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SPECIAL GRADUATION EDITION: NEWS & UPDATES


June 23, 2022

HEARTY APPLAUSE GREETS

NEW ROCHELLE'S TALENTED

AND RESILIENT 2022 GRADUATES!

PRIDE AND EXCITEMENT were everywhere this week as the City School District of New Rochelle’s academic year concluded. Joyous graduation and moving-up ceremonies were held, celebrating a year of accomplishment, resilience, and dedication to educational excellence. These events celebrated students' milestones and reflected the collective and collaborative efforts of our dedicated students, teachers, staff, families, community members, administrators, and our Board of Education. We are pleased to share an overview of these events and congratulate all!

New Rochelle High School Celebrates 668

Class of 2022 Graduates During Ceremony

Graduating New Rochelle High School seniors were celebrated today for persevering during unprecedented times to complete their academic requirements and become the Class of 2022.


Overall, 668 degrees were conferred. The ceremonies, on New Rochelle High School’s McKenna Field, was a return to a traditional single ceremony after COVID-19 safety protocols required last year’s graduation to have two separate celebrations.


Festivities began with the procession of graduates onto the field. Several speakers addressed the joyous crowd. Freedom and connectivity were common themes.


City School District of New Rochelle Superintendent Jonathan Raymond focused on the importance – and future – of freedom in his remarks to graduates, families, faculty, and staff. “Class of 2022, your graduation today is an opportunity for you to take the skills you have learned here, along with your unique voices, to help build and preserve a more vibrant future for freedom, a better world where human dignity can flourish,” he said.


Raymond also praised graduates for resiliently coping with the pandemic as well as two months of remote learning to start the school year. The high school building opened to students on Nov. 1, 2021 due to flooding damage caused by Hurricane Ida. “You persevered through a global pandemic and a natural disaster,” he said. “You represent the very best of New Rochelle, and you are already showing that you are leaders and have what it takes to help shape a better tomorrow. We are proud of you!”

New Rochelle High School Principal Dr. Dagoberto Artiles also recounted how the school year started with remote learning, and identified a silver lining from that experience. “We finish this school year with a better appreciation for the need for connection,” he said, discussing how students bonded and academically excelled in so many impressive ways. That, he said, sets the foundation for a bright future: “Help make a better environment for your community and your country,” he said.


Board of Education President Julia Muggia Ochs provided words of motivation, reading a passage from Langston Hughes’ “Freedom’s Plow”: “All men are created equal. No man is good enough to govern another man without his consent. Better die free, than to live slaves. Who said those things? Americans! Who owns those words? America! Who is America? You, me! We are America! To the enemy who would conquer us from without, We say, NO! To the enemy who would divide and conquer us from within, We say, NO! FREEDOM!” She finished her comments by saying, “We cannot wait to see what comes next for you! Congratulations!”


Students also offered encouragement and gratitude. Valedictorian Celine Glennon said, “I urge you to live happily and authentically. You’ve all worked so hard for the past four years. Today we are here to celebrate that. You will be great and I wish you all the best.”

Class of 2022 President Jeba Karim echoed Artiles’ comments about the importance of community. She recounted the school year, from remote learning to graduation, and said, “I hope we carry the importance of connections no matter where life may lead us… Congratulations Class of 2022! We did it!”


After the speeches, anticipation and excitement filled the air as graduates’ names were called, degrees were conferred, and graduation caps were excitedly tossed toward the sky.


The Leonard Talner Memorial Award was presented to Maribela Dias. The award honors a member of the class judged by the Class of 2022 to have done the most for and brought the most honor to New Rochelle High School. Last week, the high school held award ceremonies honoring academic, extracurricular, and athletic achievement.


Photos of the graduation ceremony can be found on the City School District of New Rochelle Facebook page.

Read Superintendent Raymond’s remarks here.

Last week, New Rochelle High School bestowed numerous awards on the Class of 2022 during its Senior Awards program. Honors included recognizing Valedictorian Celine Glennon and Salutatorian Ariana Narain, and bestowing the Karen Johnson Humanitarian Scholarship Award, given in the memory of the late teacher at Albert Leonard Middle School. Winner Giovanni Wellington is pictured with Superintendent Jonathan Raymond. View all the awards and recipients in the events program here.

Huguenot Academy

There is a well-earned sense of pride and accomplishment at Huguenot Academy as the school year ends.


New Rochelle High School’s Class of 2022 includes 100% of the 21 seniors attending Huguenot Academy – and 19 colleges have accepted Huguenot Academy seniors into their programs next fall.


Huguenot Academy is a program for students whose success is powered by a small, supportive, educational setting. Of the 21 seniors, 19 participated in the high school ceremonies Thursday; two others will be a part of the August graduation. Students were ecstatic:

  • "I just can't believe I'm done with high school,” said Jenniffer Avelar. “Feels like just yesterday I was in middle school enjoying recess. Now I'm all grown, ready to say 'hello' to adult life."
  • "I've accomplished what my parents couldn't, and I hope to keep accomplishing!" said Samantha Geronimo.
  • "It's a bittersweet feeling,” said Juel Thomas. “I'm not ready yet, but I've worked so hard for it. It means everything to me. The last four years of my life, I've been through every situation possible and still pushed through at the end. It just means everything."


Andrea Schwach, director of the program who is at left in the photos, has been with the Academy’s new graduates throughout their Huguenot journey. "I've seen them grow from freshmen trying to acclimate to impressive and capable young adults who are ready to take on whatever comes next,” she said. “There are no words that adequately express the amount of pride and love I feel when thinking about 'my babies.' Together, we've made it through so many challenges. Every one of our graduates worked tirelessly to achieve this major milestone within four years. They are most deserving of celebration, acknowledging not only their hard work, but also their transition into their next chapter.”

Albert Leonard Middle School

Albert Leonard Middle School on Wednesday graduated 336 eighth-graders who are now headed to New Rochelle High School. The festivities included a performance of “Seasons of Love” by the school chorus and a host of honors and awards. The highest grade-point average was achieved by Mollie Aisner, and Truman Broutman was honored as having the second-highest grade point average in the graduating class.


Superintendent Jonathan Raymond addressed the class. “The best is yet to come,” he said. “You represent the very best of New Rochelle, and the brightest.”


Board of Education President Julia Muggia Ochs told the graduates, “We look to you to continue your path and stay engaged. Be brave. Try good, new things.” 


Aisner and Student Council President Jack Speight reflected on students’ years at Albert Leonard.

“Our middle school years were not like it is in TV shows, movies, or stories that some of us read. It was different and exciting, and challenging at every turn. While not all of us experienced these years the same way, it was something we all went through, and it is something we are all connected by,” Aisner said. 


Speight said, “COVID shook us all up. Our teachers were the MVPs. Although it took us 20 minutes to take attendance every day, they tried their hardest to make sure our learning experience was just as good as if we were sitting in class.”


Principal Camille Edwards-Thomas admired the resilience of the students in the face of the many adversities they have endured over the past few years.


“I know you are the generation that will take back kindness, save our planet, do more and love more than the generations before. The world awaits you,” she said. “Over the next few years, you’ll have an opportunity to really show all of us: your teachers, your parents, the community, who you are.”


Congratulations, New Rochelle High School Class of 2026!

Isaac E. Young Middle School

Here comes high school for 349 new graduates of Isaac E. Young Middle School!


Students, faculty, families, and staff enjoyed a graduation ceremony Wednesday in New Rochelle High School’s gym. And what an accomplished class it is!

  • Pending final grades, 307 students are on track to receive credit in at least one high-school-level course.  
  • More than 250 students were recognized during Isaac Young’s recent awards night for outstanding achievements.
  • 204 students identify as being bilingual or speaking more than one language.
  • 74 students have completed living environment studies and will enroll in honors chemistry or earth science. 


“They excelled in spite of COVID, in spite of school closures, in spite of home instruction and in spite of the many challenges they faced,” said Principal Dr. Tawanda Robinson. “This class is perfectly positioned for high school success.”


Valedictorian Stone Pride, addressing the crowd in the accompanying photo, praised the school’s welcoming culture. “Last year, I made the transition to Isaac, which has been nothing but a super fantastic experience for me,” he said. “Although my first year here was fully virtual, I still loved my experience at Isaac. The teachers and staff are amazing here, and very understanding. This year has been even better since I was finally able to meet my teachers and make new friends in person.” 


