City School District of New Rochelle

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Vaping "Truths, Myths" Session Set for NRHS Thursday
All are invited to an informational session on vaping at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Linda E. Kelly Theater of New Rochelle High School, near the Braemar Avenue entrance. "Vaping: The Truths & Myths," will feature Dr. Neil Schluger, Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. The session will be presented by the New Rochelle High School PTSA.
Ward Students Learn About Chinese
New Year
Lori Shuster's kindergarten class at Ward Elementary School welcomed classmate Michelle Tao's mother to speak to the students about the Chinese New Year.

Liping Jiang showed the children the 12-year zodiac calendar. This year, February 5 begins the Year of the Pig and the festivities for the New Year kick-off will last for 15 days. It is a time for family and feasting. Decorations are red to symbolize happiness, wealth, prosperity and good luck.  The streets are lit by fireworks in the sky and the glow of red lanterns. People dress in red. Children receive red envelopes stuffed with lucky money and houses are decorated with red couplets. 

Each child in Shuster's class participated in creating a Chinese New Year couplet by using black ink to print Chinese words on red scrolls.

Ms. Jiang's visit closed with a delicious sampling of two important Chinese New Year staples, dumplings - the most famous Chinese festival food - and tangerines. The fruit's bright orange color also symbolizes good luck and wealth. Thank you to Ms. Jiang for such a fun and memorable visit.
'Queen of Soul' Inspires
Barnard Artists
When the first-graders at the Henry Barnard Early Childhood Center painted colorful works of art this week, their muse was the Queen of Soul.

Led by teacher Lourdes Jimenez, each student filled four sections of a sheet of paper, painting each section to the sounds of a different song by soul-gospel-pop icon Aretha Franklin. Their works will be joined together in quilt-like displays as part of the district-wide Black History Celebration at New Rochelle High School at 4 p.m. on February 9.

"Aretha Franklin is a musician who makes you feel," Jimenez said. "A lot of people write about her. We thought that it would be great to show what we feel about her through our artwork."

They painted to "I Say a Little Prayer," "It Ain't Easy," "A Song For You" and "United Together."

The life, music and achievements of the beloved singer, who died in August, are the themes of this year's celebration, which is presented by the Westchester Alliance of Black School Educators and the New Rochelle Black History Month Committee, with support from the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence and the New Rochelle Council on the Arts.
Jake Logan at the state championships last year.
Jake Logan
Wins Con Edison Athlete of Week
New Rochelle High School senior wrestler Jake Logan won last week's Con Edison Westchester Scholar Athlete of the Week. Logan won the County Championship on Jan. 19, going 3-0 and being named Most Outstanding Senior at the event. He also had a victory in a dual match win vs. lona Prep.

Logan won the Eastern States Wrestling Tournament's 182-pound class on Jan. 12. It is the second year he has won that tournament. He also won the Shoreline Tournament earlier in January.

His record for the season is 26-0. He has a career record of 161-29 and is 67-0 the last two years. As a junior, he went 41-0 and won the state championship in the 182-pound class. He has not given up a takedown since his sophomore year.

He has earned a scholarship to Lehigh University, one of the top Division I wrestling programs in the nation.

"Jake has outstanding character and leads by example in every practice," Wrestling Coach Eddie Ortiz said. "He consistently demonstrated a positive attitude and work ethic that the younger kids on the team look up to.  It is for these reasons that he was named captain of the team his junior year."

Listen to an interview with Logan on 100.7 WHUD.
Sports Schedule
For upcoming New Rochelle athletic competitions, check out*

* This link connects to an outside website
Dates to Remember
Saturday, February 2: PTA Breakfast with Dads/Guardians, Barnard, 9 a.m.

Monday, February 4: Half Day All Schools (11:10 Elementary Dismissal, Noon Secondary Dismissal) - Professional Development

Monday, February 4: WCSMA Elementary/Intermediate All County Chorus Rehearsal, Sleepy Hollow HS, 3:30 p.m.

Monday, February 4: Cheer Show Night, NRHS, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, February 5: WCSMA Elementary/Intermediate Band/Orchestra Rehearsal, 7 Bridges MS, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, February 5: Board of Education Regular Meeting, Columbus, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, February 6: Barnard UPK Lottery at City Hall, 9 a.m.

Wednesday, February 6: Grade 8 Parent Orientation, NRHS, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday-Friday, February 6-8: Valentine Boutique, Trinity

Thursday, February 7: PTA Meeting, Barnard, 7 p.m.

