NJ Dept. of Ed. Approves Four New Charter Schools: None in Baristaville

BY  |  Friday, Sep 30, 2011 3:01pm  |  COMMENTS (4)

Today, the NJ Department of Education under Governor Christie’s administration approved four additional charter schools in NJ to open in 2012, none serving Essex County. The approved schools are:

  1. Beloved Community Charter School in Jersey City
  2. Knowledge A to Z Charter School in Camden
  3. Regis Academy Charter School serving Cherry Hill, Lawnside, Somerdale, Voorhees Township
  4. Trenton Scholars Charter School in Trenton

According to the DoE’s website, “This selection brings the total number of charter schools approved in 2011 to 27, the largest number approved in any one year since the charter law was passed in New Jersey.  With one more selection round in the fall, there are currently 25 approved charters eligible to open in September 2012, pending approval during a readiness review in July.  In addition, there will be 3200 new charter seats in September 2012 from the expansion of existing charter schools.”

The four approved schools were chosen from 55 applications for new charters. Three of those applications were for proposed charters serving Baristaville:

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Weekend Highlights

BY  |  Friday, Sep 30, 2011 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

The weekend is here and the sun is expected to show its face. Yes, there are still possible showers, but it’s better than the steady rain we’ve been having. We’ve told you about Octoberfests and Fall Markets, but there are still so many other things going on this weekend.

Check our Upcoming Events to find out all the happenings and details. Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter to get some great deals and find out about more great events. While you’re at it, “like” us on Facebook.

Here are this weekend’s highlights:

See a Show

Dan Zanes & Friends just released their first album in five years–Little Nut Tree. Join the party at their concert at The NYU Skirball Center in NYC. (Sunday, October 2)

Newsies is getting great reviews. Take the family over to Paper Mill Playhouse this weekend. (Saturday, October 1)

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Octoberfests and Harvest Festivals

BY  |  Friday, Sep 30, 2011 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Tomorrow is the first day of October and with it comes Octoberfests and Fall Festivals! Enjoy pumpkins, foliage, music and more at these events:

Applegate Farm’s Octoberfest
All ages.
The 18th annual Octoberfest! Free pumpkin painting contest, face painting, Ice cream eating contest, Family Spooktacular DJ with fun and games for the entire family!
Applegate Farm, 616 Grove Street, Montclair, NJ, 07043.
Saturday, October 1 from 11 am – 3 pm.

7th Annual Octoberfest Fall Family Celebration
All ages.
What: Celebrate autumn with this  free fun-filled event which offers hands-on educational games and activities, canoe trips, bird walks, live nature-themed music, information booths, and a local farmers market featuring New Jersey Fresh seasonal produce, among other offerings.
Where: Essex County Environmental Center, 621-B Eagle Rock Avenue, Roseland, NJ.
When: Saturday, October 1 from 11 am – 4 pm

The Parenting Center Wants You to Help Close the Gap

BY  |  Friday, Sep 30, 2011 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (2)

If you want to help close the achievement gap in the South Orange Maplewood school district (SOMA), try to attend the Call to Action Symposium on Tuesday, October 4 at Clinton Elementary School in Maplewood. The event will bring together education experts, leaders from the district and parents to discuss what more the district can do to close the gap between Caucasian and African American children.

“There’s a long tradition in education of wringing our hands,” says Karen Weiland, director of The Parenting Center, which is sponsoring the event. “We are very intent not to do that. We will discuss what needs to be done, how to do it, and to do it with urgency and intensity,” she says. “We are envisioning of a talk, a sharing of ideas, and a call to action,” says Weiland.

The symposium will feature video clips from some of the nation’s top thinkers in education discussing what works to close the gap.

Following the screening, the panel of experts, which includes Christopher Cerf, acting NJ education commissioner, Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne and several other educators in the district will respond to the clips and discuss what is viable here. Each panelist will discuss different topics including why they are focusing on closing the gap at the elementary school level, positioning African-American boys for success, and how to engage schools and parents.

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Montclair’s Bradford School To Plant Trees

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 2:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Imke and daughter Vika and Rachel and daughter Amelia.

Thanks to two Montclair moms, the community of Bradford Elementary School will don their garden gloves and pick up their shovels to plant some trees as part of a new “Trees for Bradford” campaign, this Saturday, October 1.

