Cranford Superintendent of Schools Bimonthly Update

Cranford Superintendent of Schools Bimonthly Report - Meeting of March 13

CRANFORD, NJ –Meeting of March 13, 2017

STUDENTS:
Cam Hay, a senior at Cranford High School (CHS), has recently been accepted into the United States Military Academy at West Point.   Anna Kalafatis, a student writer for TAP into Cranford through the Junior Internship Program at CHS wrote an article about Cam.  You can read the entire article at https://www.tapinto.net/towns/cranford/articles/cranford-high-schools-cam-hay-is-heading-to-west 

CHS presented its spring musical The Secret Garden by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon, March 3-5.  “The actors and actresses along with the technical crew of The Secret Garden should be extremely proud of a fantastic show.  The set, lights, sound, singing and acting were all simply tremendous.  There are stars in the making on our stage and behind the scenes,” raved Mark Cantagallo, principal.

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The cast in the production included Lili Rebelo as Mary Lennox, Noah Wohlsen as Archibald Craven, Maggie Manhardt as Lily Craven, Tom Dineen as Neville Craven, Jordan Burd as Martha, Andrew Gordon as Dickon, Max Wisnefski as Colin Craven, Niamh O’Donovan as Mrs. Medlock, Brenden Scalea as Ben Weatherstaff, Nora Sullivan as Rose Lennox, Haley Baranowski as Mrs. Winthrop, Charlie Bernstein as Albert Lenox, Pria McNeill as the Fakir, Mikayla Herz as Ayah, Alex Whitmore as Lieutenant Shaw, Matthew Mallick as Lieutenant Wright, Bobby Morris as Major Holmes, Katrina Wischusen as Claire Holmes, Kelly McMahon as Alice, Garrett Kennedy as Major Shelley and Erica Moreno as Mrs. Shelley.  Members of the Ensemble included Rose Michetti, Madeline Simone, Eilidh Brady, McKenna Flynn, Julia Saginario, Kaitlin Young and Jacob Adams. 

Cindy Keyasko and Donna Cathcart (DECA advisors) announced the following students placed in the top six in the state at the NJ DECA State Leadership Conference held in Atlantic City.  This qualifies them to attend the International DECA Competition in Anaheim California this April!  Matthew Fonseca and Jeremy Hunt – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team Event – 4th place overall; Ben Bacall – Marketing Communication Services – 6th place overall; Kelly Drake – Food Services Marketing – 4th place overall.  This is the second consecutive year that Ben Bacall and Kelly Drake qualified for the International Competition!

The following students were finalists (the top 12 in the state) at the conference:  Owen McDermott and Patrick Hoey – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team Event; Spencer Pascal – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Individual Series; Kevin Schwartz – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Individual Series.

In addition, the following students won an instructional award in their event, meaning they achieved the highest score in one or two categories: Kevin Schwartz – Sports and Entertainment Marketing; Spencer Pascal – Sports and Entertainment Marketing; Jeremy Hunt – Sports and Entertainment Marketing Team (Written Test); Ben Bacall – Marketing Communication Services; Kelly Drake – Food Services Marketing; Grace Chen – Quick Serve Restaurant Management

 Congratulations to CHS student Rachel Rothchild for becoming a President’s Volunteer Service Award winner given by Prudential Financial.

Christopher Brown, CHS senior, recently achieved the honor of becoming an Eagle Scout.
CHS students Mary Grace McNamara (grade 10) and Isabella Stoto (grade 11) recently achieved the honor of becoming Gold Award Girls Scouts.

Marissa Sigas, CHS senior, received Honorable Mention for the second straight year in the National Center for Women and Informational Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing.

Robotics and engineering students, under the direction of CHS teacher Josh Rosenblum, participated in the NJIT  Creative Design Panasonic Challenge and have made it to the final round to be held in April . The team consists of junior Jake Bradford and seniors Tom Dineen and Adam Czyrsznic.

