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posted: Fri, Jun 9th, 2017

Tracing their roots

Mountain View third-graders recently explored their heritages as part of a unit that looked at immigration from the early 19th Century through present day. The culmination was a multicultural celebration and feast that showed the diverse heritages of families in our school community.

The students explored the topic of immigration by reading stories and watching videos about the immigration process, the significance and symbolism of the Statue of Liberty, and the assimilation of various traditions into American culture. Then the teachers led the students through a variety of activities designed to make the experience more personal and have them engage with their own family members.

For Multicultural Day, each student brought in at least one project about his or her heritage from a list of 10 that the third grade teachers had developed. There were food dishes (with recipes and ingredients listed), Google presentations with family photos, essays, songs and music from countries of origin, outfits/tradition costumes, and cultural artifacts and family mementos. The Caribbean, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa were all represented. 

“We held Multicultural Day closer to our field trip to the Statue of the Liberty so that it all came together for the students,” said teacher Emily Cali. “By the end, they had a better understanding of their own family histories and the sacrifices many of their ancestors made in order to bring their families to America. The turnout from families on Multicultural Day was amazing.”

Students presented their projects to their own classes and set them up as a multi-classroom gallery walk for their peers and family members. The international feast portion of Multicultural Day was held in the cafeteria.


Principal for a day 

Third-grader Liam Bartow, principal for a day, kept the school running smoothly and efficiently during his brief tenure at the helm of Mountain View. He monitored kindergarten bus arrival and dismissal, and pulled the fire alarm to initiate a school-wide fire drill. Of course, he spent time behind the big desk in the principal's office, too, showing off a calm yet commanding leadership style.

"My friends thought it was awesome," Liam said of his experience. "They all wanted me to call them down to the office." 

During a break in the construction in the school library, Principal Bartow donned his personalized hard hat and assessed the progress of the renovations. 

"It was the messiest thing I'd ever seen, and I've seen a lot of messes from my little brother," he said.

Liam's mother, Hope Bartow, won the principal-for-a-day experience for her son at the parent teacher organization's annual fundraiser. Prizes were offered up as well as unique experiences with Mountain View staff members including lunch prepared by Dr. Frank Fischel, school principal, and a basketball game with physical education teachers Mike Schwartz and Sharon Jones.


Aradha Jain, Mountain View's top student in First in Math, shows off the school's FIM plaque with Dr. Frank Fischel, school principal

No.1 in NJ, No. 2 in US

First in Math honors Mountain View students

Mountain View was recently honored by First In Math (FIM), the math game website. The school is No. 1 in New Jersey and No. 2 in the nation based on the number of math problems solved per student. Every year since beginning the program in 2013, the school has been in the top 10 in the U.S.

As of June 7, Mountain View students have solved nearly 7.75 million math problems and are on pace to hit the 8 million mark by the end of the school year. Students that solve more than 3,333 math problems each receive the title of grand champion. There were 53 grand champions last year; this year there are already 90 and projections show the school is on pace to have more than 100 grand champions by the end of June.

“I’m so proud of what our kids have accomplished,” said Dr. Frank Fischel, school principal. “So much of our success is due to teachers keeping excitement high and contributing to the recognition program that rewards students for their personal achievements. The friendly competitive spirit that First In Math has helped engender is now part of who we are as a school.”

While the school does have the country’s top third grade class (Jen Leone’s), an examination of the nationwide statistics reveals an interesting fact: Mountain View’s success in FIM is a school-wide achievement due to a high-level of participation among MANY students. It’s not the result of just a few driven kids or classes.

A total of 20 Mountain View students have solved 5,000 math problems or more thus far this year, and another dozen might hit that vaunted mark by the last day of school. Aradha Jain, a fifth-grader in Peg Maute’s class, is Mountain View’s top student with more than 11,000 correctly solved math problems. 

Rounding out the school’s top 15 are Riley Cahill, Vrishank Malik, Abhimanyu Nair, Nelith Siriwardhana, Ethan You, Ryan Schafer, Eesha Bosula, Robert Cahili, Sam Mirsky, Chris Pintado, Anthony Walsh, Sal Salafia, Mo Alabssi, and Jenna Klatt. 

The First In Math plaque celebrating Mountain View’s high national placing is on display in the main office.

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