By Cheryl Conway
Students at Chester M. Stephens Elementary School in Budd Lake have been taking their learning outside the classroom this school year with a brand new school-wide initiative.
Take It Out~CMS is taking the learning out of the school and putting it into practice, explains Ann Scotland, CMS second grade teacher and program organizer. Since Oct. 24, selected students in grades three through five have so far visited the Mt. Olive Public Library and Mt. Olive Police Station.
Trips are planned monthly with WRNJ Radio Station slated this week for the January trip. “The students will be exploring the restaurant industry in February with a visit to Chilis,” says Scotland. Gaining insight into the real world is the key purpose to these visits.
“Take It Out will offer students opportunities to see how the subjects, values, and interpersonal skills they’re learning in school are used in the real world,” explains Scotland. “The goal is to make learning more meaningful for kids by connecting what’s learned in the classroom to the “grown-up” world. Research consistently shows that when students can make that link, instruction becomes more powerful and more information is retained.”
The concept for the program developed last summer while Scotland was brainstorming ideas for the upcoming school year with CMS Principal Kevin Moore.
“We reflected on some of the successful moments from years’ past that we felt learning came alive,” explains Scotland. “Through this conversation, “Take It Out” was born.
“The idea came up as we reflected on some of last year's lessons that left an immediate imprint on the hearts and minds of our students,” Scotland explains. “The kindness tour, Cultural Night, ShopRite visit, the mystery community helpers, and Treps to name a few. Each one of those moments offered a final piece to the puzzle of the "why" behind our learning. Each unique moment gave a completed picture for our boys and girls of what school can offer them. Their learning was put into action and it was confirming for them. It offered each student clarity of why the behind the scene lessons are so important. Simply put, this type of experience is a stimulating motivator that is usually completed with enthusiasm. Everything comes alive off the pages of a book and becomes real! The seed that has been planted from this involvement will continue to grow with time.”
Once the program was created, a committee was then formed with staff members working out the details.
To participate, students in grades three through five are encouraged to fill out an application. Each teacher established a classroom lottery using the returned applications with one student representative picked each month to attend the trip. A total of 15 students per month are selected to attend.
“They will go to work from 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.,” says Scotland. “Each month new applications are provided and students can apply as they would like. It is a great way for the third-fifth graders to have an opportunity to work together. After we get this part of the program polished, we would like to have some type of “in-house” experience for our younger population.
“We are working on the first part and once we have that polished, we will create for the younger boys and girls,” she says.
Looking For Business Support
The other integral part to the success of this program is the help from the local businesses.
“We are asking for the support of local businesses,” says Scotland. “We need people to open their doors, invite our “workers” in and not just show them what is involved in making their particular job work, but to have our boys and girls actually do some of the job and experience it.”
While visiting the job site, “they experience the job,” explains Scotland. “We work with the employers to come up with a schedule that would benefit the “workers.” It is different from any other type of field trip because we want the workers to actually do the job and understand how his/her schooling is utilized on a daily basis.”
Exciting Program Unique To MO
“Students are excited to go out on the road and get started,” says Scotland. “First round of applications to the Mt. Olive Library were plentiful. Experiencing the application process, getting their “working papers,” the actual job, and reporting back what he/she saw and did were all valuable lessons within the big picture.
“I’m thinking with the talented teachers behind the program, it is going to turn out to be an amazing learning tool for our CMS family,” she says.
At the library, students met with a librarian and took a tour of the various departments. She described the duties of each worker and the roles they play in making the library run smoothly with “the best services” provided to the community. The students then got to perform some typical library duties themselves like checking in books, reading to preschool children and writing book reviews.
The library visit also taught students how to take advantage of the library’s vast resources like how to use the library’s computers, access the internet, borrow books, do research, check out DVDs and participate in different programs such as children's story time, knitting club, movie showings, book club and painting class.
