Fair Haven Schools’ Writers’ Workshops Aim to Grow Good Authors

The following is an edited release provided by the Fair Haven Schools District:

“When you think you’re done, you’ve just begun.”

That’s the motto of the student Writers’ Workshops at Viola L. Sickles School in Fair Haven.

And while you may have guessed otherwise, Colleen Doogan told a roomful of surprised parents that her blossoming writers actually get excited when they hear this phrase.

“They view it as an invitation to carry on with a process they thoroughly enjoy,” said Doogan, who is in her first year as the district’s K-3 literacy coach. What does a literacy coach do? She provides support for teachers to enhance their reading and writing instruction.

Doogan hosted a Parent Literacy Lab at Sickles on Oct. 9 for parents of students in Kindergarten through fifth grade to demonstrate how Fair Haven schools’ teachers and administrators are set on growing good writers through modeling, engagement and reflection.

“I know it’s hard to do, but when your children tell a story you should try your best to drop everything and really listen,” Doogan told the parents. “Encouraging the telling of good stories is a key to good writing.”

A former first grade teacher who followed her passion to become a reading specialist, Doogan’s resume includes serving as staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University under the leadership of Lucy Calkins. Doogan worked closely with the renowned literacy expert and author, and taught at reading and writing workshops in school districts nationwide.

She described the writer’s workshop at Sickles as “an essential component of a balanced literacy program.”

“The students are learning to develop good writing skills by writing — a lot,” she said. “Even our Kindergarteners are learning the importance of sequence in a story.

“We do what real writers do, because students are motived to write more when they understand that they have an authentic purpose and a real audience.”

Sickles students begin the writing journey in Kindergarten, where they are encouraged to create drawings that tell a story in sequence; and, when they are able, to add words to the drawings.

First graders are provided with writing folders containing papers with space for drawings and sentences. Second and third grade students move on to writer’s notebooks, which they fill with all kinds of writing — storytelling, instructional and historical pieces, to name a few.

When students move on to the fourth through eighth grades at Knollwood School, they further develop their writing skills through a host of instruction and activities.

In the writer’s workshops at Knollwood, students keep writers’ notebooks and publish finished pieces in a variety of genres. These students work on the same types of writing as their Sickles counterparts, but they write with increasing sophistication.

For example, fourth graders create book reviews and personal essays while the eighth graders pen literary essays and “position” papers (bringing together research and persuasive writing).

“The increased availability of digital resources and tools along with the use of Google for Education has allowed some Knollwood students to maintain online notebooks,” said Ellen Spears, the district’s director of Curriculum and Instruction. “Many teachers also encourage students to publish on blogs and also to other authentic audiences.”

As a reward for the completion of all their hard work, Fair Haven students in all grades share their best writing with classmates and parents at yearly events dubbed Writer’s Celebrations.

“All of our students at both schools are being immersed in the writing process,” said Sickles School Principal Cheryl Cuddihy, who compared the experience of learning to write with that of learning to drive.

“You don’t learn to drive by using just the blinker one day and the steering wheel the next,” she said. “You need to experience the car as a whole and improve with practice.”

The parents took part in writing and reflection activities with Doogan and with Literacy Specialist/Kindergarten Teacher Kerry Leahey, and were gifted with writer’s notebooks. But the evening’s best takeaways were the strategies Doogan shared for bringing out the “hidden writer” in every child.

“My wife Danielle and I felt very strongly about learning how to encourage and model good writing,” said Thomas Pantaleo, parent of second-grader Thomas and fourth-grader Lucia. “I thought the workshop was terrific, and I came away with guidelines that will make me a better ‘coach’ for my kids.”

Parent Literacy Lab was the first in a series of events planned during the school year by the Fair Haven Family Institute. The Fair Haven Family Institute was created to provide parents with an inside look at exciting initiatives taking place throughout the school district.

With assistance from the Fair Haven School District Technology Coordinator Pat Young and Technology Support Technician Pauline Clark, the Parent Literacy Lab was live-streamed to a local family that had expressed interest in the event but was unable to attend. The expansion of live-streaming to additional households is planned for the near future.

The Fair Haven Family Institute web page features timely and helpful information including details on upcoming events. It can be found on the school district website at fairhaven.edu.

Upcoming Fair Haven Family Institute presentations include:

• Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC”) on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in the All Purpose Room at Knollwood School and;

• Google for Education on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at Knollwood School.

