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 Becton helping students before and after entering high school

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By Chris Neidenberg / Reporter

EAST RUTHERFORD (Nov. 18, 2010) — For 2010-11, Henry P. Becton Regional High School is providing support services to help both students planning for life after graduation and those who have not yet enrolled.

Principal David Mango detailed two initiatives: the district’s first-ever College Day assembly, held Oct. 28, and its second-annual upcoming orientation, called, “Shadow Days,” for eighth-graders from the East Rutherford and Carlstadt sending districts, Dec. 7-8.

Plans call for expanding the “Shadow” franchise in 2010-11.

At the high school board of education’s Nov. 10 meeting, Mango noted that about 150 parents and students participated in College Day offerings, opened to eighth graders from the two sending districts as well. The high school’s guidance department conceived of and organized the event.

To assure a wide range of options was covered, Mango noted that representatives from traditional colleges, such as Ramapo State College and Montclair State and Seton Hall universities, along with those from post-graduate technical schools, including Lincoln Technical Institute and DeVry University, attended.

In fact, the board has periodically cited the need to reach out more to students not necessarily whetted to attending conventional colleges.

“I was pleased with what we offered,” said Mango, commending the guidance department for the variety covered. “We had 14 colleges come, and we had never done this before.”

He noted that students learned there are “different levels” of post-graduate offerings available to them, depending on individual goals and circumstances.

“We tried to diversify the presentation understanding that not every graduate plans on attending a traditional four-year college,” Mango later told The Leader. “We also extended a welcome to eighth-graders, and their parents, because it’s never too early to plan ahead.”

“Setting up a college fair of this type had been a major priority for the guidance department,” the principal added. “Their work provided positive results.”

Susan Justis, with the school’s parent advocacy group, Partners in Education, praised Becton for making the event inclusive of all students pondering their options beyond next May. Justis is hoping College Day becomes a new Becton tradition.

“It was a great experience for the students,” she told trustees. “I think it was great that you could offer them information on more than traditional college programs.”

After the meeting, Mango noted the same eighth-graders will soon be welcomed back for “Shadow Days.” The format is similar what was implemented last February, when 135 students joined their high school counterparts over two days. This year’s orientation takes place over Dec. 7 (East Rutherford) and Dec. 8 (Carlstadt).

The invited students will get to replicate a high school schedule and participate in classes. The event’s name comes from the idea that the younger students get to “shadow” high school students, who are expected to guide them along..

“We feel providing a high school experience, well-ahead of time, will make them more comfortable when they actually make the transition in 2011-12 ,” Mango explained. “And this school year, we’re planning to invite them to a second event, sometime in March, after state testing.”


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