NJ Annual Report Card: How Did Baristaville Schools Score?

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 30, 2010 2:30pm  |  COMMENTS (17)

reportcard.jpgUPDATE: NJ districts just received the latest, and most recent, AYP reports, which are not on the DoE’s website yet, but are expected to be posted by next month.

Montclair saw some improvement in its elementary and middle schools, but still did not meet AYP in six of its school, including MHS which is now in its “Year 4″ status for failing to meet AYP in four consecutive years. In a letter on Montclair’s BoE website, Dr, Frank Alvarez explains, “We have made great progress in the last four years. In some individual cases, students who were once partially proficient are performing at advanced proficiency levels. However, a small number of students continue to struggle. We need to do better at understanding their needs and in helping them master the necessary content.” He goes on to say, “Like most progress reports, grades fluctuate, they don’t always reflect a learning curve, and they can be filled with pluses and minus. The report for the Montclair Public Schools is no different.”

The State Department of Education has released the 2009-2010 annual report card. The Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report reflects the testing scores from all children–including those in special education and ESL students (English as a Second Language.) Schools are tested from 3rd grade and up, so schools such as Nishuane in Montclair and Forest & Linden Avenue Schools in Glen Ridge are not on the report. AYP is a measurement defined by the United States federal No Child Left Behind Act that allows the U.S. Department of Education to determine how every public school and school district in the country is performing academically according to results on standardized tests
The goal for schools is to meet all 40 of the Adequate Yearly Progress indicators.

The following results are from the last published reports on the DoE’s website. Stay tuned for a follow up story on the results that were just released to the districts this week, but are not published yet.

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Applegate Farm’s Octoberfest

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 30, 2010 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

applegatefarmoctoberfest.jpgThere are two Octoberfest celebrations in Baristaville this Saturday, and this one is all about ice cream. Montclair’s Applegate Farm will hold its annual Octoberfest and will be scooping out tons of ice cream and offering a bunch of fun, fall activities for families to enjoy.
There will be a Pumpkin Painting Contest, pony rides, face painting, balloons and for the adults–an ice cream eating contest. I could totally win that.
Octoberfest goes on rain or shine, but thankfully the weather forecast is calling for a cool, crisp day.
Applegate Farm Octoberfest
Who: All ages.
What: The annual celebration of autumn and ice cream.
Where: Applegate Farm, 616 Grove Street, Montclair, NJ, 07043.
When: Saturday, October 2 from 11 am – 3 pm.
Cost:Free. There will be concessions to purchase: caramel apples, hot dogs, and more.

Baristaville Gets Another Yoga Studio, But This One’s For the Kids

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 30, 2010 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

miayoga.JPGIf you like yoga, than Baristaville is the place to live. Montclair will be home to yet another yoga studio, but this one is just for kids. Mia Yoga celebrates its grand opening this Saturday, October 2.
Located in The Wellness Loft on Walnut Street, Mia Yoga will offer classes for children from babies to teenagers. There will be classes for Mommy & Me, Daddy & Me and even Me & My Nanny classes. There’s a class especially for boys called Superhero Yoga and Family yoga classes, so everyone can do Child’s pose.
Owner and instructor Carissa L. Olivi had her Masters in Education and has taught preschool/kindergarten for over 10 years in Montclair, so she knows kids. Along with Mia Yoga, The Wellness Loft is home to Dr. Francesca Marino, a family chiropractor and Victoria Agresti-Hoehn, a health and nutrition coach.
The Grand Opening will offer healthy snacks, tips on packing a healthy lunch M-F, Me and My Spine Art Lesson and free Family Yoga from 2 pm – 3 pm.

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Turnpike Tikes Trips: OctoberFest

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 30, 2010 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

pumpkinpatcheec.jpg Turnpike Tikes Trips is a series on Barista Kids by Ronda Kaysen, editor and publisher of Turnpike Tikes, a blog and weekly email about great stuff to do with the kids in New Jersey.
If you’re looking for a way to celebrate all that’s great about autumn, head over to the Essex County Environmental Center this weekend. They’re hosting OctoberFest (and no, it’s not a German beer festival). The center promises a day of hiking, canoes, a pumpkin patch maze, a live animal show, a petting zoo, beehives, bird watching, and arts and crafts. Healthy snacks will be on tap all day and you can get your fill of fresh New Jersey produce at the Farmer’s Marketplace. If you’re hoping for live music, check out Guitar Bob, he’ll be there. Oh, and did I mention it’s FREE!
OctoberFest at the Essex County Environmental Center
Where: 621 Eagle Rock Ave., Roseland, NJ
When: Saturday, October 2 from 11 am to 4 pm
Who: All ages
How much: Free
Number: 973.228.8776
(Photo: Flickr/niseag03)

