Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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Previous issues of District HiLites can be found here.

June 21, 2017

In this issue:

  • Norman Weir Mathematicians Crunch the Numbers
  • Exciting Chess Tournament at School 2
  • National Dream Rocket Project comes to Schools 1 and 26
  • Special thanks to Dr. Evans and Dennis Vroegindewey

Effective Academic Programs

How Much for a Re-Ride?

STEM Roller CoasterStudents in the School of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at JFK Principles of Engineering pathway course recently completed their culminating class activity. Mr. Grilk’s students were asked to calculate, design, and operate a successful roller coaster in this, the inaugural competition held for the class. The students had to design a car that could complete two loops of 25 feet on a maximum budget of $15. This is a great example of the goal of all STEM pathway courses: providing students with opportunities for practical application of the content and skills presented and acquired in the classroom.

It all Adds Up… to Success!

Throughout the year the students from the Norman S. Weir School participated in the “National Math Club” powered by Math Counts. The students completed and submitted a Gold Level Project, which required them to write, solve, and creatively present high level math problems. The students received a banner and a trophy for the project and are listed among 11 clubs in the state that achieved this status (fewer than than 200 clubs nation-wide).

The “Disney World” of Science

HARP ScientistsThirty-two Academy of Health Science (HARP) sophomores and juniors attended a ground-breaking field trip to The Science to Science Laboratory in East Hanover, NJ. Students were able to identify career opportunities in biotechnology and research. HARP's future scientists collaborated and conducted experiments with successful, working technologists and entrepreneurs. HARP/Rutgers Dual Enrollment Science Teachers, Louis Sayad, Edward Black and Meri Todhe described the event as the "Disney World" of science field trips. It was an amazing opportunity for HARP students. Future plans include a collaborative clinical research project that will be implemented for next year's seniors. 

Your Move…

School 2 Chess ClubThe School 2 Chess Club finished out its year with a final chess tournament. Twenty students, all members of the Chess Club took part in the event. There were trophies for first to third place, and all players received a chess pin for participating. The students were captivated and thrilled by the competitive aspects of the tournament and the various match-ups that the brackets produced.  The tournament was a double-elimination event that featured a 15 minute time limit for each player to make all of his or her moves. In the end, all the players showed great sportsmanship and left with a feeling of pride for competing in the amazingly complex game of chess! The tournament was organized and supervised by Mr.Dombroski.

Senator Lautenberg Would Have Been Proud

What happens when you take today’s students and then turn them into actual business people for a day? If you were at the “Biz Kid$ Expo” you would have learned the answer, and been amazed by the array of products marketed and sold by 5th grade students!

Many of the students at the Senator Frank R. Lautenberg School dream of having their own business one day. The school’s year-end curriculum on economics focuses on the basics of being a young entrepreneur, from dreaming up new ideas, marketing a product, to selling to customers.

Biz KidsBiz KidsBiz Kids

Muy Bien Trabajo!

Fifteen of the district’s students of Dominican descent were recognized for their academic achievement by the Consulate General of the Dominican Republic in New York. The Honorable Carlos Castillo, the Dominican Consulate has been hosting the Meritorious Student Award for twenty consecutive years. Each year, the consulate has recognized students of Dominican ancestry from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.  Chosen students have demonstrated remarkable academic achievements and good character. This year, our students receiving the recognition were: Angelly Cabada, Liliana Flores, Randy Roque Sanchez, Mayaris Santos-Lantigua, Lisbeth Mercedes, Massiel Mercedes, Elianny Grullon, Silvania Fermin, Gabriella Rodriguez, Gabriel Chavarria, Mileiny Santana, Ashley Silverio, Yordi Mota, Manuel Castillo and Yomilka Medina Gomez. Yomilka was awarded a trip to the Dominican Republic!

Batten Down the Hatches!

GOPA at Ft. SchuylerStudents from the School of Government and Public Administration recently traveled to the Bronx, NY to tour the preserved Fort Schuyler 19th century fortifications along the Throggs Neck waterway. While there, students visited the museum displaying many maritime industry archives. Students viewed artifacts of many local shipwrecks from different time periods. Additionally, they toured the State University of New York Maritime College where they observed American sailor training.

Rewarding Reading

Achieve 3000 studentsMrs. Doktor's Developmental ESL III as well as Developmental ESL IV classes at the School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism (CAHTS) at Eastside recently had the pleasure of showcasing those students who had showed excellent performance on the Achieve 3000 reading platform. These students showed substantial growth in their reading Lexile Levels. The recognition of outstanding efforts and excellence in literacy were given to the following students: Linda Chavez, Edwin Zapata, Oscari Garcia Rodriguez, Ambar Rosario, Miurbi Gonzalez-Tejeda, William Martinez, Erick Santos, Lizmeidy Rodriguez, Keyser Cruz, and Jessica Sanchez. Three of these students also received $10 gift certificates for a reading contest that took place twice during the year. These activities are used as an incentive to motivate the ESL students toward achievements which will have a positive impact in their future.

