February 2021 Message

From Your Vernon Township High School Administrative Team

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As We Move into February 2021...

We wanted to thank you once again for your continued cooperation this year. Although the school year continues to be replete with challenges, we sincerely appreciate your support and cooperation as you work diligently to support your children's education as Exclusively Virtual students or Hybrid students on the Blue or Gold teams.

As most of you are already aware, Mrs. Jacquelyn Van Orden is currently serving as the interim principal at Lounsberry Hollow Middle School. She will remain in that role for the next few weeks until the return of Mr. Dennis Mudrick. During her absence from the high school, Mrs. Van Orden continues to be available via email at jvanorden@vtsd.com. However, we will be happy to assist the students, parents, and guardians of our 9th and 10th graders if you need our help.

We concluded the second marking period on Thursday, January 28th, and have entered the third marking period for the 2020-2021 school year. Report cards and posted grades will open on the Genesis Parent Portal at 4:00 pm on Monday, February 8, 2021. Please be aware that no grade lower than a 55% will be recorded for the second marking period. Although some students may have earned grades that are lower than a 55%, we want to make every effort to provide all of our students with the opportunity to pass each of their courses this year and to earn the credits aligned for each course.

We want to reiterate that VTHS will be following the new Exclusively Virtual schedule through February 10th due to positive COVID cases reported at the high school. While we are all working virtually, the VTHS school day begins at 9:00 am and concludes at 2:00 pm. It is imperative that all students make themselves available for "live" instruction at the start of each period, as attendance will be taken and recorded in Genesis and will count as a "participation" grade. We look forward to welcoming the students from the Gold Team back to school on Thursday, February 11, 2021.

As always, if you have questions and/or concerns about your child's educational experience, please reach out to your child's teacher first. The teacher is the best one to assist you with questions about specific classes, assignments, and assessments. We truly believe that when the home and school work collaboratively, students receive a quality education. Thank you for being our Partners in Education!


Pauline F. Anderson, Ed. D., Principal; panderson@vtsd.com

Nicholas M. Demsak, Assistant Principal; ndemsak@vtsd.com

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Congratulations, Dr. Schoepp!

The creation of a new model for teacher professional development...

Joining forces with stakeholders to integrate and institutionalize global collaborative education across the entire curriculum of a K-12 school district in Sealy, Texas...

Meeting with US senators and representatives concerning the state of STEM education in the nation...

Incorporating international science research projects into classroom activities...

Collaborating with international educators to improve STEM education in the classroom. Founding WISE–a mentorship program supporting Women in STEM Education...

Then finally, the creation and defense of a two-hundred- and ninety-nine-page dissertation...

This is only a glimpse of what it took for high school science teacher Hollyce Schoepp to be able to add the letters Ph.D. after her name. However, it was not the desire to be called “doctor” that inspired Dr. Schoepp to pursue an advanced degree in Curriculum and Instruction of STEM Education. Rather, it was her passion for learning, a reverence for the power of education, and a love for her students.

A Governor’s Teacher Award winner, Dr. Schoepp has taught in Vernon’s high school science department for 20 years. During that time, she has been afforded the opportunity to work with many outstanding educators and students alike. She has escorted VTHS science students to Costa Rica to experience first-hand the magic and diversity of a unique ecosystem. She has chaperoned trips to New York’s Natural History Museum to help students get connected to the wonders of science and has taken students on the Mystic Whaler–a boat used to educate students in the ecology of the Hudson River. Maintaining a mission to support and promote young women’s involvement in STEM, Dr. Schoepp has taken female students to SCCC's Women in STEM Career Day, as well as been accepted to bring a group of students to Princeton University’s Young Women’s Conference in STEM.

What’s next for the new doctor? Only time will tell–but one thing is for sure–it will involve science, education, innovation, and VTHS students!

Congratulations, Dr. Schoepp!

We are so proud that you are part of the VTHS educational team!

Pictured below is Dr. Schoepp with one of her science classes

as Avatar comic book characters:

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We would like to congratulate Melissa Hammel, who has been awarded the "Strengthen" Scholarship from the College Board Opportunity Scholarship program. Melissa will be able to apply her scholarship to tuition, fees, books, and/or other relevant undergraduate educational expenses at a two- or four-year institution! Congratulations, Melissa!

The following information might be helpful for any parents/guardians or students who might be looking into applying for this scholarship in the future:

Millions in Scholarships, Thousands of $500 Winners

The College Board Opportunity Scholarships offer nearly $5 million in scholarships each year as a way to reward you for your efforts to plan and pay for college. The program is currently open to the class of 2021 and 2022.

