Monthly Guide - March 2015

Show #13 Watch March 1

Lazar News Network - Robert R. Lazar Middle School students experience the excitement and energy of producing a live daily news show. The Montville Township audio/visual teacher Jeanne Matuszewski directs sixth, seventh and eighth graders in their television production course.

CLIPS TRIPS - Clayton Middle and High School students learn life lessons through a service learning project called CLIPS TRIPS – Citizenship Leads into Personal Success. The project is designed to create opportunities for students in grades 6-12 who are enrolled in the middle/high school behavioral and multiple disabilities programs to foster interpersonal connections with community based constituents, peers, teachers and staff. This project provides students with opportunities to engage as active citizens of the community. Following a cleanup of the school garden and surrounding area, the mayor of Clayton and members of his staff meet with the students to encourage them to consider a career in city government

Something Fishy - Special education teachers at Van Holten Elementary in Bridgewater are using fish to help students get excited about learning. Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is a science-based program that demonstrates the importance of cold water conservation through a hands-on experience. By raising brook trout from eggs to fingerlings, the size they are at release time, students learn about the importance of clean, cold water, not only for the fish they are raising, but also for other organisms, including people. The teachers at Van Holten have incorporated the program throughout curriculum including language and math as well as speech and occupational therapy. For more information go to:


Jammin' with Julio – A select group of music students at Hoboken High School have the honor of jamming with Julio Fernandez, a jazz guitarist for Spyro Gyra. A former graduate of Hoboken High, Fernandez returns to visit with the students, his former band director John Cuozzo and fellow band member from the 1970s, Gary Enrico. While at the school, Fernandez was presented with an NJEA Award of Excellence, which is given to graduates of New Jersey high schools who have excelled in their field.

Show #14 Watch March 8

Tools of the Mind – Preschoolers at Walnut Ridge Primary School in Vernon Township gain valuable tools by visiting a grocery store where they learn colors, math, vocabulary and much more. The school uses Tools of the Mind Curriculum to enhance learning for the preschoolers. The curriculum is a research-based program that builds strong foundations for school success by promoting intentional and self-regulated learning in preschool and kindergarten-aged children.

2014-15 Teacher of the Year - Mark Mautone appreciates the small successes that he sees everyday with his students at Wallace Elementary School in Hoboken. Working in special education since 1995 when he began his career as a one-to-one aide for a child with Angelman Syndrome, Mark currently teaches preschool students with autism. He is a strong proponent of using technology to educate students with special needs. He also considers parents as valuable partners in the success of his students.


HS Student Exchange - What do students from different cultures have in common? Students at Watchung Hills Regional High School in Somerset are teaming up with students at Columbia High School in South Orange to discover their similarities. They spend a full day at each other’s schools sharing their school culture and learning valuable lessons about different perspectives on life.

Poetry for Teachers – Teachers from across the state attend the 15th Biennial Dodge Poetry Festival. Newark’s downtown art district is taken over by internationally known poets. During the four-day festival, one day is dedicated to educators who want to enhance their poetry lessons in the classroom.   After the festival, Lewis Lazarow of Moorestown High School, shares the lessons from the festival with his students.

Show #15 Watch March 15

Treaty of Versailles - Randolph High School students re-enact the Treaty of Versailles with a day-long, student driven history project. Teacher Jon Misiunas coordinates nearly 90 students who research, represent different countries, debate and negotiate alliances and borders, reminiscent of what occurred after World War I. At the end of World War I, the peace treaty ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers.

An Immigrant’s Story - As an undocumented student in Bayonne, NJ, Sofia Medina faced legal uncertainties and limitations within the educational system. Despite her stellar grades, she faced the uncertainly of getting into college. Many four-year colleges have policies refusing to admit students without documentation. Thanks to the support of teachers at Essex Community College, Sofia is now attending John Hopkinson University.


