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District HiLites

In this issue:

  • Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented students excel at STEM competition
  • Robotics student awarded scholarship funds
  • Developing “Life Skills” at School 18
  • District snow warriors (and their machines) to the rescue
District HiLites is a Department of Communications publication.
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January 29, 2016

Effective Academic Programs

Yes, it does take rocket science!

Gifted and Talented AcademyTwenty-two students from the Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented traveled to the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to compete in the New Jersey Science Olympiad. The Science Olympiad is one of the premier science competitions in the nation, providing rigorous, standards-based challenges. The Science Olympiad's line-up of events in all STEM disciplines exposes students to working scientists and possible career choices. The students began working on events like Air Trajectory, Dynamic Planet, Experimental Design, and Elastic Launch Glider back in September. The team came home with four medals in the Bridge-Building and Bottle Rocket events, placing  twelfth out of  twenty of the best public schools in New Jersey!

It’s an art

This January, a Storytelling Residency Program debuted at the Rosa Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts thanks to a grant from the Countess Moira Charitable Foundation. Fifteen freshmen and sophomores are receiving the opportunity to learn the fundamental principles of storytelling from professional artists. The program will run to February and include twelve workshops. The professional instructors will continue to teach students the basics of storytelling through performance-based presentations. The goal is to expose students to various narrative genres and basic plot structures. The various narratives include folk tales, fables, myths and fairy tales. After each performance, students analyze and discuss the content, expressing their thoughts and offering insight. At the end of the seminar, participating students are expected to perform a story of their choice.

Bridging the gap to literacy

School 18 Bridge of Books

School 18 has been the fortunate recipient of several thousand new and gently used children’s books.  The books will be distributed to nearly one thousand students at the school’s upcoming Literacy Fair. The free books, donated by the Bridge of Books organization, are intended for children’s programs and individuals who are unable to purchase books due to financial hardship.

The New Jersey Youth Corps of Paterson assisted by picking up the books from the Bridge of Books warehouse in Red Bank, NJ.  Ken Reilly, Crew Supervisor, and three of his crew members, Tanzim Khan, Yordi Contreras and Angel Martinez, delivered the fifty cases of books to School 18.

Hard work has its rewards

Zyheir Williams, a JFK Robotics/College-Prep team member from STEM Academy, has received $5,250 in scholarship funds through city councilman Michael Jackson. Councilman Jackson awarded the scholarship based upon Zyheir’s strong academic record, including his commitment to community service. Zyheir plans to use the scholarship to help support his pursuit of a degree in Chemical Engineering.

Zyheir William
Aaron Belfield

Rosa L. Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts freshman Aaron Belfield has won top prize in the Calvary Baptist Church’s First Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Writing Contest. For his winning essay, Aaron, a Communication Arts student, received $250.00.

Calendar Kids

Art calendar winnersFive fourth grade students have placed in the Passaic County Calendar Art contest. Bryan Ostos of School 14, Afsara Ahmed and Akemi Morales from School 19, along with Sophie Yang and Marquise Brown from School 24's Fine and Performing Arts school all received honors for their submissions. The annual county-wide contest draws hundreds of submissions from across Passaic County. Sophie Yang and Akemi Morales took honorable mentions. Bryan Ostos’ picture was selected for the month of September, Marquise Brown’s picture was selected for the month of October, and Afsara Ahmed’s (2nd place winner) was selected for the month of February.  They were all honored Thursday, January 21st at the Passaic County Police Academy, where they received special awards.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

SET’ing up new parents

SET DiamondsThe JFK School of Education and Training’s (SET) “SET of Diamonds” club worked diligently to raise funds that purchased essential items for teen parents at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex. The gifts were presented at the Annual Holiday Celebration hosted by SET’s own Jacqueline A. Jones. The festive party was a wonderful conclusion to a season’s efforts. The SET of Diamonds is a group of freshman and sophomore girls determined to make a positive impact at their homes, school, and community. With the support of their advisors; Doreen Carter, Angela Fraser, Antoinette Price, Charlene Simmons, and Michelle Williams, the club will continue to carry out their mission.

School 9 sings

Ms. Bernal's School 9 second grade class celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior’s birthday by singing "Peace" over the intercom system in the main office. This is a yearly tradition kept going by School 9 music teacher, Ms. Berrone.

Talk to the…. car

OTTO at school 13

“Otto the Auto” recently paid a visit to School 13. The Automobile Association of America’s (AAA) Public & Government Services Assistant, Ryan Gabel, and School 13 Vice Principal Mr. Braico joined Otto the Auto and educated students about traffic safety. This national program is presented in cooperation with local schools and police departments by the North Jersey Foundation for Safety along with local AAA chapters.

Success requires skills

Life SkillsSchool 18 has started a Life Skills Program for students in grades 1 through 8.  The mission of the Life Skills Program is to help students acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be successful individuals and lifelong learners. The topics that have been introduced are: Organization & Study Tips, Coping & Relaxation, Manners and Etiquette, Resume Writing, and Interview skills. Ms. Rey, second grade teacher and Ms. Nunez, the school counselor began this program in September. Several School 18 teachers who volunteer their time to make this program a success include: Mrs. Alonso, Mrs. Solis, Mrs. Ramirez, Ms. Menos, Mrs. Finley, and Mr. Espinosa.

Family and Community Engagement

Those pennies add up

National Honor Society (NHS) students at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex are participating in a "Pennies for Patients" effort. The activity is aimed at raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The funds raised will help local patients fight this, the most fatal disease of children under the age of 15. Donations also help the organization in their quest to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's Disease and myeloma as well as helping to improve the quality of life of patients and their families. "We raised $669.15 last year, and we plan to raise even more this year," according to Niechette Charles, the School of Education and Training teacher who serves as NHS advisor.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

Grab n Go BreakfastGrab n Go BreakfastGrab n Go Breakfast

In our December 17 issue we featured a story about the new “Grab & Go” breakfast option tested by the Department of Food Services for busy high school students. The program has since gotten underway now and has proven a great success!

Moving mountains (of snow)

Snow RemovalSnow finally arrived after a mostly snowless winter and the Blizzard of 2016 proved a monumental challenge for the district’s Facilities Department staff and equipment. Fortunately and not surprisingly, they were up to the task!

Snow clearing operations planning begins long before the winter weather begins.  Plows and snow removalsanders are mounted and tested, replacement parts ordered and installed, and repairs preformed. Accessory items such as, tow straps, hydraulics, lights, heaters, wipers, tires, and controls are repaired, inspected and installed. District snow blowers that require servicing are picked up, serviced, and returned in working order. The department also rented 2 “skid steer” machines and a backhoe to supplement our existing equipment in anticipation back in November. Such equipment would be unobtainable during a major event.

New plows purchased last year replaced vintage vehicles and this also helped save the day.  In total, Facilities deployed 20 pieces of equipment.  The district’s 2 dump trucks were used to truck snow away from a number of locations where stocking piling on site wasn’t an option. Thirty tons of salt was utilized during this event. Staff started began plowing operations on once 6 inches had accumulated and all schools were ready to open by late Sunday night.

Upcoming Events

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. - 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 10: Special Meeting of the Board of Education

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

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

4:30 - 6:30 p.m.

Feb. 12: Staff In-Service

No students

Feb. 15-16: President's Day Weekend

District closed

Feb. 17: In-District Preschool Registration Begins

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

“If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”
— Colin Powell, military leader and statesman