Superintendent’s Report
Meeting of February 8, 2016


Members of the CHS Science League were successful in their January 14 competition. Michael Leong, advisor, reported  that in Biology 2  and Physics, CHS took First Place: Biology 2: Sabrina Shu, Christina Finn; Physics: Murielle Mason, Ally Hughes. In Biology 1, Chemistry 1 and Environmental, CHS took Second Place: Biology I: Lucien Mahedo, Andrew Lahrhein; Chemistry I: Megan Cui, Grace Varga; and Environmental Science: Karina Vizzoni, Hannah Jacobson, Cameron Hay.

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The CHS Bowling Team has won the County Championships! Five key members of the team are Mark Colineri, Christian Rivera, Nick Bly, Ashleigh Poszyler, and Ricky Poszyler. The bowlers are looking forward to the individual county competition as well as the state tournament.

February 3 was National Signing Day for football players. Three CHS players signed on that day: Will Fries, Jack Schetelich, and Kevin Doran. Siobhan McGovern and Madeline Hart will also be committing to become scholar-athletes. They join Hannah and Sarah Ross, Ashley Cave, Megan Power and Niko Capello who have already made commitments to their colleges. 



Congratulations to Matthew Fichter, HAS Sixth Grade Science Teacher who has been nominated for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science.

The sixth grade team of teachers at HAS, Gayle Collucci, Karen Capone, Jim Costigan, Matt Fichter, and Lore Walsh, have been nominated for a Team of Excellence Award presented by the New Jersey Association for Middle Level Education. Upon the nomination, the team collaborated and completed a stringent application process. This process included providing details and data that show how they use exemplary practices in  the classroom. The application also looks for the strategies that the team provides to show how they effectively meet the needs of students. If selected the team will be recognized at the Annual Conference to be held in March.



Livingston Avenue School - 

“The Young Consumers field trip to Shop-Rite for third graders is one of the highlights of third grade,” comments Filipe Luis, principal. This program integrates mathematics, nutrition, and physical activity, culminating in a visit to the Garwood Shop-Rite store. Students then shop for a family of four on a budget and participate in problem-solving activities and challenges.    

No Name Calling Week took place the week of January 18.  On January 19 students met with their LAS families for team-building activities and listened to the book Thank you, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco. Students then designed a blank puzzle piece to represent themselves which was displayed in the school with a quote, “Individually unique, together complete.”  A few days later, on January 29, students enjoyed lunch with their LAS families and colored positive messages to display in the LAS “Halls of Fame.”

Brookside Place School - 

Over the past few years, the Pathways to Excellence department has worked diligently to arrange for monthly Lunch and Learn programs during the lunch/recess hour. On a consistent basis these sessions (many of the speakers/presenters being local individuals willing to share their particular talent/skill/vocation/passion with the students) have been very informative with many students interested in becoming part of the random selection for the twenty-one seats (seven per grade level among the grades 3-5) selected to participate.

For the January 2016 (on January 21) Lunch and Learn, Brookside Place School’s own Environmental Club served as the host. Under the direction and guidance of Brookside’s art teacher, Jennifer Baillod, wearing her hat as Environmental Club Advisor, a familiar topic was the focus of this presentation. Over the morning announcements each day, a reminder was shared about students remembering to bring in old and broken crayons and dried up markers (with caps on them) to be brought to the art room. As part of the announcement, a quick statement was made about how these items would be sent off to the Crayola Factory to be used as part of the process of converting these items into fuel. “The Lunch and Learn for January 2016 was a way to provide a group of 21 students an in-depth look at how this entire conversion from old crayons and dried up markers to usable fuel works,” commented Michael Klimko, principal.

Bloomingdale Avenue School -

Bloomingdale Avenue School’s PTA hosted a “Sandwich Night” on January 27, 2016 to promote community awareness and responsibility among BAS students.  Families prepared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that were donated to The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless.  “This age-appropriate event was a huge success with more than hundred people turning out.  Students and parents worked together for a good cause and put character education’s theory into practice,” remarked Lourdes Murphy, principal. 

Walnut Avenue School -

Wee-Deliver Post Office:  The WAS PTA kicked off its annual Wee-Deliver Valentine Post Office.  All students will be able to send Valentines to their classmates and teachers via a “Kids Post Office.”  Student “mail carriers” will sort and deliver mail each day, February 2 - February 12.

