Volume 4
Issue 2
In This Issue
Spring Fling
7 to 9 p.m.

Art Show
8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
(Parent Reception 
5 p.m.)

Talent Show
11:30 a.m.

Pines Bridge/Transitions Graduation
10 a.m.
Pines Bridge Student Named March Student of Distinction
Hendrick Hudson School District Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter presents Emma Weinstein with her Student of Distinction award, as Pines Bridge teacher Carolyn Schneider looks on.

Emma Weinstein, a student from the Hendrick Hudson School District who attends Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES' Pines Bridge School, has been named a Student of Distinction for the month of March.

Emma was recognized recently at a Hendrick Hudson Board of Education meeting at Hendrick Hudson High School, where she received a certificate and medal from Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter.

Emma started attending Pines Bridge in 2010. She was non-verbal when she first arrived, although she was able to communicate using an iPad.  Her teacher Carolyn Schneider praised Emma for making "amazing progress" in the past seven years.

"Emma slowly began talking in a very quiet voice," said Schneider. "Now her social language has expanded and she greets familiar people with 'hi' and 'bye.'  She has grown into a delightful young lady and enjoys all aspects of her school day."

Emma has a wonderful sense of humor and enjoys being silly with both staff and students.  She loves doing puzzles, swimming and dancing at school functions.

"Last year Emma gave us all a very big scare when she got sick and spent a number of months in the hospital," said Schneider during the award ceremony. "But she is such a fighter, and we are so proud of her. Today is Emma's 14th birthday, and I'm sure this award will be a present she will treasure."

After Emma received her certificate and award, Board of Education members broke out into a round of "Happy Birthday" to mark the occasion.

BOCES Assistant Superintendent John McCarthy said, "Emma is a wonderful young lady, and we are delighted to recognize as our March Student of Distinction for the great things she is accomplishing."

Postcards from Across the Globe Flood into Pines Bridge School

(From left to right) Teacher Carolyn Schneider with Racheel Santos, Tiffany Mourao, Annalucia Meyer and Giselle Ortiz-Hernandez

Postcards line the walls with messages from places as far flung as Singapore and as near as White Plains. The pictures depict small towns in states like South Dakota, tourist capitals like London, England, and resort spots like Hawaii. All of the cards are addressed to students at the Pines Bridge School at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES.

Carolyn Schneider, the teacher who launched the postcard project, said the students received 639 cards including 430 from all 50 states and 209 from around the world. Forty-one students participated in the project, which began as an offshoot of an English Language Arts lesson that features a story about a boy who receives postcards from around the world.

"I was amazed at how many parents took it upon themselves to promote this," said Schneider. "It was something that parents and children could do together and involve family and friends. It was fun and the end result is pretty."

One mom put an ad in a newspaper in Liverpool, England, asking for postcards and another wrote to chambers of commerce around the country seeking cards. When the school year ends, each student who participated will get to take home the postcards that were addressed to him or her. One parent plans to decorate a wall of her daughter's room with the cards she received.

As the postcards came pouring in, Schneider said, she used the activity across the curriculum. Students located places on the map, counted and categorized cards, calculated how many cards were needed to reach representation from all 50 states and more. For their part, the students enjoyed seeing their names displayed on the cards and taking in the sights from so many diverse places.

Spencer Oram named 
BOCES Student of Distinction 
Spencer Oram is surrounded by family at his 
Student of Distinction Ceremony. BOCES Board Member Mary Cay Nilsen, Director of Special Education Shelley Fleischmann and Pines Bridge Principal Csilla Mate are also on hand.

Teachers at the Pines Bridge School in Yorktown love Spencer Oram for his great sense of humor, contagious laugh and hard work.

It's one of the reasons Spencer, a Katonah resident, was honored as the BOCES Student of Distinction for February. Spencer received a certificate and a medal of honor from his teacher, Jessica Fytros, at a recent Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education meeting.

"Over the time we've worked together I've really gotten to know Spencer and I've watched him grow into the wonderful young man you see here tonight," Fytros said. "Spencer loves to come to school each morning and will often greet teachers with a wave, a smile or a vocalization. He is very social and loves to interact with his classmates as well."

Fytros said Spencer is always eager to volunteer and loves books. 

"Spencer has made so much progress during this time at Pines Bridge," Fytros said. "I am excited to see how far he will go."

Through an assisted speech device, Spencer expressed his appreciation for the award.

"I am so happy to be here tonight. Thank you so much for having me," Spencer said.

Elizabeth Oram, Spencer's mother, spoke highly of her son's time at Pines Bridge.

"Spencer has had a terrific time there. He has had Jessica as his teacher for a while and she's just wonderful," she said. "It's terrific because BOCES also offers summer school, so he doesn't lose the progress he has made throughout the year. He has all of his occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy there and they have the pool, which he loves -- he absolutely loves being in the pool."  

Transitions Students Mark the 100th Day of School

Transitions teacher Lisa Giacomini-Essell and her students proudly display their 100th Day projects

The 100th day of school is something students love to celebrate, and Lisa Giacomini-Essell's Transitions 3 students are no exception. 

"The students in my class are all very different, but they have one thing in common: their love for math and counting," said Lisa. "So this year I decided to allow them to explore their interests with a "100 Day" project. The assignment was to affix 100 of anything to a presentation poster, with the goal of reinforcing their counting skills."

The results were impressive in their execution and reflected each student's unique personality.  For example, Ryan, who loves "knock-knock" jokes, brought in a miniature door (complete with a knocker) covered in jokes. Fellow student Nick created a poster with 100 images of his favorite movies. "It was apparent that our students' families put in a lot of time in putting these projects together, and the students were very proud of their work," said Lisa.

This was the first time a voluntary project like this had been assigned to the Transitions 3 students, and more than half opted to participate. "They were true representations of what each student really enjoys," said Lisa.


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Ellen Lane,  Editor
Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES