District HiLites

In this issue:

  • Auto Tech class brings new life to an old Ghost
  • PANTHER is bound for Mars and beyond!
  • Preparing future teachers at SET
  • Celebrating Latino culture and heritage around the district
District HiLites is a Department of Communications publication.
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November 9, 2015

Effective Academic Programs

Students resurrect a tired Ghost

Golf CartStudents from all of Mr. Stanziale’s six Auto Tech classes at Eastside recently took part in an epic refurbishment of the football program’s run-down electric golf cart. Following a thorough evaluation, Mr. Stanziale determined that there was enough life in the old runabout to make a suitable project and put everyone to work on the task.

Some of the daunting obstacles the team faced included: locating 6 suitable replacements for the vehicle’s failing 300 pound electric batteries, replacing much of the corroded wiring and electric components, wheel bearings, and tending to the rough and damaged fiberglass body. The body was completely restored and repainted in the schools famous colors.

Parts that couldn’t be fixed or located were actually manufactured by the students themselves, including a bumper, mud flaps, and more. As for the tattered seats – Mr. Stanziale called in a favor from the Mobile Tech school of South Hackensack. Mobil Tech’s director, Mr. Abdel McCrea, graciously agreed to reupholster them free of charge (you see, “Lean on Me” is one of Mr. McCrea’s favorite films). All in all, the restoration of the Eastside golf cart saved the district over $8000 and it will be providing many more years of usefulness at Bauerle field.

Virtual reality taking PANTHER to Mars and beyond

After a rigorous application process, Google has selected The Academy of Earth and Space Science (PANTHER) to participate in their Google Expeditions Pioneers Program on Nov. 13. This innovative program will utilize PANTHER's established Google digital learning environment and the recently released Google virtual reality viewing devices to immerse students in a variety of virtual field trips with embedded instructional activities. These activities will make students feel as if they are actually roving Mars, diving a coral reef, or climbing the rocky ledges of El Capitan Mountain in Yosemite. You can see a sample video of students engaged in the Google Expeditions Pioneers Program by clicking here.

All PANTHER students and teachers will participate in three expeditions throughout the school day, co-facilitated by Google Education representatives and two PANTHER teachers. Several follow-up activities will be held to encourage the students to use this technology as tool to develop their presentations for the student-driven Earth and Space Day Research Seminars at PANTHER in the spring.

CHOICE fair dot-dash

The Annual High School Choice Fair took place at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex gymnasium, attended by all high school academies and 350 eighth grade students and their guardians.

Second and third grade students at the Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented have begun honing their programming and coding skills using the “Blocky” program and their new robots, “Dot” and “Dash.”

Building the teaching professionals of tomorrow

Thanks to a specialized class at The School of Education and Training (SET), seniors who are interested in pursuing a career in education can get hands-on experience before they even head to college. Students enrolled in the Applications of Education/Teaching as a Profession class have the opportunity to earn college credit thanks to a new articulation agreement created between the school and William Paterson University.

The goal of this dual enrollment program is to encourage students to consider teaching and become civic advocates of education. Each registered student, called a Teacher Cadet, spends classroom time focusing on the professional study of education, its history, learning development, and best practices in lesson development and presentation. There is also a field work/internship experience opportunities where SET students work closely with St. Mary’s Early Learning Center, shadowing classroom teachers and facilitating small group lessons. As a culminating activity, the students present a final lesson, as well as their teaching portfolio.

SET teacher, Mrs. Margaritis Gettleman, attended a two-day training course specifically to learn about teaching the new course. SET Principal, Ms. MaryAnne Perrotta, believes the program will become the cornerstone of the school. According to Ms. Perotta, “The internship program is richly rewarding in different ways.  It helps our students to develop their interests and talents by having an outside of classroom experience that supports the career pathway of SET.”

Me and my shadow (program)

Rutgers visitStudents from the JFK Robotics/College Prep Team got a chance to attend a “shadow program”  held at the Rutgers University New Brunswick Campus. Twenty senior students from around the entire state were selected to attend the program, and thanks to their strong applications and essays, nine team members gained admission! Once there, students received multiple workshops, participated in engineering competitions, and gained hands-on experience with the some of the best technology Rutgers has to offer. The two day event also provided students with an overnight experience that gave them a taste of what it’s like to actually live on campus. Student Luis Dominguez found the program a great benefit; "Rutgers University has so much to offer. The engineering school really gives you access to whatever you need."

