Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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Previous issues of District HiLItes can be found here.

November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

In this issue:

  • STEM students chosen to update "Mill Mile" app
  • Great Falls Academy celebrates its first “Gentlemen's Day"
  • J. F. K. students participate in Cyber-Science Camp

Effective Academic Programs

Students will Design Tour App

Students will Design Tour App Students from the School of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at JFK have been chosen by the Hamilton Partnership of Paterson and the Great Falls National Park to update the “Mill Mile” application, which is the app for a free walking tour of the Great Falls. Over the course of the school year, the STEM students will research, write, advertise, and launch the new app.  Participating students and teachers will not only have the opportunity to apply what they have studied in their history and applied technology courses, but they will also be able to put their own “stamp” on Paterson’s history for years to come. For more information on the Mill Mile visit this link: http://www.millmile.org/

Artists Need Math, Too!

William Paterson University (WPU) Annual Math FairThis past month, a number of passionate math students from Rosa Parks High School of Fine and Performing Arts (RPHS) attended the William Paterson University (WPU) Annual Math Fair.  The fair was a full-day event and featured guest lecturers and work-shops that taught students how to apply mathematics to real life situations.

Dr. Jyoti Champanerka, assistant chair of the WPU College of Science and Mathematics, was the keynote speaker who explained about career paths and how to use basic math skills for every day applications, including time-management, financing and having fun with statistics.

RPHS mathematics teacher Kavita Cassimiro declared, “Students were able to experience what a real-life college setting looked like. They also learned that actually taking in the content, rather than just memorizing it, was the key to being successful in math and using it in their own lives.”

Cyber-Science Camp!

Cyber-Science Camp!Students from John F. Kennedy Educational Complex recently participated in the Felician University-AT&T Cyber-Science Camp. Thanks to a partnership cultivated by Assistant Superintendent Susana Peron, the students had an amazing opportunity to learn about a variety of fields and technology career choices. The students not only had a chance to listen to professors from the university, but also engaged in hands-on activities in three different workshops. Each student got a chance to learn about Web Design using Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) while learning different encryption algorithms. They then moved on to drawing and animation using Java Script which helped them build even more confidence in their computer skills. Lastly the students learned how to extract DNA, the genetic code of all life on Earth, from different organisms. The students not only gained valuable knowledge about possible career options, but also a better understanding of what the college classroom can offer.

Celebrating Truly Outstanding Students

Please join us in a public celebration of exceptional scores attained by 112 students on the 2016 administrations of the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJASK) examinations. The recognition and awards presentations will take place during the 6:00 p.m. hour, immediately prior to the regular Board of Education Meeting on November 30th.

ASPIRA, Inc. club at the School of Government and Public Administration School 7 held a mock presidential election Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics (STEAM) Expo

Student members of the ASPIRA, Inc. club at the School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) at Eastside, traveled to Kean University for a college tour. Since Kean University offers bilingual education, it has emerged as a significant choice for bilingual students. The tour was guided by former GOPA students who now attend Kean University.

School 7 held a mock presidential election.  All students were presented with a power point on the election process as well as a profile of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Eighth grade students Andrea Cadenas and Kiara Berry-Sainte presented the candidates’ view on the Economy, Education, Energy and National Security. After the presentation each student went to the polling booth and cast their vote.

Don Bosco Technical Academy held a very successful Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics (STEAM) Expo in their gymnasium.

CAHTS Students get a Glimpse of County Government and More

CAHTS field tripThis past October, Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism at Eastside teachers, Ms. Sanabria and Mr. Mathis, took 9 students to the Passaic County Administration Building and participated in an annual event called, Youth in Government Day. This event is for students to learn about County Government and its operations. The exposure the students received while going on this field trip was priceless. They met with county officials (some of whom were campaigning for re-election) such as our County Freeholders, Surrogate, County Clerk and Sheriff. They also had the opportunity to go to Passaic County Community College (PCCC) for a presentation on attending college by Paterson Councilwoman Maritza Davila, Councilman Andre Sayegh and the PCCC President Steven M. Rose. Then, the students had an adventure in history, traveling to the Dey Mansion which was the headquarters of George Washington’s Army in 1780, located in Wayne. Finally, they went to the Preakness Wellness Center in Wayne, where the students played bingo with the residents.

A Very Busy Summer

Ms. Lym This past summer, Ms. Lym, Art Foundations Educator at School of Business, Technology, Marketing, and Finance (BTMF) at JFK, participated in a one week scholarship program through Arts Horizons, which sponsors the summer Art Teacher Institutes every year.  Ms. Lym chose to take the one week “Ceramic Intensive” with renowned ceramic muralist, potter and author, DeBorah Goletz. 
Ms. Lym was also invited to participate in a one day "Seeing Algorithms" workshop at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY.  She was the only NJ art educator to participate along with 25 New Yorkers. Audrey Bennett, Professor of Communications and Media at Rensselaer Polytechnic University, used one of her paintings during her presentation. Lym plans on implementing her research on algorithms with her own students and will be shared as part of Professor Bennett's research.
The Kennedy teacher’s artwork was also included in another RPI Professor's mathematics textbook called Math is a Verb.  Professor Author Ron Eglash is a Professsor of Science and Technology who assisted Professor Bennett during the Seeing Algorithms workshop.

Ms. Lym was also invited by Ambassador Geeta Pasi to exhibit her work at the US Embassy in N'Djamena, the capital city of Chad. Ambassador Pasi, who was appointed by President Obama to be the Ambassador to Chad was previously Ambassador to Djibouti, where Ms. Lym also exhibited one of her artworks, as recommended by one of the Art in the Embassies curators in Washington, DC during 2012-2014. The painting was created with handmade dyes on silk and is entitled, "182.”

College Fair at Essex County College

Malcolm Bernard Historically Black Colleges and Universities The 18th annual Malcolm Bernard Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) College Fair was recently held at Essex County College. Junior and Senior students from all three Eastside Campus schools attended the fair along with their guidance counselors. There they were greeted by a workshop of alumni from HBCU schools and heard about the wonderful experience awaiting them at these schools. Then the students met with representatives from various HBCU schools to gain more insight into their programs. Many of the seniors who attended were prepared to be interviewed and were accepted to college on site.

Two for the Arts

Hope ClaytonTwo for the ArtsThis past first Marking Period, Becky Becque, who is the Northeast representative for Full Sail University in Winter Park Florida, and Hope Clayton, who is the Northeast representative for the Art Institutes, came to give presentations to Ms. Lym's Art Foundations classes at JFK's School of Business, Technology, Marketing and Finance.  All Art Foundation students were given a Creative Career Presentation from these two art programs. The two guest presenters also talked about various scholarship opportunities for these students.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

Dapper Young Men

Dapper Young Men On November 4th, Great Falls Academy (GFA) celebrated its first “Gentlemen's Day.” Gentlemen's Day encourages the young men of GFA to exhibit characteristics that exemplify proper, gentlemanly behavior and dress. This project was spearheaded by English teacher, Mr. Montague and seven young men. They partnered with Calvin Klein and Kenneth Cole to outfit the young men in shirts, ties, watches and other accessories. The School Principal, Mr. Glisson, GFA staff and the Inspirational Choir of St. Matthew AME church provided financial support. The young men enjoyed tremendous support from their classmates and staff and it was truly a transformational experience. The day culminated with dinner at Zinburger, were the young men were able to take the skills they practiced during the day, and use them outside the classroom and school.

A Grand Tour

School of Architecture and Construction Trades (ACT) at JFKSchool of Architecture and Construction Trades (ACT) at JFK Professor in Residence, Carol Bruzzano, was instrumental in organizing a William Paterson University (WPU) student teachers’ visit to ACT. The student teachers were on hand to witness authentic learning taking place at the school. Ms. Jessie Rack, the Student Leadership Committee (SLC) and school climate and culture advisor, prepped her SLC members to host this, ACT Academy's first ever William Paterson University class tour.

Ms. Rack set expectations high for the ACT student leaders. She prepared them to independently apply their public speaking skills to lead the Q&A session at the start of the visit. The 21 William Paterson University visitors were impressed, and they shared the results back at their school! Thank you letters from the students and their professor followed a week later.

A Positively Great October

October was a very busy month at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School, starting with the Week of Respect. Officers from the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department visited the school several times, talking to third and fourth grade students about bullying and gang awareness. The month ended with a very successful Red Ribbon Week which was full of a fun and different daily activities that helped promote a healthy and drug-free lifestyle.

One very special community based activity was held in which the students gathered and donated trunk loads of very much needed canned food items to the Father English Food Pantry. The students continued the celebration throughout the building by decorating every single classroom door with a positive drug-free message. Student Assistance Counselor, Mrs. Ani Silvani along with a judging committee had a very difficult time choosing a winner!

School 18 PANTHER walkathon

At School 18 and in lieu of a Halloween party filled with sugar and junk food, they held “Pumpkin Painting Party.” The students were each accompanied by a family member, and everyone had a blast!

The Academy of Earth and Space Science (PANTHER) held its annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walkathon. Over 200 students and staff walked a designated route around Passaic County Community College during their Physical Education class time. The students walked a cumulative 397 miles!

