Next Tuesday May 30, 2017 Lounsberry Hollow will be the host of the 3rd annual Artstanding!
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P U B L I C N O T I C E
VERNON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF EDUCATION
ADDITIONAL MAY PUBLIC MEETING
TUESDAY, MAY 23, 2017
An additional Board Meeting has been added to discuss Personnel Matters for Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. at the Board of Education Building, 539 Route 515 in Vernon, New Jersey 07462. The Board will immediately go into closed session and no action will be taken.
VTSD would like to introduce a video series to discuss frequently asked questions concerning the upcoming reconfiguration of schools. Dr. McKay, assistant superintendent, will host a series of videos to answer questions from parents, staff, and community members. Have a question? email firstname.lastname@example.org
The following are the senior videos that were played throughout the String Symposium in case you missed it.
On May 11, 2017, under the direction of teachers, Ray Henricksen and Rachel Whitty, the Lounsberry Hollow band and orchestra competed in the High Note Music Festival. Each group performed for two judges who ranked each ensemble out of 100 possible points. We are proud to say that both the Lounsberry Hollow MS Band and Orchestra earned the festivals highest ranking of SUPERIOR! These performers acted like true professionals, and were very respectful to both the judges and hosts.
Vernon Township high school is proud to announce that its sports program has been ranked 31st in the states top 50 Public schools in New Jersey! to read more please click the link to the full article.
Despite the pouring rain outside, the luxe interior of the Red Tail Lodge at Mountain Creek shone with brilliance on Friday, March 31st, housing many of Vernon’s middle school and high school students for an eventful night of brainstorming. Thanks to the orchestrated efforts of Vernon Schools’ Assistant Superintendent Dr. Charles McKay, Director of Special Projects Joseph Piccirillo, and Chief Technology Officer Matt Shea, a nightlong Shark Tank/Hackathon event was in full swing. Teenage students arrived at the lodge ready to problem solve, strategize and show off their career-ready skills.
The Shark Tank / Hackathon event formed as a spinoff of the Genius Hour program at Glen Meadow Middle School and the multiple Career Technical Education (CTE) programs at Vernon Township High School, for students to showcase the projects and talents that they have been developing throughout the year. Whereas the high school CTE programs focus on preparing students for their professional lives beyond graduation, Genius Hour allocates one hour of the school day for seventh and eighth graders to pursue projects of personal interest, or “passion projects.” Piccirillo explained, “Genius Hour is a cutting-edge, best practice that is being done at some of the most innovative schools in the country, allowing students the space and opportunity to do something that they’re passionate about.” Typically, this 60-minute block of creative project management and leadership is built into high school schedules; however, Vernon has incorporated Genius Hour into its middle school schedule, and may be the only district in New Jersey to proactively do so.
Over the course of the year, Glen Meadow Middle School students rotate through a series of classes that examine different aspects of the project development experience: Building & Construction, Engineering & Design, Health & Fitness, and Arts & Media. This progression mirrors the design of the CTE programs that the students will experience within the following year or two at Vernon Township High School.
Google, of course, was the brainchild of the Genius Hour concept, giving its employees free reign to explore and invest time and energy into projects of their choice. This small window of “mind recess” allows employees to unwind during the workday and release pent-up creativity. Not to mention, the incredible quality and value of the projects produced during Genius Hour affirm that this hour-a-day workshop is time well spent.
The Shark Tank / Hackathon event elicited the support of the Vernon Education Foundation (VEF), as well as many local business vendors from the Sussex County community. The seventh and eighth graders put their genius ideas on display for parents, teachers, student peers, community members, and business representatives to see. Twelve groups then took to the stage, where the students presented their innovations before a crowd of onlookers and an esteemed panel of judges. The judges included Vernon Township Mayor Harry Shortway, President of Sussex County Community College Dr. Jon Connolly, President and COO of Mountain Creek Resort Steve Brennan, President of Sussex County Chamber of Commerce Tammie Horsfield, and Ted Brennan, owner of TM Brennan Inc. and Director of Operations at the Wallkill Group.
First prize was awarded to seventh grader Maggie Previglian for her outstanding presentation of “Bite-ful” organic cookies that proved to be as delicious as they are healthy. Maggie thoroughly explained all aspects of her business model, from development and production to marketing and distribution. The Shark Tank runner-up group included Mason Freifelder, Matthew Catania, Langdon Frey, and Evan Amato; and Gabrielle Martin was recognized with an honorable mention. Each of these students received either an iPad, Chromebook or Amazon gift card for their terrific work!
As the clock struck nine o’clock, the second half of the event commenced and the “hackers” led the way upstairs to tackle their overnight challenge. Mayor Shortway presented the concept of the Hackathon to the high school students, asking them to devise a plan that could address several problematic issues that the township is currently facing. He encouraged the students to consider ideas that would benefit the economy, improve business development, and supply water to Vernon’s downtown area. Packets were then distributed to the students, containing information that described the complexities of each town issue, as well as the limitations of policies, regulations and budget restrictions. The students diligently set to work on their Chromebooks and digital devices, and Shea noted, “The Hackathon is a fun way to get some of our more technical students interested in helping our community.” He added, “Students had to come together as a team to solve some of Vernon Township’s most difficult issues.” There were no shortcuts or exemptions offered to the students, but rather an early opportunity to solve real-world problems in a real-world context.
The winning team members were impressively efficient with the twelve-hour timeframe, producing a comprehensive plan that involved extensive research, drawn-out plans, and a ten-page white paper that identified the issues at hand and offered feasible solutions. Mayor Shortway took particular interest in the team’s proposal to build a water tank within the township that would be able to bring water to Vernon’s downtown area, without draining the town’s budget. He even invited the winning group to attend the next Town Council Meeting to discuss their ideas. These students, including Brian Hill, Brendan O’Connell, Juliana Schlichting, Josie Stolzenberg, Hannah Van Blarcom, and Sam Wolthoff, received an iPad or Beats headphones for their inspiring ideas. The second-place group members, Shane Brennan, Daniel McKeon, David Rusnak, Matt Thienel, and Andrew Wiik, were each awarded an Amazon gift card. All participating “hackers” also left the event with a Hackathon tee shirt, Vernon “V” earbuds, and a swag bag of other tech-inspired goodies.
With the plans of reinstating this program annually, Piccirillo stated, “Education is at its best when students are given the opportunity to use their knowledge.”