 

Sandy’s Slam to the Fair Haven Waterfront

By Elaine Van Develde

Fair Haven was a luckier victim of Hurricane Sandy’s penchant for whipping up the floodwaters. But neither the dock nor the marina and little beach at the end of DeNormandie Avenue quite stood up to it.

The water level rose above decks and it’s stormy strength ripped up chunks of the borough’s iconic landmarks while it tossed debris all over the place in both spots.

It’s all been put back together since. But, this is what the area at the end of DeNormandie looked like then. Today’s weather brings a hint of it all back.

Fair Haven Dock after Sandy ripped out chunks of it. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Fair Haven Dock after Sandy ripped out chunks of it. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Donovan’s Sandy Demise

By Elaine Van Develde

When the superstorm stopped, it plopped Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright down in pieces.

People of the Rumson-Fair Haven area mourned the loss to an unforgiving Sandy. And when they were allowed to travel over the bridge into Sea Bright, many diehard loyalists of the Donovan’s summer tiki tradition by the sea could be found sitting and just staring at what once was piled in a heap feet away from its spot of origin.

After surviving rumors of commitment to rebuilding, a sale and total obliteration flipping back and forth, Donovan’s owners have announced that they will be rebuilding. This past summer, though, one non-functional Tiki hut marked the spot. Until next season …

Here’s what the demise of the popular spot looked like in 2012, just after the storm …

All photos by Elaine Van Develde, not previously published

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Happy Halloween! Enter the R-FH Area at Your Own Risk!

By Elaine Van Develde

From a former Haunted Mansion ghoul, and your founding editor of Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect, Happy Halloween and may you get yourself a good scare and give one, too!

There’s a mad scientist gatekeeper of sorts at the corner of River Road and Church Street in Fair Haven that we couldn’t resist featuring as a sort of Halloween host. Look for him tonight.

And while you’re trick-or-treating, remember, from this trained monster, that all good ghouls know how to give a good scare (all in fun, of course).

So, for the adults, here are a few tips:

• Play your part with heart. In other words, believe who you are for the night and other tricksters will believe it all, too.

• Give ’em a good stare-down. If you can stay in character without cracking a smile, you can send people screaming into the night.

• Give ’em a good shock scare. After staring them down, when they least expect it and think all is calm, prove them wrong and give a good scream, hiss or thump, followed by something your character would shout out.

• A good evil laugh as they run is always a fun follow-up.

Most of all, don’t try this at home unless you’re an adult or a kid supervised by parents who love the same sort of Halloween fun.

And, above all, have FUN and stay safe! Remember the area rules from police.

As, Haunted Mansion ghouls say, “I’m scared o’ you!” Happy haunting!

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Rumson Rocked by Sandy

Rumson's Piping Rock Park after Sandy blew through. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Rumson’s Piping Rock Park after Sandy blew through. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

Remember what things looked like around town two years ago?

While the low-lying areas of Rumson were smacked the hardest by Hurricane Sandy, trees were felled all over town.

They brought wires down with them as they crashed onto various mainstay structures. Piping Rock Park, near the high school, was no exception.

Meanwhile, in the West Park section, no one could get in or out. But, from a distance one could see that the water and wind parked all sorts of debris from Sea Bright on Rumson land along the Shrewsbury River.

There were boats, cabanas and more.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Retro Pic of the Day devoted to looking back on Sandy.

R-FH Area Mischief Night, Halloween Rules

The rumors are not true.

If you heard that Gov. Chris Christie had cancelled Halloween trick-or-treating due to Ebola concerns, you heard wrong. And there’s no Hurricane Sandy to ruin it all this year, either.

Halloween will happen as usual in the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

Curfews for both towns are 8 p.m. on both Mischief Night and Halloween. The rules are the usual.

Fair Haven police have outlined them, just so there is no confusion.

On Mischief Night … 

• There is ZERO tolerance for anyone found out past curfew (8 p.m.);

• Anyone found in possession of toilet paper, shaving cream, eggs, soap, silly string, fireworks and “any other item that could be used for criminal mischief” will find themselves in trouble with police.

On Halloween …

• Trick-or-treaters under 18 and not supervised by an adult must be off the roads by 8 p.m.;

• Never, ever go trick-or-treating alone;

• Exercise caution around strangers both on the street and at homes;

• Do not go inside homes;

• Do not eat candy until you get it home and it is inspected by parents;

•  Wear a highly-visible or reflective costume, walk on sidewalks and walkways and carry a flashlight and cell phone.

The main message: Stay safe, stay out of trouble and have fun!

Happy Halloween!

