District HiLites

In this issue:

  • PANTHER proves their math mettle
  • New program guides students toward college
  • SOIT future business leaders are up to the challenge
  • Rosa Parks shines on
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January 14, 2016

Effective Academic Programs

PANTHER math masters

PANTHER math kids

The 39th Annual NJ High School Math Competition sponsored by the Association of Mathematics Teachers of New Jersey (AMTNJ) took place in December. Paterson’s PANTHER Academy students were awarded first, second and third place individually; and second place overall as a school. The individual winners, all Mr. Ahmed Salama's 11th graders, are: First place – Ahsanul Shafi, Second place – Sumia Barki and Shajada Ali, Third place – Tamia Williams, and Honorable Mention – Claribel Perez.

Getting on, staying on track for college

College Track workshopsPaterson Education Fund’s (PEF) College Track Workshops help students develop personal action plans to get into college, pay for college and stay to completion.  This year, twenty students from all four John F. Kennedy Educational Complex schools have been trained as College Track Facilitators and those students delivered college track presentations to their eleventh grade classes. The presentations have helped develop students’ interests in college life and have helped students raise important questions regarding the admissions process, financial aid, and transitioning to college.

Ms. Kreger, a School of Education and Training (SET) guidance counselor, and Ms. Pagan, PEF Program Director, gathered the student facilitators to discuss the highlights of the program. The students expressed that they liked doing the presentations, learned that public speaking is more difficult than they thought it would be, and they would love to have a formal College Track class in order to learn about these important topics throughout their junior and senior years.

National Histor Day Field Trip History Fair
John F. Kennedy Educational Complex students participating in National History Day activities attended a field trip to Lambert's Castle. The students were given a guided tour of the Castle in addition to being shown how the Passaic County Historical Society, which is headquartered at the Castle, archives their photographs and documents.

JFK Architecture and Construction Trades (ACT) students, Bryon Diaz and Aya Chacha, show off their History Fair project on Mary Ellen Kramer. Mrs. Kramer, Paterson's own “First Lady,” is widely credited with launching Paterson's Historic District in the Great Falls vicinity.

Poe at the Pax

This past November, JFK School of Education and Training (SET) students traveled to Budd Lake, NJ to visit the Pax Amicus Castle Theater. The field trip was led by Ms. Nancy Wymer, Ms. Christine Keppel, Ms. Young Suh, and Mr. Vince Gurnari. Students were able to see the play, Tales of Poe, about the life, times, and works of the premier American short story writer, Edgar Allan Poe.  About fifty students attended the trip, which included the performance, a question & answer session with the actors and director of the play Mr. Stan Barber, and lunch at a local restaurant.

Exposure to the arts

This past December, students from all four schools at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex were the recipients of a wonderful gift; for the second year in a row, Mr. G. Leath Nunn, founder and artistic director of the NunnBetter Dance Company, graciously donated 150 seats for a performance of the holiday classic ballet "The Nutcracker". This generous gift was in response to inquiries made by Ms. Nancy Wymer, a School of Education and Training (SET) teacher.

For many years now, Ms. Wymer has been making inroads with theater and dance companies in order to give Paterson students opportunities to see ballet, jazz, Shakespeare, and other dramatic performances. When asked why she works so hard to organize such field trips Ms. Wymer responded, "Students' lives are enriched through the arts. They need to be exposed to the arts whenever possible, so they can see different possibilities for themselves. Many of our students have never even seen a ballet, let alone attended a live performance. When they see other students, some as young as five years old, dance before hundreds of people, they wonder if that possibility is open for them.”

Of bridges and peers

Ten students from the Eastside National Honor Society (NHS) welcomed NHS students from Mountain Lakes High School as part of their Peer Connection Program. Upon their arrival, the Mountain Lakes students joined students from all three Eastside schools to participate in their morning classes. The group all came together for lunch to discuss their experiences and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the Culinary Arts students.

Mountain Lakes

FBLA students excel on new exam

Mrs. Cooney, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Advisor for the School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside believes, if you do not take a chance, you will miss out on an opportunity. According to Mrs. Clooney, “We have very capable students, but encouraging them to participate in the regional competitions can be challenging. We are the only urban district in our region. Students are competing against suburban schools. Our members that do not participate will never know what might have been.”

Earlier in December, Mrs. Cooney had three students who competed in the FBLA Introduction to Information Technology exam. This is an online objective exam that tests students about their knowledge of Information Technology. Two of those students succeeded in placing in the top eight of the highest scores which requires them to move on to compete at the state level. Student Chris Martinez placed first with the highest score while George Marchand placed fourth. These students will be preparing for the state competition coming up in February.

