Rahway High School Inaugurates Freshmen Seminar & Other Changes

RAHWAY — When Rahway High School students arrive earlier this month, they found many changes in academics, personnel, and facilities. First, construction is going on all over the building and grounds. Second, new faces were present as two district employees have become vice principals. Third, freshmen found a new course on their schedule, Freshmen Seminar/Financial Literacy.

Construction is part of a two-year plan to renovate science and home economics labs and to expand music and dance facilities to house Rahway’s highly regarded arts program, recognized in 2010 as a New Jersey Model School in the Arts. The construction began during the past school year with funds provided by referendum.

Both new vice principals have previous experience at the district level. Mark Cantagallo is in charge of guidance, moving from a position where he was district manager of operations and inaugurated the construction projects. Previous to serving at the district level, he taught at the high school in the history department. Cantagallo received a masters degree in educational leadership from Kean University.

Cary Fields moves from Program Supervisor of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) to heading the attendance office. She will soon complete a doctorate in education at College of Saint Elizabeth, having received an educational leadership masters from New Jersey City University. Before coming to Rahway, Fields was a math teacher and later vice principal at Abraham Clark High School in Roselle.

Cantagallo and Fields join veteran Vice Principal Chey Rivera and Principal John Farinella in looking ahead to a successful year for all students at Rahway High School.

Freshmen Seminar, the new required course for all entering freshmen, is designed both to enable students to meet the revised New Jersey graduation requirements mandating financial literacy and to equip them with the skills to make plans and choices to effectively focus their efforts during high school and beyond to determine and realize personal and career goals. Funding for this course included a grant from the Princeton Center for Leadership Training (http://www.princetonleadership.org/).

Financial literacy is the cornerstone on which the five-credit freshman seminar will be built, including such topics as saving, investing, insurance, credit, debt, and budgeting. The course is designed so that students might learn about how to formulate career and personal goals, what are associated financial constraints and opportunities, and what actions are required on their part during high school to avail themselves to realistically pursue their choices.

All these changes, staffing, course offerings, and construction are part of the framework designed to maximize student achievement in all areas at Rahway High School.

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