Thursday, February 26, 2015

Adam Said aka Young Lucid

Check out this neat article in the Staten Island Advance about a young entrepreneur who is displaying his skills as a DJ. His name is Adam Said, aka Young Lucid. He will be graduating McKee High School June 2015. Click here or copy and paste the link into the browser: 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Saturday School and PM School

1.    Saturday School will begin this Saturday, February 28, 2015 and will end on June 20.
Dates include:

Saturday School hours are from 8 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. The dates are:
·        February 28
·        March 7, 14, 21, 28
·        April 18, 25
·        May 2, 9, 16, 23
·        June 6, 13, 20 (2 hours/finals)

Classes will run from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

The doors will close after 8:15 a.m. Your son or daughter that is enrolled in Saturday School must attend in order to receive credit for 54 hours of instruction.

PM School will begin on March 2 and end on May 5.

In order to get the 54 hours in, classes will be held Monday, Tuesday & Thursday from 2:45-5:00 (2 hours and 15  minutes each day)

·        March 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12, 16, 19, 23, 24, 26, 30, 31

·        April 13, 14, 16, 20, 21, 23, 27, 28, 30

·        May 4, 5

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two McKee HS Construction Students Accepted Into Division of School Facilities Internship

Congratulations to Joed Diaz and Zimzam King for being accepted into the Division of School Facilities Internship (DSF).
To be accepted into the internship, the students were vetted by their Constructional Technology instructor, Mr. Dennis O'Connell. Next, resume in hand, the students "dressed for success" traveled from Staten Island to Mark Twain Junior High School, which is 2 hours. They arrived at 12:30. The interview was scheduled at 1 p.m.
First impressions are powerful. When the interviewers saw the two young men walking down the hall, a half hour early, looking crisp, radiating knowledge, energy, and focus, the interviewers said aloud, "you're from McKee."
Note how the interviewers greeted them: Not "what school are you from?" Not, "Who are you young men?" Not, May I ask why you are here?" It is a powerful life lesson that when education, opportunity and preparation combine together, doors open.

Monday, February 9, 2015

IS 51 Visits McKee on February 9, 2015

Approximately 20 students from IS 51, and two guidance counselors visit McKee to pair up with students within each CTE program. Students were given an overview of the systems in place that equip them with academic and technical skills to advance them through Ralph R. McKee. We at McKee ensure that our students are college and career ready.
In Construction.

 In Pre-Eengineering/Drafting learning about the software program used by architects and drafters: AUTOCAD.

In Software Engineering class

 In Graphics Design/Commercial Art class.
In Automotive Technology class

In Construction Technology class.

Go Mr. Gordon

Congratulations to Leo Gordon for receiving the Learn Key Award and the Adobe Teacher Excellence Award at the annual UFT CTE Teacher of the Year Ceremony for 2015. This instructor is also currently has an apprentice, Michael DiMartino, and training him to become a Graphic Design/Commercial Arts instructor. Go Green and Gold.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Effective Pointers for the Start of the Spring Term

Here are key points to act upon.

1.    Do NOT put any materials on the UNI-VENT. Blocked uni-vents are a FIRE HAZARD.

2.   In the Classroom
The strong start in any school year is establishing the rules, fairly applying the rules, and being consistent as much as possible with the rules.
·        Use your Danielson Framework/CCLS aligned lesson plan as a blue print.
·        Remember the ladder of referral.

3.   What are the expectations for an Effective Classroom?
a.   Greeting students - monitoring entrance into the classroom. Opening exercise. Routine established for handling late book and bath room pass. Expectations said at each major point in a lesson

b.   Overarching Essential question posted in the classroom for the unit, marking period, or term.

                                         i.    Essential Question on PowerPoint/SMARTboard
1.    CCLS stated on board / chart paper
2.   Routine to collect homework established

c.   Learning Target: I can . . .
                                         i.    Check out the first article, pages 3 and 4 in particular for a quick review as to the power of a learning target.

