Friday, May 28, 2010

2nd NHS Induction Ceremony at McKee

Here we are at the 2nd induction ceremony of the National Honor Society at McKee High School. The ceremony was at 1 PM on May 27, 2010. Carol Starkey, the new Coordinator of Student Activities (COSA). There was also assistance from Meryl Sheridan, our Forensics Science teacher who ensured that the students lined up and put their best foot forward. Darren Hoffman trained the Executive Board of the National Honor Society also served as the color guard for the event.

It is so cool when the students light the candle indicating that they now plan to uphold the principles of the National Honor Society: Scholarship, Character, Leadership, and Community Service.

Another neat point about the National Honor Society is that the students have to maintain and hopefully surpass their averages and other service aspects to stay in the organization. In my second year as principal, I thought I had an appreciation of what the words meant in the oath taken by the students, along with the rules and regulations as outlined by the National Honor Society. In my third year, I gained a new appreciation. I must say that this is a ceremony that will increase in resonance, for the students, parents, and for yours truly.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Women's Empowerment Seminar

The New York Urban League organized an amazing day of seminars, and workshops in which inner city high school female students had a chance to interact with professionals in the media, the arts, education, and literature.
Yes the students got to hear "real talk" about the challenges one faces along the path to achieving one's dream job. Whether visiting a news set, seeing the inner workings of various businesses,
or asking probing and clarifying questions and receiving forthright answers at a panel discussion, each young lady was confronted with the question, what is the cost of subjugating one's personality, and academic gifts just to fit in, or to accept the treatment of a "special someone."

The panel discussion that you see on the right included very real talk in which MJB, that's right, the MJB, asked questions that caused uncomfortable, knowing responses and deep, critical reflection.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Real World According to Patricia Alexander

I am sitting at my desk - wrestling with tons of e-work when who should walk in but a 2009 graduate, Patricia Alexander. Here are her words of wisdom.:
"I am at LaGuardia Community College. I will be graduating in 2011. I will then transfer to McAllister College where I will get another degree. I will get an Associate's Degree from LaGuardia for Science and the degree from McAllister in Occupation." The career path that she is following is mortuary science.

Wait - let me add this piece, Patricia took it upon herself to line up her internship. She knows that McAllister College will give her the content, but the real world experience for her to truly understand the business aspects of managing a funeral home required that she be proactive. She investigated, researched, and interviewed. She dressed conservatively, stated what skills she can bring to the internship, answered in complete sentences, and was courteous. The result - Patricia landed the internship.

Patricia admits that she "struggled to get out of high school." What she knows for sure: "Being committed is the way to go. College life is no joke. You can't go to college and act like you did in high school. Don't go there and be lazy because if you do, then you will fail. You can't act immature."


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 6th Career Fair

One of the most powerful methods of influencing students is to have pupils see professionals visit and talk - real talk, about the many pathways to a career.

18 representatives from across a wide range of professions visited McKee High School on Thursday, May 6th, to talk to students about education and the skills needed for the various positions they currently hold within their different organizations.
The first picture shows representatives from the Royal Press sharing details about their own level of education, the skills they regularly use on the job, and the typical work day, the challenges they face.

In Mr. Pane's drafting class students heard a panel discussion about different perspectives on the career of being an engineer. In this case Ms. Tsamis (in the picture on the left) shared some of the issues related to being a structural engineer.

Another really powerful visual message is when students are able to see graduates from McKee return and share their experiences in competitive apprenticeship programs. The young lady in green is Ms. Morales. She is a member of the SVA program, which is a highly regarded, extremely selective apprenticeship. SVA stands for Success Via Apprenticeship Program. It is a five year apprenticeship program in which participants get college level coursework, classroom internships, and industrial work experience. Ms. Morales will be able to become a city and state certified teacher.

The career day was successful in that students participated in meaningful career exploration discussions. Students focused on their career options. In addition professionals come into the school to encourage students and provide an opportunity to introduce pupils to networking opportunities.

Who was responsible for organizing this event - Ms. Joyce Ippolito, the guidance counselor, and articulation coordinator. Learning valuable lessons from the first career fair in January 2010, Ms. Ippolito accessed the resources and contacts of the Career and Technical Education (CTE) teachers so that the event was one closely aligned with the CTE programs offered in the school.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Few More Pictures from the UFT Center

OK, I just can't help myself. Here are just a few more pictures from the Spring Conference that was at the Hilton Hotel on Saturday, May 8, 2010.
Here is Raphael Ortiz, Jr. explaining maintenance issues to keep a car in tip top shape for the summer.

Care to see a parafin wrap. It is a soothing experience for one's hands to make them feel ever so soft.Guests had an opportunity to experience just one aspect of a day spa. What a way to tone, tighten, moisturize, and in general, feel invigorated..

Thursday, May 13, 2010

McKee a Presence at UFT Spring 2010 Conference

10 representatives from McKee's Cosmetology and Auto program had a booth at the UFT Spring 2010 Conference. The students were excited, attentive and a hit with the visitors, particularly the students from Fashion Institute who turned to the Cosmetologists from McKee to enhance their fashion designs with the finishing touches of makeup and hair.

The teachers, Mr. David Sarno, Auto Instructor, and Ms. Buono, Cosmetology Instructor, chaperoned and watched over the students from 8 AM to 2 PM.

It is so heartening to see students demonstrating what they know. What is even cooler - is that another school comes over and trusts their hair, their very long hairto their peers in another school. Unlike the top styling salons which are "cut happy", the teens creatively used their skills to please the client.

Top brass from the NYCDOE stopped by like Chancellor Klein. In addition, Michael Mulgrew, President of the UFT, and Sterling Roberson, Vice President of the UFT visited the booth set up by McKee. This was our first year in which we had student representation at the UFT Spring Conference. Based upon the positive reaction, the students are revved to attend next year.

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