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"Graduation is only a concept. In real life, every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you'll make a difference."
-- Arie Pencovici

Celebrating Rites of Passage

by Mrs. Thomas
June 1st, 2008

As we begin the last month of school, our thoughts turn to graduation, whether it is to the next grade or to the next big step in our children’s educational journey – high school entrance.

It is a time when teachers, parents, and family members look forward to milestone celebrations of our childrenÂ’s achievement. These rites of passage are often memorialized in occasions like graduation ceremonies, during which our children are presented formally to the community as proud and accomplished graduates.

Arie Pencovici leads us to reflect on the meaning of graduation as something more permanent and enduring than a one-time ceremony. Rather than being a celebration of an ending and a beginning, it is more a process of constant growth towards realizing our short and long-term goals. As we celebrate our children this month, letÂ’s also take time to remind them how important it is to make each day of learning count as a graduation to the next day of learning, and to celebrate the accomplishments that take place.

Congratulations to all our graduates from kindergarten to 8th grade, and our gratitude to staff, parents, grandparents, and guardians who have made their learning and accomplishments possible!

8th Grade Graduation Activities!

by Mrs. Thomas
June 1st, 2008

As graduation approaches, there are a number of important dates and events that we would like you to save on your calendars, and try to support and attend.

  • Monday, June 2nd: Tickets for the 8th Grade Dance go on sale. Tickets cost $24 and cover the cost of a buffet dinner at the Priory. The last day to buy tickets is June 17th. Mr. PattonÂ’s dress sale is still going on and new items have been added. Dresses only cost $20!
  • Wednesday, June 18th: Ring Ceremony at 5:30 pm in the gym.
  • Thursday, June 19th: Field Trip to Keansburg. The trip costs $23 and covers unlimited rides in both the land and water parks. Final payment for the trip is due on Thursday, June 12th. Permission slips will be handed out on June 2nd and must be signed and returned to homeroom teachers to grant permission for students to attend the trip.
  • Monday, June 23rd: Graduation Dance at the Priory at 6:00 pm.
  • Thursday, June 26th: Graduation Ceremony at Lady Liberty Academy. There will be a limit of 5 tickets per student.

We greatly appreciate the work of Mr. Patton, Mr. Kornegay, Mr. Silver, Ms Accurso, Ms Cenac, Ms Darby, and Mrs. Quinn as they devote time and energy to planning these events for our graduates!

Scholar-Athletes Show Respect and Rise!

by Mr. Kimble
June 1st, 2008

Brandon Wright and Savonis Osei are scholar-athletes who live the core values of caring, respect, responsibility, and justice on a daily basis. They earned the scholar-athlete award at least twice during the year. Brandon earned high academic honor roll and first honors in his practice of the core values for the second and third marking periods. Also, Brandon came to school every day and on time during the third quarter. Savonis earned high academic honor roll and first honors in core values for the second and third marking period.

Many 8th grade students at Lady Liberty actively participated in the Scholar- Athlete Basket Ball Camp during recess. In addition, these participants brought in many cans of food during the school-wide Thanksgiving Day Food Drive in November.

According to Savonis, the scholar-athlete program helped me stay focused. It helped me have something to look forward to. It also helped me pay more attention to details on how to solve challenging word problems in class. Brandon stated, the scholar-athlete program prepared me for the state test in mathematics and prepared me to try to play on the high school basketball team.

We are proud of these rising scholar-athletes and commend them for being role models to their peers!

Cheerleaders Aim High and Shine!

June 1st, 2008

On Saturday, May 31st our cheerleaders participated in the Newark Public Schools Extended Day Cheerleader competition. Our squad was proudly led by Ms Darby and Ms Turner who have worked hard and creatively with the girls all year. Their self-discipline, perseverance, and dedication led them to victory! For the third year in a row, the Cougars won the Cheer Dance Team Upper Division competition. In addition, Ajai Horne attained a first place win in the Cheer Jump competition and Briyana Bey attained a third place win in the Cheer Yell competition. We are very proud of the entire team made of the following young ladies: Alexus Alicea; Anijah Allen; Keona Bernard; Briyana Bey; Samiyah Canada; Kayla Davidson; Enysia Fitzpatrick; Khadijah Hayes; Ajai Horne; Khafeeon Love; Jabrea Patterson; Jaryah Patterson; and Imeena Torres. In order to be selected as cheerleaders at Lady Liberty, students need to demonstrate a commitment to working hard academically, athletically, and behaviorally, in their consistent practice of our core values. Our lady cougars represented Lady Liberty as scholarathletes throughout the year and we commend them for their efforts.

