Palmyra Public Schools Curriculum and Instruction
Welcome to the Office of Curriculum and Instruction
On this site, you find information pertaining to many of the initiatives and programs facilitated through this office, including:
- Administration of State Testing: PARCC and NJ Science Testing
- Development, Evaluation, and Revision of Curriculum Documents
- Development and Facilitation of Curriculum Benchmarks/ SGOs
- Administration of MAP Testing
- Professional Development
Should you have any questions about any of these topics, or any other information pertaining to this office, please do not hesitate to contact me.
All About Me:
To give you just a glimpse of my background, I have lived and breathed education my entire life. Even as a child, I "played school" with my sister, taking turns being the teacher. Now we are both educational leaders in the NJ Public Education System. I graduated through the Pembertown Township School District (Thank you for teaching me the strength that comes with a diverse community. Go Hornets!) and went to TCNJ (formerly TSC, Go Lions!) to learn how to be a teacher. I double majored in Mathematics and Secondary Education and took my first (and only) teaching job in the district placement where I did my student teaching, Burlington City High School (Thank you for keeping me around and teaching me how to endure. Go Blue Devils!). While teaching Geometry at BCHS, I took classes online through American Intercontinental University (AIU) to receive my masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction as well as my Supervisor Certificate. In the fall of 2012, on the heels of Hurricane Sandy, I made the transition to Palmyra Public Schools (Go Panthers!) where I continue to learn from my peers, the leaders, teachers, parents, and students each day.
I have been with the Palmyra Team, which feels much like a family, for five years. The amount we have accomplished in those five years is impressive to say the least, and yet there is still so much to do. I am fortunate to be a part of a small group of people who enjoys their work almost every day, despite the challenges, struggles, unending to do lists, and hard battles. I believe in what we are doing and I believe in the people that fight alongside me each day. As a Hornet, a Lion, a Blue Devil and a Panther, with connections to the collective experiences from all three of those communities, nothing seems impossible anymore. Having hundreds of colleagues with their own wealth of background experience as well, there is nothing we cannot do together. Let's get started! #BetterTogether
To get an idea what I personally think learning should look and feel like, feel free to view this video clip from Classroom Closeup of my math class in Burlington City. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did (and still do)! : )
Leveraging Twitter for Learning & Growth!
Follow me on Twitter @SaiaStacy for ideas, inspiration, and an infinite (wishful thinking) professional learning network. While I am no expert in all things education, Twitter allows me to connect with some of the greatest minds in education in a meaningful collaboration. If you are not on there as an educator, I'm not sure what you are waiting for??
Some of the initatives for the Curriculum & Instruction Department include:
New Teacher Evaluation & the Danielson Model
In compliance with state regulation to choose a specific teacher evaluation model within the given parameters, Palmyra has chosen the Charlotte Danielson Framework for Teaching. Details on the teacher evaluation program from the NJ DOE are available on the initial EE4NJ page archieved here or the new Achieve NJ page available here.
District Evaluation Advisory Committee (DEAC):
The district has effectively worked together to implement the new evaluation model, complete with SGOs, SGPs, and observation of teacher practice using the Danielson rubric. One component of ensuring effective collaboration has been the DEAC (District Evaluation Advisory Committee), which includes representatives from all stakeholder groups and is instrumental in keeping all stakeholders informed throughout the evaluation process. The committee workes closely together to solve problems and make recommendations.
Our 2018-2019 Palmyra DEAC team includes:
- Jennifer Allen (Teacher-CSS)
- Melanie Gerner (Teacher – CSS)
- Renee Hoffecker (Teacher - CSS)
- Ken Holloway (C.A.P.O)
- Lisa Sabo (PHS Principal)
- Lisa Jablonski (parent)
- Lianne Kane (Child Study Team Supervisor)
- Brian McBride (Superintendent)
- Chris Tracey (CSS Vice Principal)
- John Quigg (BOE member, Parent)
- Michele Reisinger (Teacher- PHS)
- Stacy Saia (Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction)
- Danielle Willard (Teacher- PHS)
2018-2019 DEAC Meeting Dates:
- To Be Announced
In addition to the Palmyra DEAC, each building has developed its own ScIP (School Improvement Panel), designed to ensure, oversee, and support the implementation of the district's evalution, professional development, and mentoring policies at the school level. The ScIP also guarantees that teachers have a strong voice and significant opportunity to help shape evaluation procedures within each school.
Moving forward, additional information will be updated on the Achieve NJ Teacher Evaluation page, navigable via the menu on the left of this page.