Rumsonite Indicted on Federal Commodities Fraud, ‘Spoofing’ Charges

A Rumson resident is facing a maximum prison sentence of more than a lifetime and fines in excess of $1 million in connection with commodities fraud and “spoofing charges” that allege he bilked clients of more than $1.6 million.

Michael Coscia, 52, has been served a 12-count indictment for allegedly “manipulating commodities futures prices,” illegally profiting the near $1.6 million as a result of trading orders he placed through (Chicago-based) CME Group and European futures markets within three months in 2011, a release from the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said.

Coscia, owner of the former Red Bank-based Panther Energy Trading LLC, has specifically been charged with six counts of commodities fraud and six counts of “spoofing,” Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Robert J. Holley, special agent-in-charge of the Chicago FBI office, announced in the release.

Coscia’s 12-count indictment is the first in the nation of federal prosecutions under the relatively new “anti-spoofing” provision that was added to the Commodity Exchange Act in 2010 by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Spoofing is defined as a form of high-frequency trading, or “a form of automated trading that uses computer algorithms for decision-making and placing a high volume of trading orders, quotes, or cancelation of orders in milliseconds,” the release said.

In this case, Coscia allegedly designed two computer programs he has been charged with using “in 17 different CME Group markets and three different markets on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange, including gold, soybean meal, soybean oil, high-grade copper, Euro FX and Pounds FX currency futures, to implement his fraudulent strategy,” or spoofing, the release added.

It is illegal, according to the FBI, for “traders to place orders in the form of ‘bids’ to buy or offers to sell a futures contract with the intent to cancel the bid or offer before execution.”

Coscia’s indictment alleges that he defrauded CME Group and ICE Futures Europe market participants between August and October of 2011.

He allegedly started implementing a high-frequency trading strategy, placing large-volume orders that he allegedly intended to immediately cancel before they could filled by other traders.

“Traders and investors deserve a level playing field, and when the field is tilted by market manipulators, regardless of their speed or sophistication, we will prosecute criminal violations to help ensure fairness and restore market integrity,” Fardon said. “This case reflects the reasons why, earlier this year, we established a Securities and Commodities Fraud Section, which is dedicated to protecting markets and preserving investors’ confidence.”

Coscia, a registered commodities trader since 1988, allegedly devised this “spoofing” strategy to create a false impression about the number of contracts available in the market. This strategy, in turn, fraudulently induced other market participants to react to the deceptive market information he created, the indictment says.

In this case, Coscia allegedly designed his programs to cancel the quote orders within a fraction of a second automatically, without regard to market conditions, even if the market moved in a direction favorable to the quote orders, the indictment says.

“He programmed the quote orders to cancel because he did not intend for them to be filled, but instead intended to trick other traders into reacting to the false price and volume information,” the release added.

The history of Coscia’s case, according to the release:

“His strategy moved the markets in a direction favorable to him, enabling him to purchase contracts at prices lower than, or sell contracts at prices higher than, the prices available in the market before he entered and canceled his large-volume orders, it adds. Coscia then allegedly repeated this strategy in the opposite direction to immediately obtain a profit by buying futures contracts at a lower price than he paid for them, or by selling contracts at a higher price than he paid for them.

“As part of the scheme, Coscia’s trading programs looked for market conditions such as price stability, low volume at the best prices, and a narrow difference between the prices at which prospective purchasers were willing to buy and prospective sellers were willing to sell because his allegedly fraudulent trading strategy worked best under these conditions. His trading programs sometimes placed a ‘ping order’ of one contract to test the market and ensure that conditions would allow his strategy to work well.

“Coscia allegedly designed his trading programs to place a ‘trade order’ on one side of the market, intending that the trade order be filled. He profited from his fraudulent strategy by filling the ‘trade order,’ the charges allege.

“He also designed his programs to place several layers of ‘quote orders’ on the other side of the market from his trade orders ― either to buy contracts at a price higher than the prevailing offer, or to sell contracts at a price lower than the prevailing bid ― to create the illusion of market interest.

“The quote orders would typically be the largest orders in the market within three ticks (the minimum price increment at which a futures contract could trade) of the best bid or offer price, usually doubling or tripling the total quantity of contracts within the best bid or offer price.

“Further, Coscia designed his programs to cancel all fraudulent and misleading quote orders immediately if any of them were even partially filled, according to the indictment, because he intended them only to trick other traders into reacting to what appeared to be a substantial change in the market.

“After Coscia filled his trade order through the use of fraudulent and misleading quote orders, he immediately entered a second trade order on the other side of the market and repeated his steps with misleading quote orders, causing the second trade order to be filled. As a result, Coscia allegedly profited on the difference in price between the first and second trade orders.”

