City School District of New Rochelle

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Budget Café Bustles with Engagement
from Residents
On Thursday night, the most bustling café in town was in the New Rochelle High School Library.

It was the Board of Education's budget café meeting, where dozens of residents, including NRHS students, came to talk with principals and other administrators and staff about their priorities for the coming school year.

The residents' input will be integral in formulating the 2019-2020 District budget. Those who attended said they appreciated both the opportunity to voice their opinions, and to hear what the educators wanted.

"It was phenomenal to be able to speak with the principals and the assistant principals of the schools and see what they want," said Liz McGowan, who has children in Isaac E. Young Middle School and Trinity Elementary School. "You could see their enthusiasm. You could see their dedication."

District personnel staffed six stations designated for various aspects of school spending, such as transportation, New Rochelle High School initiatives, middle schools and elementary schools. Participants were asked to place stars next to the programs or positions that were most important to them.

"It was great to see so many residents come out and engage in discussions with our principals, administrators and other staff members," said Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey. "The input we received will be invaluable in putting together the next year's budget." 

Adam Egelberg, a member of the Board of Education Facilities and Finance Committee, said it was a revolutionary way to bring residents into the process.

"It was a really good idea, and I think it went well," said Egelberg, whose son attends NRHS.

Gina Ruggiero, a member of the New Rochelle Football High School Parents Association, called it, "A great step forward."

"They engaged the community as a whole, they encouraged us to ask questions and they welcomed input from the student body," she said.

NRHS senior Kayla Dawkins appreciated the approach that included the opportunity to speak with educators and administrators in addition to posting the stars.

"It's nice that you get to personalize your comments and vocalize how you feel on the topic," Dawkins said.

The session was a key piece of the budget process. Find out about future sessions in the full budget calendar in English and Spanish or look below for a few key events:

April 9, 7 p.m. at NRHS Library - Budget Summary - Highlights of What's New and Different 

April 11, 7 p.m. at NRHS Library - Community Input and Discussion - Residents will have an opportunity to share their thoughts on the budget with the Board. 

April 23, 7 p.m. in Linda E. Kelly Theater, NRHS - Board of Education special meeting including adoption of the budget.

May 7, 7 p.m. at NRHS Library - Public Hearing on the Proposed 2019-2020 Annual School Budget.
Fund Gala on April 4 Will Honor NRHS Seniors, Community Leaders
Four New Rochelle High School seniors and four community leaders will be honored at the 21st annual Foundation Awards Gala presented by the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence on Thursday, April 4.

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Surf Club on the Sound, 280 Davenport Ave. Errol Louis, host of "Inside City Hall" on NY1 News, CNN contributor and New York Daily News columnist, will serve as master of ceremonies.

Each year, the Fund honors community members for their outstanding work and contributions, and bestows Student Achievement Awards on four New Rochelle High School seniors, who are selected for the honors by the City School District of New Rochelle. 

The student awards and the seniors who will receive them are:

Arts and Culture Award: Antonio Corona.
Corona has been a member of the Performing and Visual Arts Education (PAVE) acting program, TheaterWorks and Young Filmmakers program for four years. This year, he is the President of the monthly video news report NewRo News, which he directs, casts and films.

David A. Garfinkel Citizenship Award: Kamahri Valcourt.
Valcourt is President of the Black Culture Club and Co-President of the My Brother's Keeper club at NRHS, and the NAACP Youth Council.

Eric Tutera Sports Leadership Award: Jordan Forrest.
Forrest, a key player in taking the NRHS Varsity Football Huguenots to the state championship game in Syracuse last November, was named Player of the Year in Class AA by the New York State Sportswriters Association, among other honors.

Technology Award: Rachel Griffith.
Griffith was among the first students to take AP Principles of Computer Science. She is co-captain of the District's USFIRST First Robotics Challenge team, the New Ro-Bots.

The community honorees are:

New Rochelle City Manager Charles B Strome III, who has served in his position since 2002.

Rev. Dr. David R. Holder and Mrs. Tarshia L. Holder, Founder and Co-founder the New York Covenant Church and active in the work of compassion and justice coalition building.

Haina Just-Michael, President and Founder of the Just Media Group, Inc., and a longtime community leader involved in multiple volunteer activities.

For tickets and more information about the gala, visit the Fund's website .
Family University Program Open
to Students, Parents, Caregivers

The New Rochelle High School PTSA invites students, parents and caregivers to Family University on Wednesday, March 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the high school. The event is sponsored by NewYork-Presbyterian/Lawrence Hospital in an ongoing effort to educate and inform middle and high school students as well as parents and caregivers on important mental health and social media issues affecting young people.