VFW Post 335 Patriots Pen Essay competition will be hosting the presentation of awards on April 10. Casey A. Benderoth, HAS eighth grader, will be receiving the second place award for her essay.

OAS eighth grade students Rachel Durant and Dan Klimko have been selected to participate in this year's Youth and Government program at CHS.

Congratulations to the competiton cheerleaders who became NJ Cheer & Dance Coaches Association Intermediate Division Champions at the Cheer Championships in Trenton on Sunday.
The wrestling team advanced six wrestlers to the NJSIAA Tournament in Atlantic City placing four in the top eight:  Vince Concina (5th Place), Thomas DiGiovanni (6th Place) and Chris Scorse & Alex Esposito (7th place).

The girls swim team advanced the 200M Free Relay as well as the Medley Relay to the Meet of Champions.  The 200M Free Relay including Lauren Byrne, Bella DeSimone, Maggie O'Donnell, Marina Nunziato, and Emily Wilson placed 7th overall. 

STAFF:

VFW Post Commander Boxwell announced that Paul Maloney, HAS eighth grade social studies teacher, is the local recipient of the VFW Educator of the Year Award for 2016.   Mr. Maloney will be recognized at the local VFW Post on April 10.

OFFICE OF CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION:

Assistant Superintendent Liz Azukas attended the Mid-Atlantic Conference on Personal Learning and presented on change leadership and management. She also completed site visits in schools implementing personal learning and attended a variety of sessions on personal learning, blended learning, digital content, and competency-based learning. The conference also included several keynote speakers who addressed the need to promote innovation and creativity among students as well as the need to engage them in the world in which they live.

Ms. Azukas was asked to serve on the State Task Force for Future Ready Schools in the area of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. This will support the district’s work with Future Ready Schools.

The personal learning cohort will be traveling to the Mine Hill school district for a site visit to learn more about their student-driven innovation.  “There are exciting similarities to our personal learning work, and the cohort is excited to expand their professional network,” noted Ms. Azukas. Ms. Azukas also has continued to facilitate the “Leading Blended Teachers” online course for administrators and the teacher blended learning course.

Ms. Azukas attended the Governance Board meeting of the Professional Development School  (PDS) at Seton Hall. The group discussed the Memo of Understanding which will be presented to the BOE once it is finalized.  Cranford’s teacher mentors received professional development in supporting candidate professional development specifically with regard to the EdTPA requirements.

The Office of C&I is collaborating with the department of special services to discuss professional development needs for the special education teachers as well as to plan for the development and implementation of an Response to Intervention (RTI) program in the district. Ms. Azukas and Dr. Heather Austin, supervisor of special education will be traveling to Weehawken to learn more about their newly implemented RTI program.

The math and literacy coaches held their second parent workshop on March 2. Topics included reading strategies focused on comprehension and the progression of the four mathematical operations and fractions.  “There were about 15 parents in attendance and the program was well received,” noted Ms. Azukas.

The P2E team held a parent workshop on gifted children on March 8 at OAS. They also invited other gifted teachers from neighboring districts. The P2E teachers continue to provide enrichment support across the elementary schools including grade three math enrichment, grade four and five STEM projects, and grade three, four and five writing enrichment.

Ms. Azukas attended an NJDOE PD on the new state plan for ESSA which is currently open for public comment.

The Office of C&I continues to enter district curricula into the new Oncourse curriculum builder so teachers can use it in their planning. There are currently have 240 of our courses loaded into the system.

 

SCHOOLS:

CRANFORD HIGH SCHOOL
On February 23, Cranford High School conducted an Infrastructure Practice Test.  This test was used to test the newly installed fiber network as well as to expose CHS students to some of the ELA PARCC test questions.  “The outstanding results of this test were due to tireless work that our technology staff under the direction of Michael Mangini completed; the organization and efficiency of the secretarial staff; the logistical work completed by the custodial staff; the support and preparation by the CST and guidance departments; and, the attention to detail by the teaching staff and paraprofessionals,” commented Principal Mark Cantagallo.

