Results of Borough Hall-led pilot program show potential benefits of aerobic exercise on academic performance
Borough President James Oddo is pleased to announce the encouraging results of a Borough Hall-led pilot program that adds to the growing body of evidence demonstrating the positive impact of exercise on academic achievement.
Borough President Oddo was inspired to pursue physical education reform after reading Dr. John Ratey’s bestselling book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain which presented a critical mass of scientific evidence demonstrating the connection between exercise and brain development. In Spark, Dr. Ratey provided scores of case studies and academic findings that support his conclusion that aerobic exercise is “Miracle-Gro for the brain.”
The opening chapter of Spark details how the Naperville, Illinois school district significantly improved academic performance by transforming physical education classes. After seeing the documented benefits of a shift from sports-based skill development to a focus on cardiovascular fitness in physical education curricula, Borough President Oddo was determined to bring this innovative reform to the students of District 31 on Staten Island. As a first step, our office partnered with Principal Deirdre DeAngelis to pilot a Spark-inspired physical education program at New Dorp High School.
A randomly selected group of nearly one hundred ninth grade students began their early morning physical education class with seven minutes—building to 15 by the end of the school year—of intense aerobic exercise. Borough Hall’s graduate data fellowship program monitored the de-identified academic performance of the students in the pilot class and compared their grades in each marking period to those of their ninth grade peers.
At the end of the school year, Borough Hall’s Public Policy Team reviewed the results. Despite curriculum restrictions which limited aerobic activity to, at most, the first 15 minutes of each physical education class, the pilot found promising indications that students in the Spark pilot were gaining ground, as compared to their peers in the control group.
“Given the potential impact of Spark on the academic performance of public school students—not to mention the ancillary benefits on health, behavior, and personal development—a rigorous evaluation is the logical next step necessary to realize transformative physical education reform,” said Borough President Oddo. “A shift to aerobic exercise, if done right, could contribute to leveling the playing field for all students in New York City schools.”
The results of the study can be viewed here.
Based on the findings from the Borough Hall-led pilot, the Borough President is calling on the de Blasio administration to partner with Borough Hall to launch a large-scale pilot across public schools on Staten Island with full fidelity to the cardiovascular fitness model.
“I applaud Staten Island for applying the science of exercise to bolster student achievement, with measurable, positive results. This is only with 12 minutes of intense exercise three times a week. It is wonderful to see the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of Borough President Oddo taking it to the next level and wanting to push it even further. Imagine the possibilities,” said John J. Ratey, MD, author of Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
“(Borough) President Oddo’s study on the potential benefits of vigorous exercise in schools is a fitting exclamation point to National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. The pilot program at New Dorp High School on Staten Island is further evidence that we have only scratched the surface in realizing the power of exercise. To that end, at the direction of President Trump, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is participating in the development of a national strategy to increase youth sports participation and regular physical activity. I thank the Borough President for his leadership on this important issue—and for doing the hard work on the ground to publish these important findings,” said Anthony C. Ferreri, DBA Regional Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Region II.
“Starting my day observing our ninth grade students engaged in rigorous aerobic activity is exciting, but it is the improvement in the academic data of these students that really makes me a believer in the SPARK experience. So thankful that our school staff and students are always ready to try something new, especially something that can make a difference,” said Deirdre A. DeAngelis, Principal, New Dorp High School.
“In an effort to educate the ninth grade students of the Institute of Health Science, on the importance of physical activity, we have begun to implement the SPARK program to supplement our current physical education curriculum. We have seen an increase in interest from our students in the areas that the SPARK program emphasizes (beating stress and anxiety, improving body and mind, and sharpening thinking skills). The evidence has been undeniable. By implementing this program, we have seen that aerobic physical activity in the morning stimulates the brain and increases maximum academic performance throughout the school day,” said Richard Rucireto, Assistant Principal of Health & Physical Education and Supervisor of the Institute of Health Sciences, New Dorp High School.
Borough President James S. Oddo has announced that he is continuing the Patrick F. Daly Award after reviving it in 2017 in honor of the 26th anniversary of Mr. Daly’s death. This award goes to two educators who exemplify the values of fallen principal Patrick Daly, who was gunned down in Red Hook, Brooklyn while searching for a student who had left the school building 27 years ago.
“I’m grateful to be able to continue this award in honor of fallen principal, Mr. Patrick Daly,” said BP Oddo. “This award gives us a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to his sacrifice and legacy, while also recognizing outstanding educators who have made an impact in our community.”
Anyone who may wish to nominate a teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal, or principal may do so. The award will be given in Mr. Daly’s memory, honoring his legacy of service to the community, his steadfast commitment to his students, and his leadership.
"My family and I would like to thank the Borough President for continuing to honor my father's legacy, as well Staten Island's many excellent educators, with this award. We look for forward to this year's ceremony and meeting the 2019 honorees,” said Pat Daly, son of the fallen educator.