Professional Development, February 4:  WAS K – 2 teachers will spend a portion of the professional development time planned on February 4 to discuss and explore the curricular shifts required by the Common Core and the PARCC Assessments.  Teachers will also be introduced to Webb’s Depth of Knowledge as a tool to increase rigor across the curriculum.  This training will be provided by one of WAS’ staff members, Heather Austin, who is currently enrolled in a doctoral program at Jersey City State University.

Lincoln School -

No Name Calling Week and Hate Crime Research Project:  Students learned how dehumanizing words used against a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation can result in a hate crime, the highest form of prejudice.  Students researched a victim and wrote a first-person narrative explaining who the victim was as a person, the role of the bias, the names used against the person and the facts surrounding the hate crime.

Responsibility and Citizenship in Music:  Using  individualized leveled music sheets, students identified and strengthened music reading skills in collaboration with small group members.  Students rotated among three stations for six minutes per station sharing, communicating needs/wants, and respecting thoughts/ideas. They were accountable for their individual progress through the “karate belt” system.

The Constitution Regarding Respect, Fairness, and Citizenship:  (Dr. Martin L. King Jr. – A Historical Perspective) Students recognized violations of our Constitution and lack of tolerance towards all people as they discussed rights granted to citizens under the Constitution, protests under MLK and recent protests.

Character Analysis and Respect  in Literature: Students read Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and discussed the theme of respect woven throughout this novel set in the 1930’s. “You have to demand respect in this world, ain’t nobody just gonna hand it to you. How you carry yourself, what you stand for - that’s how you gain respect. But, little one, ain’t nobody’s respect worth more than your own.  You understand that?” This quote served as a springboard for exploration through an essay response.

Hands are Not for Hitting:  Students created original artwork using their own hands. Using the pop-up book by Martene Agassi students discussed the ideas of fairness, respect and citizenship. How can your hands work together? How can your hands be helpful at home and school? How can your hands show kindness and caring? 

Cranford High School -

As a result of the hard work of D/Sgt. Matt Nazzaro and Vicki Sarnoski, school social worker, and with the generous support of the Knights of Columbus, CHS hosted a parent information session entitled "Raising Resilient Teens and Children" on January 19, 2016.  George Scott, EdS gave the audience advice on parenting, coping skills, and the challenges facing today's youth. The evening was very well-attended. TV35 recorded the event and it is available online for any parents who were unable to attend that evening. 

On January 20, CHS  hosted the eighth grade orientation. Members of the Class of 2020 and their parents toured the high school and learned about CHS offerings in the performing arts, STEM, and the humanities. Current CHS students and teachers showcased their work and answered questions from incoming students. 

On January 11, Natalie Jesionka visited CHS to speak with the Freshman Seminar classes. Ms. Jesionka is the program chair for Human Rights at Rutgers-Newark and is on the board of Amnesty International. She has just finished a documentary about human trafficking called “Selling our Daughters.”  

Fiddler on the Roof - CHS is proud to announce its production of Fiddler on The Roof will be held March 11 and 12 at 7:30 p.m. and March 13 at 2:00 p.m. Cast in the CHS production are Dylan Randazzo  as Tevye, Kelsey Kilpatrick as Golde, Natalie Pastrof as Tzeitel, Maggie Manhardt as Hodel,  Lauren Costa as Chava, Lili Rebelo as Shprintze, Laura Salway as Bielke , Sarah Parlapiano as Yente, Tyler McMahon as Motel, Garrett Forrestal as Perchik, James Lynch as Fyedka, Noah Wohlsen as Lazar Wolf, Haley Baranowski as Frumma Sarah, Cristina Marcotrigiano as Grandma Tzeitel,  Simeon Granada as The Rabbi, Max Kopla as Mendel, Todd Sweeney as The Constable, Niamh O’Donovan as Shaindel.  Members of the ensemble include Charlie Bernstein, Eilidh Brady, Jordan Burd, Tom Dineen, Sam Finston, Sam Gordon, Mikayla Herz, Juliana Marcotrigiano, Kelly McMahon, Pria McNeil, Rose Michetti, Bobby Morris, Jake Randazzo, Faith Ricca, Brenden Scalea and Katrina Wischusen