On March 9 and 10 the staff went through a mock Rotate and Drop Schedule for the morning and afternoon classes.  The staff then utilized the afternoon to reflect and plan for the upcoming schedule adjustment for the 2017-2018 school year.

ORANGE AVENUE SCHOOL          

“The OAS production of Les Miserables was absolutely fantastic. The level of quality that was experienced by our audiences simply blew away all expectations for a middle school production. Under the skilled leadership of our play directors, OAS student actors dazzled the audience on each of the consecutive nights of performance. The quality was exemplary. I cannot count how many guests commented to me that this was the best middle school production, by far, that they had ever seen.  Many thanks to Director Becky Randazzo, Music Director Connie Thomas, and Director/Costumer Maria Dugan. Great job students!”  remarked Marc Edery, OAS principal.

Principal Edery has been asked to be part of a team that represents Cranford Public Schools in an innovative national program known as “Future Ready Schools.” Future Ready Schools helps district leaders plan and implement personalized, research-based digital learning strategies so all students can achieve their full potential. Mr. Edery comments, “I am delighted at this opportunity as the goals of this program are consistent with Cranford’s commitment to enhancing personal learning and technology based learning opportunities for all of our students.” Mr. Edery serves as a state level chair of a subcommittee within the leadership committee of Future Ready NJ.

Many thanks to the OAS PTA for bringing in Dr. Mykee Fowlin to perform for the middle school students.  In his one-man presentation, “You Don’t Know Me Until You Know Me,”  Dr. Fowlin takes the audience on an experiential journey, having them reexamine core precepts that were taught from as early on as 1st 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 who are open to this evolution.

OAS had a wildly successful “Volley for Heart” campaign this year. Under the leadership of Suzette De Araujo, the OAS community raised over $14,000 that will be donated to the American Heart Association. Students had a great incentive to raise these funds...Principal Marc Edery, Samantha Berk, and Chad Faulcon all agreed to be “slimed” at a student assembly by the individual students who raised the greatest amount of money. The green slime was made of flour, baby shampoo, and green food coloring. Ms. De Araujo commented, “We raised about $7000 last year and that exceeded our expectations. While we were hoping to top last year’s amount, no one expected that we would more than double it. This has been a great experience for our students as they learn to give back to the community in a meaningful way.” At the time of this publication, Principal Edery was unavailable for comment as he is still cleaning green slime from himself!

“Make a Hand, Lend a Hand!” Orange Avenue School and Lincoln School are partnering in a community service project. They create and distribute unity wreaths made of student hand prints and inspirational quotes . The wreaths are distributed in businesses and common areas throughout the Cranford community. Many thanks to Angie Braxton, Noelle Leeman and the OAS staff.  This project is part of the Students Rebuild program which raises funds for their Youth Uplift Challenge.

Mr. Edery participated in a national “Shadow a Student” challenge. “I had the pleasure of shadowing eighth grade OAS student Ryan Rosenthal for the day as part of the national shadow a student challenge. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to see through the eyes of a student for a day. Many thanks to Ryan, his teachers, and the OAS students for welcoming me from class to class on this special day,” remarked Mr. Edery.    http://shadowastudent.org

 

OAS elementary students recently enjoyed “The Ned Show” as part of their building wide, character education initiative. Principal Edery explained, “The students thoroughly enjoyed this fun and engaging experience. It’s so important to weave character education in many different forms into all aspects of the fabric here at OAS. This program is a good example of the many ways we work to maintain a school community that embraces personal responsibility, inclusion, and diversity.”

