City School District of New Rochelle

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Stirpe to Bring Innovative Program to Azerbaijan
New Rochelle High School teacher Anthony Stirpe's multi-media projects combining art, poetry and filmmaking have proven to be so innovative that he has been asked to present them to audiences from New Jersey to Texas to California.

Next stop: Azerbaijan.

On Wednesday, the English teacher will fly 5,800 miles to Baku, the capital of the nation on the Caspian Sea, to give workshops on filmmaking at The International School of Azerbaijan (TISA.)

"It's a strange part of the world to be going to," Stirpe said. "It will be exciting to work with people who are interested in our program in another part of the world."

The poetry project brings together students from several art classes. Students create paintings inspired by a poem and make videos of themselves reciting the verses. Music students provide music and theater students create short movies inspired by the words.

For TISA the program is a natural fit, said the school's IT Director, Dan Egorov. He learned about it just as the school's educators were discussing ways to make poetry more engaging and to incorporate the use of technological devices.

"I came across an article about Anthony's innovative multi-media approach to teaching film and then another one about his approach to teaching poetry in the New Rochelle schools and was hooked from the word go," Egorov said.
Stirpe is looking forward to taking the lessons he has taught in NRHS to the distant country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

"It's about challenging students to use the technology that is available to them in unique and different ways," he said. "Mobile device technology has democratized the creative process. What once upon a time was available only to the privileged few is now available to all."

His programs have earned him several honors, including Apple Distinguished Educator, a title given by the computer giant to select educators who transform education, and students' lives, through technology. He has presented the project at conferences in several states, including Maryland, Texas, Illinois and Arizona.

To bring the project overseas, Stirpe will fly 15 hours on Wednesday. At TISA, he will lead two workshops, one for grades 5 through 7 and the other for grades eight through 12. (The workshops filled quickly with a limit of 36 students each, Egorov said.)

Stirpe will also lead a workshop open to teachers from across Baku. He'll return on a 20-hour flight scheduled to arrive just in time for him to get to class on Monday, Oct. 21.
After he returns, the connection with TISA will continue. The students there and in NRHS will keep in touch to exchange ideas and experiences working on the project, with both schools using the same set of poems.

"It will be fun to have that connection with a school on the other side of the world," Stirpe said.
Board Honors
Dr. Parvey
Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey received a commendation from the Board of Education and two standing ovations from the audience at the Board meeting Monday evening.

"Dr. Parvey, a consummate professional, has served as an exemplary Interim Superintendent of Schools, and demonstrated vast knowledge in many aspects of school leadership, including curriculum and program development, student services, budget, finance, human resource management and facility planning," reads the resolution, which was adopted unanimously. "In a short period of time (she) was able to create a culture of trust and commitment from her staff.   She is an exceptional leader and a motivator of people who worked to create an environment in the City School District of New Rochelle that was based on mutual trust."

Individual Board members praised Dr. Parvey for her service to the District. She came to the District as an Assistant Superintendent and the Chief Academic Officer in July, 2016. She was named Interim Superintendent last October, and will exit the District at the end of this month.
To Emcee
Video Premiere
Trinity Elementary School Principal Michael Hilderbrand will emcee the premiere of a video series, Supporting Immigrants in Schools next Tuesday. The evening will include a panel discussion.

The four videos were funded by the New York State Education Department and produced by Tatyana Kleyn of The City College of New York's Bilingual Education and TESOL Programs. The first video, on key immigration issues, was recorded partially in Trinity and features the school's unique approach to registering new students.

"This four-part video series provides up-to-date information on policies and practices to support educators in creating safe and welcoming environments for immigrants," reads a flyer for the event. The event is free and open to all.
The panel discussion will be moderated by Joe Torres of ABC News.

The event takes place Tuesday, Oct. 15, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at CUNY's Aaron Davis Hall, 129 Convent Ave. (at W. 135th Street) in upper Manhattan.
Sports Schedule
For upcoming New Rochelle athletic competitions, check out*

* This link connects to an outside website
Dates to Remember
Monday, October 14:  Columbus Day - District Closed
Tuesday, October 15:  Continuing Education Begins
Tuesday, October 15:  Davis PTA Meeting
Tuesday, October 15:  Webster PTA Meeting 7 p.m.
Wednesday, October 16:  NRHS PSAT - Half Day. No Extended Day
Wednesday, October 16:  NRHS Hispanic Parent Night, 6:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 16:  ALMS PTA Meeting, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, October 16:  Ward PTA Meeting, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 17:  ALMS Math Night, 6 p.m.
Thursday, October 17:  Barnard PTA Meeting, 7 p.m.
Friday, October 18:  Webster Family Dance Night, 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
Friday, October 18:  Jefferson PTA Halloween Party, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 19:  ACT/SAT Test Prep, 9 a.m.
Saturday, October 19:  Barnard Pumpkin Patch, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Ward first graders demonstrate tree pose, one activity in the school's new interactive hallway.
Path to Greater Focus
Found in Ward Hallway
At William B. Ward Elementary School, the road to a more focused mind is literally a pathway down the hallway by the nurse's office.

That's where the school has placed decals presenting students with a series of activities that require physical activity, engage the mind and even foster mindfulness, all with a hop, skip and a jump.

