Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Robert Ruggeri - Remarkable Achievement Award Winner 2011

Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott hosted a reception for this year’s Remarkable Achievement Award winners at Tweed Courthouse. This year, 200 high school graduates from the Class of 2011 won this distinction.

“Our Remarkable Achievement Award winners have demonstrated tremendous strength of character and determination to persevere in the face of adversity,” said Chancellor Walcott. “These students have overcome obstacles such as violence, abandonment, homelessness, language barriers, and illness to graduate. They are an inspiration to their peers and all New Yorkers.”

Robert Ruggeri Never Let his Trauma and Grief Stand in His Way

When Robert Ruggeri was five years old, he and his family were in a terrible car accident that killed his parents, grandfather and younger brother. Only Robert and his older brother survived the accident. Robert suffered a traumatic brain injury, a punctured lung, one broken leg and his other leg was completely shattered. Over the course of a year, he recovered from his injuries with physical, occupational and speech therapy, while mourning his family.

“The car accident almost took away my life, said Robert. “I have responsibility to live fully and succeed.”

At Ralph McKee High School in Staten Island, Robert is an active member of the school community. He maintained an A+ average, and is a member of the National Honors Society and Student Council. He also has a black belt in Tae Kwan Do.

“During high school, I always gave 110%,” Robert said. “I am really looking forward to the experience of college, learning new things and meeting new people.”

Robert lives in Staten Island. He will attend Hofstra University next fall, with a $40,000 academic scholarship.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Reading List for Incoming Freshment Fall 2011

Click here for the summer reading list for McKee High School incoming Freshmen of Fall 2011. The due date is September 8, 2011.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

McKee 2011 Graduation

It was an easy, breezy, cheery graduation ceremony on Friday, June 24, 2011.
Looking at a sea of hunter green and gold was heartwarming. I must tell you that as a principal, seeing a class that saw me grow in role as a leader over the past four years was a celebratory experience. This class held students who were responsible for division championships in girl's basketball, borough wide championship in boy's basketball, and a city wide championship in the PSAL Cup for football. It also held a formidable swimmer, and pioneering students who helped the school forge relationships with new business partners because of their talent, discipline and courtesy in the workplace. On the academic front there were more full scholarships awarded to students. This reflection is probably the information I should have added to my speech at the Friday morning graduation ceremony, but my head was so full of glad tidings and emotion, that I just did not want to dissolve into a mushy ball of tears. I strongly feel such an occasion is never about my emotions but about what are the next steps that students can help learn and grow. The primary focus is to have their parents, caregivers and guardians beam at them with pride as they walk down the aisle in green and gold.

There is so much more that can, should, and will be done to help students prepare for college and career post secondary experiences. I always have a goal for what I will personally learn how to do over the summer. This year it will be to learn Naviance so that all of the students can state and track their college and professional goals. I will push for every grade to get on board. That's a non-negotiable.

Next is Snapgrades. It is easy and user-friendly. Our students, parents and caregivers must be partners in monitoring and being accountable for academic progress. That's a non-negotiable.

Internships are powerful. Right from the jump there will be an even more concerted push to look for opportunities in which students are guided to expand and deepen their proficiency in their vocational selection.

Alright. Time to rest, resuscitate, and revive. Time to further my education, and gather my strength so that I can come roaring back to life on August 29th, 2011.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Year 2 AVID Students at Freshmen Orientation

AVID students, + Ms. Z (L) and Ms. M. (R) were corralled by me where I took their picture in the general office before the session about their growth in year 2 of AVID. At the session, in front of 30-35 families, powerful testimony was provided by the students about their experiences in AVID and how they have changed their perspective about school and the future.
AVID provides a method of organization, college readiness, support structure through pre-service teachers as tutors, the advisory process, and a team of teachers focusing on a cohort of students for four years. It takes work. It takes constant monitoring.

There are several ingredients that must go right in order for AVID to work. First is having teachers willing to pay the initial cost and then get a reimbursement. Once at the week long seminar, there has to be the acceptance and overview of the principles behind the program. Then it's about actually bringing it back and actually putting the pieces into place. Having a motivated supervisor, and staff that work together in their team meetings to zero in on instructional strategies, goals, expectations, outreach and intervention is a blessing - and must be maintained.

This year we became AVID certified which is a neat accomplishment. The fact that we are a CTE, AVID certified school makes it notable.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Freshman Orientation - June 8, 2011

It was hot both outside and inside as the incoming freshman class with their parents entered the McKee Auditorium to receive banners, magnets, pads, along with a folder full of information about McKee High School.
Check out the school website: for the latest information about back to school procedures for Fall 2011.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Alicea Ulmer - 2011 Staten Island Federation of PTAs Recipient

Kudos and Congratulations to Alicea Ulmer, senior, for being the recipient from McKee of a 2011 Staten Island Federation of PTA scholarship. Pictured below from left to right: Mr. Funso Ojo, Mark Beyer, Mr. Ulmer, Alicea Ulmer.

Below are key supporters of McKee. From left to right: Jeanne Johnson (former SI Federation of PTAs), Pat Manley (PTA President), Mary McVey (Parent Coordinator), and Manny Innamorato (Vice President).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

More photos from McKee Prom 2011

Take a gander at a few photos of how lovely the students looked at the McKee Prom of 2011 at the Vanderbilt:

Friday, June 3, 2011

McKee Students "do" up Hungerford Girls

Check out this lovely article about the McKee students who held a "spa" day for Hungerford seniors. Click here or the title for the article.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Physics Day at Great Adventures

Students like roller coasters. One could think of it as an interdisciplinary method to meld Physics, terror, and fun. Check out the pictures:
Trips don't happen by themselves. One needs chaperones.
To the right is Mr. Marelli, aka Math teacher or Math - Man, behind the cape. By the way, as a principal, it is great to have energetic teachers willing to go on all the stomach churning rides. One chaperone is able to hold full, calm conversations, while other chaperones and students experience a little white-knuckled anxiety before giving into the joy of experience "Zero G."

Students take a break that refreshes before jumping on some more rides.

Jay Coppi - Outstanding Educator 2011

Congratulations to Mr. Jay Coppi,
a dedicated Math teacher at Ralph R. McKee High School, for being selected to be one of 20 honorees at the Outstanding Educator Awards Ceremony of 2011, hosted by Education Update. The ceremony was held on Thursday, June 2, 2011 in the Biddle Room at the Harvard Club.

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