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posted: Fri, Jun 17th, 2016

N E W S  B R I E F S 

MOMS raised money in June for Hilarity for Charity, the charitable organization led by actor Seth Rogan and his wife, Laura. Wolfe Run t-shirts were sold featuring student Anthony Rocco’s artwork (seen at right).


The MOMS film club recently won third place in the video category of the Morris County Teen Arts Festival, which is sponsored by County College of Morris. The club’s video, “Dr. Two,” was a parody of long-running British series “Dr. Who” and used green screen and other special effects as well as custom props created by the students. The production’s cinematographer, eighth-grader Jacob Paver, will be studying film this summer at the New York Film Academy.


Dr. Larrie Reynolds, superintendent of schools, and an all-faculty band performed at the 8th grade moving up ceremony on June 16. At right is a photo of the rehearsal, with Dr. Reynolds at the keyboard in the background.




Eighth-graders with Professor Linne and the boxes of collected school supplies

Pencils For Ghana

Eighth grade G&T students recently collected 10 boxes of school supplies for the children in Ghana.

The Pencils for Ghana project was introduced to MOMS several years ago by Chris Linne, a professor at St. Elizabeth. Professor Linne is a frequent volunteer there and distributes new and gently used school supplies to students. 

Before the students began the project, they first learned about the schools and living conditions in the West African nation. They then divided into subcommittees responsible for raising awareness of both the struggles the Ghanese face in educating their youth and the collection drive. In addition to posters around the school, a number of students went classroom to classroom spreading the word. 

Over the two weeks of the drive, the students collected new and gently used pencils, notebooks, pens, crayons, colored pencils, pencil sharpeners, and erasers. Professor Linne came to MOMS to pick up the supplies on June 14.

Eighth-graders involved in the project included Gabi Alvarez, Amber Balleras, Michael Bausch, Dylan Brown, Katie Cline, Andres Cruz, Anshul Dalua, MJ Green, Halle Greenbaum, Isabella Hanlon, Brett Harrison, Erin Huber, Annie Lin, Jasmine Lion, James Liu, Nikhil Nandikanti, Karan Reehal, Ananya Singh, Nicole Tahmoosh, Stacey Tang, Charmaine Thomas, and Ajay Venkatraman.

This is the fourth year that MOMS has collected for the students of Ghana. 

Sixth and seventh grade G&T students provided support for the eighth-graders in the collections.

Students discuss the collection drive in a science class

Eighth-grader Lauren Onufryk reviews her portfolio with her mother, Lori

Student-led conferences focus on learning, not grades

More than 450 students and their parents recently participated in MOMS’ first-ever student-led conferences. The end of the year event was an opportunity for parents to see how much their children have learned since September.

The students created portfolios of work done over the school year and reviewed the material with their parents during the conferences, which generally lasted about 20 minutes. The portfolios included items such as science labs, essays, and math homework. 

While traditional parent-teacher conferences generally focus on performance and assessment, student-led conferences focus on learning. The shift is not a subtle one at all. Parents had a chance to SEE what their children had learned over the past 10 months of the school year and SEE the students' actual progress.

“Usually my mom sees my grades but doesn't know what I actually learned,” said eighth-grader Alex Bartell. “We also reflected on what we actually learned so it was good for us too.”

Each grade level and subject area handled the compilation of the portfolios in a different way. In eighth-grade social studies, for example, students were asked to identify which concepts and topics learned over the year they felt were the most significant to the world today as well as to themselves.

“We chose this approach so that students could individualize their portfolios and because it would allow them the opportunity to really reflect on how the past impacts the present,” said social studies teacher Matt Hansen. “It also got the students thinking about how events around the world impact us, both of which were primary focuses of our course this past year.” 

Reflection and self-analysis is one of the key ideas of student-led conferences. The process, especially when done at the culmination of the school year, inspires students to think about the importance of what they’ve learned and how they’ve grown intellectually.

Students see how one piece of learning provided the foundation for the one after it, everything building to what they know now. And they are able to see their strengths, weaknesses, and progress – and articulate them. 

The feedback forms that parents completed were overwhelming positive about the entire experience.

“The teachers and team leaders did an amazing job and created these wonderful results,” said teacher Karen LaValley, who coordinated the conferences. “Each person was an important piece of the puzzle and helped the conferences be so successful.”

All students completed portfolios. For the parents who were not able to attend the conferences, the portfolios were sent home so they could review the work with their kids.

Visiting Collin

Seventh-grader Collin Berg hasn’t seen most of his friends at MOMS since early this fall. So MOMS went to him.

A group of seventh-grade band members recently visited Collin at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown and performed for their former French horn player. Under a bright sun in the hospital’s garden, the eight students played songs from their spring concert, including tunes from “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars.”

“I have not seen Collin smile that big in a long time,” said Joann Spera, Goryeb’s educational liaison. “You could see that it meant so much to him.”

Doctors, patients, visitors, and staff members also attended the half-hour-long performance, which was arranged by music teacher Melany McQueeny. 

“Collin attended our winter concert, but since he was not able to attend our spring concert due to his treatment schedule, we brought the spring concert to him,” said Ms. McQueeny, who chaperoned the ensemble with music teacher Gerry D’Albis. “We just wanted him to know that we’re thinking of him and we miss him.” 

After the performance, Collin spent some time chatting with his friends, many of which attended elementary school with him.

The students making the trip to Goryeb were Emma Gillece, Ayush Chakraborty, Michael Mora, Hunter Zienowicz, Max Mullen, Mark Murphy, Ava Gestwick, and Raquel D'Amico.



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