The keynote speakers include: bestselling author and nationally renowned speaker Bobby Petrocelli; lifestyle and technology founder Stephanie Humphrey; and leading mental health educator, author and family life coach Joshua Wayne. New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera will appear as a guest speaker, sharing his personal journey from bullied child to baseball legend and telling how mentorship played an important role in his success.

Family University will also feature a panel discussion centering on the warning signs of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as a session that focuses on the importance of youth mentoring.

It all starts with a dinner at 6 p.m. sponsored by Gemelli Pizzeria. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Whitney M. Young Jr. Auditorium near the 265 Clove Road entrance for students and in the Linda E. Kelly Theater, near the Braemar Avenue entrance, for parents and caregivers. Spanish language translation will be available. Registration for Family University is $6 and can be booked in advance via the PTSA website or at the event.

Learn more about Family University .
Sports Schedule
For upcoming New Rochelle athletic competitions, check out*

* This link connects to an outside website
Dates to Remember
Tuesday, March 26: Board of Education Special Meeting, Barnard, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, March 27: Family University, NRHS, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, March 27: Planetarium Show, NRHS, 7 p.m.

Thursday, March 28: ALMS/IEYMS/NRHS PAVE Auditions, House IV cafeteria NRHS, 3:15-5:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 28: NRHS PTSA Meeting, Linda Kelly Theater, NRHS, 7 p.m.

Friday, March 29: International Night, Trinity, 6:30 p.m.
Jonny Ecker, left, and Jake Egelberg
NRHS Students Earn
15 Awards at WESEF
New Rochelle High School was well-represented at this year's Westchester Science & Engineering Fair (WESEF) competition. Fourteen NRHS students won a total of 15 awards at the event last Saturday.

Jeff Wuebber, supervisor of the Science Research Program at NRHS, said the number of awards far exceeded last year's total - two. The year before, the team won three awards.

Why did NRHS garner more awards this year? Wuebber said it is a combination of the administrators and students gaining more experience, and the school offering the program as a course during the school day (only in its second year), so there is more instructional time for the students. They have been preparing and practicing their presentations since January and, prior to the March 16 competition, also had a practice night.

"I am incredibly proud of how well our students did at WESEF!" he said. "They have worked incredibly hard for the past few years that they have been in our Science Research Program, and I am overjoyed that they were recognized for their hard work."

WESEF is the biggest regional science fair, and it is one of the biggest in the country. There were over 650 students competing from 41 schools.

"I am amazed and gratified that we are able to serve so many gifted and talented students," said Rekha Liveris, chair of the Science Department. "The Science Department is honored to extend our congratulations to our successful science research students."

"WESEF was an amazing opportunity for me to share my research about solar disinfection and to improve my presentation skills, and it encourages me to continue researching in college," student Ruqiyah Syed said.

There were seven specialty award winners:
Nathaniel Roth - Mu Alpha Theta Award: For projects involving the use of mathematics in a challenging, original, thorough and creative investigation
Jack Schlamkowitz - NASA Earth System Science Award: For projects that offer insight into Earth's interconnected systems
Ruqiyah Syed - Stockholm Junior Water Prize: For top water-related science projects
Jillian Stokes - United States Air Force Award: For outstanding projects in engineering, mathematics, computer science, life science and/or physical science
Casandra Chen - Critical Behavioral Science Achievement Award: For outstanding projects in behavioral science
Jonny Ecker - Office of Naval Research Award: For outstanding projects in science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics
Liam McKay - Walter Kass Memorial Award: For projects with outstanding research in behavioral science

There were eight category award winners:
Second-place award: Josh Berenbaum (Behavioral & Social Sciences).
Third-place awards: Jake Egelberg (Cell & Molecular Biology), Griffin Bates (Chemistry), Leora Segal (Neuroscience).
Fourth-place awards: Micaela Cox (Behavioral & Social Sciences), Maura Kelly-Yuoh (Behavioral & Social Sciences), Ruqiyah Syed (Environmental Sciences), Aaron Cohen (Physics & Astronomy).
Campus School Students Experience Hamilton
Daisymarie Gonzalez, Campus School 11th-grader, never imagined she would perform on a Broadway stage. However, Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Gilder Lehrman Institute developed an educational partnership to provide 20,000 public school students with the opportunity to see Hamilton on Broadway and integrate the show into classroom studies.

Daisymarie Gonzalez
Campus School was among those chosen to participate in this initiative. The students developed performance pieces. Each school participating videotaped their best performance piece and submitted it to the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Gonzalez's original poem, "Alexander Hamilton: My Life," was selected by the Gilder Lehrman Institute, to be performed for the cast of Hamilton and students from other participating schools.

In preparation for this event, teachers Karen Tucker and Lisette Van Voorhis guided 15 of the selected American History students through a unique, five-day hands-on class project using Gilder Lehrman Institute resources to introduce them to the people, events and documents of the founding era.

