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October Highlights

Randolph Learning Community,

We are continuing to have an amazing school year. I am grateful that we have so much to celebrate, and I have included a few highlights from October 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 October closes, we look ahead to November. On November 2, Election Day will be held where three Board seats will be available to serve three-year terms. During the week of November 8-12, we will join schools throughout the United States in celebrating the important work school psychologists and other educators do to help all students thrive. This year’s theme is “Let’s Get in Gear.” The theme encourages our educators and mental health professionals to engage in best practices and advocate for children’s access to both mental health and learning resources. Despite the challenges of the past few years, our learning community will continue to rise and thrive with a renewed sense of resilience with the proper supports in place.

In addition, we will also celebrate American Education Week November 15-19. The National Education Association was one of the creators and original sponsors of this important week which is always celebrated the week prior to Thanksgiving. At our Board of Education meeting on October 26, the Board made a special proclamation celebrating the upcoming week. Randolph Education Association (REA) President Sandy Kessell was in attendance to accept the proclamation on behalf of all of our educators. All of our educators are superheroes, and we are so proud to recognize and celebrate all that they do.

In November, we also look forward to the completion of the Athletic & Wellness Center as well as the STEM lab and finishing touches on the science rooms at Randolph High School. We will welcome our entire community to tour these spaces at a later date. Several athletic teams will also be competing for state tournaments, and fall activities and events will be abundant as we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving on November 25. There truly is so much to be thankful for.  

Have a wonderful start to the new month, and as always stay safe and be well.

Sincerely, 

Jennifer Fano, Superintendent of Schools

Fall Fun

The district ended the last school day in October festively. From Halloween parties to trick or treating, students were able to participate in fun fall activities while doing so safely.
 
Dylan, a 1st grade student at Ironia, was particularly excited to see Principal Kricheff was his accidental twin!
 
Thank you to all of our building leaders, teachers, and families for making all of these amazing opportunities for our students possible!

Day of Wellness

Our educators gathered for a districtwide Day of Wellness on October 11. In addition to professional development, the day also focused on the social and emotional wellbeing of staff. As keynote speaker, Dr. Lori DeSautels returned to further explore the relationship between learning and the brain. Her session focused on how the functioning of the nervous system drives emotional, social and cognitive growth and wellbeing. Dr. DeSautels addressed the developmental brain and body states impacted by chronic stress, while providing best practices for elementary and secondary educators that can assist students. In addition, she presented on the foundational importance of the adult brain and body state to assist educators in rewiring perceptions of engaged learning and discipline.
 
Additional sessions were offered throughout the day to help educators improve social and emotional competencies. A session entitled Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences explored the neuroscience of how trauma impacts the brain, and challenged participants to shift how students’ behavior and overall mental and physical health is thought about. Other sessions included Trauma Informed SEL Strategies for Students, Creating Safer Spaces 101: An Introduction to an Inclusive Classroom, Mental Health Topics in the Classroom, and Relationships & Instructional Best Practices. Several technology courses were also offered to improve skills and abilities with Microsoft applications, and there were also several wellness activities including yoga.
 
We are grateful that all staff were able to participate in professional learning offerings which were intentionally designed with the various dimensions of wellness in mind. Through intentional integration of social, emotional, and academic learning experiences for all, we hope that our staff found a balance of both personal and professional growth opportunities during this Day of Wellness.

Celebratory Achievements

Randolph Schools Wins 1st Place in Photography for the 2nd Consecutive Year in New Jersey

The New Jersey School Public Relations Association (NJSPRA) is a state chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and has been nationally recognized for its support of school public relations professionals and district leaders tasked with school communications.
 
NJSPRA developed the School Communication Awards competition to recognize school districts for managing communications and developing tools that go above and beyond in disseminating important messages to their communities. Winning entries may also serve as best practices for other districts to benchmark against and emulate. Randolph Schools submitted in the photography category for the 2020 - 2021 school year, and for the second consecutive year was awarded 1st place amongst school districts across the state of New Jersey. This year's award selection was the most competitive on record with 35 different school districts in New Jersey participating. Randolph's 1st place submission was selected unanimously with a perfect score.
 
