Buzz Aldrin Middle School and Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Collaborate on STEM Skills

BY  |  Sunday, May 21, 2017 10:30am  |  COMMENTS (0)

On May 11 and 12, Buzz Aldrin Middle School and Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center (formerly called Mountainside Hospital) collaborated for an in-school STEM SKILLS program for 6th, 7th & 8th graders.

Daniel Taylor, the STEM Coordinator for Buzz Aldrin, designed the program with the hospitals’ community health and services team, including Grettel Muscato and Florey Cruz-Cerpa. Their goal was to introduce students to the variety of career options available in a hospital environment, and enhance understanding of the educational paths taken to achieve those professions.

Students heard from Dr. Luigi Baretto (family medicine), Nicole Gengaro (radiology technician), Andrea Cohen (registered nurse and diabetes counselor), Margo Murray (occupational therapist), Dr. Marianne Ramos (pharmacologist), Dr. Marybeth Friel (family medicine), Elena Mills (dietician), Dr. Priya Mehta (internal medicine), and Michele Langfield (clinical social worker). Continue Reading

Students, Parents Voice Opposition to Staff Reductions at Montclair BOE Meeting

BY  |  Thursday, May 18, 2017 2:11pm  |  COMMENTS (2)

Parents and student athletes flexed their muscle at the May 15 School Board Meeting to protest the termination of Jeff Gannon, Montclair High School’s athletic director and Evan Kozak, an assistant principal at Nishuane school. The Board also elected Laura Herzog President and Franklin Turner vice president during the tumultuous meeting.

Many students carried signs and made passionate pleas supporting Gannon during the public comment part of the meeting. Parents, who only heard about the termination the day of the meeting, expressed concern over the Board’s lack of transparency.

“When I first met him, his passion toward our athletic team stood out for me,” said Ken Coplan, a senior and member of the MHS crew team. “Thanks to him I was able to set two rowing world records. I do not understand why you’re firing a man this qualified and passionate.”

Many of the students cited Gannon as the reason MHS was ranked as the fifth best public high school sports program in the state. Gannon has been the athletic director at MHS for 18 years.

“He is the reason why MHS is so successful,” said Dean Chancer, a junior and member of the cheerleading and bowling teams. “We have great athletics all due to Mr. Gannon. Without him, there is no chance to prosper.”

“Mr. Gannon’s work here helps us out,” said Kathleen King, a sophomore and member of the crew team. “He’s completely irreplaceable. As a whole this system will not work well without him.” Continue Reading

Hillside Art Installation “We Go Higher, Dot Dot Dot” Inspired by Influential Women Artists

BY  |  Thursday, May 18, 2017 11:49am  |  COMMENTS (0)

This spring, Holly Korus has been teaching a seven-week after-school art class with eight Hillside students. The course, called “Nevertheless She Created,” explores the styles and stories of some of the most influential women in art. In addition to creating self portraits inspired by Cindy Sherman and silhouette art in the style of Kara Walker, Ms. Korus and her students set their sights outdoors in order to design and construct an installation inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s ‘Ascension of Polka Dots on the Trees.’ Their version of the installation is called “We Go Higher, Dot Dot Dot.”



What inspired you to do an outdoor installation using the polka dot motif?

With all of the hype and excitement around Yayoi Kusama’s Washington D.C. Infinity Mirror show, I wanted to bring some of that excitement back to Montclair. After seeing the exhibit with my daughter, we felt the need to create some sort of outdoor installation. Kusama’s Ascension of Polkadots on the Trees project circa 2006 in Singapore called out to me with both its simple beauty and boldness. Women and girls face the same issues today as they did when I was a girl. Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do I count as much as you? Every girl in my class knows they are helping to make something special. When I asked them why we are doing this they replied, “Because we can.”

What materials did you use for the outdoor installation?