Superintendent Jonathan Raymond told graduates, “We are so excited to now welcome you to New Rochelle High School. You have worked really hard over these last few years – they haven’t been easy. Nobody could have predicted all the things that have happened, but you have pushed through it all and now here you are. We are so, so proud of you.”


Board of Education member Roshanie Ross also praised students’ perseverance. “I applaud your resilience, your stamina, your perseverance,” she said. “You spent your time during hybrid and here you are on the other side, ready to go to high school.” 


At the end of the ceremony, Dr. Robinson proudly turned over the Isaac E. Young Middle School Class of 2022 to New Rochelle High School Principal Dr. Dagoberto Artiles, who gladly accepted the freshman scholars as members of the New Rochelle High School Class of 2026. 

Barnard Early Childhood Center

With the theme of “Today's Moments are Tomorrow's Memories," Barnard Early Childhood Center Principal Shelli Owens and Assistant Principal Malikh Ifill celebrated the accomplishments of Barnard's 72 second-graders heading off to third grade in September.


Ifill welcomed families and guests and Owens thanked the children for welcoming her and Ifill – both named to their positions during the school year – into the Barnard family.


Owens then shared their feel-good word of the year, appreciation.


"Appreciation," she said, "is the enjoyment of the good qualities in things. I instantly grew an appreciation for each of you, your ability to overcome, your ability to be flexible during changes, and your ability to be resilient."


Distinguished guests also were part of the ceremony. Board of Education member Margaret Bavosa shared a song she remembered as a child. Fellow Board member Adam Cooper offered well wishes, and Congressman Jamaal Bowman (photo) encouraged the students and families to capture every moment for learning and to persevere through obstacles. 


The entire Barnard Family welcomed families back for its "Drive Bye Bye!" drive-by farewell. Smiles and well wishes filled the air as children waved to their former teachers. Watch a video here: https://www.facebook.com/newrochelleschools/videos/518757653359576.

Columbus Elementary School

Columbus Elementary School’s fifth-graders moving on to sixth grade represent the hopes, dreams, and hard work of not just the 118 graduates – but 118 families as well, Principal Michael Galland told a crowd at the Moving-Up Ceremony Wednesday.


Galland, Superintendent Jonathan Raymond, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Olivine Roberts, and Board of Education Vice President Adina Berrios Brooks also addressed students and families. They reminded the students that they will grow and develop new interests and experiences, but that Columbus will always be their home and a part of where they came from. 


Under the direction of their music teacher Dr. Christina Bergin, the students sang the Beatles song “Here Comes the Sun” and danced to “My Own Drum,” from the Vivo soundtrack. The ceremony included the unveiling of the Class of 2022’s Legacy Project: a Columbus-themed Monopoly board mural they created with art teacher Leah Bernabei. Fifth-grader Daniel Estrada said of the events, “I felt nervous,” but got through it knowing “my parents would be proud of me.”


The ceremony was dedicated to teaching assistant Fran Delfico and teacher Sue Mercatante, who are retiring, and former Columbus Assistant Principal Shelli Owens, now the Barnard Early Childhood Center Principal. Many thanks to the fifth-grade team led by team leader and teacher Tammy Penton for organizing the event.


Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Dr. Corey W. Reynolds and Board of Education members William Iannuzzi and Margaret Bavosa also attended.

George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School

Despite a bit of rain, George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School’s fifth-grade dolphins had a FIN-tastic ceremony to honor their accomplishments and put in motion the exciting transition to middle school!


On Wednesday, 105 fifth-graders graduated from Davis, celebrating six years of amazing accomplishments and fun memories. Davis families gathered in the auditorium for the special ceremony. Each Davis dolphin was honored, students sang, a special video was shared, and students had the spotlight on them!


“I’m excited for middle school,” one Davis graduate said. “But Mr. B said during graduation that there is nothing like elementary school and I’m going to miss it so much.”


