Please take a moment of your time to fill out the Sodexo Survey.
Dear Eighth Grade Parents:
Greetings from the High School. We look forward to your attendance at our annual Eighth Grade Parent Night on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 starting at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. At that time, we will share with you the many programs and initiatives that make Vernon Township high school such a special place for our students and our community. We anticipate a wonderful and informative evening.
Very truly yours,
Parents – we need your help! We have our Parent Engagement Survey that we need you to complete. The survey should only take 8-10 minutes. We will use your feedback in our decision-making for the future of our district. See the below video for more information.
Vernon Township School District Has Gone Mobile!
As soon as the New Year’s Eve ball drops at midnight, the new Vernon Schools “V” Mobile App will similarly drop into app stores for you to instantly download onto your mobile device!
Download the Vernon Schools Mobile App!
Vernon Township School District is proud to announce the launch of its first mobile application, the Vernon Schools App, which offers a one-stop digital resource for all district-wide information right in the palm of your hand. Jam-packed with information from the www.vtsd.com website, Vernon’s new mobile app allows you to quickly view school calendars, lunch menus, sports schedules, digital backpack notices and much, much more from the screen of your mobile device. The app offers immediate access to the latest news, updates and information for Vernon’s six public schools, as well as click-through links to school-related affiliate websites and district social media pages, including the PowerSchool Parent Portal, Schoology and Vernon’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.
VTSD Chief Technology Officer Matt Shea developed the mobile application, along with IT Webmaster Pete Van Gilst, in an effort to streamline outgoing communication and mobilize school district news and information for the modern student, parent and surrounding community. Shea reported, “We wanted the information on our website to be more accessible to parents and students, which is why we created the Vernon Schools app.” After four months of carefully planning the content, layout and design of the Vernon Schools App, Shea and Van Gilst were able to successfully consolidate the school district’s extensive network of information into one compact, user-friendly mobile application.
At the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2017, the Vernon Schools App will become available for download onto any smartphone or tablet device, as it is compatible with both Android and iOs software, and can easily be distinguished by Vernon’s trademark “V” blue and gold insignia.
Offering the convenience of digital information access, along with the security of real-time broadcast notification, the Vernon Schools App establishes a progressive step forwards for the Vernon Township School District as it strives to meet the desires and expectations of its school community in this digital era.
Drum roll, please…Vernon Township High School Viking Marching Band tops the list of best marching bands in Sussex County! This week, NJ.com released a state-wide ranking of “The Finest Marching Bands in Each of New Jersey’s 21 Counties” and Vernon Township High School is leading the pack, scoring first place among the many talented marching bands of Sussex County. Each high school marching band was evaluated by industry music professionals, including staff members from USBands and Tournament of Bands, who considered recent competition scores when determining placement for ranking.
Under the guiding baton of Band Director Max Taylor, the Vernon Township High School Marching Band has achieved outstanding accomplishments in the past few years, highlighted by its first place finish in Group IV at the 2015 Yamaha Cup. This year, Taylor sought to enhance the instrumental sound quality and performative aspects of Vernon’s marching band even further. An alumnus of Westchester University’s School of Music, Taylor brings a progressive and creative vision to the Vernon Township High School Marching Band, of which he has been the Director of Bands for twelve years. He shares his passion for music with his students, always challenging and encouraging them to master their skills and technique. About four years ago, Taylor observed a new trend carried by some of the best high school marching bands in the nation and quickly caught on. These elite bands were beginning to commission musical works from notable composers for their performances, as opposed to using traditional box sets. This innovative approach gives marching band students the opportunity to play an original composition that has never been played by another musician before! It is an extraordinary concept that has now become a reality for Vernon’s marching band students.