                                       ii.    Check out the 2nd attachment for sample Learning Targets for all subject areas.

d.   Motivation – 5 minutes in the form of a visual, audio selection, journal entry or connection to the lesson. The audio selection can be a music or video clip aligned to the subject matter.
                                         i.    Use or edit a short article from Google News or The Learning Network (See below)

e.   Mini Lesson  in which the content is discussed and the skill modeled. – Use Vygosky:
                                         i.    I do – student watches
                                       ii.    I do – student helps
                                      iii.    Student does – Teacher helps
                                      iv.    Student does – Teacher watches/evaluates

f.   Students process and demonstrate what they know in applying the skill through various grouping strategies: turn and talk, think-write-pair-share, gallery walk, etc.
                                         i.    In order to ensure that learning tasks and activities challenge student thinking, provide opportunities for students to annotate or “mark” both print and visual texts, such as political cartoons.  Visit for a description of an instructional strategy that engages students in both annotation and paragraph composition.

                                       ii.    A standards-based learning target  on the topic of political cartoons: I can  interpret political cartoons by analyzing the cartoonists' use of elements such as symbolism, exaggeration, distortion, caricatures, stereotypes, labeling, analogy and irony. Check out

                                      iii.    Practice differentiation every day. Embed a slide with the steps in your PowerPoint/SMARTboard presentation. Check out The Tools on the school website:  There is a treasure chest of instructional practices.

g.   Quick formative assessment of student comprehension: hand cards, thumbs up/down, red light/yellow light/green light; clickers:  
                                         i.    For quick videos for ideas:
                                      iv.    Have a mid-summary

h.    Plan your group work. Students physically sitting in groups and working on his or her own to answer is worksheet – is NOT group work.

i.   Differentiated Instruction:
                                         i.    Check “The Tools” for Ideas and Icebreakers.
                                       ii.    Steps for the activity should be pre-posted on chart paper, PowerPoint and/or handout
                                      iii.    Circulate the classroom. Check on their Cornell Notes.

j.    Use Costa’s Levels of Questioning.
                                         i.    Students respond to one another through conversation or question starters.
                                       ii.    Have students “pass it on,” repeat, comment or expand on the answers of other students
                                      iii.    Have your list of questions on a clipboard or poster size in the classroom.
                                      iv.    Generate text dependent questions using the 5 step process: -preview vocabulary, -chunk, -identify toughest passage and get ready to chunk and/or scaffold, - generate questions, -review.

k.   End of Lesson Summary – provided by the students answering what did they learn, how did they learn it, why is it important.
                                         i.    Summary should be completed in their Cornell Notes
                                       ii.    Use an Exit Pass

l.     Homework assignment

4.   Sub Lessons: Please provide three days of sub lessons for each of your classes in a sub lesson folder to your respective assistant principal.
Make sure all copies and required materials are available in the submitted sub lesson folder.

5.   Quick Bulletin Board Idea
a.   A good sampling of Cornell Notes based on a rubric makes a sharp bulletin board inside the room!.

First Day as an SVA Graphics Arts Teacher - Introducing Mr. DiMartino

Check out our latest Success Via Apprentice (SVA) Graphics Arts Teacher, Mr. Michael DiMartino, (left - just visiting; right - first day of class) co-teaching with Mr. Leo Gordon in room 409.  I stopped by and took a picture on Tuesday, February 3, 2015.  I could not stop smiling.  Wait - dig this - one of the students (eyes as round as saucers) in the sophomore class asked Mr. Gordon, "Mr. Gordon, you taught Mr. DiMartino? Michael gives his classic quiet smile. Mr. Gordon says, "Yes. I'm just that old. Here's what is so neat about this unique opportunity. This gentleman will be able to facilitate your being able to critically problem solve through the full range of issues you encounter as you progress through the different projects.

Way cool moment. Plus, Mr. DiMartino has joined the ranks of being perceived by a teenager as being an "adult - who actually, at one point, sat in the same seat I am now sitting in this class."

