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November Highlights

Randolph Learning Community,

Providing the best education, support, resources, and mentorship for students requires a collective and collaborative effort. Our staff move mountains daily in order to provide the best possible learning environment in all of our schools. Educating and caring for thousands of students is no small task, yet our team continues to do it every single day with grace, humility, and most importantly love. In the same regard, community stakeholders and our families are always proactive and engaged. Although we have such a large school community, in many ways it feels small. Together, through both good and trying times, we have found ways to gather well and support one another. Randolph feels very much like a giant family and as a family we work together to make Randolph a better place every single day. 

I am grateful for how well this school community has worked together this school year and every day of learning is better than the last. We have had so much to celebrate over the course of the school year, and I have included a few highlights from November below.

To read or see more positive news, I encourage families and community members to follow our district on Facebook and on Twitter. In addition, our Board of Education meetings are a great opportunity to learn more about other news and developments happening in the district. The input of families and community members are valuable, and public participation in meetings is an opportunity to hear new ideas and perspectives. If you are not able to attend a meeting in person, meetings can be accessed via live stream as well as after our meetings. More information can be found in the Board of Education section on our website. 

As the month of November closes, we look ahead to December. Have a wonderful start to the new month, and as always stay safe and be well. 

Sincerely, 

Jennifer Fano, Superintendent of Schools

Students Create Virtual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Fernbrook Elementary's library classes read the book Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet. The book tells the story of Tony Sarg, the original creator of the parade balloons for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

After reading the book and reviewing primary sources, the students discussed how the puppets were engineered and each class was given an assignment to create their own to showcase in virtual Macy's parades using green screen technology. The youngest classes used simple stick puppets and the oldest classes were instructed to create an articulated puppet that can look "alive" in the parade. The students had a wonderful time recording their parades and then sharing them together.

Randolph Middle School Students Build Competitive Robots

RMS students in Derek Skoldberg’s robotics class created their own robots. The goal was to construct and program the best "sumobot" that would win a robotics wrestling competition. Students had to keep several tasks in mind such as programming the robot to use a loop, start with a touch button, use a color sensor, push, back up, move forward, turn, etc. Through research and programming, the students created multiple types of robots that could perform a variety of different functions.

After programming their sumobots, the students had the opportunity to battle other students to collect feedback about their robot. Based on that feedback, students were given an additional two days to redesign their sumobot based upon the results of battles in class. The redesign phase was a critical moment for students to use the results of the initial trials to identify errors that could be fixed to improve each sumobot for battle. The students were challenged to continue to work on physically altering their robots while rewriting code so they could evolve each design from its original state into something better.

“Students love this activity because they have complete creative freedom to build their own sumobot. They love to beat the other students with their superior bot, and this teaches each student the importance of academic endurance as well as the patience to follow the engineering design process,” Mr. Skoldberg said. “The students used Lego Mindstorm software which uses block based coding that is very similar to Scratch, a high-level programming language. At the middle school, all of our programming classes use Scratch, so many of our students have a lot of experience with coding. This project is a great opportunity for students to not only learn fundamental skills and abilities, but to also learn from their experience to continuously improve on previously learned knowledge.”

The winning sumobot was “Timothe the Toad.” Seventh grade students Manuela Piccolo and Naumikaa Vijayanand were the winners of the final competition. “We named our sumobot Timothe the Toad because originally when we made the face, it looked like a little toad. Our sumobot is also British. When we were doing our research, we went onto Youtube and found old videos of another class from another school to use as inspiration when we were building ours,” Manuela said. Naumikaa added: “There were many things we wanted to incorporate into our sumobot, but we wanted to make sure we had a solid shield in case someone else’s bot came at us at a higher angle. We decided to also do a flap which could be raised or put down, and we also added wheel protectors which could help protect the sumobot from tipping. We spent about 6 days doing the project, and in addition to building our sumobot we also needed to program it. It was a lot of fun because instead of just coding something, we got to actually compete against other students which made the project a lot more interesting to work on.”

Randolph High School November Artist of the Month

 

Senior Therese Chase has been creating art since she was a student at Randolph Middle School. As a creative outlet, art is a way for her to express her emotions and she believes that art is both powerful and multidimensional. Regardless of whether a piece is very purposeful and meaningful or if it’s lighthearted and whimsical; Therese has learned that art can influence how others think, feel and learn.