We would like to thank all our parents, students, and staff members who have supported the team all year, and especially all those who came out on Saturday to cheer our team to victory. Lady Liberty Academy is the only charter school in Newark to be represented in the competition and the girlsÂ’ supporters in the audience on Saturday were strong, numerous, and positive!

In addition to preparing for this competition, the cheerleaders have supported our basketball teams during their games this season and were featured presenters at the Charter School Rally in Trenton last month.

We are proud of you Lady Cougars! Keep aiming high and shining brightly!

Be Part of the Change!

by Mrs. Thomas
May 1st, 2008

This month at Lady Liberty we have planned a number of events that we invite and encourage you to attend so that you can be part of our continued positive change effort here in our school community.

We are in the process of planning a number of exciting programs and initiatives which we would like you to help us shape. We applied for and have received a Smarter-Charter Grant that will support a critically important project that will develop and strengthen our school wide curriculum. We are also in the process of dedicating Title I funding to designing summer programs and partnerships that will allow us to offer extended year academic and enrichment opportunities to our eligible students and parent involvement workshops to our families. Please take time to review the events outlined on the back page of this newsletter, the Parent-School Compact attached to this newsletter, and the High School Placement Information Supplement for 7th and 8th grade families. In addition, there are a number of dates to save this month. The upcoming PTO meeting on May 6th will offer parents an opportunity to learn about the Special Education program here at Lady Liberty and the self-assessment process that we are undertaking to strengthen our program.

We greatly welcome your presence and leadership in our school and look forward to working with you at the meetings this month. Come and be part of making positive change for continued growth here at Lady Liberty Academy!

Tune in to Reading at Home!

May 1st, 2008

Literacy development is a continuous process that begins in infancy when babies are first exposed to language, books, and stories. Its roots are in the home, with branches extending to other environments. Books are the key ingredients to creating a literacy-rich home environment. Families can support language and literacy learning by creating a home atmosphere in which reading, writing, talking, and listening are a natural part of daily life. We are encouraged in our homes to:

  1. Establish a regular time and place for daily read-aloud sessions, such as before bed or during bath time.
  2. Keep on hand a variety of reading materials such as picture books, chapter books, atlases, dictionaries, magazines, and newspapers, and acquire library cards for everyone to use often.
  3. Share our love of books and reading. As adults we can say to children, "This was my favorite book when I was your age," or "I can't wait to start my new book."
  4. Talk about what our children read and encourage children to think, solve problems, and make predictions. Parents may discuss the books a child is reading, then ask questions such as, "Did you ever...?" or "How would you feel if that happened to you?"
  5. Have plenty of paper and writing tools on hand to respond to our reading..
  6. Store books and writing materials in places children can reach.
  7. Have frequent conversations with each child, as well as with the family as a whole. We should encourage everyone to express their ideas, opinions, and feelings.
  8. Reinforce language and literacy skills by doing puzzles and playing games that reinforce literacy, such as Lotto, Candyland, Old Maid, Concentration, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit.
  9. Model reading and writing for pleasure and for specific uses, such as making a shopping list.
  10. Respond positively to children's reading and writing efforts.
  11. Set aside plenty of time for reading, by balancing time devoted to sports, television, and other activities.

All of the above strategies tell children that reading and writing are important lifelong activities that are fun and useful. Families also can show children how much they value reading and writing by building partnerships with the teachers and programs at Lady Liberty Academy. (Adapted from: Providing a Literacy-Rich Home.)

Shout Outs of Appreciation!

Lady Liberty PTO
May 1st, 2008

The PTO would like to thank everyone who supported the April 12th Family Portraits Day Fundraiser. It was very successful and we are looking into doing it again before the end of the school year.

The PTO would also like to congratulate the GirlsÂ’ Basketball Team on making it to the Play-offs. Both the Girls and Boys Basketball teams have done an outstanding job this year. A big thank you goes out to Coach Kornegay, Mr. Peterson, and Mr. Vickers for your support and work with our athletes.

Reading is Fundamental

May 1st, 2008

Some tips to use at home.

Ask your child read aloud to you every night. Choose a quiet place, free from distractions, for your child to do her/his nightly reading assignments.

Point out spelling and sound patterns such as cat, pat, hat. as your child reads, When your child reads aloud to you and makes a mistake, point out words she has missed and help her to read the word correctly.

After your child has stopped to correct a word he has read, have him go back and reread the entire sentence from the beginning to make sure he understands what the sentence is saying. Ask your child to tell you in his/her own words what happened in a story.

To check your child's understanding of what s/he is reading, occasionally pause and ask your child questions about the characters and events in the story.

Ask your child why she thinks a character acted in a certain way and ask your child to support her answer with information from the story.

