom libraries being set up across the district. Please see the attached flyer for information about sharing pictures of your class library.



Spring Break Session with Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center

Contact: Margaret El, Visual and Performing Arts

The Grammy Museum Experience Prudential Center will hold their first “in person” Spring Session during the week of spring break. Tuition is free for Newark students.

2023 Spring Session is a 4-day music industry program for students ages 13-18 interested in exploring a career in music. Hosted at GRAMMY Museum Experience Prudential Center in Newark, students can apply for one of the two offered career tracks. The program concludes with a performance showcase for friends and family on the final day.

Registration and detailed information using this link:



2nd Annual Women’s Leadership Conference (New)

Contact: Paula Perrone, Executive Assistant to the Deputy Superintendent

Current and aspiring women leaders of the district, the second annual Women’s Leadership Conference will be held on Friday, March 24 - Saturday, March 25, 2023. Please review the Women’s Leadership Conference Flyer and expect more details to be shared in the next edition of the newsletter. Deputy Superintendent Johnson welcomes all current and aspiring NBOE staff members to join us.


Educational Technology Feedback Team (New)

Contact: Timothy Nellegar, Office of Teaching and Learning - Educational Technology

The Office of Educational Technology is forming a feedback team to gather educator and administrator feedback in regard to educational technology in the district. This team will look at areas including instructional platforms, computer science, co-curricular opportunities, and new technologies. If you are interested in being considered for this team please complete this Google Form by February 24th:

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to Timothy Nellegar (


Girls Who Code Meeting (New)

Contact: Timothy Nellegar, Office of Teaching and Learning - Educational Technology

If you are interested in starting or continuing a Girls Who Code program at your school we will be holding a meeting for interested program advisors on Wednesday, February 15th from 3:10pm-4:00pm. At this meeting, we will discuss program expectations, how to get started, and goals for the year. If you have questions, please reach out to Timothy Nellegar at 

Meeting Link:


Enter "Attendance Matters…Every School Day Counts” District-Wide Poster Contest (New)

Contact: Margaret El, Office of Visual & Performing Arts

The Attendance Office is sponsoring an Attendance Poster Contest. Share information and support emerging artists schoolwide to enter this competition. April 4th is the due date. Criteria and judging rubrics attached.

Categories and Awards

  • Each school will select a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner plus two honorable mentions.
  • The school will forward the 1st and 2nd place winners to the District Attendance Poster Contest Committee for review and inclusion in the final stage of the contest
  • 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place will be awarded at the High School and the Elementary School levels.



High School Programs/Academies Transfer Fair Opportunity (New)

Contact: Carlos Reyes, Human Resource Services

  • Are you looking for a different career opportunity within the Newark Board of Education? 
  • Do you want to use your skills and talents to enhance our district’s goals and partner with students so all learners can achieve their full potential?

We invite you to look at all of the fantastic opportunities the district offers at the high school level by reviewing this link: High School Programs - Academies: Transfer Fair Opportunity. For more information about our Academies, please visit this link:  


Special Education Conference March 15th (New)

Contact: Candice Wells, Office of Special Education

The Office of Special Education is excited to announce our first annual Special Education Conference on March 15, 2023 at Newark Vocational High School for Special Education Teachers and Child Study Team Members. Our theme for this year is “Building Bridges: Connected to Student Success”. At the various sessions, Special Education Teachers and Child Study Team Members will have an opportunity to discover the latest research, strategies, trends, and resources to support students with disabilities. Please register using the links below.  


Fight the Winter Blues with Yoga! (New)

Contact: Jennifer Rodriguez, Office of Federal Programs and Grants

We are excited to continue offering free yoga classes to all NBOE staff! Thanks to grant funding, the district has been able to partner with Newark Yoga Movement to provide free yoga classes twice a month through the end of the school year. Staff who attend at least 4 classes will receive a free yoga mat while supplies last. 

Please see the attached flyer to register for the classes you would like to attend. For more information, contact


Rethink Ed’s Equity & Inclusion Professional Development Series (New)

Contact: Jennifer Rodriguez, Office of Federal Programs and Grants

The Rethink Ed’s Equity & Inclusion Professional Development Series is now open for registration through Whetstone! The professional development series will cover 4 different topics and is open to all teachers and support staff from March 7th through March 30th (4PM to 5PM). Participants are eligible to receive their contractual supplemental pay thanks to grant funding. Please see the session descriptions and access the registration links in the attached flyer. For more information, contact


Hiring - GED Mathematics Teacher (New)

Contact: Dr. Dorothy Handfield, Newark Evening Educational Center

Join the Newark Evening Educational Center (NEEC) Night Owl family!!!