“I draw my artistic inspiration from my own experiences as well as my surroundings. I like to take notes of patterns and concepts that interest me throughout the day so that I can go back to them later on for future pieces,” Therese said.

As a visual storyteller, her pieces evoke a sense of wonder and imagination. Each piece she creates has a very intentional purpose and story. Her metaphorical piece “Writing Roller Coaster” was hand drawn with colored pencil. It is a nostalgic and reflective piece about the highs and lows of life's journey. “Throughout my life I have always kept journals. In these journals I would go through a roller coaster of emotions and feelings that I wanted to keep just for myself. Journaling really helped me get through the hard times that I have had in my life and be grateful for the good times! The flower in the piece was made to represent how much I have changed and grown as a person by journaling,” Therese said.

Therese plans to study architecture when she graduates from Randolph in 2022. She is intrigued by architecture as a career because it is a combination of math, science and art together. “I had a really difficult time trying to choose what major I wanted to pursue when I graduate,” Therese said. “However, when I found out architecture was more than just coming up with uniform buildings and that I was able to have some creative freedom, it instantly caught my attention as a possible career to pursue!”

Randolph is fortunate to have many talented visual and performing artists, including Therese. We have shared a few of her pieces, which includes “Writing Roller Coaster," above.

Celebratory Achievements

Technology and Engineering Teachers Win Program Excellence Award

The New Jersey Technology and Engineering Educators Association (NJTEEA) recognized Randolph High School as the 2021 recipient of the Program Excellence Award. Excellence Awards are one of the highest honors given to technology and engineering education educators and are presented in recognition of outstanding contributions to the profession and to their students. The NJTEEA Excellence Awards program was established to identify outstanding technology and engineering teachers who will serve as models for their colleagues and who could form a leadership core to affect change in the field. Congratulations to our Technology and Engineering educators who continue to be leaders in both the state and the nation!

Sue Falleni Wins League Coach of the Year 

Randolph High School Gymnastics Coach Sue Falleni received League Coach of the Year after leading the team to its first perfect regular season in 39 years. Sue also led the Rams to win the League Championship, State Sectional Championship, and helped two student athletes (Bella Conti and Lily Ward) advance to the State Individual Finals. She has coached Randolph High School Gymnastics for the past 28 seasons. “I am honored to win League Coach of the Year because it’s a validation of all the hard work I have put in over all of these years. It’s been since 2002 that I won Coach of the Year, so having that recognition is very humbling,” Sue said.

As a student athlete at Randolph High School, Sue was the Morris County All Around Champion as a Senior. When she went to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, she primarily focused on floor and vault where she was a NCAA All American in 1986. During her senior year of college, IUP won the NCAA Championship. “Right before the championship, I ruptured my achilles tendon. I turned to my coach and said really, after 10 years of gymnastics this is what I get? My coach said there was a plan for me, and sure enough two months after I came home I met my husband,” Sue said. “From there, I was a graduate assistant for West Virginia University’s Gymnastics team. I traveled all over the country and came back to Randolph where I started volunteering my time with Randolph Gymnastics. After volunteering, I become head coach and the rest is history.”

When Sue returned to Randolph, she knew that she needed to give back to the Gymnastics program. “When I walked in the gym it just felt like home. I just felt sucked in from the very beginning,” Sue said. “The kids continue to motivate me to coach. There’s always at least one athlete that I feel like I have to come back for, and I just enjoy being around the sport so much. In 2003, I had given up the sport and my girls had made a big album for me. I had three kids at the time, and I didn’t know that shortly there after I would be giving birth to my fourth in 2004. For two years I didn’t coach, but I was asked to come back and as I said before there are those athletes that just suck you back in and just make you want to keep coming back. I love these girls, and I enjoy working with them every year. We really look forward now to preparing for next season.”

Sue does not just add value to our community as a coach, she also teaches Special Education at Center Grove Elementary. She works with students with Autism. We are so grateful for all of the ways that Sue has and continues to add value to our school community, and we are thankful she received this well-deserved recognition! Congratulations Sue!

