Education

Principal Spotlight: Dr. Patricia Kennedy, Valley View Elementary

eb5db916d4ecb229a0cf_BOE_May_5__2015_006.JPG
Patricia Kennedy, Principal at Valley View Elementary School in Montville, NJ. Credits: Melissa Benno
eb5db916d4ecb229a0cf_BOE_May_5__2015_006.JPG

TAPintoMontville recently spoke with Patricia Kennedy, Principal at Valley View Elementary School. Interviews with the principals of the other Montville Township schools can be read HERE.

MONTVILLE, NJ – Dr. Patricia Kennedy says the “Guess What?” moments keep her going.

“What I like most about working with young children is they’re very curious. They’ll come to me and say ‘Dr. Kennedy – guess what!?’ That spark – that’s the curiosity that you need, to help them become learners.”

Sign Up for E-News

Kennedy has four degrees and seven certifications, including two Master’s degrees in English and Reading Specialist and a Doctorate from Seton Hall.

Kennedy began teaching high school English to seniors in Rahway. She taught Reading Specialist classes to undergraduates and graduate students at Montclair State University. She was a Reading Specialist and Basic Skills teacher in Fairfield for eleven years, and a Language Arts Supervisor and Vice Principal in Essex Fells.  But Valley View is “my spot,” she smiles, where she’s been for ten years.

State of the School

Valley View was recognized by the state as a “high performing” school and “it comes with a lot of work and a sense that children deserve the best and you plan accordingly. We strive to do the best for them,” she says.

“What makes Valley View such a special place is our motto -- ‘Where All Children Can Learn.’  There are five components to that.

“It starts with the students. We have the privilege of working with some terrific kids. We have pre-k through grade five, and we have the LLD kindergarten through five. We have a complement that mirrors the world. Our kids are exposed to diversity,” she says.

Valley View hosts the district’s Integrated Pre-School Program, a personalized education program for three- and four-year-olds with and without special needs. The LLD program is a district-wide, K-12, program that serves students with more significant Language and Learning based challenges.

“The third graders are reading buddies for the pre-schoolers.  It helps both students and the bigger kids become role models while learning empathy and insight.”

Kennedy says the second component is the teachers. “I have a remarkable staff. I have a mix of veterans, mid-career and novice teachers. I was happy with the staff I have here and the people I hire are always up for a challenge. They’re curious, tech-savvy, and willing to work on a team. With that collaborative approach, we get a lot done.”

The school has a technology committee with thirteen members that plans professional development based on the school’s needs.

“There’s so much new in technology but this staff is not afraid. So many of my staff are experts at technology and they show it.”

The third component is the parents.

“We have incredible parents,” says Kennedy. “The Parent-Teacher Association brings wonderful programs.”

Kennedy recalled the last school year included a terrible, harsh winter, but over the summer when she saw the “Adventure to Fitness” program, the PTA purchased it for her school.

“It’s a virtual field trip,” she says. “During the winter our kids were able to take a little ‘adventure’ to the rainforest, or to New York City, or the Arctic, while they stood in front of the SmartBoards with a ‘guide’ who was exercising with them, and they were ‘touring.’ It was a lot of fun for the kids. In other years, our parents did crafts with the kids during indoor recess, and Hip-Hop Dancing. The PTA conducts big fundraisers for us, such as Casino Night, and we were able to purchase 60 iPads and we were able to supply air conditioners to the second floor.

“They’re great people and they want the best for their children and for Valley View,” says Kennedy.

The fourth component is the community, according to Kennedy.

“This is one of the most generous communities I’ve ever worked in. They participate in fundraisers like selling t-shirts, contributing to St. Jude’s Hospital, and the Relay for Life. If they know [the recipient] or not, this community steps up, not just with money but with their spirit.  They see a need – big or small – and they support it.”

The fifth component is her fellow administrators, says Kennedy.

“There’s a healthy competition among the school administrators, but we know we are all working together.

