Week of February 22, 2016 - Superintendent Update

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Superintendent’s Report 
Meeting of February 22, 2016

STUDENTS

Lauren Costa, Garrett Forrestal, Benjamin Gelber, Samantha Gordon, Max Kopla, James Lynch, Katherine Mackenzie, Pria McNeil, Robert Morris, Dylan Randazzo, Laura Salway, and Todd Sweeney represented Cranford High School in the American Choral Directors’ Association (ACDA) All-Eastern Honor Choirs last weekend in Boston.  Selected from hundreds of high school singers auditioning from all over the Northeast,the students performed on Saturday in the culminating concert of the ACDA Eastern Division Conference in Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory of Music.These students have been prepared and sponsored by their teacher Anthony Rafaniello, Director of Choirs at Cranford High School.  

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The Cranford High Assistance Program, CHAPS, is a student run volunteer group that provides assistance to families in Cranford who are in need of a variety of services. Over the snowy weekend, CHAP members including Zack Pierce, Suzy Shen, John Santulli, Luke O'Brien, Trevor Aschmies, Spencer Pascal, Roy Walton, Kevin McCarthy, Robert Schork, and more, shoveled snow for Cranford residents.

Congratulations to Coach James Fealey and the Bowling team on winning County and State Sectional Championships.

Congratulations to Coach Pat Gorman and the Wrestling team for winning the County Championships for the second year in a row.

 

SCHOOLS

Hillside Avenue School - 

Hillside Avenue School brought one of Disney’s classics to life in its musical performance of The Little Mermaid Jr. The impressive musical performance had approximately 60 students in grades 6-8 in the cast as chefs, sailors, funny seagulls, and all of Ariel's sea creatures’ friends. The musical starred the wonderful singing talents of Erin Blake as Ariel, Olivia Triano as Ursula, Sullivan Grace as Prince Eric, and Patrick Steeber as Sebastian.  “With the help of around 40 middle school students as stage crew members, running lights and sound, building, painting, moving sets, creating props, preparing costumes, and cuing and ushering the show, this looks to be Hillside's greatest productions yet. The show times were on February 19 and February 20." commented Dr. Curt Fogas, principal.

Jane Borselli’s seventh grade computer classes will participate in the Digiteen Project, sponsored by the Flat Connections organization of Australia. The project will start at the beginning of March and go until the end of the school year when students will present their final projects to other HAS classes. The Digiteen Project is an exciting, challenging and unique experience that allows young people (and their teachers) to study and explore digital citizenship and how to be a responsible and reliable online learner.  The project will also give students the opportunity to have meaningful exchanges and co-create artifacts with global classmates.

In keeping with the idea that geography affects the ways people live and how cultures develop, HAS sixth graders and teacher, Jim Costigan, have used latitude and longitude to explore the world. Additionally they have applied this skill in understanding causes of tensions between the North and South, leading to the Civil War. As a cross curricular connection, in their science classes the students will use latitude and longitude to locate and plot hurricanes and other storms around the world.

Lori Talbot and Trish Compton’s third grade classes made blankets as part of HAS’ Valentine’s Day celebration.  They are donating them to "Project Linus" http://projectlinus.org/.   

As part of a unit on clothing, Alisa Ferguson’s seventh grade German class is preparing and presenting projects in German. Students will work in small groups to present outfits and describe them, explain why they like them, and compare them with other outfits. The class will vote on their favorite outfits.  The eighth grade German students have been working on “our town” and are researching and presenting, in German, four favorite places in and around Cranford that they visit, including school, home, restaurants and sports facilities. 

CHS freshman Kerry Pollock coordinated the Color a Smile program for an HAS indoor recess activity.  Elementary students colored pictures to be shared with veterans, hospital patients, and nursing home residents through this charitable organization. Over 300 pictures were submitted and plans are underway to participate in the spring.

Livingston Avenue School -

Spirit Week, sponsored by the LAS Student Council/Climate Committee, was a huge success!  Students and staff displayed their LAS pride by participating in a different theme each day:

o   February 8 - Wear your favorite LAS spirit wear or school colors.

o   February 9 - Make your fashion statement by wearing styles of the 80’s.

o   February 10 - Wear your favorite PJ’s or comfy slippers on Wednesday.

o   February 11 - Dress in the clothes you would wear for your future career.

o   February 12 - Celebrate Valentine’s Day by wearing pink or red.

Teachers at LAS participated in Professional Development on “How Assessments can Improve Instruction.”  Teachers then learned how to create assessments with the various Google programs.  Teachers plan to use their new assessment in future lessons.

Brookside Place School -

During the week leading into the Super Bowl, the Brookside Place School Student Council coordinated a "Soup'er Bowl” collection. In an effort to collect cans of soup during this winter season for Cranford Family Care, families representing students across all grade levels made contributions either to the Broncos or Panthers collection boxes located in the front hall. The colorful boxes adorned with each team's colors and logo were filled each day and emptied into larger receptacles until all of the totals were tallied. The morning announcements each day provided an update of which team (number of cans counted) was in the lead. “In the end, a total of about 275 cans of soup were collected and delivered to Cranford Family Care,” reports Michael Klimko, principal.   

