Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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Previous issues of District HiLites can be found here.

June 8, 2017

In this issue:

  • Math Olympiad/District Spelling Bee Return for 2017
  • Novel History Event at Edward W. Kilpatrick
  • IB Sophomore will Summer at Columbia U.
  • Career Days Flourish around the District

Effective Academic Programs

Going for the Gold

2017 Math OlympiadOver 200 Grade 6-8 students from 23 schools participated in the 2017 Math Olympiad which was at the New Roberto Clemente School.  All teams participated in three rounds of competition which varied in difficulty level and time allotment.  The highest ranking teams from each grade level competed in the Task Round which required teams to solve a conceptually based math problem. The winners from each grade level received gold, silver and bronze medals. Speaking to the students, former Board of Education Commissioner Pedro Rodriguez stressed the importance of mathematics in all aspects of life. Mr. Rodriguez provided “Mathematics Superhero” tee shirts for all participants. Congratulations to the winners from each grade level, and special thanks to Mr. & Mrs. Rodriguez for their continued and invaluable support. You can view the winners by clicking here.

The Bees were A-Buzz for 2 Days!

The 2017 District Spelling Bee took place over the course of two days at School 24. This year, competition was fierce and between 27 schools from around the district. Spellers from 1st and 2nd grades competed on Day 1, followed by 3rd and 4th graders on Day 2. Click here to see the results.

Spelling Bee contestantSpelling Bee contestantSpelling Bee contestant

You Really Push my Buttons

The Edward W. Kilpatrick School held an innovative event to bring history to life! Students, some dressed as notable figures from history, wore faux buttons around their neck. When a curious student pushed the button, the historic figure came to life and recited important facts and anecdotes about their life. Parents and other guests were on hand to watch the children assume the persona of people like George Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, and others.

Edward W. Kilpatrick School

Four Bound for Rutgers

HARP nursesFour Academy of Health Science (HARP) students have been awarded full tuition to Rutgers University in Newark. Gusna Hoque, Sajeda Hussain, Tenaya Leyva, and Ayat Yousef have been accepted in The Rutgers University Nursing Program. On May 11, the four future nurses, Principal K.A. White, Guidance Counselor, Melissa Wright, and Allied Health Teacher, Lecia Williamson attended the Rutgers University Nursing Program's Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Awards Banquet. The HARP students had the opportunity to meet and greet members of the Class of 2021. Only 20 students in the state are accepted into the Rutgers Nursing EOF Program.

Spanish Specialists at School 24

National Spanish Examination at school 24

Juliana Villafañe and Tania Felix, both sixth graders from School 24, placed 1st and 3rd respectively in the New Jersey division of the National Spanish Examination (NSE). The NSE is an online test to measure performance and achievement of pupils studying Spanish as a second language. NSE is a program of The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP). Twenty-four students from the school participated in the contest, which involved a total of 162,321 students throughout the United States. School 24 students earned a total of 4 gold, 8 silver, and 3 bronze medals, along with 6 students who achieved honorable mention. Juliana and Tania received monetary awards for their accomplishments.

School 26 career  day

School 26 recently held a Career Day for students in grades 5-8. Students were introduced to  a myriad of career choices, encouraging them to make informed decisions regarding high school programs, college majors and career options.

Winning Poets Announced

The Annual Paterson Student Poetry Contest results are in and a list of all winners is available by clicking here. An Award Ceremony and Poetry Reading for all winning poets were held on Tuesday, June 6th at the Passaic County Community College Theater. Congratulations to all entrants!

Ten for 10

School 10 career daySchool 10 has celebrated their 10th Annual Career Day for students in grades 2-8.  Dressed for success, the students welcomed and guided guest presenters throughout the day.  With 57 career speakers in attendance, the students were exposed to an amazing array of professionals from Mayor Torres to the sensational actor and singer “Simba,” from the Broadway play The Lion King. Students also participated in the school’s College Week activities and had an opportunity to research various colleges and careers. The week culminated with students taking a pledge to always do their best and to continue to grow intellectually and emotionally. Mayor Torres presented the school with a certificate for outstanding civic contribution fortheir event.

An Ivy League Summer

Maria Chowdhury, an International Baccalaureate/Accelerated Cohort International sophomore, has earned admission to Columbia University's 3-Week Summer Immersion Program in New York City! The Columbia summer program gives students an opportunity to explore their academic passions alongside students from all over the world, discover the beauty of New York City, and experience a taste of college life. She was awarded a full $10,980 scholarship as part of the program.

