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Teacher Talk - February 27, 2023


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Message from Dr. Reilly

Dear Teachers and Staff,

During the last 10 weeks, I have joined the ELA office led by Jazleen Othman on site visits to elementary schools.  While there, we have been reading students’ writings posted on the walls. It’s evident that in some classrooms and schools students have been learning how to use conventions well when writing. Thank you to those teachers. Also true are classrooms where such instruction is less evident. As you know, all punctuation rules do not matter equally. Some carry far greater weight and these must be attended to explicitly. Of great importance is end punctuation. Learning to create sentences with accurate end punctuation must be mastered.

In Roy Peter Clark’s Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer, he explains, “The period is the stop sign.“ Whether the sentence winds like a country road or plows straight ahead like a highway, the end punctuation be it period, question mark, or exclamation point signals stop. Our students must learn how to correctly signal STOP when writing. 

Clark explains that students need to understand that they punctuate for two reasons: 

  1. To set the pace of reading. 
  2. To divide words, phrases, and ideas into convenient groupings.

Recently, I worked hard to read a second grader’s writing because the child did not include any end punctuation, save for the period at the bottom of a full page of writing. The sparse teacher feedback on the paper complemented the writer and told him to work on punctuation. No where on that page was even a modest attempt to signal how to do so. Feedback needs to be present and actionable.

It would have taken a few minutes to sit with the second grader and show him how to include stop signs for the reader using the paper he had written. I like to think that perhaps his teacher did so separately from the writing. When I teach end punctuation, I ask the child to hold his hand with his palm facing close to his mouth so he can feel his breath as he reads. When the breath stops hitting the palm of the hand, punctuation is needed.  Punctuation is musical notation for the breath. Children tend to learn this quickly and after a bit of practice and reinforcement, end punctuation becomes routine. 

A second method I use when teaching end punctuation is explicitly teaching students how to combine sentences. When it comes to correct syntax, a leading cause of student confusion are fragments. Students are amazed when they begin to see the pattern of fragment followed by the remainder of the sentence. This issue can be caused by the limitations of short term memory. The writer holds the first and then the second part of the sentence as two separate memory chains. Helping students reread, combine, and add accurate end punctuation leads to correction. My favorite resource for teaching sentence combining is any book by the Killgallon (see link at the end). 

Imagine if across all of our schools and in all classrooms everyone took the next two weeks to ensure students wrote sentences with correct end punctuation? It would be a revolution! During the next two weeks let’s get this done.  Please review the writing your students have done and ask yourself how you are explicitly helping them to learn accuracy with end punctuation. Read work to ascertain if all of the sentences end correctly. If not, show students how to correct these errors.  If so, then continue on to see how secure the flows and ebbs are of students’ sentences. Again, Clark writes, “If a period is a stop sign, then what kind of traffic flow is created by other marks? The comma is a speed bump; the semicolon is what a driver education teacher calls a ‘rolling stop’; the parenthetical expression is a detour; the colon is a flashing yellow light that announces something important” (Location 732). I love this visceral description of punctuation. I bet your students will too.

I look forward to reading students’ writing that shows they have learned how to write sentences with correct end punctuation. 

Below is a link to blog post listing professional resources for teaching writing and editing:

Dr. Reilly 



Optional Office Hours for Preschool Teachers (New)

Contact: Marialana Juliano, Office of Early Childhood

The Office of Early Childhood will continue to offer Office Hours for Preschool Teachers every Monday through the end of May from 3:15pm-4:15 pm to support with lesson plans, Creative Curriculum, and Assessments. Please click the links below for the complete schedule and Webex link.



Teach Grade 8 Algebra 1 in the 23-24 School Year (New)

Contact: Amanda Grossi, Office of Mathematics

High School Mathematics Teachers: Please complete this form if you are interested in teaching a 0 or 10th period Algebra 1 course next year at a NBOE K-8 school as part of the initiative to provide all Newark students with accelerated high school pathways in mathematics.


2023 NBOE Junior College Fair! (New)

Contact: Vernon Pullins Jr, Office of Student Life

The Office of Student Life is excited to announce that we will host the annual NBOE Junior College Fair on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at the Prudential Center located at 25 Lafayette Street, Newark, NJ 07102.

If you have any questions, please contact Vernon Pullins, Jr., Supervisor of High School Guidance at


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, Office of the Deputy Superintendent

Deputy Superintendent Johnson is excited to formally invite all current and aspiring NBOE women leaders to the 2nd Annual Women’s Leadership Conference. Note that the Pre-Conference In Person Networking Event on Friday, March 24, 2023 is open to a limited number of guests and it is first come, first serve.

Please see the updated flyer below and complete the registration form by Friday, March 10, 2023


Newark Board of Education Career Opportunities (New)

Contact: Elizabeth Vizcaino, 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 our Elementary Schools by reviewing this link: Welcome to Newark Board of Education!

For more information about our Schools, please visit this link:

If you have any questions, please contact


MSU Network for Educational Renewal: Panel Discussion with Renee Watson (New)

Contact: Matthew Brewster, Office of Staff Development

As a member of the MSU Network for Educational Renewal, The Office of Staff Development would like to invite teachers to join the panel discussion with author: Renee Watson.

