News and Events
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The June newsletter is here!
Mustard Seed School Announces Class of 2013 High School Acceptances
March 26, 2013, Hoboken, NJ—Eighth Grade students from Mustard Seed School have already gained admission into over 24 prestigious high schools in New York and New Jersey. Full list and press release.
Author and AOL/ Huff Post Parent’s Parenting Expert Susan Stiffelman to Teach Parents at Free Workshop at Mustard Seed School
September 25, 2012, Hoboken, NJ—On Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at 7 PM, AOL/Huff Post Parent’s parenting expert Susan Stiffelman will teach a workshop at Mustard Seed School, 422 Willow Avenue, Hoboken. In the workshop, How to Make Power Struggles Optional and Obsolete, parents will learn how to come alongside their children and teens, reduce defensiveness, and awaken a child’s willingness to compromise and/or acquiesce. The event is free and open to the public; however, parents should RSVP at www.mustardseedschool.org to reserve a space. Read more
Mustard Seed School Math Teacher Presents Research at Prestigious International Congress on Mathematical Education in Korea
September 13, 2012, Hoboken, NJ—On July 13, 2012, Gary Lawrence was back in the classroom, but he wasn’t in his usual room at Mustard Seed School overlooking Church Square Park in Hoboken, NJ. He was in in Seoul, Korea, at the weeklong International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME). His students weren’t the Seventh and Eighth students at Mustard Seed School. Instead, Mr. Lawrence’s standing-room only audience included education researchers, math education professors, and graduate students from around the world. Read more
Download the Mustard Seed School 2012 Annual Report: A Joyful Noise
The Joyful Noise has arrived! Download.
Mustard Seed Featured on Christianity Today's Website
Read This is a God Place by Abigail Liu.
Hoboken Resident Awarded Graham & Dodd, Murray, Greenwald Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Field of Value Investing, Donates $50,000 Prize to Mustard Seed School for Technology Initiative
July 27, 2011, —In May, 2011, Hoboken resident Erin Bellissimo received the Graham & Dodd, Murray, Greenwald Prize, known as the “Gabelli Prize” for outstanding contribution to the field of value investing. When Bellissimo received the $50,000 prize, she decided to pay it forward. Bellissimo is giving the money to Mustard Seed School to kick-off a technology initiative.
“This gift will create new opportunities for the school to prepare students to be digital citizens and use technology to delve deeper into their studies. We plan to use the gift to purchase two MacBook (laptop) Learning Labs, up-to-date software, and implement other cutting edge technologies in the classroom. This gift accelerates the technology aspect of the school’s strategic plan. I’m grateful that Erin is using the prize money to invest in our students,” said Thomas Postema, Mustard Seed’s Head of School.
Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks Transforms Technological Capabilities at MSS
Fifteen volunteers from Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks came together over the course of two days in July to overhaul the school's technology infrastructure making the internet "fly" through the classrooms. Their work vastly improved the internet capabilities throughout the school building, tripling and quadrupling the speed in some places. Goldman Sachs donated new and larger switches and Cisco Systems contributed a more powerful router to direct traffic on the school's network. Read more.
National Parenting Experts and Authors Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN to Teach Parenting Seminar at Mustard Seed School October 15, 2011Redeemer Hoboken Church is sponsoring a parenting seminar with national parenting experts and authors Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN. The event will be held on Saturday, October 15, 2011 from 8:45 am to 2:30 pm at Mustard Seed School. This event is open to the public. The seminar is titled Everyday Parents CAN Raise Extraordinary Kids! More about the presenters, the seminar, and how to register.
Hoboken Historical Musuem Highlights Work of MSS
Students in New Exhibit
Shared Stitches: Quilts by Mustard Seed Students, a new exhibit at the Hoboken Historical Musuem, will open on Sunday, June 19th with a free reception from 2-5 pm. The show will be on view through July 31.
For the past 12 years, Second Grade students have stitched together class quilts within the context of their study of westward expansion. Each year, the class decides on the theme of the quilt and then students work together to design and stitch panels.
“Sewing reinforces the skills that children need for writing and drawing. It helps them develop concentration and fine motor skills. Working with patterns exercises students’ spacial reasoning and math skills,” says Art Teacher and Shared Space Coordinator Lynn Hamill. “Plus, they love sewing.”
