December 2016, Edition #24
A letter from Dr. Christopher Nagy, Superintendent of Schools
Dear BCIT Community,
We have had a very productive first half of the the school year. As we approach the end of the calendar year and the half way point of our academic school year, this is a great time to look at rebalancing our personal and professional goals, and for students, the ability to make extra efforts to do a little more or better before the end of the semester later in January 2017. As we look back and give gratitude for our blessings and opportunities, we also look toward the future and plan for a better tomorrow. I found the tool below by Joyce Oddison to be helpful to rebalance our respective interpersonal wellness systems while assisting with new goal setting for the New Year.
On behalf of the Board of Education, administration and staff, I wish our staff, students and community members a Happy Holiday Season and New Year full of opportunities, flourishing and engagement.
Dr. Christopher Nagy
Superintendent of Schools
Click HERE for Dr. Nagy's BCIT web page & blog
Happy Holidays from BCIT Westampton Principal Mr. Venuto
Dear BCIT Community,
Once again, as we prepare for the holidays, we have come to the time of year when our lives become more hectic than normal. However, it also becomes a time of sharing and celebrating moments with family members, reflecting on the year prior, and looking forward to what 2017 has to offer. I, like many, think about setting goals or as some call them, New Year’s resolutions. These intended achievements deal with many aspects of life--emotional, physical, professional and personal--and help us grow and mature as people who want to contribute to our society and lead fulfilling lives.
Here at BCIT, things are no different, as we set goals and objectives for our staff and students, we plow ahead and tackle the daily challenges before us, continually reflecting to improve while showcasing our many student successes.
From all of us at BCIT, we wish you a joyous holiday and a healthy, happy new year and hope that we all set achievable resolutions. Enjoy the season!
Mr. Joe Venuto
Principal, BCIT Westampton
'Tis the Season to Reflect and be Grateful, by Mr. Jason Frable
“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” is a well-known phrase in the Declaration of Independence. As human beings we have been given life and as citizens of the United States we have been given liberty; however, what is it about the pursuit of happiness? In a society that is riddled with more choices and opportunities to actively pursue this endeavor, it appears that many are less happy and yearning to find the “Holy Grail” of happiness. Our forefathers, with great insight, recognized the need for each of us to willfully blaze our own trail towards happiness. Unfortunately, for many, this path seems elusive. Somehow, we either end up at a dead end, or find ourselves desperately seeking something more to generate a better sense of well-being or happiness.
The field of positive psychology has been actively addressing this question for the past decade and been providing some very promising answers for those who seek a “happier” life. This season of festivitie often amplifies our opportunity to reflect on each of those things that seem to generate an increased sense of well-being and our overall feeling of happiness. Is it the new phone, iPad or TV? While potentially a Facebook or Instagram hit for a day, it is here and gone, with others eagerly awaiting the next engaging post. Is it the family and friends we have an opportunity to congregate with that summon the best in each of us? Is it the giving or receiving of gifts?
Many of these questions have been put to the test and research is emerging with some very interesting findings regarding happiness. Positive psychology can be easily confused with the idea of positive thinking. However, the primary difference between the two is that positive thinking emphasizes positivity in all situations (no matter what), whereas positive psychology offers people a variety of tools to increase success and their overall level of happiness. To clarify, positive thinking could be loosely termed as optimism, which has been shown to be very helpful for people in a variety of situations. However, experts in positive psychology also believe that there are times when a realistic or even negative view of a situation could be more helpful.
Here are some research results that have contributed to the field of positive psychology:
- Activities bring more happiness than possessions. A survey of 150 young adults showed that when asked to rate the happiness value of purchases they hoped would be pleasurable, experience-type purchases, such as trips or meals, outranked objects
- Being wealthy does not make you more likely to be happier than other people
- Grateful people are more likely to be healthy, helpful, and have a greater sense of well-being
- Seeing other people do good things makes us want to do good as well
'Tis the season to reflect with a fresh set of eyes and do away with the “bah, humbug” attitude. With the New Year lurking around the corner, it may make sense to commit to a resolution of generating more happiness in your life.
So, how can you nurture happiness using positive psychology? One of the more heavily researched areas has been on the topic of gratitude. How can you generate more gratitude in your life? Often, we fail to recognize the good things in our lives or limit our ability to savor activities that bring us a sense of joy. One recommendation for getting a taste of positivity and optimism is to consider the following at the end of each day: write down three good things that happened during the day and why they were good. With this small but profound practice, you will begin to think and feel differently. Guaranteed!
