Manalapan-Englishtown schools to open Sept. 11


Staff Writer

As the days of summer wind down in Manalapan and Englishtown, the boys, and girls, of summer are preparing to start a new school year on Sept. 11.

Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Superintendent of Schools Maureen Lally said about 5,500 children in kindergarten through eighth grade will be enrolled this year. There are some new staff members and new programs in place.

“In the Manalapan-Englishtown regional schools we truly believe our mission is to provide an outstanding education that challenges all learners in a safe, secure environment,” the superintendent said.

Lally said to that end the district will continue to offer a wide variety of studies in language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, world languages (Spanish and Italian), the visual and performing arts, health and physical education.

According to Lally, 38 new teachers will join the district this school year and Lafayette Mills School will be getting a new principal, Gregory Duffy, formerly the math supervisor.

Lally said Gregory Schmidt, formerly a math teacher at the Manalapan English-town Middle School, is the district’s new math supervisor. On July 1, John Marciante, formerly the director of pupil personnel services, became an assistant superintendent.

Lally said in order to meet the challenges of the new school year, the district has introduced four new programs: Fast Forward, Project Read, Reading Recovery and Skills Tutor.

Fast Forward is a reading program that works with pupils who have a problem that manifests itself in decoding words, fluency of reading and other concerns.

Marciante said Fast Forward is a program that focuses on children who can not hear the blending of sounds. He said the program will be implemented in grades four through six at the Wemrock Brook School and in kindergarten through third grade at the Milford Brook School, as well as in summer programs at the Taylor Mills School and the Lafayette Mills School.

Marciante said the Fast Forward program has a proven success rate, with some children gaining three grade levels in one school year.

The assistant superintendent said Project Read is a program that focuses on classified students in the district’s special education department and all the instructors will be certified teachers of the program.

“We’ve infused Project Read into the instruction and I’m very excited about it,” said Marciante.

He said he believes the success rate for the program bodes well and that it will likely be incorporated throughout all of the schools.

Reading Recovery is for the K-3 buildings – Taylor Mills, Clark Mills and the Milford Brook School.

According to Lally, “Our primary school pilot programs have been so successful for young students who are challenged by traditional classrooms that we are adding a kindergarten pilot and one at third grade. At one school the pilots combine our language arts curriculum with Project Read, while at a second the curriculum is combined with Reading Recovery. At this moment, data from both indicates very successful programs.”

Marciante said Reading Recovery identifies students in need of intervention and provides one-on-one basic skills training using sensory development such as finger-writing, which Marciante said is particularly successful when used with young children.

Skills Tutor, said Marciante, is for all grades in the district. He said it is a web-based program that targets various skill level defects. He said the beauty of the Skills Tutor is that pupils can proceed at their own pace because it is a program that can be used at home.