Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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Previous issues of District HiLItes can be found here.

October 27, 2016

In this issue:

  • Garrett Morgan student shines at medical gathering
  • School 15 builds up some STEAM
  • Schools celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
  • School 12 team chosen for “Teach to Lead” summit in DC

Effective Academic Programs

High School Choice Starts NOW!

The 2016 High School Choice Fair will take place on Tuesday, November 1st at the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex, 61-127 Preakness Avenue, from 6 to 8 p.m. This is the best opportunity for 8th Grade students and their families to learn all about what options are available at the 12 thematic Paterson Public Schools high school academies. This is also a great opportunity to meet the principals, teachers, counselors and even currently enrolled students. Click here for a detailed flyer and here for a video PSA.

Looks like Her Destiny is Medicine

Destini WhyteIn June, Junior Destini Whyte represented the Garrett Morgan Academy of Transportation & Engineering, and the State of New Jersey at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, Massachusetts. Destini was presented with an official "Award of Excellence", certifying her successful completion of the Congress.

 At the Congress, Destini was surrounded by fellow students who share her passion, ability and potential. She watched a live surgery and many delegates had a chance to question the surgeon in real time. As a result of attending, Destini was personally taught by some of the greatest minds in medicine today.

All about STEAM

Madison Pre K ConferenceOn October 1st, five members of School 15’s Madison Early Learning Center attended the William Paterson University Early Childhood Conference:  “Harnessing STEAM Power:  Elements of a High Quality STEAM Experience.”  (STEAM stands for: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics”) Teachers had the opportunity to choose from more than a dozen options for their two workshop sessions.  Education Program Development Specialist for the NJ Department of Education Rosanne Regan Hansel served as the Conference keynote speaker.  Funds from the school's membership in the William Paterson University Professional Development Schools Network covered the teachers’ Conference registration fees.

RPHS Attends NJ Black Issues Convention

Rosa Parks Black Issues

This past month, students from the Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts (RPHS) had the opportunity to attend the New Jersey Black Issues Convention at Rutgers University. While attending they participated in a variety of workshops and discussions dealing with critical issues impacting Black communities throughout the state and around the nation.  The annual statewide conference features leaders, professionals and experts on social diversity issues. This year’s keynote speaker at the conference was accomplished Communications Strategist and MSNBC contributor, Ms. Tara Dowdell.

School 12 Leads the Way

School 12 Teacher Anissa Martin-Conyers and Vice Principal Tyeshia Hilbert will participate, along with faculty and a teacher candidate from William Paterson University, in the Teach to Lead Educator Preparation Summit in Washington D.C., November 3-4. Teach to Lead is an initiative supported by the US Department of Education, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), and the National Board. The summit focuses on getting teachers to play a more central role in transforming teaching and learning, school climate, and educator preparation. The School 12 team has been invited to participate in the summit by discussing the ways in which the partnership has supported pre-service teacher education and student learning at the school.  Specifically, Ms. Martin-Conyers and Dr. Rosenthal of WPU have been co-teaching an elementary certification course in the teaching of literacy on-site for several years. Most recently, by using the School 12 Community Garden as context, they have also been exploring the links between language and literacy development along with enhanced science learning. Dr. Betsy Golden, Professor in Residence at School 12, has facilitated Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics (STEAM) instruction at the school by bringing in “teaching artists” to work with children on interdisciplinary projects, including the school’s community garden.  The School 12 Administration has been extremely supportive of the partnership with William Paterson, which is why the team was chosen as one of 16 participants from an applicant pool of 96 proposals.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

PBSIS Event Roars to Life!

School 12 Tiger PrideRecently, the School 12 Tigers “roared” in the annual Week of Respect with a Tiger Pride Positive Behavior Support in Schools (PBSIS) kick-off event.  Promoted by second grade teacher Maryann Fahy Marren, Firemen Troy Ayers and Herman Irving along with fellow firemen, were brought in to celebrate along with the School 12 family.  They participated in this tremendous event by grilling and serving hot dogs, chips, and water to approximately 550 students.  During the event, students were awarded prizes for answering questions, and for exhibiting their Tiger Pride expectations of being Polite, Respectful, Intelligent, Determined, and Empowered (PRIDE).

Stand Up! Speak Out!

School 24 Speak out AssemblySchool 24 students were recently treated to an assembly program presented by Susan Goodman, saxophonist, songwriter and educator. The program, aptly entitled: “Stand Up! Speak Out,” catered to all grades. The students were presented with themes on bias and “bullying and bystanders,” and then given the opportunity for interaction through discussion, videos and songs.

Students were enthused and readily volunteered with answers and sang songs. Teachers were seen enjoying the program just as much as the students while being the subject for some of the songs. Top songs were “Please Get to Know Me,” “Songs for all Sizes,” and “Stand Up.”

Un Espectaculo Delicioso (A Delicious Show)

NRC Hispanic CelebrationThe New Roberto Clemente School (NRC) cafeteria came alive on the second Friday in October when music teacher Mr. Webb and his talented performers hit the stage to entertain students and staff during each lunch period.  These Hispanic Heritage celebrations included vocal performances, a sharing of information about countries where Spanish is spoken, (along with digital projections of each nation’s flag), and demonstrations of traditional musical instruments. Each performance concluded with a lively dance number featuring half dozen couples who dazzled the audience with their grace and enthusiasm.