Thursday, February 7: PTSA Meeting - Topic: Vaping, Linda Kelly Theater at NRHS, 7 p.m.

Friday, February 8: Sweetheart Dance, Trinity, 6 p.m.

Friday, February 8: Family Bingo Night, Davis, 6 p.m.

Saturday, February 9: Black History Month Extravaganza, Whitney Young Auditorium at NRHS

Saturday, February 9: Science Research - Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (JSHS), John Jay HS
Board President, Interim Superintendent Deliver
State-of-the-District Address
Board of Education President Jeffrey Hastie and Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey delivered their State of the District Address at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.

"This has been a year of transition as well as a year of progress and hope," Hastie said. "And, as the Board of Education continues to extend greater communication to our community, we felt that a State of the District address from the Board of Education President would be important to keep you informed and engaged."

Board of Education President Jeffrey Hastie at the State of the District Address.
Hastie said the state of the District is strong. "Over the past year, we have changed," he said. "We have improved in many ways. At the same time, we have kept and continued to improve all the things that have always made New Rochelle such an extraordinary school system."

He addressed the search for a new superintendent and acknowledged the challenges of the past year.

"The events of the past year impacted everything we have done since, and have helped shape this coming year and we will discuss this further," Hastie said. "But, our District - like our community - is not defined by them."

He commended the residents of the city on their school spirit and enthusiasm for events and activities that involve District students and the schools.

"Our Town Hall meetings have been a huge success, giving community members a chance to ask questions directly to board members, administrators and principals about our programs and strategies," he said.

Dr. Parvey acknowledged that the District is moving forward and there are examples of a foundation to build upon throughout the District's schools.

"When you see Principal Michael Hilderbrand greeting his students at Trinity with that enthusiastic 'Buenos dias, muchachos!' and when you see Davis Principal Anthony Bambrola dressing up as the Davis Dolphin to march with his students in the city's annual Thanksgiving parade, you have no doubt that our administrators and faculty members would do anything for their students," she said.

She acknowledged the wide array of honors that have been bestowed upon the District's teachers this year, including the naming of Elizabeth Barret-Zahn from Columbus Elementary School as the editor of Science and Children.

She further acknowledged other accomplishments of teachers and coaches.

"Ask anyone about Debbie Minchin at New Rochelle High School, who just returned from a trip to Washington D.C. with her AP Government class to introduce them to the halls of power they are learning about," Dr. Parvey said. "Or, Coach Andy Cappellan - known as Coach Cap to just about everyone - who was inducted last year into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. The student-athletes on the girls track team know Cap as the mentor who will push them to do their best -- not just on the field, but in all aspects of their lives."

She also celebrated student accomplishments of the past year.

"It was no accident last year that our students were accepted by all eight Ivy League schools. Ninety-five percent of the graduates from the class of 2018 went to post-secondary school education. The rest went into the military, took a gap year or joined the workforce," she said. "This year, members of the Class of 2019 have already been accepted by Harvard, Georgetown, Fordham, NYU, Dartmouth, DePaul and many more - even the University of Edinburgh in Scotland."

She provided the audience with an update of construction projects as the District is in its third year of improvements after the passing of a $106.5 million bond.

"Some of these historic buildings are beautiful, and the high school is a real jewel in the city's crown," she said. "They are looking better. Our elementary school students play on up-to-date playground equipment. Our high school track is brand new."

Lastly, she called on everyone in the community to get even more involved with the District, its schools and its students.

"Our vow to you is that we always devote everything we have in us to preserve and build on what makes us great and to continue to improve in every way," Dr. Parvey said. "We will always provide the best for our students, support them when they need help, guide them, celebrate their endless achievements, and applaud them as they graduate into the wider world and make their marks in every field of endeavor."
NRHS AP Government Class Visits Washington
New Rochelle High School's AP Government class, led by teacher Debbie Minchin, took a four-day trip to Washington D.C. to learn about the workings of our government.

Also accompanied by teachers Timothy Kuklis and Timothy Orlando, they toured the Capitol and met with U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel, whose Congressional district includes New Rochelle. They visited the U.S. Supreme Court, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Library of Congress and the United States Holocaust Museum.

They also took a nighttime tour of the monuments and placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The trip included a performance of "Twelve Angry Men" in Ford's Theatre, where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.