That Mr. B is Principal Anthony Bambrola. “Every graduating class is so unique, of course, but this one is special to Ms. Marinaro and I," he said, referring to Assistant Principal Laurie Marinaro. "This group started in kindergarten when Ms. Marinaro and I started as a team at Davis. It's wonderful to see them through, and they've been through a lot during that time. They deserve a special day, and today is a day for them!"


Afterward, families joined for a campus celebration with a disc jockey, Mikey Dubb's Frozen Custard set up a station for graduates, and fun photo spots were all around for families to capture the moment!

Daniel Webster Elementary School

Daniel Webster Elementary School was proud to recognize 97 fifth-grade students at its Moving-Up Ceremony Tuesday.


Many of these students spent the past six years learning and growing together – and they maintained enthusiasm for their education even during distance learning and hybrid instruction required by the COVID pandemic. Students were recognized for their perseverance, achievements, talents, and growth, and truly represent the spirit of the Webster Way, Wonderful Amazing You!


Students performed three choral selections led by vocal music teacher Heidi Jaye. Artwork created by fifth-graders decorated the auditorium. Graduates were presented by teachers Cynthia Boateng, Sarah Chickery, Dina Cuomo, Sandra Galano, Jim Liucci, Anne Maria, and Kerry-Ann Reeves. Principal Melissa Passarelli, in the photo at the podium, and Board of Education Vice President Adina Berrios Brooks (also a Webster parent) gave addresses.


Webster retirees also were honored for their commitment to the school and students. Warm wishes to general education teacher David Bergamini, special education teacher Andrea Finnerty, library clerk Bernadette Borea, and nurse Gail Conroy in their next chapters. After the ceremony, fifth-graders and more than 300 family members enjoyed a reception in Webster's Learning Garden.

Additional Coverage: Jefferson, Trinity, Ward, Project SEARCH Graduations


For last week’s Newsletter coverage of graduations and moving-up ceremonies at Jefferson Elementary School, Trinity Elementary School, and William B. Ward Elementary School, visit https://conta.cc/3Nhsqkx. For coverage of Project SEARCH’s graduation, visit https://conta.cc/3xzOhPE and scroll down. Please also see a feature story on Project SEARCH, further below in this Newsletter. 

Eight International Genius Olympiad Awards – Including

a Gold Medal – for Science Research Stars

Even when facing competition from around the world, New Rochelle High School’s prestigious Science Research Program students excel and take home an array of awards!


Eight students were honored in the international Genius Olympiad, which promotes global understanding of environmental issues, as well as sustainability through basic science, arts, creative writing, engineering, design, and business development.


The honors cap a sensational year of recognition for the signature Science Research Program, which is a source of immense pride for the high school, City School District of New Rochelle, and the community.


“This is an outstanding way to close our amazing year,” said Jeff Wuebber, Director of the Science Research Program and a New Rochelle High School science teacher. “Our young scientists never cease to amaze. I think next year will be even bigger and better!”


The honorees:

  • Anthony D’Amato, Gold: “Impact Of Thermoelectric Effects On Shunt-Based Current Measurements.” “I've had an amazing time completing my research project and sharing it,” he said. “It's a great honor to have such amazing recognition for doing what I'm passionate for.”
  • Isabelle Balachandran, Silver: “Combinatorial Approach Of Experimental And Systems Biology In Multi Indication Drug Discovery Efforts Targeting Kif19.” "It has been an amazing experience being a part of the science research community and I am so proud of all that we have accomplished!" she said.
  • Ella Harshman, Silver: “Assessing The Relationship Between Villus Packing Density In The Placenta And Autism Spectrum Disorder.” "I have had a wonderful time participating in Genius Olympiad the past two years and I am grateful to receive this honor!" she said. "I am proud of all my classmates’ achievements and so glad I have been able to be a part of this amazing program."
  • Andres Nunez, Silver: “Synthesis And Study Of Fluorescent Antibody Conjugates.” “I am extremely ecstatic to have been selected for this international recognition again,” he said. “I could not have done it without the support I have received from my mentor and Mr. Wuebber. I feel very fortunate to have been able to participate in the Science Research Program and for the amazing opportunity to have been able to work in a lab. The lab experience provided me with valuable skills that will help me for life. My goal is to continue to participate in research in college, where I plan to use the skills I was able to gain here.”  
  • Aviva Segal, Bronze: “Impact Of Manganese Exposure On The Development Of The Atlantic Horseshoe Crab Limulus Polyphemus.”
  • Julia Yang, Bronze: “Helping To Make Blood Characterization Of The Erythroid Specific Macrophage.”
  • Natalia McMorris, Honorable Mention: “Gene Expression Analyzing Coregulated Genes And Their Correlation With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Using DEAR Analysis.”
  • Andrew Rittenberg, Honorable Mention: “Validity Of Simulated Microgravity Data On Zebrafish Embryos To Human Data Using Transcriptomics and Data Analysis.”


