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posted: Sun, Jan 14th, 2018

MV millionaires 

These millionaires are rich with knowledge, not money. Fourth-graders Mrinalini Kaul, Harshitha Manikandan, Jivin Sharma, and John Uyamadu and fifth-grader Emma LaPierre have each read more than a million words since the beginning of the school year.

As members of the Millionaires Club, they received books donated by the PTA and certificates of achievement from the principal, Dr. Frank Fischel. Their names were also read over the morning announcements and their photos are displayed on a special Millionaires Club bulletin board.

The club was started this year by instructional supervisor Jennifer Olsyn as a way to motivate kids to read. It’s integrated with Accelerated Reader, an online reading practice program. In September, the students were assessed and received their reading level scores. Teachers then set a reading goal for each student for every trimester of the school year. 

Choosing appropriate books is easy. Nearly every book in the school library is labeled with its reading level. Students can also research books based on their interests and readings levels from Accelerated Reader Bookfinder, a search tool with more than 180,000 books in its database. After completing a book, a student logs into Accelerated Reader and takes a short comprehension quiz. If he or she passes, the student is credited with the exact word count.

The longest book the Mountain View millionaires have read thus far: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” with 77,508 words. A million words is the equivalent of reading nearly 13 books of the same length.


Corporal Mike Russell and Officer Lonnie Elbaum conduct a LEAD lesson to Tammy Lash's class

LEADing students on a healthy path 

Mountain View fifth-graders are learning how to live safe, healthy, and drug-free lives. 

Members of the Mount Olive Police Department have begun teaching Law Enforcement Against Drugs (LEAD), a drug prevention program taught in New Jersey schools. Uniformed police officers visit fifth-grade classrooms once each week for 10 weeks, delivering targeted lessons designed to help students recognize and resist the pressures that influence them to experiment with alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

At the core of the LEAD program is empowering students to value their own perceptions and feelings, and make choices that support drug-free values and good health. LEAD provides students with practical preventive strategies to say “no” to the pressures to use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs and has as one of its guiding mantras “Stop, Think, Act, and Reflect.”

The program also emphasizes communication skills, self-esteem, empathy, decision-making, conflict resolution, and independence.

Officer Michael Sciscione, Corporal Mike Russell, and Officer Lonnie Elbaum are the MOPD members who conduct the training here at Mountain View.


Fifth-grade teacher Peg Maute with President Mia Homsany and Vice President Allison Visser

Classroom president and vice president make a difference

Mia Homsany and Allison Visser are nearing the end of their term as president and vice president of Peg Maute’s fifth-grade class, but they will able to look back on their time and see the difference they made. After winning the classroom election in November, Mia and Allison spearheaded several initiatives that helped bolster student spirit and improve student conduct.

An incentive program was put into place that encourages good behavior by allowing the class to earn occasional rewards. The students assess their group behavior daily and come to a decision with Mrs. Maute about the number of pom-poms they should receive (on a scale of 1-5). When 45 pom-poms are accrued, the class receives a reward such as permission to sit in whatever seat they like or permission to bring in their favorite portable electronic devices from home. 

In the Cone of Kindness program, a student is recognized each day for kindness by a classmate and a small plastic cone is placed on that student’s desk. Each daily honoree selects one of his or her peers to hold the cone for the following day and announces to the entire class the reasons for the decision. It’s a simple recognition that rewards positive behavior and encourages mutual courtesy and respect.

“I believe that as the students have more of an interest and stake in what happens in the classroom, they’re more engaged socially, behaviorally, and academically,” said Mrs. Maute, who began classroom elections in 2016. “It really does make an impact.”

The programs that Mia and Allison helped initiate were part of their campaign platform which they presented to their classmates before the classroom’s fall election. The president and vice president also fulfilled another pledge. The class has a pet: a betta fish named Blueberry. The class voted on the name and students take turns feeding him.

Gianella Fano and Mackenzie Bacorn, runners-up in the fall election, will begin their four-month term as president and vice-president in February.

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