This season, the Vernon Township High School Marching Band performed “Kaleidoscope,” a lively and uplifting marching band show, written and arranged by renowned composer Key Poulan. A tapestry of color and sound, the “Kaleidoscope” program interweaves vibrant instrumentation with a full spectrum of colorful imagery. It is a delight for the eyes and the ears, in which Vernon’s marching band brings musical and visual effects into beautiful harmony. The band ensemble begins with an absence of color—a blank canvas—that gradually paints itself with colors as the show progresses and the music crescendos. District Director of Special Projects Joseph Piccirillo, who also supervises Vernon’s department of arts, explained, “Over the last four years, our marching band program delved into visual effects. The idea of this year’s show was to use sound and visuals to imitate what it is like to look through a kaleidoscope.”
The VTHS Marching Band students wear versatile uniforms for their performances that are equally professional and modern. These newer uniforms have a clean and sleek aesthetic that can easily be customized to suit any thematic show. The jacket and pants are deep navy with white overlay and gold accents, and the band members can switch gauntlets (forearm cuffs) or plume colors, as needed. The gradual costume changes of the color guards complement these color choices and allow for additional pops of brightness on the field. Through the clever orchestration of uniform adjustments, prop utilization and drill choreography of the “Kaleidoscope” show, the playing field ultimately transforms into a full color wheel.
For more than forty years, the Viking Marching Band has been an emblem of precision and prestige at Vernon Township High School. Over the last few years, the band has grown in size and popularity, bringing together Vernon high school students of all grade levels. Now consisting of exactly one hundred members, the band’s impressive growth has also necessitated the support of additional Vernon staff members to join the student line-up. Drumline Instructor David Freifelder, Pit Instructor Dakota Singerline, Color Guard Instructor Kathy Singerline, and Assistant Band Directors Ray Henriksen (low brass), Sam Paszkiel (high brass) and Jaclyn Havington (woodwinds) join Taylor in leading the charge and infusing the band with experience and talent. This year, for the first time in the school’s history, Vernon’s Viking Marching Band qualified for entry into Group V, which contains marching bands holding 95-130 members. Along with this increased size comes increased pressure, as many of the state’s other leading high school marching bands compete in this group, including West Milford, Somerville and West Orange.
To stand up to these competitive demands, Taylor has worked with the Vernon school district to purchase professional-grade audio and technical equipment, that can project and amplify much of the marching band’s instrumentation, and additionally incorporate sound effects into future field shows. Also, a wireless transmitter for the Dr. Beat Metronome and a wireless teaching sound system are utilized to amplify the voices of the staff members while they instruct the marching band students. These devices allow Vernon’s Assistant Band Directors to more effectively communicate to their students, as well as to each other, during practice sessions.
In an effort to subsidize operational costs, Vernon’s marching band students participate in yearly fundraising activities that enlist the help of parents, community members and local businesses; including but not limited to car washes, a “March 4 Music” march-a-thon, and the marching band’s largest fundraiser, “Music in the Mountains,” which also serves as its annual home competition. The tremendous support of Vernon’s Instrumental Parents (“VIP”) has undoubtedly promoted the VTHS Marching Band’s success. Band Director Max Taylor affirms, “The time that has been put in by the parents of our students to help make this program great is astounding. This is a proud day for the VTHS Viking Marching Band and this accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible if not for everyone’s time and dedication.”
It’s that time of year again. Bow-wow biscuits are on sale till December 21. Bow-Wow Biscuits is a business ran by the students in the Pre-DILS (developing independent life skills) program. see attatched from to order yours!
Glen Meadow Middle School students recently participated in a school-wide PINK-OUT fundraiser to help fight breast cancer. The innovative PINK-OUT day invited students to wear pink items to generate awareness for the fight against breast cancer. The successful fundraiser heightened awareness and yielded several hundred dollars of charitable contribution!
The student-run fundraising activity was generated during an innovative and pioneering program at Glen Meadow Middle School known as Genius Hour. Genius Hour is an opportunity where students are empowered to take a leadership role in pursuing their own area of interest. “These energetic students put one of their passions to authentic meaningful work”, says Genius hour facilitator Rob Henry. “They built upon an inquisitive sense of possibility, purposefully investigated their passion, established contacts, constructed their own PINK-OUT school-wide activity, taped up signs, prepared collection jars, secured school administrative approval….all of their own self-directed passion.”
