Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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Previous issues of District HiLites can be found here.

May 24, 2017

In this issue:

  • Roberto Clemente Art Adorns FDU
  • JFK Robot Wranglers Do It Again!
  • Napier Students Set the Example
  • Chinese Educators Visit Paterson

Effective Academic Programs

FDU Hosts Roberto Clemente’s Young Artists

RC-at-FDURoberto Clemente School artists, accompanied by their parents, opened the first exhibit of their artwork at Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU). This is the first time an elementary school displayed artwork at the university. Art teacher and FDU alumni, Dilcia Recinos, not only arranged this collaboration, but in within two months had students researching, writing essays and creating masterpieces for the exhibit. Using a theme of Culture and Diversity, the 4th and 5th graders created a mural depicting all the World’s continents with dolls wearing their nation’s traditional clothes. Meanwhile, 4th grade students studied cultural masks from around the World and were inspired to create masks symbolizing the customs and culture of their ancestors. Parents also assisted in the creation of small posters depicting the food, dances and holidays of their respective countries. Some students even wore traditional garb for their presentations. Self-reflection and connection to art with selected life experiences inspired 5th graders to create their own masterpieces using canvas and acrylic paint. This was a unique experience for the student especially realizing that in 7 years they will be at a collage campus pursuing their own career. They returned knowing that the future is just a dream away. The exhibit will return to the Roberto Clemente School on June 1st for our local community to enjoy. You are invited!

Those Winning Robot Wranglers!

RoboticsThe John F. Kennedy Educational Complex Robotics Team has once again done very well by placing well in this year's Robotics Competition. The team has ranked 3rd place overall in the tournament and won many awards, including: 1st place in Science & Technology, 1st Place in the “Gutter Collection” event, Best Design, and 1st place in School Spirit. The Kennedy students presented themselves at the highest levels maturity and professionalism; behaving in a manner that showcases the very best our district has to offer. Even when things got difficult, the team maintained discipline and resolve to finish the tournament.

PAGT Scientists Shine Brightly

OlympiadSixteen Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented (PAGT) students in grades 5-6 participated in the North Jersey Elementary Science Olympiad held at the Bergen Arts and Charter High School in Hackensack. Students prepared before school, after school and on their own time to compete in a variety of science-related events. According to the Science Olympiad website: “The events of the Science Olympiad do much more than test factual knowledge; participants are also engaged in problem solving, laboratory investigations and hands-on activities such as designing and testing vehicles, bridges and egg-carrying rockets. While the tournament itself is only one day, participation in the Science Olympiad provides a wealth of learning opportunities throughout the year.”

A Lesson in Practical Research

FidgetSchool 29 students in Mrs. Cifelli’s 3rd grade math class, recently had the opportunity to test the effects of using “fidget spinners” while working on a series of word problems. First, the students solved five word problems without any distraction. A day later, the students were invited to use their fidget spinner to solve an additional five word problems. The data showed very clearly that spinning served as a distraction rather than promoting focus. Thanks to this research, the students now understand why so many teachers have banned the use of the spinners in the classroom!


Dr. Lloyd Brown visited 8th graders at the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King School thanks to science teacher, Ms. Wanda Mathis-Brown. The students were able to hear about what it is like to be a surgeon, deal with complicated medical issues, and the trials and tribulations of a surgeon performing delicate procedures.

Bilingual Expertise at GOPA and CAHTS

GOPAA total of 49 students from The School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) and 38 from the School of Culinary Arts Hospitality and Tourism (CAHTS) at Eastside were celebrated in a medal ceremony for achieving gold, silver and bronze status on the National Spanish Exam. This exam was administered over a four-hour period and required the students to think analytically in both English and Spanish. Both Andrea Urena and Brigida Rodriguez from GOPA received monetary awards for placing among the top three scores in the state! “Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious,” said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director, “because the exams are the largest of their kind in the UnitedBilingual_CAHTS States with over 157,000 students participating in 2017.


Graduating seniors receiving scholarships valued at $10,000 and up were recognized at the May Board of Education Meeting. Due to the scheduling of the 2017 proms, a second group of seniors receiving such scholarships from the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex will be recognized prior to the June 21st Board of Education Meeting at 6:30 p.m.

School 12 and Poetry: Perfect Together

Poetry-12Seventy-two students from School 12 recently showcased their performance skills in a Poetry Jam held at the school. The K-8 students selected favorite poems, in some cases creating original ones, which they presented during two assembly programs. Attendees (including classmates, teachers, parents, and administrators) cheered, clapped, and filled the auditorium with their enthusiastic responses. Mrs. Conyers and Ms. Albritton, orchestrated the event, helping the children choose the poems, rehearsing with them, and coordinating the background images that accompanied each presenter.

