Conference 2013

Hot Topics

Presentation Title: Obstacles and Opportunities:  Addressing the Transition to Common Core State Standards and New Assessments

Description:  Implementation of the CCSS requires that we address three major issues:  awareness, capacity and instructional materials.  During this presentation, participants will learn about the role of state and local leaders in addressing these challenges so that students are prepared for the new assessments and able to graduate from high school “career and college ready.”   Topics will include:  how instructional leaders and teachers can use the Model Curriculum and Unit Assessments to improve student achievement.  How teaching, learning and leading must change to support mastery of the CCSS, and how to provide teachers with instructional materials that support the CCSS.  In addition, information will be shared regarding the transition to the PARCC assessments and the DOE’s efforts to provide the resources and professional development necessary to support state-wide implementation of the CCSS.

Presentation Materials

Session 1

Presentation Title: 1A- Great Poetry Prompts/Assignments for Middle School

Presenter:  Taylor Mali

Description:  Taylor Mali discusses a few of his favorite poetry “starters” for middle school students. Come with a pen and paper and your own inner middle schooler (except visit the restroom BEFORE class).

Presentation Title: 2A-Cross-content Literacy and the Common Core...Are  you Ready?

Presenter:  Dr. Joanne Aceba

This We Believe Connection: Challenging Curriculum

Description: The Common Core Standards are upon us. Is your school ready to handle the level of complexity students need in middle school? This session will provide a brief overview of the Common Core in ELA and strategies to begin to transition your school to the rigor of the common core. Emphasis will be placed on ELA in all subject areas, as the Common Core emphasizes cross-curricular responsibility for literacy.

Presentation Title: 3A-MoMath The Museum of Mathematics

Presenter:  Dr. Tom Walsh

This We Believe Connection: Active Learning, Multiple Learning Approaches, Professional Development, Family Involvement

Description: Mathematics illustrates the patterns that we find in our world.  Finding and utilizing these patterns is how we are able to interact with the world and live comfortably in it.  The Museum of Mathematics is open in Manhattan, and this workshop will explain what exhibits are in this museum and what can be done to kindle the mathematical muse in kids of all ages. 

Presentation Title4A- Transition to Digital Learning: What It Takes for Schools to Use IPADS in Classrooms/ Challenges and Solution Strategies for School Administrators and Teachers.

Presenter:  Nihat Guvercin

This We Believe Connection:  Mulitple Learning Approaches

Description:  IPAD inspires creativity and hands-on learning with features you can’t find in any other educational tool, however, it is now becoming more clear that there are many challenges schools are facing with IPAD classrooms. For almost two years now, Bergen Arts and Science Charter School high school students are using IPADs in their classrooms. Students are provided digital textbooks only and all assignments, homework, projects etc, are required to be submitted electronically. This presentation provides two years of IPAD classroom experience build by BASCS MH administrators and teachers. This is a must attend presentation, if you are an administrator planning to shift from traditional learning to digital learning via IPAD classrooms or a teacher looking forward to learn challenges and how to use IPAD efficiently in your classroom, and long term benefits, and methods of fundraising. You can implement this at your school too!

Presentation Title:  5A-Building Character and Community through the Arts: Middle School Drama Club

Presenter:   Rebekah Sterlacci

This We Believe Connection:  Value Young Adolescents, Shared Vision, Committed Leaders, School Environment, Family Involvement

Description:  The arts have a way of reaching every stakeholder in a school community. It is here that student leaders are born and bridges are built between students, faculty, parents and the surrounding community. This presentation will describe how a school drama club, with limited funding, can positively impact a school community. The presentation will discuss logistics, short and long term benefits, and methods of fundraising. You can implement this at your school too!

Presentation Title: 6A- Increasing Family Involvement through Social Media

Presenter:  Dana Sirotiak 

This We Believe Connection:  Shared Vision, Committed Leaders, Family Involvement

Description:  Increasing Family Involvement through Social Media will allow attendees to leave with multiple means on how to improve family engagement.  In order to create a more transparent partnerships between the home and school, the integration of social media breaks down several communication barriers.   