"Sitting in the gallery of the House of Representatives made me tear up," said senior Dylan Klein. "I want to be there as a legislator one day."

Student Alexander Gonzalez said; "The trip was a wonderful opportunity to learn and explore in an exciting new environment, and to enjoy being with my friends to experience a place where many of us have never been before."
Meteorologist Erica Grow creates a model of a stratus cloud on the arm of volunteer Addison Kurtin.
Meteorologist Teaches
Students Science of Weather
While many of us complain about bad weather, the third-graders at Daniel Webster Magnet School can talk about it more knowledgably, thanks to meteorologist Erica Grow of NBC TV's Storm Team 4.

Grow and a team of helpers stopped by the school on a recent (very rainy) day to teach the students about hurricanes, tornadoes and flash floods.

"Flood water, when it's in motion, is more powerful than a tornado," Grow said. "Just six inches of water can knock you right off your feet if it's moving fast enough."

With a can of shaving cream, Grow sprayed depictions of clouds on the arms of students who had volunteered to help with the demonstration. She created horizontal stratus clouds, puffy cumulous clouds, tall cumulonimbus clouds and, finally, high-in-the-sky cirrus clouds, which are "very thin, delicate, wispy even."

"Our approach is to get students excited about science, to create lifelong learners," Grow said before the lesson. "It's important to bring STEM education to students in a way that they might not get otherwise, and that will hopefully spark a newfound interest."

Principal Melissa Passarelli added, "This fits perfectly with our strategy of offering inquiry-based learning centered on real-world applications."

Consider that interest sparked.

"It's fun to explore what it feels like to be in that weather," said student Addison Kurtin.

"When it's over," schoolmate Clara Garcia-Gallet added, "you can see what's left from the bad weather and you can study it."
Middle Schools Host Geography Bee Competitions
Both Isaac E. Young and Albert Leonard Middle Schools held their Geography Bee Competitions last month. About 30 students participated from each school. The 31st Annual Geography Bee Competition, overseen by the National Geographic Society, involves more than 10,000 schools across the country, inspiring students' curiosity about the world. Trophies were given to students earning first, second and third place honors.

At IEYMS on January 17: Rocco Sansotta, sixth grade, placed first; Stephen Philippeau, eighth grade, placed second; and Sebastian Manzo, seventh grade, placed third.

At ALMS on January 28: Rebecca Ploski, eighth grade, placed first; Juan Barajas, eighth grade, placed second; and Daniel Mboje, eighth grade, placed third.

First place winners from each school will take a qualifying test; up to 100 of the top scorers on that test in each state will then be eligible to compete in their state Bee. State winners travel to Washington D.C., with all expenses paid by the National Geographic Society, to participate national championship rounds.

The first place national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society, including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour ll.
BOE Meeting Notes
Here are some highlights from the January 29 Board of Education meeting in Trinity Elementary School.

Full STEAM Ahead:  One by one, the Trinity Elementary School students stepped up to the microphone, gave their names and proclaimed, "I am a scientist!"

It was a rousing display of confidence gained in STEAM classes as Trinity school made its presentation to the Board of Education and an audience of family, friends and residents. At the encouragement of Principal Michael Hilderbrand, four Board members got up on stage to try their hand at activities, helped by the students. Board President Jeffrey Hastie and Vice President Amy Moselhi were tasked with building a bridge out of masking tape and chart paper that could support 100 grams of modeling clay. Board members Julia Muggia Ochs and Rachel Relkin tried their hand at fashioning poster board planks into a two-story structure including a quadrilateral and a three-sided element.

"The students here were really amazing," Hastie said. "I feel really comfortable about the future of this District, and this country."

Residency Verification Update:  The residency verification team examined residency documents of 3,179 students at four schools and found that at least 98 percent of the students were properly registered in the District, Dr. Charles Coletti, the Residency Verification Manager told the Board in a presentation. Another 208 families remain unverified because they have not responded to outreach from the team. Dr. Coletti and the registrars continue attempts to contact them. Of those whose documents are examined, two percent or fewer are of "questionable residency." This does not necessarily mean that many students do not belong in the District schools; further investigation may show that some - even many - of the students in question are actually properly registered, Coletti said.

The team has examined residency documents for students' families at both middle schools and the George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School and for the ninth grade at New Rochelle High School. The team is now at William B. Ward Elementary School and will move to Trinity Elementary School on February 25.