Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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April 14, 2016

In this issue:

  • History reigns supreme around the district
  • Basketball bragging rights
  • School 18 “McTeachers” cook up a fundraiser
  • Napier has a new doctor in the house

Effective Academic Programs

National History Day around the district

District schools are a force to be reckoned with at NHD competitions

For years now, Paterson Public Schools students have performed at top levels in National History Day (NHD) competitions, regionally, state-wide and nationally. Through enthusiastic research, creative presentation and teamwork, district social studies students have taken the passion of their teachers and advisors and channeled that into a love for history that continues to bring great rewards and status to them and their community. Click here to view a full list of this year’s students who have won in the regional competitions at Seton Hall University held on March 12. Many of these student researchers will be participating in State-level competition on May 7th followed by national contests in June.

Eastside represents well at NHD

National History Day finalsTen Eastside Campus students received awards at the Northern Regional New Jersey History Day competition on March 12th at Seton Hall University.  The seven projects awarded included four exhibits, one documentary and two research papers.  Among the qualifiers were students from the School of Government and Public Administration: Jessie Cheramy, Marleene Rodriguez, Karla Then, Desirae Hazel and Diamond Reed working with teacher, Michelle Hamlett. Qualifiers from the Culinary Arts Hospitality and Tourism School included: Altagracia Yrizarry and Yudyfel Batista with teacher Susan Sanabria and Esperanza Quinones, working with teacher, Salvatore Balsamo. The qualifiers from the School of Information Technology included: Orlando Rojas and Akilah Thomas, working with teacher Diana Scimeca. The students will move on to compete in the New Jersey State Competition on May 7th at William Paterson University.

History came alive at Eastside

On Friday, April 1st the Eastside Campus hosted its fifth annual History Fair.  Student research projects were on display for all to view and experience in the media center.  After touring the many exhibits, classes participated in a history scavenger hunt. Students were expected to seek information from the exhibits, projects, and special “I Am” presentations in order to complete the scavenger hunt for extra credit. I Am” presentations were informative student speeches from the perspective of historic figures such as: Fredrick Douglass, Sojourner Truth and Sandra Day O’Connor.  This year’s theme was closely aligned with the National History Day theme, “Exploration, Encounter and Exchange.”

Immersed in History

Tai MatthewsCongratulations to Mrs. Tai D. Matthews, grade 6 Humanities teacher and advisor to the National Junior Honor Society at the Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented at School 28. Mrs. Matthews was recently awarded a prestigious scholarship to attend the 2016 Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute this summer in Williamsburg, Virginia. In collaboration with 24 educators from around the country, she will participate in an intensive, six-day experience to investigate American history from multiple perspectives. She will explore the American identity by visiting historical sites, analyzing primary sources, and participating in authentic simulations and hands-on activities. Mrs. Matthews is very much looking forward to this opportunity that will enable her to bring history to life for her students.

Engineering Challenge

School 9 Engineering  ChallengeStudents from Mr. Miranda’s 8th grade class at School 9 completed an engineering design challenge intended to solve real world problems. Engineering design activities play an important role in helping students make connections among the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. This activity achieved that by engaging the 8th grade students in a fun, hands-on projects in which they designed, built, and re-designed prototype skyscrapers that fit specific criteria. Like real-world engineers, students worked within given parameters, and used assorted materials that included: index cards, tape, and tools. These items were provided along with information on their cost. The students were required to meet wind and weight restrictions, while maintaining a viable budget. As a bonus, this activity meets numerous Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Future Educators

Future educatorsThe New Jersey Future Educators Association (NJFEA), sponsored by the New Jersey Educators Association (NJEA), held its annual NJFEA workshops at Rutgers University-Newark. Thirteen students from Eastside Campus academies, Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism School (CAHTS), School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA), and the School of Information Technology (SOIT) attended the event on April 6. The day began with a keynote speaker, Ras Baraka, Mayor of Newark, inciting the future educators to inspire their students to do extraordinary things to make a positive change in their communities. Students attended two breakout sessions where they had the opportunity to hear from many different perspectives about education and social advocacy. The students were also encouraged to become members in the NJFEA and once in college to join the New Jersey Student Education Association (NJSEA).

Elementary pre-engineering program

NRC engineeringSeveral New Roberto Clemente School (NRC) students recently helped Boy Scouts of America aspiring Eagle Scout, Derin Hartmann, earn his Eagle Scout award by attending his Saturday morning pre-engineering program held at the school.

Through the innovative program, Hartmann taught students about the principles of good design and how these are used to construct extraordinary towers, buildings and bridges around the world. The students also watched video clips, such as the building of the Burj Kalifa building in Dubai, to learn about the challenges those engineers faced and how they overcome them. 

