Monthly Archives: October 2016

Alumni Spotlight: Chris Rukan

img_0946-jpgA strong education provides a stable foundation for people to build and to create successful lives. I would like to focus on a man who is doing phenomenal things with his life, but has remained humble and credits much of his success to the Milford Public Schools system. Chris Rukan, is a journalist for the Washington Post, and works as an art director collaborating with illustrators, photographers, and graphic editors in order to create descriptive stories. I recently was afforded the privilege of interviewing Mr. Rukan and got an inside look into how he has built such an impressive career.

Mr. Rukan attended Jonathan Law High School and really emphasized how the teaching staff played a major role in motivating him to pursue his interests. Mr. Scire and Mrs. Minichiello are two teachers that immediately came to Mr. Rukan’s mind. Mr. Scire, his social studies teacher during his sophomore year, pushed Mr. Rukan to be confident in his potential and to take on new challenges. Mrs. Minichiello, his English teacher and the advisor for Law’s high school newspaper, The Advocate, typically allowed only upperclassmen to work on the newspaper, but she made an exception for Mr. Rukan.

While contributing to The Advocate, Mr. Rukan discovered his passion for writing. He believes this was life changing and he stressed that the teen years in a child’s life is one of the most crucial times for the birth and development of a passionate career path. He explained how it is extremely important to work hard in and out of the classroom, set high goals, and to get to know the people in your field of interest. A strong work ethic and connections will help open doors to numerous opportunities.

Mr. Rukan began as a sportswriter for the New Haven Register and enjoyed a number of interesting jobs such as, a sports designer at the Palm Beach Post, the Orlando Sentinel, the Journal News, and at the Connecticut Post. Mr. Rukan continues to emphasize how the Milford Public Schools system played an essential role in his exciting career as it provided him with the tools and resources to expand his interests. He also credits his teachers in being kind and in serving as catalysts in motivating him to push himself and to gain a sense of confidence that would stick with him forever.

Without his early experiences in the Milford Public Schools system, Mr. Rukan believes that it would have been much harder to find himself in such a fortunate position. Mr. Rukan is a prime example of an individual who has used his education as a building block to discover his passion and to follow it, ultimately creating a successful and fulfilling career.

Michael Sciuto is the author of this alumni spotlight.  He is a senior at Foran who hopes to study communications in college.

Michael Sciuto is the author of this alumni spotlight. He is a senior at Foran who hopes to study communications in college.

Why Kids Need Recess To Achieve

To some, recess may seem frivolous. There are those that look at playtime during school hours as taking away from the need to generate strong reading skills or help kids achieve success in mathematics. The truth is, kids need recess to achieve.

Strong reading skills are vital. Math skills are imperative. Losing site of the benefits of unstructured playtime can be catastrophic.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently had this to say about the value recess plays in developing well-educated kids.

Optimal cognitive processing in a child necessitates a period of interruption after a period of concentrated instruction. The benefits of these interruptions are best served by unstructured breaks rather than by merely shifting from cognitive task to another to diminish stresses and distractions that interfere with cognitive processing. Several studies demonstrated that recess, whether performed indoors or outdoors, made children more attentive and more productive in the classroom.

The role of unstructured breaks, i.e. recess, in the school day, particularly for elementary aged students, is one that can play a critical part in whether or not our kids can maintain focus and achieve results from their academic studies throughout each day.

It’s not just the American Academy of Pediatrics who are saying this either. An elementary school in Texas has tripled the amount of time students get for recess to include a full hour each school day dedicated to unstructured play. Recess is held in four, fifteen minute blocks.

Teachers have taken notice of the positive impact this has had on their students throughout the day. They say that students are less distracted in the classroom and there has been an improvement in behavior as well, whether it’s students making more eye contact or being generally more empathetic toward their peers.

Through academic research and real-world example, it is clear that recess is a critical component to the achievement of students in elementary grades. Then of course there is the additional benefit of kids getting healthier from all that running around.

What do you think? Share your thoughts on recess in school in the comments below.

Career Pathways: The Way Forward For High School Curriculum

Across the country more and more high schools are recognizing the importance of offering focused preparation for specific careers. This change is coming as an Education Trust report shows that only half of all U.S. high school students are taking the course sequence necessary to be considered college and career ready. In addition to preparing students for a career, a 2016 Fordham University study says that students who have greater access to career preparation and technical education are more likely to graduate from high school, enroll in college, and obtain higher paying jobs.

As the cries become louder to make certain that students are college and career ready, many school systems are responding by forming partnerships with local industries. In Papillion La Vista Community Schools in Nebraska a partnership with CHI Health Midlands Hospital allows students to do rotations through the hospital including shadowing EMT’s. That is just one of almost 180 community partnerships the school system has developed.

As the film industry has boomed in Atlanta, Georgia, the need for skilled videographers and other show business related jobs has also increased. Fulton County Georgia schools related by forming a partnership with film executives to create a film industry career pathway curriculum.

Closer to home, our Milford Public Schools have created a career pathway in computer science. Due to the success of this program, a committee of educators, community members, and local business people has been formed to help develop another career pathway.

For more information on what some other districts are doing across the country, check out this article: