CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
University of Iowa Names Westfield Pupil To Dean’s List for Fall
WESTFIELD – Sarah M. Simpson of Westfield, a student at the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Iowa, has been named to the Dean’s List for the 1999 winter semester.
DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS… Seven pupils from Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains have been designated as Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholars. These students placed in the top 10 percent of their classes and have a minimum combined SAT score of 1260. The awards in the amount of $1,000 are given annually without regard to financial need for up to four years of undergraduate study at a state college or university. Pictured, left to right, are: Principal Sister Percylee Hart; Laura Kolar, Thomas Zielinski, Jonathan Louie, Katie Behr of Westfield, Stephanie Juen, Thomas Gottlieb, Amy Watkins, and Guidance Director Mary Modlin.
Education reform has returned to prominence, reminding me of Harry Truman’s comment, “There is nothing new under the sun except the history you haven’t read.” What we know about education reform is that too often it is imposed by outsiders who cause the pendulum to swing dramatically from one extreme to the other.
With all the energy and attention that is being directed toward education now, I would like to see us create more meaningful and lasting results. I look forward to presenting some thoughts and perhaps challenging some preconceptions in this space in the coming months, and I welcome your reactions. Today, I focus on the ubiquitous topic of technology in education.
We all see television ads with cheerful children engaged in apparently valuable lessons involving computers (Microsoft’s “Where do you want to go today?”). The teacher/ actor extols the virtues of the activity, and we parents don’t want our children to miss out on the journey.
Anyone who uses a computer understands almost intuitively that they have the capacity to transform education, but let’s be careful not to let Madison Avenue dictate the destination or frame the discussion.
For example, I can ask my senior Shakespeare students to create a PowerPoint presentation with wonderful graphics and scan in photographs and snippets from movies and to then burn a disc for their “paper” comparing Al Pacino’s and Ian McKellan’s versions of Richard III to the original play. Does that really differ in substance from the way I might have prepared a similar paper myself 35 years ago?
I could have typed it, and I could have cut out pictures and glued them to my paper. We have gone from literal cutting and pasting to a more figurative kind, and students need to know how to use the new scissors and glue. But we need to be sure that they engage material at the level of ideas and not presentation.
Our English teachers do not need to be able to teach PowerPoint in order to demand an indepth analysis of the reasons why Lady Ann appears weaker in the Pacino version than in the McKellan. They do need to understand that technology exists that can help students access information quickly and present their points in a compelling way.
Education needs to stress substance over style and intellectual rigor over presentation; but students need to use contemporary tools.
Computers are tools to help people accomplish tasks, whether writing, computing, researching, modeling, designing, or communicating (or, increasingly, purchasing). Just as we teach “pencil grip” to our children, we need to teach mastery of the various uses of the computer, including, by the way, ethical use standards. We do not, however, keep teaching “pencil grip” for years, and we should not focus our curriculum on teaching computing. Nor are all teachers expected to teach pencil grip.
Instead, our students should be using computers as tools throughout the curriculum. We should create diagnostic tests which reveal mastery of specific tasks (just as students evolve from printing to cursive), but students can learn those tasks in a variety of ways, including at home.
And, of course, each of us develops our own approach to computing, just as our handwriting is unique. We adapt the tool to our personality.
Many students are already more advanced than their teachers (What Don Tabscott calls the “generation lap” in his new book, “Growing Up Digital.”). This is uncomfortable to teachers, who are accustomed to being the authority and who feel an obligation to understand
before they can teach or assign. Part of the transforming possibility of computers is precisely the dynamic of having the student be the expert. Teachers do need classroom support to help them discover Web sites of value to their courses, email applications that may be appropriate, or software that enhances their teaching or students’ presentations or collection of data.
Librarians will increasingly find their job description redefined as technology resource support. Computer teachers will become roving team teachers. Computer labs will become an anachronism, but teachers will not.
We will rely on individual teachers, in individual classrooms, to build social and academic skills, values, selfconfidence, intellectual integrity, and love of learning. Substantive technology initiatives, as with lasting education reform of any type, will only occur when we can help individual teachers discover and internalize the ways that technology enhances the relationship between student, learner, and material.
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Chris Williamson has been the Head of School at The WardlawHartridge School in Edison for six years, after teaching and holding administrative positions in independent and public schools in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Ohio for 23 years.
He also serves on the Board of the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools and is Past President of the New Jersey Prep Conference. He has written articles about College Counseling for the National Association of College Admission Counselor Journal and has been a presenter at workshops in Ohio, New Jersey and for the National Association of Independent Schools.
