May 30th - May 30th, 2022 - Memorial Day – SCHOOLS CLOSED
Jun 2nd - Jun 2nd, 2022 - District spring band concert
6:30 p.m. - Mount Olive High School
Jun 13th - Jun 13th, 2022 - BOE Regular Meeting
6:30 PM - Administrative Building
BMX riders recently came to MOMS, combining their anti-bullying message with bicycle tricks which kept students entertained and engaged. The stunt cyclists – from the Dialed Action Sports Team in Lincoln Park, New Jersey – based their program on three Rs:
Recognize – which teaches students how to identify bullying whether it is physical, verbal or online.
Refuse – which explains being the impact of being a bully and the impact of bullying itself.
React – which emphasizes the importance of telling a trusted adult (such as a teacher or parent) about the bullying behavior.
Three presentations were conducted, one for each grade level. In each, the highlight was a cyclist’s jump across five staff members lying flat on the ground. The Dialed Action Sports Team also wove into their presentations various tips about bicycle safety and leading healthy lifestyles.
This is the team’s first visit to MOMS, though the group has performed similar presentations at several of the district’s elementary schools. Megan Troup, student assistance counselor, arranged the visit.
Mount Olive Middle School will host motivational speaker Nick Tokman, "Sunshine" from the Discovery Channel's "Deadliest Catch," on Friday, June 10. At assemblies for each grade level, Tokman will inspire students with tales from his life and encourage them to fulfill their dreams with the message "Become your captain, catch your future.” He’ll also incorporate relevant topics including respect, anti-bullying, digital citizenship, social media awareness, and healthy lifestyle choices/substance abuse prevention.
MOMS sixth-graders recently put their ingenuity and science knowledge to the test by constructing the strongest bridges they could using just toothpicks and gumdrops. The structural challenge, conducted in the library throughout the day also helped the kids develop their critical thinking skills and ability to collaborate with their peers.”
Gabrielle Czernik, a civil engineer with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, guided the students through the hands-on STEAM activity. Each bridge had to span stacks of books set approximately eight inches apart.
"The level of excitement and enthusiasm was incredible," said David Eisenberg, MOMS' library media specialist who organized Ms. Czernik's visit. "The students saw how the science that they're learning in school is used in real life. Showing the relevance between what is taught in the classroom and how that knowledge is applied in the real world makes learning powerful and long-lasting."
The activity had another benefit, says Rebecca Kreider, Ed.D., supervisor of information technology and STEAM. “Statistically, only 25% of professionals in STEAM are women so being exposed to successful female role models may inspire our middle school students to take more classes in the sciences. Girls need to believe they can be successful and carry that confidence into these classes and eventually into the traditionally male-dominated STEAM field.”
Before the hands-on science, Ms. Czernik discussed civil engineering careers and the most common specializations (transportation, geotechnical, environmental, coastal, water resources, and construction). She also discussed the role of the Parks Department in managing New York City’s 5,000 parks and 160 miles of waterfront.
Students enrolled in Surviving Natural Disasters just wrapped up the popular sixth grade course with a lesson on fire. Teacher Rob O'Callaghan, after receiving permission from administrators, built a fire pit on gravel near the bus parking lot. Students were not permitted to light or tend to the fire; however, O’Callaghan demonstrated methods to get a fire going, including using magnesium shavings and flint and steel. The toasting of marshmallows followed, before the teacher demonstrated how to properly extinguish a campfire.
“The look of shock on people's faces when I tell them I teach a class called Surviving Natural Disasters never gets old,” O'Callaghan said. “I don't know of any other class of its kind anywhere.”
The course discusses various types of natural phenomena around the world such as hurricanes, blizzards, and earthquakes, and compares how nations in different stages of development respond to them. The scope later narrows to focus on the disasters frequently experienced in New Jersey. But this course isn’t just sitting in a classroom and learning about what-ifs.
The fire safety and fire-starting exercise culminates the course’s survival unit. Students learn and practice the survival skills they might need in a life-threatening crisis. This includes simple first aid (e.g. tying a tourniquet, making a leg splint, and properly wrapping a bandage), navigation using a compass, and tying knots. The sixth-graders also venture into the woods near MOMS to construct simple shelters using fallen branches and other forest debris.
For a generation raised inside on video games, social media, texting, and television, venturing into the great outdoors to learn hands-on skills is fun, fresh, and informative.
“Students walk out of the class with an exceptional amount of knowledge of the importance of assisting others after a devastating natural disaster, and how they can better assist in preparing their family for a local disaster,”O'Callaghan said. “They also leave with a heightened degree of confidence in simple first aid as well as other lifelong skills that can help in many other aspects of life.”
The Surviving Natural Disasters course was first offered in 2017-18.
Three students recently organized a collection drive to benefit Ukraine. Touched by the tales of hardship and images of destruction in the media, Alexis Thorward, Shayna Shawl, and Sebastian Ostrove rallied their schoolmates in the collection of clothes, blankets, bedding, canned food, and medical supplies.