Quilts on display including the featured quilt, Hoboken Pioneer Trail Map. Some of the other quilt themes include immigration, peace, and hope for the new millennium.
On May 25, 2011, 50 MSS Third, Fourth and Fifth Grade students experienced what it is like to be a musician performing at one of the world's leading performance venues. MSS students were chosen by audition to sing and play recorder at Carnegie Hall accompanied by St. Luke's Orchestra. Together with 50 other students from New York area schools, they served as models for over 2800 school children in the audience who were also singing and playing recorder. Participating in the concert was part of the curriculum of the Carnegie Link UP program through the Weill Music Institute. Performing on stage was a great honor.
"Music has always been important at MSS. Carnegie Link UP enhances that tradition and inspires students by giving them access to music opportunities that only a world class arts organization can provide. Ten times a year, grades 3-8 work with Steve Dunn, a professional trombonist and teaching artist from Carnegie. Steve strengthens our music program by teaching orchestral studies, forms, structures and composition," says music teacher Aiko Mauldin. Read more.
Mustard Seed Documentary Chosen For Hoboken International Film Festival June 6th.
A Shared Space: Learning from the Mustard Seed School will be screened at the Hoboken International Film Festival in Teaneck, NJ, on June 6th. Only five percent of the 1,000 entries were chosen for this honor.
Other recent screenings have been at Calvin College (MI), and Covenant College (GA). It will be shown in coming months at the University Film & Video Association at Emerson College (MA), and the Christian Educators Association (IN).
The film has also been entered into a number of film competitions. It will be available for wide release in Dec. 2011. Read more about the the documentary.
MSS Resource Room Teachers Give Workshop to Rockland County Teachers
On May 17th, MSS Resource Room teachers Jodi Miller and Wendy Fernandez taught an all-day workshop to 25 Kindergarten teachers from public and parochial schools in Rockland County, NY. The topic of the workshop was Balanced Literacy: Differentiating Instruction through the Use of Literacy Centers.
Ms. Miller says, “At the workshop I used a Mustard Seed model of staff development: teachers reflecting and sharing together, beginning with what went well, culminating in setting goals for next year with regard to balanced literacy.”
The workshop was very well received. Ms. Miller and Ms. Fernandez have been invited back as literacy coaches.
MSS Launches Newsletter
Did you receive a newsletter in the mail? MSS launched a new newsletter in February to keep supporters, alumni and the extended MSS community updated on how you are making a difference at the school. If you aren't on our mailing list, and would like to be, contact Sandy Carey, firstname.lastname@example.org. 201.653.5548
Mustard Seed School (MSS) is pleased to announce a new head, effective July 1, 2011. The Head Search Committee unanimously recommended Thomas Postema (pictured right) to the Board of Trustees, who unanimously voted to offer him the position, and he has accepted the offer. Mr. Postema's appointment results from a search that took into consideration critical input from the MSS community, including parents, teachers, and administration. and friends of the school. Mr. Postema's breadth of experience enabled him to stand far above the other applicants and makes him an exciting match for MSS.
Mustard Seed School to Participate in Swing Fore the Schools
On Friday, May 6, 2011, Mustard Seed will participate in a fundraising golf outing to benefit several schools in Hoboken. Other schools who will participate include Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HOLA), Hoboken Charter School, Elysian Charter School and the All Saints Episcopal Day School. By joining together for one golf fundraiser, these schools hope to maximize community involvement. They recognize that it is in the best interest of Hoboken to support different, vibrant and fiscally stable education choices for the students of Hoboken and the surrounding communities. It is very much in keeping with Hoboken’s community-based persona.
The event will take place at the Crystal Springs and Wild Turkey golf courses at Crystal Springs Resort and Golf Course in Hardyston, NJ. The courses are just an hour away from Hoboken and are a popular destination for golf outings because of they are varied, each offering different designs and degrees of difficulty. The resort is a spectacular NJ vacation destination, acclaimed as the New York Metro area’s most unique four-season resort. For more information or to register, visit the Swing Fore the Schools homepage. For more information on sponsorship or how you can help, contact Cindy Samaris at email@example.com.
