PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools



PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
Volume XI, Issue 1
MRTA Publication
MRTA President’s Message
In the Classroom
Please take a moment to read the Matawan
newsletter. A PRIDE in Public Education grant
from the NJEA has given the MRTA this
opportunity to provide you with a view of some
of the exciting activities that have taken place
in our schools throughout the year.
teachers and staff of the Matawan-Aberdeen
Regional School District invite you to read
about these special classroom lessons, extracurricular activities, field trips and community
outreach projects that are just a small part of
the educational program in our schools.
100 Days!
Mrs. Anderson’s Preschooler celebrated the
100th Day of School on Monday, February, 24,
2014. Many of the students dressed up as “100
year old grandmas and grandpas”. The children
practiced counting using visual cues by 10s up
to 100. It was a great day celebrated by all
students in Room 11 at Cambridge Park School!
We also invite you to visit the Matawan
website,, for information regarding
the Marie Panos MRTA Scholarship. We have
been able to offer over $70,000 in scholarships
to our students.
Carl Kosmyna
MRTA President
Contest Winners
Congratulations Teachers of the Year
We want to congratulate those honored as
Teacher of the Year for each building. The
recipients are:
Cambridge Park Preschool-Susan Ripple
Cliffwood Elementary School-Joann Hickey
Ravine Drive School-Lori Thomson
Strathmore Elementary School-Melissa Cullen
Lloyd Road School-JoAnn Nocera
Matawan Aberdeen Middle School-Nadine
Matawan Regional High School-Dr.Paul Servidio
We have many outstanding teachers and
support staff members who deserve to be
recognized for their efforts, we are especially
proud of these staff members.
Patriot Pen is a V.F.W. sponsored youth essay
competition. It gives students an opportunity to
write essays expressing their views on
democracy. The top 46 national winners all
receive at least $500. The first-place award is
currently $5,000, plus an all-expense paid trip
to Washington, D.C. for the winner and a
parent or guardian. The contest is expedited by
Mr. Kenneth Aiken and local awards are made
possible by the Cliffwood V.F.W. This year
students were challenged to respond to the
prompt “What patriotism means to me” This
year’s contest winners at Matawan Aberdeen
Middle School were 6th grader Anthony Fosu,
second place 7th grader James Nichols, and
third place was 7th grader Danae Hughes.
Congratulations to the winners, and thank you
to all the students who entered very thought
provoking essays.
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
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In addition, there were instruments (rhythm
and choir chimes) played by the students to
accompany some of the songs. Some students
had solos and duets while other students added
“American Sign Language” to several of their
Abraham Lincoln Day
As a culmination project upon the completion of
the book Abe Lincoln’s Hat, Mrs. Bergrin’s class
celebrated Abe Lincoln Day.
Using character traits, we wrote letters to Abe
Lincoln, telling him why we would vote for him.
We compiled these character traits writing
them on Lincoln’s hat.
As part of our poetry unit, students completed
tectractys poems on Lincoln.
Combining technology with academics, students
completed and presented their power point
presentations about the contributions Abe
Lincoln made to the United Sates.
Strathmore Third Grade
Chorus Presents:
“Friends Forever”
On Wednesday, January 29th, the Strathmore
Third Grade Chorus presented a wonderful
concert to a “standing room only” crowd in the
Anne Hannah Auditorium at Matawan
Regional High School. The chorus was directed
by Mrs. Zomro, the vocal music teacher at
Strathmore Elementary School and the concert
focused on songs about the importance of
friendships in our lives. Over 110 students
participated in the concert with great
enthusiasm. For many of the children, it was
the first time on a big stage, and they did an
outstanding job.
Not only did the students sing, but they also
added choreography to most of their numbers.
All in all, it was a very varied and enjoyable
evening for those who attended. Songs included
Bruno Mars, “Count on Me”; “We Go Together”
from Grease; “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from
Toy Story; “Together, Wherever We Go” from
Gypsy; “For Good” from Wicked; along with
some crowd favorites like “You Raise Me Up”
and audience participation on “That’s What
Friends Are For”. There were also some songs
sung in Swahili and in Spanish along with
several original compositions for Children’s
Choirs. There certainly was a little something
for everyone!