We have about 15 red fabric tablecloths and 20 red beach balls that we painted with regular white latex paint. The girls used corks, round sponge brushes, potatoes halved with a circle cut out of the middle, Pencil erasers, paint brushes and one fancy handy, dandy coffee can with two layers of felt glued to the lid (the most popular item). The beach balls are rigged with taped-on monofilament with a white duct tape circle.


Take us through the lesson plan for this project.

On our first day of class I showed the girls pictures of Yayoi Kusama’s work. We talked about her background and how many hoops an artist has to jump through to create a project such as Ascension. When I told the girls we were going to create this at Hillside, they went crazy as if I told them they had each won the lottery! I will never forget that moment; it was life changing. We then ventured outside.

The girls started by painting photos of Hillside’s trees with polkadots for a mock up plan, then we headed outside armed with measuring tape and yarn. Three of the trees were so large that the measuring tape would not fit around the trunks, so we wrapped yarn around the tree, laid the it on the ground and then measured the yarn.

After that we painted the table clothes and beach balls. While the girls and I work, we discuss elements of the project, such as: why we are creating the display, what we will do with the materials after the project is over and what we should call our version of this installation. We settled on “We Go Higher, Dot, Dot, Dot”

How long will the installation be in place?

We installed on Wednesday, May 16th and it will be in place for two weeks.

What do you hope people will appreciate most about this installation?

I hope people look at the school with a different perspective and not to take things at face value. We have a grand oak that is 15′ in diameter. That very tree watched Hillside being built over 100 years ago. It has watched thousands of children start their first day of school, thousands of children graduate wearing everything from knickers to bell bottoms. The tree has always worn a coat of brown until today when it and its other tree friends get to wear bright red and white polkadot coats. As Shel Silverstein once said, “Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

Holly Korus has a BFA from Pratt Institute and has worked as an art director in advertising, and as an illustrator, muralist, lifestyle editor, writer and has been teaching art for the last 5 years. Explorers is an tuition-based enrichment program offered after school at Hillside Elementary in Montclair, NJ.


Photo: Chanda Hall

Come to Glenfield Art Festival 2017, Friday, May 19

BY  |  Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

The Glenfield Art Festival this Friday, (May 19, 7:00 to 8:30 pm, also as part of Art Walk) will feature artwork by Glenfield’s wonderful community of student artists. More than 400 works of art by Glenfield’s budding artists will be on display throughout the first floor of Glenfield Middle School, Montclair’s Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School.

The annual celebration of the visual arts will also include visiting artists, craft stations, games, face painting, refreshments, raffle baskets, a silent auction, and live music.

“Blue Dog” inspired by Matisse and created by a Glenfield 6th grader – Miranda McLannahan – is also featured in Montclair BID materials to promote Art Walk which Glenfield Art Festival is participating.

Continue Reading

Nishuane Mayfair Celebrates 30+ Years This Saturday, May 20!

BY  |  Monday, May 15, 2017 1:56pm  |  COMMENTS (0)

Nishuane School will host its annual Mayfair on Saturday May 20 from 11 – 4pm. The fun-packed carnival event is open to the entire community and has been one of Montclair’s favorite family events for over 30 years.

Spreading across the Nishuane playing field, playground and parking lot, the day offers a range of activities for kids age 2+ including arts and crafts, bouncy houses and slides, an inflatable obstacle course, an international food court, baskets and a silent auction.

With new sponsor Papasikos Orthodontics, this year’s event is set to be even bigger and more fun-filled than previous years. Live performances will feature Nishuane students, MHS’ vocal group Passing Notes and local musicians, Jason Didner And The Jungle Gym Jam. Continue Reading

Montclair Middle School Students Share At “Every Story Matters,” A Poetry Slam

BY  |  Monday, May 08, 2017 10:00am  |  COMMENTS (1)

Slam poetry is firmly taking root in Montclair among our middle school student population. For the past two years, Buzz Aldrin Middle School integrated this literary genre into its existing curriculum with comprehensive writing, editing and performance workshops created and led by Rich Villar, their critically-acclaimed poet-in-residence, secured with generous funding from both the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence (MFEE) and the Buzz Aldrin PTA.