“Board of Education Member Michael Johnson is a Valley View alumnus, and he supports what we do and acts as our liaison to the Board. I’ve had a number of superintendents and I don’t have a complaint about any of them. The people who work here admire the community and feel privileged to be here and work very hard, and the administrative team in the last ten years [since I’ve been here] has always supported one another.”

Kennedy is also appreciative of the Board of Education.

“The Board is very generous. We had to rebuild [after the budget cuts a few years ago] and they’re very passionate about education, the kids and the community.  The leadership of the Board is very positive and pro-active. We always feel supported. Sometimes you hear horror stories but I’ve never felt that.  The Board is in it for the right reasons.”

Kennedy is very proud of the District, stating, “We’re recognized in the state as a high performing district and it’s not by accident or from luck. There are a lot of people with vision and we keep working towards that.”

PARCC State Assessment

“PARCC was a change for us, but if you take the time to look at it, as with any new initiative, you have to find the balance that’s just right. Are they there yet? Maybe not, but they’re working on it. That’s true of the SATs and anything standardized – it’s just part of the process.

“It’s been interesting for us because some of the tasks mirror the Common Core. PARCC isn’t driving the curriculum but it’s supporting what we need to do.”

The district had to provide students with technology in order to take the assessments, but the Chromebooks (mini computers) purchased for the tests are not gathering dust.

“We have the Chromebooks in the classrooms and these kids are doing daily what we didn’t do two years ago. That advancement, in terms of the format for instruction, is similar to before we had Smartboards in the classrooms. They’re used a lot. They’re not motivators and they’re not for play. They’re tools to access information in the curriculum. They’re so much more engaging. It’s a more rigorous way to teach when you incorporate lessons where the kids can research and gather information, then synthesize it. The kids are digital learners. And nowadays, you can’t find everything you need to know in a book.”

Next Superintendent

“I would like a superintendent who is passionate about learning, which we have had, and who is a strong communicator, because the superintendent has to make the vision transparent.  I’d like to compliment Dr. Fried because I’ve never worked with a calmer person. It’s a remarkable quality. People who are passionate can become emotional but he has a sense of what people need, and they need to be heard, and then you come to a mutual meeting of the minds.”

Looking Back

“You see curious students asking ‘guess what?’ in kindergarten and they get the right environment to grow in this community. You look at what these kids accomplish and you marvel.  It’s not just the salutatorian and the valedictorian, although one year both were Valley View alumni,” she laughs. “I always say to new principals, the growth you see and the evolution of the district, there’s always a building and a layering. You’re not just doing it because it’s new but because it makes sense for this district and community. It’s been gratifying.  I look back over the past ten years and feel good.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Montville

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_2bffedea1e9def92524f_5917d64a-bf5a-449e-a00c-1f79d03c81a4

Thu, April 19, 8:00 AM

Montville Township Municipal Building, Montville

Montville Twp Chamber Panel Discussion

Business & Finance

Carousel_image_21bef130afc222290ddd_leo

Thu, April 19, 6:30 PM

Waterside Restaurant, North Bergen

Leonidas Foundation Fundraiser

Food & Drink Giving Back

Carousel_image_ff0bb6c6d4be3860bbb7_photo

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

Senior House, Montville

Montville Township Democrats Meeting

Government

Carousel_image_54ab0caca82d9a031db5_logo

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

Montville Township High School, Montville

School of Rock MEF Fundraiser

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink Giving Back

Carousel_image_7da5c9e35ba507a41961_franco

Fri, April 20, 9:00 AM

Anthony Francos Pizza, Lincoln Park

Lax Franco Fundraiser (Last Day to Sign up)

Food & Drink Giving Back Sports

Calling For The Resignation of Councilwoman June Witty

April 12, 2018

Dear Editor,

This week, Montville Township Republican Committeewoman, June Witty, posted a chart depicting a swastika that compared Democrats to Nazis on her personal Facebook page. This post by Committeewoman Witty was not only insensitive to township residents registered as Democrats but, more importantly, this post is rooted in hate and vitriol toward the Jewish Community. Anti-Semitism is ...

