District HiLites

In this issue:

  • Hour of Code was a district-wide success
  • Congressman Pascrell announces Federal grant for FSCS
  • STEM Expo embraces 21st Century science and technology
  • GOPA Blood Drive collects (almost) ten gallons!
District HiLites is a Department of Communications publication.
We welcome your submissions on school and district related events. Click here to submit stories and photos.

December 18, 2015

Happy Holidays

Effective Academic Programs

“Hour of Code” was a digital delight

School 9 hour of codeELC hour of codeNRC hour of code

All across our school district, students from kindergarten through high school participated in Hour of Code activities. The world-wide event, immersing people of all ages into computer programming language exercises is promoted by the Code.org group and is part of Computer Science Education Week.
Coding, the process of creating algorithms, the lists of commands which tell a computer or other digital device to carry out a procedure, is often overlooked by the end users of technology. Most people simply put to use complex software that has already been prepared for them, without ever knowing or understanding the “code” that lies within that software. This exercise was instituted to introduce students to this foundational and essential process, and instill a greater understanding of the logic that makes 21st Century technology do the things that we want it to.
At Paterson Public Schools, students of all ages an nearly all of our schools were given instruction and exercises developed to give them an introduction to coding practices and computer languages. This knowledge will help them navigate the digital world of the new millennium.
Students learned to write scripts of code to manipulate robots, both real and virtual, set up game scenarios, and carry out complex mathematical calculations. In fact, coding for some aspect of any imaginable computer function was touched upon at every grade level.

In fact, District HiLites was inundated with so many reports on individual Hour of Code activities at our various schools, it is impossible to feature all of them here. Please enjoy this short slideshow that was featured at the December Board of Education meeting along with some additional photos.

School 7 hour of code School 19 hour of code

All students at School 7 participated in The Hour of Code activity during the week of December 7th.

This School 19 student concentrates on programming a computer algorithm during Hour of Code activities.

STEM Expo was not your grandfather’s science fair

STEM expoThe 2015 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Expo rolled into the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex gymnasium and brought with it a 21st Century slant. Students from all over the district created demonstrations and displays dealing with many contemporary challenges to science such as: waste management, clean water, air pollution, and food production, along with traditional studies in practical science and engineering. Judges strolled among presenters who were well versed in their particular topic and the competition was fierce, to say the least. Between sessions, visiting science mavens from the Liberty Science Center gave amazing and entertaining demonstrations on the nature of atoms, energy, and the behavior and states of matter.

STEM expo STEM winners

While the boys performed admirably as always, the young women of the district flexed their scientific muscle at this year’s STEM Expo - 55% of all winners this year were girls. Girl-only teams raked in 44% of first place awards and 67% of second place awards.

RPHS dram student

Drama student, senior Aja Desormeau gets into character during the sellout show   of “The Strange Case of the Boy and the Dog” at Rosa Parks High School.

Students teaching students

PANTHER student workshopThe Academy of Earth and Space Science (PANTHER) has launched its first Student-Led Workshop in the school's digital learning commons. This monthly workshop series is organized and presented by students to students and staff on a topic or skill that have expertise in and are passionate about sharing. The first workshop, led by senior Kendall Murphy introduced the strategic game of chess to novice students and teachers through both a PowerPoint presentation and a hands-on learning experience. As a follow up, students and teachers are invited to return the following week prior to school to practice what they have learned and participate in friendly matches under the tutelage of Mr. Murphy. Next month's workshop will focus on Building Your Own “Virtual World” with the MineCraft game.

This exciting new learning series highlights student’s diverse interests, passions and expertise by applying information presentation and facilitation skills that will help them become college and career ready while fostering a climate of collaborative knowledge and sharing.

Dance toward your dreams

School 24 at Joyce TheaterEighth graders from Mrs. Fullam's class and Mrs. Horowitz's School 24 Concert Band had a new and thought-provoking experience when they visited the Joyce Theater in New York for a performance of modern dance by Keigwin and Company. The Joyce is a theater completely devoted to dance performances. Mrs. Fullam's aunt, Executive Director Linda Shelton, gave students a warm welcome, telling how she grew up in Paterson, studied dance, went on to college and graduate school and found a job that she loves. She encouraged students to study hard and pursue their dreams. After the show, dancer and company Director Larry Keigwin came off stage to greet the students. He answered questions about the dances that they'd seen, and spoke about how his dancers prepare for performances.

