Principal's Corner

September through December 2016
Cranford High School had a prodigious opening to the school year. On September 26 the AP Scholars were generously honored at the Board of Education meeting. A little over 100 parents were in attendance. On October 6th the Gymnastics team held a dedication event for the new springboard floor that was installed this season. On September 28th the Performing Arts Department put on an absolutely amazing performance at the Opening Gala Concert. The dancers, actors/actresses, musicians and singers put on an eloquent show. The administrative team hosted several student luncheons for a random selection of students to further gain their perspectives on CHS. An Administrative Student Advisory Committee was formed and met to discuss our goal of excellence. This group will meet with the CHS administrative team once a month throughout the school year.

Students: The P.R.I.D.E. group, led by Lisa Williams, engaged the 9th grade students in a series of activities that the CHS administration participated in as well. It was great to see our junior and senior students lead the freshmen on the path toward excellence. Almost all of our fall sports programs opened up their regular seasons on September 8th, while our marching band and football programs started on September 9th. I have hosted three student luncheons to gain the student perspective of the school and gauge their thoughts regarding the potential rotate and drop schedule.

National Hispanic Recognition Program-College Board invites students at each school who scored in the top 2.5% among Hispanic and Latino PSAT/NMSQT test takers in our region. We are proud to announce that we have 3 National Hispanic Scholars.

Athletics Summer Summary:
a. One student played in the North/South football all-star game
b. Five students participated in the Snapple Bowl-football all-star game.
c. One student participated in the senior baseball all-star game.
d. Letters of intent were signed by several CHS athletes this year as follows: For football at Penn State, Marist, and Villanova; for soccer at Seton Hall; for wrestling at Maryland; for lacrosse at Siena, Denver and Dartmouth; and for swimming at Iona.


AP Scholar - score a 3 or higher on 3 or more exams.

AP Scholar with Honors - average score of 3.25 on all exams, score 3 or higher on 4 or more exams.

AP Scholar with Distinction - average score of 3.50 on all exams, score 3 or higher on 5 or more exams.

National AP Scholar - average score of 4.00 on all exams, score 4 or higher on 8 or more exams.

College Essay Writing Course: Two of our English teachers, Sara Sherman and Jennifer Hilborn, taught this course over the summer for about thirty CHS students.

Cranford High School was ranked 54 overall for public schools in NJ Monthly and 377 in Newsweek for the national rankings. This kept the tradition of making the Top 100 and Top 500 schools in the state and nation.

The Band Program had a successful band camp at the start of August leading into their fall season.

This summer students completed two enrichment classes with Barbara Carroll: 21st Century Leadership Course and Virtual Pre College Course.

N. J. Scholars Program: One CHS student was accepted into the program and attended this summer in Lawrenceville from June 26 through July 29. NJ Scholars is an intensive academic program which accepts thirty nine of the most intelligent, outgoing, and highly motivated rising seniors in New Jersey.

One CHS student was selected to attend the Princeton University Creative Arts & Humanities Symposium, a program to which only 90 students in the state of New Jersey are invited. Two CHS students became National Merit Semi-Finalists based on their achievement on the PSAT. CHS also had ten Commended students.

Several students were recognized by the International Thespian Society: eight students for Thespian 100+ hours of quality work in theatre arts and related disciplines; five students for Honor Thespian 600+ hours; one student for Honor Thespian Vice President’s List Scholar 3.5 GPA or above; one student for National Honor Thespian 1,200+ hours; one student for National Honor Thespian Scholar 3.0 GPA or above; one student for National Honor Vice President’s List Scholar 3.5 or above; one student for International Honor Thespian 1,800+ hours; one student for International Honor Thespian Scholar 3.0 GPA or above; and three students for International Honor Thespian Scholar Vice President’s List Scholar 3.5GPA or above.

The Marching Band took second place at the Scotch Plains competition.

Twenty CHS students were inducted into the Future Educators of America Club lead by Mrs. Barbara Narus:

Five CHS students volunteered at an event to raise money for the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. Over $65,000 dollars was raised at the event.

The CHS Girls JV Soccer and Gymnastics teams won county championships. Almost all of our fall sports qualified to participate in the state tournament with our Field Hockey team scoring an upset victory over the #1 seed in the early rounds of their tournament.

CHS Glamour Gals is visited Atria Assisted Living on Saturday, November 19 to meet the senior citizens.