Careers on the Horizon

SOIT career dayThe School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside, recently held its annual Career Day. More than 20 guest speakers from various industry sectors, including “white collar” and “blue collar” vocations delivered presentations and provided important insights about their careers for the students. Also included among guest speakers were representatives from local colleges who also provided students with career guidance.  An important goal of this event is to bring about awareness of the importance of education and exposure to various industries and careers to students. Included among the vocations represented were: Principal Marc Medley (Education); Executive Director Terry Corallo (Communications); and Paterson City Councilman Alex Mendez (Government). Students were able to pose questions related to education and training requirements and even salary information.  One student, Diontae Brown, stated it was interesting to learn about Eastside in the late 1950’s from guest speaker Frank Passarelli, who is a 1958 alumni and business owner. 

Helping to make the event a big success, and receiving numerous compliments, were the SOIT Ambassadors – volunteer student representatives of the school who assisted the speakers. They were easily identifiable in their dark pants and white shirts adorned with the SOIT emblem.

I Want My Mummy!

Roberto Clemente tripThe 5th graders of Roberto Clemente School were very excited on May 17th!  They had the opportunity to visit The American Museum of Natural History in New York City, thanks to a grant awarded to Mrs. Sotelo from The Field Trip New Jersey Fund and friends at the museum.

The trip was a great way to bring excitement and adventure to their learning while connecting and integrating the exhibitions with their curriculum. Conducted by a live presenter, they took a virtual trip to the Moon in the Hayden Planetarium, watched a sunrise in space, landed on the moon, learned how vital the moon is to human space exploration, and how important our own planet is.

It was all eyes and ears at the LeFrak Mummies Gallery as the Guide explained the stages of mummification!  Students were mesmerized by the rarely exhibited mummies and discovered when, how, and why ancient Egyptians and Peruvians were mummified.

Novel Tool Facilitates Learning

School 15School 15 fifth grade teachers, Ms. Girardi and Ms. Estevez, have been teaming up all year creating “choice boards” for their students.  Inspired by the Laurie Westphal books, provided by William Paterson University (WPU) Professor in Residence Dr. Golden, the two have introduced these boards for use in the study of matter, space, the human body, the respiratory system, circulatory system, the food chain, decimals, and fractions. They had the opportunity to present their insights to a group of WPU students during the spring semester, and recently they shared lessons learned during an after-school workshop provided by School 15 staff members.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Diversity is a Journey

School 28 Asian eventDuring the month of May, School 28 and the Paterson Academy for the Gifted & Talented (PAGT) celebrated Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The entire school paid tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.

This year’s theme, “Unite Our Voices by Speaking Together,” allowed students and staff to not only greatly enhance their learning related to this wonderful commemoration, but to also bridge their community by uniting their voices, raising awareness, and telling stories that elevate the community in which we all live and work. 

Culminating activities took place during the school day on Friday, May 26. The activities were comprised of a Living Museum, which included historical artifacts and displays, skits, music, art, dance, poems, speech recitations and other presentations.  The School 28/PAGT family worked together to make Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month a learning, memorable experience for all!

JFK Senior awards

Graduating JFK Educational Complex seniors pose for a group photo following their Senior Awards Ceremony. These students all received academic awards, scholarships and special recognitions.

Awards Dinner Marks a Milestone

STEM AwardsThe School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at JFK, hosted the Annual Awards Dinner at American Legion Post #227 in Totowa.  This was a significant year for the John F. Kennedy event, now in its 20th year! Over 100 students, staff, and parents attended this year. Outstanding students were honored, along with 29 graduating seniors who obtained 50 or more credits in science and math. In addition, two STEM students, Kevin Leal and Alex Sanchez, were honored for obtaining 70 math and science credits during their four years with STEM. The night was capped off with math teacher Mr. Coronato leading everyone in attendance in the loudest possible rendition of the school song!

Sound Advice

SOIT AssembllyJuniors from the School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside were treated to a special visit from their former Climate and Culture leader, Mr. Wallace Gaffney. Mr. Gaffney addressed the students on the importance of preparing for their senior year and deciding on post-secondary plans. Staff member, Mr. Jay Decker, gave a PowerPoint presentation about the importance of class attendance and passing all classes. Students were advised about finishing out junior year by passing their courses and to spending the summer investigating colleges and/or professional schools to which they would like to apply. The SOIT students listened with rapt attention and had numerous follow-up questions for their guests.

The Nose Knows

Red Nose DayAccording to the late Roberto Clemente, “Any time you have the opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on earth.”  Roberto Clemente School’s students are doing just that;  Ms. Liguori’s 2nd  graders and Ms. Hanania’s 3rd graders, initiated a project to have their students give back to their community and communities around the world by participating in Red Nose Day. Donations collected will be sent to the Red Nose Foundation to help ensure that kids are safe, healthy, educated, and empowered. So now, when the Roberto Clemente students sing their school song, they will feel they have lived up to the songs message, “Be PROUD to say you’re a part of Roberto Clemente, be all that you can be, and give back to your community… community… unity…”

Family and Community Engagement

Thank You!