Presentation Title:  7A-Flipping for Social Studies

Presenter:  Brad Campbell

This We Believe Connection:  Active Learning, Varied Assessments

Description: What is everyone flipping for?  The concept of the flipped classroom has become a popular concept.  Please consider us for our conversation about the benefits/risks associated with moving towards this model of instruction.

Presentation Materials

Presentation Title:  8A-School within a School: West Wing Academy

Presenter:  Alla Vyada-Manzo

This We Believe Connection:  Value Young Adolescents, Mulitple Learning Approaches, School Environment

Description:  “Get to know the West Wing Academy at Bloomfield Middle School: an alternative education program which offers a viable and suitable education option for students who have not experienced success in their present settings and who require a small group environment and increased attention from school staff. The goals of the program are to re-engage students, provide special support, encourage a positive school environment, and enhanced school climate. Join us to explore the program and its successes.”

Presentation Materials

Presentation Title:  9A- Birds, Bees, and Benchmarks:  National Sexuality Education Standards

Presenter:  Michelle Scarpulla

This We Believe Connection:  Professional Development, Heath and  Wellness

Description:  Learn about the first-ever national standards for sexuality education in U.S. schools. Published in the January 2012 Journal of School Health, these groundbreaking Standards provide guidance on the essential minimum, core content for school-based sexuality education. Discover the academic and social context in which the Standards were developed, and analyze their potential impact on your school community. Discuss next steps for applying the Standards to address sexual health issues that affect student achievement in your school.

Presentation Title:  10A-Educating Students for a Sustainable World

Presenter:   Patricia Heaney

This We Believe Connection:  Active Learning, Challenging Curriculum, Multiple Learning Approaches

Description:  Turn today’s global challenges into thought-provoking lesson plans that build students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Engage students in hands-on activities that explore world population growth, natural resource use, climate change and global citizenship. Presented activities address content standards in life science, mathematics and geography for integrated instruction. Demonstrated techniques include, role-playing simulations and concept-mapping.  Receive a CD-ROM of lesson plans!

Presentation Title: 11A- Multiple Approaches to Teaching Scientific  Notation

Presenter:   Tricia Pohan

This We Believe Connection:  Mulitple Learning Approaches

Description: This one-hour workshop will provide you with a “model lesson” to teach scientific notation to students in either 7th or 8th grade.  The lesson is designed for math teachers, but science, resource, and technology teachers would also be interested.  Two math teachers and a resource center teacher will show educators how they can incorporate various modalities to differentiate instruction for the extended student as well as the struggling student. Come learn with us!

Presentation Materials

Presentation Title: 1B- Putting the A in STEM and Creating STEAM for Creativity in Core Content Areas 

Presenter:   Dr. JoAnn Cardillo

This We Believe Connection:   Challenging Curriculum, Professional Development, Community and Business

Description:  “We will demonstrate how an urban middle school is using fine arts as a venue to improve student achievement. We are developing content lessons integrated with art projects to better engage students to content in STEM areas. This project provides a platform to develop partnerships with various community entities that see the value of our work. It is being made possible by a grant from the Geraldine Dodge Foundation through our professional development partnership with William Paterson University.”

Presentation Materials

Presentation Title:  2B-The Write Curricula

Presenter:  Mr. Joseph S. Pizzo

This We Believe Connection:  Active Learning, Challenging Curriculum, Mulitple Learning Approaches, Varied Assessments, Professional Development, Family Involvement, Community and Business

Description:  Participants in the workshop will explore a variety of ways to teach writing in both the academic and related arts middle school classrooms.  They will explore lessons and products from actual middle school classrooms, generate lesson ideas cooperatively, and together find strategies that will help them to align their lessons with “The Write Curricula.”  Hands-on activities in small groups will be the preferred method of delivery.                                       

Presentation Title:  3B-What About the Boys?

Presenter:  Michelle Scarpulla

This We Believe Connection:  Value Young Adolescents, Heath and  Wellness

Description:  Society often views boys as the “aggressors” and girls as the “gatekeepers” in relationships, rather than viewing boys and girls as equal participants and decision makers. Many current sexuality education models tend to come from this perspective as well, and focus narrowly on the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, instead of looking at sexuality holistically. This workshop will focus on the educational differences between boys and girls--how they learn, what they need to be engaged in class, and how to build rapport with them. 