HILLSIDE AVENUE SCHOOL
Trish Compton’s and Lori Talbot’s third grade classes just completed their visits to the Crane's Phillips House in Cranford.  The students learned that the building that they may have passed hundreds of times is actually a historical site right in their own backyard. During the students visit to the museum, they were treated to viewing a collection of Native American artifacts, American Civil War artifacts, other arms and armaments, 19th century tools and farm implements, a Victorian parlor, and a Victorian girl's bedroom circa 1870.

Who does not like a good challenge? As part of their science studies, the Hillside Avenue School fourth graders have been exploring energy transfer in science in Meghan Reid’s and Vincent Basciano’s classes. The students designed an investigation to determine what types of materials would be successful in reducing thermal energy transfer, resulting in keeping a liquid warm. Using the data they collected, students engineered the "ultimate to-go cup" that would keep a liquid the warmest.  Their designs and knowledge and teamwork were put to the test in this real world application of science.

Kristen Hague’s seventh grade students are diving into their research on Antarctic sea habitats, regional oceanography and terrestrial nesting sites of seabird predators. The students will be using research technology, Skype sessions with scientists and traditional research methodology to collect information and to develop an informational tri-fold brochure to present to scientists at a Polar Ice symposium at Rutgers in June.

Under the guidance of Beth Waxman, media specialist, Hillside Avenue School’s “Read Across America” celebration of Dr. Seuss was observed the entire week of February 27- March 3. All week long students showed their Seuss spirit by dressing in clothing reflecting various Dr. Seuss books. The HAS peer leaders read to elementary classes and planned an activity to do with the students.  The younger students always enjoy connecting with the older students and visa versa. Another favorite activity for the week was the second annual Potato Parade held on March 2 in which students decorated potatoes to look like their favorite book characters. It was a "mashing" success!  Finally, as the culminating activity, poet Darren Sardelli visited HAS and provided several interactive “small group readings” presentations to the whole school, engaging students with his poetry. “It was a wonderful week of honoring Dr. Seuss and reading!” remarked Dr. Curt Fogas, principal.

 

Kristen Girone’s Applied Technology/STEAM students have been hard at work utilizing some of the new technologies funded by the PTA.  The sixth graders have been using Makey Makey kits to design video game controllers and putting their knowledge of electronic circuitry to work.  Students designed game controllers for a PacMan game, Super Mario Bros., and the current school favorite-- the dance game Flash Flash Revolution.  Designers Melissa Collins and Riley Wintonick opened up the challenge to the faculty and there has been some serious competition between Matt Fichter and Julia Duyckinck!  The reigning student champion is eighth grader Nate Caldwell. 
As part of the new elective choices in grade seven and eight, the grade seven Web Design class, under the watchful eye of Jane Borselli, created a collaborative webpage using HTML code. Students learned about HTML code when working in the Khan Academy tutorial and their learning was enhanced by classroom instruction.  Last Friday, students had an opportunity to apply their knowledge of HTML code and actually created a webpage with the code.  Students were able to add background color, bold and change the color of their text, add an image to their page, and change the size of their image.  The seventh graders were excited to see their page take form when they viewed it in a browser.

Ann Pollock's occupational therapy students in the MD and Intermediate Autism classes were busy with another service project!  They assembled 250 bags to be used for the HAS PTA Tricky Tray to be held later this month. 

Hillside Avenue School will be welcoming guest speaker Dr. Paul Wichansky. Dr. Paul will be presenting an assembly entitled "Access to Success." He will be speaking to grades 3-5 first then grades 6-8.  The presentation’s "...objective is to encourage my students to ensure their names become symbols for success as they embrace those ideals of leadership and confidence that help make their lives a success story."

Meghan Reid, peer leader advisor, has shared that the HAS peer leaders are working on elementary school lessons where they will be teaching grades 3-5 the importance of healthy friendships and the negative effects of cliques.  Together with the counselor they are also working on video vignettes about various mental health disorders, which they will present to their peers, hopefully reducing stigma surrounding mental health as we move into National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Month in May.