As our Facebook 6117 by 6/1/17 “Like” initiative has come to a conclusion, we would like to thank everyone who “gave us a like” and spread the word throughout the Paterson Public Schools Community. We didn’t achieve our stated goal of 6117, but we did surmount the 5000 mark to settle at our current total of 5245! Not bad, at all. Thank you for your help and your appreciation of the valuable role that social media plays in keeping our stakeholders informed and ahead of the information curve. This is not to say our efforts are over – certainly not! In fact, we need you more than ever to continue to spread the word, and continue to expand our reach not only on Facebook, but now on Twitter as well. Every person who joins us on social media potentially spreads our district communications to dozens or even hundreds of others through post shares, “tagging” and word-of-mouth. Don’t stop now… we have much more work to do. Give us a “like” and share with your friends, family and anyone else with a stake in our district. Besides, did we mention? It’s FUN too!

Every Penny Counts

For two weeks in May, students in grades K thru 2nd (along with some 3rd and 4th graders) at School 26, collected money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).  LLS is the world’s largest non-profit health organization dedicated solely to finding cures for cancers of the blood. The "Pennies for Patients" program helps raise money to fund research for therapies that save the lives of blood cancer patients. While learning about service, leadership and philanthropy, this opportunity also provided students with the ability to incorporate service learning and character-building, while making a difference by helping to save the lives of leukemia patients.  With the assistance of North Jersey Credit Union in Totowa, all coins and bills were counted and totaled $1,036.86!

JFK Marching Band JROTC on  parade

Members of the John F Kennedy Marching Band are shown in front of the Hawthorne Municipal Building during that town’s Memorial Day Parade.

Fifty JROTC cadets from Eastside Campus proudly participated in the Secaucus Memorial Day parade. Each year, community groups that have distinguished themselves receive an invitation to this prestigious annual parade which honors veterans.

Pass the Poi

Recently, School 27 celebrated "Read with Me Luau Night” with over 60 students and their families. The students and their families spread out on beach towels to enjoy a fun filled reading luau. Reading Specialist, Diane Glass, led a parental discussion about the importance of reading daily with their children. She gave a PowerPoint presentation that demonstrated the use of computer-based reading programs, Flocabulary and Raz Kids. 

Teachers read from leveled readers, modeling for parents how to fully-engage with their child in the reading process. This information was also provided in folders specifically prepared for each child, according to their grade and reading level. 

The children enjoyed playing Reading Limbo by reading vocabulary cards and then trying to shimmy under a Limbo pole.  Finally, everyone was treated to snacks of "Walking Tacos" and refreshing watermelon.

Ranger Ernie at School 12
Recently, 4th graders at School 12 received a visit from park ranger, Ernie Hernandez.  He taught the students about the importance of Paterson and the Great Falls as it relates to our country’s history. He highlighted other National Parks in our area as well. The students were given the opportunity to earn an official Junior Ranger badges, along with a free National Park entrance pass.

Engaged Parents Rock!

School 13 parent appreciationThe Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) and Action Team at School 13 sponsored their annual Parent Appreciation Night on May 18th. Teacher, Ms. Danielle Herbeck, was the mistress of ceremony. Students Litzy Herrera and Esther Duqueney did special presentations. The guest speaker was Jim Walsh of OASIS. According to Parent Coordinator, Yolanda Simmons, 28 parents were awarded parent involvement and/or volunteer appreciation certificates by the school administration for their active participation in their children’s education and supporting various school projects.

Paterson’s Best Parents

Parent of the Year BreakfastApproximately 350 people attended the annual Parent of the Year Breakfast sponsored by the Department of Family and Community Engagement at LaNeve’s in Totowa. Fifty-three deserving parents from each district school were honored and recognized for their dedication to supporting the education of not only their own children, but every child in their local school community. There were several guest speakers, including notable Paterson alum, Francarlos Castro, who spoke on his experiences as an engineering student at Columbia University. This year, Department of Family and Community Engagement staffer, Patricia Quispe received the “Pat Harris Spirit of Excellence Award,” established several years ago in memory of Mrs. Patricia Harris, who was a highly dedicated and respected advocate for the children of Paterson Public Schools.

Upcoming Events

June 8: Real Talk Lecture: Summer Safety

5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex TV Studio Room

June 8: Adult High School Graduation

6:00 p.m. at International High School

June 9: Quiz Bowl

9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at International High School

June 10: 3rd Annual "Senior Sendoff"

10:00 a.m. at The Brownstone House

June 14: Teacher Job Fair

4:00 p.m. at 90 Delaware Ave.

June 14: Special Joint Meeting

of the State District Superintendent, the Board of Education, the Mayor and Municipal Council
7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers, Third Floor, City Hall, 155 Market Street

June 19: 4th Marking Period Ends

June 21: Board of Education Regular Meeting

at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex
5:00 p.m. Teacher of the Year Activities
6:15 p.m. Valedictorian/Salutatorian Recognitions
7:00 p.m. Meeting Begins

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt,
First lady, diplomat and activist