Montville Teens Invited to Outdoor Adventure Day

April 18, 2018

If you like to challenge yourself, build adventure, go rock climbing, and catch a few fish, you’re invited to Adventure Day at MASR Camp Somers in Stanhope, NJ. 

The event is targeted to males ages 11- 17 and will take place on Sunday, May 6 from 1-4 p.m. at Camp Somers located at 750 Waterloo Rd, Stanhope, NJ.

Activities will include fishing, shooting sports, rock ...

Master Plan Kick-off Meeting to Be Held

April 8, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – The Township Committee, Planning Board, and Zoning Board of Adjustment will have a special “Master Plan Kick-off Meeting” at the municipal building on Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m.

The Master Plan is the document that has been “designed to guide the future development of the community, in a manner consistent with sound planning criteria and the ...

Short Evacuation Occurs at MTHS

April 17, 2018

MONTVILLE, NJ – A short evacuation occurred at Montville Township High School on April 17.

After the regular 2:10 p.m. dismissal, a fire alarm sounded but an announcement was made naming it a false alarm, according to a student who was in the building for an extracurricular activity.

The alarm again went off at 2:18 p.m. and the student said an announcement was made that the building ...

More Than Just Kindness for Roxbury Student Adored by Tragically Killed Boy

April 17, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – She lost her 10-year-old son three years ago in a boating accident on Lake Hopatcong, but Laurie D’Amico is sure her beloved Christopher speaks to her all the time. It’s subtle but firm, she says; messages that come as sparks of recollection, inspiration or intuition.

One of those unexpected inklings led Laura and her husband Chris to a jewelry ...

Lifehouse, Andy Grammer, and Creedence Clearwater Revisited to Perform for 2018 NJ Balloon Festival

April 9, 2018

READINGTON, NJ – Balloons may be the main attraction at the annual QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning, but music also takes center stage here.

The festival will be held July 27 through July 29 at Solberg Airport and this year’s main music attractions have been announced.

On Friday evening, Andy Grammer will perform. His debut album featured the platinum singles ...

Montville Teens Invited to Outdoor Adventure Day

April 18, 2018

If you like to challenge yourself, build adventure, go rock climbing, and catch a few fish, you’re invited to Adventure Day at MASR Camp Somers in Stanhope, NJ. 

The event is targeted to males ages 11- 17 and will take place on Sunday, May 6 from 1-4 p.m. at Camp Somers located at 750 Waterloo Rd, Stanhope, NJ.

Activities will include fishing, shooting sports, rock ...

Columns

Century 21 Open Houses This Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are Century 21 Open Houses for this weekend:

Saturday, April 21 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)

Sunday, April 22 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
172 Pine Brook Road, Montville
10 ...

Century 21 Open Houses this Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are Century 21 open houses for this weekend:

Saturday, April 14 from 1 - 4 p.m.

1.  Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)

Sunday, April 15 from 1 - 4 p.m.

1.  42 Horseneck Road, Montville

2.  Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two ...

Century 21 Open Houses This Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are Century 21 The Crossing open houses this weekend:

Saturday, April 7 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)

Sunday, April 8 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
42 Horseneck Road, ...

Century 21 Open Houses This Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are Century 21 The Crossing open houses this weekend:

Saturday, March 31 from 1 - 4 p.m.  

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
1 Kirsten Court, Towaco
42 Horseneck Road, Montville

Saturday, March 31 from 1 - 3 p.m.

12 Pond View, Montville

Century 21 The Crossing Open Houses This Weekend

MONTVILLE, NJ - Following are Century 21 Open Houses this weekend:

Saturday, March 24 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)

Sunday, March 25 from 1 - 4 p.m.

Brownstones at Fairfield, Stonybrook Circle (Using GPS - Enter 66 Two Bridges Road)
12 Summit Drive, Bld #10, North ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 14

On this week’s AtlantiCast, an internationally recognized orthopedic oncologist takes a leadership role at Atlantic Health System, see the newest weapon in the fight against HPV-related cancers, Atlantic Health System leads the Castle Connolly / Inside Jersey Rankings, and much more!

 

Pet Corner