CMSD NEWS BUREAU
Some students at Marion C. Seltzer School practice
reading aloud—to dogs.
The 20 students are part of the “Seltzer Pup Star Reading”
program started by teacher Lisa Swet. Once
a month, they walk from the West 98th Street school to the City
Dogs Cleveland Kennel,
located a few blocks away.
“A lot of our students are language learners,” said Swet, a 2018 Excellence
in Teaching Award recipient. “They're
learning English as a second language, so they're oftentimes shy
or reluctant to read, especially to read out loud. So not only
does it build the confidence of our students, you can read a
book to somebody who's not going to care if you say the word
wrong or what you read to them.”
Not only do the dogs not care if a student mispronounces a word,
some dogs are so excited that the children are paying attention
to them they can’t stop barking. Other dogs find the reading
relaxing and fall asleep.
Swet says one of the goals with the reading program is for the
dogs to have a positive interaction with the children in the
hopes they will then find a forever home.
“And then for our students to have a purpose to reading while
doing something that will develop empathy and make them think
beyond themselves,” she said.
Fifth-grader Jamailo, born in Kingston, Jamaica, loves to read
and is thrilled to read to the dogs.
"It was really fun and great,” Jamailo said. “The dogs were
really barking. And it was really fun because you get to read,
and they get to watch you read.”
Some students at the Jane Addams Business Careers
Center are practicing hands-on learning by getting
their hands in cookie dough.
The school’s culinary program is busy year round, but this is a
peak season. Students are filling orders for holiday
cookies, a workload that typically totals 350 to 400
sale flier below.)
They also are making cheesecakes and the program’s signature
Jane Addams offers three classes back to back in the morning.
Introduction to Hospitality introduces them to ingredients,
measurement and equipment. That is followed by a class in
customer service and Fundamentals of Production, which includes
such things as chopping and making soups and salads from
“I try to accomplish a goal for every student, no matter how
varied that may be,” said chef and teacher Michael Szalkowski,
in Teaching Award winner in
2018. “I try to tap into their creativity and let them know it
exists. I want them to develop skills and work ethic, whether
they use those in the culinary field or not.”
The students operate a restaurant, the Executive Grille, that
serves lunch and is open to the public. In the spring and
summer, the Executive Grille on the Go, a school bus-turned-food
truck, is a popular attraction at downtown’s weekly Walnut
Wednesdays and other stops.
Besides the holiday cookie sale, the culinary program puts on a
pre-Thanksgiving buffet, a Thanksgiving pie sale, a Christmas
hors d'oeuvres party, a spring breakfast buffet and spring
fine-dining event with white tablecloths and five- to six-course
Two graduates currently study at the Culinary Institute of New
York. One of them, Jonathan Gardner, was
profiled two years ago in the CMSD
News Bureau’s annual “Success Stories” package.
Daijanay, a senior at Jane Addams, wants to go into the culinary
field, maybe someday operating a restaurant and putting on a
camp for students who want to learn to cook.
“I want to do everything culinary,” she said. “All of it –
prepping the house, inspecting the house, serving.”
The District’s new long-term plan for academic programs and
facilities will, among things, consolidate Jane Addams with East
Tech, New Tech East and Washington Park. The consolidation will
take place at East Tech and will unite a culinary program there
with the one from Jane Addams.
Most of the consolidation will occur next school year, but the
Jane Addams culinary program will not relocate until 2021-22.
District CEO Eric Gordon said the extra year is needed to create
space for the combined culinary programs.