Overview and History of Mill Lake School
Mill Lake School is located at 115 Monmouth Road in Monroe Township, New Jersey, 08831. The current campus consists of the main building, which opened in February 2002 and the Annex, which re-opened in September 2003. The Mill Lake School Annex currently houses MECA, the Monroe Township Employee Child Care Academy, which opened in September 2012. When the former facility (dating from the 1960's) was dismantled in July of 2002, several bricks from the gymnasium were incorporated into the new building to honor the students who attended the school and the staff who worked there.
Mill Lake School's recognition as a National Blue Ribbon School by the United States Department of Education (1992) has been a great source of pride for teachers, students, parents, and community residents. This prestigious honor indicates excellence in the areas of leadership, learning environment, curriculum and instruction, parent and community support, and organizational vitality. When the United States Department of Education implemented the "No Child Left Behind Act," the criteria for recognizing schools has primarily focused on student achievement. In this light, Mill Lake School has continued to demonstrate excellence by consistently making "Annual Yearly Progress" (AYP) and by maintaining a teaching staff in which 100% of the teachers have achieved "Highly Qualified" status.In order to maintain the high standards reached by our status as a National Blue Ribbon School in the past, Mill Lake School embarked on a year-long self study which resulted in accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Elementary Schools. Information about this organization can be found at this web address: http://www.ces-msa.org.
Mill Lake School was recognized as providing an exemplary Character Education program by the Character Education Network.
Mill Lake School serves children in Pre-School through Third Grade.
Mill Lake School’s classrooms and hallways are colorful and child-friendly. Most have a reading corner complete with storage and seating, a sink and water fountain. Each classroom has cubbies in which students store their backpacks and coats. Pre-School, kindergarten and first grade classrooms have self- contained lavatories. The buildings are beautifully maintained and have been recognized by the county facilities inspectors as among the cleanest in the county. Our kitchen has also received a perfect score for its cleanliness.
The Media Center houses an impressive collection of books and multi-media materials. A full time Librarian provides weekly lessons for all students and students freely borrow books using an automated check-out system.
Throughout the school teachers and students have access to Chromebooks and Laptops to support the 21st century instructional and learning environment. From coding to creating small moments to developing digital presentations, we hope to engage our students through our curriculum with technology as a vehicle when appropriate.
There are two playgrounds on the property. One is a fenced in area for our youngest students and the other is a large blacktopped area accessible to grassy fields that includes two large playscapes for climbing and sliding. The grassy field is used for playing daily as well.
The full sized gymnasium connects to the cafeteria and doubles as a stage. It has a divider curtain to separate the space as needed. Art is taught in a separate classroom with the look and feel of an art studio. Music is taught in a separate classroom space as well. Art and music classes are for students in first and second grade.
Small group spaces throughout the building house support services including speech classes, basic skills, reading specialist, resource centers, occupational and physical therapy.
Instructional ProgramThe Monroe Township School District’s curriculum can be found at our district’s website www.monroe.k12.nj.us and is aligned closely with the Common Core Curriculum Standards recently adopted by the State of New Jersey. Textbooks and supporting materials in every subject area are plentiful and up-to-date. The curriculum is regularly reviewed and revised.Support services for students include reading intervention delivered by a Reading Specialist, Speech and Language instruction, Resource Room, English as a Second Language instruction, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and a Basic Skills program. Basic Skills for students in kindergarten, first and second grade is delivered during the school day. Students identified as Gifted and Talented are challenged within their own homebase classes. In addition, students in second grade may receive Talented and Gifted instruction in the TAG program for Reading/Language and/or Mathematics after school once each week.
All teachers participate in staff development designed to continually improve their skills. First, second and third year teachers complete a systematic series of workshops designed to enhance the education they received in college and first and second year teachers participate in monthly roundtable discussions with the district’s staff developer. Experienced teachers with three or more years of credit choose one of the following: to continue their education through district topics of study, investigate lesson design, participate in peer coaching or create personalized professional development to improve their skills. All teachers must complete 100 hours of professional development during each five year period.
Special ProgramsThe following special programs are in place at Mill Lake School:
- RAVE Readers: Through a joint venture with the Monroe Township Library, community volunteers read aloud to students on a weekly basis under the supervision of the classroom teacher.
- Career Day: Students in grades two are treated to visits by community members who share their experiences in the world of work.
- American Education Week: The school holds an annual Open House, which enables parents to view a typical school day.
- Superheroes of Character: Students who are Character Student of the Month have lunch with the Principal once a month.
- Jump For Heart: Students participate in a Jump Rope for Heart activity to raise funds for the American Heart Association.
- Read Across America: Students participate in a variety of reading activities in honor of the birthday of Dr. Seuss.
- Read to Succeed: Children are challenged to read for 600 minutes in the winter months and are rewarded with a ticket to Six Flags Amusement Parks.
- Field Day: Students participate in non-competitive sports working in mixed grade level teams.
- Week of Respect: through a Spirit Week Format, students learn important pro-social behaviors to not just combat bullying but to establish a climate and culture at Mill Lake that fosters: empathy, sympathy, conflict resolution, and friendship skills.
- Astronomy Night: Second grade students and their families participate in various astronomy activities and are joined by amateur astronomers who bring their telescopes to give students a view of the night sky. A portable planetarium, called Star Lab, is utilized by a visiting astronomer who provides lessons during the school day for this science unit.
- Halloween Parade: The annual parade is a tradition at Mill Lake. Students wear costumes and parade around the bus loop for their families and friends.
- International Food Fest: In December, parents are invited to bring in their favorite international food dishes, which the children share. Children learn about and taste foods from all over the world.
- Character Education- “Character Ed”: On the first day of each month, the Guidance Counselor guides students through a monthly Pillar of Good Character Theme on the loudspeaker for the whole school. Peacemakers of the month are also honored.
- Fire Safety Program: Representatives from the local fire department meet with every class in October for various fire safety programs. We enjoy community support from our Fire Department, who provide free smoke alarms to needy families and home inspections in the community. An annual Fire Safety Poster Contest is held for students and winners are awarded a gift certificate. School winners are then entered in a county contest.
- M.C.F.O.O.D.S.: Each year our students donate hundreds of pounds of food to the Middlesex County Food Bank. Our school has been recognized each of the past five years for being among the top ten schools in Middlesex County for our generosity.
- T.A.S.K/Monroe Township Food Bank.: Each December, the Principal collects food, toiletries and monetary donations for needy citizens at the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen and the Monroe Township Food Bank in lieu of holiday gifts. Last year, a pick-up truck was needed to transport the donations from the students of Mill Lake.
- Cultural Arts: A very generous Parent-Teacher Organization provides various assemblies throughout the year.
SafetyChildren at Mill Lake School participate in one fire drill and one lock-down drill (intruder alerts) or other type of security drill each month. Emergency plans are in place for every possible emergency. A School Emergency Team consisting of the Principal, Guidance Counselor, Teacher Representative, School Nurse, School Secretary and Custodian are assembled in the case of an emergency that requires immediate response for the student body.Teachers and paraprofessionals are assigned to various posts to allow a safe entrance and exit for all students daily. A school crossing guard crosses children in the morning, after the morning kindergarten dismisses, when the afternoon kindergarten enters, and at the end of the school day.
Contacting Our SchoolQuestions about Mill Lake School can be directed to the Principal, Pamela Ackerman-Garcia, by telephone at 732-251-5336, by e-mail at Pamela.Ackermangarcia@monroe.k12.nj.us, or by mail at Mill Lake School, 115 Monmouth Road, Monroe Township, New Jersey 08831.
We welcome your inquiries!