Clarkstown North May Be New To WISE BUT…

They’re beginning with a bang! On April 17th the majority of Clarkstown High School North‘s fifteen WISE students shared their projects with their WISE coordinator, Joe Harley, WISE English teacher Susan Phalen, Assistant Principal Angie Watt, other students, some of their parents, and WISE community coordinator, Andy Lutz. And what a variegated assortment those projects were: Occupational Therapy, Elementary School Student Teaching, Science Teaching Internship, Speech Pathology, Music Production, Fashion and Merchandising, Pediatric ER, Animation, Nursing, Creative Writing….

The WISE students have, as always, learned almost as much about themselves as they have about the topics in which they are immersed. Shelby has been student teaching in a third grade classroom, an experience that has solidified her interest in education and that has resulted in positively glowing feedback from her supervisor and her mentor, who lauded her passion and enthusiasm. Another student, Katie, has also been in the classroom, as an intern in a science classroom where she was able to create a breakout lesson in physics dividing the students up into teams and was thrilled by the amazingly high student engagement. After some initial difficulty finding an internship in speech pathology,


Ashley lucked out with a speech pathologist at Cherry Lane Elementary School in Suffern who exposed her to a range of cases running the gamut of the whole spectrum of speech pathology and reflecting an unexpected variety of socio-economic issues, an experience that reinforced her understanding of the necessity of trying new things and of being open to change. Dan M. decided to pursue a research topic, not an internship, on music production and has learned a lot about being a music producer through observation and through direct contact with people in the industry. Like so many WISE students, he has learned a great deal about other topics as well – about what sort of a learner he is (the verdict: a visual one) and about the need for time management.


Jadyn, who is interested in Occupational Therapy and who proposes to study that next year at Northeastern University, was able to watch students learning to write in the elementary classroom. While she wasn’t able to ‘do’ much herself, she found herself learning, and loving what she was learning, just by observing. Among the things she learned: just how physically challenging learning to write actually is.


Courtney, who is interested in fashion design and merchandising, came up with an idea for ‘Campus Cuts’, a start-up business on Instagram dedicated to designing and sewing customized college wear such as tee shirts and sweats. She will be designing and making 30 shirts by the end of the school year. She has also been busy modifying shirts given to her by other seniors, emblazoning each with the name of the college they have decided to attend. As the project has developed, Courtney has learned about everything from pricing and ordering materials, and designing flyers to the actual manufacturing of the product.


Kathleen landed an internship at Nyack Hospital, working with a nurse in the Pediatric Emergency Room. That in itself turned out to be quite the learning experience – not just working with cute little kids but with kids for whom English was a second language, with kids in acute pain. Challenging as this was, it was also a wonderful experience and her on-site supervisor proved to be a phenomenal resource. She learned far more than she could ever have learned sitting in a classroom.



Gabbie’s interest lies in animation and she was able to acquire not one mentor, but two — one in California and one at Clarkstown North – to achieve her goal: producing her own video of a leg walking. The biggest challenge, of course, was time but she grappled with that from the onset with the motto: Become the Schedule, Live the Schedule. With the assistance of her mentors and WISE teacher, Susan Phalen, she created the time for her project and it is coming together just as she had hoped.

Mara is interested in nursing and has been working in the Mothers and Babies unit at Nyack Hospital. -It has not always been an easy gig but it has been eye-opening. She had never realized the amount of paperwork that nurses have to do, nor has she expected the impact that illness would have on her. But, she said, the need to keep her WISE journal kept her focused and moving ahead. She is now considering not just a career in nursing but the possibility of teaching nursing in the future.


Dan A, a budding writer, had the invaluable experience of an unpleasant internship experience. Thinking that journalism would be a logical place to start, he started an internship at magazine and discovered that he hated it. He wanted to write fiction and journalism, to him, was not creative. Rather than remain stuck in something unproductive, he role-played how to quit gracefully and went on to a new project, writing fiction. He found an author who was willing to read his work and give him honest feedback, he learned to deal with writer’s block, and he is now on his way to fulfilling a dream. He hopes to have eight chapters by the time WISE is over.

May 1 is the date for the presentation preparation workshop, the next big step in the WISE process and presentations will begin on the 23rd of May and conclude on June 8th.


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