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Students' Critical Thinking Focus of School District

Superintendent lays out vision for this school year.

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.

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Tls September 07, 2012 at 05:48 PM
My son's chemistry class at Wayne Valley doesn't even have a full time teacher. His teacher is on leave for the whole year and the district has failed to find a qualified long term sub. So on the first day of school, they sat there in class and did nothing - received no books, no instructions on what they need for class, nothing. How is this developing critical thinking skills when the school can not provide educators for the core subjects. It is my understanding that there is also a geometry class in the same situation - this is ridiculous and unacceptable and our children will suffer as a result.
Tls September 07, 2012 at 06:48 PM
2nd day of school - my son did history homework in chemistry class. Still no book. If your child is in one of these classes, please contact the BOE. They have to understand that this is not acceptable.
casey September 07, 2012 at 09:08 PM
There is a new substitute company that is all screwed up. From my understanding, Wayne schools no longer find and hire subs as they have done in the past but rather this new company finds them and places them. It's a mess.
Tls September 07, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Yes and what I have heard is that they are only hiring long term replacements as if they were daily subs - which is why they can't find one for chemistry.
still in town 78 September 08, 2012 at 12:08 AM
Yes lets teach the kids a lesson in real life. Read the papers learn from the B.O.E. mistakes!! Lesson1 don't jump to conclusions for political expediency. Lesson 2. Don't drive an excellent coach and teacher to quit because he defended an innocent player. O and if you sat and thought things out for a second before making hasty decisions. The town might have money for important things ie. Fire trucks and supporting our volunteers, maybe bucoming a building for our hazmat team
still in town 78 September 08, 2012 at 12:11 AM
Maybe supporting our animal shelter so they done have to ask for money. And I know this is a crazy idea how about cutting taxes. Maybe the way to go would be to cut the over ppaid over compensated staff and admin.
still in town 78 September 08, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Oops did I say that can't mess with the unions.
casey September 08, 2012 at 12:21 AM
How does this comment have anything at all to do with the article's topic? Animal shelter? Overpaid staff? What are you talking about?
still in town 78 September 08, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I'm talking about the fact that this town has to spend money on law suits because of absolute carelessness and spends money on overpaid underworked union employees and doesn't spend money on the organizations that make this town what it is. And the fact that they persacuteed a innocent coach and player at the possible cost of millions.
fboy1932 September 08, 2012 at 02:38 AM
The town spends some of its money on law suits because its people like you who come on here to complain and complain as you should as your right but this is what happens. We all pay the consequence ie the 15 million dollar law suite re Hills issue. We complain about wind mills and then beat the government for either doing the right thing or doing the wrong thing. School open yesterday, can you at least give it a chance? really now.
still in town 78 September 08, 2012 at 09:18 AM
People like meIf the town didn't have to pay for law suits like the 15 million maybe they would have money to pay for other things. That's my point. My other point is why is 50% of taxes for schools when they have programs like this that solve a problem that doesn't exist, if parents really care about how their children are doing then you have multiple staff members you can call to find out. As for the hero thing why cant parents teach their children to treat other people with respect.
fboy1932 September 08, 2012 at 01:05 PM
The hero thing...you kidding me? its the low lives like you and I that teach our kids manners and to respect...the others that act and live like millionaires are the wort in raising their kids with morals and values. I grew up poor and now live here and live well, I see some of the kids act around teachers etc...and the parents look the other way or just point a finger at a teacher. Parents in this town don't care cause if they did they be at every boe meeting with the room overfilled with people. Do you see how many people show up at a boe meeting? watch it and see, its a joke. 10-20 people max unless its about a serious issue and even so its a joke.
still in town 78 September 08, 2012 at 02:07 PM