Against all odds - Fox Beyer, affectionately known as “Profe” by his students at Whippany Park High School, beat the odds and turned his challenges into victories.  Born with cerebral palsy and only given a 25 percent chance of living, Beyer turned to sports and education and became not only a mentor but also an inspiration to his students and colleagues.

Peer Tutoring - The North Brunswick Township High School peer tutoring program is a contributing factor to the latest Charter Education Award. About 30 students are certified through the National Tutoring Association. Because of the all the additional pressures of testing, students need all the help they can get, and no better way than from their peers. The students gather in a lobby during lunch for the tutoring sessions.

Show #11 Watch March 22

Peacemakers - Recent news reports of bullies in the workplace and bullies in high school have ended in tragedy. But elementary educators believe that teaching children at a young age to deal with conflict can often change the way they deal with it later in life. At North Boulevard Elementary School in Pequannock Township, Yvette McBain (Morris County Teacher of the Year) has developed a peer mediation program whose theme is “A Bridge to Success,” which includes the 1st through 3rd grade Peacemakers, and the 4th and 5th grade Heart Club peer mediators.

Squan-a-Thon – At Manasquan High School, nearly 300 students take part in the "Squan-a-Thon". The event aims to raise more than $40,000 to assist children afflicted with cancer. On the surface, the event functions as a dance marathon requiring that each student stay up all night without caffeine. On a deeper level, this challenge intends to foster a sense of empathy and concern for the hardships of others among the student body.

Breaking the Chain - Evan Robbins is spearheading fund and consciousness-raising on the issue of human trafficking with his students at Metuchen High School. The high school students present lessons about life in developing worlds to students at Campbell Elementary School. A more hard-hitting lesson on trafficking will be presented at an assembly back at the high school.


Change the World - Sixth grade social studies teacher Matthew Marciano encourages his students at Long Valley Middle School to change the world. Each year students are challenged to think of a way to change the world and they must make good on the promise by the end of the year. The project is based on the movie and novel “Pay It Forward”. The list of projects ranges from raising awareness about a variety of diseases from cancer to vascular tumors, showing kindness to seniors, the homeless or underprivileged, and honoring heroes including the military.

Show #12 Watch March 29

Graphic Communications - Learning real-world skills while gaining hands-on production and business experience is the goal of the Somerset County Vocational Technical High School Graphic Communications Program. The program has two shop areas – one for design and the other for production – with a business office in between to sell products and services. Students learn to use industry-standard software such as Adobe illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign while learning color theory, design, typography, and other skills needed to create professional graphics. They also operate screen printing and offset printing equipment to produce finished products for their customers. All this while working directly with clients, managing projects, and running a business.

Empathy & Dialogue - With all of the complexities of the Middle East, it’s difficult to understand the politics and consequences of activities in those countries. But the students at Bergen County Academies in Hackensack are not just learning about the Middle East, they are engaging in a program called “Empathy and Dialog in the Middle East.” The school has project time which is dedicated to engaging in learning that is multidisciplinary and technology infused. During a Skype session, the New Jersey students hear personal stories from young Israel students.

Instructional Strategies – Tens of thousands of educators from across the state attend the NJEA Convention where they keep up to date on all the topical issues of teacher evaluation, testing, assessment and the common core curriculum standards. Commissioner David Hespe meets with teachers and shares his goals concerning the common core.

Something for Everyone – A misnomer of the yearly NJEA Convention is that it is a “Teacher’s Convention.” It is the world largest educational event of its kind and it is for the entire educational family. There are workshops for bus drivers, school secretaries, school nurses, retired and future teachers.


Excellence through Equality - Excellence through Equity is the message that Finnish teacher and scholar Pasi Sahlberg delivers during the NJEA Convention. Sahlberg believes that Finland’s schools succeed because they address the inequalities and diversity of their students. Finland is a relatively poor nation, but the Finnish Dream is that all children, regardless of family background or personal conditions, have a great school in their community.