Remember how I said I was continually impressed with our school community ~ look at what they accomplished as an entire school on the day before holiday break.  It was a day that rivaled hallway decorating and the entire school was involved.  Four homerooms won a bagel breakfast in 2017.  I wanted to share a slide show of just a few of the 80+ doors that were decorated in a winter theme by teams of staff and students…

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A Holiday Story ~

As we prepare for some time away from RHS ~ please accept our very best wishes for a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with much love, luck and happiness.

Regardless of the many years that I have spent in education, this school community as a whole continues to impress me as I marvel at what we collectively are able to accomplish.  The bottom line is always providing our students with the best possible high school experience and everything we do is aimed at that goal.

As educators we are always concerned and wondering if what we impart on a daily basis is not only learned but will it provide our graduates with the tools they need to be successful.  We consistently rank at the top, win all types of awards and trophies,  ace tests and improve scores with the best of them ~ hands down.  That said, in speaking with many different students and staff members and asking them about the times that stand out the most ~ inevitably the response refers to how someone made them feel ~ who gave the gift of time ~ time to care about the whole person, time to build trust ~ time to create the foundation of a relationship on which all else could stand.  I believe we could say that as parents too ~ that the time we get with our families, our children, our own parents ~ is not only the best gift but one that provides the kind of memories that last a lifetime.

I’ll share a story about the gift of time ~

The Thing I Value Most

Author Unknown

It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.” Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence,’ as he put it,” Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important… Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown.

Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time.

The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture… Jack stopped suddenly.

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked. 

“The box is gone,” he said.

“What box? ” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,'” Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said. “I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package.

The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.

“Mr. Harold Belser,” it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope.

Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter.

His heart racing, tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch. Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.

Inside he found these words engraved: “Jack, thanks for your time! Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most… was… my time.”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days.

“Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with my son,” he said.

“Oh, by the way, Janet… thanks for your time!”

Our wish for you is to have some quality time with those who matter most!  Enjoy a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and a very HAPPY  NEW YEAR!  Thank you for sharing your children with us~ they are a tremendous gift.


Mrs. Iosso

P.S.  summer is exactly 180 days, 4 hours, 18 minutes and 27 seconds away ( from this moment of typing 🙂

P.P.S  The Cowboys are 12-2

Play Unified/ RHS Exemplary School

Randolph High School was recently named the Exemplary HS for the State of NJ for Play Unified Sports.  Under the direction of transition coordinator, Brianne McBreen, supervisor Mrs. Evy Falcon-Duran, and coach Patti Mountjoy, our athletes not only competed in Shriver Cup events but had a ton of fun along the way.  This year we are looking to expand our programs and continue to host youth summits at RHS.




The school and our PTSO are joining forces to provide a Day of Service and hopefully create positive moments in many lives.

We celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. each year with a day off from school.  We would like to take that celebration one step further and in the spirit of “ALL IN” we will be organizing many different volunteer activities that will make a difference in our school and in the larger community.

We have organized some activities already and are willing to add many more.  Please take a look at the sign up page at the end of this post and consider signing up and/or letting us know if you have another suggestion for an additional event.

Special thanks to the PTSO officers for their very enthusiastic assistance and to the many staff and students who have already pledged to be part of this day.  There is nothing more gratifying than making a difference in the lives of others and what better way than through service to our community.

We will be sending out additional information as we get closer to the day.  Should you have any questions please feel free to reach out to Mrs. Iosso diosso@rtnj.org or Mrs. Stifelman jstifelman@gmail.com.


1st Annual
Randolph High School Service Day For High School STUDENTS
In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
January 16, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
1.  RHS STUDENTS – Sign Up to Serve!

2.  RHS STUDENTS – Organize Your Own Project

3. Bring Items to Donate



4. Purchase a T-shirt to Support CPNJ!
T-shirts Will Be Sold At RHS in January!

5.  RHS Staff/Teacher Sign Up to Help

Answers to the Wilderness Test

A challenge was offered below to pass the Wilderness Test (underneath the assessment post on November 21st).

The answers as promised:

  1.  You are hungry and lost in wild country.  The best rule for determining which plants are safe to eat is to;
    1. put a bit of the plant on your lower lip for five minutes; if it seems ok, try a little.
  2. The day becomes dry and hot.  You have a full canteen of water (about one liter) with you.  You should;
    1. drink as much as you think you need when you need it
  3. You must ford a river that has a strong current, large rocks and some white water.  After carefully selecting your crossing spot, you should;
    1. leave your boots and pack on
  4. Your flashlight glows dimly as you are about to make your way back to your campsite after a brief foraging trip.  Darkness comes quickly in the woods, and the surroundings seem unfamiliar.  You should;
    1. put the batteries under your armpits to warm them and then replace them in the flashlight
  5. An early snow confines you to your small tent.  You doze with your small stove going.  There is a danger if the flame is;
    1. yellow.

