Paterson Public School District HiLites

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District Strategic Plan in Action

Thursday, January 15, 2015

  • G&T students vying for seats at renowned program

  • Alexander Hamilton student gets a wonderful new ride

  • JFK Athletics Supervisor qualifies for national certification

Effective Academic Programs

History brought to life - School of Information Technology (SOIT) sophomore class went to New York City to visit The Museum of Jewish Heritage. SOIT English teachers Mrs. Miranda Jurgensen, Ms. Carolyn Hobbs, and Mr. Sean Holland accompanied their students on this amazing educational adventure. At the museum, students were placed in groups of eight and assigned personal tour guides. The guides lead them through the exhibit, “Meeting Hate with Humanity: Life During the Holocaust”. Students were presented with the images, artifacts, and personal stories of individuals who lived during daily encounters with death and destruction at the hand of the Nazi’s. Students learned about the complex religious, political, and historical circumstances that led to the Holocaust which were the basis of literary pieces read during Assessment Unit 2 in their classes. The deeply moved SOIT students stepped away from the museum tours with a deeper understanding of Jewish Heritage and the daily struggle and loss experienced during the horrific genocide, known as The Holocaust.

Being in the right place – Recently, while visiting the Paterson Museum, School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) students attended a significant historical event: a press conference announcing the induction Hinchliffe Stadium as part of the Great Falls National Historic Park. On hand to celebrate Congress’ recent vote to include the historic stadium in the National Park were Senator Menendez, Congressman Pascrell, Mayor Torres, State District Superintendent Evans and other dignitaries. The students were visiting the museum while working on their STEAM grant project, supported by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and William Paterson University.

GOPA teacher’s work cited - Ms. Kelinda Young, teacher at The School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) was recognized for her initiative and expertise in providing expert instruction in economics for Special Education and English as a Second Language class. The GOPA educator was recently cited in a publication of the American Institute for Economic Research, The Daily Economy. Ms. Young’s expert instructional delivery was cited by Natalia V. Smirnova, PhD, Assistant Director of Research and Education in the January 7 publication. Dr. Smirnova cited this type of expert teaching as paving the way for changing perspectives for diverse groups in economic understanding.


Dr. Evans in Jersey City

Dr. Evans and Dr. Lyles (Superintendent of Jersey City Public Schools) participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Greater Schools NJ/Association of High Need School Districts. The topic was: Working with Priority & Focus Schools Labels and School Improvement Initiatives.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Mixing it up - Accomplished students from the Eastside High School Campus National Honor Society welcomed students from Mountain Lakes High School (MLHS) as part of their “Connection Program”. Upon arrival, the MLHS students joined School of Government and Administration, Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism School, and School of Information Technology students to participate in their morning classes. For lunch, the students came together to discuss their experiences and enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the Culinary Arts students. Furthermore, in a show of support and unity, the Mountain Lakes students brought children’s gifts to contribute to toy drives for Eva’s Village and local churches. 

Eastside NHS

NRC tribute

Remembering and celebrating - The New Roberto Clemente School’s annual holiday concert, directed by music teacher Nathan Webb and choreographed by Mimi Martinez, served as a poignant tribute to Genesis Rincon and Nazerah Bugg, the two Paterson students who tragically lost their lives in the past year.  A slide presentation of photographs showcasing the girls’ beauty and love of life was accompanied by a moving rendition of “Stay Pretty” by the school’s choir and stage band. The group closed with a performance of Mr. Webb’s own composition, “Holiday Season,” created for the event.

Family and Community Engagement

Student driver – It was a special day for a physically challenged young lady at Alexander Hamilton Academy, when the collaborative efforts of her teacher, district administration and a generous donor put her in a modern, comfortable electric wheelchair. Click here to read all about Samantha Mendez and how her teachers and other concerned individuals brought this charming, invigorated third-grader from being homebound and physically limited, to the enabled and mobilized student she is now. WheelchairWheelchairWheelchair

A Musical sleigh ride – The Norman S. Weir School presented a broad range of musical and theatrical performance at their 2014 Winter Concert. The students delivered challenging musical arrangements prepared by Mr. Kelvin Quince. They also rose to the occasion with a traditional music score from Roger and Hammerstein’s Sound of Music entitled: “My Favorite Things” as arranged by Mr. Quince and superbly conducted by Student Conductor Norrisa Howell.

NSW chorus

Eastside holiday showEmbracing diverse traditions - Under the direction of Ms. Jeanette Sosa, the students of the Eastside High School Campus celebrated the holiday season with a performance intended to shine a spotlight on African and Latin American traditions. Students joyfully sang Spanish Christmas carols, acted in a Kwanzaa ceremony and performed Jamaican and Dominican dance routines. The celebration began with a number of American traditions, decorating a Christmas tree on stage before soloists sang "Silent Night" and "The Christmas Song”. Then, to roaring applause, a group of dancers and singers performed the Beyoncé hit, "Halo." The audience watched a video interview with Principal Zatiti Moody, who described the seven principles of Kwanzaa and how he was raised celebrating the weeklong holiday with his family. Rather than giving gifts, he said his family focused on self-reflection of the year just past and improvements for the year to come. The performance wrapped up with dancers taking over the stage, moving to the styles of Jamaican and Dominican cultures.

School 13 donations Napier giveaway School 8 Christmas show

Prior to the winter break, Pastor Joseph and Minister Regina Moore of Resurrection Kingdom Ministries presented each of four School 13 families with a $100 Kmart gift certificate. 

The Dr. Frank Napier, Jr. School of Science & Technology held its annual “Winter Giveaway” in collaboration with the Secaucus PBA. This event brought holiday cheer to approximately 300 needy children.

