Press Releases

Westfield and Plainfield Students Complete Second Exchange Year

Eighth graders from Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield and Cedarbrook School in Plainfield wrapped up their exchange program at Roosevelt on February 1, discussing elements of the Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men. This is the second year of the program. Credits: Westfield Public Schools
Credits: Westfield Public Schools
Credits: Westfield Public Schools

Eighth graders at Roosevelt Intermediate School in Westfield and Cedarbrook School in Plainfield wrapped up this year’s Plainfield Westfield Exchange Program on February 1.  Meeting in Roosevelt’s cafeteria, the students shared their opinions of the Steinbeck novel Of Mice and Men and one of its major themes:   The struggle to achieve the American Dream. 

The students from each school studied the novel for four weeks, which included two visits between schools to share ideas.  Roosevelt also established an online wiki for students from both schools to communicate between meetings and discuss multiple analytical questions about the text.

On February 1, in small groups or speaking individually, the 8th-graders expressed their opinions of the existence of the American Dream in the novel as well as in reality, the reaction to murder and death of some of the novel’s characters, and the minority experience in the 1930s and today.

Sign Up for E-News

In addition to examining the connections between the novel and the world, the students were asked to reflect on what they learned from each other and each community during the exchange program.  Every table of students included a facilitator from either Westfield or Plainfield who helped encourage discussion or answer questions. 

Following the discussion period, the Plainfield 8th graders remained for lunch and attended afternoon classes with their Westfield counterparts.

Marking the second consecutive year of the exchange program, Stewart Carey, Principal of Roosevelt Intermediate School, said, “What a wonderful opportunity it is for both our students and the Plainfield students to explore the essential questions of ‘The American Dream.’  In today’s world, where diversity is the accepted norm and collaboration valued in finding successful outcomes, it is important that our students learn (at an early age) the need to work together and understand varying points of view.”

Matthew Kalafat, 8th-grade Language Arts teacher at Roosevelt, who coordinates the program, added, "Research shows students at this age learn much from interacting with fellow students. By setting up a context in which students from two different communities can communicate, our students were able to learn much more than they normally would have. Both communities were able to gain unique perspectives about these themes because of our dialogue."

The exchange program continues to receive praise, as it did in its initial year when news of its success reached Penguin Publishers, which invited students to record their interpretations of the novel for a new eBook.  On January 22, the Westfield Board of Education heard a presentation regarding the eBook and the curriculum from Kalafat and his co-founder of the program, Derrick Nelson.  Nelson, who was Assistant Principal of Roosevelt last year, is currently holding that position at Westfield High School.  Freshmen at the High School, who were in the program in 2011-2012, also addressed the Board with positive comments about their experiences in the Plainfield exchange program and being filmed in the Penguin corporate offices in New York City.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


NJ Flags to Fly at Half-Staff for Jerry Green May 7

April 24, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order on Monday for New Jersey flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on the day of the upcoming General Assembly session, scheduled for May 7, in memory of Assemblyman Jerry Green, former chair of the Union County Democratic Committee, who died last week.

On Thursday, Governor Murphy had said, ...

Thank you, Mayor Brindle and Six Members of Town Council, for Approving 2018 Budget

April 25, 2018

Thank you, Mayor Brindle, and the six members of council, who voted to approve the 2018 budget last night and to Mr. Gildea, Councilwoman Habgood and the finance committee members who worked tirelessly to prepare it. Thank you for the lowest tax increase I can recall while producing a budget that provides for smart investment in our town. 

For most of my residency here, the same ...

Upcoming Events


Thu, April 26, 10:00 AM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Westfield Memorial Library Spring Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, April 27, 10:00 AM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Westfield Memorial Library Spring Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Police Blotter: Two Reported Shopliftings & More

April 25, 2018

April 19, 2018 9:36 a.m.

Officer McCarthy arrested Paul S. Lee, age 36, of Ridgewood, NJ, at Westfield Police Department headquarters on the strength of an outstanding Westfield warrant in the amount of $89. Subject was processed and released after posting bail.


April 19, 2018 12:01 p.m.

A resident of Central Avenue reported being the victim of identity theft. Unknown actor(s) ...

Reduce Your Risk for Colorectal Cancer

April 25, 2018

Morristown Medical Center’s Carol G. Simon Cancer Center presents “Protecting Your Colorectal Health” on Tuesday, May 1 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Morristown Medical Center Health Pavilion, 333 Mount Hope Avenue in Rockaway. Admission is free.

This popular, educational program presents an opportunity to hear up-to-date presentations from leading ...

Ways to Increase Your Home's Equity

Sometimes you forget and don’t realize your home provides so much to your life. It brings along with it your dreams of the future, shelter to you and your family, a way to provide a better lifestyle, a better commute, a neighborhood, schools, community involvement and recreational facilities. But it also provides a way to save for the future. It does this by allowing you to build your ...

Westfield Public Schools Welcomes Community to Auditorium Open Houses

Two years ago, voters in Westfield approved a bond referendum to renovate the aging auditoriums in Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools. Major aspects of the renovations include new seating and flooring, electrical and lighting upgrades, state-of-the-art sound systems, acoustical treatments and air conditioning.

On April 11 and 12, students, staff, families and other members of the ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


Oct 21, 1944 - Apr 14, 2018
Kathleen A. Hertell passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on April 14, 2018. Loving ...
Read more

‘A Sad Day for Paterson’ as Police Officer Loses Life in Car Crash

April 23, 2018

PATERSON, NJ — On what Paterson Superior Officers Association President Mason Maher called “a sad day for Paterson,” a city police officer lost his life on Sunday after he was involved in a motor vehicle collision while on duty.

Several sources familiar with Sunday’s tragic accident have identified the fallen officer as Tamby Yagan, a 13-year veteran of the ...