Celebrate Banned Books Week

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 30, 2010 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The_Lorax.jpgYou may not have known this, but this week is Banned Books Week.
Don’t feel bad. I didn’t know either. I didn’t know books were still being banned. I thought that was something that happened back in the 1950’s. But books are, in fact, being banned or challenged in an attempt to remove them from the curriculum or library every year. There’s even a top 10 list for each year and a top 100 for each of the decades since the lists have been compiled.
Some that made the top 10 most frequently challenged books in 2009 were Twilight, The Color Purple, Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird? They’re still trying to ban that book? I thought that debate was over. That book along with Catcher in the Rye, one of my all time favorites, was required reading when I was in school.
Then there’s the most frequently challenged author list, which includes children’s book icons Maurice Sendak and Judy Blume along with acclaimed author J.K. Rowling and greats like John Steinbeck and Mark Twain. Oddly enough, it’s the revered children’s book author, Judy Blume, who has drawn the most ire. Blume has made the list every year from 2001 to 2006 and five of her books are on The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990 to 1999 list. But the honor of #1 banned/challenged book for the past decade goes to J.K. Rowling for Harry Potter.

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Massive Fisher Price Recall

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 30, 2010 7:18am  |  COMMENTS (0)

fphighchairrecall.jpgNothing is safe these days. From cribs to medication, it seems that all the things we trust for our children are not trustworthy. More than 10 11 million Fisher Price toys and baby gear have been recalled by the U.S. CPSC, in cooperation with the manufacturer Fisher Price. The recall is due to potential dangers from falling onto certain protruding parts and choking hazards from small parts.
If you have a young child, you most likely have something on the recall list:

  • Fisher Price Trikes and Tough Trikes toddler tricycles
  • Healthy Care, Easy Clean and Close to Me High Chairs
  • Fisher-Price Little People Wheelies Stand ‘n Play Rampway
  • Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Cruise Playground™, Baby Playzone™ Crawl & Slide Arcade™ , Baby Gymtastics™ Play Wall, Ocean Wonders™ Kick & Crawl™ Aquarium (C3068 and H8094), 1-2-3 Tetherball™, Bat & Score Goal™

“Consumer should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed,” the CPSC said in a statement. Call the CSPC Recall Hotline at (800) 638-2772 for more information.

Maplewood Village Fall Open Market

BY  |  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

maplewoodopenmarket.JPG Maplewood Village will transform into an open market this Saturday, October 2. See what The Village has to offer with a preview of fall merchandise and menus.
Kids will enjoy balloon art, face painting, hand-painted tattoos, origami, and demonstrations by Maplewood Karate, Big House Music and Acting With Emily to name a few.
Maplewood Village Fall Open Air Market
Who: All ages.
What: 2nd annual open market.The Village is closing some streets to offer kid friendly activities: face painting, balloon animals, hand-drawn tattoos, origami making, music, treats and more.
Where: Street closures will include Maplewood Avenue from Inwood Place to Baker Street; Baker Street From Maplewood Avenue to Everett Place; Highliand Place to Maplewood Avenue.
When: Saturday, October 2 from 12 pm – 5 pm.
Cost: Free.

Preparing for Moms and In-Laws

BY  |  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

DSC_0101.JPGMy in-laws were visiting from out-of-town last week. Just today, my mom flew in from Kentucky. My preschool children are way into grandparents. Grandparents slip them cookies when I’m not looking.
Don’t get me wrong: I want family members to come to my house. I just want to enjoy their visits without too much stress. I asked my friends for tips, and they couldn’t come up with anything useful. One told me to keep a flask in my pocket.
So I went straight to the source. I asked my mom how I could make her trips better without stressing me out. (See her at left.) She’s had a lot of experience, and here’s her advice.

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Do Kids With Food Allergies Get Bullied?

BY  |  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (8)

foodallergysticker.jpgIn a recent study, one that is a first to look at the social impact of food allergies, Mt. Sinai Medical Center in NYC found that 35 percent of children over the age of five have experienced teasing, harrassment, or bullying because of their allergy.
It gets worse. “Of those experiencing teasing or harassment, 86 percent were reported to have experienced repeated episodes. Classmates were the most common perpetrators, but surprisingly more than 20 percent reported harassment or teasing from teachers and other school staff.” Adults teasing kids? That’s nuts.
My oldest daughter has a severe peanut allergy, so this study upsets me, but not for the reason you would think. You see, I’m upset by it because I have seen quite a different reaction from her peers when it comes to her allergy.

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Old Enough To Do Good in The World

BY  |  Wednesday, Sep 29, 2010 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Last May, Glen Ridge 4th grader Samantha Cordero wrote a book about her family trip to Guatemala to help build homes for impoverished people. Old Enough To Do Good in The World is Samy’s journal of her experience. Now, Samy (and her mom) have made a video, which is narrated by Samy to go along with her book.
Old Enough to do Good in the World is available on Lulu.com. All the proceeds will go towards From Houses to Homes, the New Jersey-based non-profit that made the Cordero’s trip possible.

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