Montclair High School Junior Starts Accessible Tutors To Level Playing Field

BY  |  Monday, Jan 02, 2017 2:45pm  |  COMMENTS (0)


If you’ve ever tried to hire a private tutor for your child, you know it can be costly — from $50 to as much as $150 a session. And that’s if you can get a spot — for many popular tutors in town, there’s also a long waiting list. Owen Kaplan, a Montclair High School junior and math whiz, has been tutoring middle school students in algebra for a few years. Kaplan recognized a lack of equity in the town when it comes to access to tutors. Families who can afford private tutors are getting their students the extra help they need. Kaplan adds that while there are good programs such as IMANI and Succeed2Gether, he believes there is still a need for more affordable tutoring options as evidenced by the continued achievement gap in Montclair.

Kaplan decided to start Accessible Tutors, a non-profit that allows parents to pay what they can but guarantees that all of the tutors (who are also high school students) get paid the same hourly rate. Some parents might pay $5 for a tutoring session, others might pay $35, but the tutors all receive $20 for an hourly session. Accessible Tutors launched as a 501(c)(3) through HackNCraft NJ and Kaplan has already matched middle-school kids with high-school tutors. Continue Reading

January Programs For Kids, Families and Teens at Montclair Public Library

Monday, Jan 02, 2017 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

Plenty to do this month at the Montclair Public Library:

January Programs For Kids, Families and Teens at Montclair Public Library

Mother Goose is a great way to promote literacy among our preschool-aged patrons. Picture books, songs, art experiences, and puppets are used to build upon children’s natural enthusiasm for books and reading. Children of all abilities welcome.
*No registration required; space limited.
3rd floor
Ages 3 to 6
Mondays, January 23, 30, February 6 & 13 at 1:30pm
*Preference given to Montclair Library Cardholders; please bring card.

Babies in the Library
Babies meet babies! Parents and caregivers sing nursery rhymes together with their little ones. Songs, language activities, and board books will be introduced during each session. Make baby’s first library experience a special one! Children of all abilities welcome.
*No registration required; space limited.
3rd floor
Newborns-23 mos.
Tuesdays, January 24, 31, February 7, 14 & 21 at 10:30am & 11:30am
*Preference given to Montclair Library Cardholders; please bring card. Continue Reading

Weekend Family Highlights: First Night Morris, FunPlex, Winter Wonderland and More!

BY  |  Friday, Dec 30, 2016 9:19am  |  COMMENTS (0)

It’s the last weekend of 2016… and the first weekend of 2017! Happy New Year! We’ve found some family friendly fun for you this weekend. Enjoy!


First Night Morris (The Green, Morristown) will mark its 25th Anniversary on Saturday evening. This family friendly event will be host to over 80 performances at more than 24 venues around downtown Morristown. The downtown Morristown event begins at 4:45 PM, with fireworks at 9:15 PM. Admission allows access to all First Night Morris County performances. Tickets are $25 per person and children 4 and under are free. For more details including a full schedule and map of performances, visit the website.

Spend New Year’s Eve at The FunPlex (182 Route 10 West, East Hanover) on Saturday from 7:00 PM to 12:30 AM. Enjoy unlimited indoor attractions, music, buffet, refreshments, and $10 worth of Arcade value per person. Tickets are $49 in advance and $54 at the door. Anyone entering the facility must have a ticket. There will also be a midnight celebration with favors. Continue Reading

Need Family Fun During Winter Break? Escape To Pip’s Island

BY  |  Wednesday, Dec 28, 2016 9:36am  |  COMMENTS (0)


Looking for something fun and different to do over holiday break? Pip’s Island could be the answer!

Pip’s Island is a live show for kids which allows them to be a part of the experience. The children (and their adult companions) don’t simply watch the actors on a stage. Rather, they are completely immersed into the show and engage with the actors. In fact, there aren’t even chairs for the kids as they’ll be moving throughout the experience the entire time.

Kids will step through a magical tree portal where they’ll meet new friends Pip, Finn and Pebble. Together, everyone will move through this play experience to earn Spark badges by completing activities and puzzles. They will learn about the Island’s Guardian, Amperes Wattson, and his struggle against his twin brother, the dark and powerful Joules Volter.

