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Character education in the Rumson School District reflects a culture and a belief system that supports cooperation, collaboration, pro-social skills and ecision making within all the academic disciplines.  The district's character education program incorporates the NJ State Bar Foundation's Bully-Busting Curriculum and Second Step curriculum to promote core values, create a caring school community, and provide students with opportunities to think and discuss.  Students, staff, and the community are engaged in activities that promote responsibility in a developmentally appropriate manner.  At Deane-Porter, programs and activities athroughout the year support the theme that students are "respectful, responsible, and safe."
 
The elementary years are a time when students begin to develop their academic self-concept and their feelings of competence and confidence as learners. They are beginning to develop decision-making, communication and life skills, as well as character values. It is also a time when students develop and acquire attitudes toward school, self, peers, social groups, and family.   Mrs. Piernik views children as individuals - unique human beings endowed with dignity and worthy of respect.  The overall philosophy is to assist students in personal growth through development of educational planning, self-awareness, collection, interpretation, and utilization of data, setting goals, and decision making.  
 
Deane-Porter offers a comprehensive developmental school counseling program, aligned to American School Counselor Association standards, NJ State Learning Standards, as well as 21st Century Common Core Standards, that provide education, prevention and intervention services, which are integrated into all aspects of students' lives. Early identification and intervention of children's academic and personal/social needs is essential in removing barriers to learning and promoting academic achievement.  The knowledge, attitude, and skills that students acquire in the areas of academic, career and personal/social development during the elementary years serve as the foundation for future success.  
 
Responsive Classroom was implemented in Deane-Porter school during the 2015-2016 school year and will be continued for the 2016-2017 school year. Responsive Classroom is a research-based approach to teaching that offers practical strategies for bringing together social and academic learning throughout the school day.  The approach consists of classroom and school-wide practices for deliberately helping children build academic and social-emotional competencies.

Seven guiding principles, informed by the work of educational theorists and the experiences of practicing classroom teachers, guide the  Responsive Classroom  approach: 

  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn: Process and content go hand in hand.
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • Knowing the children we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally-is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners is essential to children's education.
  • How the adults at school work together is as important as their individual competence: Lasting change begins with the adult community.

At the heart of the  Responsive Classroom  approach are ten classroom practices:

  • Morning Meeting  - gathering as a whole class each morning to greet one another, share news, and warm up for the day ahead
  • Rule Creation  - helping students create classroom rules to ensure an environment that allows all class members to meet their learning goals
  • Interactive Modeling  - teaching children to notice and internalize expected behaviors through a unique modeling technique
  • Positive Teacher Language  - using words and tone as a tool to promote children's active learning, sense of community, and self-discipline
  • Logical Consequences  - responding to misbehavior in a way that allows children to fix and learn from their mistakes while preserving their dignity
  • Guided Discovery  - introducing classroom materials using a format that encourages independence, creativity, and responsibility
  • Academic Choice  - increasing student learning by allowing students teacher-structured choices in their work
  • Classroom Organization  - setting up the physical room in ways that encourage students' independence, cooperation, and productivity
  • Working with Families  - creating avenues for hearing parents' insights and helping them understand the school's teaching approaches
  • Collaborative Problem Solving  - using conferencing, role playing, and other strategies to resolve problems with students

School-wide, we adopt the following practices:

  • Aligning policies and procedures with  Responsive Classroom  philosophy  - making sure everything from the lunch routine to the discipline policy enhances the self-management skills that children are learning through the  Responsive Classroom  approach
  • Allocating resources to support  Responsive Classroom  implementation  - using time, money, space, and personnel to support staff in learning and using the  Responsive Classroom  approach
  • Planning all-school activities to build a sense of community  - giving all of the school's children and staff opportunities to learn about and from each other through activities such as all-school meetings, cross-age recess or lunch, buddy classrooms, and cross-age book clubs
  • Welcoming families and the community as partners  - involving family and community members in the children's education by maintaining two-way communication, inviting parents and others to visit and volunteer, and offering family activities
  • Organizing the physical environment to set a tone of learning  - making sure, for example, that school-wide rules are posted prominently, displays emphasize student work, and all school spaces are welcoming, clean, and orderly