Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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Previous issues of District HiLItes can be found here.

January 26, 2017

In this issue:

  • Three district high schools attend Hamilton
  • NSW inauguration poetry event is presidential!
  • First-hand Holocaust remembrances at School 12
  • Facebook Challenge – 6117 by 6/1/17

Effective Academic Programs

The Hottest Show on Broadway and a History Lesson

HamiltonStudents from three Paterson Public Schools high schools got a chance to see the hottest show on Broadway thanks to a partnership between the producers and creators of "Hamilton," the Rockefeller Foundation, the Hamilton Partnership for Paterson and the Gilder Lehrman Institute. This program provides for thousands of high school students to see the show for free or for as little as $10. The Tony Award winning stage production Hamilton, which melds Revolution-era historical facts with a unique hip-hop musical delivery has been wowing audiences and commanding astronomical ticket prices since opening off Broadway and later moving to the Richard Rogers Theater “on Broadway.”

Students from the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at JFK (STEM), The School of Government and Public Administration at Eastside (GOPA), and The Academy of Earth Science (PANTHER) attended the acclaimed performance that concluded with a Q&A with members of the cast.

PAGT is a Technology Powerhouse!

PAGT is a Technology Powerhouse!Students from the Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented (PAGT) did very well at the 2017 New Jersey Science Olympiad Regional Competition, which took place at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The Science Olympiad is one of the premier science competitions in the nation. Science Olympiad's line-up of events in all Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines included: Anatomy, Bottle Rocket, Plane Building, Optics, “Rube Goldberg,” and much more. The school earned the 4th place team trophy, while students earned medals in 6 events, including a 1st place in the Wind Power event. This honor has earned PAGT an invitation to the state competition to be held at Middlesex College on March 7th.  At this event they will compete against top teams from all around New Jersey in all twenty-four of the National Science Olympiad events.

Poems throughout American Presidential History at NSW

Poems throughout American Presidential History at NSWConcurrent with the 2017 US Presidential Inauguration, the Norman S. Weir School (NSW) held its very own presidential inaugural ceremony. The NSW event began with a reading of poems from past inaugurations.  Five times in US history, poetry has been read at presidential swearing-in ceremonies. For example:  Robert Frost read his poetry for John F. Kennedy in 1961; Bill Clinton asked Maya Angelou to read her work for his 1993 inauguration. In 1997 Clinton again asked a poet, fellow Arkansas native, Miller Williams, to read for that year’s inauguration. Barack Obama asked poet Elizabeth Alexander to present an original work for his 2009 inauguration. 

All of the poems are beautiful works of art, but have also become political documents, speaking to specific moments in history. The NSW students wrote and recited their own poems to inspire America and her newly elected president, as well as to speak to the past and future. Ms. Giglio, Principal of NSW used this assembly to administer the Oath of Office to the newly elected Student Council members, as well as to Ms. Pamela Powell, our district’s new Chief of Staff.

A Survivor’s Story

A Survivor’s StoryMs. Hunchak’s School 12, 5th graders recently finished reading Number the Stars, a historical fiction text that takes place during the Holocaust. The School 12 William Paterson University (WPU) Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) Professor in Residence, Simone Sandler, then visited the classroom to share the experiences of her mother. Ms. Sandler’s mother, who was unable to escape, stayed in hiding in France during World War II.  Mrs. Sandler shared video clips of her mother that are part of Steven Spielberg’s video archive of Holocaust survivor stories.  Following the presentation, WPU Professor in Residence, Dr. Golden, worked with Ms. Hunchak to develop a list of books that would connect students with this topic and would expand their understanding of that time period.  Dr. Golden was able to obtain the entire collection for the classroom, thanks to a friend whose book club members wanted to donate them.

Imaging Children of the World

Imaging Children of the WorldSchool of Education and Training at JFK (SET) students spread some love recently as they created portraits of Syrian children. The pictures are included in colorful picture books that will be distributed through the non-profit, Memory Project. An art class of Ms. Christine Keppel and Literature in the Classroom students of Mrs. Nye-Slockbower, participated in this global awareness effort through the organization. The Memory Project invites art teachers and their students to create portraits of youth around the world who have faced serious challenges. The SET teachers were given photos of 20 children in Syrian refugee camps. Their students created 20 portraits of the children and 20 picture books, some featuring those children as central characters.

The picture books, written and illustrated by the students using various software programs, featured fiction and non-fiction topics. The Memory Project will record the children as they receive the portraits and books.

RPHS Drama Students Take Honors

Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts (RPHS) teacher, Ms. Wilson, recently brought a group of students to participate in the State Thespian Festival. The RPHS students medaled in these categories: Monologue - Rashad Abdullah, Mikaela Santos, Jarrett Cuavers, Christopher Pagan, Joseph Diaz, Ashante Johnson; Duet Acting -Ashante Johnson, Jarrett Cuavers, Candice Pittman and Melissa Guerrero-Moya; Improv Pairs - Jay'Den Griffin, Azaget Johnson, Joseph Diaz and Jarrett Cuavers.

RPHS Drama Students Take Honors

BTMF DECA Chapter Advances to State Competition

BTMF DECA Chapter Advances to State CompetitionStudents from the Academy of Business, Technology, Marketing, and Finance at JFK (BTMF) Westside Cafe have made school history by placing in the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) Regional Competition for the first time. They were awarded in the following categories: Customer Service, Management, and Salesmanship. The Regional Competition was held at the Ramapo College campus. Hundreds of students from the state of New Jersey competed in a myriad of categories, ranging from Business, Financial Services, Management, Human Resources, Hospitality and Tourism, and more.