Mustard Seed to Add a Second Kindergarten Class Fall 2011
In September 2011, Mustard Seed will welcome a second Kindergarten class. This is a continuation of the five-year expansion plan which began in the fall of 2010 with the addition of a full-day four-year-old class (The Sky Class.) The school plans to grow from approximately 200 students to 250 students.
Nest Director Shanna Pargellis Has Article Published
Congratulations to Ms. Pargellis! Her article, Finding a Voice in Truth-Telling and Reconciliation: Helping Children Find Their Voice in Hard Circumstances , was printed in this month's edition of Christian Educators Journal. It is posted on the MSS website in the Educator Resources section in .pdf format with permission by the publication.
A new film by Emmy award-winning filmmaker Brian Fuller, "A Shared Space: Learning from the Mustard Seed School" will premiere November 5th, 2010, at Liberty Science Center, Liberty State Park, 222 Jersey City Boulevard, Jersey City, NJ.
The Fiscal Year 2010 annual report, A Joyful Noise 2010, is now available.
September 23, 2010--The Mustard Seed FY 2010 annual report will be mailed this week. If you aren't on our mailing list and would like to receive a copy contact the school office at 201-653-5548 or email Sandy Carey, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mustard Seed School Head of School Christine Metzger announces that the 2010-2011 will be her last school year at MSS
Ms. Metzger has been the second Head of School in the school's 31 year history. Under her leadership, the school has grown in many ways. She has built up the financial stability, strengthened academic programs, systems, and communications. Under her tenure, the school launched a highly successful preschool program, The Nest; formed partnerships with colleges; reached new levels of giving and financial aid goals, secured grants; and began an international Advisory Council. And, very significantly, this year, the school has expanded to the fourth floor of the building giving us space to grow the academic program and add capacity.
Ms. Metzger will be pursuing several options including doctoral programs in educational leadership. She says, "Because of my love and commitment to Mustard Seed, even after the close of the 2010-2011 school year, I will remain connected and supportive of the school."
August 24, 2010 Hoboken, NJ—On Thursday, August 26, 2010, students from Mustard Seed School will sing along with Peter Yarrow in front of TV cameras for the taping of a new PBS special, tentatively named “The Peter Yarrow Singalong”. The taping will take place at the Fieldston Ethical Culture School and will include musicians Paul Stooky, Bethany Yarrow and Rufus Cappadocia (Bethany and Rufus), Billy Jonas, and the Clearwater Walkabout Chorus, a 30-member chorus founded by Pete Seeger. Mustard Seed students are the only participating students. Read more
Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks Partners with Mustard Seed
Community TeamWorks, Goldman Sachs’ signature volunteer program that allows each person one day away from work to volunteer on a team-based project with a nonprofit organization, sent 40 volunteers to work at Mustard Seed over the course of two days in July. Community TeamWorks also provided paint, supplies, and equipment. Volunteers primed and painted ceilings and walls in the new 8,000 square foot space on the fourth floor. They transformed dark, dirty rooms into bright, clean, cheerful classrooms.
Mustard Seed Chosen to Partner with Stevens Institute of Technology through NSF Math-Science Partnership Grant
Mustard Seed School has been chosen, along with schools from 12 diverse districts in NJ, to partner with Stevens Institute of Technology for the next five years through a Math-Science Partnership grant from the National Science Foundation. MSS teachers Melissa McCallihan and Sam Choi won acceptance into the program and will join 400 teachers to participate in coursework leading to a 15-credit graduate certificate program in science and related professional development to strengthen their science content knowledge in physical and earth sciences. The program seeks to help teachers improve their understanding of how students learn STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects, their use of science inquiry and engineering design and their ability to facilitate student learning of 21st century skills such as innovation and creativity, problem solving, and teamwork. A Professional Development/Curriculum Specialist from Stevens Institute will visit MSS every month to support Ms. McCallihan and Mr. Choi as they implement what they are learning into the classroom.