Overall, 599 projects out of 821 submitted from 35 states and 57 countries were honored. New Rochelle High School had the sixth-highest number of projects submitted from all high schools around the world. The Olympiad is held virtually; winners are encouraged to submit their research to the International Journal of High School Research to have it peer-reviewed and published.  


The Genius Olympiad competition instills skills and knowledge to be the leaders, scientists, artists, writers, engineers, and policy makers of the future. GENIUS is an abbreviation of Global Environmental Issues and Us. The contest is sponsored by the Rochester Institute of Technology and Terra Science and Education, a nonprofit organization that advances education. See the full list of awards at https://geniuscountries.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/GENIUS_2022_Awardee_List.pdf.

Summer Learning: Enrichment Opportunities Available

There has been a strong response to City School District of New Rochelle Summer Learning Programs, but there is still time to enroll in a variety of academic enrichment classes that build self-confidence and provide new opportunities for students to learn.


The Summer Learning Program’s foundation is built on student interests, teamwork, and a camp-like atmosphere. The following enrichment programs have availability:


Learn With Leaders Program: Students who will be in grades 9-12 in September are eligible for this program taking place at New Rochelle High School. Learn more here, https://bit.ly/3x4aXGj; enroll here: https://bit.ly/3m5V7Gf. Classes will be led virtually by an Ivy League instructor while students attend sessions, on site, at New Rochelle High School supported by school district faculty. Learn more in a letter written in both English and Spanish here.                     


Virtual Enterprises International: The program challenges middle (Junior Virtual Enterprises International) and high school (Virtual Enterprises International) students to create a real business from “concept” to “start-up.” Each class will be supported by a New Rochelle faculty member who will assist student teams as they participate in a virtual classroom. Classes are at New Rochelle High School. Students who will be in middle school in September can register here: https://bit.ly/3McZIRi. Students who will be in high school in September can register here: https://bit.ly/3NV6pZT. Learn more in a letter in both English and Spanish here.


Additional Opportunities

  • High School Summer Learning Programs: Mondays through Fridays from July 11-29. For incoming ninth-graders recommended by their current school's principal. At New Rochelle High School. Covers mathematics, ELA, and Social-Emotional Learning/Wellness. Contact: Maureen Maire, mmaire@nredlearn.org.
  • New Rochelle High School Credit Recovery Program: July 11 through Aug. 12. Registration: June 27-30 and July 5-7, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., all in the high school’s Upper Cafeteria. For rising 10th, 11th, and 12th-graders who need to earn academic credits based on course failures. Contact: Maureen Maire, mmaire@nredlearn.org.
  • Summer Regents Exams: Aug. 16: Algebra and English Language Arts at 8:15 a.m., and Global History and Algebra II at 12:15 p.m. Aug. 17: U.S. History, Earth Science and Chemistry at 8:15 a.m.; Geometry and Living Environment at 12:15 p.m. Sign up during the Credit Recovery Program registration sessions outlined in the previous paragraph.


Summer Enrichment: Pre-PAVE Theater & Dance Preparation Program, Aug. 1-25, New Rochelle High School. For rising eighth-graders interested in a dancing or acting audition for the high school’s PAVE (Performing and Visual Arts Education Program). The program provides preparation for auditions and introduces the process. Contact: Deepak Marwah, dmarwah@nredlearn.org.


Summer Stars Program: If you received an invitation to the Summer Stars Program, a reminder that sessions begin on July 5. Classes are on Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and conclude on July 28.