School 7 RunSchool 7 RunSchool 7 Run

Students, teachers, and family members ran along the neighborhood streets in School 7's annual "Run for Fun"

Family and Community Engagement

Honoring Our Veterans

Honoring Our VeteransThe School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) at Eastside celebrated Veterans Day at their annual assembly honoring the veterans of VFW Post #227, a school partner and veterans of our school community. All veterans received a certificate of appreciation and placed a pin on a world map designating their location of military service. In addition, 20 cases of non-perishable food was collected from both students and staff, and donated to Post # 227. The veterans group then ships the food to military bases overseas. The students also included letters of encouragement for the soldiers. The JROTC closed the ceremony by retiring the colors.

baskets of Thanksgiving cheer School 9

The School of Government and Public Administration (GOPA) at Eastside donated baskets of Thanksgiving cheer to several families within the school community. Through the generosity of both staff and students, the school was able to create a more joyous Thanksgiving holiday for many.

It's that time of the year again! The School 9 family made 34 families extremely happy this Thanksgiving in South Paterson!  

Keeping Math in the FamilyKeeping Math in the Family

The School 13 Parent Teacher Organization recently hosted a Family Math Night. Math Coordinator Ms. R. Bundick stated, “Our .goal was to give students the chance to think independently and work cooperatively without being afraid to take risks, and dive into the difficult tasks. They can get out of their comfort zone while preparing for college.”  She was assisted by teachers Ms. McMillan, Ms. Malone, Mr. Ramos, Ms. Sumter, and Ms. P. Sumter. The classes featured a 5 Part Conceptual Model for Learning. Activities helped to reinforce skills that have been covered in class while serving as an intervention for skills students needed to improve.

Jersey cares at school 9 “McPTO Night.”

The Jersey Cares organization conducted a service project at School 9 with 20 volunteers who donated their time by renovating the faculty lounge and assembling picnic tables for the school's playground.

The McDonald's restaurant on Broadway and district Parent Teacher Organization leadership joined together to raise money for parent involvement with an event called, “McPTO Night.”

Efficient and Responsive Operations

A Wonderful Colleague and Friend Retires

Mrs. Jacqueline JonesAfter 43 years of service, Paterson Board of Education icon and current Chief of Staff to the Superintendent, Mrs. Jacqueline Jones is retiring. Mrs. Jones came to the district as a Business Education Teacher in the fall of 1973 at John F. Kennedy High School. While there she became Director of Attendance, and in 1989 became the Business Education Department Chair. She served as Principal of the district's High School Summer School Program until 1997 when she was appointed as Executive Assistant to the State District Superintendent and then Chief of Staff.  Mrs. Jones served as Executive Assistant to State District Superintendents: Dr. Edwin Duroy, Dr. Dennis Clancy for two terms, Dr. Michael Glascoe and most recently as Chief of Staff for Dr. Donnie W. Evans.

It is no wonder that all who have worked with Mrs. Jones will miss her cordial, easy-going, but no-nonsense style. She has served the children of Paterson Public Schools with class, dignity and above all uncompromising professionalism. We in the Communications Department wish our wonderful friend and colleague all the best in her retirement and sincerely hope she pays us all a visit from time to time. Congratulations Mrs. Jones! You can click here for a slideshow of photos featuring Mrs. Jones.


Self-reflection is often a pathway to forging a new idea or strategy.  Eastside Campus Foundations of Writing teacher, Susan Palzer, has seized an opportunity by writing a reflective piece that was published in The Record newspaper this past summer. Entitled: "At Eastside High English Class, All You Need Is the Fab 4," Palzer recounts the process of utilizing her extensive knowledge of the Beatles to inject creativity in her students. The piece illustrates how the Beatles wrote descriptive, seamless, poetic lyrics that impacted her to appreciate the beauty of words. This was her second op-ed piece published in The Record, and while thrilled to have had the opportunity to show her students the fruits of her labor, it is also an example of how persistence, patience and dogged determination contribute to raising the bar in her classes. As if being published wasn't exciting enough, Susan received numerous letters admiring her essay, including one by an author of a Beatles book who sent her an autographed copy of his work.

She is currently working on a memoir entitled: "Answers May Vary" and a children's book based on an Eastside student's reaction to a pumpkin she brought in to class. The girl would rub the pumpkin every day for good luck and gradually, her grades improved which qualified her for the Honor Roll. Ms. Palzer explained to her that she really didn't need the pumpkin for such an achievement, and that simply believing in oneself was even more effective. Soon she was attaining honor roll without the pumpkin. Click here to read Ms. Palzer’s op-ed piece.

Upcoming Events

Football Game


Nov. 24-25 Thanksgiving Recess

District closed

Nov. 27: Rosa L. Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts 30th Anniversary Gala

7:00 p.m. at The Brownstone   

Nov. 28: Report Card Distribution

for School 7, Don Bosco & New Roberto Clemente
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 29: Report Card Distribution

all other K-8 schools
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 30: Board of Education Regular Meeting

6:00 p.m. NJASK & PARCC Recognitions
7:00 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex: Rescheduled from 11/16

“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
— Mark Twain,
American writer and humorist