If interested in learning more about applied positive psychology, please refer to the following books: The How of Happiness (Penguin Press, 2007), Positivity (Crown, 2009), and Authentic Happiness (Free Press, 2004).
BCIT Board of Education Policies & Regulations
Click HERE for the 2016-17 Board of Education Meeting Notes. Please review and reference pertinent policies as applicable.
Board of Education policies and regulations online link:
BCIT Adult Education
Upcoming Career Exploration dates:
Save the Date! BCIT Winter Discovery Night
February 21, 2017
6 - 8 p.m.*
Westampton & Medford Campuses
Snow Date: Feb. 23, 2017
Click HERE for more information about our Winter 2017 Discovery Night
*Please Note: NEW Time
BCIT Students/Staff of the Month - November
9th – Sarah Bachand
10th – Thomas Troy
11th – Jacob Titus
12th – Lauren Guest
9th – Scot Soanes
10th – De Anna Alexander
11th – Emani Simeron
12th – Selim Cakir
Staff – Nicole Polizzi
Most Improved- Kalief Norman
Student-Athlete- Emmanuel Jeh
Meals for Mittens - December 6th, BCIT Westampton Campus
Thank you to everyone who attended and donated to Meals for Mittens on December 6th!
Huge thank you to Sodexo, the BCIT Westampton Culinary staff and students, and the Bible Club of BCIT Westampton for their volunteerism.
Donations of mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, socks and more will be donated to three Burlington County charities this holiday season.
Burlington County Times online photo gallery.
Virtual Classroom Project- Westampton to Uganda
Students from BCIT and Uganda communicated via letters, Google Hangout and videos. "My kids thought this was the coolest thing and it really helped bring a “face” to the effects of Imperialism in Africa" -Mrs. Breisacher
Burlington County Chamber of Commerce Meeting
BCIT Westampton hosted the Burlington County Regional Chamber of Commerce NonProfit Organization luncheon, featuring a presentation from Amy Gianficaro, Burlington County Times Community Affairs Director.
Thank you to our extraordinary Culinary students and staff for a delicious lunch and professional service. You make BCIT proud!
Dr. Conti visits Burlington County Middle Schools
In the News!
Who's Got Game?
Art on Display
Thank you to Mr. Haney's talented Computer Graphics & Advertising Art students!
Literacy on and off campus
Literacy is a lifelong gift. It doesn’t matter who gives you this gift or the environment in which you receive it. While it is most beneficial to receive this gift early in life, it is still life-changing regardless of when you receive it. Vince and Marie Phillips, both retired educators, recognize that having the ability to read and write proficiently opens many doors for people of all ages and backgrounds. They are passionate about working with young people from all backgrounds to promote a love of reading and the ability to express one’s thoughts and opinions in writing.
Former principal of Burlington Township High School, Marie is now the administrator of the Burlington County Professional Development Institute (BCPDI) and the Burlington County School Crisis Response Team (BCSCRT), two programs sponsored by the Educational Services Unit of BCSSSD. Vince founded the Burlington County Alternative High School in 1993, formerly hosted on the Pemberton campus of Burlington County College (now RCBC). After retiring, Vince began volunteering as a teacher at the Juvenile Detention Center in Pemberton. He was assigned to work with the students who needed more individualized attention due to their advanced or deficient skills. It was here where Vince met John (his name has been changed in this article to protect his privacy), who quickly distinguished himself as a bright, insightful young man with tremendous potential. Vince and Marie describe meeting him as life altering.
John was transferred to Burlington County Jail to await trial where he was going to be tried as an adult for his crime even though he was only 17. Vince and Marie received permission to visit him and soon met his infant daughter and the baby’s mother. John took full responsibility for his actions and pleaded guilty to his crime. John’s sentence hearing was four years later, during which Vince and Marie advocated for him. Due to the seriousness of the crime, John accepted there would be significant consequences for the choices he made; however, Vince and Marie advocated for consideration of his young age and the fact that John was a first time offender.