Read the press release from Stevens Institute:
Stevens Institute of Technology Awarded $11.5 Million NSF Math-Science Partnership Grant with 12 School District Partners Across NJ Program Aims to Enhance Grade 3-8 Science, Engineering Education and Foster Innovation, Creativity
May 10, 2010 Hoboken, NJ—Mustard Seed School announced today that it will offer a new, full-day four-year-old program in its preschool, The Nest, beginning in September 2010. This is in addition to its current half-day offerings for three and four-year-olds. The Nest curriculum focuses on academic readiness for Kindergarten, using artistic media to express learning, developing social skills and exploring faith. The pacing of the full-day class will enable teachers to work more in-depth with preschool students. Students will benefit from the larger school community and have access to music classes, art instruction and physical education. Ideal candidates are four-year-old students who want the stimulation of a longer program and have the stamina for a full day. The class size will be up to eighteen students. Read more. Download the full press release in .pdf format.
Mustard Seed Receives Worship Renewal Grant
In May 2010, The Nest was awarded a Worship Renewal Grant to spark a year-long exploration of how artistic response gives language to preschool children's experiences and understanding of God. Artist mentors will work with teachers to build their artistic skill in different media. To share the learning with the local community, representatives from children's ministries at local churches will be invited to attend worship at The Nest, artist mentor sessions, and participate in a culminating workshop where teachers will present what they have learned. This program is made possible through a Worship Renewal Grant from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Grand Rapids, Michigan, with funds provided by Lilly Endowment, Inc.
Award-winning Filmmaker Makes Mustard Seed School the Subject of His Next Film
January 26, 2010-Award-winning documentary filmmaker Brian Fuller is burning through tapes. After two weeks at Mustard Seed School, he and his crew already have over 100 hours of footage and may shoot 50 more in the next week. For most of January, Mr. Fuller is on campus filming classes and interviewing faculty and staff, alumni, and parents. The school is the subject of his next documentary, which will focus on Mustard Seed’s holistic approach to education through integrating academics, arts, faith and service. Read more
Nest Note Cards and Mustard Seed Children's Art Calendar 2010 Available
The new note cards are in with the artwork of the three, four and five year old children at The Nest. A box of eight note cards is available for $10. The 2010 Mustard Seed Children's Art Calendar featuring the art of Kindergarten through Eighth Grade students is also available for $5. Contact the school office at email@example.com or 201.653.5548 for more information.
Sol Rosenkranz Visits Mustard Seed
November 6, 2009-Sol Rosenkranz, a Holocaust survivor and Gallery Educator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage--A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, visited Mustard Seed School today. He spoke with Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Grade students about his experiences including hiding family members, surviving six different concentration camps, and ultimately being liberated in Terezin. Mr. Rosenkranz's visit gives students a real life encounter with history in their study of the Holocaust. This study is a unit in a year long study of Adversity, Change, and Making a Difference.
Mustard Seed Announces Plans to Expand
October 21, 2009-Today Mustard Seed School announced that it will expand the number of
students admitted to its preschool and Kindergarten programs next fall. In response to growing demand in the community, Mustard Seed School will offer a new multi-age pre-Kindergarten/Kindergarten class and will rent additional space at its current location at 422 Willow Ave. in Hoboken to accommodate the new students. Mustard Seed School is now accepting applications for the 2010-2011 school year. Download the press release.
Mustard Seed School to Hold an Early Learning Conference
Mustard Seed School will hold an Early Learning Conference on October 28 and 29, 2009, from 8:30-3:00. The conference is geared toward educators who work with Preschool through First Grade students.Topics covered include the environment as the third teacher, collaboration among teachers and students, and the Shared Space. There will be time to observe classes in action as well as presentations and discussion. Space is limited to 10 people. Lunch will be provided. The cost is $200 per attendee. Contact Shanna Pargellis (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of The Nest and Lower School, for more information.
Mustard Seed Celebrates Its 30th Birthday
September 12, 2009-Governor Jon S. Corzine was on hand to help Mustard Seed School celebrate 30 years of providing students with a high-quality, arts, faith and service-focused education this past Saturday. In addition to the governor, nearly 500 students, alumni, faculty, and community members attended the 30th Birthday Party that took place on the Mustard Seed School (MSS) campus. The celebration featured games sponsored by local businesses, food sponsored by local restaurants, and entertainment from The Fuzzy Lemons.
“Mustard Seed School has advanced the same principles for nearly a third of a century: providing for equal educational opportunity for each and every child, regardless of ethnic, religious, or economic status,” said Governor Jon S. Corzine. “Through this approach, children can realize their full potential, creating intellectual and economic opportunities that otherwise, might be beyond reach. I sincerely appreciate the strong, positive impact this school has had on thousands of students who have passed through these doors and the tremendous, positive impact the school has had on the community, and the state of New Jersey.”