Check out McKee at CareerCon

Representatives from all of the Staten Island high schools went to a CareerCon fair held at S.i. Tech High School. Students attended select workshops, listened to a motivational and presented to businesses their understandings regarding the technical and vocational selections they major in their respective educational institutions.
All 7 CTE programs from McKee were at Career Con. As you can see our display was quite detailed, colorful, and our students demonstrated their soft and hard skills.
Mr. Gordon with a rotating video display of work from Graphics students 

Members of Pre-Engineering class & Cisco

Add caption

Members of Pre-Engineering class displaying 3-d creations from modeler and blueprints

Close up of work on video display from Graphics Design students

Animation in Graphics Design class

Coding on display from the Software Engineering Class

Members of the SEP class

Students from the Automotive Technology class

Salon management on display

Pre-Engineering students

Friday, January 23, 2015

OMG - Private Sebastian Lopez

When I saw Sebastian Lopez walk into my office today, I almost fell out of my chair. I squealed loudly because that is what happens when I am surprised by graduates, who return to visit McKee. Plus, I will just say it, Sebastian was an energetic, rambunctious student who pushed several major nerve endings. I wondered how he was going to make it in the military when following directions was a challenge. Well now - here is Sebastian's post secondary success reflection:

Private Sebastian Lopez
McKee 2014
United State Marine Corps  
I was a loud and silly person who rushed to do everything at the end of the semester by turning in classwork, homework, and projects.  I barely passed classes at McKee. I am not going to lie.

I wanted to be in the US Marine Corps since I was 5. Being at McKee, and seeing the recruitment station, which was down the hill, made me interested in going to talk to the representatives. When I spoke to the recruiter, I could sense a difference in the way he spoke, his deportment, his character, and his confidence. The whole package made a very strong impression. He talked about the Marine Corp, about the physical fitness, and the benefits.

I did Basic Training in Paris Island, South Carolina.  I was motivated to stay the course. Motivation is the biggest key because I wanted to make sure that my parents were going to be proud. I also wanted to be able to come back to McKee and say, “I am a Marine.” I also wanted to show that even the loudest, and laziest kid that scrambled to do everything in the end could do something as hard and as disciplined as the U. S. Marine Corps. Being able to say that I am a United States Marine is something no one can take from you. I’ve even influenced some people to join as well, some who are students at McKee.

My advice to McKee students is the following - If you are going to go to college, try to find out about tuition assistance NOW. All that good help that is being offered at McKee, like scholarships – DO IT.  Don’t leave it to the end.  If you’re legitimately going to join the military, then there are three points to consider.
1.    You have to have motivation. You need to have something to keep you in a state of mind through the tough times, and there will be many tough times in Boot Camp. You need an internal voice that says, “This is why I am here, I am doing this.”
2.    Keep your body physically fit. You have to be fit, for any branch of the military, especially if you are joining the Marine Corp. When I was at McKee I weighed 215 pounds. Getting out of boot camp, I weigh 145 pounds. I run 3 miles in 20 minutes.
3.    Be prepared to have a loud voice to scream back at your drill sergeant that you fully hear his/her commands; especially, if you are in the Marine Corps.

Finally, have a back-up plan, even if you join the military. As for me, I am heading off to deployment in North Carolina and looking forward to the future.

McKee Grad Now Apprentice Graphic Arts Teacher

Michael DiMartino stopped by McKee today. He will be apprenticing as a Graphics Design teacher with Mr. Gordon starting February 2nd, 2015. Here is Michael's post-secondary success reflection:

Michael DiMartino
McKee 2011
Pratt Institute, AB 2013
Success via Internship Apprentice: Graphic Design Teacher