 

LIVINGSTON AVENUE SCHOOL
On March 2, Livingston Avenue School kicked off Read Across America Month with Crazy Hat Day. The students were encouraged to wear crazy hats to celebrate reading and Dr. Seuss. After lunch the entire school participated in Dropped Everything And Read. Students and staff lined the hallways and read their favorite book for a half hour. “It was a great school-wide event to Celebrate Read Across America and Dr. Seuss's Birthday,” noted Kevin Deacon, principal.

The students in Megan Curti’s fourth grade class went on an amazing trip to the Jardine Academy. The Jardine Academy is school that provides elementary and secondary education for children and young adults, ages 3-21, with multiple disabilities. The students toured the facility, asked questions of the staff, and interacted with the students.  The trip culminated with each student reading a book to an elementary or middle school class. “The students from LAS did an outstanding job of reading their books and asking questions about their stories. This trip was a great way for our two schools to interact and learn more about one another,” remarked Principal Deacon.

Emily Freely, speech and language pathologist, has been working on having her students create and give presentations to their class. On March 3, the students in 3G were treated to a presentation by one of their classmates about stuttering. The students in the class learned about this disability and ways they can be supportive of someone who stutters.

 

LINCOLN SCHOOL
CAP
Students participated in group counseling sessions with Chris Sedlak discussing motivation, drive, and positive personal habits. Students continued making cut-outs of their hands with motivating messages written on them for the “Make a Hand, Lend a Hand” project that the Bezos Family Foundation is sponsoring. (The hands will be used to create wreaths and the foundation donates $1.90 for every hand made to youth in Nicaragua and Indonesia.)

Liz McKeon’s English class is reading Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. The setting for the play is Chicago’s South Side during the 1950s when segregation was still prevalent. Ms. McKeon’s classes were assigned roles to read throughout the play. This way the students become the characters,  learning and feeling what each character is going through. The idea is to teach the students how far we have come as a society, while still having a long way to go.

David Fanelli’s students in math are working with statistics and learning different ways to display data graphically.  The students have learned box and whisker plots and stem and leaf charts and are applying what they have learned to real life scenarios.  Students are working with problems involving prices of cars, housing prices, grading systems, and even college costs.

In finance, students are working on Supply and Demand.  Students have learned about the demand curve and how inelastic and elastic demand will shift the curve in different ways.  Students also apply their knowledge of the supply curve to different scenarios to find consumer and producer surplus and deadweight loss based on changes in economy.

CAMP

The last few weeks in Cynthia Arch’s group counseling, students have focused on sexual harassment and stress/anxiety.  Students watched the video:  "Confronting Sexual Harassment in School."  This was followed by a discussion on giving examples of sexual harassment, identifying the effects of sexual harassment and what to do if a student is a victim or a bystander.  The other group counseling session focused on stress and anxiety.  Students used journal writing and group discussion to define stress and its symptoms as they identified their own personal stressors and how these had consequences on their behavior.  In addition, the students played "Stress Bingo" which encouraged them to identify the effects of stress on everyday issues and strategies to reduce and control stress.

For the past two weeks, students in the Cindy Keyasko’s computer class having been working on keyboarding skills development.  The students are also working on a PowerPoint presentation about a famous entrepreneur or inventor.  For national inventors month, students in Ms. Keyasko’s computer application classes chose an entrepreneur or inventor to research from the list of The Most Influential Entrepreneurs Of All Time.  The list was comprised of notable inventors/entrepreneurs ranging from the early days of Leonardo DaVinci  and Ben Franklin - to  current tech icons, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk. 

 

LEAP
Dawn Klotz's students have been strengthening their money skills in math. The students have learned to identify the names of the penny, nickel, dime, and quarter and can identify their value. They have also learned to count change and make equivalent values. The class is looking forward to using their skills when they open Klotz's Candy Shop, where students are able to use their "money" to buy some "sweet treats."

