“Knowledge is power.”
– Sir Francis Bacon
While Sir Francis Bacon is attributed to using this educational virtue centuries ago in his writings, it continues to be the spirit that radiates through the hallways of School Five since it was inscribed on our building ninety years ago. Situated near the southern border of Cliffside Park’s one square mile, School Five sits sturdily on top of the Palisades with views of the Hudson River and New York skyline. Our red brick school houses nine classrooms in grades one through six and last year eight prekindergarten classes joined our campus in newly constructed modular classrooms. While there is beauty in the surroundings of School Five, it is most profound in our diversity. More than half of our students speak languages other than English in their homes including Spanish, Arabic, Albanian, and Turkish.
Since 1926, School Five has opened its doors to enrich students’ academic studies. Presently, our half-day prekindergarten classes follow the HighScope curriculum, beginning the educational experiences of four year olds through “active participatory learning” with their teachers. A “wrap around” class is offered for our four year old students who are enrolled for a full day. There are also five full day classes to serve our preschool disabled students. Students in grades one through six follow district created curriculums that are grounded in the New Jersey Student Learning Standards for English Language Arts (ELA), math, science, social studies, and health. Our ELA curriculum has been created using a balanced literacy framework providing opportunities for shared, guided, and independent reading. Our other content area curriculums offer cross-curricular ties, differentiate for learning, and promote collaborative learning experiences to prepare our students for success in the 21st century. Supplemental classes are also offered in world language, computer, library, art, music, and physical education on a weekly basis. Support classes are offered to our students through our Title I supplemental classes in math and ELA, resource room, and English as a Second Language classes. This year, teachers are actively enhancing their lessons with technology using chrome books and iPads as resources for learning. However, learning doesn’t stop with the final bell as we have a partnership with Jewish Family Services for after school homework help and enrichment classes in grades PK and one through three. The afterschool program for grades four through six is funded by the 21st Century Grant for Schools.
Besides providing students with strong academic programs, School Five is also committed to nourishing self-determination, and recognizing the qualities of good citizenship. Every month we recognize a student in each class who has met a personal goal or accomplishment in our “Student of the Month” program. Our “Citizens of the Month” are students in each class who have been nominated by their teachers for exemplifying the moral attributes named for each month.
The true strength of School Five is rooted in the dedication and commitment of our outstanding educators. Our faculty and staff communicate, coordinate, and plan for the success of all our students. Not only do they teach to help our students learn, our faculty is serious and intent on their own learning to continuously enhance their instruction. Our faculty attends district-wide professional development throughout the school year offered at faculty, grade level, and curriculum meetings. Depending on personal goals and self-improvement plans, many attend professional development opportunities offered by the NJDOE and other professional associations. In addition, the majority of our teachers have sought advanced degrees.
Every day at School Five is an opportunity for our students to be afforded the educational opportunities they deserve as promised by our borough, our state, and our nation. As we approach our centennial celebration, we will continue the commitment made on the day our cornerstone was laid – that any student who walks through the doors of School Five over the next ninety years will walk out on graduation day understanding that “Knowledge is power.”
Mrs. Dana M. Martinotti
Dana M. Martinotti
214 Day Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010