Sunday, June 28, 2009

Diplomas and Report Cards Still Available on Monday 6/29/09

Graduates / 12th Grade:
Diploma and report card distribution will be at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 29, 2009 in the auditorium.

9th - 11th Grade Students:
You will still be able to pick up your report card at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 29, 2009 in the auditorium.

Please note - If you need summer school, it will be indicated on the report card. The location of summer school 2009 for McKee students is at Curtis High School.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

McKee Graduation - June 26, 2009

My 2nd graduation as principal on June 26, 2009 at the St. George Theater, and I just enjoy every part of the ceremony. I particularly relish the part where I say the words from the phrase that confers the candidates as graduates. The seniors have just finished singing the alma mater and senior song. Mr. Velija, our Assistant Principal of Organization, says the ephebic oath.

Next, they hear the words, " are now graduates..." and the students lose it. Their eyes shine, their heads shake, their hands are clapping, their smiles broaden even further in recognizing that this is the moment when they are young adults who are moving away from childhood and adolescence. There is a tidal wave of positive, electric energy that soars into the rafters and of course the mortarboards fly into the air to punctuate the emotion.

I love the energy.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

We Bid A Fond Adieu to Six Seagulls

From left to right: Elena Extramiana (Spanish); Joyce Edel (Special Education); Judy Nock (Attendance); Joy Feldman (COSA, Math); Ida Campanella (Cosmetology); and Van Wilson (Automotive Technology).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How We Feel About McKee?

Mayor Koch used to say: "How am I doing?"

At McKee, just like in every school in the New York City Department of Education, the students, staff and parents weighed in on the question of "How is McKee Doing?"

Click here for the NYC School Survey 2008-2009 Report to find out the answer.

Drum Roll Please - Best Blogs of Spring 2009

Based on digital survey results, here are the standout blogs / websites from McKee High School:

Best Visual Design/Function and (tied)

Best Content for Career & Technical Education Subjects

Best Content for Academic Subjects

Congratulations, keep up the good work. Happy summer. In fall 2009, the blogs, like the teachers will be refreshed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Applause to P. S. 22's Appearance on GMA

Good Morning America was bowled over with the sweet voices of P.S. 22 on Monday, June 22, 2009. Check it out on the P.S. 22 blog. It is a testament to the power of music.

A Story of Inspiration: Khadijah Williams

I just finished reading a compelling story covered in the Los Angeles Times about a homeless teenager who managed to survive the mean streets of South Central. She graduated 4th in her class, with the help of altruistic counselors, teachers and mentors; and will be attending Harvard in the fall of 2009.
Click here for the article: From Homeless to Harvard.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baby Think It Over and a Meeting B/T Mediators

Click here to see the Baby Think it Over and a Meeting Between Mediators PowerPoint that was given by Noreen Mullen, the Assistant Principal of Security, Physical Education and Health to the cabinet, the school leadership team, and Ms. Caltobiano, the wonderful philanthropist from the World of Women Organization. The presentation highlights a few minutes out of the 72 hours that the students shared in their journals. Yes - we got student approval for the snippets. Next stop is to get the students to blog their experiences. Who knew that they felt so traumatized just from having 72 hours that they begged off from making anything digital as they needed to feel their journal was a private sounding board.

I know, you're thinking, what do you mean the students were traumatized. After 1 week, 3, weeks, 6 weeks, and even at the 8 week mark, students spoke passionately about their experiences with the infant simulators. I'll share one quick experience:
"I tell my boss I'm in health. He of course says, don't bring it. In fact he fires me, saying he doesn't want anything that cries at work. I say fine, cause I've got to pass health. He calls me up the same day he fires me and says, there's too much work, come in. I do. I'm heading to work. The baby starts crying. I realize I've got to go back to school and put it on babysitting mode or else my boss will flip. On my way back to school, I'm texting my boss. I get back to school, I've got to find the teacher with the remote to program the baby. Miss, I'm trying to find him. I'm texting my boss that I'm finding the teacher. I find the teacher. He programs it. I'm now heading back to work. I get to work. I put the baby in the basket down. I head over to start work on the car, doing my job, and what do I see, my boss is @#$*(&, sorry miss, he's throwing the baby up in the air and catching it. I yell at him, "What are you doing?" Miss, I suffered. It was stress. Nothing but stress. I still think you guys put the babies on the hard cycle.
Note: We didn't. Honest. All of the infant simulators were on the Easy Cycle. Come by when we get ready to have our freshman students in Health class, Fall 2009, with the infant simulators.

Next on the presentation you will see when we had an intervisitation in which a few peer mediators from McKee High School visited veteran peer mediators from Curtis High School.

A little background: Curtis High School has a long established and celebrated peer mediation program. Noreen Mullen is a powerhouse dynamo Assistant Principal of Security and Physical Education at McKee. Working closely with the social workers at McKee, the Integrated Service Center Security Specialist, and the 120th Precinct, along with the New York Center for Interpersonal Development, she looked for opportunities in which the peer mediation program could grow and the peer mediators could gain experience. An opportunity presented itself when during the course of the year the mediators from Curtis High School set up an afterschool intervisitation.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

McKee Summer Reading Lists & Assignments Are Here

Click here for the Incoming 9th Grade Summer Reading List and Assignment.
By popular request - click here for the printable PDF version of the Incoming 9th Grade Summer Reading List and Assignment.