You can begin the process of applying for College Board Opportunity Scholarships as a Junior and a Senior at VTHS. For details pertaining to these scholarship opportunities, please follow the link at: https://opportunity.collegeboard.org/.

For questions regarding these scholarships, please contact collegeboard.org at https://collegeboard.tfaforms.net/70

Please be sure to have your children check with their school counselors about other scholarship opportunities!

NJ Governor’s School in the Sciences

Earlier this month, two VTHS juniors were nominated for this summer’s Governor’s Schools. Brianna Van Orden was selected as the nominee for the Governor’s School of Science, which will be held at Drew University; Cristian Vintimilla was selected as the nominee for the Governor’s School of Engineering & Technology, which will be held at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. This highly competitive and rigorous application process accepts only 25% of the over 400 applicants from all qualifying NJ high schools.

During this three-week residential program, students take several college courses, partake in workshops, go on corporate site visits, and connect with professors and field professionals all while experiencing life on a college campus. This is an incredible opportunity for our young people to work alongside other academically gifted students as they engage in intense research and coursework under the tutelage of college professors and the mentorship of highly regarded college students in these fields.

We’re so proud of our nominees and hope they will be chosen for these incredible opportunities! Good luck to Brianna and Cristian as they anxiously await the outcome of their hard work applying to these prestigious programs!

VTHS Student appointed to vernon township's greenway action advisory committee

Congratulations to Miss Brianna Van Orden, who has been nominated by a faculty member to serve as a student representative for the Vernon Township Council's Greenway Action Advisory Committee! This special ad hoc committee was established in 2016 for the purpose of advising the mayor on matters related to sustainability, passive recreation, and general economics within Vernon Township. This year, Mayor Howard L. Burrell has decided to make an additional appointment to this committee to include a VTHS student. We are sure that Brianna will represent Vernon Township and Vernon Township High School in a most professional manner!

what's happening at vths?

Virtual Academic Decathlon Team Competes

Our Academic Decathlon team competed on January 29th and 30th; they won't have results for about a week, which will be shared in an additional correspondence. This year, nearly 30 students came out for the team this year. During last weekend's competition, they had 18 competitors (9 starters and 9 alternates). Mr. Marc Bray and Mr. Thom LoGiudice would like to thank Ray Loughren, Stella Foco, Kara Puco, Martin Pirrenger, and Rebecca Stokem (alumni) for their help volunteering to make the competition happen this weekend.

This weekend's competitors included: Mia Annunziata, James Burke, Lindsay Burke, Morgan Burke, Shannon Burke, Kaitlyn Buurman, Julia Contino, Alexa Frain, Reagan Hamilton, Karolina Jamiolkowska, Ethan Lubeck, Dylan Mann, Jacob Mann, Alexander McCann, Emma McKeon, Wesley Sanders, Vjosa Ukella and Liam Young.

We'll share the results as soon as they're in! Good Luck, VTHS!

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NAWJ "Color of Justice" program

The National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) is the leading voice in the United States of America for jurists dedicated to preserving judicial independence, ensuring equal justice and access to the courts. Throughout our country, educational outreach programs are sponsored by NAWJ for the purpose of joining together judges, lawyers, and students to discuss the pursuit of careers in law and the judicial system. The New Jersey District of the NAWJ sponsors "Color of Justice" (COJ) programs as major outreach opportunities for students desiring to pursue a career in the legal profession.

On Saturday, April 17, 2021, 18 VTHS students will participate in a virtual program with distinguished panelists presenting on topics such as Superstar Leaders in the Law, Careers in the Law, Pathways to the Law. One of our Associate Justices of the New Jersey Supreme Court is invited to be the keynote speaker. These students have demonstrated an interest in various aspects of the law and have volunteered to participate in the program. We are excited to hear what Benjamin Alfieri, Ryan Dunbar, Daniel Gleason, Nicholas Gomes, Skye Ivancich, Karolina Jamiolkowska, Raymond Kerrison, Derek Koch, Madison Krasnomowitz, Taylor Quimby, Wesley Sanders, Shane Saulnier, Rylee Smaldone, Sofia Staley, Vanessa Stevenson, Julia Todd, Alyssa VanDalinda and Vjosa Ukella learn at this NAWJ-NJ COJ program.

Many thanks to our faculty members for inviting student participants and to our student volunteers who will be representing VTHS as residents of Sussex County, NJ.

Mr. Labar's Students Replicate the Artwork of Mr. Phil Weyman from the UK!

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2021 CTE Logo Contest

Mr. Jim Labar has shared some of his talented students' submissions to the NJ DOE's 2021 CTE Logo Contest--which can been seen seen below. We are hoping for a VTHS winner this year! Click on this link for further information about the contest.

