Berkeley Heights 'A+ Ideas' to Enhance Education


BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – Superintendent Judith Rattner gave a power point presentation regarding “A+ ideas” at all educational levels at the Thursday, Oct. 20 Board of Education (BOE) meeting.

At the elementary school level the district “borrowed” some ideas from others and developed some ideas within the district. Some of the A+ ideas have already been piloted in the district. The focus of the A+ ideas is to help students learn and to make students “flourish further,” Rattner explained. The district will be benchmarking students’ reading level by using a variety of tools to measure their reading aptitude. Benchmarking allows the schools then to offer more differentiated instruction based on the benchmark analysis of each student.

The special education services will be utilizing an assessment tool – AimsWeb K-12 – starting in the 2016-17 school year at all district schools. The new assessment method will allow teachers to “understand the reading, writing and math functioning levels of their students.” Teachers can then design their instruction based on these levels and track each student’s progress. The instruction will be more specific and goal oriented, Rattner said.

Sign Up for E-News

The district is also planning to expand pre-vocational programs to the middle school level. The program is seeking further opportunities especially for students “with more significant disabilities”. The program allows students to become more independent after high school graduation.

Another A+ idea is to provide students with increased support for their social-emotional well-being at the middle and high school levels. Both individual and group counseling is already available for behavioral and family support. Rattner also pointed out that a Rutgers University study had concluded that stressed out students are more likely to skip school. The district is developing means to lighten the students’ stress levels in order to intervene where absenteeism issues are concerned.

In the middle school level the district will introduce the “Connected Math” program. The program enables teachers to “provide hyper targeted instruction and support to students by utilizing Mathspace along with their classroom instruction to implement a blended model of learning.” The program provides students with access to all mathematics curricula, including algebra as early as the sixth grade. Benchmarking will be used to target individuals and small groups based on students’ aptitude levels.

At the high school level the district will be utilizing a web-based tool – AP Potential. The program uses standardized test scores, such as PSAT, to determine which students are likely to score three or higher in AP exams. The method allows the district to identify more students that have the ability to succeed in AP-level courses.

The district will be adding “A Real World Scientific Research” component in applicable high school science courses. Students in the environmental science programs have already engaged in real world scientific research standards, Rattner said. The students simulated “the real-life expectations of an environmental scientist” starting with funding the research by applying grants. The students then conducted the research, carried out experiments, provided conclusions and resolutions to a problem. The program will prepare students to understand the research process and the role of a scientist in society.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

'Tired of cronyism? Yeah, us too'

July 21, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman, Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman as County Manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...

TAPinto Spotlight on Business Features New Providence Dentistry

July 17, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - TAPinto "Summer Spotlight on Business" features local businesses and their owners who are important to our communities. Follow this column to receive a fresh perspective on small business owners and their unique needs while shining a spotlight on their stories.

This edition features New Providence Dentistry, operated by Dr. Beth Herko and her staff of ...

Avoiding 10% Tax Penalty

Do you want access to money from your retirement accounts but aren't sure of the real costs involved?

Most retirement accounts have a set age requirement you must reach before making penalty-free income distributions, which is usually 59.5 but can sometimes be as early as age 50. If you decide to access your accounts earlier, you could face penalties ranging from 10%-25%, which is not ...

Drive for Autism Foundation to hold Seventeeth annual Drive for Autism Golf Event

July 23, 2018

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The Drive for Autism Foundation is pleased to announce that its annual golf event Drive for Autism XVII will be held at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, NJ on September 17, 2018.

The Drive for Autism Golf Outing which has been held since 2002 has raised and distributed over $700,000 to local school programs. Previous beneficiaries of grants were ...

Step Up and Build a Stronger Union County

Union County residents who are seeking a meaningful, high-impact way to volunteer in their community can sign up as a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Essex, Hudson and Union Counties.

The organization is currently seeking volunteer mentors for its best-known program, Community Based Mentoring. The program involves individual mentoring with a local child or teen, age 6 to 18, with a ...

Shakespeare in the Park(ing Lot)

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — The Shrewd Mechanicals from the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre will perform Shakespeare Gumbo in the parking lot of Berkeley Heights Public Library, 110 Roosevelt Ave.,  on Friday, July 27, at 7:00 pm. 

Bring lawn chairs.  Change of location will be announced in case of inclement weather.

Mayors Push for Law Permitting Driver's License for Immigrants

July 22, 2018

PERTH AMBOY, NJ - Five mayors from northern and central New Jersey today called for passage of a state law permitting immigrants to get driver's licenses even if they are undocumented, saying it boosts public safety as well as the economy.

"This is important for every resident for a better life and a better life for the state of New Jersey," said Perth Amboy Mayor Wilda ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 24, 3:00 PM

Grillestone Restaurant , Scotch Plains

Hear the Story of Amelia Earhart, America's Most ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink


Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24th

Health & Wellness


Tue, July 24, 5:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Summit Area YMCA Swim Team Tryouts July 24th

Health & Wellness


Wed, July 25, 1:30 PM

Trailside Nature & Science Center, MountainsidE

Trailside’s Annual Summer Wednesday Matinee ...

Arts & Entertainment Education

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment


Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Memorial Park, Berkeley Heights

2018 Berkeley Heights Summer Concert Series

Arts & Entertainment

And Over Here is the Dining Hall 2

My very first job in admissions was while I was still an undergraduate myself as a tour guide.  Very early on they indoctrinated us with some tricks of the trade.  It’s a dining hall, not a cafeteria.  A residence hall, not a dorm.  If you have to divulge some negative bit of information, sandwich it between two positives.  There were instructions for glossing over ...

Women Have Special Financial Needs That Advisors Overlook

Women have special financial needs that advisors overlook in two ways: 1) advisors don’t always acknowledge the different planning needs women have and 2) advisors don’t always communicate well with female clients – especially if the client comes to a meeting with her husband. It’s very common for a male advisor to spend much or most of the face time in meetings talking to ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...