In February, which is Black History Month, Kathy Wright's class and Diana Niemsyk’s class got together on several occasions to do some activities to enlighten the students on this topic. The students researched a famous African American, made a poster about that person, and shared their posters with the rest of the class.  The story of Ruby Bridges was read to the students and then they watched the movie.  They discussed how the book and the movie were alike and different.  Finally, the students made an African American history quit.  This hangs in the LEAP hallway.

Jessica Waters’ class has been expanding their repertoire of strategies that they can use to become more efficient readers.  They have begun the task of closely examining the characters in a variety of books.  They have also started to discuss the differences between a character's appearance, behavior, and the emotions.  The ultimate goal for the students is to be able to identify important character traits of the main character in the stories.

In science and social studies Ms. Waters’ and Ms. Klotz’s classes recently  did a brief study about our planet.  They investigated the many unique things that make up planet Earth and how those unique things allow us to thrive and live on earth.  The students began to wonder what would happen if they did not take care of our planet so they extended the lesson to touch upon how to take care of our planet.

In math, Ms. Waters class is working with open number lines and the hundreds chart.  The students have begun to make connections and take ownership of the strategies that help them solve problems.  They are also working on word problems by learning to be able to recognize extraneous information as well as the operation needed to solve these problems.

Students in Maria Polyviou’s art class are working on a clay leaf bowl project which presents a direct and fresh slab-forming approach resulting in bowls/vases that become great canvases for surface decoration. Students will learn how to roll out a good, even slab, and can experience different stages of plastic clay and what the clay is capable of at each stage. They will become familiar with simple slump molds and start to consider the form and function of their work. Most importantly, they will learn how to handle clay in a direct and intentional way.

This week, Caitlyn Murach's music students returned to Cranford Hall to perform musical selections for our community members who reside there. “Students were excited to be able to practice performing Teen Arts repertoire in front of an audience and are very appreciative of Cranford Hall for always receiving them so well!” relayed Ms. Murach.

LEAP general music students have concluded their rhythm unit with excellent scores on their rhythm unit assessments! Students are currently beginning their pitch unit, where they will define pitch through a series of activities, experiment with contour through visual and physical activities, and review solfege and note reading strategies to apply to their area of their unit. Music enrichment students are currently working on creating chords with boomwhackers and applying chords to simple songs like "Don't Worry Be Happy."

CAP general music students are nearing the end of their hip hop unit, experimenting with taking a soundwave of a selection of music and taking it apart to create four different samples. Students will then compare and contrast original samplers such as the EMU-1200 and samplers of today. CAP's final project will include creating samples and arranging them into original pieces on garageband. Students will be challenged to use vocabulary from the unit when describing their purpose in creating their sample and how their music is organized through breaks, dubs, and toasting.

 

BLOOMINGDALE AVENUE SCHOOL 
Bloomingdale Avenue School’s kindergarten classes celebrated Read Across America with some very special guest readers.  Mayor Tom Hannen engaged students with a passionate reading of The Lorax and Fire Inspector Mark Bagniewski made students giggle with a reading of Green Eggs and Ham. 

Bloomingdale Avenue School’s second grade students recently celebrated the culmination of their data and graphing unit.  Students from the four classes were charged with creating surveys and collecting data based on favorite ice cream flavors, syrups, and toppings.  After gathering the data, students were asked to analyze the information and represent their data using plickers.com, graphit.com and Microsoft Excel.  Based on their findings, each class invented new ice cream flavors.  Lastly, the owner of Vanilla Bean Creamery, Ralph Kopelman, selected and created one flavor from each class and invited students and their families to sample the delicious flavors from February 27 through March 2.   The following flavors were created: Diane Cruz’s class- Cherry Chocolate Champion, Therese Koellner’s class- Waffleberry Fudge, Kelly LoGiudice Alfano’s class- Velvet Sensation and Lauren Oricchio’s class- Kookie Cookie Dough.  All in attendance were able to vote on which invented flavor they liked the best.  “This project brought the learning to life and engaged students in real world experiences” commented Lourdes Murphy, principal.