In addition, the students learned how Lin-Manuel Miranda incorporated primary sources into the songs he wrote for the show and used that knowledge to produce their own performance pieces. The student and teacher guides included an exclusive website featuring primary sources and videos to facilitate student research. Among the videos are clips from Hamilton and interviews with Miranda, selected cast members and Ron Chernow, whose biography Alexander Hamilton inspired the musical. This innovative program integrating history and performing arts allowed Campus teachers to bring American history into the classroom and helped students find their own connections to the founding era.

Following the student performance, the attendees asked questions and interacted with the Hamilton cast members.

"This was the most amazing experience of my life," Gonzalez said.

Miranda was also there and interacted with the students and performed a rap. The full day event culminated in the students watching a live performance of Hamilton.
NRHS Students Learn Coding in Unexpected Ways
A group of New Rochelle High School students began to build a foundation in computer coding in a most unusual way this week. Taught by the organization CodeScty, which creates rap songs about coding concepts such as algorithms, they studied universal ways to approach a challenge.

That resulted in three disparate final projects: a mock press conference on the troubled state of Venezuela, a plan to aid an impoverished region by teaching the locals to farm and a song about improving cafeteria food.

The program, hosted at Monroe College on Main Street, was sponsored by the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) as a project of its IDEA New Rochelle program. The acronym stands for Interactive Digital Environments Alliance.

"One of our goals is to educate more people about emerging technologies," said BID Executive Director Ralph DiBart. "These companies will be major employers in the coming years - even decades - and we want to help students and others prepare for well-paying, fulfilling careers in the field."

The students were arranged in teams that then each identified a problem and looked for a solution. When one group discussed improving a region's economy through farming, its members were asked why teaching agriculture was better than simply supplying people with food.

"They'll eat more if you teach them how to farm instead of just giving them some food," said freshman Sean Calderon.

That was the nutshell idea behind the course itself. Applying strategies such as pattern recognition and algorithmic design, they can learn not only about computer language used today but also about the next computer language, and the one after that.

Students praised the program's approach.

"I learned more about world problems and how to apply algorithms not just to technology but to everyday life," said freshman Quincy Simmons.

Sophomore Emily Gamez said she had learned the benefit of patience in approaching a problem.

"If you start out step by step by step and you plan it out, you complete something," she said.
Mayor Noam Bramson, Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey and school board member Lianne Merchant with the Executive Board of Model Congress
Model Congress
Comes to NRHS
Students from seven Long Island schools have come to New Rochelle for this year's Model Congress. The annual activity brings the students together, with New Rochelle High School hosting, to simulate the U.S. Congress, playing the roles of lawmakers debating legislation.

More than 300 students came from Lawrence, Hewlett, Oceanside, Herricks, East Meadow, Long Beach, Wantagh and Seaford high schools, to join the New Rochelle High School team in the event.

Mayor Moan Bramson, who took part in Model Congress when he attended NRHS, told the students that their generation has demonstrated great wisdom.

"Remember that what you're doing here is important," he said, addressing them in the Whitney M. Young Jr. Auditorium yesterday afternoon. "If you do that and remain true to your instincts, then I have every confidence that we will be in good hands when you are in a position to be not only in Model Congress but in the real Congress."

City School District of New Rochelle Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey welcomed the students to the school.

"I have faith in all of you to engage one another in enthusiastic, intelligent and also creative debate," Dr. Parvey said. "I have seen the brilliant minds and the passion for important issues in our own High School students, and I am sure our visiting students will exhibit the same traits. Good luck to everyone. I wish you all spirited debates and a wonderful Model Congress 2019."

Following today's opening of the event, students will debate throughout Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sports Registrations Move
to FamilyID Platform
The City School District of New Rochelle is now using FamilyID, an online platform, to assist with the registration of students participating in high school and middle school athletics.

"The advantage of having registration online is that it will minimize the amount of papers that our health services offices will process each season," said Steve Young, Director of Athletics. 

FamilyID was adopted in February for the spring season. Using the platform, the sports physical form can now be uploaded directly to the nurses or the form can be brought to the Health Office.

Families will create a personal account only once - even for households with multiple student athletes - and have access to consent forms and other information. However, a family will need to register their child each season. Once a child is registered, a notice comes to the Director of Athletics and each team's coach will get an updated roster as people sign up for their respective teams.  Registration for a season will open 30 days prior to that sport's start date and will remain open for two weeks following the start of the season.

FamilyID is used by 2,800 schools across the country and has more than 1 million families registered. All information is securely held and no information is provided to outside vendors.

"It has already saved our nurses a tremendous amount of time," Young said. "There are no longer large lines at their door before the start of a season."

Middle school students will be allowed to register for sports in person until April 1. High school sports registration is currently closed.