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Paterson Public Schools District HiLites

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Previous issues of District HiLItes can be found here.

December 8, 2016

In this issue:

  • School 28/Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented get national recognition
  • “Exceptional Achievers” are celebrated as our very best
  • School 24 math teacher receives prestigious award from NJDOE
  • Holiday Season brings out charity and care across the district

Effective Academic Programs

Gifted… Talented… And on the National Radar!

School 28/Paterson Academy for the Gifted & Talented (PAGT) has been selected by the New Jersey Department of Education to be the State’s designee as a National Title I Distinguished School. According to the letter sent to the school from the National Title I Association, the school was selected for national recognition “because of the success of the school’s educational programs and progress made by your students.” The Association also noted that “each state may only name two schools as National Title I Distinguished Schools per year, so this is an especially prestigious honor.” Click here for a NorthJersey.com article highlighting this wonderful news!

Exceptional Achievers Celebrated

Exceptional Achievers CelebratedThe November Regular Meeting of the Board of Education was the site of the district’s annual celebration of Exceptional Achievers who distinguished themselves with very high scores and/or perfect scores on the PARCC and NJASK assessments. This event was sidelined last year as the first year implementation of PARCC was used to “normalize” a baseline for future testing. Now, the district’s celebration of our best and brightest is back, and our students have shown that they can perform at very high levels. Of the 112 students recognized that evening -  90 attained a “5” (Exceeding Expectations) on PARCC ELA and Math, and 1 had a perfect score on PARCC Math and NJASK Science; 7 had a perfect score on NJASK Science. 22 additional students attained a perfect score on NJASK Science, and 2 received perfect scores on NJASK Science when tested in the 4th grade, and again in the 8th grade. Click here for a chart outlining all Exceptional Achievers and their scores. Pictured are Nathaline Madrigal Jimenez and Angel Leonor, who both received multiple perfect scores.

Close Encounters of the Executive Kind

SOIT at UPSThe School of Information Technology (SOIT) at Eastside awarded some of its students to an IT-themed field trip to the United Parcel Service Corporation (UPS) located in Mahwah. The students were treated to a career day in which they experienced several motivational guest speakers. The speakers included some who were from and educated in Paterson, with many years of employment at the company. They delivered a positive message, clearly expressed to the students: It doesn’t matter where you come from; the fact is that you can still be successful with hard work and a good education. Even the UPS vice president, Kim Fields took time from her busy schedule to speak with the students. The students were given a tour of the data center where information about the numerous corporate networks across the globe was indicated on computer monitors. The various colors shown on the displays indicated various levels of urgency of network issues which needed to be resolved by the network specialists. Students also learned about the various internships that UPS sponsors to college students. Student Ruth Omoyinmi declared, “The UPS field trip was informative and inspirational. It was a great experience for any students striving for success.”

School 12 Pax Amicus Theater

At School 12, Mr. Zulauf’s sixth graders recently completed reading the book, Bridge to Terabithia.  As a follow-up activity, the students created original bridges; pathways to enter Terabithia. The activity culminated with presentations of each three-dimensional project, showcasing the students' creativity and understanding of the text.

On November 14th, students from the School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism at Eastside travelled to the Pax Amicus Theater in Budd Lake, NJ to experience works of Edgar Allan Poe. The show detailed Poe’s life, while intertwining his most famous poems and stories.

None Better

Mariu ComerPrincipal Florita Cotto announced that Mariu Comer, a fifth grade Mathematics teacher at School 24, was awarded the New Jersey Department of Education’s Exemplary Educator Award.
When she is not molding the growing minds of her math students, Ms. Comer may be found in many areas of the school lending a helping hand. A member of the School 24’s Intervention and Referral Study Team, Mrs. Comer goes above her required classroom duties by observing and evaluating student needs, reaching out to parents and teachers for support, and helping students get the services they need to be successful. Her peers call her hardworking, determined and organized, while her students call her helpful and a role model.

Ms. Comer, who has completed two Master’s degrees, is continuing her education by pursuing her supervisor certification at William Paterson University. Principal Cotto said, “School 24 is proud to have such an exemplary teacher and role model on our staff. I know that Mrs. Comer will continue her greatness in the future.”

The Buddy System

The Buddy SystemSchool of Education and Training at JFK students kicked-off their year-long “Reading Buddy” activities with kindergartners at School 5 to celebrate National Family Literacy Month. The teens studied the importance of literacy in their elective classes - Literature in the Classroom, and Applications in Education, taught by Mrs. Lories Nye-Slockbower and Mrs. Melissa Margaritis. With the support of their teachers, as well as retired Paterson elementary teacher, Mrs. Marcia Petersson, and William Paterson University Professor in Residence, Carol Bruzzano, students read to the same small group of children once a month to help build their reading skills.