Mustard Seed School Announces the Theme for 2009-2010: Vision
Every year faculty and staff choose an overarching theme for the school year. Teachers and students explore the theme in community worship, in the classrooms, artwork, and service projects. In 2009-2010, the community will consider vision.
Mustard Seed School Still Accepting Applications for Select Grades
The school is still accepting applications for some grades for the 2009-2010 school year. Contact the Director of Admissions, Sebastian Olukun, (email@example.com) for more information.
Mustard Seed Students Win Graceful Envelope Contest
Congratulations to Carson (4th Grade), Mark (5th Grade), and Isaac (5th Grade) for their winning entries in the Graceful Envelope Contest, sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers. Three of the 16 winners in the Children's Division are from Mustard Seed! Read more about the contest. The winning entries are posted below.
Joan Isaacs Litman, Mustard Seed Founder and Music Educator Emerita Selected as Educator of the Year
Mustard Seed Founder and Music Educator Emerita Joan Isaacs Litman was selected as “Educator of the Year” by the Organization of American Kodály Educators. “I spent 21 years at the Mustard Seed School where I was able to develop a strong choir, thanks to the support of the entire community,” Ms. Litman says. Under Litman’s direction, the Mustard Seed chorus performed at Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, the Kennedy Center and the White House. Ms. Litman is currently a member of the music faculty of the United Nations International School in Manhattan and a member of the summer faculty at the Kodály Institute at Capital University. She has guest conducted and trained teachers in the Kodály method in Hungary, Egypt, Iran, and Israel. She is also the author of “Caravan of Song: Folk Songs and Singing Games of the Middle East.” Congratulations Ms. Litman!
Mustard Seed School Co-sponsors Parenting Workshop: Bringing Your Child to Jesus
On Saturday, March 21st, former Mustard Seed School Kindergarten teacher Janet Johnson spoke to 40+ parents and community members about church, worship, and family spiritual life. Ms. Johnson has worked with children and families for over 40 years, including 20 years at Mustard Seed School. The workshop was co-sponsored by Redeemer Hoboken Church and open to the community.
Grades 6,7,8 Sing at the Apollo Theater
For the 2008-2009 school year, Mustard Seed School has been participating in the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute program, Perelman American Roots. As a part of this program, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Grade students sang March 20, 2009 at the Apollo Theater at the Honor! Festival. Read the New York Times article “Carnegie Hall Meets Apollo Theater at Honor! Festival” about the concert. The Perelman American Roots program explores the dynamic connections between American music and American history. It fit directly with a broader curriculum study in the Upper School of the Civil Rights Movement and spirituals. Also as a part of the Perelman American Roots program, music teachers received professional development and a teaching artist visited the school several times.
Elliot Levine, Composer, Comes to Mustard Seed School
In addition to attending Lower School and Upper School worship, Mr. Levine spent time with students on February 10, talking about his work as a composer. The school community learned Mr. Levine’s composition, “Make a Joyful Noise” in advance of his visit and was able to sing it for him. Mr. Levine has been awarded five Meet-the-Composer grants. His most recent large commission, The Cantata of the Animals, has been performed by the Westminster Choir College Choir, the Yale University Choir and by the Studio Arsis Chorus of Tokyo. He has been composer-in-residence at New York City’s Church of St. Thomas More.
Shanna Pargellis, Mustard Seed Founder and Director of The Nest and Lower School Speaks at Intervarsity Conference
Shanna Pargellis, Director of The Nest and Lower School, spoke to graduate students on a profession in education at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship’s Following Christ Conference on Human Flourishing in Chicago, on December 28 and 29. Click here and scroll to the education section for the audio track.
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Publishes Article on Mustard Seed School
The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship has posted an article titled “Who We Want to Be: Linking community worship (school chapel) to life.” The article is a feature study on Mustard Seed School and designed for small groups to study, complete with discussion questions. Read the article and hear a recording of Shanna Pargellis, Mustard Seed’s Founder, Lower School Director and Director of The Nest Early Learning Center.