Officials this academic year want to improve students’ critical thinking skills throughout the district.
The process of teaching students to think critically, and not just regurgitate information that they’ve memorized, is something that Superintendent of Schools Ray Gonzalez starts with getting them to understand the context of a particular event, fact, or process.
“It’s not that you ignore the basics, but you give students a foundation and a way of thinking that gives them the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in various contexts,” Gonzalez said. “It’s great if every student is able to recite the dates from the American Revolution but it is even better when can get them to understand why a particular event happened when it did.”
It is the first time in several years a school year has begun in Wayne with a permanent superintendent running the district. Gonzalez in October 2011. He began his tenure with Wayne in January 2012.
The district’s curriculum will be revised to reflect guidelines agreed upon by a 46-state consortium on education standards.
The change also allows educators to think more critically about not just what they teach but how they teach it.
“The curriculum is set up in a way for educators to answer the question of: ‘what do we want our kids to be able to do by the end of this learning experience?’” Gonzalez said. “From there you can then structure your learning activities.”
The increased integration of iPads and laptops in all schools gives educators another medium they can utilize when presenting a lesson.
Officials will introduce a new district-wide endeavor to make every student a H.E.R.O., which stands for Help Everyone Respect Others. This initative is in addition to the new statewide anti-bullying law that Governor Christie signed into law last year.
In an effort to improve communication with parents, new information continues to be added to the district’s Parent Portal service. Parents can now access their child’s attendance record, class schedule, report cards, and other information online.