Some of the students also performed for the
Board of Education meeting held at Strathmore
Elementary School on Monday, February 24th.
The smaller group of approximately 35 students
did a terrific job as well. They are to be
congratulated on their performance and
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
Page 3
Mind Over Mat at MRHS
Academic Bowl
Mind Over Mat is a new student-oriented club
this year at MRHS. The purpose of this club is
to enhance and enrich students’ lives as it
assists in building awareness, self-confidence
and lessens stress via yoga and mindfulness
meditation practices. By studying, learning and
training in these disciplines, with certified yoga
instructors, Charlotte Coughlin and Tara
understanding of their own mind-body
connection and build practical tools to aide
them with the every-day stresses that they
The MAMS Academic Bowl Teams advised by
Dylan Tarrazi competed in the Avenel Middle
School Academic Challenge on Thursday,
February 20th. The 8th grade team of Christina
Weber, Brandon Trani, Catherine Brown,
Christopher Mallozi, Karoline Winzer, and
Meet Patel brought back to MAMS a first place
trophy. A second place trophy was won by the
6th grade team of Malik Javaid, Anthony Fosu,
Michael Malozzi. Brynn Reiser, Norman
Gardell, and Benedikt Winzer. The teams
demonstrated themselves with poise and
excellent sportsmanship and represented the
district proudly.
This club focuses only on the mind-body
connection so as to help teens at MRHS develop
better coping, stress management and selfconfidence skills that they can use in and out of
Regular club sessions include: yoga poses and
flows, breathing techniques/breathe work,
stress management skills through mindfulness,
mindful meditation, and creative journaling.
Student sessions are held weekly in the
building, as well as outdoors (spring/fall). An
average of 10-25 MRHS students join in the
yoga and meditation sessions each week. No
prior knowledge of yoga or meditation is
necessary to join. What do students need to
join? A signed parent permission form, yoga
mat, comfortable clothes, and water bottle.
For more information on Mind Over Mat
students may visit the MRHS web pages on (yoga/meditation under “activities”)
([email protected]) or T. Lisciandro
([email protected] ) at MRHS.
Ten MAMS students attended the training
program for Mentors of Children with Special
Needs. The program was run by Pathways for
Exceptional Children. Students representing
MAMS came from 6th, 7th and 8th grades.
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
These students volunteered for the program
because they have a passion to make a
difference in the lives of others.
willingness to participate in the training and
carry the message forward to school and
community groups is an example of their
attitude of responsibility.
The training exercises were educational and
motivational. Attendees were put through a
battery of physical and mental exercises
developing not only empathy, but problem
solving skills that enabled them to adapt
activities for inclusion.
Partaking in the
training myself, I can assure you that it is no
easy feat to read and write using mirror images
to recreate a processing issue, or to dribble a
ball with your legs in a potato sack as if you
had a neuromuscular diagnosis. Each activity
afforded participants a deeper understanding
and alternate perspective on what it means to
be labeled “disabled”.
Some of the students completing the training
are joining me at MAMS as Peer Buddies in the
Adapted PE class; others have taken the
inclusion message out to the community
through programs such as Phoenix and
Challenger League. No matter what they find
themselves involved in, these students are
initiating cultural change throughout our
schools and community.
Students Score Lift tickets
For the third year, MAMS Health and Physical
Education teacher Eileen Wallace joined forces
with Jack Frost Big Boulder to motivate and
Page 4
reward the middle school students’ academic
efforts. Through the Show Us Your Grades
program, students earning Merit or Honor Roll
status on their first quarter report card are
awarded a free lift ticket to use on either
mountain, any time this winter season. This
year 451 lift tickets were earned by the
students at MAMS.
Feedback from the
program has been positive.
The Grammy Music
Educators Award 2015
Lisa DiLiberti our music teacher at Lloyd Road
School was nominated for the Grammy Music
Educators Award both this year and last year.
This year she was nominated by our PTO at
Lloyd Road School, and last year by a colleague
at Lloyd Road School. She didn’t know much
about the award, but she was very proud that
she was nominated. Music is vital to any school
program, and the fact that this area is getting
recognition in test scores which are paramount
today, was important for music educators to
hear. This award has a finalist who will be
flown out to Los Angeles for the 2015 GRAMMY
awards to accept the reward and receive a
$10,000.00 grant for their school. There are ten
finalists chosen who receive a $1000.00
All music educators in the USA are eligible to
be nominated for this prestigious award. They
must be current educators, who teach music in
public or private schools Kindergarten through
College. Teachers in after school programs,
private music studios, or other educational
settings are not eligible. Teachers who are
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
planning to retire at the end of 2014 are not
Anyone can nominate someone for this award:
school administrators, PTO, students, parents,
and anyone else. Music is vital to our students
in preparing them for test scores, standardized
tests, developing listening skills, fine motor
coordination, breathing techniques, and various
cross curricular collaborations within the school
academics and communities.
Ms. DiLiberti would like to thank everyone who
nominated her. All we need from you is your
nominee's name, school, city and email address.
Your nominee will then be notified via email to
complete the application process on their own.
Page 5
(90.2 percent as compared to 72.9
percent). In addition, those that rate
their programs as "excellent or very
good" have an even higher graduation
rate (90.9 percent).
The combined results of 30 studies
indicate that music instruction is linked
to significantly improved reading skills.
Family Arctic Night
You know who those fantastic teachers are in
your community who are too shy or too humble
to raise their hand for this terrific honor. And
that means some really deserving teachers
won't even be considered. You can make sure
that doesn't happen by completing the
nomination and/or application process on their
So get them into the game. All you need to get
started is their name, school, city and
nominee's email address. You and your
nominee will then be provided what you need to
complete the full application.
The facts about the importance of music
education don’t lie. Here are a few we think are
1. Students in high-quality school music
programs score higher on standardized
tests compared to students in schools
socioeconomic level of the school or
school district.
2. Schools that have music programs have
significantly higher attendance rates
than do those without programs (93.3
percent as compared to 84.9 percent).
3. Schools that have music programs have
significantly higher graduation rates
than do those without music programs
Family Arctic Night was held on February 12th
at Strathmore Elementary School. The night
consisted of a polar bear theme based art
project, story time, and games. Donations were
raised to adopt a polar bear from the World
Wildlife Fund. Due to the overwhelming
popularity the event had to be split into two
sessions! Over 500 students and parents came
to Family Arctic Night. Allison Christie and
Kerri Di Brienza would like to thank Mrs. Bera
and the amazing Strathmore faculty and staff
for their time and support in making this a
successful event. Stay tuned for upcoming news
on our adopted polar bear.
First Grade Fun in February
The Strathmore First Graders just completed a
secret “Mission Possible” during which they had
to choose seven recipients to receive their
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
random acts of kindness. During this activity,
students completed a variety of wonderful acts,
including making their families’ beds, smiling
at people in the hallway, making thank-you
cards for the custodians, reading to their
younger siblings, and inviting friends to play at
recess. The first graders were so excited to
share their acts of kindness with their
classmates. They re-wrote five of their favorite
acts on colorful hearts, which are proudly
displayed in the Strathmore front lobby for all
to see.
Our first graders are also anxiously looking
forward to the 100th Day of School!
preparation, they have been bringing in
projects to showcase their collections of 100.
We are also very excited to be partaking in our
first school-wide 100th Day event where
everyone will be dressing up to look like we are
100 years old!
Page 6
Ravine Drive Blizzard
The 2nd grade students at Ravine Drive School
sponsored a Blizzard!! The students and staff
helped to throw some ‘snow’ to families in our
school and community that were in need.
Donations of everyday items such as soap,
toothpaste, toothbrushes, tissues, deodorant,
baby care items, paper towels and napkins were
collected and sorted by 2nd grade classes.
The students really watched the donations “pile
up” and spent a lot of time “digging” through
the items donated. The items were then sorted
and assembled into gift baskets that were
presented to the families that were in need.
