April 2017 Ramsey Review

Dear Ramsey and Saddle River Communities,

On behalf of the Ramsey Board of Education, I would like to wish you and your family a very Happy Easter, Passover, and an enjoyable Spring Break. Whether it's spending time with the family and friends, relaxing on a vacation or home reading a great book, it is time well deserved.

Sincerely,

Matthew J. Murphy, Ed. D., Superintendent of Schools, Ramsey Public Schools

Befriending Through Binary Beading

Befriending Through Binary - Ramsey Review

This winter, third grade “Culture Club” buddies along with their teachers Mrs. Dunne, Mrs. Papaz, and Tisdale Media Specialist Mrs. Cedola, collaborated on an interdisciplinary unit that encompassed computer science, character education, math, and literacy. Click here to view the slide show.

Students first studied the inner workings of a computer and explored how pressing the keys translates into information on the screen. As a result, students learned that Binary is the way a computer holds information. Once students learned the Binary alphabet, based on a series of 1s and 0s, they were challenged with the task of coding Binary necklaces for their “Culture Club” buddies. Using the Binary alphabet, students encoded secret terms of endearment for their friends using colored beads, creating Binary necklaces. After months of exploration and collaboration, their hard work paid off. Students exchanged their tokens of friendship and were then soon challenged with decoding the hidden message they received.

At the March Board of Education meeting, students presented their Binary knowledge to an enthusiastic crowd and then took a risk. They challenged Board members to a friendly competition. It was Students vs Board members in a Binary Battle. Who knew how challenging learning a secret language could be? Who won? you ask. The students! Fun was had by all and, as a token of thanks, Board members walked away with Binary keychains, made with love by their third grade competitors; Binary experts!

Balanced Literacy Board of Education Presentation

Ramsey Review- Board of Education Curriculum Committee presentation on Balanced Literacy 3/7/17

The Ramsey School District has made a strong commitment to ensure that students not only learn how to read and write well, but love reading and writing and make it an integral part of their lives. To accomplish this goal, the elementary schools have adopted Balanced Literacy, a research-based model for teaching reading and writing, originating out of the Reading and Writing Project at Teachers College, Columbia University. The K-5 teachers have been involved in a professional training program with the support of the district’s outstanding literacy coach, Erica Lakind. The middle school initiated a similar program this year, working with a staff developer from Teachers College. We are all excited with the progress we are seeing as our students learn the strategies and skills to become good readers and writers and exhibit a genuine love of reading. Please take a few minutes to review presentation (left), which provides an overview of the literacy program, its goals and expected outcomes.

Governor's Educator of the Year Award Winners:

Pat Ebeling and Lisa Murphy Awards

At the March 21, 2017 Board of Education meeting two staff members from Tisdale School were recognized for receiving accolades from the NJ Department of Education. Second grade teacher, Mrs. Patricia Ebeling is the recipient of both the Department of Education’s Exemplary Elementary Educator and Governor’s Educator of the Year and school psychologist, Dr. Lisa Murphy, is the recipient of the Governor’s Service Professional of the Year. These recognitions highlight staff members in schools that demonstrate exceptional talent, serve as models of excellence for the profession, are experts in their field and hold the respect and admiration of students, parents and colleagues.

Video Game Makers Competition

In each sixth grade Computer Technology cycle class at Smith School, students engage in a two-week video game design unit using the Bloxels Builder platform. Through game design, sixth graders are introduced to the Design Thinking process, basic game design, and pre-coding concepts.

The fourth cycle of the 2016-17 school year coincided with the second annual Bloxels Kids as Video Game Makers (KVGM) game design competition. Children from around the world entered for a chance to win a trip to the 2017 Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco, CA.

Two Ramsey sixth graders were among the finalists of this game design competition: http://kvgm.bloxelsbuilder.com/#me. Megan Newton placed in the top 10 of KVGM, and Ethan Bunagan placed second overall. Ethan’s game, “What is Your Move?,” was displayed in the Bloxels GDC booth, and he will receive $500 toward a technology focused learning program.

Authentic, engaging, and exciting learning opportunities such as these help encourage the youth of the Ramsey community to think big about the possibilities of using digital technologies responsibility and innovatively.

Upcoming Dates

  • April 10 - 14 - No School - Spring Recess
  • April 19 - Jazz Band Concert at RHS
  • April 25 - Board of Education Meeting
  • April 26 - Dater School Family Fun Night
  • April 28 - Minimum Day (Grades 9 - 12 only)
  • May 1 - Parent Academy at RHS Lecture Hall
  • May 3 - RHS Spring Play
  • May 4 - Smith School Band Concert
  • May 9 - 10 - District Visual Arts Show at RHS
  • May 9 - Board of Education Meeting

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Please feel free to submit future ideas for articles or comments directly to Dr. Murphy - mmurphy@ramsey.k12.nj.us