About Charles H. Bullock Elementary School
Bullock’s Four Pillars of Learning
Charles H. Bullock School is a vibrant, nurturing community of students, educators and families whose mission is to inspire children to be lifelong learners by connecting teaching and learning meaningfully to the world around us. The school’s integrated curriculum helps students recognize that learning is not an isolated activity; rather, it is built upon connected experiences that link the classroom with the outside world. Our child-centered learning environment seeks to foster values of personal, social and environmental responsibility. A description of the four pillars that support our mission follows below.
Educating the “Whole Child”
Research suggests that children learn best when they develop strong social/ emotional skills, so our staff has embraced the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching. Children start the day with “Morning Meeting,” a time to greet each other and join in activities that build a sense of belonging and community. Our curriculum emphasizes participation in the community, an awareness of the well-being of others, of cooperation, problem solving, and respect for the environment. Our C.A.R.E.S. principles (Cooperation, Achievement, Responsibility, Empathy, Self-Control) provide clear examples, in child-friendly language, of expected behaviors at school.
Reading and Writing Instruction
At our school, reading and writing are the cornerstones of a thorough education, and we emphasize the need to write every day — beginning in Kindergarten — for real purposes and to a specific audience. Students at all levels learn to write in many genres, including fiction, poetry, opinion writing, and non-fiction. Students’ published writing is regularly celebrated at “publishing parties” in the classrooms. Our children learn early on to see themselves as authors who have something important to say.
We hold high expectations for reading, as well, and provide a wide range of supports to ensure that students read successfully, and for deeper meaning, as they progress. They are immersed in literature every day and we provide them with skills and strategies needed to become powerful readers.
As a Teachers College Project School, we have the privilege of an experienced writing coach from Columbia University who works directly with our teachers for ongoing professional development. In addition, all of our reading and writing teachers attend at least one workshop at Columbia University every year. Bullock teachers weave reading and writing skills into content areas, such as science, social studies and math to meet the rigors of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).
Teachers establish rigorous academic expectations and maintain high standards for student work. Recognizing students’ diverse learning styles, teachers use developmentally appropriate practices, such as cooperative learning, individual instruction and group work. They tailor assignments to meet the needs of learners at various levels of ability. All classrooms have a leveled library, enabling every child to read at his or her individual reading level. Differentiated math instruction lets teachers meet the needs of students, whether enrichment and acceleration, or additional time and help to master skills.
Our art, music, technology, library and gym teachers collaborate with homeroom teachers in each grade to create opportunities for children to delve deeply into subject areas, including our magnet theme, environmental science. This helps our students make connections across subject areas and strengthen their understanding of what they are studying. For example, when kindergarteners study their community, they create books about their school, count the windows in their homes, build models of Montclair out of blocks, and observe and draw the trees in our neighborhood. The second grade grain study involves an in-depth study of different types of grain and its importance to many cultures. The unit culminates with a student run bakery where the students not only read recipes, measure ingredients and bake, but also spend a day demonstrating their knowledge by teaching others what they have learned. After researching various local organizations, they vote where to donate the proceeds of the bake sale.
Fast Facts about Bullock
: Our magnet theme, environmental science, is interpreted in the broadest possible sense to encompass natural sciences and the human environment. Bullock’s environmental curriculum includes natural resources, adaptations, energy, biodiversity, life cycles, interrelationships, and much more. Students get first-hand experiences, making use of our gardens, taking field trips to Sandy Hook and the Meadowlands Environmental Center, camping overnight for the 4th graders, and participating in the Trout in the Classroom project.
Sustainable Jersey for Schools
: Charles H. Bullock School met the rigorous requirements to achieve Sustainable Jersey for Schools Bronze certification in 2015, the program’s first year. To achieve the Bronze certification, CHB excelled in areas such as improving energy efficiency and health and wellness, integrating sustainability into student learning and reducing waste, which all align with CHB’s magnet theme. Sustainable Jersey for Schools, a certification program for public schools in New Jersey, was launched in October 2014, and is a program of Sustainable Jersey, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides tools, training and financial incentives to support and reward schools as they pursue sustainability programs.
: Each grade has Music, Art, Technology and Spanish once a week. Chorus is once a week, in addition to Music, for 3rd-5th grades. Gym is twice a week.
Technology in the classroom
: Classrooms are equipped with Smartboards or Brightlinks to allow for stimulating, interactive learning. Teachers also have access to three technology carts equipped with laptops.
Artist in Residence
: This PTA sponsored program widens the students’ exposure to the arts.
Community Service Projects
: Some of our numerous service projects are the 5th Grade Hunger Walk, MLK, Jr. Day of Service, Pennies for Patients, and a clothing drive.
Principal’s Advisory Council
: The PAC includes representatives from each 5th grade class who exemplify the principles of C.A.R.E.S. They develop leadership skills by working closely with the Principal, and are responsible for facilitating meetings with the younger grades.
After School Enrichment
: The PTA provides a variety of subjects from October through April.
: The PTA sponsors many community-building events and raises money for important projects. Within the PTA, there is a Fathers’ Group, a Parent Resource Group, a liaison to our School Action Team, and more.
: Twice a day for Kindergarten, once a day for other grades; outside every day, weather permitting; indoor recess is in the gym.