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Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

We welcome your submissions on school and district related events. Click here to submit stories and photos.

March 11, 2016

In this issue:

  • School 24 Principal presents at University of Pennsylvania
  • Fourth graders at School 29 eat their assignment
  • Star Wars collaborator addresses SOIT coders
  • Read Across America/100th Day of School throughout the district

Effective Academic Programs

Teaching teachers

Florita Cotto at Univ. Penn.Florita Cotto, Principal of School 24, was a presenter at the 37th Annual Ethnography in Education Research Forum at the University of Pennsylvania.  During her presentation, “Culturally Responsive Teaching: Student Voices in Professional Development,” she shared a Professional Development seminar that was conducted with School 24 students for the Montclair State University pre-service teachers program. Students related the instructional practices of those teachers whom they deemed to have taught them effectively. They also addressed misconceptions about inner city students, and provided advice and information that they felt the pre-service teachers needed to know in order to successfully teach students of color. 

The presentation demonstrated the use of inquiry to help create professional development experiences that involve, empower and support students, as well as assisting pre-service teachers in understanding the academic experiences and challenges of inner-city students.

Winning bedside manner

HARP HOSA winnersAcademy of Health Science (HARP) students recently attended regional and then state level competition at the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA). Junior Daviel Fermin, and senior Thalia Pujols won third and fifth place respectively in the Nursing Assisting category. Those winning performances qualified the students to move on to State Competition. The juniors and seniors continued to shine by winning fourth place in the Health Occupation Parliamentary Procedure category. The HOSA State Event was held in Gloucester County. The students were chaperoned by Allied Health Teacher, Lecia Williamson, and Science teachers Louis Sayad, Fatema Sheikh and Ricardo Wong.

Councilman Mendez at School 24 School 29 simple machines School 29 simple machines

School 24 students had a wonderful time when Paterson City Councilman Alex Mendez came to read and celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. He also spoke passionately about the importance of education.

At School 29, third grade math and science teacher Ms. Burdick invited the students to create books about, or models of simple machines. Pictured are the impressive results.

Bringing their skills to market

DECA State Trip

Between February 21st and 23rd, twelve students from the School of Business, Technology, Marketing and Finance at JFK participated in the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) competition. All twelve prepared heavily for this competition by writing extensive business plans or practicing the ‘role play’ exercises in which they would be competing. At the competition, the students competed in a variety of events including: International Business, Sports and Entertainment Marketing, and Fashion Merchandising.  All participants successfully completed the requirements of their events. Student Robert Collado received a first place award for the Business Services event that he competed in.

There is much work before play

SOIT game designStudents in Ms. Kimler Williamson’s Game Design class at the School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside class were shown, first hand, how video games are coded and designed by professional game developers. Mr. Michael Kawas took the SOIT students on a virtual journey to trace his career as a game developer. As founder and CEO of the Game-U Company, Mr. Kawas has worked with George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars franchise. He also demonstrated how the video games that we all love to play are developed through a painstaking process of coding and learning through trial and error.  He told the future game designers that “It could take up to four years for a team of 200 game developers to develop a single game like Star Wars: Forces Unleashed.”

ELC 100 days of school MLK faculty wearing Thing Shirts School 28 100 days of school

The 14th Avenue Early Learning Center celebrated the 100th Day of School by counting and identifying 100 parts of projects they created for the day.

The administration, secretaries and kindergarten staff of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School celebrated Read Across America by wearing "Thing" shirts in honor of Dr. Seuss. 

Ms. Alvarez’ School 28, K-1 bilingual students placing jelly beans on the numerals 1 to 100 as part of their First 100 Days activities.

Farm fresh

School 29 Fruit and Veggie lessonStudents in Mrs. Somma's School 29 fourth grade classes were asked to bring in a fruit or vegetable to share following a lesson on cone and fruit-bearing plants. The students were asked to write down the fruit or vegetable they saw on their plate, describe what it looked like and what type of seeds it contained. Continuing on their own, they compared and contrasted the different seeds. They also indicated if their vegetable grew on a bush, tree, vine or underground. They could not believe that some of the tiniest seeds could possibly have an embryo inside! The students were particularly excited about this activity knowing they were going to be able to eat all of the delicious food afterward! Fruits and vegetables used in this exercise included: avocados, cucumbers, green peppers, plums, mangos, grapes, apples, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, tangerines, pears, and cantaloupes.