On Your Mark…Get Set…
Go Fitnessgram
Thanks to the efforts of Mr. Nick Vasilenko, the
newest member of the MAMS Health and PE
Department, MARSD received a grant to bring
the Fitnessgram Assessment to the District to
replace the now defunct Presidential Fitness
Tests. This new program focuses on promoting
quality Health and Physical Education
programming. It develops a data profile of all
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
students’ fitness levels that will follow them
throughout their school years.
students and their families will receive
individualized reports emphasizing personal
classmates. The results of testing in strength,
muscle endurance, flexibility and aerobic
capacity are combined with information on age,
gender, body composition and involvement in
performances are categorized as being in the
Healthy Zone or Needing Improvement. The
program, along with the instructors, helps to
motivate and direct physical effort to lessen or
eliminate health risks that result from low
levels of fitness. The program is being rolled
out in Mr. Vasilenko’s and Ms. Wallace’s 6th
Grade classes this year, with goals of expanding
it school and district wide.
Page 7
questions we asked were, “Are you located in
North America?” “Are you east of the
Mississippi River?”
“Does your state border water?”
The class finally decided that the other class
was located in Florida after we asked the
question, “Is you state south of Georgia?”
When we found out that we were correct we
cheered and jumped up and down. They also
figured out that we lived in New Jersey.
It was a GREAT experience and we hope we
can do it again some day! Thank you Ms. Lucy
for setting it up!
Technology Fun
The Health and Physical Education department
at the High School implemented a new an
innovative way to connect and creatively
engage students. The students were able to
have access to the EDMODO application by
using their own personal mobile devices such as
cell phones, IPADS, laptops, and tablets.
On Tuesday, February 11th, Mrs. Brereton’s
second grade class at Strathmore School had a
date to Mystery Skype. Ms. Tiffany Lucy set up
a mystery class for us to Skype with. We did not
know where the other class was located. We
had a camera set up on our promethean board
so we could see and hear the other class. Each
class took turns asking questions to help us
figure out where they were located. We used a
map and asked geography questions to help us
narrow down our answer. We finally were able
to identify where they were located. Some of the
The department administered the 2014
midterm through the user friendly EDMODO
application. The exam consisted of listening to
an informative leadership and character
presentation by the United States Marine Corp.
Captain Zachary Smith and Sergeant Hong.
They led a leadership workshop presentation
for the students in the gymnasium.
They discussed and expanded on topics such as:
decisiveness, and courage.
The students explained in their own words the
importance of choosing a life of physical fitness
and personal discipline. These characteristics
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
extend beyond the military, sports teams, or
even corporations.
Following the presentation the students
answered 5 open-ended questions about the
presentation and clearly explained their
answers in paragraph form.
The responses from the students were
remarkable. It is a user and mobile friendly
program. It actually allowed our staff to
administer a paperless exam.
Page 8
Each day the time was divided between
working through the analysis of data, listening
to talks from different physics professors and
topics ranging from the Expanding Universe
through Bio Physics, and working with hands
on experimental equipment. It was a thrilling
two weeks. We expect to run a similar program
this summer.
Matawan High School
Students Analyzing Particle
Physics Data from Large
Hadron Collider
Last summer seven of our High School students
accompanied Dr. Kaplan, a Physics teacher in
our high school to participate in a unique two
week opportunity to learn about High Energy
particle physics at Rutgers University in
The students, Steven Dobry,
Chidanand Khode, Purav Patel, Greg Roberts,
Nick Sakowski, Neha Sharma, and Connor
Watson worked with students from three other
high schools and with Professors Steve Schetzer
and Amit Lath. This event was part of the
national Quarknet program which strives to
provide high school students with exciting and
meaningful experiences relating to particle
For the first few days the students were
exposed to hands on learning experiences to
familiarize themselves with the concepts of
analyzing data from the CERN Large Hadron
Collider. This is the largest accelerator facility
in the world and the one that is famous for the
recent discovery of the Higgs Boson. After a
couple of days the students were trained to use
state of the art particle analysis programs and
were assigned to analyze the data from the
CMS detector facility to determine different
types of particles that were observed.
Digging Deep
How fast can a cheetah run? Where does a gray
wolf live? What does a bull shark consume?