Lisa Williams’ students organized a luncheon for any staff interested in participating. The students waited on tables, cooked the food and organized the menus. The bourbon chicken sandwich was amazing.

Congratulations to the cast, crew and director of Noises Off .

CHS Glamour Gals is visiting the Atria nursing home on Saturday, November 19 to meet the senior citizens. The students enjoyed the experience while assisting others. Organizer, Barbara Carroll and students had a meet and greet to kick off the year of service.

Students from CHS led by Nicole Savino-Mulcahy attended the Global Affairs Institute at Kean University on Friday November 18th.

Staff: Mr. Rafaniello was nominated as a centennial educator by a former student (class of 2016) at the school he’s attending, Philadelphia University. The Centennial Medal Award was created in 1984 by the Board of Trustees to celebrate Philadelphia University’s 100th Anniversary. It honors prominent individuals in education, business, government, science or civic life. Todd spoke at the presentation. Below is the information from a representative at the school.

...each year we reach out to our incoming students asking them if they would like to nominate a special educator in their life who has helped them become the person they are today. “A teacher, professor, counselor, principal or anyone involved in their education who helped develop them to their potential, challenged them, supported them in the pursuit of their goals, and helped them focus on their dreams.” A committee of faculty and staff review all of the nominations and pick the top four educators….

The CHS administration, with support of the Booster Club, held its first annual staff barbeque with a little under 90 staff members in attendance. The Booster Club meet and greet that took place on September 13th was very well received.

The Faculty Advisory/Site Council has been reformed with the assistance of Robin Melleno. This group meets once a month as does the School Safety Team, and the SciP team.

The CHS Senior Night, organized by Lisa Burfeindt, was very successful. The parents and students learned about the planning steps for their final year of high school. During Breast Cancer Awareness Month many of our athletic teams are supporting the cause with various “pink out” activities. The guidance department also held a fundraiser to support the Nancy Campbell Scholarship by selling pink ribbons. The week of respect run by Emily Donahue and Inessa Vaccaro was celebrated by staff members and students writing a positive message on a sticky note. It was then posted on a student’s locker. At the end of the week every locker in the school had a positive message on it.

This year Cranford High School, Orange Avenue and Hillside Avenue have comprised an 8th grade transition timeline to inform all of the students and parents of their path to high school. In October Mrs. Barbara Carroll and I presented to all of the 8th grade students what CHS has to offer them. On November 2nd Mrs. Barbara Carroll, Mr. Darren Torsone, Mrs. Lisa Burfeindt, Mr. Gary Sorrentino and I presented to 7th and 8th grade parents and students what future lies ahead for the Cranford Middle School students as they enter CHS. Student representatives also attended to represent the many school programs that are offered at the high school.

Throughout the months of November and December the CHS administration conducted Rotate and Drop question and answer forums for students, parents, and staff. Students: November 3rd and 29th, Staff: November 3rd and 21st, Parents: November 7th, November 17th and December 8th. At these forums there were a tremendous amount of questions that were all answered by the CHS administration. The overriding thought is that this schedule has a tremendous amount of positives that all are looking forward to.

Mr. Sorrentino was honored by the WNJC radio station a hometown hero for the tremendous work he has done in the Cranford School system over the course of his career.

The late Mrs. Nancy Campbell was recognized by a former student at the University of Chicago. She was selected to receive the Outstanding Educator Award.

Kathleen Drwiega assisted Orange Avenue School with their Team Building Day on October 12th.

Kristin Wingate, one of our Japanese teachers, had an article written about her dedication to her profession recently: Click Here

Congratulations to the staff and director of the fall production Noises Off: Director and Hair/Make-up Design: Michelle Massa Lighting Design: David Marconi Costume, Set, and Prop Design: Lynn Berry

The staff held its first Chili Cook Off on December 2nd. The staff and administration have continued to have at least one group event every month to enjoy the hard work that occurs on a daily basis at CHS. The Cook Off was the first of three events in December, which also include the December 15th Staff Holiday Party and December 23rd First Annual Staff Breakfast hosted by the administration.

CHAPS- Cranford High School Assistance Program has worked with Cranford Merchants Give Back to collect items for homeless veterans. Students ran bake sales and completed yard work projects to raise money to purchase the items for the backpacks. On Tuesday, November 22, students gathered to organize and pack the items and to meet a representative of the organization providing the service to the vets. Bonnie Russo from the Cranford Business Alliance also attended the event. She and Barbara Carroll work with the Cranford Business Alliance to complete service projects in the community.