Principal's Newsletter

February 2016

The first semester has concluded and although we are in the midst of winter, the winter season has been relatively kind to Vernon Township High School. I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who contribute to the quality education our students receive at Vernon Township High School. Special thanks goes to the efforts of our outstanding faculty, guidance counselors, technology coaches, aides, secretaries, custodians, maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, supervisors, assistant principals and parents, who all work as part of team to provide our students with a quality education that will prepare them for college or a career. Everyone knows it takes a community to educate a child. The people I have listed are all part of our VTHS community.

Everyone I have mentioned plays an integral part in the education of the students at VTHS. It is collaborative approach and part of working well on a team that brings about the success of our students. At VTHS we understand that personal issues and personal differences are secondary to what the needs of our students are. Our collaborative approach demands that ALL students be provided with an opportunity to be successful while they are attending VTHS, and when they graduate from VTHS.


Currently we are scheduling students for classes for the 2016-17 school year. The Program of Studies, which contains our course offerings continues to be reviewed and revised to accommodate the needs of all of our students. Recommendations for courses are made based on teacher recommendations, intellectual ability and proven ability.


Computer Science courses are subjects that being infused into our Program of Studies. On January 14, 2016 President Obama declared this year, the year for Computer Science. So as our Program of Studies evolves you will undoubtedly see more and more course offerings that have computer science education infused. Mr. DiBenedetto, our Superintendent of Schools, Dr. McKay, our Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, our supervisors, faculty and technology coaches continue to work feverishly to find ways to make computer education more accessible to our students. Currently, access points are being installed throughout the building at VTHS to allow for more technology infused education.

The Every Student Succeeds Act that President Obama signed into law now recognizes Computer Science as a core subject, which means it as necessary to learn Computer Science as Reading, Writing, Science, Math and Social Studies. VTHS continues to infuse Computer Science Education into our curriculums so that our students continue to strengthen their computer skills and competiveness for current and future job markets.

Compared to other core subjects, Computer Science is relatively new, but it is gaining a lot of momentum as curriculums continue to develop. The word is out about all of the interesting careers related to computer science and that is why Dr. McKay has developed Coding Clubs from the sixth grade through the twelfth grade. At VTHS, new initiatives toward the design of computer science infused curriculums continue to evolve and will continue to evolve as this new core subject continues to gain momentum. Emily Grad, Edhesive CEO is quoted as saying, “I’m fired up for 2016! With all of the momentum behind Computer Science Education, from the White House on down, it has reached the tipping point!” Get ready and stay tuned!

Midterms are complete and second marking period has come to a close. Parents should know that the midterms have no bearing on the second marking period grade unless it is a semester class. If it is a semester course the midterm serves as a final for that course and is 10% of the final grade. In regards to a full year course, the midterm is 10% of the final grade, and the final, which will be administered in June is 10% of the final grade.

Beginning on April 11th, VTHS will be administering the PARCC once again. All students in grades 9-11 must take the PARCC in order to meet requirements for graduation. How can you prepare your sons and daughters for the PARCC? Find out what subjects they will be tested on. The format can be found on line, and practice tests are on line with information of how long the test will be. Find samples and take practice tests. Get plenty of sleep and eat right.

Good attendance is a must! Students cannot learn the material if they are not there, so please impress on your sons and daughters the importance of good attendance. The state deems any student who accumulates more than 17 absences in a school year to be chronically absent and they may lose credit in that course due to excessive absences. It should also be noted that the only absences that are considered excused according to the state report card are absences due to religious holydays, or administrative suspensions. No other absence is considered excused according the state report card. Please refer to the student parent handbook on the VTHS website for more information regarding our attendance policy.

From the Guidance Office


The School Counseling Office has been busy making presentations to VTHS freshmen, sophomores, and juniors for the purposes of course scheduling for the 2016-2017 school year. This includes highlighting the requirements for high school graduation and the many elective offerings contained in the Program of Studies. Creating a balanced master schedule based upon student course requests is a detailed process that the Counseling Office will look to tackle within the coming months.

VTHS School Counselors are also working diligently with our senior students, who are either preparing to commit to colleges as they continue their post-secondary academic careers or exploring career opportunities directly out of high school. This is an important component of a school counselor’s role, as they advise seniors in accordance with their future goals and aspirations.

