Wyckoff Schools Celebrate a Day of Service 


Wyckoff’s schools marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year with a day of service intended to honor the slain civil rights leader by giving teachers, and, in some cases, students an opportunity to give back to their communities.

Teachers participated in professional development activities during the day, which was a holiday for students. Principals also arranged for service projects within their buildings and allowed staff members to participate in other service opportunities that they found on their own.

At Lincoln Elementary School, staff members organized and delivered donations of non-perishable food, clothing, baby formula, baby food, and first-aid supplies that students and their parents dropped off at the school in the afternoon. The donations were transported to the Social Services Association of Ridgewood and Vicinity to benefit those in need. 

Lincoln’s staff members and parents also donated blood during the afternoon. "The staff enjoyed coming together on this day to help those in need, whether through our community drive or hosting a blood drive,” says Lincoln Principal Pat Lee. “We wanted to engage in a worthy cause on this day of service, and provide an opportunity for those in our school community to give back as well."

Over at Coolidge Elementary School, staff members participated in professional development workshops as well as wellness activities that included massage opportunities. And then the afternoon was devoted to packaging stickers, crayons, pencils, and coloring books in 175 gift bags that were delivered to Robert Wood Johnson Specialized Hospital in Mountainside. Coolidge staffers also decorated the gift bags and wrote inspirational messages to the patients.

(Clockwise from upper left) Eisenhower staff at Power Pony Therapies, Sicomac staff creating their “Welcome Mosaic,” Lincoln staff packing boxes of donated household goods, Coolidge staff with completed gift bags for pediatric patients, and Washington’s collaborative artwork.

Coolidge principal Rob Famularo says staff members donated the vast majority of the items that went into the bags. He also credits Lakeland Bank with a $400 donation that helped to pay for additional items.

At Sicomac, Principal Steve Raimo says professional development activities included the opportunity for staff to view Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and to reflect upon diversity in the school. Teachers worked together to create a “Welcome Mosaic” for the school’s entrance to represent the community. Sicomac’s staff members also had the opportunity to visit residents at the nearby Christian Health Care Center and to participate in the Lincoln School blood drive.

At Washington, Principal Scott Blake reports that a morning walk for staff members began a day of activities dedicated to health and wellness.  Discussions covered topics such as stress and pain management, meditation and mindfulness, and physical well-being. “In each case, practical tips were provided for incorporating these habits and practices into daily classroom life,” says Blake. The staff worked together on a collaborative artwork that reflected their creativity and imagination. Some Washington staffers also took time to provide service to the Emmanuel Cancer Center and the Tim Tebow Foundation.

At Eisenhower Middle School, professional development activities related to standards-based grading and wellness were part of a day that also included a road trip to Pony Power Therapies, a non-profit organization in Mahwah. More than 30 faculty accompanied Assistant Principal Chris Giordano to the farm, where they constructed wooden raised planting beds, groomed horses, and learned how they could become volunteers who guide horses that carry children with disabilities. Another two Eisenhower staff members volunteered their time at charities they found on their own.

Assistant Superintendent Grace White says the idea for a day of service came from the District’s administrators who saw Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an opportunity for teachers and other staff members to choose how they wanted to spend their time. “Everyone was so impressed and happy with the choices staff made,” says White. “It was an  amazing day of service.”

Posted by thomas.deloughry On 11 February, 2020 at 3:36 PM  

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