Paterson Public School District HiLites

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District Strategic Plan in Action

Thursday, April 23, 2015

  • A unique approach to history research

  • District Science Fair returns

  • Sports recognitions for winter athletes and coaches

Effective Academic Programs

GoPa Holocaust A unique approach - “Children are extremely precocious and perceptive.  They see the world through a different lens than adults. Their views of current and political events are often internalized.” These are the observations of Ms. Kelinda “Shelby” Young as she created a Holocaust learning unit for her US History II class at the School of Government and Public Administration (GoPA).  The unit was created to coincide with National Holocaust Remembrance Week and was on exhibit in the Eastside Campus Library Media Center. Participation in this unit included several key activities. Students were first assigned to read Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank; they then used “Documentary Photo-Aid Photo-Walks” as a primary source of documentation. This activity used pictorial research to explore and learn as well as combine with the reading. The photos were gathered by visiting National History Day award winning exhibits created by their peers. Lastly, students viewed the primary source accounts of Holocaust survivors. According to Mrs. Young, “I wanted my students to recognize that more than six million innocent people died as a result of unbridled and unchecked fanaticism during one of history’s saddest eras. Reading Anne Frank’s story puts faces on the victims of one of History’s darkest moments.”

School of Information Technology National History DayDigging deeper into the past - Students from the School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside have again proven that hard work pays off at the Northern Regional National History Day Competition held at Kean University. SOIT students proudly presented their projects after months of research, writing, re-writing and perfecting their work.  Teachers Nanci Rivera, Diana Scimeca and Flordaliza Rodriguez worked closely with their students and guided them through the process of selecting the most credible primary sources. They brought home two victories: one in the Senior Group Documentary and another in the Senior Group Exhibit category. All five students and their winning entries will advance to state competition at William Paterson University. The winning entries were: Dred Scott by Joel Monegro, John Nunez, Josue Rojas and Oscar Vasquez and Shirley Chisholm-Leadership and Legacy by Ruth Omoyinimi and Belinda Miller.

School 7 Career DaySchool 7 Career DaySchool 7 Career Day

School 7 held it's annual Career Day with 18 professionals representing many varied vocations including fashion, culinary arts, construction trades, criminal justice, and medical technology. After an inspirational talk by keynote speaker, Dr. Ginger Grancagnolo, students were able to meet with the representatives of various professions that interest them.

Robotics TeamEye opener - Under the direction of the Department of Family & Community Engagement, 16 members of the JFK Robotics/College Prep Team visited Rutgers University for their annual “Shadowing Program”. In the program, students spent three days following college students to learn about what it takes to be a student at the university. The Shadow Program provides High School students with first-hand experience in the different fields of engineering that the university has to offer. From hands-on workshops to in-depth lectures by professors and professionals in the engineering fields, the students receive a wealth of information. Thanks to this program our students have a better grasp of what Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field they might go into. STEM Academy freshman Christopher Martinez offered this observation: "I never believed that there were that many fields of engineering. This program opened my eyes to what is possible and how I can reach my goal!" 

Mass-Transit - In other JFK College Prep team news, thanks to the Passaic County Community College's STEM Department, five members of the club got a chance to visit the Meadowlands Department of Transportation (DOT). The Meadowlands DOT serves as the nerve center for the region’s public transportation system. The visit gave the students a chance to learn about the technology that runs it all. This insight into the system really opened their eyes to the career possibilities in this field. According to 9th grader Abed Miah, "Getting a chance to hear from the engineers and system managers was unbelievable. I'm very thankful we got a chance to view the facilities."

Robotics team at Dept. of Transportation

Annual District Science Fair returns - The District Science Fair will be held on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy High Educational Complex Gymnasium.  Students in grades K-12, who have placed 1st, 2nd & 3rd at their schools, will be invited to compete against their peers from around the district. Project categories are in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics, medical science, engineering and mathematics.