To learn more, email Dr. John Barnes (johnbarnes@nredlearn.org) or Dr. Charles Coletti (ccoletti@nredlearn.org), administrators of the Summer Learning Program.

See You in September: Calendar for Next School Year


When does school start in September? When are the vacations and holidays? Start your planning now with the City School District of New Rochelle calendar for the 2022-2023 school year. Click on the image for a full view.

One Student’s Big Idea Collects 2,000 Books

and Means Great Summer Reading for Davis

Can one person really make a big impact? Definitely – especially if you’re Jeremy Marcus!


For the second year in a row, Marcus – a former George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School student who attended New Rochelle High School this year – has made a huge impact on Davis’ young readers. He created, organized, and led the "Books for Davis Drive" in New Rochelle. He collected gently used books for summer reading, and delivered about 2,000 books to Davis this year!


Davis’ students spent their last library class with librarian Tara DeRubeis "shopping" for their free summer book of choice, and Marcus joined the event to help students choose a book!


"We are so thankful for Jeremy's efforts,” said Principal Anthony Bambrola. “It reflects how we can impact the community on a broader level and to do it with his elementary school community is all the more special."


The Davis community thanks Marcus for his support, generosity, and dedication to ensuring all students at Davis have the opportunity to continue reading during summer break. It also appreciates all community members who donated books to the initiative. Happy reading, Davis!  


Photos: Jeremy Marcus with Davis fourth-graders.

Security and Safety Initiatives Outlined for Board of Education

The City School District of New Rochelle has a robust and ever-evolving safety and security plan because nothing is more important than the well-being of its students.


School district Director of Security Lisa-Marie Newkirk and Steve Newman, a school district math teacher on special assignment, provided a safety and security update to the Board of Education Tuesday.


They detailed numerous steps to ensure that security efforts are “connected to our students,” focused on prevention, and ensuring that initiatives empower students and staff. For instance, they reported that 10 new hires have been made to the security team, and another 17 part-time employees are now full-time. A range of technology – new laptops, cameras, radios and more – is now being used, and training on numerous fronts is being conducted. 

These include crisis-prevention intervention, the roles of school monitors, school drills, and efforts related to social and emotional learning. In addition, “to-go” bags containing essential supplies for an emergency are now stored outside schools so they’re quickly accessible if needed.


“We are excited to partner with parents and students and schools,” Newkirk said, noting that security leaders often are on site when schools conduct safety drills.


Superintendent Jonathan Raymond noted the importance of increased staffing and training, and the security efforts underline the crucial importance of continuous refinement and the use of best practices.

African American/Latino Opportunity/Achievement Gap Task Force

Issues Recommendations

The City School District of New Rochelle is exploring methodologies to eradicate the opportunity/achievement gap among its African American/Black and Latino students. A panel formed by the school district, the African American/Latino Opportunity/Achievement Gap Task Force, presented its recommendations to the Board of Education on Tuesday.

Recommendations:

  • Develop a K-12 early warning indicator system to identify struggling students.
  • Build credit recovery courses into students’ schedules that are offered during the school day.
  • Create digital and print materials with Advanced Placement (AP) information (for families and students) inclusive of AP information (readiness, course descriptions, connection to college board, application process, and academic supports) in multiple languages.
  • Provide targeted academic and non-academic supports that will increase students' awareness, self-confidence and prepare them for success in advanced coursework.
  • Investigate to eliminate cost of AP assessments.
  • Create district-wide standards of service for the special education programs to include course offerings, instructional time, curricular resources, professional learning, family engagement including training as a part of the Parent University (consider recording the training sessions), etc.
  • Expand greater access to integrated co-teaching (increase from half day to full day) and ensure the implementation of the various models of instruction.
  • Administer a Dyslexia Screening Assessment to K-3 students.
  • Assess the suspension system district-wide; review the code of conduct handbook and ensure there are uniform practices across the district.
  • Institute restorative justice practices district-wide as a means of reducing the number of suspensions (alternative methods) and create a culture of care for all students.
  • Assess all aspects of the district’s attendance system and make warranted changes.
  • Expand early learning (pre-kindergarten).
  • Use data-driven instructional strategies to improve Tier-I instruction with a focus on minimizing disparities between groups.
  • Implement and expand research-based literacy approaches such as Preventing Academic Failure, Leveled Literacy Intervention), and the Wilson Reading System.
  • Implement and expand targeted mathematics academic supports.