Nominations are currently being accepted and will be accepted until July 8th. For full details, please visit www.statenislandusa.com/dalyaward.
Borough President James S. Oddo is pleased to announce that he will host another round of free thyroid cancer screenings at Borough Hall. The screenings will take place on Wednesday, May 29th from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Conference Room 125. The screenings are sponsored by HeartScan Services.
The rate of diagnosis of thyroid cancer has increased in recent years due to improvements to technology. In many cases, physicians cannot feel a nodule, but cancer can be detected through ultrasound screenings. The survival rate of thyroid cancer is very high when the cancer is found in early stages.
“I am grateful to once again partner with HeartScan Services to provide this important service for Staten Islanders. I understand the importance of engaging in preventative measures and taking charge of your health, which is why I encourage all Staten Islanders to take advantage of these free screenings. The earlier cancer is found, the easier it is to treat,” said Borough Presdient Oddo.
An appointment must be made to be screened. Contact Renee Sarno at 718-816-2133 to reserve your appointment or register below.
On April 10th, Borough President James S. Oddo awarded Monsignor Peter G. Finn with the Maniscalco Award during a ceremony at the St. George Theatre. Prior to the ceremony, a small, private plaque-unveiling took place at Borough Hall, at which Cardinal Timothy Dolan gave a blessing. Monsignor Finn was then be led up Hyatt Street by Farrell High School musicians with an NYPD escort.
At the ceremony at the St. George Theatre, Monsignor Edmund Whalen gave the evening’s invocation and Father Jerome of St. Charles Parish gave the evening's benediction. Blessed Sacrament Youth Choir performed two songs for the audience.
A reception followed in the Grand Lobby of the St. George Theatre with donated fare from the Canlon's, Denino's Pizzeria, O'Neill's Staten Island, the Staaten, and the Port Richmond High School Culinary Arts Program.
The Albert V. Maniscalco Community Service Award was established in 1986 in honor of the ninth borough president. Maniscalco's tenure from 1955 to 1965 saw the creation of the Greenbelt and the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. The award celebrates the civic-mindedness and tireless energy of individuals or organizations that work to help community members in need and to make Staten Island a better place.
“It is my pleasure and honor to be able to – with the Maniscalco Family – bestow this award on Monsignor Finn,” said Borough President Oddo. “He has been a reliable, comforting presence on Staten Island for so many of us – from Farrell grads to the community at large. He embodies all of the values that this award stands for and I’m thrilled to make him part of such an exclusive club of Staten Islanders.”
Monsignor Peter G. Finn was born and raised on Staten Island. A graduate of St. Peter’s Boys High School, he was ordained in 1965. Monsignor Finn has been the pastor of Blessed Sacrament R.C. Church since 2007. He was the co-vicar of Staten Island with Monsignor James Dorney. Monsignor Finn was the rector of St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, N.Y., from 2001 to 2007. Before that, he was the pastor of St. Joseph-St. Thomas R.C. Church. From 1983 to 1989, Monsignor Finn was the director of the Archdiocese Office of Communications. He was also the principal of Monsignor Farrell High School, where he had been a faculty member. Monsignor Finn was the district superintendent of schools on Staten Island. He received a bachelor of arts from Manhattan College and a master of divinity from St. Joseph’s Seminary. He also holds degrees from Richmond Community College and Columbia University.
Monsignor Finn has long been an active supporter of the ecumenical activities on Staten Island and the Council of Churches. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Knights of the Holy Sepulchre and the Knights of Malta. He also serves on a number of boards, including Project Hospitality, the Staten Island Catholic Youth Organization, Carmel Richmond Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, the Seton Foundation, Archdiocese of the Ladies of Charity and the Staten Island Center for Independent Living.
“I feel honored,” said Monsignor Finn. “I knew the late Albert Maniscalo and his family. They stood for service. I am in the company of dedicated Staten Island leaders.”
Around 250 people attended the evening's ceremony.
Here are the past winners of the Maniscalco Award:
Richard E. Diamond, John L.F. Sipp, Norma D'Arrigo, Allan Weissglass, Martin Stallone, Roger E. Acker, Reverend Robert I. Gannon, Michael F. Manzulli, Michael J. Petrides, Marie G. Martino, Frank Powers, Susie Hyun Sook Beidel, Brian J. Laline, Reverend Hattie Smith-Davis, and Joseph V. Madory, Lou Caravone, Jose Joe Valentin, Nancy Passeri, retired Borough Commander Anthony Marra, Reverend Terry Troia, Senator John J. Marchi, Wendy Pellegrino, Fred Ariemma, Joanne E. Gerenser, Ph.D., Dr. S. Chitoor Govindaraj, Kathryn Krause Rooney, the Siller Family, George and Maria Esposito, the Mannix Family, the Dr. Theodore Atlas Foundation, William A. Morris Jr., Lois and Richard Nicotra, and Dee Vandenburg.