Research shows that a Reading Buddy program allows older students the opportunity to develop fluency and a sense of pride in their accomplishments. Repeatedly reading easier books has been shown to improve reading abilities in poor readers, and this program provides students with a reason to read such books.

Recruiting for the Arts

Recruiting for the ArtsYou could have heard a pin drop in the School 12 auditorium when more than 20 Rosa Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts (RPHS) students shared insights and inspirational words with the eighth graders there. Recommendations for the future high school students included setting priorities and keeping up with assignments, while understanding that performers have responsibilities that must be taken seriously.  The eighth graders were very responsive. At the close of the presentation, when drama teacher Tiffany Wilson asked the audience if anyone planned to audition for a place in the class of 2021, nearly a dozen enthusiastic students raised their hands. Prior to the session, the School 12 students were treated to highlights of recent RPHS performances as well.

Bringing Art and Math Together

Bringing Art and Math TogetherSchool 10 is improving its teaching practices by partnering with William Paterson University (WPU). Ms. LaToria Scott, 5th grade mathematics teacher and Celeste Banks, WPU Professor in Residence, presented a workshop entitled: “Graphing on Coordinate Planes and Perspective Drawing.”  This workshop was based on a lesson that Ms. Scott and Professor Banks collaboratively planned with their students last May. In this Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) lesson, students learned how to create a 1-point perspective drawing based on their knowledge of graphing points on a coordinate plane. This lesson effectively highlighted the similarities in perspective drawing as it relates to certain mathematical concepts.

A Toothy Trip to the Big Apple

Mrs. Zaydel's Academy of Health Science (HARP) Dental Assisting I and II students recently had a field trip to the annual Greater New York Dental Meeting (GNYDM). The GNYDM is held at the Jacob Javits Center and features hundreds of dental exhibitors, dental education workshops, and all-day seminars. Students were able to tour the meeting and learn about the latest technology and advances in dentistry including intra-oral cameras, lasers, and 3D printing. Dental Assisting students were also able to see live patient demonstrations with materials and instrumentation learned about in class.

Sustainable Learning

7th and 8th grade students from School 26 attended an informational field trip at Wyndham Worldwide in Parsippany. Under the direction of Mitchell Morrison and Jeff Esquillo, students were given a tour of the company’s Sustainability Department. They were able to see first-hand the meeting rooms, fitness center and game room that are part of the experience of the employees at the facility. Throughout the tour students were shown examples of true sustainability, including a “living wall” and furniture made of recycled materials. The tour concluded with a question and answer session related to career choices and options, in addition to discussions regarding internships. Students were encouraged to continue on their path of interests, and to be life-long learners even beyond college graduation.

Basketball stars

International High School/JFK Knights basketball star Tajah Stevenson was recently signed to Temple University, while O’Lashea Braxton of Panther Academy was signed to University of Maryland Baltimore County.

To the Stars and Beyond!

Academy of Earth and Space Science (PANTHER) resident astronomer, Mr. Gary Swangin has been honored with a mobile planetarium named after him in far-flung Afghanistan! Read all about how this came to be in this interesting article published recently at northjersey.com.

A Healthy Experience

Career Day ExpoRecently, The Student Success Program provided a Career Day Expo for students at the Academy of Health Schienc (HARP). The event featured appearances from four community-based health care professionals: Dr. Adam Bloomfield, MD, FAAP, who is a Field Medical Director at MedImmune, a subsidiary of Astra Zeneca; John Graziano, Executive Chef at the Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ; Dr. Alexandra Miler, PhD Psychologist; and Sandra Morrison, a Nurse Practitioner and co-owner of New Perspectives Healthcare in Sparta, NJ. Each professional stressed the importance of academic excellence as well as community service. Mitchell Morrison, founder of the Student Success Program noted that, among the best ways to gain practical experience in the medical profession is to volunteer at a local hospital, sub-acute care facility, or treatment facility. To expose the HARP Academy students to various career opportunities in the field of health and science, Mr. Morrison created this event with Board of Education president, Dr. Christopher Irving, and Principal Kelly A. White.

Creating and Maintaining Healthy School Cultures

30 Years of Excellence

30 Years of ExcellenceIt was a night to remember as the Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts celebrated their 30th Anniversary with a gala at the Brownstone. In attendance were many of those who have contributed to the school’s long-standing success, including principals, administrators, teachers, students, parents, performers, alumni and activists. Sponsored by the Home School Council, the big event included a number of performances to honor the school’s past, present and future. In addition, the school’s Sanseverino Legacy Awards were presented to Ms. Jeanette S. Lyde, Ms. Christine Lewis, and Ms. Sharon C. Smith.  All three former principals were honored for their service to the school and the district of Paterson.