Pictured below are Mia Annunziata, Jordan Lewicki, Jennifer Marcinkowski, and Taylor Shawgo who received a Certificate of Appreciation from the National Breast Cancer Foundation in recognition of the Glen Meadow Middle School 2016 Fundraiser for their generous help in the fight against breast cancer through fundraising activities benefiting the National Breast Cancer Foundation
On Sat Nov 19th, the LHMS 6th Grade Robotic’s Team, under the direction of VTHS teacher, Mr. Jon Bruno, competed in the First Lego League’s regional competition at Sparta MS. It was all day event 8:00-4:00. Besides the robotic performance competition, our students presented in front of judges on team core values and a require design project. I am pleased to let you know that we placed 3rd out of 14 teams in robot performance. Thanks to Ms. Piszczek and Mrs. Gudenkauf and parents who supported us during the weeks of preparation and competition.
The PARCC results are in! And Vernon Township High School has scored impressively. Of nearly 400 high schools throughout the state of New Jersey, Vernon Township High School outperformed the large majority, landing within the top 15% on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
The rankings were reported by the New Jersey Patch, earlier this week, with a complete state-wide enumeration of high schools and their PARCC Language Arts scores. The extensive list ranked each New Jersey high school based on the percentage of 9th, 10th and 11th grade student scores that had not yet met expectations in English Language Arts (ELA). With over 93% of its students approaching, meeting or exceeding expectations on the PARCC Assessment, Vernon Township High School attained the coveted position of #57.
Vernon students’ exceptional ELA scores are a direct reflection of marked student achievement in Language Arts courses throughout the district, as reading and writing skills are intentionally encouraged both within the classroom and beyond. The district-wide curricular shift toward student-centered learning and textual engagement have informed English Language Arts instructional methods and have targeted areas of focus for academic improvement.
Department Supervisor of English Language Arts (ELA) Karen Stoeckel has led the effort to utilize research-based materials and educational tools that encourage student growth in reading fluency, comprehension, vocabulary and written expression. Building upon a strong foundational layer within the elementary grades, high school teachers have incorporated reading and writing workshops within their class lessons. These Language Arts instructional best practices give students the freedom to explore their linguistic talents within a safe and supportive academic environment.
Teachers are also encouraged to employ a strategic approach toward classroom instruction, with the aid of benchmark assessments that follow students’ progress throughout the course of the year. Stoeckel implied that this is no over-night process, noting that, “Vernon teachers have been developing PARCC-like assessments long before the pioneer year, in order to adequately prepare students for what would be on the horizon.” By utilizing observational data to guide instruction, teachers have the ability to expediently target and tackle challenges that may impede learning.
Vernon Township High School Principal Drew Krause states, “The results show, with our English Department leading the way, that we have a collaborative, progressive focus on writing and reading in this building.” Real-world writing also finds its place within the Language Arts curriculum at Vernon Township High School, closely mirroring the style and format of written prompts within the PARCC assessments. Stoeckel explains that, “students engage in numerous writing opportunities with a range of authentic tasks, on-demand tasks and real-world writing.” Vernon high school students frequently compose essays and write thesis papers that enhance their abilities to think critically and to organize these thoughts in a clear and effective manner. Teachers utilize digital technology, such as Read & Write for Google Chrome, to improve student proficiency in online reading and writing.
On the forefront of the impending transition to digital assessments, PARCC exams are exclusively online. Thanks to the district’s recent one-to-one Chromebook initiative, and the hard work of teachers in middle school grade level classes the majority of Vernon Township students now have direct access to educational technology on a daily basis.
Vernon Township Superintendent Arthur DiBenedetto commented, “I am very proud to acknowledge the progress being made in the district, as we continue to find ourselves aligned with other excellent school districts.”