Borough President James Oddo is pleased to open up nominations for an official poet laureate for Staten Island.
“It’s time that Staten Island had its own Poet Laureate who can foster a greater appreciation for the art of reading and writing poetry,” said BP Oddo. “I am excited at the prospect and look forward to adding this voluntary position to our team at Borough Hall.”
The appointment of Staten Island Poet Laureate will be an unpaid, volunteer position, appointed for a 4-year term by the Borough President, based on the recommendation of a selection committee.
Candidates for the position must reside on Staten Island and have recognition as a poet, as well as a demonstrated commitment to using the position for community outreach and projects that promote poetry and/or literacy on the Island.
A committee of literary and arts “experts” from the local community will make their recommendations to the Borough President who will ultimately select the Poet Laureate.
Nominations should be sent to Jennifer Sammartino at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a CV or resume and 3-4 examples of the nominee’s literary works. The nomination period is open until April 12th at 5 PM.
Borough President Oddo encourages individuals to volunteer their time to welcome tourists at the St. George Ferry Terminal
The Staten Island Borough President’s Office is sponsoring a volunteer program to welcome tourists at the St. George Ferry Terminal for another year. The Ferry Terminal Kiosk volunteer program will provide exposure to hundreds of tourists each day from May through October.
The ideal candidate has excellent communication skills, a willingness to learn, and enthusiasm about marketing Staten Island and New York City as a destination. Volunteers will be responsible for fostering interest in Staten Island by providing information regarding local attractions, bus routes, nearby eateries, and thoughtfully answering other tourist inquiries. Training will be provided that covers the aforementioned topics.
The booth will be open from Wednesday through Sunday, 10 am to 6pm, with three 2-hour shifts daily and at least three volunteers for each shift. Scheduling is flexible. Volunteers will be responsible for addressing queries in a friendly manner and must have a presentable and professional appearance while operating the booth. Volunteers will also be responsible for opening and setting up the kiosk each morning and securely closing it in the evening, as well as keeping all the materials stocked.
Volunteers will be given the opportunity to expand interpersonal skills by interacting with a diverse and curious audience and be awarded a Certificate of Completion—a great addition to a resume—for their work.
Tourism is a $66 billion industry in New York City. The Staten Island Ferry is one of the most visited attractions in New York City, with over 1.5 million tourists riding the Ferry each year.
“Staten Island is sure to see a major uptick in tourism. There has been a lot of buzz about our borough in the media, both locally and internationally. We at Borough Hall know this is going to be an important economic driver, and we are excited to be able to assist in that effort with this kiosk that helps direct tourists,” said Borough President James Oddo. “Our goal is to connect tourists to the wonderful cultural attractions Staten Island has to offer, providing directions, information on where they can eat, shop, and stay. Staten Island is open for business in every way possible.”
Applications for the volunteer positions are currently being accepted. All inquiries should be made by April 1. For more information, contact Colleen Siuzdak at the Staten Island Borough President’s Office of Tourism and Cultural Affairs at email@example.com or 718-816-2057.
Borough President James Oddo and District Attorney Michael E. McMahon will host the Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home Breakfast on Tuesday, March 26th at 9am at the Hilton Garden Inn in the Tea House Garden. The ceremony, which continues the thirteen-year commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the conflict, will honor those who served in the U.S. Armed Forced during the Vietnam War era. The breakfast will begin at 9am, with the ceremony to start at 10am.
At the third annual breakfast, veterans will be given a symbol of appreciation by BP Oddo and DA McMahon. In addition, there will be a POW/MIA recognition ceremony.
Staten Island residents who were active members of the military during the period from 1955 to 1975 are eligible to attend the breakfast. Veterans may be asked to provide their DD-214 as proof of service.
“Our veterans have made our freedom and way of life possible, and for this we continue to thank them,” said Borough President Oddo. “Many of our veterans who served bravely in the Vietnam War were not welcomed home properly when they returned. I am extremely thankful to all those who have dedicated their lives in service to protecting this country, and for that DA McMahon and I are happy to continue this ceremony to recognize their heroism, sacrifice, and service to our country.”
“Today as Americans we rightfully greet those returning home from serving our nation with gratitude and praise; the same cannot be said for the men and women who served in Vietnam. Upon their return, our Vietnam vets were often met with disrespect and outright disdain. Joining with Borough President Oddo to once again give these heroes a long overdue ‘Thank You’ and ‘Welcome Home’ is a true privilege and I encourage all of our Vietnam veterans to join us for a celebration of their service both abroad and here at home,” said District Attorney Michael E. McMahon.
Veterans wishing to attend the ceremony must RSVP to Diane Marciuliano at (718) 816-2246 or DMarciuliano@statenislandusa.com by March 18th.
Please contact the Department of Communications.