Three bound for Syracuse workshop

Rosa Parks awardA trio of Communication Arts students from the Rosa L. Parks High School of Fine and Performing Arts: Juliana Braka, Daiana Ortiz and De’Keynia Gerar, have been chosen from among only 100 New Jersey students to participate in the Syracuse Journalism Workshop. This annual event is sponsored by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and the Bergen Record newspaper. This November, these three writing students will head to Upstate New York and take part in an intense journalism program that will include some of the top journalism students in both New Jersey and New York. All students accepted into the program are eligible for free internships at the Bergen Record.

Let’s talk business

SOIT FBLAThe Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) club at School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside recently attended the FBLA leadership conference held at Pines Manor in Edison, NJ. While there, the students heard from a motivational speaker and attended workshops designed to help them transition from high school to college. They also participated in the JA Titan Competition which was sponsored by the Junior Achievement organization. The students also learned more about the various organizational levels of FBLA. Leslie Perez, president of the school’s FBLA Chapter learned about the ABC’s – an acronym for, “Always Be Confident.”  By remembering to “always be confident,” students will have an easier time finding success in college and in their future careers.

SOIT members also prepared a large basket of cookies, candies and treats representative of the various ethnic groups residing in the city of Paterson. The basket was part of a raffle to used raise funds for the March of Dimes. This ethnic “Tastes of Paterson” basket was conceived by SOIT participants who wanted to not only help the cause, but also educate their peers about the multicultural makeup of Paterson.


STEM fairOver the past two months, all Academy of Earth and Space Science (PANTHER) students currently enrolled in a science course were required to participate in a project as a collaborative team. Each student team was charged to produce research projects on STEM questions ranging from: "Can fruit produce enough energy to charge a battery?" to, "Can water be purified using solar rays?" Each team was also required to conduct a hands-on experiment to prove or disprove their hypothesis as they moved through the phases of the scientific method. More than 100 collaborative research projects were presented to, and assessed by teachers and peers their using a rigorous evaluation rubric. Each team's final score will be counted toward the students’ marking period grades in their respective science courses. The top scoring projects will be entered into the district STEM Fair in December.

Witnessing (and participating in) government in action

CAHTS and governmentStudent Government students from the School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism (CAHTS) at Eastside participated in Passaic Youth in Government Day. The students saw first-hand, how city and state government operates. They also had the opportunity to meet some of Passaic County’s freeholders and participate in the inauguration ceremony at the new Courthouse Plaza honoring the late Judge Bate. They also visited Passaic County Community College, where students received information about the benefits of enrolling at a community college.

Immersed in ballet culture at Lincoln Center

Fourth graders from School 24 visited Lincoln Center for a tour and a performance by the NYC Ballet. They learned about the architecture and artwork in the theater, the history of the NYC Ballet Company, founders George Ballanchine and Lincoln Kirsten, and met the orchestra's principal oboist, James Byars. Their guide, former dancer Jennifer Tinsley Williams, explained about costumes and productions, including the performance of "Sequences" that students watched in the theater.


A day in the college life

Kean University visitThe Department of Family & Community Engagement recently organized a trip for the students of the JFK Robotics/College Prep Team to visit Kean University. Team members got a chance to take part in the school’s annual Student for a Day program. The students sat in on college classes relevant to their interests. From mathematics to chemistry, the students got a good sampling of actual college courses. Student Erik Castro proclaimed, "Kean University's STEM building is an amazing sight to see. I feel ready to pursue a degree in STEM thanks in part to this program."

Something was fishy at School 9

On Oct. 22, School 9 participated in Read for the Record. This national event mobilizes millions of children and adults across the country to celebrate literacy in a shared reading experience. All second grade classes read, Not Norman: A Goldfish Story. This humorous tale tells the story of a child who finds a new friend in an unexpected place. Students all across the country shared this book simultaneously, helping to instill the importance of reading and to become life-long learners and readers. Pictured is retired Substance Abuse Coordinator, Ms. Lucas, and second grade students with their very own, "Norman the Goldfish!"