Mr. Drew Krause

Supervisor of Student Services

From the English Department


2015 Graduate of VTHS and English Award recipient Violet Reed is currently attending Seton Hall University as an English Education and Philosophy major in the Honors College. In addition to her vigorous course load, Violet writes weekly articles for the online forum The Odyssey. Violet said, “It’s my goal to write about meaningful topics that can truly make a difference. Too much of what’s out there [on the internet] is nonsensical fluff.”

Over the past five months, Violet has written articles on a myriad of topics ranging from: “When Music and Literature Collide” to “The Masculinity Crisis and Gender Equality.” In her article “Vernon, N.J.: The Place I’d Never Thought I’d Miss,” Violet discusses the impact that growing up in Vernon had on her life. She stated, “Vernon is where we forged our identities, made our best friends and memories, and where the things we love most reside.” Violet used her article to capture the beauty of Vernon, and describe how it “has the most breathtaking sunsets I have ever seen…vibrant purples, bright pinks, and fiery oranges stretching as far as the eye can see that makes everyone stop to admire it.” In the process of this homage to small town America, she also express the opportunities to learn and grow afforded her by the faculty at VTHS.


She also addresses the common complaint of Vernonites, stating, “A popular phrase among Vernon's youth is that ‘there is literally nothing to do here.’” She rebuts these Vernon naysayers by accounting for the beauty Vernon possesses, as well as the traditions we hold onto, from Dunkin’ Donuts as the local “watering hole,” and Taylor ham, egg, and cheese as the superior breakfast.

A lifelong resident of Cliffwood Lake, she writes about the value of growing up in a tight-knit lake community and spending summers with her family and friends in the sand and sun, and winters skating on the ice once it froze over.

Violet has certainly taking the foundation of writing she obtained at VTHS to the next level. She continues to write articles and values our feedback. Violet received compensation based on the volume of readership each article receives, so help to support one of our true success stories by visiting the link below and sharing her articles with as many people as you can.

https://theodysseyonline.com/author/violetreed

Karen Stoeckel

Supervisor of Language Arts

Vernon Township Public Schools

From the Health and Physical Education Department

Ninth grade Health Education students finished up the marking period by presenting their research papers to their classmates. Utilizing the Computer Lab at VTHS, students created Google Slides to reinforce the information that was presented.

Ninth grade Physical Education classes completed the marking period with a dance unit. On the last day of the unit, the students had the opportunity to create and share their own dances. Third marking period activities will consist of volleyball, basketball, paddleball and fitness.

Sophomore students in Driver Education concluded the course by completing the NJ State Written Examination. Students who passed the exam with a score of 80 % and are 16 are now eligible for a Learner’s Permit and behind the wheel training.

Junior level Nutrition and Fitness students have been working on their power point presentations. Topics included Child and Adolescent Obesity, Diabetes, Fitness and Sport Nutrition, Dietary Guidelines, Foods You May Want to Avoid, Allergies and Food Sensitivities.

Junior level Physical Education students finished the marking period with their dance unit. The students learned the Waltz, Cha-Cha and Salsa.

Adaptive Physical Education students focused on learning spatial awareness activities that included dance and aerobics.

Eleventh grade Family Life students have completed the Teen Pregnancy Project and reviewed the Reproductive System. Students also learned the potential risks of Sexually Transmitted Infections and how these infections have the potential to damage the reproductive system.

Regular Physical Education classes rotated activities on a two week cycle. This is something the department is trying with the goal of getting the students more involved in numerous activities. The students were able to participate in various activities which included dance, badminton, volleyball, pickle ball, fitness, basketball, floor hockey and Project Adventure games. Our new dance unit has been well received with students getting a taste of modern, classical, world and ballroom dances. Senior students were very receptive to the Ballroom dance unit as they realize they will be dancing a bit slower in the next few years. A number of students commented that they are now ready for the prom and also feel comfortable dancing a ballroom dance with mom or dad.

Senior level First Aid students finished the marking period with CPR, and AED training. The students also created their own Public Service Announcements on the benefits of learning first aid and the practical application of First Aid. Senior Advanced Physical Education classes completed their Personal Weight Training Programs. The students also completed their CPR lifesaving skills.