School 8 students make a mighty chorus during their 2014 Holiday Concert.

Coats for SyriaAid for Syrian refugees - The situation is Syria has caused a great deal of hardships for its people. With winter bearing down, many refugees from the conflict are suffering from the effects of the cold and lack of clean water. The Islamic Center of Passaic County partnered with the Department of Family & Community Engagement and the JFK Robotics/College Prep Team who volunteered at an event to support humanitarian efforts there. They helped pack boxes and prepared humanitarian aid kits that would be shipped immediately to the conflict zone. Thanks to the efforts of the volunteers hundreds of packages will now go into Syria to help alleviate some of the suffering. The students worked over 8 hours at the center to ensure that as many humanitarian kits as possible would be assembled. 11th grader Rasha Alrifae who is the lead student organizer summed up the group’s efforts like this, "It is up to everyone to care for one another. By coming together we show that caring people can make a difference if they try."    

NJCDC party

Bringing joy - Each year the New Jersey Community Development Cooperation (NJCDC) sponsors a holiday party for nearly 500 Paterson families and over 1,000 children. This year they collected well over 5,000 gifts from more than 200 individuals and corporations, as well as bountiful food and clothing donations. The volunteers of the Department of Family & Community Engagement and the JFK Robotics/College Prep Team came to support their mission by helping to hand out the food and gifts to the various families. The volunteers felt happy that they could give back to families that needed it the most during the holiday season. Eleventh grader Amanny Ahmed seemed particularly touched by the event stating, "Seeing the faces of the parents and children made me feel really happy with what we're doing. No child should ever go without having a gift during the holidays." 

GOPA toy driveCharity Champions - As part of the “Charity Champions” program sponsored by Optimum Inc., Mrs. Toni Jackson and Mrs. Monica Rogich, teachers in the School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) are working with members of the National Honor Society and Student Government to fundraise for Eva’s Village throughout the year. The program was brought to their attention by Mrs. Gloria Van Houten, the Social Studies Department Supervisor. Due to GOPA’s participation in this program, the charity will receive a $1000 donation and students will continue to fundraise in an effort to compete for a Grand Prize of $5,000 for their chosen charity.

For the first event, students joined forces and held a toy drive for Eva’s Village. Government shop teacher, Mr. Steve Temple, and his students constructed two large bins on wheels that were used to collect the toys and will be used throughout the year for all collections. Teachers and students donated new toys on a daily basis and a total of seven large bags were delivered to Eva’s Village just in time for the holidays. Students also sold baked goods.

School 24smilesacross the seaSmiles across the miles – You will recall a recent story (Message in a bottle) featured in District HiLites about School 24’s pen-pals aboard the USS Gridley, currently deployed overseas. Now the students in Ms. Mack’s class are very excited with a box they received from their friends aboard the USS Gridley. Items included: money from Oman and Ethiopia, a USS Gridley mug, post cards and huge thank you note. Through the generosity of a NJEA Pride grant, School 24 students have been able to send smiles across the miles for the sailors of the USS Gridley and will continue to do so until their brave friends return home in June.

A Tree Grows in Boonton - The 4th grade students at School 19 worked together to create three large tree sculptures. The students discussed public art, using recycled materials, sculpture, value and texture. Each class worked together to make a three-dimensional, three foot tree sculpture. One tree was donated to the non-profit organization, Boonton Arts, where it is currently on display on Main Street in Boonton, NJ. The other two trees are on display at School 19.

School 19 tree sculpture

CAHTS toy drive

A brighter season - The Culinary Arts, Hospitality, and Tourism School (CAHTS) sponsored a school-wide toy drive during the month of December. All donations were provided to Hope Ministries and were distributed on December 19th & 20th.  CAHTS wishes to extend a heartfelt thank you to all staff and students of the Eastside High School Campus who participated in this event. Because of everyone’s efforts to provide toys, many young boys and girls enjoyed a brighter holiday.

Remembering Dr. King - Jersey Cares, Newark-based nonprofit group is looking for volunteers to help educate students at Paterson’s School 8 about civil rights during an event on Fri., Jan. 16 in honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It’s all part of Jersey Cares’ seventh annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. The volunteers will lead classroom sessions on the civil rights movement. For more information or to register as a volunteer visit:

Kennedy Boys best Passaic - Read all about the John F. Kennedy Knights Boys Basketball team’s big 55-42.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

National certification for Mr. Durham - Mr. Scott Durham, our very own Supervisor of Athletics at John F. Kennedy, has attained national certification with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA). Having completed a rigorous course of examinations and various qualifying accomplishments, Mr. Durham is now fully designated as a Certified Athletic Administrator. Mr. Durham is the first district athletics administrator to attain this high standing. Congratulations on your new national certification, Mr. Durham!

School ChoiceTime to choose your high school - The High School Choice Lottery will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, January 23rd, at the Board of Education Offices, 90 Delaware Avenue.

Then, in February, based on the outcomes from the High School Choice Lottery, our 8th grade students will receive their high school placement letters for the 2015-16 school year. Special thanks to the MIS and Central Registration departments – and to all of the guidance counselors who helped to create and implement a more efficient and effective choice process for our students.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 15: Ward 3 Community Forum with Mayor Torres

5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at School 26, 1 E. 32 St.

Jan. 16: Staff in Service

1:00 p.m. student dismissal

Jan. 17: The Bird that wants to Fly by Michael Raphael

7 - 9 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex Auditorium    

Jan. 19: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday

District closed

Jan. 22: Annual Student Choreographed Show

7:00 p.m. at Rosa L .Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts  

Feb 3: 2nd Marking Period Ends

Feb. 4: Board of Education Workshop

6:30 p.m. at 90 Delaware Ave.

“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
— Mother Teresa