Presentation Materials

Presentation Title: 4B- Living Classroom

Presenter:  Annette Baker

This We Believe Connection: Value Young Adolescents, Acive Learning, Challenging Curriculum, Mulitple Learning Approaches, Varied Assessments, Shared Vision, Committed Leaders, School Environment, Community and Business.

Description:  The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission  in collaboration with the Bloomfield Board of Education created a living classroom right on the school grounds. Tree trunks became desks as a tributary of the Passaic River turned into an innovative space for learning. Providing numerous opportunities for  cross curricular use, the living classroom offers students a unique opportunity to learn about the natural environment right outside the school doors. 

Presentation Title: 5B- A Cross-Curricular Approach to the Common Core

Presenter:  Elizabeth Rosica

This We Believe Connection: Value Young Adolescents, Active Learning, Challenging Curriculum, Mulitple Learning Approaches, Varied Assessments, Shared Vision.

Description:  This session will explore cross-curricular projects and thematic units that enhance the students’ experience and understanding of content.  Cross-curricular activities move away from isolated skill instruction and toward building connections between disciplines. Ultimately, this type of instruction provides a curriculum which is relevant to the students.

Presentation Title: 6B- It’s Never Too Early: Career Exploration in the Middle Grades

Presenter:  David McNair

This We Believe Connection:  Active Learning, Adult Advocate, Guidance Services

Description:  Early adolescence presents an opportunity for youth to explore their personal and career interests and become engaged in the pursuit of lifelong learning.  This workshop will provide an overview of Standard 9.3 Career Awareness, Exploration and Preparation and describe how the NJ Career Assistance Navigator, a free, college and career information system, can support student growth. Key findings from the NJDOE Personalized Student Learning Plan pilot, which included 5 middle-level schools, will also be shared.  

Presentation Materials: PowerPoint presentation

Presentation Title:  7B- Service Learning: Learning Today for a Brighter Tomorrow

Presenter:  Ralph Gerace

This We Believe Connection: Value Young Adolescents, Active Learning

Description:  Service learning serves as an educational best practice in multiple ways. True service learning cultivates 21st century thinking and doing. At the same time, students grow in the essential understanding that they can be active agents in an increasingly interdependent global society. The workshop will provide tools for assisting educators in executing an authentic, student-centered service learning experience.

Presentation Title:  8B-How to Genuinely Relate to Young Adolsecents

Presenter:  J. Thomas Kane

This We Believe Connection: Value Young Adolescents, Adult Advocate

Description:  Join us in a workshop to learn some proven strategies that will enhance motivation and engagement in the classroom and make teaching young adolescents enjoyable.  

Presentation Title:  9B-Simple Tools and Strategies for Argumentative Writing

Presenter:  Sandra Wozniak

This We Believe Connection: Active Learning, Challenging Curriculum

Description:  How do we get students to move from understanding to analyzing?  From persuading to arguing with relevant and sufficient evidence?  Using SCAN, a proven critical thinking strategy, and simple web 2.0 tools you can ask the right questions to help students become better thinkers and 


Presentation Materials

Presentation Title: 10B-Digital Citizenship:  Making the Transition  From Middle School to High School in an  Online World.

Presenter:  Jill Brown

This We Believe Connection: Guidance Service

Description:  Generation Text Online founder, Jill Brown, will present educators with a program that allows them to understand the unique needs of young adolescents in the 21st century.  Our goal is to provide educators with strategies and material to teach digital citizenship.  Our program will teach educators how to prepare middle school students for their first year in high school in a world of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube  and Instagram. This breakout session will:

•Help educators understand what kids in middle school and high school are faced with online 

•Teach educators HOW to guide their students to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other sites safely...thinking about the consequences of posting the wrong comment or picture.

•Teach educators our 7 Essential Questions that enables students to develop cognitive skills 

•Demonstrate how to role play and give real life examples of tweets, status messages, kids commenting on each other’s walls and the cyber bullying that happens on a daily basis for our kids.