In our Founding Fathers’ Footsteps

CAHTS students in PhillyThe School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism (CAHTS) at Eastside recently enjoyed the great opportunity of visiting the historical sights of our “Founding Fathers” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Teachers and students were guided by The Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia. Students experienced a 90-minute guided walking tour through the country’s most historical areas of Philadelphia, considered America’s birthplace. The tour included the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Franklin Court, Betsy Ross' House and the National Constitution Center.

Buen Trabajo

World Language students from The School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism (CAHTS) at Eastside have attained national recognition for excellence in their performance on the 2017 National Spanish Examinations.

Students from CAHTS earned 3 gold, 5 silver and 9 bronze medals along with 21 honorable mentions. “Attaining a medal or honorable mention for any student on the National Spanish Examinations is very prestigious,” said Kevin Cessna-Buscemi, National Director of the Exams, “because the exams are the largest of their kind in the United States with over 157,000 students participating in 2017.” Students from CAHTS have a long history of high achievement on these exams and this year they obtained outstanding scores among the state.

CAHTS National Spanish Exam students

History Comes Alive for DBTA

Trip to WashingtonOn a recent field trip, Don Bosco Technology Academy (DBTA) students eagerly anticipated their arrival to some of the US Capital’s most iconic sites. After arriving in Washington, the students visited the Smithsonian Institute where they learned about the rich history and meaningful contribution of various Americans. With fervor and excitement, they visited the new National Museum of African American History and Culture which is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life. Students also visited Arlington National Cemetery where they visited the JFK gravesite, and watched a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

They visited several of the memorials, and were especially amazed by the size and significance of the Martin Luther King, “Stone of Hope.” The Reflecting Pool and surrounding monuments as seen from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was also a favorite.


French National Honor SocietyTwenty-seven students from the School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) at Eastside were recently inducted into the French National Honor Society during a solemn ceremony. Through the guidance of their French teacher Mr. Andre Beauzil, these students met all the requirements for induction into the Society. GOPA was awarded a charter to the prestigious organization in 2016. The majority of these students now speak three languages: English, Spanish, and French. Congratulations to these GOPA polyglots!

From Small Things, Baby, Big Things One Day Come

If you decided to create a scale model of any building in the world, which one would you choose?  Ms. Prevosti’s School 12 seventh graders recently had the opportunity to tackle this task, and the results showcased their math, design, engineering and architectural talents. One of the most impressive was a rendition of the White House created by student Inais Rodriguez, who one day plans to put her “building” talents to use as a physician – perhaps doing reconstruction of broken limbs!

School 12 White House

It’s All in the Marketing…

School 12 MarketersMarketing familiar merchandise items like deodorant, hangers, goggles, mouth guards and toothpaste can challenge even veterans in the field, but Mrs. Conyers’ School 12 third graders have made the task look easy. Collaborating with Young Audiences of New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania (YANJ) teaching artists Kevin Pyle and Zach Green, students have designed ads and created presentations “selling” their products.  The young marketers learned the importance of catchy phrases and framing the images on the camera – as well as how to use an IPad and green-screen technology to create television-worthy commercials. YANJ is working with several Paterson schools as part of the William Paterson University Professional Development network.

Let me Show You

IFL lesson at school 12Point of View Students in Ms. Alford's class at School 12 took an Institute For Learning (IFL) lesson about the Oklahoma Land Rush to the next level. Jah'zahke Williams and Shamir Garcia made the choice to actually perform the lesson from the point of view of both the settlers and American Indians who walked the so-called Trail of Tears.  They performed for their classmates, teachers and Vice Principal, Mrs. Hilbert. Everyone enjoyed the show/history lesson and students demonstrated an improved understanding of Point of View.

School 24 at symphony

School 24 students had a terrific time at the New Jersey Symphony's Spring concert. The program featured a range of music, all associated with dance. Principal Clarinet Karl Herman came off stage and into the audience to greet students and their teacher Mrs. Nancy Horowitz.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Three is a Charm

CAHTS Honor RollThe School of Culinary Arts Hospitality and Tourism (CAHTS) at Eastside recently held its 6th annual, “3 In a Row Celebration.”  This event was held to honor all students who achieved honor roll status for three marking periods during the school year. The event was attended by students, parents and staff who all enjoyed tapas and desserts prepared by the school’s Culinary students.

Field Day Frolicking

School 29 Field Day

Go red, go orange, go yellow, go green, go blue, go purple, go all of the colors of the rainbow!  Squads of students had the chance to test their skills and cheer their teammates during the recent School 15 and School 29 Field Days.  School 15 activities were held in the gym, outside in the cafeteria patio, and on Eastside High School's football field; while School 29 students trekked to Pennington Park.  Remarkably, the weather cooperated, with all of the events held under sunny skies and unseasonably comfortable temperatures.


The students at the Rev. Dr, Martin Luther King, Jr. School (MLK) were treated to a very special presentation by the Mounted Police of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Dept. The students enjoyed learning about all of the daily responsibilities of the officers and their horses. They were especially excited to see all of the special talents the horses demonstrated.

Mounted Police

They Make a Difference!

Emmanuel Morris and Jimmy Mercado School 24 students Emmanuel Morris and Jimmy Mercado were recently recognized by the Paterson Youth Council as Students Who Make a Difference. Both Emmanuel and Jimmy have been members of the School 24 Band for four years. Emmanuel is a lead player on the basketball team. Jimmy is on the Student Council. Both have made significant contributions to School 24 in many volunteer capacities, including coaching younger students. They've been accepted to Rosa Parks and International High Schools.

School 24 concert band School 24 at the Met

The District Spelling Bee was an exciting event, and the School 24 Concert Band was happy to add to the festivities. The Band performed New York, New York; Star Wars; Classic Bits & Pieces; and Uptown Funk, directed by their teacher Mrs Nancy Horowitz.

Forty-five students from School 24's Concert Band and art classes visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art with their teachers Nancy Horowitz, Connie Crawford, Karen Lipari, Lauren Di Palma, and Anna Pellosie. Students toured the museum where they saw artwork and instruments related to music.

Cool Tunes and Moves on a Hot Day!

Talent Show at NRCRecord-breaking temperatures may have meant an early dismissal on June 13, but the New Roberto Clemente School (NRC)  singers, dancers, musicians, and poets made the audience forget all about the heat!  Music teacher Mr. Webb (ably assisted by Mimi Martinez) oversaw this stellar end-of-year production, and you can expect to hear more from the talented performers, seven of whom will take the stage in a new setting next fall -- at the Rosa Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts!

Family and Community Engagement

PEA Scholarships Announced

The Paterson Education Association (PEA) Philanthropic Fund has a long history of awarding Paterson high school seniors a scholarship for students that exhibit academic excellence, and aspire to the field of education. The scholarships are funded by voluntary individual contributions made by members of the PEA.  The PEA has announced that the following students shall be awarded scholarships amounting to $1,000 to each to be utilized at the college/university of their choosing:

The Peter A. Tirri Scholarship awarded to Ms. Rose M. McNeil (Rosa Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts).

The Mildred L. Wright Scholarship awarded to Ms. Joyce A. Jacobs (School of Information and Technology at Eastside).

School 26 playground

School 26 has received a wonderful new playground donated and built by the Alexandra’s Playground Organization, New Jersey Community Development Corporation and Paterson Public Schools.

School 10 students

School 10 students in grades K through 3rd did an amazing job raising money for
the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. The total raised was $1,550.04.

Decorating the Dream Rocket

School 1 Dream RocketeersTwo 8th grade students from School 26 and fifteen 3rd grade students from School 1 will have artwork on special display through September. The School 26 works will be shown at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, and School 1 at the Morristown National Historical Park. This honor is part of an initiative undertaken by The Dream RoSchool 26 Dream Rocketeerscket Project. Dream Rocket, which was launched in 2009, is collecting thousands of pieces of artwork from various regions around the World. Eventually, all submissions will be connected side by side to wrap the skeleton of a 385′Space Launch System (SLS) rocket replica. The rocket will be placed on temporary exhibit at locations all around the United States. This is a project inspired by NASA’s planned missions to Mars and beyond.
The theme of the School 26 artwork was, “Things you didn’t know about Edison,” and is intended to educate children on information that goes above and beyond just the famed inventor’s creation of the electric light bulb. School 1 students were tasked with the theme, “Ingenuity in the Face of Adversity” and is meant to educate children on what it was like for George Washington and his troops to live through the coldest, snowiest winter on record with very meager provisions and the ingenuity it took for the men to stay alive.

Under the direction of art teacher, Heather Moschberger, the students researched information about their topics and then created 24” x 24” paintings illustrating the theme.

Command Performance

JROT paradeIn keeping with their mission of “instilling civic responsibility” to their students, the Mighty Ghost Battalion of the JROTC of The School of Government and Public Administration at Eastside conducted a Memorial Day parade within the grounds of the Preakness Healthcare Center in Wayne. This tradition has been in place since 1992 and is overwhelmingly welcomed each year by the residents of the center. Afterward, the students were able to interact with many of the residents bringing joy to their day.