These are just a few of the many questions that
the Third Graders at Strathmore set out to
answer when they started their nonfiction
writing piece. During this unit the children
used laptops, magazines and books to research
and learn about various topics ranging from
famous people to animals, to planets and
electricity. Once their research was complete,
they began to write a report about their topics.
They learned to organize their research into
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
subheadings and then create their paragraphs.
When they had finished, they had beautiful
brochures to share with their classmates and
Page 9
Chinese New Year
Career Day is Coming!
The philosopher John Dewey once wrote "To
find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure
an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness."
It is very difficult for young people today to
figure out what they are supposed to do with
their lives. One way to assist them in their
quest is by bringing professionals from all
different occupations to them. The Career Day
Committee is working diligently so that our
9th, 10th, and 11th grade students can have a
memorable, life-changing experience on Friday,
May 30th, 2014 here at the high school. This
year's Career Day is going to have a plethora of
professionals so that we can hopefully ignite a
spark in students that will lead them to a
fulfilling, happy career. Students will be
completing interest surveys online so we can
match professionals to student interest. Please
spread the word about this upcoming event. If
you know a professional who would be willing
to participate in this event, please have them
complete the Career Day flyer on the school
website or in the main office. For more
information contact Nicole Wynes by email at:
[email protected]
Cambridge Park Preschool celebrates Chinese
New Year with style! It is the year of the Horse
on the Chinese zodiac! Mrs. Rocco’s students
made Chinese paper lanterns and headbands to
wear on the Chinese New Year Parade through
the building. Each child in Mrs. Rocco’s class
worked with their parents to write a feel good
message, then made pretend paper fortune
cookies and handed them out to central office
staff during our parade. Some of their messages
were, “You have a bright smile”, “Eat healthy
foods”, “You are beautiful inside”. The students
also made Chinese noise makers, tasted
Chinese foods that Mrs. Grosso brought in, and
watched fried rice being cooked in the
classroom by Mrs. Kruzik.
The children
learned about traditions and customs related to
Chinese New Year and counted to ten in
Chinese. The students had several digital
promethean board, watching Lion Dances, a
paper- lantern release, played interactive
games and listened to stories all about Chinese
New Year.
Mrs. Lucey did a wonderful
interactive presentation on the promethean
board and used props for the students to have
real experiences. Gung Hay Fat Choy!
PRIDE in Matawan-Aberdeen Public Schools
MRHS Literary Art Journal
Eidolon is the annual MRHS Literary Art
Journal. Creative art and writing students,
grades 9-12, work feverishly throughout the
year and use their many unique talents in their
art, digital design, foreign language and
English courses to contribute to this journal.
This work is then entered for submission
throughout the school year and selected and
compiled into Eidolon by student editors. The,
selected work is also showcased at the high
school throughout the year. Eidolon marks over
40+ years as an honored MRHS tradition.
If any high school student is interested in
submitting artwork (photography, drawings,
paintings, collages, etc.) or creative writing
(poetry or short stories) to be considered for
submission to Eidolon, see advisor, Mrs.
Lisciandro in room 205 or see Eidolon HS
editors Mackenzie Miller, Angelique Caruso or
James Eriksen.
We look forward to continuing the celebration
of our talented students for years to come. For
questions or inquiries please contact Mrs.
Lisciandro ([email protected])
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Foreign Language Honor
Society Contributes to
Operation Gratitude
The Foreign Language Honor Society of MRHS
is taking part in a letter writing program for
Operation Gratitude. Letters will be crafted by
FLHS students and sent to military personnel
via Operation Gratitude. “Our troops tell us the
most cherished items in the packages are the
personal letters of appreciation from Americans.
We welcome as many letters as you can provide.
It will only take 5 minutes out of your day to
write a letter, but it will bring joy to our troops
that will last a lifetime,” says Operation
Gratitude. MRHS families and friends are also
welcome to donate to the FLHS letter-writing
campaign. Letters will be collected from now
through March 2014. Please contact Mrs. Tara
Lisciandro or Charlotte Coughlin, FLHS
([email protected])
Operation Gratitude’s letter-writing outline on
their website Thank you for your support!

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