(Stock) exchange students

NYSE visitJFK Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students in the newly formed Investment Club who recently visited the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), enjoyed a wonderful learning experience. Although STEM students were already aware that innovative ideas can help society; this tour and the creation of the Investment Club has helped them to think about their future working within an entrepreneurial mindset. Advisors, Mr. Lindstrom and Mr. Laffler, are quite excited about the experiences had by these students. 

Although STEM is based in science and math, they have never forgotten their history, as the trip to New York City and the NYSE was concluded with a visit to the World Trade Center Memorial.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Annual military ball

JROTC ballThe John F. Kennedy Educational Complex Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) had its 2nd annual Ball in the school cafeteria. The function was well attended by students, teachers and administrators. The cadets are from all four JFK academies.

The featured speaker was Interim Assistant Superintendent, Ms. Elaine Davis. In her remarks she commended the cadets and Sergeant Codling for their hard work and commitment to the success of the JROTC program. It is important to note that the Ball was not just another event, but was actually part of the JROTC curriculum that teaches students planning, organizing and budgeting skills, as well team work.

A musical reunion

NRC at school 15School 15 recently welcomed the New Roberto Clemente School (NRC) band and choir, expertly led by director and NRC music teacher Mr. Webb (who incidentally is also serving as an Adjunct Professor of Music at William Paterson University this year). The performance featured an original dream narrative that provided a background story connecting the vocal and instrumental selections. School 15 teachers and students clapped, snapped, and sang along, and cheered the gifted performers. The finale, an original composition by Mr. Webb, celebrated holiday traditions from around the world. The school’s stately auditorium served as a beautiful setting for many after-performance reunions, as School 15 graduates greeted their former teachers and administrators. NRC students and teachers rushed to hug their former Assistant Principal, Mrs. Garcia who is now the principal of School 15.  

NRC concert NRC concert NRC concert

Mr. Webb’s New Roberto Clemente School (NRC) band and choir also delivered their fantastic holiday revue
on the home turf of the NRC auditorium stage.

The whole NY holiday experience

New Roberto Clemente students, staff, and parents recently attended the annual Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall! Everyone enjoyed the beautiful holiday show, took photos with the famous Rocketts, and even got to visit Rockerfeller Center to see the tree. As students, staff, and parents waited patiently for the bus to arrive, everyone took a moment to experience some New York vendor cart hot dogs, pretzels, and hot chestnuts roasted on an open fire.

NRC in New York
Kayden visits school 28 YES and HARP event

Kayden Kinckle is a 2 year old boy who visited school 28 and the Academy of the Gifted and Talented. Kayden, a double amputee, showed the students that even though he may look different, he can still do things other kids do. He showed the students a book about his journey called, I Got It.

YES and Harp Academies gathered at the Planet 301 entertainment facility for a half-day of getting-to-know you and team-building exercises.

Running and funning

Gifted and Talented Fun Run

Students from the Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented and School 28 participated in the 4th Annual Fun Run Day. Third through eighth grade students ran on the sidewalks around schools 4 and 28, finally ending in the School 28 playground. Pre-K through second grades ran a course inside the playground with the older students helping and cheering them on. After the running concluded, the whole school stayed in the playground for music and dancing activities. 

School 134 School 10 honor roll Shoes that Fit

School 13 students volunteered to beautify the front of their facility as part of a school-wide beautification initiative. Students were assisted by school administration and the City Green organization to fill planters with soil and winter-friendly plants.

School 10 held a special luncheon in recognition of all students who made the Principal’s List and Honor Roll. The luncheon was held at the Olive Garden. They received special award ribbons and will have their names posted near the front entrance of the school for all to see.

For the fifth year running, the Physical Education Department at School 28 led by Mr. Best and Mr. LaVorn, has partnered with the Shoes That Fit organization to get sneakers donated to their students in need. Over 50 students received brand new, New Balance Sneakers.

Family and Community Engagement

Big scissors herald big announcement for FSCS

FSCS grantA ribbon cutting ceremony at School 15 concluded the official announcement of a brand-new $2, 500,000.00 Federal Full Service Community School (FSCS) grant for Schools 15 and 6. The event featured guest speaker, Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., who delivered an inspiring speech. Congressman Pascrell shared the podium with Mayor Joey Torres, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, and Superintendent Dr. Donnie Evans. Attendees were treated to a tour of the new School 15 based health clinic, which is provided through a partnership with Health N Wellness, LLC. There, guests saw firsthand the services delivered to the students. Additionally, partnerships with St. Paul’s Community Development Corporation at School 15 and New Destiny Family Success Center at School 6 were highlighted during the ceremony.