Team Spirit!

Pep RallyEvery year, the John F. Kennedy Educational Complex (JFK) holds a pep rally prior to the annual Thanksgiving Kennedy vs Eastside football classic. This cross town rivalry has been going on since before the school was built, when Eastside played against Central High School.

This year’s festivities included a great display of team spirit with the marching band, cheerleaders and dance squad previewing the football team. The JFK Knights team came out with Coach Ron Jackson who introduced his players with pride. Each of the four JFK academies selected a King and Queen who were crowned at the rally.

Football breakfast Maryanne Perrotta
In honor of the Kennedy vs. Eastside Thanksgiving football game, the School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism at Eastside hosted a breakfast for the student athletes, coaches, and administrators from around the district. The breakfast is the kick-off event of the annual game that celebrates its 92nd year in Paterson. 

Returning from a short absence, School of Education and Training teachers welcomed back their fearless leader, Maryanne Perrotta, on Monday November 21. The “Cubs” (an endearing name Ms. Perrotta has assigned to her young teachers) surprised her with a luncheon.

Engineering Their Future

PANTHER EliteOver 60 Academy of Earth and Space Science (PANTHER) students who achieved “PANTHER Elite” status through their high GPA, excellent behavior and attendance, were afforded the opportunity to engage in two hands-on field experiences. The first was a trip to the New Jersey Institute of Technology Engineering Day, where the students attended talks by engineering students and faculty. They were also engaged in hands-on projects that integrated Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills. The second trip brought them to the Franklin Institute Robotics Center in Philadelphia, where they viewed and interacted with several automated robotic exhibits. These students continue to build on what they learned as they work on their own STEM projects which will be entered PANTHER’s own STEM Expo. The winners of the PANTHER event will move on to the district STEM Expo at William Paterson University in December.

World AIDS Day Breast Cancer Awareness

The Academy of Health Science (HARP) recognized World AIDS Day by wearing red and participating in mini-information sessions related to sexual health, wellness, and responsibility. Staff and students created and displayed quilt panels that contained inspirational messages.

For the past few years, the National Honor Society at the School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism at Eastside have sold tee shirts in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness during the month of October. This year, the school was able to donate $1500 to the Sister Network Inc. of Passaic and Bergen Counties.

NRC Creative Crafters

NRC Creative CraftersNew Roberto Clemente Middle School (NRC) students are learning new skills and discovering new passions this fall, thanks to a variety of enrichment classes offered during the extended-day program.  From constructing useful home products like towel/lotion/shampoo racks with Mr. Bonnadonna and Mr. Shikhman to designing jewelry and airbrushing t-shirts with Mrs. Mandal and Ms. Senopole to developing complex 3-D printed miniature objects with Mr. Baldwin, they are dazzling their teachers and administrators with their talents. The NRC community will have the opportunity to purchase some of these items at the school's upcoming Craft Fair.

Fun Run

Students from School 28 and Paterson Academy of the Gifted and Talented participated in the 5th Annual Fun Run Day in October. The 1st-8th grade Students ran on the sidewalks around schools 4 and 28, finally ending in the School 28 playground. Preschool and kindergarten students ran a course inside the playground with the older students helping and cheering on. After the running is completed the whole school stays in the playground for music and dancing activities.

Family and Community Engagement

Filling the Pantry

Thanksgiving Food DriveThe spirit of giving was kicked off at the Academy of Health Science (HARP). The school’s newly formed fifty-five member Interact Club which is sponsored by the Paterson Rotary, organized a Thanksgiving Food Drive. Staff and students donated 379 pounds of non-perishable food items to The Center for United Methodist Aid to the Community (CUMAC) Food Pantry. The organization's motto is: "Feeding People Changing Lives." CUMAC's community engagement coordinator, Leigh Ross, commended HARP Academy's student body for making such a large donation. "It is remarkable that a small school donated so much food." These donations will feed hundreds of people. Tenth grade student, Pre'Mere White, accumulated the largest donation with over 35 items that he hauled on the bus! Coordinators of the event, Seniors Mekhi Jones and Jose Gonzalez organized the student run food drive. When asked what was most rewarding about the food drive, tenth grader, Lizbeth Lozano said, "This is an example of how small donations can add up and really make a difference."

