Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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February 25, 2016

In this issue:

  • PANTHER Academy; side-by-side with Columbia academics
  • STEM’s Shadidur Rahman earns $20K Horatio Alger scholarship
  • 2016 Black History Celebration brings the house down
  • Two schools get a much needed “lift”

Effective Academic Programs

Side-by-side at Columbia

PANTHER students visit Columbia UniversityForty PANTHER Academy students who earned Elite Status for their excellent class performance during the first marking period visited Columbia University's World Renowned Lamont - Doherty Earth Observatory and Research Center. While visiting, the students met with Columbia University Professors and Graduate Research Assistants to discuss their work in the field of climatology and its impact on dendrochronology (tree growth). They also participated in several hands-on activities utilizing complex data maps to predict climate change. As a result of this experience, the PANTHER students will turnkey some these activities as workshop leaders for elementary school students attending the annual Earth Day Celebration on April 22nd. In addition, PANTHER students have now been invited to apply to the National Science Foundation funded Columbia University Lamont- Doherty Earth Observatory Summer Research Internship Program where they will work side-by-side with researchers collecting, analyzing and presenting scientific data.

A flood of creativity

Flood Management studentsStudents participating in the Department of Family & Community Engagement’s College Ready Families Mentorship Program, recently attended the Rutgers University Regional Flood Management Competition. This competition has the students create a design and presentation on mitigating floodwater damage in at-risk cities. The students spent 3 weeks preparing for the competition with district staff members to fine-tune their presentations. Their efforts were rewarded with a 3rd place win. As a result of their competitive ranking, they have been invited to attend the regional conference at Princeton University on Feb 27th!

A real “Horatio Alger Story”

Shadidur Rahman Shadidur Rahman is a 12th grader at the JFK’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy. He was one of 106 outstanding students in the United States to receive the prestigious Horatio Alger National Scholarship. Shadidur received the $22,000 scholarship that can be used at any university he decides to attend to. As a national scholarship recipient, Shadidur will also receive an all-expense-paid trip to Washington D.C. to attend and participate at the Horatio Alger National Scholars Conference. 

Currently, Shadidur holds a leadership position for the JFK Robotics/College Prep Team, is a member of the school’s National History Day Team, a member of the National Honor Society, a student at the Montclair State University Upward Bound Program, and a part-time college student at Passaic County Community College. Shadidur has already matriculated 38 college credits! He plans attain his Bachelor and Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at Rutgers University.

Sharing her father’s legacy

Jackie Robinson's Daughter visits Norman WeirSharon Robinson, author and daughter of legendary baseball great Jackie Robinson recently visited the Norman S. Weir School (NSW) to talk about her latest book, “The Hero Two Doors Down.”  According to Ms. Robinson, her latest book; “is about a real boy named Steve, who was 8 or 9-years old at the time. My father moved in two doors down from him and his family in an apartment building.”  The book deals with Jackie Robinson’s influence on the young man and his efforts to broker a truce between him and a group of bullies.

While at NSW, Ms. Robinson was treated to a rousing performance of “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit that Ball?” performed by the school chorus against a backdrop of her illustrious dad and the New York City skyline. (Photo courtesy NJ.Com)

An infusion of art with mathematics

New Roberto Clemente art projectNew Roberto Clemente School students have learned new ways to put their mathematical thinking into practice – this time in in art class. Art teacher Mrs. Roche, guided seventh and eighth graders as they created their own figurative sculptures out of foil in the style of Swiss artist, Alberto Giacometti. Students related their figures to mathematical proportions of the human body and transformed them into self-portraits and investigated how their sculptures cast unique shadows. Ms. Roche’s colleague, Ms. Aramayo, showed sixth graders how to create artworks showcasing their understanding of balance and radial symmetry. The photo showcases some of the final projects. New Roberto Clemente School is part of the William Paterson University (WPU) Professional Development Schools Network; the school also participates in the WPU Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) program, which is supported by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures


School 27 donor's chooseRecently, Mrs. Camacho-Ramundo’s School 27, 1st grade class was fortunate enough to have two projects funded through the Donors Choose organization. One donor said they were "Paying it forward" because someone helped in a similar way when she was in 2nd grade, and that help her to become the successful corporate attorney she is today.
Inspired by the generosity of their donor, Mrs. Camacho-Ramundo challenged her class to also raise $100 to donate to yet another class via Donors Choose. They did household chores and received compensation for performing random acts of kindness. One student even sold cookies at church and donated that money.

The children recorded their deeds and created a paper chain to document the experience. On Feb. 22, the class logged on to donorschoose.org and pledged the entire $56.50 they raised to Ms. Lupo's 1st grade class at School 6.

While at the site, the children learned that School 6 is in need of many crucial supplies. They also learned that the anonymous donor mentioned above explained that when her family lived in poverty, someone donated books to her 2nd grade class and it meant a lot to her. Mrs. Lupo was seeking donations to provide books to her 6 autistic students.

The stuff of dreams

Should Could DreamThe “Should, Could, Dream” tour was brought to the Eastside Campus by Student Assistance Coordinator, Dr. Stephanie Roberts. The tour’s creator/coordinator, Duane Myko, inspired students to work hard, never settle and dream big. This one-man show incorporated acting, motivational speaking, poetry, comedy, and music into a 60 minute electrifying performance. The show relates to youth and seeks to educate them on the importance of a higher education.