Additionally, FBLA member Pamely Garcia has achieved the first level required for a Business Achievement Award and was presented with a pin for her accomplishment. Pamely is presently working on her second level. Mrs. Cooney credits the hard work and dedication of these students and the new curriculum from Cisco Systems which is more rigorous and provides more depth on the subject.

PANTHER Students excel


Six PANTHER Academy students who participated in the district’s STEM Expo produced exceptional results. Pedro Brito, Felix De Dios, and Lisandra Zorilla (all eleventh graders) took home first place in the Grades 11/12 Inquiry Category for their project, “Renewable Energy through Electrolysis.” In the Grades 9/10 Inquiry Category, sophomores Oriana Jaramillo, Brittany Rodriguez, Ayana Veal took home second place for their project titled “Which Beverage Stains Your Teeth the Most?”

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Festive classroom doors

School 13 door decoration contestThe Action Team at School 13 sponsored and coordinated a Holiday Door Decorating Contest. Classroom doors were judged based on visual impact, craftsmanship, completeness, originality and relevance to the theme; “Tis the Season.” The judges this year included: Reverend Pamela James, pastor of Christ Church United Methodist, Minister Regina Moore of Resurrection Kingdom Ministries, Yanira Santana (a PTO parent volunteer), Shirley Garris-Tann (PTO Treasurer), and Joyce McKnight-Young, Community Outreach Coordinator of Christ Church United Methodist. This year's winners were: first place - Ms. Atshan's class, second place - Ms. Mann's class, third place - Ms. Kwiecinski's class, and honorable mentions - Ms. Giegerich's and Ms. Marquez's classes. This year's awards were donated by PTO President Hillary Tann, Resurrection Kingdom Ministries and Queen Yolanda Enterprises, LLC.

SET concert school 13 letters to santa
The School of Education and Training (SET) at JFK concert organized by Ms. Kuzma was a festive and joyous event. The concert featured music, dance, and even a visit from Santa Claus! This celebration of music featured selections spanning 200 years of classical, jazz, and contemporary pieces and wowed the school.

School 12 wrote and sent 433 letters to Santa. Every letter written helped grant wishes to children with life threatening medical conditions. Many of the letters were wishes for other people; they were for younger brothers, sisters, and even for people whom the writers didn't even know. They wished for love, world peace, to end hunger and to find a cure for cancer.

Family and Community Engagement

Recognizing greatness

Shine Award

The Interfaith Performing Arts Center, Inc. (IPAC) has awarded Rosa Parks Fine and Performing Arts High School their Education Shine Award, honoring the school’s record of excellence in the arts. The IPAC is a non-profit Christian based arts center committed to empowering youth though the arts with a faith-based connection.

Warm coats, warm hearts

This past Christmas, The School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) at Eastside donated over 100 new toys and coats to the New Jersey Community Development Corporation (NJCDC) for their annual toy drive. The NJCDC is a private, non-profit community development and social service agency founded in 1994 with a focus on neighborhood revitalization and community development within the Paterson community. Following the collection period, the toys were distributed to deserving children and families at a festive community celebration dinner.

GoPA donates toys

Cops who care

Winter Coats for ELCThe season of giving is certainly not over for Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) Local #1 in Paterson. The union is busy delivering winter coats, gloves, and hats to families at Paterson Public Schools, Catholic Schools, Day Care Centers and other community organizations. Under the leadership of retired Sargent Tom Trommelen, PBA President Alex Cruz, President of Supervisors, Mr. Mason Mahar, officers throughout the Paterson Police Force donate money from their paychecks to carry out this altruistic endeavor. The 14th Avenue Early Learning Center wishes to thank these wonderful policemen for the keeping their students safe, and warm this winter season!

Efficient and Responsive Operations

During November and December, JFK Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) administrators, teachers, and former students visited 9 different schools to speak to eighth graders and their parents about the STEM academic program. The goal of these visits was to foster a better understanding of STEM and answer any questions that students and parents might have. 

STEM visits eighth graders

Upcoming Events

Jan. 15: Staff in-Service

1:00 student dismissal

Jan. 18: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday

District closed

Feb. 1: 2nd Marking Period Ends

Feb. 3: Board of Education Workshop

6:30 p.m. at the Administrative Offices, 90 Delaware Ave.

Feb. 9: Report Card Distribution (K-8)

4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 11: Report Card Distribution (9-12)

4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 12: Staff In-Service

No students

Feb. 15-16: President's Day Weekend

District closed

Feb. 17: Board of Education Regular Meeting

7:00 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex

Feb. 26: Frederick Jordan Memorial Scholarship Fund Heritage Awards Dinner

6:00-10:00 p.m. at The Brownstone House

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
— Sir Winston Churchill