WARREN, NJ - Acting Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington visited Warren Township Schools on Mon., Apr. 3 for a wide-ranging tour that included an innovative 21st century social studies lesson, some hands-on kindergarten math, and a chance to pose for green screen technology in the makerspace at Warren Middle School.
Harrington spoke warmly with students and staff at both the middle school and Woodland School, visiting classrooms for a glimpse of the district’s diverse educational offerings... a pre-engineering Innovation and Design unit for 8th graders, a math unit that had 3rd graders designing an obstacle course, computer coding in grade 5, and a lively rendition of a song about verbs performed by Woodland’s 2nd graders.
“Thank you for all you do to make learning real for them,” Harrington said to Woodland kindergarten teachers Joan Toth and Kristina Traynor about the math centers that included the use of artificial flowers for an addition/subtraction lesson.
The acting commissioner also met 8th graders studying broadcast journalism with Lynn Alger, sitting down for an on-camera interview for the student-run WMS News.
“My favorite part of my job is a day like today when I get to talk to students and thank teachers for what they do,” said Harrington, in answer to a question from student reporter/anchor Ethan Harmatz.
Harrington was a classroom teacher in New Jersey for 16 years before moving on to administrative and leadership roles. During her visit to Warren Township Schools, she repeatedly thanked teachers for bringing context to content to help answer the student question “when will I ever use this again?”
And the commissioner paid special attention to students, often pulling up a chair alongside a desk or joining them on the floor as they worked on a project.
“Adults do a lot of talking,” she told one group of 8th graders. “We forget to ask students how they like to learn.”
“It was a real honor to have Acting Commissioner Harrington visit our classrooms. She took the time to really listen to our students and staff members who rose to the occasion and proudly represented the entire community,” said Superintendent Matthew Mingle.
Always interested in the student voice, Harrington stayed on for the board meeting at Woodland that evening as selected students spoke passionately about what they like most about their school.
“As Ms. Harrington was getting ready to leave the meeting, several Woodland students ran up to give her a hug. It is a credit to her leadership style and her deep desire to focus on the children in our schools that she was able to build such strong relationships in just a few hours in the district,” Mingle said.
Editor's note: Check back for more on the Board of Education meeting.
Photo #1 - NJ Acting Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington is interviewed by 8th grade student anchor/reporter Ethan Harmatz during a visit to Warren Township Schools on Apr. 3. Photo #2 - Kimberley Harrington, New Jersey’s acting commissioner of education, visits a kindergarten class in Woodland School for a hands-on math lesson on Apr. 3.
Photo #3 - Woodland School welcomes New Jersey Acting Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington on Apr 3. (L-R) Fourth grader Maya Wishnia, Superintendent Matthew Mingle, 5th grader Paul Quense, Harrington, Woodland principal Jeffrey Heaney
Photo #4 - Library media specialist Cynthia Cassidy (L) and retiring Warren Middle School principal Robert Comba welcome NJ Acting Commissioner of Education Kimberley Harrington to “The Tank,” a creative middle school makerspace.