CRANFORD - What's been going on in Cranford Public Schools the past month? Superintendent Dr. Scott Rubin provided the following for his January Superintendent Report.


On January 11th, Cranford High School participated in the Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey (STANJ) Governor's Awards Competition. Students competed against entrants from approximately 30 schools around the state. Cranford High School student actors, actresses & technical theatre students successfully progressed through multiple rounds of this prestigious competition. Congratulations to teacher David Marconi and the following acting & tech students on their achievements: Molly O'Shea (11), Dramatic Monologue Finalist; Chloe LaSalle (11) & Mairead Young (11), Dramatic Pairs Finalists; Autumn Clarke (12) & Katie Malanka (12), Improvisation Finalists; Vivianna Beckford (10) & Diego Colon (11), 3rd Place Comedic Pairs; Isabella Lijoi (10), 2nd Place Best Actress in State; Dan Klimko (11), 2nd Place Best Actor in State; "Trophies" starring Max Wisnefski (12), Isabella Lijoi (10), Dan Klimko (11), Chloe LaSalle (11), & Sullivan Grace (12), 1st Place Best Scene*; Lee Rosenthal (11), 1st Place Character Analysis Monologue, Lee Rosenthal (11), 1st Place Pantomime Solo; Lee Rosenthal (11) & Ryan Rosenthal (11), 1st Place Pantomime Pairs; Sarah Kudron (12), 1st Place Best Stage Manager.

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CHS will be receiving the Governor's Award in Arts Education this spring.

The Cranford High School Model U. N. Club participated in the 50 th Annual YMCA Model United Nations Conference in Hershey, PA. The delegation of 101 students participated in the conference with approximately 1500 students representing over 30 schools throughout the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland area. Once again, several Cranford High School club participants were recognized for their outstanding accomplishments, including: Sam Sullivan (11) was elected as Vice Chief Justice in the International Court of Justice; Ben Serna (11) was recognized as Outstanding 1st Year Diplomat; Sophia Joseph (10) was recognized as Outstanding 1st Year Diplomat; Cam Matheson (11) was invited to attend the annual YMCA Youth Conference On National Affairs (CONA); Ethan Sachs (10) was selected as an alternate. Only twenty-five student delegates of the approximately 1500 who attend the conference are invited to attend CONA. A special thank you to Linda Cortinas and Rich Bell for their leadership and to all of the faculty and staff members who assisted.

Cranford HS DECA is pleased to announce the winners of the District Conference which was held at Kean University on January 2nd. Each of the following students are now eligible to compete at the NJ State Conference in Atlantic City on March 2-4 : Accounting - Patrick Benderoth (11); Automotive Services Marketing - Robert Kelly (11), Luke Pachkowski (12); Business Finance - Patrick Tuohy (11); Business Law and Ethics Team Decision-Making - Caitlyn Bishop (12), Claire Callahan (12); Entrepreneurship Series - Andrew Goldfeder (11), Adam Kutzer (11); Entrepreneurship Team Decision-Making - Lee Rosenthal (11), Ryan Rosenthal (11); Food Marketing - Michael Kawczynski (10); Financial Services Team Decision-Making - Antonio Silva (10), Liam Kwiatkowski (10); Hospitality Services - Deirdre Tighe (11), Rachel Durant (11), Meghan Quinn (12), Grace Bishop (12), Ava Gall (12), Parker Melchiorre (12); Hotel and Lodging Management - Jamie Springer (11), William Johnson (10); Principles of Business Administration - Doris Khouri (10); Principles of Marketing - Sarah Hanna (10); Quick-Serve Restaurant Marketing - Catherine Walter (11), Griffin Dowd (11); Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team Decision-Making - Dominic Fallone (11), Andrew Towne (11); Sports and Entertainment Marketing Series - Joseph Carrea (11); Travel and Tourism Team Decision-Making - Ariana Sorkin (11), Samuel Sullivan (11), Abbigail Ahern (11), Samantha Romito (11), Noah Kopla (11), Aaron Nataline (11), Margaret O’Donnell (12), Grace Power (12).

The following students also won instructional awards -- they achieved high scores in either the written exam or role play events: Hospitality Services Team Decision-Making - Caroline Ewing (12), Elise Tanenbaum (12); Quick Serve Restaurant Marketing - Joseph Meola (12); Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team Decision-Making - Aiden Plick (12)

Thank you to Donna Cathcart and Cindy Keyasko for their guidance and to the faculty & staff who assisted them.