Presenters were Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Olivine Roberts and Dr. Mark Gooden of Columbia University (photo). Board of Education members praised the breadth and detail of the approaches.


Next steps include creating an action plan with a timeline that includes connecting with the community. Some initiatives already are underway to support students in need.


The strategies will be embedded the school district’s Strategic Roadmap for the next five years and “woven into the fabric of all of our work,” said Superintendent Jonathan Raymond.

Board of Education Ratifies Vision, Mission, Core Beliefs


The City School District of New Rochelle is continuing to refresh its Strategic Roadmap, including updating the underpinnings of its foundation. The Board of Education Tuesday approved the school district’s refreshed Vision, Mission, and Core Beliefs. The vote came after earlier workshops to consider key pillars and finalize wording. The newly approved statements:


Vision: The City School District of New Rochelle is a trusting, collaborative, and innovative high-performing educational organization that challenges, celebrates, and nurtures the whole child.



Mission: The City School District of New Rochelle is committed to fostering a safe environment and providing a high-quality education that is authentic, inclusive, collaborative, and prepares the whole child to engage in a diverse world.


Core Beliefs: We believe…

  1. in the pursuit of equity, excellence, inclusion, and growth to drive academic outcomes;
  2. schools should be safe, joyous places of learning;
  3. students thrive with empowered families, school staff, and community partnerships;
  4. the diversity of our schools is a gift;
  5. every student and staff member is worthy of intellectual, social, and emotional respect and support;
  6. in providing student-driven, varied, rigorous, and innovative learning experiences;
  7. in educating and developing the whole child, fostering a sense of belonging, and incorporating student voice;
  8. our staff is central to the success of our mission; and 
  9. multiple perspectives, histories, cultures, and hopes of our students, families, and community at large are to be honored/respected.

In-Depth Juneteenth Discussion Highlights “What Matters Most”

Superintendent Jonathan Raymond has posted his latest “What Matters Most” video, providing timely updates on City School District of New Rochelle innovations, activities, and issues of importance. His discussion with Candace Pinn, president of the Westchester Alliance of Black School Educators and a retired Barnard Early Childhood Center teacher, focuses on Juneteenth and how it was celebrated in New Rochelle. Visit https://bit.ly/3OrrHhL"What Matters Most" videos also are always posted at Facebook.com/NewRochelleSchools, and the school district's YouTube channel, YouTube.com/c/CSDNRYouTube.

Launching Careers, Augmenting Lives: Project SEARCH

Prepares Students with Disabilities for the Workforce

Only 19.1% of individuals with disabilities were employed in 2020, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. New Rochelle’s Project SEARCH is an award-winning program with an average employment rate of 90%.

 

Project SEARCH is an international school-to-work transition program for students with disabilities in their last year of high school. The program prepares students for competitive employment. The program is the only high school Project SEARCH program in Westchester.


Student interns complete three 10-week internships in which they gain competitive and marketable skills in Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital departments, such as the kitchen, cafeteria, housekeeping, medical records, health clinic, patient transport, emergency department, and the nursing and rehabilitation center. Students gain specific work skills, but more importantly learn important soft skills, such as communication techniques and workplace priorities, such as on-time arrival.


Kathy Barbara is the instructor and coordinator of the program and works with teaching assistant Lisa Mancuso. They teach employability skills such as resume writing, interview skills, teamwork, budgeting, personal management, health and wellness, and technology skills, in addition to the hands-on work skills at their internship sites.


“It is so rewarding to be part of such an amazing program,” Barbara said. “This program has been life-changing for many students who were not college-bound, but wanted to get a job when they graduated high school. I have many students who, because of this program, are employed in full-time jobs with benefits.” 

 

Michelle Ramirez is a graduate of this year’s program. She interned in Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital’s medical records department and business office, and worked as lobby ambassador. As a result of her internship training in Project SEARCH, she started a new job two weeks ago as a scanning technician. 