BROOKSIDE PLACE SCHOOL
A Walk in the Heart

Brookside Place School fourth graders recently took a walk through a giant inflatable heart at Overlook Hospital in Summit.  During the half-day field trip, which addressed elements of the fourth grade science curriculum, students learned about nutrition, heart health, and fitness.  In addition to touring the heart, students visited six stations where they listened to their heartbeats using stethoscopes, learned about CPR, heart function and more. Overlook Hospital is part of the Atlantic Health System and the “Walk in the Heart” program is a free offering through their community outreach and education.  

Sneaky Sugar
Members of the Healthy Kids, Healthy Brookside Club are spreading the word about healthy eating.  Club members created a visual display during their weekly after school meeting to show how much hidden sugar is in beverages, from milk to Gatorade to soda.  Club members then visited each classroom to share this enlightening “food for thought.”  The BPS Healthy Kids Club meets weekly and is led by School Nurse Paula O’Hara.  March is National Nutrition Month, and the club is coordinating healthy tips on the morning announcements, creating a front hallway display on healthy lunch choices, and making framed info cards for each lunch table featuring “super foods” like spinach and quinoa.

    Kindness Matters-Brookside Place School students put kindness into action during the month of February using an interactive bulletin board. Students selected a heart, completed the act of kindness described on it, and then passed it on to someone else to complete the same deed for someone else. Some examples included the following:  write the principal a thank you note, give a classmate a compliment, and let your sibling pick which TV show to watch. The idea was to keep these 100 acts of kindness going throughout the month and beyond.  Kindness was the character trait for the month of February and was celebrated with multiple initiatives. The morning and afternoon kindergarten classes incorporated kindness into their celebration of the 100th day of school by completing one hundred individual acts of caring and then describing them in writing on paper hearts.  BPS staff and faculty participated in a secret pal program that had small tokens of appreciation left in mailboxes and on desks. There were also read-aloud books and related activities.  Kindergarten teacher Anne Marie Francis is the Character Education Coordinator at Brookside Place School.

 

WALNUT AVENUE SCHOOL
Spirit Week/ Read-a-thon:

WAS students and staff celebrated School Spirit Week, February 27 – March 3.  The week’s activities were planned to coincide with the end of the annual winter Read-a-thon and Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  Each day of spirit week included a theme (e.g., Blue and Gold Monday, Touchdown Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Chill Out Friday). 

On Thursday (Dr. Seuss’s birthday) students were invited to dress as their favorite storybook characters.

Groups of “mystery readers” consisting of subject supervisors and retired educators were also invited to visit the classrooms to read to students. 

On this day WAS also announced the winners of the Read-a-thon that raised over $1000 to be used to improve the school’s classroom libraries.

Judy Podbelski, supervisor of social studies, business management and information technology, reports that students in Amanda Charles’  AP Human Geography assessed the development status of countries using the human development.  Students were asked to predict how developing countries could become developed.

In Sports & Entertainment Marketing, Donna Cathcart’s students researched the Grammy Awards which were held on February 10.  Students were asked to research an artist that they feel should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Students had to consider a new addition to the Hall of Fame, research his/her choice, justify WHY they deserve to be added, what celebrity should present them with the award, then share their findings with the class.

Students in OAS teacher Melissa Pepe’s sixth grade studied the social reform movements of the 1800s. As a culminating project, students chose a reformer from one of the movements to represent in a "meet and greet" party where the students dressed, acted, and spoke like their reformer. As students mingled with the other reformers, they tried to guess who the other reformers in the room were. To prepare for the meet and greet, students researched their reformer in-depth so they accurately represented the reformer both in their actions, and in their written report.

Gabrielle Rendeck’s US I Honors students simulated the Marshall Court to illustrate the increase in federal power during the Era of Good Feelings. Previously, they assumed the roles of current Supreme Court Justices to evaluate cases the real Supreme Court will hear this coming year (to teach judicial review).