Professional Development at Palmyra
Professional development has become a major focus in Palmyra Public Schools. We realize that the most impactful factor in a child's learning is their teacher, and that the most important component of effective teaching is meaningful, sustained, and relevant professional growth opportunities. We strive to provide a wide array of professional development offerings, spanning multiple modalities, methods, and topics. In the past years, staff have maximized the various types of professional development opportunities offered. Many staff members utilize online professional development through Simple K12 and various other platforms available to district staff.
In addition to online learning, staff participate in several in-service days over the course of the year that invited external experts in to speak with teachers on topics including special education, 21st Century Skills and Themes, effective instructional strategies, and targeting improvement in mathematical and literacy skills. Teachers are also encouraged to seek out external workshops for job-specific growth. Numerous teachers have taken advantage of this opportunity to bring back research-based ideas to the district and share them with their colleagues.
Additional information regarding professional development will be available on the Professional Development page, navigable via the menu on the left of this page. On this page, you will also find several resources for classroom activities and formative assessment. Enjoy!
MAP Testing in Palmyra
Palmyra will continue to utilize the MAP tests, short for "Measures of Academic Progress" tests, to track annual progress for all students grades K-9. The testing schedule for each school year is as follows:
- Incoming students (Kindergartners and Transfers) are tested in the Fall Testing Season (last week in September)
- All students are tested in the Winter Testing Season (early to mid- December) to collect formative data on progress. This data is used by staff to inform instructional planning and check student growth.
- All students are tested again in the SpringTesting Season (May, after PARCC testing) to collect data on final growth. This is used by building and district staff to review instructional effectiveness and check student growth.
For further information on MAP testing, including archived information, normative data, and parent support, please see the MAP page in the menu bar on the left.
New Jersey Student Learning Standards
The New Jersey Student Learning Standards include Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards, as well as nine K-12 standards for the following content areas:
- 21st Century Life and Careers
- Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
- English Language Arts
- Social Studies
- Visual and Performing Arts
- World Languages
The most recent review and revision of the comprehensive set of standards occurred in 2014. However, the standards in language arts and math underwent an additional review in 2015 with adoption by the New Jersey State Board of Education in May 2016. With this new adoption in May 2016, Palmyra Public Schools re-aligned their curriculum, instruction, and assessments to reflect the updated New Jersey Learning Standards.
To read more about the New Jersey Learning Standards implemented in Palmyra Public Schools or the Model Curriculum developed by the state, visit the New Jersey Learning Standards page along the left side of this page.
View the full state testing schedule online through the state website here.
18-19 Palmyra Public Schools Planned Testing Dates:
Palmyra High School (Grades 7-11): April 9-19 (Subject to Change as Needed)
Charles Street School (Grades 3-6): May 7-16 (Subject to Change as Needed)
PARCC Appeals: January 7 to May 10, 2019
NJ Science Testing will take place in May. Specific Testing dates are still being finalized but will likely take place during one of the following windows:
- May 2-3 (all paper testing as needed; possibly all testing Grades 8 & 11)
- May 16-17 (Grade 5)
- May 22-23 (Grade 8, 11)
PARCC Assessments History/Overview: As curriculum and instruction realigned to the Common Core, and now NJ Student Learning Standards, the statewide assessments transitioned to these standards as well. In addition to that content-based change to state testing, starting in the 2014-2015 school year, all schools across the state administered their state tests online through a computer terminal. These new assessments were spearheaded by PARCC (The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers). More information about the PARCC testing process is available at their site. Resources include updates on the PARCC testing process, sample tasks and rubrics for teachers to use to inform instruction, and more.
For more information on PARCC testing, visit the PARCC/Pearson sites as well as the state sites providing that information directly.
- Information on Test Makeup, Development, and Topics is available at:
- Specific resources from PARCC/Pearson for students, parents, and teachers are available at: http://parcconline.org/resources
The core component of my responsibilities in Palmyra is the oversight of the district curriculum. Since I have arrived in Palmyra almost six years ago, the district has been working tirelessly to evaluate and revise its curriculum to support the evolving needs of the student population. Curriculum changes include ongoing efforts to align to the most updated state and national standards, incoporation of best pedagogical practices to support invested and engaged learning environments, and a shift toward backmapping to reach the big ideas and away from textbook-driven decisions. Curriculum is being re-written in a new format housed within the district's OnCourse system so that it can be linked directly to teacher's lesson plans.
Below are some valuable overall resources for curricular support that can be used by teachers, students, and parents.
Reading and PARCC ELA Resources Online
- https://www.tuck.com/best-bedtime-stories/ (Great Sleep Research, Parent Info, & Stories!)
(A Special THANK YOU to a Secret Friend for Sharing this Great Link!!!)
Are you interested in building a "Home Library Space" for your family? Check out this great information on the value of and various factors to consider when setting up a library for your children at home. CLICK HERE
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