Written by Mary Marks Friday, 11 September 2009 00:00Jericho Schools opened their doors to students on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. Clear blue skies and brilliant warm sunshine set a perfect stage for the flawless opening of the 2009-2010 school year. Uncertain smiles accompanied backpacks, lunches, shopping bags overflowing with supplies, and yes, even an occasional tear as youngsters returned to classes.
Jericho Superintendent of Schools Hank Grishman visited buildings throughout the district with Board President Barbara Krieger and trustees William Ferro and Shawn Gladstone. “Our first day of classes was perfect, thanks to the enormous efforts of our staff,” said Mr. Grishman. “Our entire organization worked tirelessly over the summer to prepare for the return of students. As always, the results of their hard work were clearly evident on opening day.”
The district is pleased to report that several significant building projects were completed over the summer. In an effort to improve traffic flow and student safety, two roadway reconfigurations at the Middle/High School complex were finished prior to the opening of school. The new high school attendance circle has an additional 24 parking spots and an enhanced design that will hopefully improve traffic flow and ease congestion. A new middle school access roadway into the lower parking lot by the gymnasium is designed to ease congestion and improve student safety during middle school drop-off and dismissal.
A new electronic sign was installed at the front of the middle/high school complex. An elevated brick planter, designed to provide student seating, was thoughtfully donated and installed by Stasi Brothers. Members of the Jericho Korean Community generously donated funds for the installation of multiple benches and lighting in the front circle to enhance student comfort and safety.
The re-roofing of the Cantiague School is nearing completion. The roof, skylights and window panels were replaced over the summer. The new electronic sign in front of the building was kindly donated by the Cantiague PTA. At the Jackson School, a new courtyard garden for children was created with funds that were generously donated by the Jericho Educational Foundation.
The district continues its successful use of “paperless” communication. Parents are reminded to register their e-mail addresses with their child’s school. Those without regular access to a computer are asked to contact their child’s school and alternate arrangements will be made.
The Jericho School District continually evaluates curricular offerings and instructional strategies. Educational needs and priorities are then determined accordingly. This year, there are new programs being implemented at every level.
Jericho High School is offering several new classes for the 2009-2010 school year including: Multivariable Calculus, a Molloy College Creative Writing course, two St. John’s College Level English classes, Civil Engineering/Architecture, BOLT, Chinese Language and Culture III, Advanced Placement Latin Vergil, Introduction to Philosophy, Ceramics/Sculpture Studio, Advanced Media Arts II and Medical Aspects. Classes are added to the academic program based on student interest and sufficient course enrollment.
In Multivariable Calculus, students will learn the calculus of multivariable functions and vector fields. Topics in the calculus component of the course will include: multivariable functions and their derivatives, partial derivates, vector fields, gradient, divergence, curl, double and triple integrals, parameterized curves, flows, line integrals, Green’s theorem, and flux integrals. Additionally, students will study other topics from multivariable calculus, including Stoke’s Theorem and the Divergence Theorem.
In Creative Writing, a collaborative course with Molloy College, students will develop creativity in such forms as short story, informal essay, and original verse. Using new and traditional media, students will read and analyze texts, and produce their own works for personal enjoyment, publication and contest entry. All seniors who enroll may register for Molloy credit and receive three undergraduate credits upon successful completion of the course. Seniors for whom this course is their fourth year English requirement will complete a research project. A variety of writing rubrics will differentiate criteria for students in different grade levels. This course is open to juniors and sophomores but only for high school credit.
Jericho High School will be offering two college-level English classes through a collaborative program with St. John’s University. Students who enroll may register for St. John’s credit and receive three undergraduate credits upon successful completion of each course. The two courses include:
St. John’s College Level English Composition (fall semester) - In this writing intensive course, students read a variety of essays, analyzing them for content, structure and language. Analysis and synthesis, in both reading and writing about a variety of subjects, are required. Research techniques are studied and a research paper is required.
St. John’s College Level English Literature in a Global Context (spring semester) - This writing-intensive course examines literature from a global perspective. While familiarizing students with literary genres and texts, the course introduces students to writing and critical thinking about culture, cultural difference, and social values.
Civil Engineering/Architecture (CEA) is the new second sequence in the Jericho High School Project Lead the Way program. It emphasizes the interrelationship and dependence of both civil engineering and architecture on each other. This is accomplished through a comprehensive study of the roles of civil engineers and architects in: project and site planning, building design, documentation and presentation. Students will also be involved in the production of long- and short-term projects utilizing sophisticated computer software such as Autodesk Revit and Inventor Professional.
BOLT (Building Outstanding Leaders for Tomorrow) is an exciting new opportunity for students interested in developing strong character and leadership skills for all aspects of their lives through active learning experiences designed specifically to promote positive changes in our school, local and global communities. Students will study various models of leadership in efforts to define their own leadership styles and apply such knowledge to events and initiatives with increasing levels of responsibility. Throughout the year, students will be expected to lead our “Change the Block, Change the World” initiative through governmental and community action.