Gregg Caverly, mathematics supervisor reports that over 40 Cranford High School students participated in the American Mathematics Competition’s annual contest.

Students on the Cranford High School Webmaster Team implemented an addition to the CHS website titled CHS Spotlight.  Each month a new faculty member will be highlighted based upon student nominations.

Susan Ritter, supervisor of language arts, reports that first year teacher Nicole Conter comments on the reading life of her ninth grade students:  “Independent reading has been such a positive addition to my classroom this year. Generally, we are reading different canonical texts during the week and then students apply what they learned about making inferences or drawing conclusions about narrators to their independent reading books through conferences and journal entries. Students get excited about independent reading.  We did a 60 Second Sell project where students creatively showcased a book they read in class for 1-2 minutes. This sparked the sharing of several books in class that were passed around from student to student.”  One student Gina Ricardo stated, "I love independent reading because it is the time in my school day when I feel like I am separated from the normal routine of high school. I get lost in the books I read."

Maureen Skepkowski’s second graders at Walnut Avenue School are working hard to understand series books as they craft their own stories together as a class with their teacher and in writing clubs; student groups are tackling varied genres!

Justin Corazza’s eleventh grade students at CHS performed live or created video renditions of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. 

Lisa Hayeck, supervisor of science and applied technology, reports Woods Advanced students are working on cooler tables that will be auctioned off in June to raise money to donate to Cleft Palate surgeries.

Students from CHS Web Design and Webmaster, Computer Honor Society and Engineering students presented at Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee on February 14 on the Panasonic Challenge and 3D Printer.  Students were accompanied by Rich Bell CHS Math/Computer Science teacher and Josh Rosenblum CHS Robotics and Engineering teacher.  Gregg Caverly and Lisa Hayeck facilitated the three- hour program.

Lisa Lesiak, Pathways to Excellence (P2E) Coach reports students are wrapping up their exploration investigations where they had a chance to explore different career fields related to the math/sciences, language arts, social sciences, and visual/performing arts. Whether it was developing a greeting card, coding a video game, designing a sculpture, or reflecting on ways to make an impact, the hope is that learners were able to put themselves in the shoes of an expert in a variety of areas.

 

P2E teachers are now beginning the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Ed Club curriculum and with lesson #1 the teachers are asking: "What makes our hearts beat faster?" Along with a passion inventory, P2E teachers are hoping the students will be able to identify areas of their greatest interests. From there, the students will begin to generate an idea or a seedling of an idea for their TED talks to come. After finding an area of interest to explore, children will be tasked with pinpointing what makes an idea worth sharing. It must be relevant, fresh, thought-provoking, and make an impact to a wide audience. The structure could be based on a new take on an old idea, a solution for a widespread problem, a troublesome situation that really bothers the speaker, or framed a myriad of other ways.

Elementary students throughout the district have benefitted from LUNCH AND LEARN, lunchtime enrichment opportunities coordinated by the P2E staff. These sessions are advertised each month at district elementary schools and all interested children in grades 3-5 may enter the lottery. Some of the February sessions included a tribute to Black History Month. Agnes Mantelbjane, author and African dancer, taught OAS students African dances and the symbolism and meaning behind them.

Annamaria Bellino, supervisor of world languages, ESL and family and consumer sciences, reports that the Meet and Greet, held at HAS on Monday, February 27, was an informal opportunity for the grade 5 students and parents/guardians to meet the sixth grade world language teachers and interact with students taking each language.

On February 23, Alannah Clarke, Michael Vicencio , Jesse Heyburn, and Will Clinton, members of the Japanese Honor Society, led by advisor, Catherine Fisco assisted a local Girl Scouts Troop who was preparing  for "World Thinking Day"; the troop  chose to represent Japan. The CHS students taught the girls how to write their names in calligraphy and fold origami cranes.

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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