SO ~ how did you score????


Dear RHS School Community;

On behalf of all of us here at RHS ~ we wish you a safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

We always talk about sending thanks to those who have been influential in our lives.  Please try to take a moment and truly reflect on who and what makes your life special.  I know sometimes we get caught up in this thing called life and forget to stop and give a hug to those who have been there no matter what.

People come and go in our lives ~ some sincere and others not so much.  I am so thankful for my family and I wish my Dad was closer because I think above all, he and my mom have had my back no matter what.  And of course, my three boys at home 🙂  I am also blessed to have a career that I love and colleagues who could not be any more special.

I recently had a student from one of my early years of teaching return to visit me.  When he arrived at the door of the school, I will admit that I did not know who he was and was also a bit skeptical of his appearance and his motivation for showing up at the school.  I almost wasn’t going to speak with him.  When I went out, he handed me what was obviously an elementary school Thanksgiving project done by an elementary student.  He handed it to me and said that he was packing to be deployed overseas and he came across this project that he had saved from his days at Shongum when I was his teacher.  He commented that he felt like he had to find me to give me the project and let me know how much he remembered how I made him feel.  I looked down at the project and he had drawn a stick figure of me and wrote, I am thankful for my teacher.  Those are the moments that are truly priceless in this profession and the major reason we do what we do.  I am so thankful this young man took the time to come back and share that with me ~ I will treasure that moment always.

I hope this Thanksgiving holiday comes with a similar moment for all of you. Please accept my very best wishes for a wonderful weekend filled with good food, family and friends.


Mrs. I

Performance Based Assessments/ November 14th PD Day at RHS

So what exactly is a performance based assessment?

“Authentic assessments that require students to develop a product, response, analysis, or problem solution that reflects the kind of reasoning or performance required beyond the classroom.”  (Darling-Hammond, L.,&Adamson, F. 2014).

Why do we need to reform the way we do assessments?

“History suggests that a standard-by-standard approach to teaching and learning does not work.  Instead, our advice, based on research on learning, is to focus on the big ideas of what students are expected to accomplish…Consider how specific standards and evidence targets can be integrated in the development and demonstration of these major competencies through appropriate performance tasks.” (Joan Herman & Robert Linn , Ed Leadership, March 2014).

In short, the content laden, multi-question exam may not, and frequently does not, require much more than recall.  Today’s marketplace is calling for individuals that are able to apply the skills and knowledge they have gained to arrive at solutions to problems. But to create a true performance based task that gets at those skills and knowledge is not as easy as constructing a macaroni Parthenon~ as some might envision when they think performance based.

On November 14th, groups of teachers gathered during the early dismissal to compare their performance based benchmarks with some exemplars and they also used a design template to help them evaluate where their assessment was strong and where it could be enhanced.  The long range goal is to continue to analyze and enhance our benchmark assessments so that we are doing a better job at getting to testing actual skills and knowledge based on learned content.  I have seen a definite improvement in this area and we are continuing to move forward.  I’ve attached a sample of some of the items we are expecting in the development of a high quality assessment.

In addition to the work on performance based assessments, the high school is also working with Dr. Richmond this year to analyze and improve other types of assessments.  She began our first meeting together with the Wilderness Assessment that is attached.  Go ahead and answer the questions and I challenge you to get them all correct. (I’ll provide the answers in another post :-)).  Dr. Richmond will be working with our staff through the instructional coach’s office and provide a more individualized approach to assisting teachers with enhancing how they assess students.

Stay tuned for updates



ASCD ~ Ed Leadership TEAM

On November 3rd, a team of ten educators from RHS traveled to National Harbor, MD for an ASCD Educational Leadership Conference.  One of the most successful programs here at the high school is our instructional coaching program and it has been implemented by teacher leaders.  The privilege of attending this conference came with the understanding that the teachers would return to the high school better prepared to add to our teacher leadership core.

Keynote presentations were provided by Robert Marzano and Monica Martinez.  A common thread during these two events as well as much of the conference was the need for schools to transform not only how they teach but also how they assess.  Many sessions also focused on the power of instructional coaching and the positive impact it has in classrooms.

The team spent after session hours reviewing what was heard and seen and comparing and contrasting to what we do here at RHS.  Everyone was excited and rejuvenated to come home and begin sharing what we learned.  To that end, the team of ten continues to meet and will be leading upcoming professional development in the HS.


Dinner guests along with Rosie the Riveter!



I could not be more proud and impressed with the work that our instructional coaches continue to do at RHS.  To watch them present at Penn State  validated just how awesome they are.  Their audience and the organizers of PIIC were duly impressed with them as well ~ they’ve become known as the JERSEY GIRLS as this institute is solely for Pennsylvania coaches but they have been invited because of what they have developed at RHS.  KUDOS to these ladies!