Mr. Williamson graduated from Williams College, received an Master of Arts from The University of New Hampshire, and has done additional graduate work at Boston University and The University of North Carolina.
Union County VoTech HOSA Chapter Elects New Officers
SCOTCH PLAINS – Plainfield resident April Morgan has been elected to serve as president of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Chapter at the Union County Vocational Technical Schools (UCVTS) in Scotch Plains.
Qiana Monroe of Westfield was named VicePresident, while Tanisha Spells of Rahway was chosen as Secretary. Nancy Torres of Roselle Park was elected as Treasurer.
All of these elected officers are students in the Allied Health Program at UCVTS, which is instructed by Donna Powers. Ms. Powers is also the advisor to the HOSA chapter.
Ms. Morgan took first place in the Prepared Speaking event at the recent
Northern New Jersey Regional HOSA Conference competitions held at Passaic County Vocational Technical Schools in Wayne.
For more information on the Allied Health Program and other UCVTS programs, please call the Admissions Office at (908) 8892911 or (908) 8892999.
Mountainside PTA Plans to Sponsor Parent, Student Education Program
MOUNTAINSIDE – “Rainforests, the Web of Life,” will be the featured topic during a Parent/ Student Education Program sponsored by the Mountainside Parent Teacher Association on Wednesday, February 16, at 7 p. m. in the cafeteria at Deerfield School.
An interactive overview of the rainforest and how it relates to parents and students lives will be featured during the evening.
Jack Branagan of “Earth Matters,” will present the program with slide
Registration Planned For Spelling Bee Event
SCOTCH PLAINS – The Scotch Plains Recreation Department and Junior Woman’s Club of Scotch Plains have announced that they will sponsor a spelling bee contest on Saturday, March 11 at the Scotch Hills Clubhouse in Scotch Plains.
Students in grades 3 to 5 may register for the contest beginning on Monday, February 14, in the Recreation Office, 430 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains.
The bee is an elimination contest with words from each grade level given to the contestants. Third graders will compete at 9 a. m., fourth graders at 9: 30 a. m. and fifth graders at 10 a. m. All are approximate times.
Judges for the contest will be members of the Scotch Plains Juniors. Prizes for first and second place in each grade will be awarded to the winners. Parents and family relatives are welcome.
For more information, please call (908) 3226700.
Parents Band Association Slates Annual 50s Dance
WESTFIELD – An annual 50’s Dance, the major fundraising event for the Westfield Band Parent’s Association, will be held on Saturday, March 4, at 8 p. m. at the Gran Centurions in Clark.
The dance will feature the music of the popular 50s band Satin & Gold, under the direction of Linda King.
The annual event will help obtain scholarship funds for the Marching Band students.
Tickets for the dance may be purchased for $27.50 by calling the music department at Roosevelt Intermediate School at (908) 3176730. projection, sound, lights, humidity,
heat and special effects. Parents, students and residents are invited to attend. Admission is free. Refreshments will be served.
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Alex Galitzer Attends Presidential Classroom
In Washington, D. C.
FANWOOD – The Presidential Classroom Scholars Program in Washington, D. C. recently welcomed WardlawHartridge School junior and Fanwood resident Alex Galitzer to meet with government leaders.
Along with 340 high school juniors and seniors from 44 states, Alex learned about the democratic process firsthand.
Highlights for the week included seminars with Senator Byron Dorgan (DND) and Director of the U. S. Army Staff General John Pickler. The week also included a private tour of the White House and smallgroup visits to a foreign embassy. Students rounded out the week with appointments in the offices of their Senators and Representatives on Capitol Hill.
Parent Meeting Set About Kindergartners At Terrill Middle School
SCOTCH PLAINS – Reviewing the Kindergarten Inventory and highlighting the aspects of the Kindergarten Curriculum will be the featured topic at the Kindergarten Parent Orientation Meeting on Wednesday, March 22.
The meeting, which has been scheduled by the Scotch PlainsFanwood School District, will be held at 7: 30 p. m. in Terrill Middle School.
All interested parents, nursery school personnel and community members are invited.
Scotch Plains Pupils Named to Dean’s List At University of Delaware
SCOTCH PLAINS – Scotch Plains students Janis Lane Acampora, Lauren A. Biedell, Stacey Lee Peterson and Adena Plesmid earned Dean’s List status for the fall semester at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
Janis is a major in biological sciences. Lauren is majoring in consumer economics. Stacey is an elementary education major. Adena is majoring in accounting.