Before getting to the end of a story, ask your child what s/he thinks will happen next and why. (Parent Tips.)

Opportunities for Parents in School Improvement Planning

by Mrs. Thomas
April 1st, 2008

If you are interested in participating in school improvement planning efforts for the new school year in areas of student code of conduct and parent involvement, please contact or schedule an appointment with Ms Brower (ext. 1244), Mrs. Thomas (ext. 1204), or Mr. Mugambe.

Especially for 8th Grade Parents!

Stress Relief for Graduating Students
by Mrs. Thomas
April 1st, 2008

As we move into the last quarter of the year, 8th graders and their families begin to plan for and anticipate graduation and all the special events that surround that occasion. While this is a very exciting time, many students may also begin to feel a little anxious, confused, and sad about leaving Lady Liberty Academy, close friends, special teachers, and familiar routines and places. These are normal feelings and we can help relieve some of them by doing the following:

Students

  • Try to talk to a friend, parent, homeroom teacher, Mr. Silver, or Ms Luke about your feelings. You will find that you are not alone in how you feel, and sharing can often help.
  • Keep a journal where you can write down your thoughts and work through some of your feelings.
  • Make a plan of some practical steps that you can do now to help you prepare for your first days of high school. For example, if you are concerned about transportation to your high school, plan out the route and make the trip now.
  • Don't let your academics or conduct at school slide. This will only get in the way of you being able to enjoy and participate in all the upcoming graduation events and rites of passage that are important for you to experience.
  • Take advantage of attending the Skills Enhancement Program on Fridays and Saturdays to help you prepare for the NJASK/GEPA tests at the end of April. These tests are important in determining promotion decisions and placement in high school freshman classes.

Parents:

  • Create opportunities to talk with your son or daughter about high school and feelings surrounding the transition. You may have experienced the same kinds of feelings and have some practical suggestions and advice that can help normalize and validate anxious, confused, or sad feelings.
  • Keep your child focused on excellence in academics and conduct to ensure that the final report card that you take with you to high school is the best that it can be!

Let's work together to help our children SHINE and AIM HIGH every day!

High Expectations Continue!

by Mrs. Thomas
April 1st, 2008

Spring Vacation is over and the weather is getting warmer, but we cannot relax our focus on academics and conduct! This final marking period is very important for all our students in determining promotion and graduation decisions, and ensuring a successful transition to the next grade or to high school. In addition, important State tests for grades 5-8 are scheduled for the last week of April and the first week of May. Please continue to support us in maintaining a focused and productive learning environment by doing the following:

  • Ensure that your child completes his/ her Homework EVERY night. Please contact your childÂ’s teacher, Mr. Mugambe or Mrs Thomas if your child is not bringing homework home. Completing homework should be a routine event every night. It not only helps your child to reinforce and practice the content and skills that have been taught during the day, but it helps to train him/her to be a serious student and develop high expectations for being prepared for classes the next day.
  • Ensure that your child comes to school on time and attends school EVERY day unless he/she is sick. Students with more than 20 unexcused absences may be in danger of being retained and as required by law, the Municipal Court will be notified.
  • Insist on your child attending the middle school Skills Enhancement Program on Fridays and Saturdays in preparation for the State tests.
  • Insist on your child following our school rules and conducting himself/herself civilly by practicing our core values of respect, responsibility, justice and caring. Fighting, play fighting, bullying, and interrupting learning and teaching are not tolerated in our school community.

Celebrating our Student Stars!

2-AÂ’s Lunchtime Literature Club
by Mrs. Bryden
March 1st, 2008

Each day, the second grade students in 2-A and their teacher, Mrs. Bryden, are treated to a tranquil half hour of classroom dining and award-winning children's literature. Thanks to Lady LibertyÂ’s classroom computers and Internet access, 2-A is able to tune into StorylineOnline.net and enjoy magical storybook excursions. 2-AÂ’s Lunchtime Literature Club is mesmerized by well-known actors from the Screen Actors Guild Foundation as they present a wide array of outstanding literature, model fluency, and foster a love of reading.

One of 2-AÂ’s favorite selections is No Mirrors in My NanaÂ’s House. story is read by Tia & Tamera Mowry and then sung by Sweet Honey in the Rock. 2-A loves to have guests, so visitors are always welcomed to join their Lunchtime Literature Club. StorylineOnline.netÂ’s Summary of No Mirrors In My NanaÂ’s House by Ysaye Maria Barnwell is as follows:

There are no mirrors in my Nana's house.... No mirrors to reflect the cracks in the wall, the clothes that don't fit, the trash in the hallway. No mirrors. But there is love. The beauty in this child's world is in her Nana's eyes. It's like the rising of the sun..."