Well, maybe a little more. To complete the course, a student hops down a hopscotch board, then takes a few frog jumps, followed by a yogic tree pose. Then come 10 jumping jacks and finally, 10 wall pushups.

"It helps students feel calm and focused," said teacher Amy Anders. "The hope is that when they return to class, they are more focused and able to retain information better."

The New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence supplied the funds for the interactive hallway, in response to a grant application from Anders and fellow teacher Nicole Itri. It was installed over the summer when custodians could cover the decals with sealant to protect them.

Teachers bring entire classes or individual students to make use the pathway. They use the hallway at scheduled times, or when they feel the activity would help regain attention.
The approach blends physical and mental activity. The hopscotch board includes a word on each block that students recite as they go. When they stand in the yoga pose, they are asked to breathe mindfully.

"These are activities where they have to think about what they're doing," Anders said. "We want them to become more self-aware."

To hear more about the range of benefits, ask the students themselves:

"To exercise, and be strong," first grader Michelle Tao said.

"For focus," added Elian Gonzalez, also in first grade.

"And to calm down," added Emily Tocci of the same grade.

The students were eager to show a visitor how to perform the activities, and to list the parts they like most.

"I like when we do the hopscotch and the pushups," Tao said.

"I like the breathing and the hopping," said Jared Seiden, also a first grader.

Overall, they would agree with an assessment from Tocci.

"It's very amazing," she said.
Science Research Program Continues to Grow
The New Rochelle High School Science Research program, which celebrated several high-profile accolades last year, continues to grow.

The class that once was held once a week after school has become a daily class during the school day. When the teacher in charge, Jeff Wuebber, took over the program in the 2015-16 school year, the class had 10 to 15 students. This year, more than 100 students in grades nine through 12 are conducting high-level, independent research in the class.
With more students, the number of topics being studied has grown to include research in to such widely ranging topics as paleo-climate environments, adolescent depression and chemical carcinogenesis.
"The program has gotten bigger as we've had more students get involved, which is really exciting," Wuebber said. "It's more popular and much more successful."
It has grown so large that it now includes three other teachers who come to the classroom to help students as they write their research papers, search for mentors and prepare presentations for competitions. 
Students in the program compete in regional, state and national competitions including the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search, the Westchester Science & Engineering Fair and the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium.

"This is a program that would win maybe one to two awards a year," Wuebber said. "Last year we hit over 50 awards and recognitions. It's definitely growing and becoming more awesome."

Last June, nine students from the program competed in the international GENIUS Olympiad in SUNY Oswego, and every one returned home with a medal or honorable mention.
ast week, winning nine honors, including three gold medals.

Over the summer, 28 juniors and seniors conducted research, working at universities and research labs with mentors. Here is a look at some of their work:

* Senior Jade Rosado spent her second summer studying kidney disease at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She examined kidney tissue from mice to understand inflammatory markers as she researches ways to prevent kidney disease in at-risk patients.
Jade Rosado
"I want to go to school to become a doctor and the science research program has helped me in reading scientific journals and preparing me for college, doing lab techniques in the summer," she said. "It helped with AP biology last year and will help me this year in AP chemistry."

* Junior Akshara Koottala spent her first summer conducting neuroscientific research and studying genetic mutations in rat brains at New York Medical College. The goal was to better understand the cause of epilepsy.
Akshara Koottala
The summer research, she said, "prepared me for what I'm walking into in the future. Going to a college campus and working in a lab opened my eyes to what to expect when I do that in the future." 

* Jake Egelberg, a senior in his fourth year in the science research program, spent the summer at Northeastern University's Antimicrobial Discovery Center. He studied how bacteria are able to survive antibiotic treatment, in order to help develop treatment for chronic bacterial infections and reduce the prevalence of resistant bacteria.
Jake Egelberg

"It's just an incredible opportunity to get real world experience at such a young age," he said.
It also allowed him to make a discovery during the summer research.
"I'm really excited to have discovered that cell movement is involved in antibiotic survival," he said. "That allows future researchers to develop new antibiotics and treat bacterial infections from a whole new perspective."
District to Introduce
Text Message Service
The City School District of New Rochelle will soon begin using text messaging as another way of communicating with residents through the same system used for emails and robocalls.

At noon on Monday, Oct. 21, families, District employees and others will receive a text that they can respond to in order to sign up. Anyone who does not get the message can text "Y" or "Yes" to 67587. As Oct. 21 nears, the District will also post a QR code that can be used to opt in to the system.

But the service is only available to those who have a cell phone number on file with the District.

If you do not have a child in the District and have not signed up to receive notifications from the District , sign up here . Be sure to include a cellphone number for texts.

The District will continue to send community members important announcements via email and robocall. Texting adds another layer of notification to enhance communications.

It's also easy to opt out of the system if you would like to stop receiving texts. Simply reply to one of the text messages with the word "Stop."
NRHS is in News 12
School Spirit Showdown
The News 12 School Spirit Showdown continues, with New Rochelle High School is in the running! Vote now, and vote frequently. The rules of the contest allow you to vote every 12 minutes.
The contest runs through Oct. 21, as four winners are chosen.  So check it out and show your Purple Pride!