Date: March 2, 2023
Time: 5:30PM-7:00PM
Location: Zoom

Please access the attached flyer to register for this FREE event.


#SELday (New)

Contact: LaTonya White, Office of Student Life- Student Support Services

On Friday, March 10, 2023, school counselors and social worker 2's will showcase SEL in their school communities, based on this year's theme: "Uplifting Hearts, Connecting Minds". 

The attached document includes a link to an SEL video, as well as various suggested activities to promote #SELday. Counselors and social workers are to upload artifacts for their school to the link found in the attachment. All artifacts are to be submitted on or before March 15th, 2023.


2nd Annual OSL Conference (New)

Contact: LaTonya White, Office of Student Life- Student Support Services

On March 15, 2023, the Office of Student Life will host its 2nd Annual Conference from 8:00AM to 3:00PM. The conference will take place at Rutgers University- Paul Robeson Center (Newark campus) and provide invaluable workshops to student support staff. School Counselors and Social Worker 2s are required to register for their breakout sessions no later than March 6th, 2023. Please see the attachment for further details.


Traditional Mentor Training (New)

Contact: Dana Moore-Mishoe, Office of  Educator Effectiveness

The next mentor training session is scheduled for March 16, 2023. This session is intended for 1st or 2nd year mentors, although mentors of any experience are welcome to attend. We will focus on mentoring for equity. Please register here:


Enter the Peace Islands Institute 2023 Art and Essay Contest (New)

Contact: Margaret El, Office of Visual & Performing Arts

Peace Islands Institute (PII) welcomes submissions for its 13th Annual Art & Essay (A&E) Contest. This year’s theme is “The Impact of Social Media on Peace-Building”.

The A&E Contest aims to: 

  1. Bring middle and high school students from around New Jersey together
  2. Promote awareness regarding issues of common concern among New Jersey youth
  3. Facilitate their personal and academic growth through a healthy competitive environment
  4. Inspire them to make positive change in their communities

For more information, please visit the Peace Islands Institute website:


Register for Free Healing-Centered Engagement March/April Workshop Series for Educators (New)

Contact: Margaret El, Office of Visual & Performing Arts

Are you an educator, youth development worker, teaching artist, or healthcare professional that serves youth in Newark? 

This special hands-on series, in its fourth year, will be led by trauma and arts specialists who will guide discussion about how trauma is defined and impacts our youth and ourselves. You will learn how arts strategies can promote resilience and create safer youth spaces. 

*Credits available for participants of the entire virtual series.  

  • March 29, 3-5pm 
  • March 31, 3-5pm 
  • April 4, 3-5:30pm 

Register here:


Health Starts Here: Healthy Actions 2023! (New)

Contact: Jennifer Medina, Office of Benefit Services

Join NBOE-Well for the 2023 Healthy Actions Program!

If an employee obtains two (2) of any of the screenings listed below between January 1st, 2023 through December 31st, 2023*, they will earn a $50 gift card.

  • Annual Physical with lab work
  • Colonoscopy
  • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Immunization/vaccine (flu, H1N1, pneumococcal, hepatitis b, COVID)
  • Routine Dental cleaning
  • Routine Eye exam
  • Well woman/Pap smear
  • Mammogram
  • Prostate Exam

*Please note, if your screening(s) takes place between January 1st, 2023 and December 31st, 2023, you will need to obtain proof on Aetna’s website. 


OSE Upcoming Events and Professional Development (New)

Contact: Jennifer Lo Conti, Office of Special Education

March is dedicated to Social Workers Month. Be sure to shout out your Child Study Team Social Worker and Social Worker II.  

The Office of Special Education is offering Saturday professional development opportunities for general education teachers during the months of March and April. Please see the attachment for professional development training for general education and special education teachers.


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

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.



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.


Special Education Conference March 15th

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.  

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.


High School Programs/Academies Transfer Fair Opportunity

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:  


Fight the Winter Blues with Yoga!

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

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

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.



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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 Stories Feb 17, 2023: School Community Garden Pilot Program Coming to Louise A. Spencer Elementary SchoolFeb 17, 2023: Newark Students Compete at the District’s FIRST LEGO League TournamentFeb 17, 2023: Bridging the Gap to Improve FAFSA Outcomes!Feb 17, 2023: Specially Designed Instruction and the PreK CurriculumFeb 17, 2023: The Office of Bilingual Education Provides Ongoing Peer Coaching to Support ESL TeachersFeb 17, 2023: Student Artists Recognized at Kean UniversityFeb 17, 2023: NBOE Celebrates National Girls & Women in Sports DayFeb 17, 2023: Building Capacity Through Professional DevelopmentFeb 17, 2023: Trust for Public Land Unveils plans for a New Community PlaygroundFeb 17, 2023: NBOE Replaces Aging Network Cabling Associated with Wireless LAN in SchoolsFeb 17, 2023: Newark Enrolls SpikesFeb 10, 2023: NBOE Celebrates National Girls & Woman’s in Sports Day


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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