Reason and rhyme

School 18 recently launched their very own Poetry Club! Students were required to complete an application with teacher recommendations, and submit an original poem. The program meets every Monday after school. In a related event, School 18 will be welcoming a visit by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, a famous American poet who once attended and graduated from the school.

School 18 poetry club

The need to read

School 13 Read Across AmericaSchool 13's observance of Dr. Seuss and Read Across America Day was held on March 2nd for kindergarten to grade 2 students. Reading volunteers included: parent Latoya Brown, Action Team member Min. Regina Brown of Resurrection Kingdom Ministries, as well as community members Stephanie Douglas and Kathy Norton of Resurrection Kingdom Ministries. The volunteers walked from room to room reading selected books from the Dr. Seuss collection.

Museum quality

Winners of the InnerFaith Performing Arts 2016 Black History Art and Essay Contest were recently honored at the Paterson Museum. The annual contest invites K-12 students to pick a theme for their essay based upon a famous quotation from a historically significant African American or Civil Rights activist; while the art entries must convey a similarly relevant visual message. Winners received cash awards for their entries. Click here for a list of all winners and their standing.

SOIT Interfaith winners

To the opera!

School 24 at the Opera43 students from School 24 and their teachers, Nancy Horowitz, Dana Brannan, Karen Lipari, and Victoria Tiscia, can now say they've seen the opera "L'Elisir d'Amore" at the Metropolitan. On their way out, they had the added thrill of meeting bass-baritone Adam Platchetka, who played the part of Belcore in this production.

For many of the students, this was their first visit to Lincoln Center. For all, it was their first visit to the Metropolitan Opera, and it was such a success that they're looking forward to going next year. The costumes and scenery, singing and acting, and performance by the orchestra were the best in the world. What a day!

Out of this World

100 days of school at school 18School 18 students and celebrated their 100th Day of School with fun math activities and projects they completed with their families at home. They were assigned to create poster boards representing the 100th day of school with creative objects. Some of the work consisted of 100 Colors, using melted crayons that revealed vibrant hues, and 100 Is Beyond This World, in which students glued 100 stars and included the planets to create out of this world displays. The students presented their work to their classmates and teacher, and were graded for their hard work and effort. 

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

A “rewarding” message

Forty-seven students from the School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside who attained Honor Roll status during marking period two, received a special reward for their hard work and efforts; they were invited to attend a play about ethnic identity. “Mixed Race Mixtape,” the hip-hop themed play was presented at William Paterson University’s Shea Center for the Performing Arts.
This interactive performance focused on complex issues such as race, class and identity using rap, monologues and musical instruments in a powerful theatrical show. The show was educational and entertaining and was followed by a discussion panel after the performance. The trip was organized by the SOIT Climate and Culture teacher, Mr. Wallace Gaffney.

A journey of success

GOPA Black HistoryThe School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) at Eastside celebrated Black History Month with a presentation by the President of Essex County Community College, Dr. Gale Gibson. Beginning her journey on the island of Barbados, Dr. Gibson told the students how she persevered through many of life’s obstacles, entered college at the young age of sixteen, and worked hard to not succumb to the many unique difficulties that a young African-American female might face. Following her presentation, Dr. Gibson donated five full academic scholarships to GOPA students to attend Essex County Community College.

school 26 Black History Monthschool 26 Black History Monthschool 26 Black History Month

The School 26 Black History Month program featured student performances illustrating historic points in the quest for equality,
from slavery to the Montgommery Bus Boycott.

HARP kids smile

On February 26, Dental Assisting students from the Academy of Health Science (HARP), and the Paterson  Public Schools Dental Clinic provided free dental services to children as part of National Give Kids A Smile Day. The team gave presentations about oral hygiene and healthy nutrition to 120 kindergarten students from Edward W. Kilpatrick School.

Honoring Dr. King’s legacy

School 10 Huddle Zone

This past Dr. Martin Luther King Day, T-Mobile volunteers spent a day at School 10 for a day of service. The volunteers transformed a space in the building and called it The T-Mobile Huddle-Up Zone. The awesome space includes fun activities for students to engage in as an incentive to do well academically and behaviorally in school. In addition, murals were painted throughout the building with inspirational quotes for all to see.  The School Ten Family is thrilled with the outcome and the generosity of T-Mobile.