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Famous Artwork Photography Recreation

Mr. David Blauvelt recently shared a project that his Photography I students completed while learning virtually. It's called the Famous Artwork Photography Recreation, and the objective of the assignment was to select a photograph of a well-known artwork, paying special attention to the composition, and create their own version through photographs. Students were challenged to use people, props, and pets they had around the house while quarantined. The results are playful (and often comical) recreations.

This project was inspired by a social media challenge the Rijksmuseum created for social distancing art lovers who were unable to attend museums and view artwork during the lockdown. Here's the link to the Instagram account that compiles all the submissions from the challenge.

Some of the submissions from our talented VTHS artists are shared below:

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Unified PE Class Enjoys Some Socially Distanced Activities!

Mr. Adam Coleman shared that his Unified PE class recently enjoyed a friendly game of cornhole in class. All students have enjoyed working with each other this year, as Unified PE is a new class offering in the PE Department that focuses on inclusion, togetherness, teamwork and cooperation.

Pictured below are two of his students David Vogel (on the left) and Billy Frank (on the right).

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DeLuccio of Vernon NJ performs at Biden inauguration

Mr. Max Taylor shared the following information with us: Vernon Township HS Band alumnus Joseph DeLuccio performed at his 4th Presidential Inauguration with "The President's Own" United States Marine Band on January 20, 2021. We are Vernon Proud!

Bridge Year Information for the Class of 2021

Governor Murphy signed into law P.L. 2020 c. 41 establishing the Bridge Year Pilot Program (Bridge Year). Under the Bridge Year, certain students in the classes of 2021 or 2022 who have met all their state and local graduation requirements may defer graduation from high school for one year to participate in an additional year of academic courses and extracurricular spring activities immediately following their senior year. This additional year will be known as the “bridge year.”

To be eligible to participate in Bridge Year, a student must:

  • Be in the graduating classes of 2021 or 2022. (Students in the class of 2022 will receive this information next year).
  • Meet all applicable high school graduation requirements by the end of their senior year of high school.
  • Be 19 years old or younger during the entirety of the bridge year; a student who would turn 20 years old before the end of their bridge year is not eligible to participate. This requirement has one exception: A student with disabilities is eligible to participate if the student will turn 20 years old during the bridge year due to services provided under the student’s IEP.
  • Take between nine and 12 credits at the host high school, county college in the county in which the host high school is located, or a combination thereof for the fall semester.
  • Take between nine and 12 credits at the county college in the county in which the host high school is located for the spring semester.
  • Maintain a grade point average of 2.0 during the bridge year.
  • Notify their host high school’s Bridge Year liaison (Kristin Gudenkauf) of their intent to participate by February 15 of their senior year.

For more information, please see the information provided by the Department of Education: LINK

If your child is interested in participating in the Bridge Year, please email kgudenkauf@vtsd.com by February 15, 2021.

VTHS Virtual Schedule - in Effect through February 10th

These newly revised times allow time for 2-minute "passing" between classes and a 60-minute break halfway through the virtual school day!

Students' Virtual Learning Attendance Protocols

This document delineates how student attendance will be recorded during virtual learning.

The 5 Step Process for Ordering Meals for All VTSD Students:

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Primary Contact Information for Genesis

If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to update your contact information, so we can update our records. During these uncertain times, we want to be able to contact you immediately in case of an emergency. Thank you for your help!

Spring '21 Concurrent Courses through SCCC

Vernon Township High School offers numerous spring concurrent courses through Sussex County Community College. Concurrent enrollment is a partnership between Vernon Township School District and SCCC which provides students with the opportunity to earn high school and college credit.

Students are responsible for enrolling in the course and payment of tuition by the respective enrollment deadline should they elect to receive college credit for the course(s). Credits earned are not guaranteed to be transferred to all colleges/universities. It is the student’s responsibility to check if the credits will transfer to the college/university they will be attending.

Please click on the link to see the list of spring concurrent courses that are offered at Vernon Township High School through SCCC. LINK Registration is open until Monday, February 8th.

Here are the steps to pay online:

  1. Go to Sussex.edu
  2. Click Paying for College
  3. Click Making a Payment Online
  4. Log in With Student ID and Portal Password
  5. Click Make Payment

If you or your child should have additional questions regarding concurrent courses, please contact your child’s teacher or counselor.

Upcoming Virtual College Fairs

You can attend free, virtual college fairs hosted by the National Association for College Admission Counseling on February 28th from 1:00 - 7:00 pm. On March 7th, there will be a STEM Fair from 1:00 - 5:00 pm and a Performing and Visual Arts Fair on March 16th from 4:00 - 8:00 pm.