The CHS cast invites you to come and enjoy this heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and the timeless traditions that define faith and family. With the book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick,  the original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, was the first musical in history to surpass 3,000 performances. The show won the 1965 Tony Award for Best Musical in addition to eight other Tony Awards that year. Once again appearing now on Broadway and now right in our little village of Cranford, the show features the Broadway classics “To Life (L’Chaim!),” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Sunrise Sunset,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” and “Tradition,” Fiddler on the Roof will introduce a new generation to this uplifting celebration that raises its cup to joy! To love! To life!   Tickets are available online at or at the door.  All seats are reserved seats $15.00 or $12.00.  Tickets are always available at the door.

Orange Avenue School -

OAS Students, Faculty and Staff Raise Awareness of Heart Health through Volley for Heart Campaign:  Between January 20 and February 5, the students, faculty and staff in partnership with the American Heart Association are raising awareness for heart health and lifelong healthy living through the Volley for Heart Campaign. This educational and fundraising effort is being led by Suzette de Araujo and the entire OAS physical education staff. The goals are to educate students about how to lead a heart-healthy life now and in the future, to increase awareness about heart health, and to support research to eradicate heart disease and stroke. The Volley for Heart campaign began on January 20 with an educational assembly led by Ms. de Araujo and Jim Presbrey, Vice President, New Jersey Youth Market, American Heart Association. During the assembly, students learned about the heart, heart disease, stroke, the American Heart Association and its purpose, and three key heart health lifestyle choices.

Following this kick-off event, the Volley for Heart Campaign began accomplishing its goal by actively engaging all students, grades 3-8 during their PE classes in the fun, physically active lifelong sport of volleyball. Daily morning announcements and PE lessons focus on a heart health topic to deepen students’ knowledge of anatomy, nutrition, physical activity, heart disease and stroke.  OAS has a goal to raise $4,000 to support the American Heart Association. “In just one week of fundraising, the students, faculty and staff are more than halfway to the school-wide goal, having already raised over $2,100! We are hopeful that in our last week of fundraising, we will more than meet our target,” exclaimed Marc Edery, principal.

OAS middle school students engaged in an interactive presentation/performance by Dr. Michael Fowlin.  In his one-man presentation, ‘You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me,’ Dr. Mykee Fowlin takes the audience on an experiential journey, having them reexamine core precepts that were taught to us from as early on as first grade. He uses many of his gifts – humor, performance art, poetry, storytelling, psychology, theatrical monologues, and his personal journey – to create a moving experience for all. A cornerstone of his presentation is that,  “We are capable of transforming the world, for the good, but this work starts from within; it is the process of turning our hurt into self-reflection, healing, and then action. It is our simple, but intentional, behaviors where significant change takes place. The gesture of us smiling, acknowledging the existence of another, is as powerful as any other deed done in the world..."

“We cannot thank the OAS PTA enough for organizing and supporting this wonderful presentation that fits in so nicely with our school character education/anti-bullying program,” commented Principal Edery. 

Hillside Avenue School -

Grade Three “Genius Hour” Update:  As part of the grade three personalized learning "Genius Hour," the students have been able to interview Cranford Police officers, stable hands from Watchung Stables, and a game designer.  As a culminating activity, students will be presenting to their classmates.

Middle School Music:  The seventh graders in Christina Martinez’s general music class have been creating composer podcasts using the garageband app on the ipads.This project includes student research on current and veteran composers who score films. Students gather musical examples that illustrate the work of whatever composer they choose to showcase.  Students also use these podcasts to share biographical information about the composer.  They use a combination of narration and composer excerpts to complete these projects. By creating the podcasts, students have the opportunity to use an audio format to share the research they have collected. It also lets them develop their skills for sound design, using various editing features to present the information in a creative way.  

Student projects have included composers such as Vince Guaraldi (Peanuts/Charlie Brown films and specials),  Danny Elfman (Batman and the Simpson's theme) as well as Elton John (Lion King) and Michael Giacchino (Up, Jurassic Park and Inside Out). 



Gregg Caverly, supervisor of math, announced  that in Web Design II  students began using BootStrap, a library of web design features designed for mobile website compatibility.  Students have been updating their projects to incorporate these features so that the design of their site can handle both desktops and mobile devices.

