What's Going on In West Orange Schools

LMS Staff Credits: LMS
Batman, aka, Principal Bob Klemt. Credits: LMS
Mad Scientists. Credits: LMS
Students. Credits: LMS
Students. Credits: LMS
Principal Xavier Fitzgerald and Asst. Principal Steve Melendez bring Parent/Teacher Conferences to EMS beginning November 18. Credits: Cynthia Cumming
Students work on their Reading Rocks projects after going to the Franklin Mineral Museum. Credits: Marla Geller
WOHS American History Social Studies Teacher Doug Drabik. Credits:

WEST ORANGE, NJ -  Here's what's been happening in West Orange Schools.

Character Day at Liberty Middle School

We've covered the Redwood Halloween Parade, the Pleasantdale PTA Trunk and Treat, and now here is what happens during a typical West Orange Middle School "Character Day." On Oct. 31, Principal Bob Klemt (a.k.a. Batman) of Liberty Middle School sent some photos and said that the teachers dressed up in themes as well... Administrators were Superheroes, Science teachers were mad scientists, Social Studies teachers were Supreme Court Justices, and the 'Arts' were... the Peanuts gang?  It was all in good fun that helped to bond the students and kids in the Liberty Middle School community.

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Parent/Teacher Conferences To Be Held at Edison Middle School

In an effort to aid in the transition from Elementary to Middle School, Edison, the Central Sixth will be offering Parent/Teacher conferences on Nov. 18, 19, and 20,  from 12:40 to 3:30 p.m. Students will have a half-day schedule on these dates.

“The return of the parent/teacher conference solidifies our vision and mission to have partnership with the parents, by integrating parents into the educational process, to make their students successful,” said Principal Xavier Fitzgerald. “We are a transitional middle school and this program helps both parent sand students transition to the middle school model.”

Parents and Guardians can schedule their appointments by going to the Pick A Time link until November 14 at 3 p.m. or at Parents can schedule an appointment time with a teacher or teachers that they are interested in speaking with in either a core subject or a specific class.

“This Parent/Teacher conference is more about interfacing with specific teachers whether a student is happy with class, or a parent has concerns about a class. This is not mandatory experience,” said Assistant Principal Steve Melendez. “If you don’t have the need, or want to meet with your child’s whole team, a parent can still schedule a team meeting with their guidance counselor and all of their teachers at any time.”

Meetings are set up on a first come first serve basis in ten-minute appointments. Arts teachers (gym, music, Spanish, keyboarding, art and health) will be available in the gymnasium on a walk-in basis.

Washington School Fourth-Graders Create "Reading Rocks" Buddies

Learning about geology can be fun, especially for the Washington School fourth-graders that traveled to the Franklin Mineral Museum on Oct. 25.  Fourth-graders had the opportunity to travel deep into a mineral mine and collect as many rocks as they could fit into their plastic bag. The mine is world famous for its flourescent rock species that glow under ultraviolet light, and the museum houses insects, rocks, gems, minerals, and much more.

After returning from the museum, students created "reading rocks" buddies. Each student selected one rock to decorate and describe in a written assignment. Students then shared their rocks with their classmates and read their reports.

American History: Alive and Well Thanks to West Orange High School Teacher

There's more to West Orange High School Social Studies teacher Douglas Drabik than meets the eye. Douglas Drabik, in addition to being a popular World History teacher at the high school, has facilitated an intergenerational oral history program sponsored by the Jewish Historical Society of New Jersey with his freshman American History Honors students at Daughters of Israel for the past four years. The students work with Senior Citizens and learn much more about history than what they can find in books.

“The students that have participated in this oral history program have had a near unanimous positive impact on their lives. The program brings history alive and shows the students that history is living, breathing, walking, and talking…history is something you find on the outside of school, not inside,” Drabik said. 

Drabik has been a Social Studies teacher for the past 15 years. Both his parents were also teachers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for my students to discover historical resources right within their own community," Drabik said. "Students can see the world through the eyes of older adults and they develop long-lasting friendships. Some of my students continue to visit their senior buddies long after being involved in the program.”

Drabik prepares the students for the project by providing an age sensitivity seminar, ensuring that they are attentive when conducting their oral history interviews, and provides the rubric requirements for the project, which includes a written paper and posters.

Mali Schwartz, a Jewish Historical Society board member and the creator of this intergenerational oral history program, is delighted to see how this program continues to impact the lives of both the students and the seniors.  “I want to thank Eric Price who is now the Principal at St. Cloud, for reaching out to Doug Drabik who has helped to develop this program into what it is today,” Schwartz said.




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