Truly a gift of life

Eastside Blood DriveThis year’s annual blood drive at Eastside High School was a great success. Sponsored by the Department of Physical Education, the event drew sixty-eight donors, who contributed seventy-nine pints of blood. Out of the donors, Principal of the School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) Dr. Karen Johnson, along with two other teachers, Ms. Gonzalez and Mr. Vericho joined the others by donating. Each pint collected can benefit up to three individuals who are in need of blood.  Special thanks go to GOPA teachers, Ms. Bernarducci, Ms. Fabian, and Ms. Flores who worked tirelessly to help pull the whole event together.

RPHS shine award JFK robotics team School 18 Chat and Chew

The Interfaith Performing Arts Center, Inc. (IPAC) awarded the Rosa L Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts with the Education Shine Award - honoring the school’s record of excellence in the arts over the years.

Members of the JFK Robotics Team volunteered at an event to give out food, toys, and clothes to Paterson families in need. Nearly 100 families participated. Club members also took time to help setup, and cleanup after the event. 

Ms. Sandra Nunez and the School 18 team hosted a very successful “Chat & Chew” parent luncheon to discuss the Star Assessment, PARCC Testing, PARCC After School and the school’s Literacy Fair.

Raising artistic spirits high

School 24 at tree lightingArtistic talent comes in many forms, and School 24 students from Ms. Yokasta Guillen's and Ms. Magdeline Ortiz's classes took advantage of an opportunity to showcase theirs in front the community by dancing to "Jingle Bell Rock" at the City’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. This wonderful group of kids loves to perform, and doing so as guests of City Hall was a dream come true.

The show was designed to involve the community in the festivities while celebrating all of our blessings. The event featured two groups of dancers as well as the School 24 Chorus.

A generous corporate donor

Sealy Mattress donationSchool 18 received a generous donation from the Sealy Mattress Company in Paterson in support of the school’s Positive Behavior Success in School (PBSIS) program. David Hertz, the CEO of Sealy, responded immediately to the Mentor of Climate and Culture, Patricia Rizzo’s request for a donation and wrote a check for $500 to the student activity account. The donation will be used to purchase prizes and rewards for students in grades Pre-K to eight who exhibit positive behavior.

This nationally validated intervention program sponsored by the New Jersey Department of Education and Rutgers University greatly enhances the culture and climate of the school. Social praise from the staff is a key component of PBSIS and students are given “Roar Tickets” by teachers and support staff throughout the day for exhibiting excellent character. Weekly drawings and monthly PBSIS assemblies are held to honor eligible students. At the monthly assemblies, key character traits and school expectations are reinforced through games, songs and school created videos.

A gift of music

Ros Parks Piano concertRosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts (RPHS) piano students paid a special visit to the Preakness Healthcare Center in Wayne New Jersey to entertain elderly nursing home residents. RPHS Piano instructor, Mr. Vladimir Zaitsev and his students entertained a roomful of patients, playing a variety of classical numbers, including holiday tunes and even some original pieces. “I was very nervous but in the end the entire experience was worth it,” said junior Ashley Martinez, who just discovered playing piano this year.  “It was really enjoyable to perform for them and see their happy faces.”

Efficient and Responsive Operations

Faster food for busy students

Last year, the district Food Services department implemented the Breakfast after the Bell program in all K-8 schools. It went so well, this program was recently praised in the 2015 Paterson Kids Count report, a statistical profile of the well-being of Paterson children in critical areas, such as poverty, health and nutrition produced by Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ). Now the Food Services team is working on launching this program in the high schools. The approach will be quite different at the high school level -- instead of prepared food items being delivered to classrooms, students will simply walk up to a kiosk and grab their choice of food and go. Click here to view a pair of documents highlighting the new, Grab-n-Go program for high school students.

Happy holidays from the central office staff at 90 Delaware

Season's Greetings from 90 Delaware

Upcoming Events


Dec. 23 - Jan. 1: Winter Recess

District closed

Jan. 6: Board of Education Organization Meeting

6:30 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex

Jan. 15: Staff in-Service

1:00 student dismissal

Jan. 18: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday

District closed

“You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. ...
This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

— Steve Jobs, technology entrepreneur