In Chinese Language and Culture III, students will continue to develop their four skills of understanding, speaking, reading and writing in Mandarin Chinese as well as gain a deeper understanding of Chinese culture. Language instruction will continue to expand student’s active vocabulary and practical interpersonal activities. They will further their communicative skills for use in and out of the classroom. Emphasis is given to increasing complex usages and styles. Students also discuss Chinese culture and civilization.
Advanced Placement Latin Vergil students will read and analyze poetry drawn from the writing of the Roman author, Vergil. Students will further develop their critical thinking and analysis skills through the use of rhetorical and poetical devices and “Swimtag” techniques. Expansion of their Latin vocabulary is essential as well as their awareness of this historical and cultural time period, The Golden Age of Latin literature. In May, students will sit for the Advanced Placement Examination in Latin. There are opportunities for national and regional competitions.
Introduction to Philosophy will introduce philosophy as an essential human activity. It will focus on processes used by philosophers as they have examined fundamental questions like: What is reason? How can we know what is true? How do we know right from wrong? What is the relationship among self, mind and body? What is beautiful? What is the purpose of government? This course will include the study of major social thinkers of the Western world. Some Eastern works will also be addressed. In addition to traditional classroom activities, the seminar method will be used. Therefore, oral participation skills will be taught and class participation will be required. Challenging reading and written analysis will also be expected. By taking this course students should expect that their reading, reasoning and writing skills would improve.
The concentration in Ceramics/Sculpture Studio is creative expression in the art elements and principles of design through 3-dimensional design. The student will learn many techniques in clay building and kiln firing. Students will also have the opportunity to work with a variety of sculpture materials that may include stone, wire, plaster, wood and metal, as well as found objects. This course is the foundation for the Advanced Placement Art 3-D Portfolio.
Advanced Media Arts II will build upon computer techniques acquired in the foundation level Media Arts I. Through a series of advanced level Photoshop assignments; students will begin to create digital works of art for the Breadth section of the AP Media Portfolio. Students will work with a variety of mixed media materials including computers, digital cameras and other electronic equipment. Students will be encouraged to experiment with various techniques combining traditional and non-traditional materials.
Medical Aspects is for students who may be interested in medical and/or sports medicine fields. Medical Aspects will give them an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and skills while developing a network of professional contacts through guest speakers, lectures, hands-on procedures and volunteering in a professional setting of their choice. Topics that are included, but are not limited to: taking patient medical histories, completing musculoskeletal exams, setting up IV catheters, administering resting EKG’s, as well as stress tests - which include evaluating heart rates, blood pressures and pulmonary function. There will be discussion of advanced techniques in evaluation of joint and muscle injuries and a patient case study that will be completed and presented to the class.
Project History, a very successful seventh-grade elective at Jericho Middle School for the 2008-2009 school year, is now being expanded to eighth-grade. This class explores the world of historical research, writing, project preparation and presentation. Research themes include social, economic, political, and popular culture topics. This is a full-year course designed around National History Day and the New York State Archives competitions. These courses serve as an introduction for the high school social science research program.
The Collaborative Teaching Model is being expanded, where appropriate, at the elementary and middle schools. A special education teacher and a regular education teacher provide instruction to a classroom with no more than one-third of the students in need of special services. The co-teaching model raises the level of effectiveness with two professionals in the classroom. It may also be more efficient as it will reduce the number of aides assigned to the classroom or to an individual student. This model is an authorized SED option and continues the Jericho spirit of full inclusion for students with complicated and comprehensive needs.
The three elementary schools are completing the implementation of the Wilson “Fundations” Reading Program in grades K-2 this year. “Fundations” supplements the Houghton Mifflin Reading Program. The adoption of this program provides a consistent, coordinated graphophonic program across all elementary schools, utilizing a common language among the schools and the various instructors within the schools.
The “Making Meaning” program, a reading comprehension curriculum that combines the latest comprehension research with support for students’ social and ethical development, is being piloted on different grade levels at each of the elementary schools this year. The program uses nonfiction and fiction read-aloud books to teach students nine different comprehension strategies while also developing their social values to create a supportive community of readers.
Jericho is also continuing two programs that support the social and emotional needs of families in our school community.
Adult ESL classes will resume this fall. These classes, which are fully funded by Federal/State grants, are open to Jericho residents only. Classes are designed to improve the ability of parents to communicate with school staff and enhance their knowledge of the English language. More information about these programs will be available shortly.
Based on a successful pilot last year, the district will be continue School Welcome and Information nights at each building. Scheduled dates are listed on the school calendar. “The goal of these school information nights is to provide new parents with an opportunity to meet in small groups and learn about our schools,” explains Jericho Superintendent of Schools Hank Grishman. “We continually look for feedback to improve both the academic and social emotional climate in our buildings. We believe that these informational meetings help our many new families to feel welcome.”