Vince and Marie continued to visit and correspond with John. Since he dropped out of school after his freshman year, they encouraged him to take advantage of every educational opportunity while incarcerated. While incarcerated, John developed a love of reading, and his writing skills improved tremendously due to the letter writing with the Phillips. Marie stated, “It’s never too late to instill a love of reading. John was not successful in school, but has now begun reading magazines cover to cover and all types of books. He thought he was stupid and had no faith in his abilities. Letter writing has now become his primary way to communicate because he doesn’t have access to a computer and email. He writes often and uses a dictionary and thesaurus when he reads the letters we send him! He is a sponge—he absorbs everything he reads.” To John’s credit, he has recently earned his GED and is scheduled to enroll in college level courses in the spring. This is especially impressive when you consider that he was reading at an elementary level when he dropped out of school.
Vince and Marie have been introduced to a totally different world since meeting John. Whenever they visited him at the Youth Correctional Facility, they observed the impact incarceration has on entire families and the hardships everyone related to the prisoner must endure. “There were so many young children there to visit their fathers or other family members but there was nothing to do while they waited for the inmates to be brought to the visiting room. We realized having books in the waiting area would give the kids something to do and encourage parents and children to read together.” Vince and Marie sought and received permission to donate a cart and children’s books to the visiting area and delighted in seeing children and parents reading to each other. This also brought to light another issue: there were a number of inmates who were deficient in their literacy skills, mostly from lack of exposure to reading materials. John stated “There aren’t a lot of books here but we are allowed time each week to visit the library in the facility.” Once again, Vince and Marie requested and received permission to donate reading materials to expand the facility’s library offerings. John is working with the other inmates in an effort to identify areas of interest to encourage reading for pleasure.
Marie stated, “Let’s not assume all inmates are throwaways – many want to be rehabilitated". She went on to explain, “We’re not trying to save the world or suggest that there shouldn’t be consequences for one’s actions. We just want people to realize that just because someone has been imprisoned, it doesn’t mean they are not human beings with potential. We need to look past the mug shot and see the person. John was a kid who made a bad decision. His life is forever altered because of it and he will never forgive himself for the pain he has brought to the families impacted by his actions. We are so proud of the way he has accepted responsibility and how hard he is working to change his life for the better.”
Interview by Laura Geltch
The Ellis Family Foundation awarded a $500 grant to BCIT Foundation to purchase giveaway items for the PRIDE program at both campuses. That grant brings to about $7,000 the total amount committed by the BCIT Foundation toward PRIDE expenses in calendar years 2016 and 2017. Purchases have included trophies to recognize staff and students on a monthly basis; gift cards handed out to reward student membership in PRIDE; and refreshments and entertainment for end-of-year events.
PRIDE stands for Personal Responsibility In Daily Effort, and it is a means by which BCIT recognizes the kinds of positive behaviors that contribute to positive academics. “Students look forward to the drawings during which we award $5 gift cards, water bottles and earbuds with BCIT’s logo,” according to the assistant principals that run PRIDE. “Furthermore, we are able to recognize staff members for their efforts.”
The heart of the Ellis Family Foundation are the owners of Calkins Media, publishers of the Burlington County Times and other newspapers. The Ellis Family Foundation awards grants each year to organizations that are making positive impacts in residents or workers in Burlington County.
Director, BCIT Foundation
609-267-4226, ext. 8335
BCIT Foundation supports students and staff with education-based technology and post-secondary scholarships. Join the cause at www.bcit.cc/foundation.
BCIT Medford Academy for Performing Arts presents
2016-17 BCIT Upcoming Events
Vocal & Instrumental Music Concert - Medford Campus
Jan. 10, 7 p.m.
National CTE Month
National Honor Society Induction - Westampton Campus
Feb. 7, 6:30 p.m.
Discovery Night - both campuses
Feb. 21, 2017 6 - 8 p.m. (snow date: 2/23/17)
Spring Program Advisory Board Meeting - Westampton Campus
Apr. 6, 5:30 - 8 p.m.
BCIT Medford Spring Musical: Singing in the Rain - Medford Campus
Mar. 31, April 1, 7 & 8, 7 p.m.
Vocal & Instrumental Music Concert - Medford Campus
May 11, 7 p.m.
Dance Concert - Medford Campus
May 24 & 25, 7 p.m.
BCIT Accepted Student Day - Westampton
Jun. 6, 6:30 - 8 p.m.
BCIT Accepted Student Day - Medford
Jun. 8, 6:30 - 8 p.m.
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Complimentary Info Session: BCAS Campus, Mt. Laurel
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2ndFloor.org Youth Helpline
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Employee Data Change Form: EMPLOYEE DATA CHANGE FORM 12.2.14 EDCF.pdf
Note: Staff are required to submit a signed EDCF when requesting changes to their personnel profile.
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