Click here for the 10th-12th Grade Summer Reading List and Assignment.
By popular request - click here for the printable PDF version of the 10th-12th Grade Summer Reading List and Assignment.

Why? If you breathe, you should read.
Why? One's mind always needs nourishment.

Yes - in the first month of school, September 2009, will feature the written and digital assignments generated from the summer reading.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

McKee Students Praised for their Presentation at Petrides

Three students from McKee (From L-R): Steven Grell, Mohamed Ibrahim, Hiran Gnanapragasam; and their CISCO teacher, Anthony Pigis, did an end of year presentation at Petrides as part of the culminating activity from the PEARLS grant, Friday, June 12, 2009. Here they are moments before they go on:

The three young gentlemen showcased the interactive blog, CISCO Made Easy: The students worked on the blog after school and in the evenings. Their goal was to provide a useful tutoring service for sophomores about the elements needed to succeed in CISCO during their first year of study. The pupils used Web 2.0 tools such as Jing and added Packet Tracer, which is a network simulator program. The students spoke for more than 30 minutes, at times fielding questions from a range of teachers and technical coordinators from the PEARLS Grant initiative.

What was so cool was the level of ownership poise and knowledge about the workings of creating the interactive blog. By the way, the students were only supposed to present for 15 minutes but there was an extensive question and answer period. The coordinators specifically wanted to know how "Mr. Pigis felt ceding control to the students. To quote Mr. Pigis, it was not about control, it was about student buy in. His words of wisdom, it takes patience, and planning. He already has some exciting ideas for Fall 2009 so that we as a school are able to proliferate the practice of having students helping students by empowering them to make a digital blueprint via using Web 2.0 tools such as a Jing, wikispace, webcast, podcast, blog or any combination of the above.
I am excited by the possibilities of students helping students to understand the elements of a range of concepts whether it is a trade shop: construction, auto mechanics, cosmetology and epidemiology; or technical shop: drafting, AUTOCAD, CISCO, or electrical installation. The key for me as an instructional leader is to model, and show through my actions that one has to embrace the software tools and allow students amaze us with their demonstration of understanding and mastering the content. It is the continual, fascinating challenge, and opportunity for growth.

McKee Students Create Based on Infant Simulator Experience

Week after week, we have checked in on whether the students in the two health classes were emphatic about their experience with the infant simulators. A reporter from the Staten Island Advance stopped by to interview the students and was shocked at their passionate arguments as to why they would not want to become teen parents. Steve DeGennaro, the physical education teacher, and Jeff Thomas, the Spark SAPIS instructor, have worked collaboratively to create a curriculum that engaged the students.

Click here to see the pledge the students generated. The routine that we established in the pilot study was to do a three week prep for how the students would care for the infant simulators and the ramifications. The parents would have to give their signed permission as well as the students. Then once the students received the infant simulators with car seat, infant, clothing, diapers, bottle, blanket, and sun protective covering, the students would have to cope with the infant for 72 hours. The pupils also created PowerPoint presentations to document their experience.

Every one of the students felt as if the experience was painful, in fact the term was "excruciating." We also had the participation of the school assigned police officer to be the representative of what would happen legally to the students from the "abuse" the infant simulators suffered. The nurse checked with each of the classes and could not believe the 100% emphatic response rate as to how students felt about caring for infants of their own. It was the students ideas to create the pledge and to stand by it.

There is power in experiential learning. The message all of the students spread to any and everyone who asked was just as palpable six weeks later from when they first underwent the experience. Recently, Ms Patty Caltabiano, whose organization is responsible for granting us the use of the 10 infant simulators in the pilot study, visited to see the end of year ceremony in which students received certificates from Reality Works, recognizing the work o their increased awareness.

Staten Island PTA Federation Luncheon Award Winner

I can not believe how fast June 15th has arrived, the last day of classes. There has been a great deal of activities that have occurred. I can not let the school year end without showing pictures of some of the highlights from several ceremonies that occurred in the month of June. Let's start with the Staten Island PTA Federation Luncheon. Every year this incredible group of representatives from every Parent Teacher Association in Staten Island sponsors a contest. This year the theme was about diversity. The young lady in the picture is the winner from Ralph McKee High School, Bebuo Ewa (pronounced Baybow - Eee-wah). She is a highlly talented senior with an incredible sense of public service; in fact she has over 400 hours of community service to her credit. Both of her parents were there. This is where my shaky picture taking comes in, I was able to capture her mother, who is sitting behind Bebuo but not her father. Yeah it is always a very interesting proposition when I take a picture.

She'll be going to John Jay College and will major in business law and minor in media-communications. The event happened at the Hilton Garden Inn and it is an opportunity for everyone to enthusiastically and energetically meet and greet. By the way, the pretty lady in yellow is our new PTA President at Ralph McKee High School. Her name is Pat Manley. Next to her is our parent coordinator, Mary McVey.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cast Your Vote in the June Blog Survey

We at McKee believe that teachers deserve "a shout out" for their blogs. The survey is short - it takes 5 minutes. Thank you for taking the time to respond to the questions in this survey.

Your answers are confidential. We hope this will be a fun and fair way to determine the top 10 bloggers:

Click here to access the survey:

Yep - we are interested about your views about blogs - hopefully - McKee Blogs.

Apture Multimedia