"Throughout the course of a school year, we are able to capture many incredible experiences of our students and staff. We wish we were able to capture every moment as there are so many amazing stories and achievements in Randolph to celebrate. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we continue to strive to creatively share the successes in our community that make Randolph such a wonderful place for both teaching and learning," Director of Communications and Digital Media Matt Pfouts said. "When I submitted the entry for this past school year, I was fortunate to have many photographs to choose from. Although I had many photographs that reflected a more traditional school year prior to the pandemic, I was compelled to submit a photograph that I felt best represented 2020. I chose the photograph of an Ironia student on his first day of school. During that challenging time when our students returned to in person instruction for the first time, there were still so many unknowns for our students and our staff. Mask wearing in school was still brand new and it had been several months since we had returned to in person learning. When I saw this student with his beloved teddy bear, I captured the moment recognizing it as a unique experience in this child’s life. From my own artistic interpretation, what I captured felt like it had deeper symbolical meaning. The image for me represented the uncertainty we felt not just as a school community, but also as a nation. Despite the fears we had of the unknown, the student and his bear is a metaphorical reminder of the importance of clinging onto hope and the things we love most during times of uncertainty. It was also a reminder than even during challenging times, we can still carry the most important things in life with us to help guide us through. Later, when I was able to connect with the student, he shared with me how his bear helped bring him comfort during that time of transition as well as his excitement to be back in school once the unknown had past. I am humbled that I have the privilege to tell the stories of our community, and I am very grateful to the NJSPRA who felt inspired by this photograph to award our school community with 1st place. Our students are exceptional young individuals, and I look forward to continuing to tell their stories.”

 

Randolph High School earns National Gold Standard for Financial Literacy

Next Gen Personal Finance (NGPF), a non-profit with a mission to ensure every high school student in America takes a personal finance course by the year 2030, awarded RHS its Gold Standard School award.
 
Montana State University researchers teamed up with NGPF to evaluate thousands of high school course catalogs and graduation requirements on the following scale:
 
Bronze Standard Schools offer some personal finance instruction in less than one continuous semester, often by embedding it into other courses (e.g. Economics).
 
Silver Standard Schools offer at least one semester of personal finance as a standalone elective OR offer a standalone personal finance course as one option among multiple that can fulfill a one semester graduation requirement.
 
Gold Standard Schools ensure all students take at least one standalone semester course in personal finance before graduation.
Outside the six states (AL, MO, UT, MS, TN and VA) that currently guarantee every high school student will take a personal finance course, researchers identified, 1,591 Gold standard schools and Randolph High School is listed among them.
 
“I am proud that our district ensures our students are financially literate before they graduate. These opportunities enable our students to be fiscally sound decision makers,” RHS Business Education teacher Lisa Holloway said.
 
K-12 financial education has recently found the spotlight with 26 state legislatures introducing bills to expand access to financial education in public schools in 2021.
 
NGPF Co-Founder Tim Ranzetta said, “Gold Standard Schools show remarkable leadership, surging ahead of state progress on financial education instead of waiting for a mandate. The teachers, parents, students, administrators, and community leaders in these schools show what can happen when a coalition commits to build the financial capability of the next generation.”
 
RHS Principal Jessica Baxter added: “This recognition is an honor for our business department who has taken the NJ graduation requirement of financial literacy above and beyond the minimum components. Financial literacy is an invaluable skill of which our teachers have a passion for ensuring our students understand the importance. Students in our financial literacy program work on relevant projects on a daily basis as they gain lifelong skills that will continue to benefit them. Although this recognition is for our financial literacy courses, specifically personal finance, our business program has such robust curricular and co-curricular options that students often take far more of our business offerings throughout high school.”

Gymnastics Wins League Championship: Remains Perfect for the First Time in 39 Years

Boys Soccer Wins Morris County Championship

#11 seeded Boys Soccer defeated #1 seeded Delbarton to claim the Morris County Championship. Chris Manderioli of TAPinto Randolph captured this perfect moment below. Read more about Randolph's historic run on Tap into Randolph's website here.

Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic

Congratulations to the Randolph High School cast and crew on their incredible performance of Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic. The Potter-inspired comedy gave a fresh look at a familiar adventure from the perspective of three new heroes just trying to make it through magic school. It was a sensational production!

Chris Sebastian

Dr. Dennis Copeland