After judging concludes, an award ceremony will take place recognizing all the participants with 1st, 2nd & 3rd place winners in each grade group receiving trophies, ribbons and certificates. 

school 15 cereal projectschool 15 cereal projectschool 15 cereal projectBreakfast of champions - School 15 Grade 5 Social Studies teachers, Mrs. Reiner, Mrs. Tronci, Ms. Conklin, Ms. Rouse, and Mrs. Luker, celebrated Black History Month by creating “Cereal Box Biographies”. Their students took ordinary cereal boxes and turned them into an African American’s life story, with their portraits as the cover of the box. The completed cereal boxes included character traits, a timeline of important events and a chronologically structured essay about their life and legacy. Each ‘cereal’ was given a name that represents something about the person. Cereal shapes were created that reflected their invention or contribution.  The projects were proudly displayed in the School 15 library for students, staff, and parents to view.

Napier at the Opera

Operatic learning - Students and staff members from the Dr. Frank Napier, Jr. School of Science & Technology recently had the privilege of attending The Metropolitan Opera at the New York Metropolitan Opera House. The Metropolitan Opera and the Metropolitan Opera Guild provides various experiences for students and teachers to experience opera. These high-quality opera educational programs explore: critical thinking, artistic and cultural literacy, teamwork, problem solving, and creativity. Also, these institutions are committed to integrate art activities that are grade appropriate, and connect to a school district’s curriculum. These opportunities give students exposure to a very different type of music that is not normally taught in public schools.

Pythagoras would be proud - Recently, School 7 eighth grade Algebra I students in Ms. Kopic’s classroom learned about the Pythagorean Theorem (a2 + b2 = c2). Algebra I students studied examples of how the Pythagorean Theorem is used in “real life”. As a project, the students were asked to create their own “real life” Pythagorean Theorem word problem and subsequently represent it using a 3D model of the word problem. Upon completion of the project, students wrote “reflections” about their results. In their reflections, the students explained how they conceived their word problem ideas, discussed their results and explained whether or not they made sense ultimately.

Pythagorean Theorem

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Coach RingA winning season - The April Board of Education Meeting at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex was the venue for a celebration of the district’s successful winter season athletes. The recognition event began a half-hour prior to the meeting, and 69 student athletes received certificates recognizing their successes in basketball and indoor track. Incidentally, boys’ track coach Joy Martinez was chosen Coach of the Year by the Passaic County Coaches Association!
Also that evening, basketball coach and math teacher James Ring was recognized for having received the Edgar Cartotto basketball award from the North Jersey Board of Approved Basketball Officials. Coach Ring is the first high school coach to receive the award after 1,000 board members, basketball officials, voted to bestow this recognition!
The award is named after Edgar Cartotto, a former English and Journalism teacher at John F. Kennedy High School and college basketball referee, who served as the chairman of Education and Visualization Committee at the International Association of Approved Basketball Officials. Click here for a full list of all athletes along with their accomplishments.

Hall of Fame BanquetHall of Fame BanquetHall of Fame Banquet

The annual School 6 Hall of Fame Banquet took place on April 15 at the Brownstone. The event recognizes and honors notable and successful School 6 alums from many different walks of life.

A little fresh paint, plus - The Student Government Association at School 8, in conjunction with twenty volunteers from the Pfizer Corporation via Jersey Cares, painted ground lines for soccer fields, 4 play squares and hop scotch games for the students. The volunteers also conducted nutrition workshops and reorganized the school’s book room. It was a well-deserved treat when students got to play on the newly painted ground displaying both “Panther Pride” and the school’s motto, “We can be Good, We can be Great at PS 8”.

School 8 and  Pfizer

Funplex visit School 1 Earth Day project

As a culminating activity for the recent Eastside Campus/Mountain Lakes connection program, students from both schools enjoyed the games and rides at Funplex in East Hanover. The Funplex experience allowed students a chance to communicate with one another in a non-academic setting and foster collaboration between individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Mrs. DiLauri's School 1 third grade class learned about Earth Day by making creative and useful items from recycled materials.

School 2 autism rallySchool 2 autism rallySchool 2 autism rally

Staff, students, and parents from School 2 and STARS Academy walked to city hall for a rally to raise autism awareness and acceptance. The superintendent, a representative from the mayor's office, the two school principals, and several School 2 students all spoke about autism.