CHS December "Students of the Month" are selected based on one or more of the following categories: Leadership, Achievement, Improvement, and/or Service. Congratulations to the following students: 9th grade: Katelyn Shaw and Avery Toddings; 10th grade: Megan Zalinkanskas and Gabriella Pecoraro; 11th grade: Cameron Matheson and Samantha Romito, and 12th grade: Isabella Iacoviello and Nicholas Assaf.


In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., students across the school participated in buddy classroom activities that revolved around the idea of connecting with someone new. The buddy classrooms joined together to read and discuss the book The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler and David Lee Csisko. The discussion celebrated that although we are different, we are also all the same. After the read aloud, the classes did a project together celebrating this idea. Two hearts were created uniting all the students. Each classroom is displaying the buddy heart.

Environmental Club is offered to grade 2 students at BAS. In environmental club, students are involved in projects designed to spread environmental awareness to classmates, teachers and members of the community. Students in the club conducted an experiment to see how much air pollution is around the school by hanging up pollution catchers. Based on their findings, the environmental club would like to remind everyone not to idle!


Computers operate using their own languages. Brookside Place School students in grades two through five explored that concept and practiced computer science skills by participating in “Hour of Code” events in early December. During their scheduled library period with Media Specialist Arline McCloskey students visited the Hour of Code web site which features age-appropriate tutorials that introduce binary code and other coding skills. Coding supports better writing and math skills, problem solving, perseverance and logical thinking. In 2019 there were 132,277 registered Hour of Code events held in more than 180 countries and Brookside students were pleased to be among the participants.

Weeks of lessons, rehearsals, and practice at home paid off on December 12 and 13 when the students of the Brookside Place School chorus, orchestra and band performed in a two-concert series. A wonderful selection of seasonal songs were performed under the direction of Caitlin Schafer (chorus), Karen Mockoviak (band) and Christine Lee (orchestra). In addition, art teacher Jenna Baillod collaborated with fifth grade students Brooke Santos and Kasey Coon to create the coordinated program cover and bulletin boards. The talents and goodwill of the BPS Orchestra and Student Council were extended to the larger community when both groups visited Atria Senior Living.

What could be better than a festive luau during a chilly winter month? Perhaps celebrating your creative success with your friends! Art teacher Jenna Baillod found a way to combine both those occasions for her fifth grade students by hosting a luau that featured their own creations. As part of their art education curriculum each student created a ceramic tiki cup over the course of several weeks. They began with research and then formed a slab of clay into a functional cup form, added tiki-style decorations, and then glazed it in vibrant colors. In Polynesian culture, a tiki is a large or small carving or sculpture in human form. This project allowed students to explore the concept of form and function as well as a native art tradition. The luau was the culminating event of the project and included grass skirts, leis, Hawaiian music and some impromptu hula dancing. Students were able to put their cups to use too and sipped juice from their own creations. A grant from the Brookside Place School PTA helped fund the celebration.


OAS and HAS students created KYARABEN (Character Bento). Students chose to make either a cow, panda or penguin-themed lunchbox incorporating healthy ingredients: asparagus, sweet egg, rice, seaweed, tomatoes, ham, lettuce, tofu, etc. CHS Japanese teacher, Kristin Wingate, visiting J-LEAP teacher Nao Yokohama, and Catherin Fisco ran the workshop.

Students in Kristen Girone’s grade 8 Applied Technology course worked through the engineering design process to research, design, produce, and test CO2 powered dragsters. When presented with the initial design challenge, students were given the problem of designing a fast and aesthetically pleasing dragster with respect to the constraints of the challenge. Students researched the effects of aerodynamics, mass and friction. All students tested their dragsters in the Flo Visualization Wind Tunnel to observe the laminar airflow and made modifications to their designs prior to painting them. Congratulations to Robert Ryan (35.25 mph), Elizabeth Bergen (33.03 mph), and Isabella Stappas (30.86 mph) for designing the fastest 3 dragsters! Additionally, students and staff were invited to come for a gallery walk to view all of the 8th grade dragsters and each person was asked to vote for their favorite. Congratulations to Juliet Poindexter, Joseph Paccione, and Christian Moroses for being voted as the top 3 Fan Favorites! Students really rose to all parts of the challenge and everyone did an amazing job on this STEAM project.


