We Are Verona
By Mr. Charles Miller, Director of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment
The Verona Action Committee on Code of Conduct & Respect met monthly and worked collaboratively to raise public awareness about student code of conduct and respect. The committee was comprised of community members, administrators, staff, and students. The group focused on addressing the needs of our students as it related to student conflict, code of conduct, H.I.B. (harassment, intimidation, and bullying), and identifying and supporting educational initiatives and programming for Verona youth that would foster and support healthy and responsible decisions and choices.
The District created this committee to consider community input and to make recommendations to the Verona Board of Education in an effort to develop a comprehensive support system of educational resources, both preventive strategies and interventions, to support children and families through collaborative partnerships within our community. Our goal was to support students in the area of code of conduct and respect in an effort to sustain social, emotional, physical, and academic learning with recommendations for continued growth aligned with the Verona Public Schools Strategic Plan.
In our first meeting, December 2016, we reviewed the Verona Public Schools existing areas of strength, opportunities for improvement, and any obstacles that may present challenges to achieving our goals and solutions. We reviewed our programs, teaching and learning (curriculum), and our intervention and support services. We summarized our findings and organized them in a chart titled “Verona Public Schools Program Summary”. You can find the link by clicking on the Health & Wellness tab, which is the sixth tab at the top of the Verona Public Schools webpage.
During the January and February meetings, committee members were divided into five groups and began researching these common threads (see Chart #1 below). Using chromebooks, the committee members developed a running Google Document that contained the information gained from small group discussions as well as whole group reflections.
After much research and discussion, Group #1 decided that the district would benefit from a mission statement with a shared a common language, regardless if the student was in the first, sixth, or twelfth grade. The group agreed that the mission statement language needed to be positive, simple to understand, and memorable. Furthermore, once the mission statement was completed, the group expressed interest in posting it in each classroom in every one of our schools.
The group drafted several different examples during the March meeting (one example is at the left) and shared out their findings with the larger committee. Receiving a “thumbs up” from the committee, Group #1 decided to share these slogans with our middle and high school share these slogans with our middle and high school students to use as a starting point. Mr. Galbierczyk, HBW Carnegie Principal, worked with his Safety Team students at HBW and Mrs. Lustig, District Student Assistance Counselor, met with a group of VHS students during the months of April and May to create artwork and expand upon the ideas the members of Group #1 had established.
At the May meeting, Mr. Galbierczyk and Mrs. Lustig shared several student examples that delighted the entire committee. Additionally, several group members in the committee recommended the support of Mrs. Sciacchitano, VHS graphic arts teacher, to work with our students to create a logo of our mission statement that would be presented to the entire committee as well as the Board of Education in June.
The Verona Board of Education was impressed with the final product and commended the Action Committee on Code of Conduct & Respect for its efforts and thanked the students and staff who helped make this vision a reality. The district developed and distributed these posters in local restaurants and businesses around town in addition to each of our schools. The next time you see the #WeAreVerona posters at school or around town, you will know our story.
Learn more about the Verona Public Schools by reading stories on the amazing people, programs, and community by clicking the following link: Verona Public Schools Magazine 2018
Dr. Rui Dionisio is the Superintendent of the Verona Public Schools. Dr. Dionisio encourages community members to contact him with questions or feedback at 973-571-2029 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org