Mr. Bill Edelman

Supervisor of Health & Physical Education

Director of Athletics

From the Math Department


Currently Vernon Township High School is in first place in the county after three Mathematics League contests. The function and purpose of the Mathematics League is to give students an educationally enriching opportunity to participate in an academically-oriented activity and to gain recognition for mathematical achievement. Each of the six Mathematics League contests covers topics appropriate to a variety of difficulty ranges and involve topics of interest to above-average students. The key is to encourage students to enjoy a challenge and to learn from it also and to find problem-solving discussions stimulating. The enrichment Mathematics League provides a positive experience for students. Currently after two school competitions our school leaders are:

Contest #3 Leaders

Alex Gaura

Jacob Gehrig, Sean Gleason, Andrew Lisa

Michael Martis, Will Schiesswahl

Daniel McKeon, Lindsay Verrico

Overall Leaders

Alexander Gaura

Jacob Gehrig

Ethan Kolonoski

9th Grade 10th Grade

Daniel McKeon Sam Wolthoff

Maxim Yacun Ana Oyola

Andrew Lisa Alyssa Koehler

Sam Dupont

Peter Fetz

11th Grade 12th Grade

Ethan Kolonoski Alexander Gaura

Samantha Annuziata Jacob Gehrig

Joanna Horn Lindsay Verrico

Andy Kafel

Chris Ploch

Dylan Scheidle

The mathematics department would like to congratulate Daniel McKeon for being selected as the mathematics student of the month for November. Daniel is a freshman currently earning an ‘A’ in both Algebra 2/Trigonometry honors and Geometry honors. His diligent work ethic has produced positive results as he is earning an ‘A’ in all of his classes this year. The student chosen for December/January was Kiersten DeCanio. Currently she is in Algebra II. Due to her disciplined work ethic, high test scores and drive to help other students in her class she has won the honor for December and January. Congratulations to Daniel and Kiersten. We wish you continued success for the remainder of the school year.

Students enrolled in Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II will be taking the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC assessments, beginning in April of this year. Information regarding the test can be found at http://parcc.pearson.com/. High school teachers will be taking their classes to computer rooms to familiarize students with data entry for the new tests, and have students take a sample test prior to taking the actual PARCC in April. Several sample assessments can be found at http://parcc.pearson.com/practice-tests/. Details on the dates and times the tests are administered at the high school will be released soon.

There are more opportunities to take math classes and math electives next year because students will have a nine period day with an additional class. Some reimagined math electives next year will include: a full year Probability and Statistics CP class, a new AP Computer Science Principles PLTW course, and two semester courses in Web Design and Computer Gaming.

Students have begun to schedule classes for next year. Math teachers have submitted their recommendations for the classes that students should be taking next year. Please work closely with these recommendations and guidance counselors when making selections for math classes. We would like to challenge students while creating the best opportunity for success in their math classes.

Mr. Russell Rogers

Supervisor of Math Department

From the Fine Performing & Practical Arts Department


COMING EVENTS: VTHS Pops Concert: February 11 at 7:30 pm.

COMING EVENTS: Check out the Faculty Talent Show on February 25 featuring the talents of K-12 teachers, administrators, and staff members and enjoy a meal courtesy of our talented student chefs!

On January 21, the BOE approved five new CTE programs: 1) Logistics and Distribution, 2) Computer Design and Graphics, 3) Computer Engineering, Programming, and IT, 4) Pre-Medical/Health Care Studies, and 5) Resort, Recreation, Hospitality, and Tourism. These programs will all help gear students towards college and career pathways by offering internships and college credit opportunities.

Congratulations to the DECA students who participated at the Regional Competition at Ramapo College on January 6. Dozens of students have already qualified for the State Competition coming up in February

The NJ Panasonic Design Competition preliminary trials are on February 3. Good luck to Mr. Bruno and his students at RIT.

Congratulations to Mr. Ciaburri and the VTHS Robotics Team #1989 for their performance at the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology competition on January 9 at NJIT. This marks the beginning of their competitive season.

Kudos to Mr. Boehm, Ms. Krott, and Mr. Taylor along with the recent inductees of the Tri-M Music Honors Society. Seven new inductees joined the society at the January 20th ceremony.

Congrats to Jon Bruno for making a partnership with Thor Labs. Thor Labs donated $5,000 to the Engineering program and has vowed to help support the students and classes.

On January 6, The Thespian Troup #3981 presented an original work at the 8th Grade Parent Night entitled "What H.S. is Really Like." It received rave reviews!

