ROXBURY, NJ - After three years in the making, 2,500 square feet of space at Roxbury High School (RHS) is now a dedicated learning environment once more.
The newly refurbished area that once housed the school’s auto-shop and later district storage, is now Roxbury’s Structural Design and Fabrication (SDF) and Robotics Labs. The space was officially dedicated Sept. 19 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony with Superintendent Loretta Radulic, RHS Principal Dominick Miller and the Board of Education inviting the community in to see the newly designed space.
“We looked at this 2,500 square feet of space and began re-imagining what it could be to support our vision of preparing the students of today for tomorrow," Radulic said. "A multitude of options were presented to the community, students, teachers and administrators. The stakeholders spoke loud and clear in their desire to have and enhance programs that offered hands-on learning, namely a Structural Design and Fabrication program and an enhanced robotics program.”
Once the decision was made, the hard work began.
Assistant Superintendent Chuck Seipp researched and developed the curriculum to support the programs while Business Administrator Joe Mondanaro kept an eye on the financial side of things. Miller and the Board of Education supported the addition of the education initiatives.
Radulic added, “No program succeeds without the enthusiasm and passion of the educators. I’d like to thank Mr. Lee Hayden for all of his advice and guidance in constructing the Robotics room and Mr. Frank Caccavale who was integral to designing the program and has already enhanced the program exceeding expectations, with its partnership with the carpenters’ union and Habitat for Humanity.
“To create anything impactful and meaningful in education, it takes a collaborative, forward-thinking committed, and hard-working team striving towards a single vision. This is evident that we have that team who remains committed to our vision of preparing the students of today for tomorrow.”
Miller agreed. “We’re really excited about the opportunity for the community to take a look at our SDF room," he said. "When you get a chance to go in there to take a look, you’ll see progressive ideas where we are moving forward trying to find new ways and opportunities for our students, that’s exactly what this room is doing.”
Miller also bragged a bit on Caccavale. “In less than a year of working with us, Mr. Caccavale reached out and established a relationship with the carpenters union," he said. "He’s got something going on now where we’re going to be able to provide our kids an opportunity - if we work things well - that they’ll be able to ... do a year of apprenticeship here.
“He’s also established a relationship with Habitat for Humanity so our kids are going to be able to help out in our community and Morris County as a whole. He deserves a lot of credit for that.”
Miller said additional new programs happening now at Roxbury High School include an academic program called Design Thinking which gives students an opportunity to come up with solutions to problems.
Another opportunity is with a partnership with Centenary University for a Social Media Marketing class.,
“We’re going to have 25-30 kids that will be taking part in this program and it’s going to give them an opportunity to earn college credits but also, in the end, if they continue, they’ll be able to earn a certificate,:" said the principal. "So, to actually have some credentials from Centenary University, we’re hoping that the students will be able to partner with businesses in the community to help them solve some of the problems they’re having, whether it’s some graphic design, marketing, whatever it may be, we’re hoping that our students can do that.”
Moving forward Roxbury Schools is looking to continue its partnerships with colleges. Next year it’s looking to implement an Expository Writing program with Rutgers which would allow students to earn credit from there.
“This year we implemented the Athletic Training and Physical Therapy (AT/PT) Academy with the Morris County Vocational School of Technology," Miller said. "Right now, there are 12 or 13 students in that program and as of last Wednesday, there were already 25 applicants for next year. This program will provide our kids unique opportunities, so we’re hoping one of the things we can do is the partnership with Seton Hall University where - in their senior year through AP classes -students can earn up to 15 to 18 credits from Seton Hall"