Colleen McDonough’s Lincoln School students participated in the annual Earn to Give holiday boutique. A display of gifts was provided for each student to choose from for a recipients of their choice. CAP, CAMP, and LEAP students were awarded shopping points for positive interactions: being kind, making good decisions,and helping others. Students shopped for gifts having learned and earned the value of giving.

Maria Polyviou’s C.A.M.P. students worked on a project that combined the artwork of Jasper John’s American Flag and the American Veteran. The flags were created as a way to honor our country's veterans through art. The mission was to incorporate art to show respect, sacrifice, as well as foster a greater appreciation of our military’s service within our school.


Kate Ferguson and Rob Tunnell’s 5th graders began their new mixtures and solutions unit in Science. The students started by first observing three different solid materials. Next, they added water to the solid materials and made observations of the mixtures. Students then brainstormed ways to separate mixtures by using screens and filters. Finally, for the solution mixture, the students used the process of evaporation.

Principal Cari Lopez and Counselor Grace Rivetti held the first LAS Student Liaison Committee meeting. Students approached Mrs. Lopez about having a greater voice in the school and so the committee was formed. Students who were interested had to complete an application. Mrs. Lopez formed a committee of staff members to read the applications (without student names) and make the selections.

The first student liaison meeting was filled with positive feedback and open dialogue where everyone felt free to voice their opinions. The students got to know each other and set norms for upcoming meetings. The committee will meet on a monthly basis during the students’ lunch period.


What’s happening in the OAS Middle School art room...Technology can be amazing, but it can also be something that consumes our daily routine. Inspired by the article:, 8th grade students interpreted how technology consumes our modern society.

Students of the Month are: Emily Imhof, Emily Cowell, Emmeline Marchesi, Alexander Khristov-Weinrach, Kaylee Werthmann, Joshua Ashinoff, Kiran Shusterman, Ava Morrison, Ethan Stubler, Nora Cumiskey, Ryan Klimko. Congratulations to all of our recipients!

The OAS family celebrated their Teacher of the Year, Jamie Warner who is pictured with her supervisor, Judith Podbelski (Social Studies) and Suzette de Araujo, NJAPEHRD Middle School Physical Education Teacher of the Year. She is pictured with her supervisor, Darren Torsone, (Physical Education/Health). Congratulations to our recipients and to the other nominees for teacher of the year who were also honored at the meeting – they are Elizabeth Chandler, Kathleen Gilbert, Jennifer Prevost, and Lauren Stivala.


The Walnut Avenue School Second Grade Chorus performed their winter concert for staff, students, family, and friends under direction of Caitlin Schafer. During the weekly morning rehearsals, students learned about vocal technique, as well as memorizing music and choreography. The WAS PTA transformed the stage into a winter wonderland, which made the performance especially exciting for our students!

In Alyson Schultz’s first grade class, students are earning Dojo Points for positive work ethic and behavior. Students can “spend” their Dojo Points each week by choosing from a reward menu or save them for a more expensive purchase. Students are learning simple concepts of money, budgeting and evaluating wants and needs. The highest ticket item on the menu is to have lunch with the teacher and a friend. Several students have saved up and cashed in for lunch and have had a blast, as has Mrs. Schultz. The conversations during the student and teacher lunches have been amazing, providing a glimpse into their true personalities. Mrs. Schultz has learned about friendships and is supporting some social and conversational skills to help them become better friends, listeners and speakers, all while having fun!

On December 23, 1999, WAS classes created and sealed a time capsule It was filled with their drawings, predictions & hopes for the future, as well as, photos of the school and of downtown Cranford. Also included was a copy of Time Magazine featuring Person of the Year...Jeff Bezos!

Annette Ritzer’s second grade class penned the Time Capsule Poem that promised to slime anyone who attempted to open the capsule early, so staff and students waited exactly 20 years. The capsule was officially opened at a staff meeting and is now travelling from classroom to classroom as students get a first-hand look at what life was like at Walnut Avenue School back in 1999 and dreams for the future (2020). Students were surprised to learn that a student in 1999 wished for a phone that showed the person you are speaking to! The time capsule has brought back many memories and students are all having a lot of fun exploring the contents.