The show promises several benefits to its participants including social development through teamwork and bonding; cognitive development using a STEM educational philosophy; emotional development by exploring feelings such as joy, fear, sadness and pride; and interactive play using imagination, dazzling props, and toys. Children will also learn the importance of a sense of social duty by working together with others toward a goal. By working together to earn their Spark badges, the children will feel a sense of accomplishment that they can use, along with the skills they’ve learned, back home in their real world. Continue Reading

Weekend Family Highlights: Winter Wonderland, Santa Experience and More

BY  |  Friday, Dec 23, 2016 10:47am  |  COMMENTS (0)

It’s the first weekend of winter! It’s also a big weekend for holidays. There are still plenty of things to do, so check out these local activities!


There’s still time and a few seats left to catch The Nutcracker at Mayo Performing Arts Center (100 South Street, Morristown) on Saturday at 1:00 PM. This holiday classic is performed by the New Jersey Ballet featuring the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Children ages four and up will love this seasonal favorite.


Bergen County’s Winter Wonderland at Van Saun Park (216 Forest Avenue, Paramus) will be open on Saturday from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Attractions include open air ice skating, kids’ beginner synthetic rink, additional kids’ activities, Bergen Express train ride, Santa’s North Pole Workshop, unlimited carousel rides, zoo entry and programming, indoor/outdoor beer garden, and food trucks. The Winter Wonderland will also be open daily the entire week of December 26. Closed on December 25. Tickets are $14 (plus $1.69 fee) per person and include skate rental. Children 5 and under are free. Food and beverages are not included in ticket price but are available for purchase. Tickets are available online. Continue Reading

Sponsored: Award-winning Art Classes Start Next Week with VACATION CAMPS!

BY  |  Wednesday, Dec 21, 2016 3:00pm

The Montclair Art Museum’s Yard School of Art has been named the #1 Place to Take a Kid’s Art Class and #1 Art Camp in New Jersey—register your child today to find out why!

yard school


Offered daily from Tuesday, December 27 through Friday, December 30, our Winter Vacation Camps are the perfect way to keep students engaged with art while school is out. Students can sign up for one day or all four to best fit your schedule.

Draw, Paint, Innovate! (Ages 5–12)
Take an art-making tour of some of the most influential artists of all time, from the Renaissance masters to modernists like Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, to Native American pots and Andy Warhols prints!

Digital Photography (Ages 8–12)
Learn the principles of photography and editing techniques to get the most out of your digital cameras with fun, hands-on activities.

Pottery Camp (Ages 6–12)
Create a variety of kiln-fired pieces, both functional and decorative. A visit to MAM’s galleries is included for inspiration!


From the Digital Media Lab to the Ceramics Studio, artistic adventures abound. The winter class session starts January 9 and runs for 10 weeks. An additional selection of exciting art workshops includes one-day options. Students will learn fine art techniques from professional teaching artists while having fun. From Comic Book Art Adventures to Creative Crafts, there’s something for every child!


Matisse and American Art
, opening February 5, is the first exhibition to examine this French master’s profound impact upon the development of American modern art from 1907 to the present. Let your child become the master with these limited-time classes and workshops:


yard-schoolJUST FOR TEENS

The Yard School of Art offers classes for teens beyond the high school curriculum. Prep your portfolio for college and art school applications, dive in to Drawing or Digital Photography, or take a Fine Arts Survey.








Montclair’s CGI Celebrates 20 Years With “Community Speaks: Criminal Justice Reform”

BY  |  Tuesday, Dec 20, 2016 6:44pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

How justice is being served and its impact both nationally and in Montclair was the topic of an important conversation started and led by students of Montclair’s Civics and Government Institute (CGI) Wednesday, December 14, at “Community Speaks: Criminal Justice Reform,” a panel discussion and community event held in the high school’s George Inness Atrium Annex that also recognized CGI’s 20th anniversary.


Maya Jenkins, CGI president, joined by
Alex Tsemberis, CGI secretary of press, addresses panel at Community Speaks: Criminal Justice Reform.

Students organized and ran the entire event. Molly Povich, secretary outreach, offered opening and closing statements, while Alex Tsemberis , CGI secretary of press, and Maya Jenkins, CGI president, acted as co-moderators, posing questions to the panel exploring the meaning of justice and how meaningful reform can take place.