Congratulations to the Art students who will have their work displayed at the Mt. Olive Art Show on February 2 and the William Paterson University's "Power Art Center" Exhibit.

Mr. Joseph Piccirillo

Supervisor Performing, Practical & Visual Arts

From the Science Department


This spring 30 Vernon Township High School chemistry students will participate in the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad. This program is a multi-tiered competition that promotes excellence in high school chemistry. Students will take a two hour exam that will be administered at the High School. The event is sponsored by the American Chemical Society with the goal of motivating students to learn Chemistry and recognize high-level academic work.

Next year the Science Department will offer two new Project Lead the Way STEM based classes:

Environmental Sustainability

In ES, students investigate and design solutions in response to real-world challenges related to clean and abundant drinking water, food supply issues, and renewable energy. Applying their knowledge through hands-on activities and simulations, students’ research and design potential solutions to these true-to-life challenges.

Principles of Biomedical Science

In this introductory course of the PLTW Biomedical Science program, students explore concepts of biology and medicine to determine factors that led to the death of a fictional person. While investigating the case, students examine autopsy reports, investigate medical history, and explore medical treatments that might have prolonged the person’s life. The activities and projects introduce students to human physiology, basic biology, medicine, and research processes while allowing them to design their own experiments to solve problems.

Mr. Daniel Osenni

Supervisor of Science Department

From the Social Studies Department


Mr. LaBouseur led the Vernon Mock Trial Team in its 1st Round competition against Hopatcong High School at the Sussex County Court House. The Team’s 2nd Round competition was against Kittatinny High School. Mr. Falkowski and Mr. Trokan have been preparing the Vernon Model UN Team for its upcoming 2-day competition in March at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City. Mr. Della Torre and Mr. Trokan attended the Model Congress meeting at Congressman Scott Garrett’s Glen Rock, NJ office in order to prepare the Team for its competition at Ridgewood High School in May. Mr. Tintle, Ms. Cleary, Ms. Luzzi, and Mr. Della Torre participated in the 8th Grade Parent Night held at the high school in order to help prepare parents of 8th grade students with what to expect when their sons/daughters enter the high school in September. Mr. Chorney is putting together a recognition ceremony for his Psychology students that earn an “A” for the course. He is also preparing his Sociology students that want to take this course with concurrent credit through Seton Hall University.

Mr. Phillip Tintle

Supervisor of Social Studies Department

From the Special Services Department


The Special Education Science Department will be offering a new course next year: Science for Life. Topics will include but are not limited to: Measurement, Nutrition, Weather, Landscaping and Horticulture. In this program, students will be introduced to various topics that will guide them in using science in everyday life. Emphasis will be placed on hands on application of concepts. The students will be working on designing and implementing a garden at the High School as well as learning to plan and prepare healthy meals. The ultimate goal will be to begin plants as seedlings and see them through to harvesting and then use them in preparing a meal. They will work on designing gardens and landscapes that are pleasing to the eye as well as being good for the environment. It is the goal of the course to help students see how science is present in everyday life and understand they effect the environment as well as how the environment affects them. This will be an additional course for students to further their knowledge of the world around them.

The Principles of Chemistry and Physics class is finishing up their Chemistry portion of the year. They spent the first half of the year learning about everything from atoms to chemicals reactions. One of the favorite parts so far was when the students learned about physical and chemical changes by making homemade pretzels. Just before winter break they made ice cream to demonstrate phase changes and physical changes. Up next is physics which will send them rolling down the halls on scooters and building cardboard cars that hopefully will help an egg survive a crash test.

The students enrolled in Geo Science this year have been enjoying many different new types of labs, with the implementation of the new Next Generation Science Standards. This new progressive approach will afford the students countless opportunities to explore all levels of science as a means of integrating a three dimensional practice in their studies. Throughout the curriculum students will be using both science and engineering practices when conducting experiments, much like the ones used in creating Polymers.

Cheryl VonSalzen

Supervisor of Special Services

From the World Language Department


The members of the department held a “Carnevale, Mardi Gras” celebration led by Ms. Simmons. Students engaged in several activities throughout the day and learned about the customs of another country. Working with Life Skills teacher, Mrs. Tracy Powell, Ms. Simmons had students in the World Language Survey class create Advent Calendars.

Mr. Turner is continuing to pursue a N.J. Supervisor’s certificate.

Mr. Phillip Tintle

Supervisor of World Language Department

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