Winners included: 1st place, Jeffrey Dominguez; 2nd place, Arianny Alvarez; and 3rd place, Sebastian Rojas. These students exhibited excellence in their respective categories. They will now be going to Atlantic City` to compete at the state level.

13 Join the Ranks of NHS

HARPIn December, 13 young women from the Academy of Health Science (HARP) were inducted into The National Honor Society. The beautiful student-led ceremony, planned by advisers Jennifer Kolb and Maria Yoplac, was followed by a dinner reception. One hundred guests that included HARP faculty members, students, and parents attended the prestigious event. Principal K.A. White served as the keynote speaker and stressed the importance of scholarship, leadership, service and character. Future plans for the nineteen-member NHS chapter include a continued partnership with Eva's Village and collaboration with HARP Academy's Interact Club.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

School 13 movie night

The PTO of School 13, in conjunction with the Action Team at School 13 (community, home and school partnership committee) held their annual Winter Family Movie and Fellowship Night on January 12. After the monthly business meeting, School 13 families viewed the Disney movie “Maleficent.”

Straight Talk about Drugs and Alcohol

Straight Talk about Drugs and AlcoholThe John F. Kennedy Educational Complex is recognizing National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week with a large bulletin board shattering the myths about substance use and addiction.  The idea of this board is to link students (and staff) with information regarding these legal and illegal substances, counteract the myths about them from the media and from friends, and provide all with truths which are less spoken amongst peers. The board is inspired from www.drugfree.org. The observance of this special week continues to grow as years pass, showing that teens are responding to the opportunity to learn about drugs and alcohol from non-judgmental sources.

Family and Community Engagement

What’s not to “LIKE?”

What’s not to “LIKE?”“Good news” takes place in every corner of our school district on any given day.  If you read District HiLites every two weeks, you know this to be true.

But today, District HiLites and our district web site are not the only resources for good news and information. For several years now, Paterson Public Schools has maintained an “official” Facebook page that features events, student performances and interesting videos and images – often  as events are happening in “real time”.  Of course, we also provide important school and district messages and  and emergency notifications

Nearly 5,000 Facebook followers is a great accomplishment – but with 28,000 students and over 4000 staff members, we know we can help spread the good news even faster!  That’s why we have launched a campaign to reach 6117 followers by 6/1/17.  So if you haven’t already done so, please visit our Facebook page and give us a “”Like” or help us by telling your neighbors and friends!   If you don’t  currently use Facebook, this is a golden opportunity to sign up. With so much good news to share, you’ll be glad you did!

A Bond of Respect

American Legion Post #227 in Totowa, led by two Vietnam Veterans, Mr. Mike Howe (Paterson Central High School Class of '65) and Mr. Tony Vancheri (John F. Kennedy High School Class of '66, and father of Principal Nick Vancheri of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at JFK), recently made a generous donation to the JFK Educational Complex's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program.  Both Mr. Howe and Mr. Vancheri are excited about the start of a new partnership between Post #227 and the JROTC at JFK.

School 24 Ana Alcantara School 24

Third and fourth graders from School 24 visited "Mi Casa Es Su Casa" adult center at holiday time to dance and sing for the senior citizens. Children sang in English and Spanish, and the seniors responded with seasonal poetry.

In recognition of Fire Safety Month, Ana Alcantara, an eighth grade student at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex entered the Passaic County Fire Safety Poster Contest. She is shown with her winning entry and her art teacher, Mr. Dwayne Beckford.

Ms. Mag Ortiz of School 24 and her students took part in the Paterson City Council ceremony honoring the memory of Dr Martin Luther King. Councilman at Large Alex Mendez invited the students to represent Paterson Public Schools by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during the televised ceremony. Students who participated were: Alyzae Coleman, Kayra Ramirez and Lissy Artiles.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

Erasing Bias, Hate and Discrimination

Erasing Bias, Hate and Discrimination The Affirmative Action Office invited Detective Sergeant Robin Powell, retired from Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, to present a workshop entitled: Erasing Bias, Hate, and Discrimination. This program was part of a series of trainings given to all district affirmative action representatives. In the light of recent events in New Jersey, New York and nationwide, where different groups of ethnic and/or religious backgrounds as well as the LGBT communities have been targeted with bias and hate crimes, Detective Sergeant Powell’s workshop addressed the underlying causes of such heinous acts. A historical journey in discriminating and targeting various groups in America, along with heart breaking video interviews of individuals subjected to “profiling,” as well as well as statistical facts authenticated the training session and its purpose. The workshop was vibrant, factual, and genuine. The officer has been continually servicing district students, staff, administrators, and the community of Paterson, bringing with her years of experience in law enforcement.

Upcoming Events

Jan. 30: 2nd Marking Period Ends

Feb. 1: Board of Education Workshop

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

Feb. 3: Staff In-service

1:00 p.m. Student Dismissal

Feb 3: HARP Blood Drive

8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at 5 Colt Street   

Feb. 4: Board of Education Retreat

10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at the Administrative Offices, 90 Delaware Avenue  

Feb. 9: 2017 Teacher Job Fair

4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. at the Administrative Offices, 90 Delaware Avenue 

Feb. 15: Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Feb. 16: Report Card Distribution (All K-8)

4:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.

Feb 20-21: Presidents' Day Weekend

District Closed

Feb. 23: Report Card Distribution (9-12)

4:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m.


“Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along.”
— Hugh Allen, musician