“Their people are going through such a hard time,” said Alexis. “They didn’t do anything wrong.” To spread the word about the drive, the students created posters, posted on social media, and made a schoolwide announcement.
A MOMS substitute teacher with family in Ukraine brought the donations to a church in Parsippany which is arranging a large shipment overseas.
The students are members of Community Links, a MOMS club dedicated to community service.
The rewards of volunteerism and the impact that people can have on others were messages that Alainie Costas, a Massachusetts nurse, recently brought to MOMS students.
Ms. Costas spent an entire school day remotely speaking to students about her experiences volunteering on Mercy Ships – hospital ships that provide free medical care to developing countries. On three separate tours lasting several months each, she treated patients in the West African countries of Benin, Togo, and Sierra Leon. Ms. Costas described in detail what life is like in these poverty-stricken nations and her service on teams that provided orthopedic, reconstructive, and general surgeries.
MOMS library media specialist David Eisenberg, a friend of Costas’, arranged the special day.
"The event brought medical and science careers into focus, while also encouraging a spirit of volunteerism and understanding of other cultures,” said Eisenberg. “Alainie inspired our students to do good in the world by bringing their skills and passions to those who need it most."
All eighth grade science classes watched the presentations, either in the library or in their classrooms. Parts tugged on the heart strings, both for students and staff. Particularly affecting were the before and after photographs of patients treated for facial and bodily abnormalities such as club feet, tumors, and cleft lips and palates. The patients, many of whom had suffered from their conditions for decades, saw their lives radically transformed after their procedures.
Costas' presentations and photographs also provided a window into developing nations. Since many of those treated by Mercy Ships are children, the MOMS students saw just how much their lives differ from the children in much of Africa.
In the pre-COVID days, the school’s Community Links club would reach out in various ways to the Mount Olive community and Morris County region. Members served as school ambassadors, visiting seniors at the St. Francis Elderly Residential Center, for example, and working with children at the Mount Olive Child Learning Center.
The lingering pandemic has changed the club, but its community service mission remains. With field trips a thing of the past, the members have found ways to contribute to the school community in ways that are less personal, but still impactful.
The two dozen students work in small groups to tackle different projects. One team has taken on the mission of transforming the bulletin board outside the cafeteria into an information resource. Members post flyers with info such as details on a babysitter training course, club contact information, and school drama production updates. Anything that the team feels would be of interest and of help to their peers is considered. It’s decidedly low-tech, but effective and current.
Another team is preparing a fundraiser and support drive for a local animal shelter, another works on a plan to make sweet treats that can be sold to buy gifts of appreciation for the school’s bus drivers, and another is preparing to stage a penny wars fundraiser to support various local charities.
A group of girls is also developing a slide show to present to Principal Jim Kramer, advocating for the creation of a co-ed volleyball team.
The pandemic has necessitated flexibility and resiliency in so many areas of school and work; some changes have worked so well, they’ve been continued.
“The kids are wonderful and I am so impressed with the level of teamwork I’m seeing,” said teacher Karen LaValley, club adviser. “They really think everything through. Working on some small projects like this is something we may keep in the club even when we can get back out in the world.”
Mount Olive Middle School students have organized a fundraiser and donation drive for OSCAR, an animal rescue organization in Sparta. In addition to money, the drive is accepting gently used blankets and cat and dog food/treats through the end of February.
The effort has its roots in a discovery of a shared passion and empathy. One day, eighth-grader Cheyanne Harding was with several friends, chatting and laughing over lunch with Vitina Krentz, an MOMS counselor. When Krentz told the story of her family’s 2019 adoption of two quirky and affectionate mixed-breed dogs, Oliver and George, the bells sounded for Cheyanne.
Krentz had boarded Oliver and George several times at Petra’s Dog Resource Center where Cheyanne and her mother work.
“I remembered having them,” remembers Cheyanne. “They’re very energetic. It was funny and kind of cool that I knew them.”
The love of animals shared by Krentz and the students inspired action. As the plans for the drive came together, MOMS staff member Cathy Chessen and MOMS counselor Julie Kester volunteered to help. Legendary comic actress and animal activist Betty White had just died weeks from her 100th birthday and her passing spurred a national animal rescue campaign. Chessen wanted students to be able to take part and honor White’s endearing legacy.
The MOMS drive officially began on January 17, the day the “Golden Girls” and “Mary Tyler Moore Show” star would have turned 100.
Donations are accepted outside the cafeteria during lunch periods.
Sandshore Elementary School
498 Sandshore Rd
Budd Lake, NJ 07828
Mountain View Elementary School
118 Cloverhill Drive
Flanders, NJ 07836
Chester M. Stephens Elementary School
99 Sunset Drive
Budd Lake, NJ 07828
Mt. Olive Middle School
160 Wolfe Road
Budd Lake, NJ 07828