Eric S. Smith Middle School has a long tradition of academic excellence. In 1991-92, Smith School underwent a restructuring from a traditional junior high school to a true middle school based on the most current research and professional recommendations. In 1996, Smith School was selected as a Star School by the New Jersey Department of Education and designated as one of New Jersey's top ten schools. In 1997, Smith School received the prestigious Best Practices award and finished first place in the National WordMasters Competition. In 2000, Smith students placed first in the Bergen County Knowledge Bowl (Bergen Brain Busters). In 2001-02, Smith eighth graders had the state’s highest science scores on the state exam. In 2002, 2003, and again in 2004, Smith School was the National Champion in the National Currents Events League competition. In 2005-06 and in 2006-07, Smith placed first in the Lion's Club International Peace Poster Contest for New Jersey and represented the State of New Jersey in the international competition. Smith students were also international finalists in the Sony environmental poster contest in 2007. In 2007, Smith students finished second place in the Bergen County mathematics competition. In 2008-09, the Smith School Band and Chorus ensembles were rated "superior" by professional adjudicators in the annual music performance assessment. In 2009, the Smith School Enrichment Program finished in 3rd place (26 schools participated) in the Bergen County Knowledge Bowl.
Smith is designed specifically to meet the unique developmental needs of young adolescents. Organized by"teams", the middle school provides a strong support system that fosters academic, social, and personal growth at a time when students are developing more rapidly than any other time in their lives. Team teachers meet daily to evaluate the needs of their students and to plan and coordinate their program. Special Education personnel and guidance staff work closely with the teams to address the unique needs of all students. As a result of the "team approach," students receive the guidance and attention they need to make a smooth transition from childhood to adolescence and from elementary to secondary education.
Over the past few years, Smith School has implemented several innovative academic practices that have enhanced the effectiveness of the middle school program.
· Each team has developed at least two comprehensive interdisciplinary units that emphasize the interrelationship of knowledge across subjects. The English and Social Studies Departments have coordinated the study of literature and history.
· Block Instruction provides double period labs for simulations, experiments, research, and special programs. Students are given more time to study topics in depth and to utilize various computer applications.
· The middle school has established Quality Standards. The quality standards explicitly define academic expectations. The quality of student work has improved significantly, as students have been held accountable for higher academic standards.
· An ongoing staff development program has emphasized technology-based practices, including frequent utilization of the Internet, computer applications, presentation software and the use of smart boards and wireless computers.
· A program in character education places an emphasis on respect, responsibility, and caring for others.
· A community service club provides students with an opportunity to contribute to the community and to participate in a variety of charitable activities.