Randolph Gymnastics Wins State Sectional Championship, Bella Conti and Lily Ward Advanced to State Individual Finals 

The “best kept secret in Randolph” celebrated another impressive victory on Saturday, November 6 when they took home the NJSIAA North Jersey Section I Championship. The Rams had an incredible season, which included the first perfect regular season for the first time in 39 years. At the State Sectional meet, Senior Bella Conti won 1st place on the Uneven Bars. She also received an invitation to participate in the Senior High School National Meet in May. Junior Lily Ward placed 3rd on Floor and 5th on Beam. Their scores helped them qualify for the Individual State Finals at Brick Memorial High School.

Reflecting on the State Sectional Championship, Lily Ward said: “We knew we could do it, but we knew everyone had to do their job because it was going to be close. We knew we had the potential to win, but it was very nerve-racking because we understood how close it was going to be.” Bella added: “Coach Sue looked at the scores and we knew that we had some of the highest scores out of all of the teams in the section. However, since some of the teams at sectionals were not in our league, we hadn’t competed against some of the other teams. We knew we had to stay focused and come together as a team. As coach always says, we needed to stay in control of ourselves and we just needed to make sure we all believed in ourselves and do what we needed to do. We were so happy to come out with that win, and it felt very special given all of the hard work we had put in to get to that moment.”

Each event is different in terms of how you prepare, and Lily knows this firsthand. “Beam is 100% the hardest event because it is very different to practice on Beam than it is to compete on Beam. When you are under pressure, it is a lot harder to perform because every little movement matters. I know how to do my skills, but on Beam it’s all about maintaining composure. I can practice as many times as I want, but if I am not mentally calm in that moment, it’s way more challenging,” Lily said. “As a Junior, I am excited to spend the rest of the year developing new skills so I can become an all-around stronger gymnast. I think we can be just as good next year as we were this year, so I hope to use the start of the new year to really work on continuing to improve."

During the State Sectional Championship, Bella used some new skills she had practiced and developed to help her clinch the 1st place title. Coach Sue Falleni said that her execution and performance of the three new skills was “flawless.” Bella is grateful for how she developed as an athlete despite the adversity she faced during the season. “At the very beginning of the season, I hurt my back and I really wasn’t allowed to do anything involving movement or arching my back at all. My routine didn’t originally have my best skills, but throughout the season as my back got better I was able to come back to Bars first,” Bella said. “I was able to work on new skills which gave me a lot more difficulty in my routine than it was to start. When working on these new skills, it happened many times where I missed the high bar completely and landed straight on my face. With repetition and consistency, you eventually figure it out and after a while it clicks. It’s the best feeling ever coming back from an injury, not knowing if I would even be able to compete this year, and win 1st place. When I stuck my landing and presented, it was the best feeling on earth knowing that it all paid off in the end.”

As a Senior, Bella competed in her last Gymnastics meet for Randolph High School. However, the legacy and family she has made with Randolph Gymnastics will last forever. “I am going to miss the team and the feeling of accomplishment. When you put everything out there, being able to just see everything you have committed to when you have played a sport for such a long time is amazing to reflect on. I have been doing this sport for such a long time, practicing for 20+ hours per week, and being on two teams was so much work. As I look back on that now, all of that time spent was not for nothing, and just knowing everything I did was for a reason means the world,” Bella said. “The friendships I have also made here will last forever, and I will never forget this amazing experience I have had.”

The Gymnastics program finished strong as a team placing 10th at the State Team Final, and we congratulate the entire Gymnastics program once again on an amazing season!

Center Grove Elementary Students Collected 15,000 Pieces of Candy for First Responders

Center Grove Elementary second-grade teachers Christina Grott, Leah Konikowski, Alyssa LaNeve, Karen Due, and Shannon Webster organized a math lesson to spread kindness. The teachers held a school wide candy drive where excess candy was collected. The students donated 15,000 pieces of unopen Halloween candy to first responders and local charities.

The second graders demonstrated their knowledge of place value by making groups of ten to help count the candy. After students made ten groups of ten, they made a tally in the front of the cafeteria. Each tally represented 100 pieces of candy. After all the candy was collected, the students counted the tallies making groups of 1,000 to arrive at the grand total of 15,000 pieces of candy. This activity not only stressed the importance of giving back to our community, but also how place value is used in the real world.

Thank you to Ms. Grott, Ms. Konikowski, Ms. LaNeve, Ms. Due, and Ms. Webster for organizing this amazing opportunity for students to both learn and give back!

Ron Litz

Abby Loveys