Week of December 6, 2021
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December 6
Facilities Committee Meeting
Board of Education Executive Session
FMS PTSA/SEPTA Parent Meeting
Board of Education Meeting

December 8
Junior Student/Parent College Presentation

December 9
Saturnalia Celebration
FMS 7 & 8 Grade Winter Concert
New Hastings High School Club Celebrates Hanukkah
Hastings High School Yiddish Club president Amelia Verba-Beaudouin spins the dreidel as club member Anijah Clegg looks on.
As people of the Jewish faith celebrate Hanukkah this week, one club at Hastings High School is learning about the Festival of Lights traditionally. 
The Hastings High School Yiddish Club was formed this year by a small group of students who wanted to learn the language while also learning more about Judaism and Jewish culture. Yiddish, a German-based language highly influenced by Hebrew, is historically spoken by Ashkenazi Jews but has influenced and spread to many countries and cultures around the world. 
Started by junior Amelia Verba-Beaudouin, the club focuses on the basics of the language such as the alphabet and important words and phrases. Although she was interested in learning the language, Verba-Beaudouin was first drawn to Yiddish because of its music. 
“Over the pandemic I started listening to a lot of Klezmer music,” she said. “It can be fun and energetic, so I wanted to understand what they were saying.” 
After gaining some knowledge of Yiddish, Verba-Beaudouin decided to form the club with friends in order to hold conversations in it. However, many members of the club do not have a connection to heritage like Verba-Beaudouin does. 
“Half the club isn’t Jewish,” said Verba-Beaudouin. “But I fill them in on whatever they need to know.” 
“It seemed like it was interesting,” added senior Anijah Clegg. “So I decided that I wanted to learn.” 
And what better time to start learning than during the Festival of Lights. 
“I’m not really educated on Hanukkah at all,” said Clegg. “I am looking forward to learning.” 
Verba-Beaudouin taught the club about the history of Hanukkah before handing out dreidels, a spinning toy associated with the holiday. After learning the rules, club members played the game for chocolate gelt and got a taste of the holiday.
Looking forward to the future, Verba-Beaudouin plans to hold similar experiences for club members to learn about Passover and Purim. She is also considering organizing club field trips. 
“If we were able to go into the city and go to the Jewish History Museum or find a fluent Yiddish speaker to talk to us that would be really nice,” she said. 
For Verba-Beaudouin, the club is not just a way to teach her culture and the language to classmates but also a way to continue learning more of it herself. 
“I think it's just a nice way to connect to my heritage,” she said. “I was studying on my own last year but I kind of dropped it a bit. So, I wanted to make sure I could keep it up and actually learn the language.”
“Also, now I can listen to Klezmer and understand what they're saying,” she added. 
Hastings High School Yiddish Club member Anijah Clegg spins the dreidel as Amelia Verba-Beaudouin explains the meaning.
Amelia Verba-Beaudouin tells the traditional story of Hanukkah.
Farragut Middle School Opens New Sensory Room
Farragut Middle School Inclusion Facilitator Kristen Kumar shows an example of a calming coloring book in the sensory room.
A new sensory room at Farragut Middle School is offering students a chance to unwind during the school day. 
“With students coming back from remote learning and moving up from fourth to fifth grade with different needs, we felt like having a space dedicated for calming down and taking a break when they feel overwhelmed would really support students,” said Farragut Middle School Inclusion Facilitator Kristen Kumar. 
Kumar and Farragut Middle School Principal Jennifer Spirelli came up with the idea for the sensory room, which was made possible by a grant from the Hastings Education Foundation. 
“It has really taken off,” said Kumar. 
Outfitted with various tools and activities such as bean bag chairs for relaxation, wobble stools, fidget tools, coloring books, and an ambient noise machine, students can decompress in a calm space inside the school. Kumar said the room is open to all students at Farragut Middle School. 
“If you think about inclusive spaces, it really says that what is good for one student is good for all students,” said Kumar. “My hope is that students who don’t have learning differences or sensory needs will see their peers here and think that it could be helpful for themselves. Then we could just normalize needing your sensory system to be regulated.”
Generally, students are inside the room under supervision for five to 10 minutes where they have free-range over the room’s sensory tools and activities. Students also can sign out some of these tools to take back to class with them. 
“The hope is that this regulates their sensory system in school by either eliminating exterior senses or introducing tools and activities to ramp up their sensory system,” said Kumar. “Some students need to be supported more or pushed more, some students need more auditory or visual learning supports, and we can do that here for all of our students.” 
In the future, Kumar said she would like to expand the tools in the sensory room to the rest of the building. 