Opportunity Knocks

On May 11, representatives from Delaware North Sportservice, the employment agency responsible for all the concessions hiring in MetLife Stadium, were on hand to introduce employment opportunities to School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism (CAHTS) at Eastside students. The Students were given opportunities to apply for positions, as well as set up appointments for their Culinary Practical onsite. The reps were given a tour of the Grilling Ghosts Café, the baking class and kitchen. They were very impressed by the facilities and the students’ skill and technique.


Former Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Joanne Cardillo came to read a Mother's Day story to the first graders at The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School. Dr. Cardillo is also the mother of school librarian, Alexander Cardillo.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Setting the Example

Recently, a member of the Paterson community was having lunch at the local Wendy’s restaurant when a sizeable group of students from the Dr. Frank Napier, Jr. School of Science & Technology came in for lunch as well. The Napier students were so well-behaved that she was compelled to relate her experience to Principal Marc Medley in an email. In turn, Mr. Medley was so taken by the impression his students made at Wendy’s that he wanted to share this gesture with the District HiLites readership. According to Ms. Diana Diaz:

“While I was at lunch today at Wendy's in Paterson, I noticed a large group of well-behaved students in uniform that stood on line waiting their turn for their order to be taken. There was no one pushing or being loud; they were there speaking at a normal level among themselves, single-file while they waited on line. This called not only my attention, but I heard two other people that were next to my table who felt the same way I did. I stopped two students and asked them what school they were from, and the answer I received was "Ma’am we're from School 4, Napier Academy," and at the end of the conversation they added, "Have a good day."

I just wanted to let your students know that their good behavior in a public place did not go unnoticed, and I congratulate you for having such respectful students, and them for having good teachers and a principal who cares, and who instills in them the proper behavior to display when they are not in the school setting. Keep up the good work.”

Winners with a Cause

Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts (RPHS) students, Ashely Diaz, Yarlening Polanco, and Jayla Gabriel have won top honors at the 2017 Teen Summit Substance Abuse Program held at William Paterson University (WPU). The students submitted a “photo voice project” entitled: Think Again. The Teen Summit is an annual event which brings together high school students throughout Passaic County to educate and empower students on making positive choices and leading a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. The RPHS students worked under the guidance of Communication Arts teacher, Mr. Carl Lauricella, along with Student Assistance Coordinator Ms. Ani Silvani, and Guidance Counselor Ms. Juannys Guzman. For their efforts, the students received an award certificate, along with a $500 sponsorship for a Substance Abuse Initiative that will be created next year. Click here to view their winning entry (MS PowerPoint).

Not so Tricky Really

TrickyTrayOn Friday, May 5, Urban Leadership Academy (ULA) held its first annual Tricky Tray Fundraiser. The ULA staff generously donated over 40 baskets in order to make this event a huge success. With the support of staff, parents, and members of the community, ULA was able to raise $2,275! The proceeds from the Tricky Tray will be used to provide the students of ULA with an end-of-year Carnival Day Celebration.

Family and Community Engagement

If I had a Hammer

HabitatIt was a very busy day for the Engineering students from the School of Architecture and Construction Trades (ACT). Several students in the Civil Engineering and Architecture course volunteered at a local Habitat for Humanity site on North 4th Street. The students spent the day priming and painting the house for its future homeowners. Their last visit to Habitat for Humanity (in December), was featured in the NorthJersey.com publications. During that session, the students were responsible for projects like sub-flooring, moving gravel, and caulking.

Students Who Make a Difference

The Paterson Municipal Youth Guidance Council has announced the winners of their 2017 Students Who Have Made a Difference Award. Each year, worthy students are nominated by a teacher or other person whom they believe meet the Council’s criteria of academic excellence, community service and high moral character. This year, the Council reports that the decisions were tough, based on such a large number of worthy entries, but the winners are finally in. Each will be recognized at an awards ceremony held on Monday, June 12, 2017 at the Paterson City Council Chambers beginning at 6:00 p.m. Click here for a chart of all the winners!


Mr. Gilman Choudhury was officially recognized by the Board of Education for his tireless support of the community and students of Paterson. Recently, Mr. Choudhury was the recipient of a Russ Berrie “Making a Difference Award” that included a cash honorarium of $5000!

Efficient and Responsive Operations

East Meets West – In Paterson!

ChinaPaterson Public Schools welcomed a delegation of 25 high school principals and directors from Hubei, China. The delegation visited International High School where they were welcomed by students who are taking Mandarin and listened to a presentation from our Superintendent, Dr. Donnie Evans. The delegation then went to the JFK Educational Complex where they took a tour of the TV studio, student-run credit union, and two STEM classrooms.

Upcoming Events

May 25: 2016-2017 Math Olympiad

9:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at New Roberto Clemente School

May 26: Student and PEA Early Dismissal

1:00 p.m. early dismissal for students and PEA staff

May 27: Epitome of Soul Arts Symposium

Unveiling the Heart and Soul Master Class
8:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at Rosa L. Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts 

May 29: Memorial Day

District closed

June 7: Board of Education Workshop

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

June 19: 4th Marking Period Ends

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
John F. Kennedy