Trees For Bradford is the brainchild of Imke Oster and Rachel Weber.  Oster is also co-chair of the Montclair Environmental Commission.

They realized how much character—and sun protection—the canopy of mature trees brings to Montclair’s school grounds. They recognized that many of the trees—planted more than one hundred years ago—were reaching the end of their life spans and new trees weren’t being planted fast enough. It takes decades for a young tree to reach maturity and provide shade.

Imke and Rachel knew Montclair’s children would be put at risk for sunburn and would avoid playing on overheated playground equipment. They knew children would play longer and more comfortably on a playground with a little more shade, so they approached the Board of Education. The BoE saw the value in the idea but couldn’t fund tree planting on its tight budget.

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Ask Holly: Botanical Art

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (11)

“MOMMY I WANT TO MAKE ONE OF THOSE!” That’s what my daughter said as we were looking at some of my friend Fran’s botanical photographs on her site Punk and Roses.

I told her, “Maybe another time,” because Fran was going to come over and we were going to make woodland creatures from acorns, pine-cones and other things we found on our walk. That was my agenda. About five minutes into our walk my agenda was doused with gasoline, thrown into the fireplace and torched.

I went about my way searching for lovely flawless acorns instructing my kids to do the same as me. My ridiculous instructions were abandoned. My kids were at Fran’s side who was finding “cool” acorns filled with worm holes, pieces of bark, sticks with odd shapes and the like. After 15 minutes Fran had us all smelling leaves, looking closely at the veins and comparing textures and colors. An hour later we were creating “art.” I’m talking about the real deal. Gorgeous botanical prints that we could print out and frame, use as a holiday card or birthday cards,  screen savers and pretty much anything you can get printed.

Here’s what you’ll need:

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Hip Chic’s Annual Model Search

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 11:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)


Model search photo shoot 2010.

Hip Chic, a Montclair boutique for girls, is looking for local hip girls to model its Holiday Collection in its annual Model Search.

Now through October 17, girls sizes 7 – 14 (juniors and young adults) can drop off a 5 x 7 photo of themselves at Hip Chic. Make sure to include your name, address, phone number, email, and date of birth. Selected models will be announced the week of October 17. All girls who enter are invited to a party at Hip Chic to watch the photo shoot of winning models with Michael Stahl of Best Friends Photography on Sunday, October 23. And every girl who enters gets a goody bag.

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Maplewood Village Fall Market

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Maplewood Village will celebrate Fall with an open market this Saturday, October 1. Over 35 merchants will be participating offering great fall merchandise and menus.

Families will enjoy art, crafts, face paitning,  demonstrations , delicious food and music by: Mood Ring, 8Bit, Alan Paul and The Good Tymes String Band and a special appearance by NJ Firehouse Polka Band.

Maplewood Village Fall Market
Who: All ages.
What: Third annual Fall market. The Village will close off streets to offer a fun, family shopping and dining event.
Where: Street closures will include Maplewood Avenue from Inwood Place to Baker Street; Baker Street From Maplewood Avenue to Everett Place; Highland Place to Maplewood Avenue.
When: Saturday, October 1 from 12 pm – 5 pm.
Cost: Free.

L’Shana Tova!

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 4:45pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Happy New Year to everyone celebrating Rosh Hashanah!

Here’s Montclair’s own Mama Doni singing a song called Shofar Blowin’ Band to start the celebration.

The Family That Plays (Piano) Together, Stays Together

BY  |  Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011 1:30pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

When Luke and Ethan Savitch are not designing video games or sword-fighting, they take beginning piano lessons. After their piano teacher, Ron Vera, instructs the boys at their house, he stays to teach a third student, their mother, Jennifer Savitch. The threesome kicked off their instruction this past summer after Grandma Judy shipped Jennifer’s childhood piano from Ohio to New Jersey.

“I’m thrilled with it,” gushes Jennifer, “head over heels with the three of us practicing every day. It makes me feel fantastic inside.” Jennifer, a charter pilot and active Montclair mom, is working through an adult beginner piano book while her boys study the parallel children’s repertoire. You might recognize her name from the Barista Kids story of her fight for bike rights at Hillside Elementary School. Jennifer’s younger son, Ethan, aged eight (older brother Luke is aged nine) likes to loll on the ground next to the piano, savoring the music and the vibrations, while Jennifer takes her turn at lessons.

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