“Eventually we want to incorporate these things into the classrooms,” said Kumar. “Having an area where students can sit on a wobble stool or bean bag chairs and incorporating that flexibility throughout the building.” 
A look inside the new Farragut Middle School Sensory Room
Farragut Middle School Inclusion Facilitator Kristen Kumar shows some of the many tools inside the Sensory Room such as a textured pillow.
Farragut Middle School's Fifth Grade Celebrates Wellness Wednesday
A fifth grader helps celebrate Wellness Wednesday by writing kind messages on the cafeteria windows.
Farragut Middle School’s fifth grade had a fun day focusing on being mindful. 
Students celebrated Wellness Wednesday last week to support their social emotional wellbeing. Students rotated through scheduled activities that promote mindfulness, healthy eating and exercise, and good hygiene habits at school and at home. 
“I liked the exercising activity,” said fifth grader Luca Chang. “I love moving around and jogging.”
“We had a good day,” added ​​fifth grader Juno Bomback. “I felt content and had a lot of fun.” 
Although the goal of the day was to work on their own wellbeing, that did not stop fifth graders from sharing their kind thoughts with the rest of Farragut Middle School. After learning about acceptance and kindness from Farragut Middle School Inclusion Facilitator Kristen Kumar, students wrote messages of encouragement on the cafeteria windows for all middle schoolers to see. 
 “They are nice messages and everyone will see them. It's art from the fifth grade that will spread kindness,” said Bomback. 
While many students enjoyed exercises or drawing, some students favored learning how to practice good hygiene with a fun science experiment. 
“My favorite project was the hygiene station,” said fifth grader Clinton Cassella. “We got glow in the dark powder on our hands that looked like germs and we had to wash it off.”
Teachers said the day was a great way to keep students involved while focusing on their own mental and physical health for the day. 
“The students were very engaged, and the team was so excited to host this for the second time,” said fifth grade teacher Shannon Mulholland. “It was incredible to see students and staff coming together throughout the event.” 
Students were also taught how to be mindful even when you sleep. 
“I liked making the dream catchers,” said fifth grader Connal Ostro. “I like the idea where you make nightmares get trapped and you don’t let them take over.”
Farragut Middle School counselor Jenna Ryan treated students to a lesson on how to make dream catchers so negative thoughts cannot strike while they are dreaming. The students were then able to take their dream catchers home at the end of the day. 

Below: Examples of window drawings made by Farragut Middle School's fifth grade during Wellness Wednesday.
Above: An example of a dreamcatcher made by a fifth grader for Wellness Wednesday
Farragut Middle School Seventh Grade Debates Signing Declaration of Independence
A Farragut Middle School seventh grader sports a colonial-era hat in preparation for the debate.
Farragut Middle School’s seventh graders participated in a heated debate this week. At issue was whether to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Before debating the 245-year-old issue, seventh graders studied the events that led to the Revolutionary War, ultimately deciding whether to take the patriot, loyalist or neutral position.
“We learned a lot about the little things that set the colonists off,” said seventh grader Rosie Dunn. “We looked at both sides and how the loyalists saw things differently than the colonists.” 
First, using only technology available during the time, students participated in a town hall meeting, taking on one of the viewpoints of patriot, loyalist, or neutralist. Making sure to have three solid reasons, counterarguments, and rebuttals for their stance, students on the loyalist and patriot sides were instructed to sway the neutralists in their favor. 
“In the beginning, we weren’t attacking the British as much,” said Dunn “We were being nice but at the end we were kind of yelling at them.” 

“In the end, we told them that it was absurd for them to side with the British,” added seventh grader Orly Fishman. 
Students then had the chance to rewrite history by introducing today’s technology into the debate. 
“Town hall meetings were often the only means people had to express their viewpoints and share information,” said seventh grade teacher Joan Paradis. “After conducting a town hall, we allowed students to use modern technology and asked them to imagine how this would look  and how they would share information” for maximum effect.
All students learned the historic outcome of the original debates. Interestingly, however, in the middle school’s modern re-enactment only one of three classes sided with the patriots. 
Seventh graders on the loyalist side in Joan Paradis's classroom display their pride before the debate.
District Clerk's Corner
Public Notice 
Hastings-on-Hudson Board of Education 
Regular Meeting Monday, December 6, 2021 at 7:30 PM 
This is a Public Notice that the Hastings-on-Hudson Board of Education Regular Meeting for Monday, December 6, 2021 will be held in the Farragut Complex Lecture Room at 7:30 PM. 

It is expected that prior to the Regular Meeting, the Board will make a motion to move into an Executive Session at 6:30 PM for the purposes of: 
1) Discussion of Pending Litigation for Particular Students 
2) Discussion of a Personnel Matter 
3) Discussion of Collective Bargaining regarding HTA Contract Matter 

Please click the link below to view the Live Stream: 

If you would like to make a Public Comment at the Board of Education Meeting - please email the District Clerk, Melissa DeLaBarrera at delabarreram@hohschools.org 

Board Meetings Documents and Other Information Can Be Found Here: http://www.boarddocs.com/ny/hhufsd/Board.nsf/Public 

(Agenda will be available Friday after 3:00 PM)
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