Panelists included Nick Turner, the president of the Vera Institute of Justice, and Marc Mauer, executive director of the Sentencing Project, who both appeared in the Ava DuVernay documentary “13th.” Portia Allen-Kyle, the Pratt Criminal Justice Transparency Fellow at the ACLU-New Jersey and Deputy Chief Wilhelm B. Young of the Montclair Police Department, were also on the panel; Young was joined by some of his colleagues.

Is Justice Just?

“Justice at its core is to respect the dignity of everyone and recognize people for what they are, and where they have come from. People should not be reduced to the offense they may be accused of or have committed. We need to think of these people as brothers, fathers, mothers,” said Turner. “When we start to see people as other, that’s when the justice system goes awry.” Continue Reading

Weekend Family Highlights: Kwanzaa Festival, The Polar Express and More

BY  |  Friday, Dec 16, 2016 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The weekend is here! We’ve rounded up some fun and family-friendly things to do in the area. Enjoy!


Friday is Family and Friends Day for the Cherry Blossoms in Winter project in Branch Brook Park (Branch Brook Park, Newark). From 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM, enjoy this multimedia public art installation which includes the work of local school children and teachers, Arts & Sciences undergraduates and faculty from across Rutgers University, artists of Newark, and others. The trees will be part of the exhibit, sound boxes will be used to send out songs and poetry recordings, and other literary and musical events will be on display.


NJPAC (1 Center Street, Newark) invites you to celebrate the Nguzo Saba at their 18th annual Kwanzaa children’s festival and marketplace, featuring an Arts and Crafts Village and music and dancing. Admission is free! Explore the rhythms and culture of the African tradition. The celebration begins at 12:00 PM. Continue Reading

Rediscover Holiday Joy at The Apollo’s The First Noel

BY  |  Tuesday, Dec 13, 2016 2:20pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

first-noel-playbillCurrently playing a limited engagement at The Apollo Theater’s famous mainstage, The First Noel is not just an antidote to the hustle of the holidays, but also a salve for those floundering to overcome obstacles and heal. In its second year, the musical is an entertaining holiday show about family and community. The First Noel, presented by the Classic Theater of Harlem, runs through December 18.


For music lovers, The First Noel is a treat featuring original songs as well as old favorites reinvigorated with jazz, gospel, and pop music influences. The performances are passionate and powerful. Highlights include “Life Happens,” different versions of which are sung by Ken Robinson (Henry) and Ashley Ware Jenkins (Adult Noel) at different points in the show, and “Noel’s Wish,” sung by Nia Bonita Caesar as Young Noel. The exuberant and creative staging makes it easy to fully enjoy the show from any vantage point. Continue Reading

Montclair BOE: Presentation of World Language Program, Bolandi To List Capital Improvements

BY  |  Tuesday, Dec 13, 2016 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (8)

The Montclair Board of Education received a long-awaited presentation on developing a world language program at its three-hour regular meeting on December 12.  Jessica Lasusa, the district’s world-language consultant, gave an extensive overview that included a slide program, which is expected to be available on the district’s Web site on December 13.

World language consultant Jessica Lasusa

World language consultant Jessica Lasusa

Lasusa explained that acquisition of a second language, applied linguistics, and ideas for teaching, should ideally blend into a seamless fashion in instructing world languages. But in reality only teaching ideas by themselves works in the classroom.  She recommended a strategy for allotting time once or twice a year through grades K-8 for language articulation with a unified program between teachers in different schools at the same level of course, something teachers themselves told her was of primary importance.   The collaborative effort would include proficiency targets and benchmark assessments to gauge student’s progress, along with professional development sessions for both teachers and administrators, and special emphasis on code-switching – alternating between English and another language with a single sentence – to help the students immerse themselves in the other language.  Lasusa said that promoting culture, communications, comparisons, communities and connections to the world languages – the “5 Cs” – are more important than grammar in getting high school students up to fluency in said languages.

Lasusa said that everyone in the district has to work together to bring world languages into sync across the district, and that maximum exposure to other languages is the best way to success. She advocated emphasis on Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese.  She also said that the best way to build literacy in both English and other languages is to teach with a 50-50 ratio between English and the second language. Continue Reading

Featured Comment

Montclair is relatively heterogenous and, it could fairly be said, takes pride in its diversity. Has Montclair named a street or school after Dr. King? Why is that?

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