The behavior that was crucial for me to constantly apply in order to matriculate through McKee was that I never procrastinated. It is very easy to get backed up with work in high school.  I came from a private grammar school. I graduated with 17 students. When I entered McKee I initially felt overwhelmed. The staff is amazing at McKee. Once I started talking and making friends I realized I was not alone. I realized many people felt the same way. Acquiring that knowledge will help you make your way through McKee.
Show initiative! One should go and ask “What more can I do?” You have to show the teachers that you are willing to go the extra mile. What also pushed me at McKee was that my brother attended the school and achieved great grades. He landed a successful career after high school.  I could see that my brother was rewarded for his great effort. My brother’s successes helped to motivate me when I attended McKee and continue to be a source of inspiration.
You are going to notice that I am starting to build up many degrees. More degrees, and more training equals having more choices and building a stronger career.  A stronger career leads to money. I realize while money is not everything; it gives you power and decisions. Ever since I was young, I have embraced that I care. I am willing to say to my employer, “What can I do to further enhance the business?”
My advice to McKee students: always be professional.  When you think someone is not looking, realize that someone is ALWAYS looking. I know from personal experience, people look at your conduct, hear your conversation, and scrutinize how you present yourself with the general public.
Your teachers can be your biggest advocates – particularly when you need that recommendation letter for jobs and for colleges. Those people, the teachers, your instructors, are the ones that will take the time to write that important correspondence if you have make consistent, distinctive, positive impressions showing that you care about your grades, attendance, and life choices, throughout your stay at McKee.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Roller coaster of Leadership

Today was a roller coaster of leadership. I learned in the morning that 5 students from the Software Engineering Program at McKee High School would be involved in the NYC Department of Education Pathfinders Mentorship Program.  Only 28 students were accepted into this mentorship program in the city. The students will be exposed to a 6 week job shadowing experience.

Sending out a congratulatory email to the teacher and offering kudos to the students is the feel good portion of today's entry.

Here's the plummeting off the first hill of a roller coaster - I also learned that one of my students made a very poor choice, which will have consequences not only for that particular student but for the family as well.

What to do?  For all  principals, always contact counsel in the legal division.  In addition make sure the senior counsel and the Safety Division Officer are in communication with one another so that all speak with one voice and a streamlined piece of advice.

As an educational leader, reach out to the family so that they are brought into the process. The big insistent push - break through the wall of "I have to go to work" of the family members and the wall of toughness projected by the student. Simply and quietly state the truth of the consequences.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Ortega and Simas, McKee Graduates of 2014 Share Their Post Secondary Reflections

Adriana Ortega, 2014 graduate from McKee High School, visited with Kayla Simas on Thursday, January 16, 2017. Here's Adriana's post secondary reflection.
Adriana Ortega
McKee 2014
Cosmetology NYS Exam

          Being responsible and having good communication skills were the habits that I felt and still feel are important to get through high school. In Cosmetology, you have to be able to talk to clients and be a good listener. I had Mr. Marelli for four years as my AVID elective teacher. He helped to guide my path through McKee.

          I want to build my knowledge and education to be a certified makeup artist. Later on I want to move from New York City and work in California to widen the client base.

          My advice to all McKee students would be to stay motivated and determined about what you want to do with your life. Since I knew I wasn’t going to college, I knew I needed a Plan “B”. My Plan “B” is first, get my license. Second, go to Beauty School and continue working at a salon so that my thinking and skill set becomes even more professional and marketable. Manhattan – here I come.

 Kayla Simas, 2014 graduate from McKee High School, stopped by, Thursday, January 16, 2017. Here's what's happening her post secondary reflection:
Kayla Simas
McKee 2014
Mercy College – Homeland Security

          I think having teachers and staff that push you to head for college is very important. Mr. Marelli, my AVID teacher, focused on college since freshman year which guided me towards the type of college I am presently attending. Another person who stood out was Ms. Pezzolo. From her making the class repeatedly writing essays, I found that I gained the capability to complete the written assignments from the college professors. In fact, one of my professors wanted me to join his writing class in the fall.

          To get through the AVID program, I would advise all students to actually pay attention and focus. I majored in Drafting/Auto CAD at McKee. I changed my major in college when I found that I was interested in Homeland Security: Counter Terrorism.
          The skill set I learned in AVID was organization which is invaluable in college. I learned that you have to turn things in on time. Students have to realize that when you get into college, you might have a professor, like I did my first semester, who if you turned in an assignment one minute late, docked you 5 points. Let’s just say I have a GPA of 3.93 – which is all A’s and one A-. The A- I received was from the one professor, who penalized anyone who was late.     

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