Vaughn McCoy International HS black cinema

School 30 had a visit from author Vaughn McKoy who wrote the motivational text, “Playing Up.” Mr. McKoy spoke to the kids about the importance of mentorship and making the right decisions.

International High School's 2016 Black history Month display showcases black actors who have been recipients of Oscar awards in cinema throughout the years.

Celebrating great African Americans

Black History Month CelebrationThe 2016 Black History Month Celebration at the John F. Kennedy educational Complex really brought the house down! This year’s show was one of the best attended yet, and featured a wide variety of student performance and recitation all related to, and in recognition of, great African Americans. The annual celebration which takes place prior to the regular Board of Education meeting is a gathering of schools from around the district, each presenting their chosen genre of performance.

State District Superintendent Dr. Donnie Evans opened the evening with historically poignant remarks followed by the Black National Anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.” The 2016 turnout included: 14th Avenue Early Learning Center – “I Have a Dream” poetry recitation; School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism at Eastside – Performance Art and Mixed Media presentation; The Norman S. Weir Choir – “Sir Duke” and “Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit that Ball?” Urban Leadership Academy – “Hey Black Child” original poetry; School of Information Technology at Eastside – Video documentary on Shirley Chisholm; School 1 – Biographical Poetry; The School of Education and Training at JFK’s “Set of Diamonds” and “Girls with Pearls” clubs each delivered poetry recitations; and The Rosa Parks Jazz Ensemble performed “Crystal Silence.” Executive Director of Information Services, Ms. Terry Corallo emceed the festivities with her customary enthusiastic fervor.

If you’ve never attended one of these wonderful shows, be sure to keep it on your radar for next year! You won’t be disappointed. You can view a slideshow of photos from the event here.

A fast, fierce, female competitor!

Ebonee JacksonMiss Ebonee Jackson has been named the Record/NorthJersey.com Female Athlete of the Week. The John F. Kennedy Educational Complex senior won the 55-meter hurdles, 55-meter dash and placed third in the high jump at the North 1, Group 4 State Championships on February 14.

Family and Community Engagement

Alphonso Gee

JFK Knight’s Alphonso Gee reached a milestone 2000 career points at the recent Eastside/Kennedy faceoff. Alphonso joins an elite club of only four other Passaic County players to attain that number.

The rewards of altruism

Shah Rahman Shah Rahman, a senior at JFK’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy and student of the College Ready Families Mentorship Program, has been selected for the President's Volunteer Service Award (PVSA). The PVSA is the premier volunteer awards program, encouraging citizens engage in volunteering in one’s own community.
Shah received his for donating over 375 hours of community service since his freshman year in high school. Among his volunteering services, Shah has helped to build community food gardens that help to feed local families. He has also worked on community cleanups, clothes drives, food drives, and much more.

If that isn’t enough, Shah has also won a $7,000 scholarship from the Horatio Alger State Scholars Program. Students with high academic and social merit are selected to receive this scholarship. The Horatio Alger Foundation selected 556 students nation-wide, while there were only 14 students from New Jersey.

Shah plans to attend Montclair State University to double major in Business Management and Computer Science. He has already completed 33 college credits by attending Passaic County Community College as a part time dual-enrollment student.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

Some very good news

In the last issue of District Hilites we announced some very good news for the district, including the return of two more portions of “local control” to the Board of Education and the establishment of HARP Academy as a “High Performing Rewards School.”  Click here to watch a video clip from the February Board of Education Meeting in which Dr. Evans announces these items along with some very good news about School 28 and district graduation rates.

A much needed “lift” for two schools

nw elevatorBoth School 5 and the Eastside Campus have had their deteriorating elevators renovated. The old lifts were installed in the 1920’s and 30’s and required manual operation, which is no longer allowed by city code while also presenting safety hazards.

A great deal of preliminary logistics was involved getting funding and approval for the projects which were spearheaded by Mr. Vasquez of the Facilities Department. Working with the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE), he requested and obtained capital funds and engaged the LAN engineering firm to draw up the plans and specifications.

The renovations required the removal of the existing elevators cabs, mechanical equipment, electrical wiring and elevator control equipment. The new installations included repairs to the elevator machine rooms, new elevator cabs, cables, counterweights, rails, motors, electrical systems, control systems and safety systems. The schools’ new equipment has been fully approved for operation and both enjoy the benefits of properly functioning, safe elevators.

Upcoming Events

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

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

Feb. 27: 2016 Passaic County Boys & Girls Basketball Championship

at Wayne Valley HS - 551 Valley Road, Wayne, NJ
12:00 p.m. (Boys) Eastside “Mighty Ghosts” vs. Wayne Valley “Indians”
2:30 p.m. (Girls) Eastside “Lady Ghosts” vs. J. F. Kennedy “Lady Knights”

Feb. 27: PARCC Preparation Programs

See Parents & Students page for times and locations

Feb. 29: Special Meeting of the Board of Education

5:30 p.m. at the Administrative Offices, 90 Delaware Avenue  

Mar. 1: 2016 NJSIAA Basketball Tournament

5:00 p.m. Eastside “Lady Ghosts” vs. Morris Knolls "Golden Eagles” at Eastside
7:00 p.m. Eastside “Mighty Ghosts” vs. Passaic “Indians” at Eastside

Mar. 2: Board of Education Workshop

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


“I have learned that the best way to lift one's self up is to help someone else.”
— Booker T. Washington, educator, writer and orator