Family and Community Engagement

Blake WienerPaying it forward - Blake Wiener is a 13 year old girl from Wyckoff, NJ who recently celebrated her Bat Mitzvah, the age at which young people of the Jewish faith are considered adults and are then responsible for their actions. As part of her Bat Mitzvah, Blake wanted to give back to others by performing a charitable service project. Blake chose to assist School 24 children by donating school supplies to help with their learning. To accomplish this, she asked for donations from her family and friends who would attend her Bat Mitzvah. Blake also donated a portion of her gift money to help support the project.

Blake believes that every child should have the same opportunities in school and with the right tools learning can be made easier. Blake was glad that Paterson Public Schools welcomed her donation and she knows that the school supplies will be put to good use!

GoPA Students and Cong. PascrellCongressional voice for our students - Recently, U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. hosted a Student Advisory Committee meeting that included students from the School of Government and Public Administration at his Paterson offices.  Students Karla Then and Leudy Valdez were among the many attendees from all high schools in Paterson.  Some of the topics discussed included student loans, college tuition, traumatic brain injury, and immigration. During the session Congressman Pascrell proclaimed, “These students are the future leaders of our communities and my advisory committee serves as an outlet for the students to voice their concerns while I gain insight on what policy issues they find important.”

Students learned about legislation Rep. Pascrell introduced to protect young athletes from the dangers of brain injury and the importance of sports safety.  Some students shared personal experiences with sports related concussions and the slow recovery involved.

The group was also able to express their concerns for their own futures due to high college tuition rates along with the financial strain this places upon their families.  While on this subject, the congressman discussed President Obama’s America’s College Promise plan to make community colleges tuition-free.

Cheers to the cheerleaders!- Cheerleaders of the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex have made the Big North League Conference for 2015. Members of the team have achieved both 1st Team and Honorable Mention. Coach Travelle Pinkett was named Coach of the Year as well. Click here for a link to the full roster of Big North cheerleaders.

Give the guy a ‘like’ - School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside's academic star and current Senior Class President, Alex Rodriguez, is participating in a National Academy Foundation (NAF) college acceptance contest. He is seeking your votes (Facebook Likes) in order to win this contest, which will help to finance him through college. Alex has already been accepted into multiple colleges, as evidenced by the acceptance folders he is shown carrying in his hands in the accompanying photo. A number of NAF courses are available at SOIT, such as: Python Programming, Web Design, and Principles of IT. These courses have prepared him with a strong foundation that will help him excel in college. Please follow this link and ‘like’ Alex’s photo in order to help this worthy young man win this contest.

School 12 GrantA very green grant - School 12 was awarded a grant by City Green, Passaic County Community Garden and the Neighborhood Farming Program called: "Dig In!"  This grant was bestowed in support of improvements to, and expansion of the school’s community garden.  William Paterson University (WPU) Professor Julie Rosenthal, as part of the WPU Professional Development Schools network, has worked for more than a year developing the garden along with School 12 teachers Mrs. Conyers and Ms. Albritton, as well as School 12 and WPU students, other staff members and WPU Professor In Residence Dr. Golden.  Principal George Featherson, community member and parent Mrs. Vargas, and Ms. Albritton joined Dr. Rosenthal and Mrs. Conyers at the event to accept the grant.

MVP - John F. Kennedy alumna Erika Brown was named Most Valuable Player by the University of Delaware’s Blue Hens during the school’s annual Women’s Basketball Banquet. The Patersonian is currently a sophomore at UD, making quite a stir as a guard for the Blue Hens. Click here for a look at the team’s web page highlighting the event.

Rosa Parks Jr. Chorus Mrs.Tejada

The Junior Chorus of the Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts sang for patients at the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. The performance was part of the hospitals “Giggles Children’s Theater” program for critically ill children and their families.