School 9 goldgfish

Spotlight on “inferencing”

Young AudiencesWhat is a character in a novel thinking, and how can we prove this? Young Audiences of New Jersey and Pennsylvania (YANJ) Creativity Consultant, Pat Flynn, recently visited Mr. Ocasio’s eighth grade language arts class at New Roberto Clemente to help students think more deeply about these questions. Working with Mr. Ocasio as well as William Paterson University (WPU) student teacher Mr. Delahoz, Ms. Flynn invited the students to work in small groups to develop inner and outer voice dialogues for two characters in The Outsiders (the novel they are currently reading). This activity helped to deepen the students’ understanding of inferences as well as the novel itself. YANJ is working with New Roberto Clemente School teachers as part of the school’s partnership with William Paterson University. Mr. Ocasio is currently enrolled in the Leaders as Learners program at WPU and will earn his Masters in Educational Leadership in May.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Hispanic pride

Hispanic presentationThe School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) at Eastside celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with several programs, including a talk from Samuel Delgado, Vice President of External Affairs for Verizon New Jersey. Mr. Delgado, a retired Marine Corps Reserve Combat Communications Officer, spoke about his experiences during Operation Desert Storm and his assistance in the Haitian earthquake relief efforts. In Haiti, Mr. Delgado served as a liaison for the Doctors without Borders organization, the Haitian Government and U.S. Military Units. His presentation also included suggestions and advice on how students should prepare and present themselves when trying to enter the realm of corporate America. The program concluded with a dedication to the veterans of the only segregated Latino army unit in U.S. military history, the 65th Regiment, also known as the Borinqueneers. The veterans of the 65th Regiment were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Obama last year in recognition of their dedication and bravery.

School 6 respect School 7 and peace Dale Ave Halloween

School 6 had an awesome Week of Respect! The students, faculty and staff created bags and displayed them in the classrooms and hallways. Everyone wrote encouraging, respectful messages to drop into someone’s bag. Students and teachers also worked to create fantastic positive door displays.

Under the direction of Student Assistance Coordinator, Ms. Pohl, students from School 7 worked during Mrs. Hazley’s library class to create anti-bullying and anti-violence messages. Together with Mr. Harrell’s “Kidz Peace Team”, students created a large mural to display their creations.

The staff at Dale Avenue School put on a scare-tastic Halloween “Trunk-or-Treat” event, allowing students to have a safe and fun Halloween experience. Candy and other goodies were doled-out from festively decorated car trunks and tailgates.

School 12 “Tiger Pride”

TigerSchool 12 held an energetic launch of their Positive Behavior Support in Schools (PBSIS) program dubbed, "Tiger Pride.”  The K-8 students attended assemblies to learn about the PBSIS plan for the year -- and to win prizes in recognition of exemplary conduct and performance.

Thomas Scott, the general manager of Garfield's Walmart store, who attended the kick-off, generously donated thousands of dollars' worth of gift cards, tablets, and iPads and personally distributed the prizes. Hats are off to the entire School 12 Climate and Culture team members who spearheaded the event.

Arriba los Latinos!

Hispanic Heritage at School 24School 24’s Ms. Guillen and Ms. Guzman coordinated the school’s annual Hispanic Heritage Assembly, in collaboration with students, teachers, school administrators, and parents. There were fourteen outstanding student performances, sixteen honored guests, and sound provided by DJ Tumba La Casa. Some of the countries represented were: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, El Salvador, Argentina, Spain, and Peru. Following the performances the school acknowledged the important role played by notable Latinos in the Paterson community, as well as the support bestowed by local businesses.

Two for fun

NRC carnivalSpectacular weather provided the perfect backdrop for a combined School 15 and New Roberto Clemente School Autumn Carnival. Students from both schools had spent many weeks bringing spare change from home and practicing their calculation skills, ultimately raising more than $2000 to cover the cost of the activities and inflatable attractions. Ms. DiPadova and Ms. Rouse, School 15 fifth grade teachers, had conceived of and spearheaded the event, and they were on site throughout the day to help organize the teacher-helpers to ensure that all of the students had opportunities to participate. Activities like face painting and dancing were complimented with goodies like popcorn and cotton candy. Both schools administrators joined the festivities and were delighted to see the how the joint efforts resulted in such a phenomenal experience everyone.

Family and Community Engagement

How does your garden grow?

School 5The Dept. of Family & Community Engagement working in partnership with Full Service Community School 5, hosted students and staff members from the Eastern Christian School for a day of volunteering. The volunteers gathered to help clean up the Elysian Fields Community Garden that the students and families of School 5 use. The students helped to weatherize the garden boxes, clean up trash, and remove weeds that had overgrown in some spots. The volunteers were delighted that they were able to give back to the Paterson community. Thanks to the hard work of everyone involved, the families of School 5 will be able to continue enjoying their community garden for years to come.

New Jersey to Florida in 40 minutes! (Well, sort of.)

PANTHER and breast cancerThe entire Academy of Earth and Space Science (PANTHER) student body and many staff members supported Breast Cancer Awareness by wearing pink and participating in a walkathon during their physical education classes. Each student and staff member walked 5 miles in 40 minutes for an equivalent school total of approximately 1000 miles. The distance covered is the equivalent of walking from New Jersey to Florida! Students designed and sold PANTHER “PinkOut” t-shirts to raise money for research into a cure for this disease which affects so many people in all of our lives.

