Monthly Guide - January 2015

Show #10 Watch Jan. 4

Poetry Meets Percussion - Young Audiences helps schools recovering from Superstorm Sandy restore their spirits through an afterschool program called Sandy Relief Arts Education Program. Samsel Upper Elementary School students in Parlin meet once a week for 16 weeks to work with professional artists on percussions and poetry. The goal was to get children to talk about their experiences with the storm and the losses that they suffered. The program encourages and hones in on students’ original creativity, confidence and performance. The Young Audiences Arts for Learning is the nation’s largest arts in education learning network. That organization provides the artist, and an NJEA Pride grant pays for the materials for the percussions and other items.

Exchange Student - German exchange student Anouk Elias made a lasting impression on her teachers and fellow students at Middletown High School. While her European perspective was giving her classmates a broader view of the world, she grew to appreciate the more personal teacher-student dynamic found in American schools, the different types of classes offered, and the inclusion of all students in the classroom, including those with special needs. Irvington High School teacher John Amberg and his family helped to make Anouk’s exchange year possible by hosting her during her time in the U.S.

Earth & Space Science - The Paterson Great Falls is not only a tourist attraction; it is also a great place for students to learn first-hand how to solve real life problems.  Ahmed Salama, trigonometry teacher at the PANTHER Academy, shows students how to measure the height of the falls by using trigonometric functions and Parallax. The students then visit the planetarium to demonstrate how they use parallax to measure the distance from Earth to other planetary objects. The school was formerly associated with NASA; and they hope to regain their relationship once more so they can allow students more opportunities.


Our School Museum - Students at New Egypt Primary School learn to be curators at a school museum. Students will create exhibits containing artwork, writing, scientific materials and cultural artifacts. The purpose of the museum is to celebrate students' work in a place of honor – the school entry way and hallways. During a family fun night, the children will host the gala opening. This is project if funded through a Frederick L. Hipp Grant.

Show #6 - Watch Jan. 11 

Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year - Classroom Close-up viewers know Danielle Kovach – the 2010-11 New Jersey Teacher of the Year and advocate of children with special needs. But now an international group pays tribute to the teacher from Hopatcong. The Council for Exceptional Children, an international community of special education educators, has named Danielle the 2014 CEC Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year.  The CEC Clarissa Hug Teacher of the Year Award recognizes a CEC member who currently provides direct services to students with exceptionalities.

Audubon's Heroes - Audubon is the home of three Medal of Honor recipients, the most awarded per capita of any town in the United States: Samuel M. Sampler (World War I), Edward Clyde Benfold (Korean War) and Nelson V. Brittin (Korean War). Twenty years ago, a group of students from Audubon Junior/Senior High School decided to create memorial to the town's three heroes. Each year since, the student-led organization, Project Memorial, has organized a moving Memorial Day service for the local community.


Living History Museum - South Harrison Township Elementary 4th graders are creating a Living History Museum. The students research biographies, create time capsules and perform in character during a school wide event. The students from other classes, parents and the community talk directly with the historical figures, from Elvis to Amelia Earhart.

Carbon Footprint - Most people don’t think about the carbon footprint that they leave on the environment when they buy a product. But students at Samsel Upper Elementary School in Sayreville are not only paying attention, they are working on ways to reduce their carbon footprint.  The children are looking at ways that products, food, energy consumption, and transportation impact our environment.  They also have a Waste Free Lunch competition in which different grades are pitted against each other to determine who can make the least amount of waste at lunch.

Show #7 – Watch Jan. 18

Art & Literacy at Princeton - At Elms Elementary School, art teacher Trevor Bryan and several literacy teachers align their teaching approaches to take advantage of the similar skills needed to interpret both artwork and written texts. The students from Jackson are able to practice these skills during a visit to the Princeton University Art Museum where they interpret sculptures and paintings through discussion and writing exercises.

Wanda’s World - Park Ridge Middle and High School combines the lessons of musical theater with lessons about bullying, exclusion and self-confidence through the performance of Wanda’s World. This musical is the result of creative thinking by vocal music teacher Brandon Langer and theater teacher Stephanie Buckley. When 94 students, half of the middle school's student body, requested vocal music, Brandon and Stephanie came up with a creative idea of a music theater course, but they had no funding.  So the Park Ridge Education Foundation, a parents' organization, provided the financing for the rights to a production as well as the other costs associated with staging a musical (microphone rentals, costumes, properties, etc.)  As a result, the culmination of the course is a 90-minute musical called Wanda's World.

Wanda's World 

Pre-K Garden Project - It’s never too early to teach young children about the joy of eating healthy. Pre-Kindergartners at Jefferson Elementary in Summit will show off their planting skills during a garden festival. Thanks to a grant from the Summit Junior League, the school was able to afford this special garden project.

Youth Teaching Youth -   West Windsor Plainsboro High School South has an active and powerful Future Educator’s program run by Dawn Bozian. In addition to a class on child growth and development, which includes a preschool, the high school students have the opportunity to train for hands-on classroom experience.  The students prepare materials to enhance the educational experience for the young children, including books that the high school students wrote and illustrated.

Show #8 Watch Jan. 25

Jackson STEM Academy - This year the Jackson School District is launching a new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy. This four-year program allows students to choose from three college pathways: Life and Biomedical Sciences; Physical Sciences, Computer Science and Engineering. Studies show that over 70 percent of the nation’s economy is driven by science, technology and invention. The curriculum meets the common core standards and prepares students for PARCC readiness.

Interpretive Trail Design - A team of environmental science & design consultants work closely with students from the Marine Academy of Science and Technology in Sandy Hook. The freshmen study location specific ecosystems as well as nature’s forms to solve human-related design problems using biomimicry. Biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems. Each student team designs, develops and produces the signs installed in NJ parks partnered with the program. The signs are designed to enhance educational opportunities for those who use the park trail system for recreational and educational purposes.


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.

Planetarium - Lenape Valley Regional High School in Stanhope is home to one of just a few operating planetariums located in New Jersey public schools. When the school opened 26 years ago, they included this unique educational venue where John Scala serves as the Planetarium director and educator. He mesmerizes first graders from Byram Lakes Elementary School during their field trip to the high school planetarium. Then he quickly switches his attention to an in-depth discussion about astronomy with his high school students!  Explore the stars at Lenape Valley Regional High School.