A week of tolerance, respect and fun

Alexander Hamilton Academy Week of RespectAlexander Hamilton Academy engaged in a number of special activities during the Week of Tolerance and Respect, February 29th- March 4th. Former Harlem Globetrotter “Corey the Dribbler” kicked off the week with an appearance at the school. Corey Rick, also known as Corey the Dribbler, addressed the students about respecting their parents, teachers, classmates, and emphasizing that bullying is not cool. Corey encouraged the students to always excel in school while bringing a positive attitude with them every day.

Alexander Hamilton Academy also had their second Mix It Up Lunch Day. The Mix It UP Lunch Day encouraged students to identify questions and cross social boundaries. For one day, students were asked to move out their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch. Students were paired with students from all different grade levels during their lunch periods.

Hispanic aspirations

Aspira CeremonyThis past February, The School of Government and Public Administration and The School of Culinary Arts at Eastside inducted 13 Aspirantes into the prestigious Aspira Alliance Club. The Aspira Club, in its 15th year of operation at Eastside, is funded by a grant to support Latino students who aspire toward higher education. The ceremony concluded with a festive buffet of cultural cuisine. The ceremony included a candle lighting pledge along with student-led poetry. Two students, Silver Gonzalez and Noemi Castillo-Herrand, sang a duet accompanied by a guitar.

Family and Community Engagement

A winning season for Paterson Basketball

BasketballThe Paterson Public Schools’ Boys teams wrapped up an exciting season with JFK Knights making it to the Passaic County tournament as the #4 seed defeating Passaic Valley 56 to 40,  but succumbed to Morristown in NJSIAA Group 4 Sectionals. Congratulations to Eastside and Kennedy for an exciting season of outstanding sportsmanship. The ladies’ have been no less exciting as Eastside and Kennedy made it all the way to the hotly contested Passaic County Championship to face each other. It was a very close game in which Kennedy seized the county title 47 to 43, allowing the Lady Knights to move on to Group 4 State Sectional play. At this writing, the Knights are alive and well, having defeated North Bergen, Mount Olive, Eastside and East Orange. On Sunday, the ladies meet up with Lenape High School at 6:00 P.M. at the Pine Belt Arena in Toms River, NJ. Let’s get out there and support our young ladies!

Eastside looks pretty good for 90!

Eastside 90th Jubilee455 alumni and friends of Eastside High School gathered at The Venetian in Garfield, NJ to celebrate the school's 90th year in operation. The school which opened in February of 1926 continues to serve generations of students throughout Paterson. During the jubilee celebration, entertainment was provided by “Mr. B.” and former Eastside students who had a cameo in "Lean on Me", a group called “Riff.” Alumni dating back to the classes of 1931 and 1935 respectively enjoyed sharing stories about their neighborhood school. With no long speeches on the program, everyone had the chance to mingle and refresh old friendships.

District Art ShowDistrict Art ShowDistrict Art Show

The 2016 Student Art Exhibition is on display at the Paterson Museum now through March 31st.

Coming home

Tony award winning director and Eastside High School alumnus, Jerry Zaks surprised staff and students with visit to his alma mater. After high school and college, Mr. Zaks dabbled in stage acting but soon found his calling in directing theater. His four Tony Awards include: Guys and Dolls, Six Degrees of Separation, Lend Me A Tenor and The House of Blue Leaves. After touring the Eastside building and viewing his Hall of Fame plaque, Mr. Zaks met with students and staff to discuss his long journey from Eastside High School to Broadway.

Broadway visit

Efficient and Responsive Operations

Cicely Warr3en promotion

On Feb. 25, School 9 Staff and Administration celebrated Ms. Cicely Warren's promotion to Assistant Superintendent at the Brownstone. Ms. Warren was hired as a teacher in 1995 at School 9, where she later became Vice Principal and subsequently Principal during her 20+ years of service.

Upcoming Events

Mar. 11: Staff In-Service

1:00 p.m. student dismissal

Mar. 12: PARCC Preparation Programs

See Parents & Students page for times and locations

Mar. 16: Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Mar. 18: HARP Blood Drive

8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at 5 Colt St.

Mar. 21-28: Spring Break

Schools closed

Mar. 25 & 28: District Closed

Mar 31: Prepare for College

6 p.m. at Rosa L. Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts

Apr. 2, 9 & 16: PARCC Preparation Programs

See Parents & Students page for times and locations

May 11: 2016 Teen Health Fair

8:15 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex   

“It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.”
— Erma Bombeck, Humorist