Mr. Webb holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Music Education from William Paterson University (WPU), and frequently mentors WPU teacher candidates at NRC, which is a member of the WPU Professional Development Schools Network.

The Real Face of Sexual Assault

JFK Sexual Assault AssemblyIn recognition of Violence Awareness Week Ms. Laurel Olson – the Student Assistance coordinator at the John F Kennedy Educational Complex – showed a documentary film focusing on the seriousness of sexual assaults. The documentary was shown to all freshmen in each of the school’s four academies. This 95 minute film examined the effects of these crimes on families, friends, schools and communities, particularly when underage girls find that their sexual assaults have been caught on camera. The film also follows their outcomes through time, on social media, in court documents and police investigations.

School 27 60th AnniversarySchool 27 60th AnniversarySchool 27 60th Anniversary

School 27 turned 60 years young this month. Here are some scenes from their celebration.


SET Hispanic CelebrationMrs. Guzman and Mrs. James and their students at the School of Education and Training (SET) created an amazing extravaganza celebrating Hispanic Heritage and Caribbean Culture. Students sang, danced and read poetry related to the various countries showcased. Some students spoke about what it means to come from a certain place; and although Jamaica, The Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico are the dominant cultures represented at SET, many more were celebrated with a flag display and a march through the audience.

School 24 Dominican Pride

Students of Mag Ortiz, Bilingual Teacher at School 24, were invited by Councilman-at-Large Alex Mendez to perform at Paterson's City Hall in celebration of Dominican Pride.

Armed with Awareness

School 9 Violence Awareness WeekSchool 9 began School Violence Awareness Week by holding a gang awareness assembly presented by the Paterson Police Department. Sergeant Price, Officer Colon, and Officer Grayson fascinated 7th and 8th grade students with a discussion and video. The presentation concluded with the officers answering many thoughtful student-posed questions. The assembly focused on prevention through education, smart choices, and awareness of consequences. 

Family and Community Engagement

Saving Lives One Pint at a Time

The Academy of Health Science (HARP) recently held a successful blood drive. The school has established a partnership with Community Blood Services which is a local, community-based organization. The school registered 42 donors, and thirty pints were collected. Each pint of blood can potentially save the lives of three individuals. Donors included HARP students, alumni, faculty and two John F. Kennedy Educational Complex students. "Donating always makes me feel good," said HARP Academy Senior, Jazmin Morales. I was so nervous the first time. But now, I donate every time we have a blood drive." Last year, HARP Academy collected 75 pints of blood in all. All donations go directly to Saint Joseph's Hospital. Community Blood Services also provides a book-award scholarship for a deserving college bound senior. Two more Blood Drives are scheduled for this school year.

HARP Blood DriveHARP Blood DriveHARP Blood Drive

HARP Academy Makes Strides

Academy of Health Science (HARP) students, staff members, parents, and family members participated in the Making Strides for Breast Cancer Event in Piscataway, NJ. The group, led by Allied Health Teacher Lecia Williamson, collected cash pledges to participate in the two mile event.

Later in the month, the HARP Academy community participated in the Live Pink Awareness Day for Breast Cancer. Students and staff donated $1 and donned pink attire for the cause. Both events raised more than $350.00 for The American Cancer Society.

HARP Making Strides
RPHS dancers

The Rosa Parks Dance Ensemble recently performed at Nimbus Dance Works in Jersey City. Nimbus Dance Works is regarded as the premier dance company in Northern New Jersey.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

Teachers Teaching Teachers

JFK Professor in ResidenceWilliam Paterson University (WPU) Professor-in-Residence at the John F. Kennedy educational Complex (JFK), Carole Bruzzano, and JFK School of Education and Training Academy (SET) Teacher and WPU Clinical Educator, Jessica Katz, recently presented at the Two Year College English Association – Northeast Conference (TYCA-NE) in Hartford, Connecticut.

The title of their session was: “Using Drama to Enhance Critical Thinking in Writing.” Through the WPU partnership with SET, Jessica and Carole began collaborating on planning lessons, researching best practices, designing activities, and testing strategies in the classroom. They presented what worked in sessions for colleagues within the school complex. This 60 minute co-presented session involved participants in active learning strategies created from drama and improvisation techniques. The technique enhances students’ critical thinking skills for cause and effect and argument developments in their writing.

Upcoming Events

Oct. 28: Staff In-Service

1:00 Student dismissal

Nov. 1: Annual High School CHOICE Fair

6:00 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex   

Nov. 2: Board of Education Workshop

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

Nov. 8: Election Day

District closed

Nov. 10: NJEA Convention

Schools closed

Nov. 11: Veterans' Day and NJEA Convention

District closed

Nov. 15: 1st Marking Period Ends

Nov. 16: Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

“Respect yourself, and others will respect you.”
— Confucius,
Chinese teacher and philosopher - 551 – 479 BC