PROUDLY PINNED… Faculty and students at Franklin Elementary School recently marked the birthday of Benjamin Franklin by wearing special pins donated by parent Darleen Caruana. The pupils also enjoyed cupcakes prepared by homeroom mothers. Activities, which reinforced the students’ knowledge of Franklin, were presented in each class. Pictured, left to right, are: Chelsea Baum, holding a kite; Austin Baum, dressed as a lightning bolt; and Student Council President William Harbaugh as Franklin.
Westfield Public Schools May Open February 22
If More Snow Comes
WESTFIELD – If Westfield Public Schools use another snow day between Monday, February 7, and Friday, February 18, students may have to attend school on Tuesday, February 22.
At the end of the first week of school in February, one snow day was still available to students. If the snow day is not used by February 18, school will remain closed as planned on February 22 for a long President’s
weekend. Superintendent of Schools Dr. William J. Foley reported, “We cannot continue the rest of the year without any snow days since this would jeopardize the spring break.”
He continued, “I am, therefore, notifying parents, students and staff that there is a strong possibility that school will be open on Tuesday, February 22.”
Special Education Meeting Planned
WESTFIELD – The Office of Special Services of the Westfield Public Schools revealed that a meeting for parents of students with disabilities will be held on Thursday, February 24, at 7: 30 p. m. in the auditorium of Westfield High School.
In the event of inclement weather, the meeting will be rescheduled for Tuesday, February 29.
According to Dr. Theodore Kozlik, Director of Special Services, the New Jersey Department of Education will be monitoring Westfield’s special education programs and services during March.
“As a vital partner in the process, we are inviting parents and guardians to participate in a public meeting to discuss our district’s efforts in providing appropriate services to students with disabilities,” he added.
“We appreciate the assistance of our parents in our efforts to provide quality programs for our students,” Dr. Kozlik concluded.
Chairing the meeting and discussions will be representatives from the New Jersey Office of Special Education Programs.
Alexander J. Polce Ends Basic Training
MOUNTAINSIDE – Marine Corps Private Alexander J. Polce, the son of Geri D. Poole and Richard M. Polce of Mountainside, recently completed 12 weeks of basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S. C.
Presidential Scholarship Earned By Fanwood’s
FANWOOD – Fanwood resident Jessica Gittleman has been selected to receive a Presidential Scholarship Award from Concordia University in Seward, Neb., beginning with the fall semester of the 20002001 academic year.
The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Gittleman, Jessica is a student at Scotch PlainsFanwood High School.
Jessica’s award, which is valued at $3,750, allocates $750 per year and is renewable for up to five years. Presidential awards are given to pupils who demonstrate academic achievement, outstanding work in a particular area and positive contributions to student life.
Lt. Appel Assigned To Abraham Lincoln
SCOTCH PLAINS — Lieutenant Matthew J. Appel of the United States Navy is currently assigned to the
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) as Second Division Officer of the Deck Department.
The USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz class aircraft carrier, recently returned to her home port of Everett, Wash., from a sixweek training exercise.
Lieutenant Appel is a graduate of Scotch PlainsFanwood High School and holds a bachelor of science degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va.
He and his wife, Katie, reside in Mill Creek, Wash. His parents, Dr. E. Sandra and Walter A. Appel, live in Scotch Plains. proposal to change the system.
“It reflects the effort of the student better,” she advised.
WHS Principal Dr. Robert G. Petix told the school board that the WHS faculty originally recommended to use the pluses and minuses system by a 21 margin.
In a telephone interview with Dr. Petix, he reported that after hearing Mr. Jakubik’s findings, “I think the minuses should be reconsidered. He noted that now the faculty will have to go back to the drawing board and compile compelling reasons for the school board to consider changing the grading system, including minuses.
President of the Parent Teacher Association and science instructor at WHS Michael Seiler told The Westfield Leader, “I’m very happy with the system that we have right now. The system we have is working. I’m definitely against changing the system.”
Believing that the proposal with will probably “die out,” Mr. Seiler said that the likelihood of establishing a plusonly system is improbable.
Dr. Petix later revealed that Princeton High School has instituted a plusonly system for its students.
“In some cases, I think we’re trying to reinvent the wheel,” Mr. Seiler said. “I think it was a noble task to reexam the system and see what is best for the students. We gave it the college try.”
“We’re here to help the kids, not to hurt them,” he concluded.
The Learning Curve
Technology in Classrooms Transforms Education, Increases Love of Learning
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