The workshops prepared the students for the school’s second annual competition slam called ‘Every Story Matters.” Nearly 30 poets performed in front of four guest judges, including publisher Lauri Hornik, high school counselor Cory Jones, composer/lyricist and MSU professor Scott Davenport Richards, and writer/social worker Lauren Marie Schmidt, whose new poetry book ‘Filthy Labors’ launched at Watchung Booksellers this week.

New this year, the inaugural Montclair Literary Festival also held a juried poetry slam in March, inviting middle school students from across the district to compete on stage at the high school, with award-winning poet Vincent Toro headlining the program. Both 2017 slams culminated in a non-competitive showcase at the Free First Thursday Night soiree on May 4 at the Montclair Art Museum.

Thirteen poets, representing Buzz Aldrin, Glenfield and Renaissance across all three grades, confidently took to the stage to share their authentic and invigorating poems with the community. Mr. Villar, who generously donated his time and support at the emotionally-charged event, addressed the audience on the importance of poetry as an important pathway for learning. According to one 5th grader in attendance at the MAM event, “The poetry inspires you through their enthusiasm and also through the meaning and depth of their poems.” Sounds like a future slam poet is in our midst.

Photo: Peter Wert

Montclair BoE: Outcry Over First Choice Invite to Glenfield, Discussion of Homework Policy

BY  |  Thursday, May 04, 2017 8:00am  |  COMMENTS (3)

The Montclair Board of Education

A vote on a new homework policy, advocated at earlier meetings of the Montclair Board of Education, was overshadowed at the board’s May 3 meeting by a controversy over a sex education program that was almost introduced at one of the district’s middle schools.

Amy Huber, the executive director of First Choice Women’s Resource Centers, which provides specialized medical services for women, took to the podium in public comment to talk about her organization’s Real Talk program, which was started in 2000 to inform students of problems associated with unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases and promote “sexual risk avoidance.”  The program, Huber said, has been given in schools across several New Jersey counties to over 10,000 school students.

A few other women, who were seated with Huber in the audience, offered testimonials for the Real Talk program’s effectiveness.  None of them were Montclair residents, which unnerved board member Anne Mernin and made her question their right to speak.  Board President Jessica de Koninck said they could speak, as it was a public meeting.  Then, resident Sarah Blaine took to the podium to offer additional information on the subject. Continue Reading

MKA’S Green Roof Has Officially Opened for Students and Faculty

BY  |  Friday, Apr 28, 2017 9:00am  |  COMMENTS (0)

To help further its commitment to education, technology and sustainability, Montclair Kimberley Academy has created a one-of-a-kind Green Roof that officially opened earlier this month, perfectly aligning with Earth Day.

The Green Roof features various stations and sections intended for multiple purposes from student engagement and experiments to a community wide weather station and application. Plus, the roof was designed with green principles in mind to ensure insulation and energy conservation within the school’s building. MKA just earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver status for the school’s Academic Center, which includes the Green Roof. LEED is the most widely used third-party verification for green buildings and is helping to set the standard of how buildings and communities are planned, constructed, maintained and operated. Continue Reading

Montclair Schools Send Message To Parents Regarding Netflix Series “13 Reasons Why”

BY  |  Monday, Apr 24, 2017 6:35pm  |  COMMENTS (3)

Montclair Public Schools has sent a message out to families, caregivers and staff from Andrew D. Evangelista, Mental Health Coordinator, regarding the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” Continue Reading

Montclair Mayor Jackson Reappoints Two BOE Members

Saturday, Apr 15, 2017 7:21pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

Mayor Robert Jackson has decided to reappoint Anne Mernin and Jessica de Koninck to the Montclair Board of Education. Continue Reading

Featured Comment

Another "ground-level basement" (to get around the building height rules)?!

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