Hehnly Teacher Wins Statewide Award

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Nicole Parlavecchio (seated, center) is congratulated on her award by the Central Office Staff. (Photo courtesy of Clark Public Schools)

Nicole Parlavecchio (seated, center) is congratulated on her award by the Central Office Staff. (Photo courtesy of Clark Public Schools)

CLARK — Nicole Parlavecchio, special education teacher at the Frank K. Hehnly School in Clark, is one of eight recipients of the “Innovations in Special Education” Award through the New Jersey School Boards Association.

Each year the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) solicits program nominations for what they deem the most effective, innovative, and successful programming ideas currently in practice in special education classrooms and programs from each district throughout the state. Parlavecchio and the other winners were selected from a pool of 55 nominations.

Parlavecchio’s award winning program is titled “Teaching, Technology, and the Tennessee Titans,” it features educational lessons that are Skyped between the special education students and players and coaches from the National Football League’s Tennessee Titan football team.  Parlavecchio’s father Chet is the linebackers coach of the Tennessee Titans team. Titans players read to the students, participate in interactive learning activities, engage students in higher level thinking skills, and provide homework assignments.

Among the Tennessee Titans players who have participated in the program include Linebacker Gerald McRath, Wide Receiver Marc Mariani, Linebacker Zac Diles and Linebacker Kevin Malast. Parlavecchio develops lesson plans and shares them in advance with the team, who then prepare materials and coordinate the lesson with her. The program has helped to develop enhanced student self-esteem, building speaking and listening skills, and promoting higher level thinking skills.

Clark Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Knops was delighted to hear of Parlavecchio’s selection for an “Innovations in Special Education Award, “Nicole and her dad have done a wonderful job planning, coordinating, and developing this state of the art program.”

“I had the pleasure of working on many graduate school projects with Chet Parlavecchio who was my classmate at Montclair State University about 22 years ago, and now to supervise his daughter, Nicole,” Knops said. “Both Parlavecchios are cut from the same mold: they are visionary educators who think outside the box to motivate young people to strive to better themselves. I have had the pleasure of attending a few skyping sessions, the program is a tremendous innovation as the Titan players involved as well as Coach Parlavecchio are wonderful guiding lights, role models, and mentors to our impressionable students. This program truly touches on the theme of Special Education Week in New Jersey which is ‘Journey Into the Future of Education.’”

Parlavecchio will be honored at a reception next month in Princeton during Special Education Week in New Jersey on May 13 at which time she will create a display to highlight her program and subsequently present this program at an awards ceremony sponsored by the New Jersey School Boards Association to which Gov. Chris Christie has been invited.


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