Since the district’s inception in 1873, many buildings have been named Cherry Lane School. The third building was a one-room schoolhouse for first through eighth grades, which stood about fifty-feet away from the current building which was erected in 1964 and added onto in 2004. Families reside primarily in the communities of Airmont, Suffern, Tallman, and part of Monsey.
The school has garnered both state and national recognition for its accomplishments. Most noteworthy, it received the Exemplary Reading Program Award from the International Reading Association in 2004, was named a Reward School by the New York State Education Department for sustained, significant progress on state assessments in 2012, and was designated as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in 2013. With that said, the school’s unwillingness to become complacent may be its greatest strength.
The faculty and staff at Cherry Lane Elementary School can be characterized as high quality. Teachers hold themselves personally accountable for student success. A strong emphasis is placed on intellectually engaging students in meaningful learning. Cherry Lane teachers understand the importance of student motivation and remain focused on improving their practice.
Throughout the past few years the school has developed a school wide ethos of high expectations for all students. While we recognize and celebrate the unique style that each teacher possesses, a laser-like focus on student achievement is nonnegotiable. Teachers demonstrate a belief that through effort and intentional instruction, all students will succeed.
The school is committed to developing the capacity of its human capital. Teacher teams have collaborative planning time built into their schedule and regularly meet to plan lessons, collaboratively score student work, and to consult with instructional coaches to support their own learning. Several types of instructional coaching—literacy and mathematics —are provided by teacher leaders to ensure ongoing and job-embedded professional development that is closely linked to the classroom. A culture exists where faculty regularly share best practices.
Response to Intervention has supported teachers with intentionally matching instructional strategies to meet individual student’s learning goals. This process includes authoring very specific problem statements and goals for at-risk students, and supporting teachers with monitoring the effectiveness of their plans. We have increased an emphasis to accurately identifying students’ developmental opportunities and intervening early. Literacy support is provided to at-risk students before the start of the school day, targeted small-group multi sensory reading instruction and math support are offered throughout the day for both classified and non-classified students.
Teachers are as excited as the students to use technology as a tool to engage in meaningful learning. Technology is integrated into all grades and courses to enhance students’ learning experience, inspire creativity and foster collaboration. Teachers and students have universal access to online resources, leading edge classroom equipment and comprehensive, building-level support for infusing technology into the curriculum. Leveraging technology extends education beyond the classroom with at-home access to teacher sites and web-based learning resources for grades.
The special areas complement the school’s core instructional program. All students learn Spanish beginning in first grade. Visual arts, physical education and music instruction are provided to students throughout their years at Cherry Lane with an emphasis on these subjects supporting the general curriculum. The music program encompasses general, vocal and instrumental music. Students participate in general music, which includes a vocal component, and allows students opportunities to perform in concerts and plays. Instrumental music begins in third grade with every child playing the recorder, and continues into fourth and fifth grade with opportunities to learn band and orchestra instruments. Additionally, there are opportunities for students to be in select groups such as handbell choir, select choir, and instrumental ensembles. Some fourth- and fifth-grade students attend the New York State School Music Association Evaluation Festivals where they are adjudicated.
Visitors to the school often praise the children’s good behavior. Students display a strong sense of school pride and demonstrate an ethic of care for their younger peers. To support this growth, character education is taught to further develop children’s core ethical values. Cherry Laners are often “caught being good” and honored for their good deeds.