These events feature various colleges and universities, and they will be online to talk with high school seniors and juniors. For additional information and registration details, please click the link below:

February Student Mindfulness Sessions Announced!

Mindfulness is a practice of training the mind to pay attention to whatever comes up in the present moment. In our society, children are often asked to, “pay attention”, “calm down”, “be kind”, and/or “be grateful”; yet, they’re not exactly taught how to do this. Mindfulness and Mindful Movement can change the neuropathways of our brain allowing us the space to be responsive instead of reactive when in a triggered situation. This is a way to help children and teens learn self-regulation, how to change their mindset from one of un-comfortability and disease to a place of control and being centered.

As a reminder, Mr. Brian Thomasberger will be holding a virtual mindfulness session for all Vernon Township High School students on Feb. 10th, and Feb. 24th from 2:45 - 3:30 pm. If you are interested in attending, please join using the meeting link, ID, and passcode listed below.

Link for Feb. 10th @ 2:45 - 3:30 pm Meeting ID: 853 3941 2202 Passcode: 299342

Link for Feb. 24th @ 2:45 - 3:30 pm Meeting ID: 875 7222 9883 Passcode: 469384

We hope you can join us!

We can all use some mindfulness these days!

Vernon Township High School Clubs and Organizations

It's important to get involved! Please take some a moment to review the numerous afterschool activities available at VTHS for every student! If you have specific questions, please email the adviser(s) listed for that particular club or organization!

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Key Club Update

The Key Club recently had 76 members via Zoom for its monthly meeting. On the agenda, Random Acts of Kindness and the Food/Pet collections were discussed. Once again, the collections have been extended to Feb 12th. Please consider helping our Key Club members with this worthwhile endeavor!

Robotics Team Hard at Work--Virtually, that is!

Our Robotics team has been busy meeting virtually all month, the competition season started with 3 new tasks and Team 1989 has been collaborating after school and on weekends to review the rule book and develop their ideas. They also continue to work on their Community Outreach Robot, in addition to learning a new coding system. Keep up the great work, Robotics!

Virtual Student Summit hosted by Montville Township High School

On January 4, Mrs. Riegler and the Student Council officers participated in a Virtual Student Summit hosted by Montville High School. Last year, the event was hosted in-person at Morris Knolls. This year due to COVID, the event was virtual. During this virtual event, student advisors and leaders had a chance to meet and discuss how each school was navigating through the current school year, as well as what their school spirit and events were like prior to COVID.

During the Summit, students and advisors were randomly divided into groups and delegated to Breakout Rooms. It was a good chance for everyone to share. Some school representatives shared that they have never been in person at all this school year, so all the events they plan are completely virtual. They expressed that they do not get much participation. As far as a normal school year, we were the only school that had implemented 3 pep rallies during the school year. Montville had implemented a winter pep rally for the first time last year. We also discussed what it was like to have an outdoor pep rally. Many liked that idea and wanted to bring that back to their schools.

Overall, Mrs. Kristy Riegler shared that it provided a nice opportunity to talk to other students and advisors and hear that they are experiencing much of the same issues that we are experiencing. All schools mentioned that it was difficult to do any of the fun activities that we would normally do due to COVID restrictions and are just trying to do anything, even if it is minimal, to try to keep students interested.

VTHS Fall Drama Update

Due to numerous delays this year, the Fall Drama will be filmed in February and will hopefully be available for a purchasable stream in the end of February/early March. Stay tuned for further details!

VTHS spring musical Auditions announced!

Despite this year being a bit of a "horror", the production team has put BLOOD, sweat, and tears into making a musical "grow". They are thrilled to announce that the 2021 Vernon Township High School Spring Musical will be Little Shop of Horrors. Auditions will be held virtually on Thursday, February 4th. Please contact Mrs. McAloney at lmcaloney@vtsd.com with any questions. #audrey2(021) #vthslittleshop #vthstheatre

Mrs. Lindsay McAloney and her team are planning in-person performances with socially-distanced audiences on March 25, 26, and 27, 2021; there will also be a purchasable stream available in early April.

VTHS Honor Societies Information

Please take a moment to review the Honor Society information for Vernon Township High School. There are numerous opportunities to celebrate our high achieving students!


Review the information on the flyer below:

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We've Been Asked to Share this Information with You:

2021 New Jersey Teen Media Contest seeks entries!

For the 26th year, the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) is proud to sponsor the New Jersey Teen Media Contest. For 2021, the contest will once again accept entries in the hand-drawn/hand-painted artwork and written word categories.

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In closing...

As we enter a new calendar year--and continue with the 2020-2021 school year--we are honored to continue our work with you and your children. If there is anything we can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Wishing you all the best,

The Faculty and Staff of VTHS