Each count of commodities fraud carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and each count of spoofing carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million fine, according to the release.

Coscia is slated for arraignment on a date to be determined in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Assistant U.S. Attorney Renato Mariotti is representing the federal government.

An indictment is not a conviction. It is only a formal charge that will be tried in a court of law.

 

Looking Back at Sandy Sights

Sandy's block from the bridge to Sea Bright. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Sandy’s block from the bridge to Sea Bright. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

It was two years ago that Sea Bright and low-lying parts of Rumson were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Even after the wind and rain stopped and the Shrewsbury River and ocean parted and drifted back to where they belonged, people were put out of their homes and there was no getting into or out of Sea Bright.

The U.S. Army’s National Guard was called in to help.  Sea Bright residents lined up for a shuttle to take them for a small window of time to grab integral belongings from their ruined homes.

Rumson police and the guardsmen blocked the bridge and food, hot beverages were served as emergency clothing was doled out.

It was a surreal scene for all involved.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect will feature Sandy photos for the next two weeks, until the lights came back on at the time in the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

 

Hurricane Sandy’s Wrath in Sea Bright

Donovan's Reef in Sea Bright after Hurricane Sandy's wind and rain stopped. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright after Hurricane Sandy’s wind and rain stopped. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

It was two years ago that Hurricane Sandy spun its wrath on the Rumson-Fair Haven area, devastating Sea Bright.

Donovan’s Reef, a mainstay summer partying spot was one of the superstorm’s worst victims.

This is what it looked like when the wind and rain stopped. Remember? Let us know which spot of Sandy decimation you remember most. Email us at evd@rfhretro.com.

Rumson Revs Up for Halloween

By Elaine Van Develde

Not only is Halloween approaching, but it’s also a historic time of the year for people in the Rumson-Fair Haven area — the second anniversary of Sandy, the superstorm that crippled the coast.

So, as Rumsonites ready for Halloween, it’s also hard to forget Sandy’s wrath. That was certainly scary enough.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect found few decorations in the borough. Take a look and alert us to more (evd@rfhretro.com). In the meantime, notice one Shrewsbury Avenue resident’s creative take on the anniversary and Halloween combined.

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Photos by Elaine Van Develde

RFH Guidance Head Recognized

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The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has chosen Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) Supervisor of Guidance Fran Swift to serve as a member of its Professional Development Committee.

Swift, who has been the RFH supervisor since July of 2008, received official notice of her appointment as one of three New Jersey delegates to the NACAC Board of Directors on Sept. 15 . Her three-year term began in late September, after an annual national search conducted in the spring of 2014, and will continue through September, 2017, according to a release from RFH.

Among Swift’s duties is acting as liaison for the Regional Affiliates with which she is paired. Within that partnership, she will promote/present workshops for the national organization, the release said. The organization’s membership consists of 13,000 professionals from around the world.

“The scope of my work will be to communicate best practices to School Counselors and College Admission Professionals in the regional affiliates, and to report the affiliates’ professional development needs to the national organization,” said Swift. “My goal is to help achieve a shared strategic vision for the college admissions process that takes everyone’s perspectives into account, Swift said in the release.

“I saw this as a great opportunity to serve NACAC, as well as to gain valuable information and networking connections that will benefit the student body at RFH.”

Swift is the only appointee from the state selected to serve on the eight-member NACAC Professional Development Committee.

As a member of that group, Swift represents the New Jersey regional affiliate chapter as well as the Dakota, Great Plains, and Rocky Mountains regional affiliates.

Swift is very active in the New Jersey regional affiliate of NACAC (NJACAC) and is one of six national delegates from her state serving as the voice of NJ School Counselors and College Admission Professionals on key initiatives, the release said. Previously she completed two terms (four years) as one of two New Jersey secondary school representatives.

Swift is also a member of the Professional Development Committee for NJACAC. In this capacity, she coordinates the Naviance Users Group, presenting workshops to help school counselors implement an on-line system designed to improve college and career planning.

A former Kindergarten teacher, Swift has worked in high school guidance for 27 years. She serves on the Monmouth County School Counselors Executive Board, where she served as president for nine years.

Swift recently completed a term on the Advisory Board of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, and recently joined the Fairfield University Advisory Board in Connecticut.

Founded in 1937, the National Association for College Admission Counseling is an organization dedicated to serving students transitioning from secondary to postsecondary education.

Members include professional school counselors, college access counselors, admission and financial aid officers and more.