“When I started the program, I was a very shy and quiet person, but after completing the Project SEARCH program, I can’t believe how much I changed,” she said. “I feel like I have become a more mature and independent person.”


William Monzon also attended the program this year and will be returning for a second year. He envisions a culinary career and has interned in Montefiore’s kitchen and cafeteria. While speaking at Project SEARCH’s graduation, he said, “This program changed me a lot as a person. It made me grow, mature, and be responsible.”


Project SEARCH is a partnership among Montefiore New Rochelle, the City School District of New Rochelle, ACCES-VR, and Ability Beyond. Montefiore has hired five graduates over the years. Most students obtain jobs in companies such as ABB Optical Group, Digiscribe, Honda, Stew Leonard’s, Home Depot, Stop & Shop, and Aramark. Even after graduation, students are supported by ACCES-VR and Ability Beyond to ensure their employment is successful. 


New Rochelle’s Project SEARCH will start its 12th year in September and will receive an award at the annual Project SEARCH Conference in Baltimore in July for successfully placing 100% of last year’s interns in jobs. 


Photos: William Monzon; Michelle Ramirez in the Montefiore Medical Records Office; William Monzon and Chef Joe Ricci with members of Montefiore’s kitchen staff; and the group photo, from left: Kathy Barbara, Thalia Trinidad, Michelle Ramirez, Linly Zheng, Stacy Buchanan-Weeks, William Monzon, and Lisa Mancuso.

Teacher and Student, Together Again!


Board of Education member Margaret Bavosa, at right, shared a wonderful moment last week with Maryann Talt, Trinity Elementary School’s Principal Clerk. Bavosa is one of Talt’s former teachers; they reconnected while Bavosa was teaching at Albert Leonard Middle School and Talt was working in our school district. They caught up again, in person, at Trinity Elementary School’s Fifth-Grade Graduation celebration.

Opening New Worlds for Students Who Are Visually Impaired

For visually impaired students, Joy Bieder provides a gateway to new learning opportunities.


Bieder teaches those students for the school district. She introduces students to braille, and recently did so for students at Daniel Webster Elementary School and Isaac E. Young Middle School. Students have been learning to operate braille machines, called a Perkins Brailler or a braillewriter. They write and transcribe their names and the alphabet, and have made some holiday designs using the machines.


Braille is a code, not a language, and it’s based on combinations of six dots. Some students may need to learn braille due to their limited vision. Others may choose to learn it as preparation for eventual job opportunities, such as becoming a transcriber or teacher, and some learn braille to communicate with someone they know who is visually impaired and reads braille. 


The photos show students at work, using both a SMART brailler (with the screen) and a manual braillewriter.

Jefferson Fourth-Graders Create Wax Museum to Bring History to Life

There’s Eleanor Roosevelt! Albert Einstein! LeBron James! Princess Diana! And even Michael Jackson!


There they were – important historic and contemporary figures, all at Jefferson Elementary School!


Fourth-graders hosted a Wax Museum event last week, the school’s first since 2019, Jefferson’s fourth-grade teachers said. First, students selected a famous or influential person. They researched the person’s accomplishments, dressed up as that person and did a speech – resulting in a collection of historic figures all together at Jefferson! See the photos to join their journey.

Events at the New Rochelle Public Library

Here are some of the numerous upcoming events at the New Rochelle Public Library. Visit nrpl.org for information.


 “Oceans of Possibilities” Summer Reading Kickoff Party: June 25, 10 a.m. - noon. Ruby Dee Park at Library Green. Register at https://bit.ly/3O1gCUB.

Children’s Summer Programs: Twice-daily summer programs are held at the main branch and the Huguenot Children’s Library. Click on the flyers to learn more in English, with Spanish below.

Newsletter Update: The Sun Sets on the School Year 

The City School District of New Rochelle is pleased to distribute this Newsletter weekly during the academic year to highlight news, our students, teachers, staff, programs, innovations, services, and activities. Additional issues will be provided as news warrants during July and August to keep our community informed. Enjoy a healthy, happy, and safe summer -- with many great sunsets!

City School District of New Rochelle | nred.org

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