Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

We welcome your submissions on school and district related events. Click here to submit stories and photos.
Previous issues of District HiLItes can be found here.

September 15, 2016

In this issue:

  • International High School ranks among best in America
  • A healthy environment at School 8
  • Paterson's Gifted and Talented Program recognized nationally
  • Passaic County's Athletic Director of the Year at JFK

Effective Academic Programs

“Seriousness of Purpose”

International High School

Paterson Public Schools’ International High School (IHS) has joined the exclusive ranks of 500 schools nation-wide named to the Newsweek Americas Top High Schools for 2016.  The annual list is published to highlight schools doing a great job preparing students for college, despite challenging economic status.

Paterson Music Project Mrs. Horowitz

The children of the Paterson Music Project string ensemble of Schools 1 and 26 performed a spirited musical recital for the Board of Education at the August regular meeting.

School 24/Fine and Performing Arts Program music teacher and accomplished flautist in her own right, Nancy Horowitz, traveled to Switzerland this summer with a sponsorship provided by Straubinger Flutes. Here she is seen with world-famous flautist, Sir James Galway.

Girding up District Leadership

District TrainingThis August, an entire week of Professional Development (PD) activities took place for all district administrators leading up to the opening of school for the 2016-2017 year. The first three days held at Passaic Community College included principals, directors, vice-principals and supervisors who gathered for full-day presentations and workshops covering topics as varied as the district's move to local control, to use of Social Media and Special Education legal issues. Breakout sessions were presented on the PPS Instructional Model, Using Data to Inform Instruction and Decision Making, and the newly organized “ODAT” or Office of Data, Accountability and Technology.

Following three days of PD at the college, principals and vice-principals only rounded out the week with two days of workshops and lectures at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex auditorium. The Superintendent’s Cabinet members delivered essential information necessary for a smooth opening day and subsequent school-year. New procedures, protocols and best practices of all kinds were covered. The Department of Family and Community Engagement pushed home their mission with a keynote presentation by PCCC Professor Christopher DeMarco, on developing change and response strategies when interfacing with parents.

Being the Change

The Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented is examined prominently in this story in the Washington Diplomat. Click here to read this article centering on the underserved G&T student populations in urban areas and how school districts like ours are addressing this issue.

Bringing Back her Experience

This summer, Lizandaa Alburg, social studies teacher at The Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented, traveled more than 2,300 miles to offer her students new, dynamic Wing Luke Scholarscontent about Asian immigration. Ms. Alburg was selected as a National Endowment of the Humanities Summer Scholar to attend a workshop entitled: “From Immigrants to Citizens: Asian Pacific Americans in the Northwest,” held in Seattle, Washington.

The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience hosted the one-week program which was taught by national and local scholars. The seminar also offered field trips in Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, and to other regional sites of historic and cultural significance, such as Port Townsend and the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial.

“It was an honor to travel to Seattle to learn directly from acclaimed scholars, historical artifacts, and cultural sites about the experiences of Asian immigrants,” said Ms. Alburg. “In today’s climate of inclusion it is especially important to understand and respect our unique experiences within America. The knowledge I gained will certainly enrich the learning experiences of my students, and remind us all that we as Americans share more similarities than differences.”

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

They’re Hardly Tardy!

The School 9 “Don’t Be Tardy Committee” put forth a school-wide initiative to decrease student tardiness. Classes with the fewest tardy students were rewarded with monthly themed parties. The committee also implemented a learning component to help students understand the importance of being on time as a life skill. They helped students strategize various ways to ensure punctuality and productivity. Thanks to the committee’s hard work, School 9 saw a 16% decrease in student tardiness and expects to continue to decrease those numbers.


Healthy Living at 8

Following their efforts to embrace a healthier, more physically active school culture, School 8 has received a prestigious national recognition. First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Active Schools initiative has bestowed School 8 with a 2016 Bronze Award for their hard work. The minimum requirement of this program is to see that everyone at a school participates in 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Congratulations Mr. Bacchus and your healthy School 8 community!

extended year program

Click here to view a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the 2016 STARS Academy End of School-Year activities.

Family and Community Engagement

Who’s Watching the Store?

Norman S WeirMs. Mathews, 1st Grade Teacher at the Norman S. Weir School (NSW), facilitates student learning both in and out of the classroom by encouraging and allowing children to address real needs in their community. She accomplishes this by opening the NSW School Store each year which is operated by 1st and 2nd grade student volunteers. Students connect their educational experiences to real life by applying their developing skills to such activities. Some of their experiences include: fund raising and awareness, championing causes, and volunteering. They learn first-hand the value of social responsibility and citizenship. Last year, they presented a check to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital representative Terrance Johnson at the annual NSW Educational Arts Festival!

Rodney Hampton at Silk City Alnissa Rodriguez Open House at Dr. Hani Awadallah School

Superbowl XXV Champion and two-time Pro Bowl running back Rodney Hampton recently paid a visit to Paterson. The prolific supporter of children and youth athletics conducted a football clinic at Bauerle Field for dozens of local children, ages 5 to 13.

Original Commemorative 9-11 drawing by Alnissa Rodriguez-
Grade 8, Norman S. Weir School

The new Dr. Hani Awadallah School celebrated the opening of their facility and honored the revered community leader with a well-attended gala open house for families and stakeholders.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

They Have That “New Car Smell.”

New School 16The school district is proud to announce official grand-opening ceremonies for our two brand-new elementary school facilities, School 16 and Dr. Hani Awadallah School. Both ceremonies will feature commentary by each school’s principal, Dr. Evans, the Mayor, state officials, along with local Dr. Hani Awadallah Schooldignitaries and others. There will be student performances, tours and even be a brief video featuring the late Dr. Hani Awadallah at his eponymous facility. Contents of the time capsule unearthed during demolition of the old School 16 will be on view in the lobby there. A ribbon-cutting will take place at the entrance to each school. The School 16 event will take place on Tuesday, September 20, while the Dr. Hani Awadallah School event takes place on Thursday, September 29. Both ceremonies begin at 10 a.m.

Mr. Durham Does it Again

Mr. Scott Durham, Paterson Public Schools’ Director of Athletics once again distinguished himself, this time by being named,Athletic Director of the Year by the Passaic County Coaches Association. Mr. Durham will be celebrated at the Coach of the Year Awards Ceremony to be held at The Brownstone in October. Mr. Durham will be recognized for this and his long list of other career accomplishments and victories at the September Board of Education regular meeting on the 21st along with Mr. Mark Ferlanti who was named Coach of the Year in tennis in last spring.

Tour of City Susana Peron Steve Adubato

Paterson 6th Ward Councilman Andre Sayegh was the official guide for new public school teachers on a bus tour of the city.

Ms. Susana Peron, Assistant Superintendent for Academic Services and Special Programs appears on Caucus NJ with Steve Adubato on the topic of Early Childhood Innovation. The pre-recorded segment will air about a month from now.

Upcoming Events

Sept. 20: Back-to-School Night

For School 7, Don Bosco, and New Roberto Clemente

Sept. 21: Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Sept. 22: Back-to-School Night

For all other K-8 schools

Sept. 24: Free Medical Services Fair

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at School 28 

Sept. 27: Back-to-School Night

For high schools

Oct. 3-7: HIB Week of Respect

Oct. 17-21: School Violence Awareness Week


“Reflect upon your present blessings – of which every man has many –
not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

— Charles Dickens, writer