SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – When classes resume Sept. 5, there will be many aesthetic and academic upgrades completed throughout the South Plainfield School District. Since the end of June, improvement projects as well as curriculum updates have been under way with funding provided through both the general budget and the March 2017 referendum.
“The South Plainfield School District will offer newly renovated spaces and innovative courses for the upcoming 2018-19 school year,” said Superintendent Dr. Noreen Lishak.
Over the summer months, numerous referendum projects have been going on throughout the buildings. In July, roof replacement at John F. Kennedy Elementary School was completed and crews are currently working on installing a new roof at Franklin Elementary. Work is also being done to make bathrooms in district buildings ADA compliant and, at South Plainfield Middle School, a new HVAC system is being installed.
Through bond funding, there will be a new state-of-the-art STEM lab at South Plainfield High School as well as fully renovated science labs at both the high school and the middle school. The new STEM lab, which will be officially dedicated in honor of former board of education member Carol Byrne in September, will feature a Dual Extruder 3D Printer System, MakerBot Replicator 3D printer, ShopBot CNC Milling Machine, Full Spectrum Laser Engraver, 6 Needle Embroidery Machine and SanNCut Pattern Cutter, Short-throw interactive projector, and more.
“The STEM lab was taken down to the studs and is being renovated with new everything – floor to ceiling, new furniture, new equipment – from soup to nuts. The science labs are also being completely renovated,” said Lishak. “We are looking forward to our students experiencing their lessons in fully modernized science labs as well as state-of-the-art STEM lab.”
Scheduled referendum projects for summer 2018 also included a great amount of work over at Jost Field. Last month, the new synthetic track was installed – weather permitting the lines will be painted in the coming week – as were new visitors bleachers and a new press box; work on a new field house, complete with ADA compliant bathrooms, will begin after the last game of the 2018 season.
“We are very pleased with the progress that has been made over the past couple of months,” said Lishak. “Some of the projects have been more challenging than expected, however, we have been able to engineer them so that they are still in alignment for their scheduled dates of completion.”
Through funding provided in the district’s annual budget, the high school will also be getting a renovated graphics lab and new air conditioning units and a new sound system will be installed in the auditorium. Additionally, security upgrades have remained a focus with district officials working closely to adhere to recommendations from the South Plainfield Police Department.
Over the summer, the district has also been working to ensure curriculum upgrades and additional course offerings. Come September, the high school will offer numerous new full-year classes, including AP Computer Science A and Civil Engineering and Architecture (offered through Project Lead the Way STEM initiative), World History Honors, Music Technology, Sculpture, and Math 3. Additionally, Anatomy and Physiology will be increased from half-year to full year programs and courses such as Entrepreneurship, International Business, and Infectious Diseases will be offered on a half-year basis. At the middle school, Pre-Advanced Placement History has been added and, at Grant, the new course addition includes Music Exploration.
“We are continuing to work on updating our curriculum and making sure it aligns with the New Jersey Student Learning Standards. Teachers have been working all summer long to ensure that alignment,” said Lishak, adding, “We are all excited for the implementation of the many new courses being offered in the district for the 2018-2019 school year…”
During the upcoming academic year, the district plans to run evening workshops for students and parents; the topics of these workshops will be determined through a survey scheduled to go home in early September. The district, said the superintendent, is also looking to partner with local trade schools and unions to offer high school students more opportunities as well as expand its relationship with colleges in an effort to provide students more ‘for credit’ courses.
“We look forward to another exciting school year in South Plainfield, one that offers our students rigorous academics in outstanding facility renovations,” said Lishak.
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