In Computer Science Principles, students developed and finalized games they had programmed in the Python programming language.  These games were on display for the Freshman Seminar classes for the Hour of Code event early December.  The themes of the games were medieval castle adventure, lost in the woods adventure, dream sequence, and following clues within CHS. These games were enjoyed by freshmen as well as graduates of CHS who came back to visit.

Student work was displayed during the incoming Freshman Orientation for students to review.  Several students were in attendance to help explain the projects and the courses to parents and students.Lisa Hayeck, supervisor of science and applied technology, reports that on January 13, Science 

Academy students attended a STEM guest speaker presentation by Quintin Ferraris STEM KEAN. 

Ms. Hayeck also reports that students took a test for the Rutgers Credit for Health Care and Medical Terminology Courses on January 19.   Dynamics of Healthcare Class is taught by Kathi Savage and Medical Terminology is taught by Jenn House.

Judy Podbelski, supervisor of social studies, business management and information technology, reports that Eliza Blau’s criminal justice students just finished presenting projects on how they would improve Trenton, NJ to reduce crime. They researched the current crime rates and lack of economic activity in Trenton and used that data to create their own unique plan to improve Trenton.  

Also in Ms. Blau’s honors US History I, students discussed whether the Constitution meets the needs of American citizens in 2016. They looked at current events and used their historical understanding of the Constitution to contribute to the discussion.

Michael Mangarelli’s world history students completed a packet on romanticism and nationalism through music, literature and paintings in the 19th Century.  Students scanned QR codes to examine primary source documents on the connection between romanticism and nationalism.  They answered questions regarding the two themes in European history and engaged in whole class discussion.

Susan Ritter, supervisor of language arts, reports that Sara Sherman’s senior honors writing class is completing a concept essay as a culminating performance assessment including a writing assignment and supporting presentation.  These display the full range of students' interests such as a lesson in speaking Russian, bass fishing, film editing, jazz improv, and an esoteric form of martial arts.

Ninth grade teacher Jennifer Hilborn reports that the classroom library is organized and popular among students.  Some freshman students have begun to conduct book talks at the start of class, recommending titles to their peers. 

Michelle Balseiro, CHS teacher, received her tablet technology from her CFEE grant and will begin creating electronic portfolios of students’ speeches.  

Annamaria Bellino, supervisor of world languages and family and consumer sciences, reports that 15 CHS students in world languages and family and consumer sciences classes participated in the incoming Freshman Orientation by representing the departments and interacting with students and parents during each of the five sessions.

Ms. Bellino co-proctored the National German Exam with Denice Schmidt (CHS German teacher) whose students (along with those of Christiane Friedlander)---over 60 total students---participated in the web-based exam.

Ms. Bellino also connected Barbara Narus with Sylvia Ferrara (Berkeley College) to provide a presentation on “World of Fashion: A Career Awaits” to students in the CHS fashion class.

Yasmin Burrell, supervisor of special education, reports that Lisa Williams, Shannon Castillo, and Clare Pisapia are attending a series of trainings on Community-based Instruction (CBI). CBI is a research-based practice that involves the use of sustained and repeated instructional activities that take place in various natural community environments outside of the school building in order to facilitate skill development and generalization in employment, community activities (e.g. shopping, banking, post office use) and recreation while addressing New Jersey’s Core Curriculum Content Standards.  Students will be benefitting from weekly trips into the community as they build both their academic and functional skills. 

This training series is a collaborative effort between Rutgers University’s Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities and the New Jersey Department of Education.

The Special Education Department has partnered with Special Olympics Unified Strategy for Schools. 

“Play Unified” is an education and sports-based program that increases athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities, while creating communities of acceptance for all. A team of students with and without disabilities (Unified Partners) will be participating. 

The students’ first activity will be the Shriver Cup Unified Basketball Championship, April 3.

Cranford’s Parents Advocating for Special Education (PASE) group met on January 19, 2016 at Hillside Avenue School. Lauren Whitmore, PASE president, arranged for presentations to address the needs of special education students as they participate in community events and recreation opportunities. 

Adrienne Robertiello, the autism educator at Children's Specialized Hospital, spoke to the group about recreation rights and opportunities for children with special needs. Bob Carvajales, assistant director of High Expectations, Inc., a non-profit sports & recreation group that provides services for the special needs community also spoke to the group.