School 12 art teacher Mrs. Tejada had the opportunity to attend a hands-on studio workshop on printmaking held by the Artist/Teacher Institute. Funds provided by the School 12 William Paterson University Professor in Residence enabled Mrs. Tejada to take advantage of this opportunity.

Helping the most vulnerable - Teacher Michelle Polo-Thorpe of School 7 led a school fundraising campaign to raise money for local residents Phyllis Doll and Alison Singer.  The ladies were attacked and robbed in their home in mid-March of this year. Ms. Polo-Thorpe and students Nestor Cadenas and Natalie Placencio led the fundraising efforts amongst the student body and teaching staff. The school raised $400 and the Shop Rite supermarket in Little Falls gave an additional $100.  On April 1, the school presented Ms. Doll and Ms. Singer with a $500 gift card to Shop Rite. Both Ms. Singer and her son are School 7 alumni. Police are still seeking information; click here for a news article detailing the crimes.

School 7 cares

Eva's VillageTeaming up - Members of the National Honor Society and Student Government from the School of Government and Public Administration joined forces to fundraise for Eva’s Village. Guided by their teachers, Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Rogich, the students conducted fundraising activities for the organization, which serves the community of Paterson all year long. This most recent effort, creation of a temporary food court, was conducted as part of their participation in the Optimum Challenge program. Home Depot and Spinella’s Garden Center in Paterson generously donated beautiful flowers that the teachers and students transplanted into the school’s courtyard in preparation. On the day of the event, the two organizations took turns cooking hot dogs and selling a variety of baked goods and drinks to fellow staff and students. Everyone involved had a great time eating lunch at the “Eva’s Village Food Court” knowing that the money being raised was going to a worthy cause.

District teacher featured - Nathan Webb, music teacher at New Roberto Clemente School and drummer for The JT Project, had the honor of performing at the "Songwriters: The Next Generation,” program. This program is part of The ASCAP Foundation at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. You can watch a video of Mr. Webb’s performance by clicking here.

Exhibiting in the Big Apple - Some of the works of Ms. So Yoon Lym, art teacher at the Business Technology Marketing and Finance Academy (BTMF) at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex are being featured at The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City. Ms. Lym’s portion of this group exhibition runs through June 28, 2015.

So Yoon Lym

Efficient and Responsive Operations

Romaine RoyaleCollaborative university program delivers - New Roberto Clemente's (NRC) new Assistant Principal, Romain Royal, had a very busy first day -- in addition to his new responsibilities at the school, he took some time to meet with Harry Gonzalez and Eddie Lopez, two students from William Paterson University's Educational Leadership graduate program, along with WPU Professor in Residence Dr. Golden and Leader in Residence (and graduate faculty member) Bob Reid.  Mr. Royal, a graduate of the same program, graciously welcomed everyone and showed such ease in his new role that Mr. Lopez and Mr. Gonzalez thought he had been working at this job for years.  NRC Principal Hector Montes had the two graduate students spend part of the day shadowing him as well, and gave them advice that they will be using frequently in the future.

New Jersey Middle School Conference

New Roberto Clemente Assistant Principal Ramona Garcia and teachers Mr. Mascellino and Ms. Pizarro and School 12 teacher Ms. Alford recently joined William Paterson University Professor in Residence Dr. Golden at the annual New Jersey Middle School Conference.  Ms. Alford, Ms. Pizarro, and Mr. Mascellino each presented a workshop at the daylong conference, which was held at WPU.

Upcoming Events

Apr. 23: Report Card Distribution Grades K-8

5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Apr. 24: District Spelling Bee (Grades 3 & 4)

8:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at School 24

Apr. 28: Harlem Wizards vs. Eastside Mighty Ghosts Staff Fundraiser

7:15 p.m. at Eastside Campus Gym

May 6: Staff In-Service

1:00 p.m. Student dismissal

May 6: Board of Education Workshop

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

May 13: Annual Teen Health Fair

8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Eastside Campus 

May 20: Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

May 22: PEA Early Dismissal

1:00 p.m. Student and PEA Staff dismissal

May 25: Memorial Day

District closed

“Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone
who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.”

— Charles Dickens,
19th Century British Writer