School 13

Marquise Green, a 5th grader at the School 24/Fine and Performing Arts Program, is pictured with his Art Instructor Mrs. Lipari Marquise. Marquise was a winner in the 2016 Paterson Fire Prevention Poster Contest along with School 14 2nd grade student, Natanael Boston Caballero.

The Parent Teacher Organization and Parent Center at School 13 held a parent workshop entitled: Monitoring Your Child’s Education: Educational Tips and Online Tools for Student Success.  Each parent received educational resources and practical advice on how to stay abreast of student progress and achievement from Reading Special Sheila Ruth, 3rd Grade Teacher Roneea Bundick and Parent Coordinator Yolanda Simmons.

Vocal students from Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts

Vocal students from Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts volunteered their time at St. Joseph's Hospital's annual Interfaith Thanksgiving Prayer Service on November 17, performing cheerful songs for a spirited audience. They sang two selections, both of which received rousing applause and brought smiles to the faces of all in attendance.

For the fifth year in a row, the students and staff from the School of Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Tourism at Eastside prepared 90 turkeys and the gravy. The turkeys were used to feed over 800 senior citizens from Paterson, Passaic, and Wayne at Calvary Temple in Wayne, NJ on December 3rd. 

The North Pole was Closer than You Thought

You may have thought Santa lived somewhere North of Canada, but in fact the closest thing to the “real” Santa lived right here in Paterson, New Jersey. Mr. Ray Beesley, known for his incredible portrayal of Mr. Claus for over 40 years, passed away, leaving legions of true believers behind. Known as the “Rock Star of Santas,” Mr. Beesley not only portrayed the Bearded One professionally, but also gave his talents unselfishly to charity organizations and most importantly for us, our very own Norman S. Weir school. His appearances at the school brought such joy to the children there that the school prepared this statement in his memory:

"Thank you for bringing such joy and happiness to the thousands of children at Norman S. Weir School in Paterson to whom you gave Christmas year after year.  You touched so many lives and you are loved beyond words.  Your life was a Blessing to us all.  As we look toward the heavens and hear the sound of sleigh bells ringing, we'll smile as we know the Spirit of Mr. Beesley-the "real" Santa Claus, will live forever in our hearts.  May you rest in peace”- The Students and Staff at Norman S. Weir

Mr. Beardsley’s wife has set up a GoFundMe page called: "Ray's Christmas Miracles." Please consider donating, the money will go to provide holiday joy to children in need in his memory.  You can also enjoy a photo slideshow of this wonderful man hosted at NorthJersey.com.

Feeding Those in Need

Cans for CaringThe School 7 Student Government Organization (SGO), along with William Paterson University Leader in Residence, Michael Osofsky and WPU Professor in Residence, Joyce Kazoun, sponsored a food drive -“Cans for Caring.”  Each homeroom representative was responsible for monitoring the collection in their class, and filling the boxes provide by the SGO. All the food collected was donated to Eva’s Kitchen in Paterson.

Coats for school 9

A coat drive sponsored by the Paterson Police Department provided 17 new coats for students in need at School 9.

Efficient and Responsive Operations

Math Never Rests

Math Never RestsFor most Paterson principals and teachers, Saturdays are for shopping, errands, and catching up with chores.  But on December 3rd, Saturday meant a "learning day" for School 29 Principal Jorge Ventura and fourth grade math and science teacher Dee Karcher, when the two traveled to New York's Bank Street College of Education for "Saturday Math," a three-hour workshop that focused on, "Using Routines to Develop Students' Mathematical Reasoning." Also attending were William Paterson University Professors in Residence, Dr. Golden and Mr. Odenwelder (who had told the School 29 staff members about the program) as well as former Paterson math supervisor Virginia Lagos.  Future workshops in the series are scheduled for February 4th and March 4th and are open to all.   

Upcoming Events

Dec. 8: Real Talk Lecture Series 

5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Educational Complex TV Studio Room

Dec. 9: Staff In-Service

1:00 Student Dismissal

Dec. 14: Board of Education Regular Meeting

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

Dec. 16: District Annual STEM Fair

9:00 a.m.-1:30 p.m. @ William Paterson University Commons Ballroom, 300 Pompton Rd. Wayne, NJ

Dec. 20: Annual Holiday Dinner for the Needy

5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Eastside Campus  

Dec. 22: Marvelous Holiday Show

7:00 p.m. at Rosa Parks School of Fine & Performing Arts

Dec. 23: Early Dismissal

Dec. 26-31: Winter Recess

District Closed

Jan. 2: New Years Observed

District Closed

“Action is eloquence.”
— William Shakespeare, playwright and poet