The NRC students next had the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a series of fun projects, including building paper towers, cardboard shelters that protected an egg from breaking, and balsa wood bridges that supported ten times their weight. 

“I am grateful to the students at New Roberto Clemente for allowing me to share my program with them,” said Scout Hartmann, “The structures they built were amazing!” Dr. Betsy Golden, the school’s William Paterson University Professor in Residence, arranged for the program to be presented at NRC.

STEM student admitted to Governor's School

Jeferson Mendoza, an 11th grade Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at JFK student, has been admitted into the prestigious Governor's School of New Jersey. This program only selects 50 of the very best students from around New Jersey. In order to gain admission, a student must  be nominated by their school principal, and must have an outstanding  academic record. He will be attending the three week program this summer at Drew University.

Jeferson Mendoza

SET College Fair

SEt college fairThe School of Education and Training (SET) at JFK held its 2nd annual Spring College fair. The SET College Fair provides college-bound underclassmen with the opportunity to meet with admissions counselors from selected schools throughout New Jersey and neighboring states. The intimate setting enables students to engage in detailed discussions regarding programs of study and financial options available to them at colleges which they might not have previously considered. The mission of the fair is rooted in Principal MaryAnne Perrotta’s belief that each student is unique and that the college process is an opportunity for growth and self-reflection.

Dr. Seuss Family Reading & Fun Night

School 27 Held a joyous Dr. Seuss Family Reading & Fun Night. Families of students in grades K-4 listened to various Dr. Seuss stories, created a Seuss-themed craft, and visited the Scholastic Book Fair where they had the opportunity to purchase books of their own. Dr. Evans, along with School 27 Principal Frank Puglise, enjoyed the antics of The Cat in the Hat (A. Mahmudi), Thing 1 (C. Manzueta), and Thing 2 (S. Watson).

Dr. Seuss at 27
School 10 at Liberty Science Center

The Liberty Science Center recently visited 8th grade students at School 10. The students had fun exploring the exciting world of materials by learning about the properties and structures of metals, ceramics, and polymers (plastics).

1+1=42,000 at STEM

Shadidur RahmanScience Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at JFK student, Shadidur Rahman, recent recipient of a $20,000 Horatio Alger Scholarship has also attained Raquib Quyyum$20,000 from the Dell Foundation. The scholarship comes along with a $2,000 textbook credit, and a free Dell laptop. The scholarship is very competitive and only given to students with high academic merit. 

STEM student, Raqib Quyyum, has also won a $20,000 Dell Foundation Scholarship. He will be attending Rutgers University in the fall. It is very unusual for two students from the same district, let alone the same school (In this instance, STEM) to achieve this scholarship.

Innovation Day at JFK

SET Innovation daySET Innovation daySET Innovation day

STEM and BTMF students show off business plans for products
they've envisioned to a panel of judges during the preliminary round of the Innovation Day Competition.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Bragging rights

Paterson Public Schools basketball has completed another winning season, boosting our prestige across both the county and state. The young men and ladies of our JFK Knights/Lady Knights and Eastside Ghosts/Lady Ghosts along with their coaches have a lot to be proud of coming out of the 2016 season. Our athletes and coaches have gone well beyond the big wins -- with broken records and inclusion in all-county and all-state “First Team” selections. Of particular note -- Eastside Boys Coach, Juan Griles and Girls Coach, Ray Lyde Jr., both brought their teams to the Passaic County Championships for three consecutive years! For a full accounting of Paterson basketball wins and accomplishments, click here. You are also cordially invited to attend a Winter Sports Recognitions Event on Tuesday, April 19 at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex beginning at 6:30 p.m., just prior to the Regular Board of Education Meeting. Come out and celebrate our fantastic athletes!

Alphonso Gee

Alphonso Gee, JFK Knights basketball star can add North-South All Star Game player to his list of accomplishments this past year. Along with this prestigious nomination, Alphonso has surpassed 2000 career points and First Team status by the North Jersey Coaches Association.

Mountain Lakes peer connections

Mountain LakesFor several years now, members of the National Honor Society (NHS) at the Eastside Campus have participated in a peer connection program with Mountain Lakes High School. The program gives members from each school the opportunity to shadow each other for a day. The first visit this year took place on December 10, 2015, when eight students from Mountain Lakes came to Eastside. They spent the day going to their peers’ classes and talking to the students. In turn, on March 17, 2016, ten NHS students from Eastside went to shadow their counterparts at Mountain Lakes. Each visiting school was treated to lunch, and the students had an opportunity to discuss their observations. It was an eye-opening exercise for all of the students, as it helped them to experience how much they all had in common. Although hesitant at first, after being inspired by the realization that meeting new people could be fun and exciting, one NHS member from Eastside commented that she couldn’t “wait to go to college.” 

Spring Fling Bunny Bah Domestic Violence

The Paterson Adult School Spring Fling Bunny Bag Bonanza a great success. These young ladies and gentlemen may have dropped out of high school, but never gave up their dream of a high school diploma.

Staff from the Woman’s Center of Paterson visited students from the Eastside Campus during their health classes to discuss domestic violence. The visit was organized by Student Assistance Coordinator, Dr. Stephanie Roberts, and Physical Education Supervisor, Mrs. Clarissa Adams.

Army salutes Mr. Verrico

Mr. Dan Verrico, a teacher with the School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside, recently received an Award of Excellence from the U.S. Army Mid-Atlantic Battalion during their “Empowerment Tour” which was presented at the Eastside Campus. Mr. Verrico received this award for his commitment to educational excellence and his spirit of cooperation with all members of his school community.  As SOIT’s “technology guru, Mr. Verrico provides hands-on technology training and assists his colleagues with their many technology questions.

Dan Vericco

SOIT welcomes new NHS members

SOIT National Honor SocietyThe School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside recently inducted 13 new members into the Eastside Chapter of the National Honor Society (NHS).  The ceremony was attended by teachers, family and friends. Those students inducted into the NHS are some of the most accomplished enrolled at SOIT. To enter NHS, they are required to maintain a 3.2 GPA and perhaps more importantly, complete 50 hours or more of community service.

The ceremony was attended by about 250 family members. One parent declared, “It’s one of the proudest moments of my life, my daughter always makes me proud -- but today I am overwhelmed with joy.”  The ceremony included the reciting of the NHS pledge by the new members, and the distribution of certificates of membership to the new members. 

The 13 new SOIT NHS members included: Emperatriz Alcantara, Hermy De Jesus, Taveras Bernabe, Yosmery Cabrera, Justin Fernandez, Amir Francisco, Stephanie Gonzalez, Victor Objio, Leslie Perez, Orlando Rojas, Akilah Thomas,  Dianed Correa Troche, Brandon Valles, and Jose Zelaya.


School 18 McTeachersSchool 18 staff members were McTeachers for one evening at a school fundraiser at the McDonald’s restaurant on Route 20 in Paterson. Principal Cartagena worked as a cashier and cookie salesperson while other staff members prepared food, took orders and greeted guests. Alisa Harrison, the restaurant owner, was thrilled with the huge turnout of students, teachers, family members, and district administrators. The McDonald’s broke a record during the three-hour fundraiser and was able to generously donate $350 to School 18’s Positive Behavior Support in School (PBSIS) program.  McTeacher’s Night is a community fundraiser designed to address the financial needs of local schools. Such a program creatively demonstrates McDonalds commitment to education by inviting students and community members to dine at McDonald’s while teachers and principals work behind the counter. 

Charity champions

Students and staff from The School of Government and Public Administration at Eastside participated in a school-wide fund raiser to benefit the "Puppies Behind Bars" program. Led by Student Government advisor, Ms. Toni Jackson, 300 students purchased t-shirts and wrist bands in order to raise funds for the organization. Additionally, students raised money by soliciting pledges for the "bone" wall. The "Puppies Behind Bars" organization takes golden retriever puppies to prisons where inmates train the puppies on various commands. After 2 years of training, the puppies are given to soldiers who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and/or have physical challenges as a result of combat. By raising funds for this note-worthy charity, the students are part of the state-wide Optimum Charity Challenge and hope to win the grand prize of $6,000 for "Puppies Behind Bars." "Justice," a trained golden retriever puppy performed numerous commands for the students and gladly received a check for $1,000 for the organization.

puppies behind barspuppies behind barspuppies behind bars

That’s a lotta pasta!

Pasta for PenniesThe Olive Garden restaurant franchise is the national sponsor for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). For the past 20 years, Olive Garden’s Pasta for Pennies Fundraiser has encouraged students to donate toward efforts to find cures for blood cancers and ensure that patients have access to treatments. The top fundraising classroom in each school receives a pasta party at the local restaurant. This year, School 9 raised $2000, while their top fundraising class was Ms. Toor's 6th grade class with a total of $331.00.  Part of their motivation may have come from the loss of a classmate to cancer in the 5th grade.  Some students donated daily, while others donated whenever and however much they could. Many students had never enjoyed Olive Garden's family dining experience and their hard-work fundraising was well worth what seemed to be an endless buffet of salad, breadsticks, and pasta!

A festive MLK Autism Program

MLK autism programThe Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School (MLK) Autism Program kicked off Autism Awareness Month in style. Family and friends were greeted by handmade Autism Awareness signs, balloons, while staff members were clad in blue Autism Awareness t-shirts. They listened as their children read poems and quotes about what it might feel like to have autism. Everyone was invited to join in the fun! Student “Autism Ambassadors” helped the students from the Rutland Center participate in various activities, including: a bounce house, obstacle course, bowling, basketball, bubbles, bean bag toss, and more! Everyone had a lot of fun and the event was a huge success.

Achieve 3000

Achieve 3000ESL teachers, Ms. Roan Jackson and Ms.Grace Lee, from the School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside, received “Achieve Champions” awards.  Both teachers received certificates from Achieve 3000, an online program that provides differentiated instruction with the goal of improving reading comprehension. The certificates are issued to teachers who had exceptional usage and student growth while using the program.

Several students who demonstrated high lexile growth were also issued certificates: Giselle Placencia (+300 points), Joel Monegro Abreau (+270 points), Oscar Vasquez (+180 points), and Rosalina Jimenez (+170 points).

Family and Community Engagement

A worldly donation

National Geographic donationThe Bolkin family has graciously donated Perry Bolkin's entire National Geographic collection to International High School (IHS). Eve Bolkin, daughter of the late Perry Bolkin is also sponsoring a current subscription for International to continue receiving National Geographic.

Perry Bolkin passed away on January 12, 2016 from cancer, at the age of 77. This extensive collection of National Geographic's is the result of his efforts. Perry’s family had hoped to find a worthy home for his collection. They are thrilled to donate the collection to IHS, where they hope that they will open up the entire world to new generations of readers.

SOIT Alumnus to compete at FBLA Nationals

Alexander RodriguezThe path to greatness involves dedication and commitment. Alex Rodriguez, a 2015 graduate from the School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside is an example of this.  As a freshman, Alex entered high school with limited knowledge of English.  He realized the importance of education and focused on mastering this language.  During high school, he was an active member and officer of both the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) and the National Honor Society (NHS). Alex also served as President of the school’s Class of 2015. As if this were not enough, he also earned 200 hours of community service to his credit. Now pursuing a degree in Finance at Rutgers University and actively participating in their FBLA-PBL chapter, he has accomplished another milestone:  Alex has achieved first honors in Computer Applications which qualifies him for competition at FBLA Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia this July. 

Eastside Rocks the Vote!

The academies of Eastside Campus encouraged over three hundred students to register to vote with a school-wide voter registration program! Ms. Shona Mack Pollock, Deputy Superintendent of Elections at Passaic County, together with Assemblywoman Shavonda Sumter inspired students to exercise their constitutional right to vote in the upcoming local and federal elections. Also in attendance was Passaic County Freeholder, Theodore Best Jr., who motivated students by paraphrasing Ghandi, "... to be the agents of change for the world that they want to see." (Freeholder Best is an Eastside graduate).

Eastside HS votes

Autism Walk

On April 1st, students, their parents and staff members from Schools 2, 6 and STARS Academy walked to City Hall to highlight awareness of Autism. Mayor Torres, State District Superintendent Dr. Evans, Acting Chief Special Education Officer, Cheryl Coy, and several students addressed the large gathering.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

What’s up, Doc?

Sharon Davis-ElenisDr. Frank Napier School of Technology Vice Principal Sharon V. Davis-Elenis, has completed the program for Educational Leadership at the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, thus attaining her Ed. D.  She will formally graduate in May of 2016.

Davis-Elenis began her academic career earning a B.S. with a double major in business administration and fine arts and a minor in mathematics from Rutgers University. She began her education career in the public school sector in Paterson. In her position as a kindergarten teacher, she nurtured young minds for seven years before assuming the roles of literacy teacher mentor, language arts school-based supervisor, and her present position as vice principal.

Upcoming Events

Apr. 13: Special Meeting of the Board of Education

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

Apr. 15: 3rd Marking Period Ends

Apr 16: PARCC Preparation Programs

See Parents & Students page for times and locations

Apr. 19: Board of Education Regular Meeting

6:30 p.m. Special Recognition Program
7:00 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex

Apr. 22: Early Dismissal

1:00 p.m. Dismissal for Students and PEA Staff

Apr. 26: Report Card Distribution (Grades 9-12)

5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Apr. 28: Report Card Distribution (Grades K-8)

5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”
— Coco Chanel, Fashion designer