School 16 Media Center NamingSchool 16 Media Center NamingSchool 16 Media Center Naming

On June 16, School 16 dedicated its media center to School 16 alumna, Italian-American pioneer, and prominent Patersonian, Mary Augusto.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

Farewell to Dr. Donnie Evans

ns at staff meetingAfter 8 years of service, leaving behind a “brighter futures” legacy of vastly improved student achievement including high school graduation rates, the creation of new elementary and high school academies, and the launch of extremely beneficial programs such as Full Service Community Schools.  Now, as a result of this work, the reality of full local control is looming on the horizon. Dr. Evans is a dedicated, super-professional superintendent who has proved his mettle, done most of what he set out to do, and will be rededicating himself to his wife, family and embracing sidelined professional pursuits like writing and teaching on the university level.

During the recent (his last) central office staff meeting, Dr. Evans revealed that one of his favorite films is “Apollo 13.” He elaborated by explaining that the film, in which the three man crew of the crippled space mission, along with a team of focused professionals on Earth, work out their problems collaboratively, creatively and efficiently to bring the Apollo capsule and its crew safely back home. Dr’ Evans’ analogy seemed the perfect illustration of his tenure here. The superintendent has always given credit to the greater “village” of our district for the many accomplishments seen in recent times. Dr. Evans, it would seem, has been our “Cap-Com” at mission control.

So, we bid a fond farewell to our State District Superintendent, wishing him good health, good fortune, and a happy retirement. Click here for a full accounting of the major accomplishments achieved during Dr. Evans time here at Paterson Public Schools.

Librarian Numero Uno Retires

Dennis VroegindeweyAfter 45 years in service to the children of Paterson Public Schools, Mr. Dennis Vroegindewey has decided to hang up his library card. The affable, lanky Director of Instructional Technology & Library Media Services with trademark vintage book card in his shirt pocket will be retiring on June 30th after making an indelible mark on the district and our lives.

After coming to Paterson in 1972 as a “still wet behind the ears” teacher, Mr. V. did stints at schools 4, 15 and 10, and later moved on to more administrative style service in the 1980’s.  Dennis was a key player in the development of Project CLIMB, a math basic skills curriculum, the Interning for Learning program, a classroom management program; he later developed the Paterson Resource Center that included a professional development library and “make-and-take” teachers’ center.

During the 1990’s, as Coordinator of Paterson Resource Center, Dennis further expanded his role by managing the district’s elementary school traveling library program and the district’s professional development library and make-and-take teachers’ center. As Supervisor of Libraries, he made many resources available while developing the district’s Lester H. Rutland Resource Center for professional development, provided audio-visual support, and introduced district’s educational access cable television station. Dennis also developed and implemented district’s K-12 Library & Information Services Curriculum. Rounding out the ‘90’s, he helped by implementing the $1,000,000 DeWitt Wallace Reader’s Digest Library Power Grant in collaboration with the Paterson Education Fund.

From 1997 to 2005 Dennis served as Supervisor of Language Arts & Library Media Services during which time he obtained a number of significant grants, expanded school library programs, and supervised staff development, assessments and more. From 2005 through today, Dennis has served as Director of Instructional Technology & Library Media Services, continuing much of the work outlined here.
Goodbye, our friend… enjoy your retirement, you earned it. Paterson Public Schools is a better place because of you. When asked what he will be doing, Mr. Vroegindewey replied, “I’ll be around.”

Contributing Authors

School 12 third grade teacher, Mrs. Conyers, science teacher Ms. Albritton, and William Paterson University (WPU) Professor Julie Rosenthal recently published “Growing a School Garden:  Sowing the Seeds of Deep Engagement in a PDS Partnership,” a chapter in the book Expanding Opportunities to Link Research and Clinical Practice.  The chapter describes the gardening activities that have developed as a result of the partnership between WPU and School 12. 

School 12 third grade teacher, Mrs. Conyers, science teacher Ms. Albritton

Upcoming Events

June 23: Last Day for Students / Graduation Day

June 26-27: High School Summer School Registration

June 27: Last Day for Staff

July 1: Middle School Soccer League Finals

4:00 p.m. at Pennington Park Turf Field    

July 5 - Aug. 11: Summer School

July 13: Dr. Evans' Retirement Celebration

6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. at The Brownstone House   

July 14: Middle School Soccer League Championship

7:00 p.m. at Pennington Park Turf Field    

July 10-28 Preschool Summer Enrichment Program

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element
for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”

— Carl Jung
Pioneering Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst