Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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Previous issues of District HiLItes can be found here.

September 30, 2016

In this issue:

  • GOPA students attend Rider U. Political Science seminar
  • Using technology effectively at School 29
  • International High School holds voter registration event
  • Two brand-new schools officially join PPS roster

Effective Academic Programs

Leaders in Training at GOPA

Eastside High SchoolSeniors Zaire Dixon and Jhonatan Garcia from the School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) at Eastside were sponsored by American Legion Post 225 to participate in Boys State New Jersey 2016 at Rider University. “Boys State” is a week-long summer leadership and citizenship program which fully immerses participants in government and politics. While at Boys State, the boys were engaged in a number of activities such as running for a political office, electing government officials, drafting and debating bills, participating in city and county mock courts, and a State Supreme Court. As Jhonathan Garcia explains, “The whole experience was definitely eye-opening for me. It taught me the importance of teamwork and negotiation.”  Experiencing such governing activities is a direct extension of the school’s mission.

Enhancing Learning with Technology

School 29 facultyHow do we help children identify and prepare for careers that will allow them to pursue their passions?  School 29 Principal, Mr. Ventura, is exploring this question with his faculty members, introducing them to Ken Robinson's riveting book: The Element.  As Mr. Ventura guides teachers through the book, he also has appreciated the opportunity to model a variety of new instructional approaches for examining and analyzing text. His first lesson incorporated a Zaption, a film clip/text response program he learned about at William Paterson University's Technology Conference last fall.  The program allows one to customize any online video with images, questions, and comments throughout the film or film clip.  Mr. Ventura also used Google Classroom and Padlet to provide forums for teachers to post insights.  Funds from the school's membership in the William Paterson University Professional Development Schools Network covered the cost of the books as well as the conference registration fees for both Mr. Ventura and School 29's computer technology teacher, Mr. Hill.

National Recognition

GOPA award

The School of Government and Public Administration at Eastside and The Rosa Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts were recently featured by the U.S. News & World Report as two of America’s Best High Schools for 2016. Criteria for this prestigious recognition includes, but is not limited to: graduation rate, student attendance, standards-based assessment scores, college partnerships, dual-enrollments, and advanced-placement and honors classes.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Shaking a Leg on Labor Day

Mag Ortiz’ School 24 students participated in the Great Falls Festival during the 2016 Labor Day holiday weekend. Keeping with the theme, "Celebrate Culture, Embrace Diversity," they danced a number of Latin-American dances while dressed in native costumes. Among several other dances, students performed the ever popular merengue, from the Dominican Republic.

School 24 at Great Falls

Remembering the Victims and Heroes

EHS JROTC at 9-11

The Mighty Ghosts Battalion of the JROTC at The School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) at Eastside recently paid tribute to the victims, first-responders and survivors of the September 11 tragedy with a solemn ceremony. The color guard presented the flag and lowered it to half-staff where it remained throughout the day. All 250 GOPA JROTC cadets participated in this annual ceremonial remembrance.

When You Need a Boost

JFK Bulletin BoardA new school year can be stressful for both students and staff. Ms. Olson, the Student Assistance Coordinator at the JFK Educational Complex, and many students from each of the four academies, worked together to create an interactive bulletin board. The new resource entitled, “Take What You Need,”  helps those having a bad day, to get through tough situations with morale boosting, take-away quotes and inspirational messages. This innovative resource also helps to boost the already positive morale in the halls of the school. If you are in the area, be sure you stop by and grab an inspirational note!

Family and Community Engagement

“Being the Voice”

In 2008, 6 million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. In 2016, International High School (IHS) wanted to make sure no one would be left out. As part of National Voter Registration Day at IHS, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Office of Assembly Woman Shavonda Sumter, Councilman Alex Mendez, and Deputy Superintendent of Elections, Mrs. Shona Mack-Pollock, presented a program about the importance of voting and how every vote count. This single day of coordinated field, technology, and media efforts created a pervasive awareness of voter registration opportunities–facilitating the education of new voters. National Voter Registration Day has also afforded participants a chance to put differences aside and celebrate the rights that unite us all as Americans. To that end, IHS hosted this event to encourage all students who are 18 years and older to become registered voters. They have been empowered to "Be the Voice" during election time.

International High School Voter RegistrationInternational High School Voter RegistrationInternational High School Voter Registration

Above Average “Shutterbug”

Cape May Magazine

Vincent T. Marchese, Social Studies teacher at the School of Architecture and Construction Trades (ACT) at the JFK Educational Complex, recently had one of his images published on the front cover of Cape May Magazine. The magazine featured a number of his photographs inside as well, accompanying an article on the old Admiral Hotel in Cape May, NJ. In addition to being an ACT Social Studies teacher for the, Mr. Marchese is an also accomplished photographer whose work has been published in several National magazines.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

New Schools Officially Join the Roster

In the September 15 issue of District HiLites, (They Have that New Car Smell) we mentioned official “ribbon-cutting” opening ceremonies to be held for the new School 16 and Dr. Hani Awadallah School facilities. Well, those ceremonies have since taken place on September 20th and 29th, and both were well-attended and festive affairs. Principals Olga Reyes (School 16), and Christine Johnson (Dr. Hani Awadallah), welcomed VIP’s that included government leaders, district administration, NJ School Development Authority officials, local community leaders, and more. The School 16 event included representation from former students of many years ago and an appearance by US Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr.; while the Dr. Hani Awadallah School also hosted Dr. Awadallah’s family, friends and associates. Both events featured spirited student performances and at Hani Awadallah, attendees were treated to a short video featuring footage of the school’s feisty, civic-minded namesake. Concluding each ceremony, attendees moved to the entrances of the schools, where State District Superintendent, Dr. Donnie Evans, used an oversized pair of ceremonial scissors to bisect red ribbons, marking the official opening of the facilities.

School 16 Ribbon CuttingSchool 16 Ribbon CuttingSchool 16 Ribbon Cutting

School 16 Opening

Dr. Hani Awadallah ribbon cuttingDr. Hani Awadallah ribbon cuttingDr. Hani Awadallah ribbon cutting

Dr. Hani Awadallah School Opening

Teacher Joins Executive Board

Mrs. Cindy CooneyMrs. Cindy Cooney, School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside teacher, and SOIT advisor to the Future Business Leaders Association (FBLA) has been elected to the New Jersey Cooperative Education Association (NJCEA) Executive Board for the 2016-2017 school year. NJCEA is a resource for education professionals involved in supervising students involved in work-based learning experiences such as: Cooperative Education, Clinical Youth Apprenticeship, and Registered Apprenticeship. This is another significant honor for Mrs. Cooney who was named the Paterson Public Schools’ 2014-2015 Teacher of the Year.

Board of Ed Recognition Board of Ed Recognition

The Passaic County Coaches Association has chosen JFK Supervisor of Athletics, Scott Durham, as their Athletics Director of the Year, and Tennis Coach, Mark Ferlanti as Coach of the Year (Liberty Division). They were both honored at the September BOE Regular Meeting for their achievements.

Upcoming Events

Oct. 3: Rosh Hashanah

District closed

Oct. 3-7: HIB Week of Respect

Oct. 5: Board of Education Workshop

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

Oct. 5: Back-to-School Night

For New Roberto Clemente. Don Bosco, and School 7 (rescheduled)
6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.

Oct. 6: Back-to-School Night

For all other K-8 schools (rescheduled)
6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.

Oct. 10: Columbus Day

District closed

Oct. 13: Back-to-School Night

For high schools (rescheduled)
6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

Oct. 17-21: School Violence Awareness Week

Oct. 19: PSAT Administration Day

Oct 19: Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Oct. 28: Staff In-Service

1:00 Student dismissal

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
— Helen Keller, Writer, political activist