A New Place for Fun and Games

school 29 playgroundSchool 29 teachers, students, parents, and V.I.P.’s, including Assistant Superintendent Maria Santa and Mayor Joey Torres, joined Principal Jorge Ventura to lend a hand building a new playground. More than three hundred people worked tirelessly, hauling bags of mulch, carting endless wheelbarrow-loads of gravel, painting new designs on the macadam, and putting together the playground equipment. When the children weren’t assisting in the “muscle” work, they had the opportunity to visit arts and crafts, face-painting and balloon animal stations and dance along to the DJ-powered music.

The school community had been working many months on this project, and when Mr. Ventura arrived at the school as interim principal last January, he leaped into action to help make the playground dream a reality. Calls to the New Jersey Community Development Corporation led him to the Alexandra’s Playground organization. The two organizations were pivotal in helping to complete the build. The grand opening was held the following Wednesday – not a minute too soon for the School 29 students, who with shouts of delight, eagerly took possession of their new playground.

SET Club is making altruistic strides

The Girls with Pearls club from the School of Education and Training (SET) gathered at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, to join the Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness there. This is the second year Girls with Pearls participated in this worthy cause.  Fifteen members came out to share their support for this cause, and were joined by several boys as well.  Girls with Pearls raised over five hundred dollars to help fund breast cancer research!  According to one of the members, “During the walk, many of us Girls with Pearls members were so full of energy.  We were laughing, singing, and dancing along the route... I think everyone really enjoyed being a part of something like that and also knowing it was for such a great cause!”  All proceeds were donated to the Making Strides Foundation.

You can save a life

School 13 will be hosting a Bone Marrow Registry event on Saturday November 21st, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is held in honor of Everette Bridgers, Jr., a young man who was diagnosed with Sickle Cell disease at the age of 10 months. Everette’s mom is a long time School 13 Staff member. By registering and giving a simple swab sample from inside your cheek you can potentially save a life if you prove to be a suitable match for a bone marrow transplant. Click here for a detailed flyer describing this very worthy cause.

Pink makes a difference

Students and faculty at Rosa Parks High School wore pink T-shirts to show their support in the fight against breast cancer. The National Breast Cancer Foundation estimates 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Those who are interested in learning more about how they too can make a difference can visit www.pinkribbon.org.

Rosa Parks goes Pink

Efficient and Responsive Operations

JFK schools working together for professional development

STEM AcademyMr. Nicholas Vancheri, Principal of the School of Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex (JFK), and Ms. Carole Bruzzano, William Paterson University (WPU) Professor in Residence for the School of Education and Training (SET) and STEM, presented a workshop on “Co-Teaching” to SET and STEM administrators, teachers, and students. The workshop hosted over 30 participants, ranging from teams of teachers who already co-teach, aspiring educators from SET, and teachers just beginning to work in a co-teaching setting. This event highlighted the importance of the WPU partnership in the Paterson Public Schools, the important role of the professors in residence at SET and STEM, and the teamwork that these two schools have fostered in creating the best learning environment possible.

School 9 time travelers

WilliamsburgIn July, the weeklong Colonial Williamsburg Teachers Institute was attended by Marika LoBue, a School 9 fifth-grade Social Studies teacher along with eighth grade Civics teacher, Bassima Mustaf. While there, they were given the opportunity to examine interactive teaching techniques and develop instructional materials that bring history to life in the classroom.

During the institute, LoBue and Mustafa expanded their knowledge of our nation’s founding principles through interdisciplinary lessons, reenactments, and guest speakers. 

During their stay, the teachers dwelled in historic colonial homes and visited Jamestown, Yorktown, Richmond, the governor’s mansion, slave quarters and the courthouse.  There were debates in the House of Burgesses and discussions with Nat Turner, Thomas Jefferson, Martha Washington and other influential figures of their time. 

Upcoming Events

Nov. 9-19

High School Open House Events

Nov. 11: Veterans' Day

District Closed

Nov. 13: 1st Marking Period Ends

Nov. 17: Report Card Distribution (9-12)

5:30 – 7:30 pm

Nov. 18: Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Nov. 19: Report Card Distribution (K-8)

5:30 – 7:30 pm

Nov. 25: Early Dismissal

Nov 26-27: Thanksgiving

District Closed

“Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.”
— Alan Alda, actor and director