H. Ashton Marsh Elementary School
The H. Ashton Marsh Elementary School serves the children of Absecon in grades Pre- Kindergarten through fourth. We house three New Jersey certified preschool classrooms. We also continue to have a Preschool disabilities classroom. These classrooms use Creative Curriculum and are assessed through Teaching Strategies GOLD as is the Kindergarten. The Kindergarten through fourth grade curriculum focuses on reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, and science. Our constant focus on literacy has allowed us to implement a balanced literacy program, which is uniform and progressive throughout all grade levels. The Fountas and Pinnell Reading Assessment is also implemented in order to more accurately focus in on an individual’s reading and instructional levels. Students are immersed in writing through the execution of The Writer’s Workshop. It is a part of each student’s schedule every day. Marsh utilizes the most current and valid techniques to deliver on this level of instruction. The Phonics First program is also employed by classroom teachers from Kindergarten through second grade and S.P.I.R.E is a used practice in ELA for special education. We house an I&RS/RTI and PIRT committee to aide in student achievement.
Special area subjects such as art, music, library/book exchange, technology and physical education are also part of our comprehensive educational program. Chorus and instrumental music instruction are offered after school. A basic skills program for math and language arts is provided to students who are eligible and replacement and/or in class support and speech services are available based on the individual needs of students as deemed by our Child Study Team. An ESL program also assists students who may require these services. Students in grade four may enter our targeted program for the gifted and talented based on criteria. Students in grade four may also join our instrumental music program.
Our school philosophy is that learning activities should be individual as well as cooperative in order to accommodate all types of learner. They are designed to encourage problem solving and the sharing of ideas and experiences. We are heavily steeped in the concept of S.T.E.A.M. This is evident through our utilization of technology as well as differentiated instruction in the various programs presented throughout the year. Our STEAM program allows all students in grades three and four to explore the concept year round. Our specially designed computer lab and the presence of technology throughout the school including I pads and Kindles and Chrome Books encourage students to look beyond what is obvious and to explore. We also house at every grade level; K-4 a sound amplification system to aide those with specific processing issues. Throughout the school year musical concerts, class trips, community based presentations, International Day, Author's Day, Book Swap, Movie Night and other programs provide students a broad experiential base to build on that are both fun and meaningful.
The educational mission of our school focuses on a teaching-learning environment that is child-centered and provides for active student involvement in learning and thinking. In addition to regular classroom learning activities, the students participate in a Character Education program (Let’s Connect) that helps students to care about and act upon core ethical values. The Character Counts program incorporates the "Six Pillars" of character. Trustworthiness, respect, kindness, responsibility, caring, and citizenship are intertwined into the daily school life as we reach out to others in our school and community. Peer mediation as well as group and individual counseling are provided to assist our children and families. Many student-centered projects are done for and with the surrounding community of Absecon.
A strong and active Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) offers assistance to school programs and the many dedicated professional staff members here at Marsh. The Absecon Education Foundation also helps to expand and enhance the mission of our district.
The H. Ashton Marsh School was a 2000-2001 recipient of a Best Practice award from the New Jersey Department of Education in Language Art Literacy for an International Theme Project in grade four. The H. Ashton Marsh School was also chosen as Atlantic County’s most improved school for the Healthy Schools Initiative sponsored by AtlantiCare in 2008 and won their top grant in 2009 and 2010. We have also integrated a best practice gardening program as well as the Cross-fit and CATCH program in conjunction with AtlantiCare. A comprehensive professional development program and activities provide the teaching and paraprofessional staff opportunity to model life-long learning, to be innovative and to continue to grow as professionals.
Joseph N. Giardina