At the visit to the police department, students participated in the briefing, used the radar gun and tracked the speed of cars going by and experienced the dispatch room. Students took notes during the morning briefing regarding a burglary and wrote a summary reporting on details of the investigation. During the radar gun portion of the visit they learned how the rate of speed, distance and estimation are some of the necessary math skills required for police work. While visiting the dispatch room, they learned how listening schools and effective communication play a critical role in providing emergency services.
Other visits planned for the year include: WNRJ Radio, Chili’s, Long Valley Fire Department, Das’ Creamery and Ashley’s Farm, with exact dates to be determined.
Besides learning some of the hands-on-skill at each visit, student participants benefit by eating lunch with their principal while engaging in “a healthy dialogue” highlighting their experience.
“It is our hope that in the future, our workers will be taped and classrooms will share the feedback on Smartboards for the other students to learn from,” says Scotland. “Again, we are fine tuning as we go along and this year is the “test run” of the program. We will add to the experience as we can.”
With no homework attached, students can instead “go home on what they have practiced out in the field,” she says. “They can share their certificate and what it took to be recognized with it.
“Our students will witness how their academics are utilized in various work environments within the Mt. Olive Community,” she adds. “In addition, they will see how healthy character traits such as cooperation, partnership, and kindness make a work place function in a successful manner.”
So far, “the program is off to a nice start,” says Scotland. “Each experience our committee reflects, adjusts, and improves the study so that it can be all that we would like it to be for our boys and girls.
“We have had a positive response from our community,” she adds. “Many people are willing to share their business with our boys and girls. We are thrilled that they have embraced the idea. We are hoping that our list will continue to grow. Sharing in education is always exciting for all who participates.”
Concludes Scotland: “We work and live in a strong, supportive community. As we extend the classroom out into the neighborhood(s), it will simply be amazing for our apprentices. A quote from Benjamin Franklin… “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Don’t forget to wear purple on Thursday, Jan. 31, when the Mt. Olive High School’s boys’ basketball teams square off in a Morris County match-up against Morris Hills while raising awareness of cancer and supporting a local non-profit, Layups 4 Life.
Layups 4 Life is partnering with the two basketball programs and has been working with the Morris Hills athletics program, led by athletic director Rob Haraka and varsity head coach Andrew Maclay, in coordinating a “Purple Out” theme night.
The Morris Hills and MOHS boy’s freshman team will kick off the event at 4 p.m. at Morris Hills High School in Rockaway followed by JV and varsity teams. Fans and spectators are encouraged to wear purple to support Layups 4 Life and their efforts in raising vital funds for cancer research and clinical trials. A half-court shooting contest will take place during halftime of the varsity game to help raise funds along with general donations and merchandise sales.
Layups 4 Life is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is founded on the principles of making a difference in the fight against cancer. Led by cancer survivor Dan Exter and his wife Dana Levine Exter, it is L4L’s mission to help raise vital funds for cancer research and clinical trials. Since 2014, Layups 4 Life has raised close to $80,000 through hosting a variety of events in the sports and social spaces. With the funds that they have raised during the last four years, L4L has made contributions in support of leukemia, pediatric and bone marrow research departments supporting one of the leaders in cancer innovation and research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
Additionally, on Saturday, April 27, Layups 4 Life will be hosting its 5th annual 3v3 charity basketball tournament at the Parsippany PAL Youth Center in Parsippany. This tournament has quickly become one of New Jersey’s largest 3v3 charity basketball tournaments as it averages 40 teams per year. Registration for this tournament is open to ages 18+.
To learn more about Layups 4 Life, visit its website at www.layups4life.org. Questions about this theme night or anything else regarding L4L, email Dan Exter or Dana Levine Exter at email@example.com.
It is never too late to kick in that New Year’s Resolution to get in shape and exercise. Check out Mt. Olive Exercise offered through Mt. Olive Recreation for a free week starting January 27.
Challenge those muscles and strengthen that heart while joining others who share that common goal of better health here on out. A variety of classes and format are provided to work all parts of the body by several different instructors filled with motivation, inspiration and fun to get members on track in reaching their goals when it comes to exercise and fitness.
The Chabad Jewish Center in Flanders is offering its next monthly women’s class, Larger Than Life: Weaving God into the Details, on Wednesday, Feb. 13, noon to 1 p.m., which includes lunch; or 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., which includes refreshments.
Lesson four of this series, “With All Due Respect, Honoring Your Parents,” Jewish women are invited to look into the relationship they have with their nearest and dearest- their parents, the mitzva of Kibud Av Va'em (honoring one's parents), along with all the joys and challenges it brings.
Parents provide one with life as well as a model for human relations. Thus, the Torah demands that one shower her parents with honor and respect. Living in the “sandwich generation,” which brings a host of its own issues to the fore, forces one to probe the parameters of moral parental obligation. The Torah perspective on the why of honoring parents will provide much-needed clarity on how to go about doing so.
Fee is $18. Contact 973-927-3531; email fmshust@gmailcom; or visit www.mychabadcenter.com.
The Roxbury Arts Alliance is celebrating its 10th season of the Investors Bank Theater by hosting its second vocal talent competition, The Star Next Door-Take 2. Mt. Olive residents are invited to take part by competing, voting online for their favorite semifinalist, and/or attending the Final Event at which the final 12 contestants will compete live on March 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Investors Bank Theater in Succasunna. Get that act together as the application deadline is approaching on Thursday, Jan. 31. Go to http://roxburyartsalliance.org/the-star-next-door/ for contest rules and to fill out an application.
Helping Hearts & Handbags, Inc., founded in Mt. Olive resident Lisa Smith Wagner, is growing very quickly and seeking volunteers to help its mission. The non-profit organizations collects “gently-used” medium-to-large purses, fills them with personal care items and a handwritten note, and distributes them to homeless women living in shelters or on the streets.
Even though the charity is less than two years in the making, it has given out more than 1,600 purses to more than 35 different shelters and are currently establishing chapters in different states. Volunteers have been a big help!
It is looking for even more volunteers to help in various roles including bookkeeping/accounting, web design, marketing, fundraising events and hands to fill purses and write notes, hearts to spread the word about its mission and women who want to make a difference and have a great time doing it.
Representatives of the Burlington County Sheriff’s and Prosecutor’s Offices want to replicate Hope One, an innovative mobile substance abuse recovery vehicle launched in April 2017 by Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon to help fight opioid and heroin addiction.
Hope One, which in the past 21 months has logged more than 6,000 contacts with individuals struggling with addiction or their families and friends, was parked Monday outside the Netcong Train Station, where Gannon met with four law enforcement officials from Burlington County.
Hope One already was replicated by the Newark Police Department in December and earlier by the Cape May Prosecutor’s Office and Monmouth and Atlantic County Sheriff’s Offices.
Burlington County Sheriff’s Office Chief Mike Ditzel said he heard Gannon speak about Hope One at a New Jersey State Chiefs of Police Association meeting last fall, admired the concept, and believes Burlington County can be successful with the same proactive approach.
“This could potentially be a great addition to other programs we have, including youth programs to help stop addiction before it starts,” said Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Investigations Darren Anderson.
“We bring services to the client, out in the field,” Gannon told the Burlington County officials. “It’s successful because of relationships we have with the service providers.”
Gannon noted that 3,118 people statewide died of overdoses in 2018, a 15 percent increase over 2017 but Morris County saw a 1 percent decrease in overdoses in 2018 from the previous year. There were 84 deaths attributed to overdoses in 2018 in Morris County.
The sheriff related to the Burlington officials how a father approached the Hope One vehicle on Jan. 7 with a story of concern that his son, just home from a rehabilitation center, would relapse. The father was trained by Hope One staff to administer Narcan, a nasal spray that reverses the effects of opioids, and given a canister to bring home. He found his son unconscious from an overdose in their home the same day and was able to revive him with Narcan, the sheriff said.
There’s a cascading impact on families, the children, parents, spouses and siblings of addicts, Gannon said.
Since April 3, 2017, when Hope One made its debut on The Green in Morristown, the vehicle has made about 270 stops in locations throughout Morris County that statistics show are populated by at-risk people and where drug overdoses are occurring. Gannon said 200 people who boarded Hope One in search of services were transported to treatment for mental health issues or to detox centers and treatment facilities for their substance abuse addictions.
Hope One was staffed during the visit by Burlington County officials by Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano in plainclothes; Kelly LaBar, a peer recovery specialist for Morris County CARES; Madine Despeine, director of Self Help, Advocacy and Education for the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris; and Ashley Reed, a care navigator for Family Promise of Morris County.
In nonjudgmental style, the staff offer literature, resources, Narcan training, coffee, water, hand warmers and snacks to visitors to Hope One, and are equipped to immediately help individuals find treatment for their addictions.
Covering most of Morris, Sussex, Somerset and Warren counties, the New
Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs (NJSFWC) of the GFWC Highlands
District is actively looking for women to join its local clubs.
Join in for a Membership Open House on Thursday, March 27, at 7 p.m., at the
Mt. Olive Township Public Library in Flanders. Refreshments, information and
a short program is planned.
For those interested in community service opportunities, making a difference
in the community, leadership training and looking to have fun, then a
woman's club is the right place. Through participation in local clubs, the
NJSFWC enables its members to make a difference in the lives of others, one
project at a time.
Everyone is welcome, especially women from Mt. Olive, Budd Lake, Flanders
Diverse in age, interests, and experiences, all club-women are united by a
desire to create positive change, meet others, while enhancing and
benefiting their communities. NJSFWC members represent a broad range
including teachers, business owners, social workers, elected officials,
medical professionals, homemakers, corporate executives and professionals,
students and retirees.
Come find out what the NJSFWC of GFWC and its local clubs are all about, and
how to help continue the state, districts and club's mission of making a
In addition, to honor the 125th anniversary of the NJSFWC, and looking
forward to an even more successful future, the Shining Future Endowment
Campaign has been established which will permit the State Federation and its
members to expand their many diverse programs and activities in individual
communities as well as statewide.
The public is invited to be a part of this campaign through donations at
various levels. Donations are to be made payable to 'Women who reach for
the stars', and send to NJSFWC Federation Headquarters, 55 Labor Center Way,
New Brunswick, N.J., 08901 or make a donation online. For additional
information about the campaign visit www.njsfwcshiningfuture.org.
To find a club nearby, go to njsfwc.org. To RSVP for the open house, email
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (201) 602-7853.
The Mount Olive Soccer Club (MOSC) Travel Program is forming a high school girls’ travel team for the upcoming spring season. If interested, contact email@example.com A.S.A.P. Deadline to register is Feb. 8.
Come out to the Mt. Olive Senior Center on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to Cabin Fever Reliever, sponsored by Mt. Olive Recreation. Free admission includes games, food, music and vendors. For more information, visit rec.mountolivetownship.com.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, partnering with the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and Presbyterian Church of Morristown, plans to host its third public outreach program on Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Presbyterian Church of Morristown’s Parish House in Morristown. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
The program is part of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s 21-21 Community Policing Project, implemented by N.J. Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in 2018, with the goal of building strong relationships between law enforcement and the community. The first two programs covered Officer Involved Shootings and the Opioid Epidemic.
This third program will focus on the recently issued N.J. Office of the Attorney General Immigrant Trust Directive and Bias Crimes. Representatives from the Morris and Sussex County Prosecutor offices will provide the free presentation. All members of the public are encouraged to attend.
February is approaching- the festival of romantic love so send in your poems to be printed for the entire month of February; submissions may include a photo of the poet. All ages are invited to submit.
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Experienced journalist since 1990, living in Flanders for 21 years and covering Mt. Olive Township for the past 10 years.
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