And that is the parents fault I wouldn't raise my kids to disrespect teachers or anyone else for that matter. And to say that you don't care because you don't go to board meetings is ridiculous. Some of us work long nights and even longer days just to put food on the table. Why do you need I pads at 300 dollars a piece when they have so much technology in the class room already. Lets all try and keep taxes low and put the money where its needed.
Tls September 08, 2012 at 04:29 PM
C'mon guys! I just want my child to have a teacher in his classroom!
fboy1932 September 08, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Did you know that there are schools that have already been using ipads? we are somewhat behind here. The boe decision making hasn't been the best but technolgy is needed. The meetings dont start till 8:00 pm and there is no excuse of not going when either your suppose or you attend while staying home watching the kids. Did you forget that you were one of the complainers about paying teachers too much money and the boe needs to make cuts to save us on taxes? well guess what? budget cuts were made so now except the consequences on not getting your books on time etc...if I did not move to Wayne my kids vocabulary and knowledge would sound like the way my nephews and nieces speak that live in East Rutherford and Ridgefield Park. So please as much as I dislike living here we get good education and well worth the money.
fboy1932 September 08, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Did you contact the principal? or your 1st choice was posting a comment on here? obviously not because if you did you'd be complaining of the answer they gave you. So I suggest you call and ask the questions you want and then post to see if your satisfied or not in which you wont. Please keep us informed.
dogdoo September 13, 2012 at 02:32 AM
the entire school system is a joke and it starts with the political wannabes ceberio and pavlak who have destroyed this district. its only going to get worse from here, we were able to hire all kinds of administrators and assistants to replace our two athletic directors yet this boe and school couldnt find a chemistry teacher or a math teacher to teach our kids?? its disgraceful and yes it is absolutely true that there are many kids in valley right now who have NO chemistry or math teacher.......a disgrace
Concerned September 15, 2012 at 10:00 PM
My child in Valley does not have an Algebra teacher.
Tls September 16, 2012 at 01:26 AM
Heard they hired an Algebra teacher Friday so hopefully your child's class will resemble normal soon. Please let the BOE know that this is not acceptable. I have written all administrators, trustees, etc. up the "chain of command."
Concerned September 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM
This happened last year also. The French teacher was on Maternity leave from the first day of school until April. What message is being sent to Highschool Freshmen allowed to sit idle, goof around and or do their homework for the first six weeks to school. Kids love it! One problem is that subs are paid poorly in this district. How can we compete globally in Math and Science if we hire unqualified personnel and pay them $80 dollars a day. Source4teachers pays $10 a day less this year than Board paid last year. Not very motivating! Yet we expect them to teach our kids Math and Science. Maybe we should recruit saints instead of subs. Long term subs will be paid $100 a day. Remember these subs do not get a health plan. I have gone up the chain of command. I ended up taking a day off work and speaking with the assistant Superintendent. Sorry for venting everyone. I am not a difficult parent. I do not complain about every little thing. This is very important to me. I will attend next Board meeting. Another first! p.If anyone knows any out of work Saints, tell them to apply for a teaching position in Wayne school district. Concerned
In the Know September 16, 2012 at 02:36 PM
The new system (sorce4subs) is nothing new. Last year they used Aesop and before that they just had one person taking care of everything for the whole district. As for the long term subs, no one wants this job. The people who are qualified for this position do not want it because they will only get $100 per day with no health benefits. While on the other hand, they can go to a different district and get a real paying teaching job, and do the same amount of work. The board is using this as a place to cut corners in the budget. Instead of hiring a new teacher, like they should be, they are fumbling around to hire a long term sub. So even if eventually we get a new sub, next year we will have the same problem because they are not hiring a teacher in the first place. Also the sorce4subs does not handle long term subs, the board does. Yet, they have the nerve to use sorce as an escape goat
In the Know September 16, 2012 at 02:40 PM
On October 1st Algebra will have a teacher. Until then students have teachers that are on break to fill in and teach.
Concerned September 18, 2012 at 02:10 PM
How can we be confident that a qualified teacher will be hired?
Tls September 18, 2012 at 08:29 PM
I don't think that we can.

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