Bloomingdale Avenue School -

Bloomingdale Avenue School’s kindergarten classrooms are bringing their learning to life while exploring how to write “How To” books.  To bring a “How To” to life, a parent of a student in Shaun Benoit’s class and owner of Hands of Life Martial Arts Academy visited the classroom. The parent both demonstrated and taught the kindergarten "How To" break a board.  Every student had the opportunity to follow the steps to breaking a board and met with success each time. The students also learned the steps to “How To” focus.  The class created a list of the steps for both “How To’s” in preparation for their own story writing.

In addition, Kari Bagniewski’s kindergarten class took their written “How To” on the road and taught the first grade “how to” do a dance.  The students became the teachers and were able to publically share their writing.  “Presenting their writing gave the students purpose and allowed them to practice their speaking skills.  It was a huge success!” relayed Lourdes Murphy, principal.

Walnut Avenue School -

Google Training:  Staff members began attending a series of workshops/ trainings related to classroom applications for Google Docs.  The initial (introductory) session took place on February 10 and staff will continue to explore this topic at subsequent meetings to be scheduled over the next two months.

Read-a-thon:  The PTA launched its mid winter Read-a-thon.  Students are challenged to read and log as many minutes as possible between February 16 and March 2 in return for pledges to donate money to support WAS’ classroom libraries.  Top performers will receive prizes and a culminating Celebration of Reading will take place on March 11.

Writer’s Workshop Training:  Grade one and grade two will continue to participate in trainings related to the on going implementation of Writer’s Workshop in classrooms. This training took place at HAS on February 16.

Orange Avenue School -

Orange Avenue School will be presenting Oliver! February 25-28 for the traditional 2016 Spring Musical this year under the direction of Becky Randazzo with  music by Constance Thomas, choreography by Kristen Enrst and costumes by Maria Dugan. More than 100 middle school students are involved either in the cast or backstage crew.  Cast members have been working hard on music, choreography, and acting while our stage crew is learning when to move set pieces and how to work the lighting equipment.  New elements are added daily – more props, lighting, sound, etc.

Full cast rehearsals are under way where students run through the entire production. Students are also rehearsing choreography on Saturdays. The set for the play is being worked on, but almost completed. “Our set designer, along with parent volunteers, have been working hard every Saturday on building a set that is as professional as possible to create the atmosphere for Oliver! and give these students the most creative and best possible theatrical experience,” commented Marc Edery, principal.

OAS fifth grade students recently participated in a Revolutionary War Era symposium. Students dressed in reproduction era clothing as they presented on various historical topics, events, and figures of the time period. Parents participated in this interactive event as they were able to enjoy the presentations of their own children as well as those of other children.

On February 11, the OAS school community held its second STEM night. Elementary students and their families gathered in the evening to participate in robotics, computer coding, digital music creation, and circuitry.  Students made use of Finchbots and the Makey Makey program. “Well over 100 members of the OAS school community attended this fantastic event. The evening was planned by OAS parent Karen Woodruff and OAS teacher Shannon DellaFortuna. Many thanks to our wonderful OAS PTA for purchasing the Finchbot Robots that were used!” exclaimed Principal Edery.

Lincoln School -

In honor of Black History month in February as well as the ongoing conversations on tolerance and an appreciation of our differences, Greg Oriscello’s class recently watched the powerful Disney movie, Remember the Titans. “The students wrote essays, comparing and contrasting the Civil Rights Movement to the film as well as relating it to their lives, and their pieces were astounding!” stated Dennis McCaffery, principal.

Respect through journaling and Martin Luther King–“The strong man is the man who can stand up for his rights and not hit back.” What is antiviolence?  Using the leader MLK, students discussed peaceful ways to solve problems.

Kindness and Respect Acrostic Poems – Students wrote poems and read on the announcements during “Kindness Week.”

Lincoln School will partner with Jardine Academy for Random Acts of Kindness. Students from Jardine Academy will spend part of the day with Lincoln School. 

Cranford High School -

The Cranford High School Dance Academy will be traveling to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA to participate in the National High School Dance Festival, March 2-6, 2016. This event, open only to high schools with dance programs, gathers over 1,000 dance students and their teachers at the state of the art facility in Pittsburgh for four days of scholarship auditions, master classes and performances. Students will have the opportunity to study with world renowned dancers and choreographers and see over eight performances of classical and contemporary dance.

Eight students of the twenty-seven students who took the National Classical Etymology Exam received silver or bronze medals. We encouraged these students to take the National Latin Vocabulary Exam and the National Roman Civilization Exam next month. Fifty students are registered to take the National Latin Exam in March. 

The University Program presentation on February 10 gave eighth grade parents the opportunity to learn more about the features of the University Program. Current University Program students shared their advice and perspective with the incoming Class of 2020. 

The Science and Performing Arts Academies held a parent night on February 18 to explain to parents of ninth graders the features of each program. 

On February 17, parents were invited to CHS to learn about the scheduling initiative. Class meetings with students in grades 9-11 were also held.

Superintendent of the Cranford School District, Marilyn Birnbaum, keeps the residents, parents and students informed of school news via a bimonthly column.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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