NEEC is an adult learning program, within the NBOE. NEEC is currently hiring for a GED Mathematics Teacher. The candidate must be certified in mathematics and able to work virtually on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:00 pm - 8:20 pm.  Candidates with middle school mathematics certifications are welcomed.  Please forward your resumes to Dr. Handfield (Principal) at  You may also contact Dr. Handfield if you have any questions. Thank you.


Cycle 2 Report Card Timeline

Contact: Darren Watsky, Student Information Services

All Cycle 2 grades and comments must be finalized in PowerTeacher Pro by the end of the school day on Wednesday, February 8th. Gradebooks will be locked at close of business day on Thursday, February 9th.

Please use the Cycle 2 Report Card Timeline to prepare for the storing of Cycle 2 grades. Grade changes after this date require a grade change form submission to your administrator. If you have questions or concerns, please consult with your administrator(s) and/or PowerSchool clerk.



Contact: Matthew Brewster, Staff Development

The Office of Staff Development would like to present the Newark/Montclair State University's Educational Leadership Program. This results-oriented, practice-driven program guides aspiring leaders to transform their passion for education into extraordinary achievements for schools and student learning. The program integrates a variety of instructional delivery models with extensive and intensive fieldwork to develop accomplished strategic leaders in schools, school systems, and educational organizations.

Please share the flyer below with identified aspiring leaders in your building and have them register for the upcoming webinar: Thursday, February 23 @ 4:00PM.



Traditional Mentor Training - February

Contact: Dana Mishoe, Educator Effectiveness

The next mentor training sessions are scheduled for February 15, and February 22, 2023. The February 15th session is for 1st or 2nd year mentors. We will focus on analyzing student learning to plan instruction. The February 22nd session is for mentors who have been participating for 3 or more years. We will continue our work related to supporting all learners by focusing on universal design for learning. Please register for your session here:

Parent University – Spring 2023!

Contact: Mariah Alston, Office of Federal Programs & Grants

Parent University is back for the Spring 2023 semester! Families can register to attend virtual, live workshops on various topics from February-May 2023, hosted by experts in their fields. Workshop topics this semester include: Adverse Childhood Experiences, Money Management, Stretching Food Dollars, Time Management, Goal Development, Portion Sizes & More!

Please print, share, post, and distribute the Parent University flyer (linked here) and encourage families to explore all our website has to offer.


OSE PD: General and Special Education Teachers, CSTs and Paras

Contact: Maria Jara, Office of Special Education

The Office of Special Education (OSE) will host our first Annual Special Education Conference on March 15th. The “Building Bridges Connected to Student Success” Special Education Conference will be held in-person at Newark Vocational. Please look out for the Early Bird Registration information and incentives which will be shared this month!   

Additional PD includes a four workshop series dedicated to General Education Teachers, Orton Gillingham PD, PreK PSD, as well as other PD for teachers, CSTs, and paras who support students with Autism. Please review the attached.


Coming Soon: An Easier Way to Get Your Annual Physical!

Contact: Jennifer Medina, Office of Benefit Services

On March 1st, The Office of Benefit Services will be launching VitalCheck, a program that brings local Hackensack Meridian primary care providers onsite for your convenience! They will provide free annual wellness checkups (100% covered by Aetna and most major insurance plans). The provider draws labs and can help identify treatment plans for potentially escalating conditions.

Bonus: Checkups will count as one of the two required 2023 Healthy Actions necessary to qualify for an incentive. Stay tuned to for more information.


Continuing COVID-19 Testing Requirement

Contact: B. Helena Blackwell, Office of Health Services

A PCR test continues to be the only test result accepted to confirm a positive result. Once results are uploaded to ESS, employees should contact the Office Health Services immediately to confirm the next steps.



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. 

News StoriesJan 31, 2023: Career Technical Student Organization (CTSO) on the RISE!Jan 31, 2023: Student at Newark School of Data Science & Information Technology Honored by National Nonprofit for Top Performance in College CoursesJan 27, 2023: National School Counseling Week 2023 
Press ReleasesJan 31, 2023: Student at Newark School of Data Science & Information Technology Honored by National Nonprofit for Top Performance in College Courses 


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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