City School District of New Rochelle

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District's Budget Sessions Scheduled for Next Week
The City School District of New Rochelle administration will introduce the preliminary 2019-2020 school budget at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, in the library of New Rochelle High School at 265 Clove Road. The spending plan will be presented in its entirety at this first budget review session.

A second budget review session will be held Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m., also in the high school library.
Public input and discussion is invited at both sessions.

"The Board of Education and the School District administration are very much looking forward to receiving input about next year's budget from our community," said Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey. "Drafting a spending plan for the next school year is a process that requires feedback from our residents, parents, staff and students. We had a lot of great interactions at our recent Budget Café and hope there will again be good discussions next week as well."

For more information, see the budget calendar, posted in English and Spanish, on the district website,
Meeting Set, Survey Posted for NRHS Principal Search
The New Rochelle community is invited to meet the consulting firm conducting a search for the next New Rochelle High School principal and to take an on-line survey about what experiences and skills the new school leader should possess.

The meeting with School Leadership LLC will be held at 6:40 p.m. Thursday, April 11 in the Whitney M. Young Jr. Auditorium of New Rochelle High School, 265 Clove Road. The consultants will describe the process and timetable for conducting the search, and will then devote the bulk of the meeting to obtaining residents' insights into the City School District of New Rochelle and on the position.

The meeting is scheduled to end at 7:25 p.m. to give participants an opportunity to attend the second session on the 2019-2020 school budget, set for 7:30 p.m. that evening in the NRHS library.

The on-line survey will be available through April 21. It is available in English and in Spanish.

Board of Education Notes
Here are highlights from the Board of Education meeting held April 2 in William B. Ward Elementary School:

Writing More at Ward
Ward Principal Franco Miele and others led a presentation on how teachers at the school are improving students' writing. They are increasing the volume of writing that students produce, allowing the young authors to choose their subjects, and discussing the process of writing rather than focusing on a specific outcome expected. Strategies for encouraging a student to elaborate on a piece of writing include asking the author to imagine what questions a reader might have.

"We begin by making it our top priority to ensure students view themselves as writers regardless of where they're starting from," said teacher Trudy Tsiropinas. "We build their self-esteem and we meet them where they are."

PAVE Presentation
Marc Schneider, the District Supervisor of Music and Art, offered a presentation on the benefits of the Performing and Visual Arts Education (PAVE) program.

"Our program is engaging, intensive and demanding," he said. Several students took part in the presentation, telling the Board how PAVE has helped them grow.

"Theater helped me so much in terms of my communications and cooperation skills, and that is going to serve me so well outside of school in whatever career path I choose," said PAVE acting student Elizabeth Muriel.  "PAVE is where I became happier with the world around me and the personal progress I was making. It taught me to take pride in how far I've come and have faith in how much farther I can go."

Sports Schedule
For upcoming New Rochelle athletic competitions, check out*

* This link connects to an outside website
Dates to Remember
Monday, April 8: PTAC Meeting, NRHS Room 222, 7 p.m.

Monday, April 8: PTA Meeting, Trinity, 7 p.m.

Monday-Friday, April 8-12: Spirit Week, ALMS

Tuesday, April 9: PTA Meeting, Webster, 8:45 a.m.

Tuesday, April 9: STOMP Out Bullying's Culture Shock, ALMS

Tuesday, April 9: School Budget Review Session, 7 p.m., NRHS library

Wednesday, April 10: PAVE Band and Orchestra, NRHS, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, April 10:  Coffee with the Principal, Barnard, 9 a.m.

Thursday, April 11: New Kindergarten Orientation, Davis, 9:15 a.m.

Thursday, April 11: Junior French Honor Society Induction Ceremony, IEYMS, 4 p.m.

Thursday, April 11:  Meeting with NRHS principal search firm, 6:40 p.m., NRHS Whitney Auditorium

Thursday, April 11:  School Budget Review Session, 7:30 p.m., NRHS library

Friday, April 12: Tri-M Induction Ceremony, NRHS, 8:30 a.m.

Friday, April 12: Great Read Aloud, Jefferson, 10 a.m.

Friday, April 12: Day of Silence, ALMS
From left: New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence Executive Director Sabrina Toback, New Rochelle High School Interim Principal Joseph Starvaggi, students Rachel Griffith, Antonio Corona, Jordan Forrest, Kamahri Valcourt, Fund co-chairs Jonathan Stark and Matthew Costa.

Gala Honors 4 NRHS Seniors, 4 Community Members
Four New Rochelle High School seniors and four community leaders were celebrated last night in the annual New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence Gala at the elegant Surf Club on the Sound.

To get things started, NRHS TheatreWorks students performed show tunes while wandering among the attendees. The students receiving the awards drew applause from the assembled guests with their humor, gratitude and news of their future plans.

"You can see what phenomenal students we have here," NRHS Interim Principal Joseph Starvaggi said as he introduced the awardees.

Students honored were chosen by the District for the following awards:

* Antonio Corona received the Arts and Culture Award. He noted the irony of changing his life goal from nursing to theater, considering he had a little trouble in an early acting role.

"Who would have thought that the Romeo who couldn't kiss his Juliet in ninth grade would choose this career path?" he said.

* Kamahri Valcourt received the David A. Garfinkel Citizenship Award. Among the people he thanked were his mother and grandmother, who were in attendance.

"They've been the best support system I ever could have asked for," he said, then addressed them directly: "I love you."

* Jordan Forrest received the Eric Tutera Sports Leadership Award. Among those he thanked were Coach Lou DiRienzo - "Coach D" - and his parents.

"They taught me the values of love, honor, duty, courage and respect," he said of his parents.

* Rachel Griffith received the Technology Award. She thanked the New Rochelle Fund for its support of programs such as the robotics team.

"As a member of the team, I have learned to design and build robots," she said, adding that she plans to study engineering in college.

The community leaders honored were: New Rochelle City Manager Charles B. Strome III; Rev. Dr. David R. Holder and Tarshia L. Holder, Founder and Co-Founder of the New York Covenant Church; and Haina Just-Michael, president and founder of Just Media Group. Inc., who is involved in multiple volunteer activities.

"We are so thrilled to shine a spotlight on these four exceptional NRHS students, while also honoring long-standing, valued leaders of our New Rochelle community," said Fund Executive Director Sabrina Toback. "The Gala is a night where we show how vital and integrated the Fund is to our beloved city. We couldn't be more proud."

New Rochelle High School Model UN Club Delegates (from left): Samira Saleh, Jonathan Carsen, Fran Selendic, Adrian Niksic, Aden Erlikh, Jack Rieger, Carly Rieger and Soliel Namunyola

NRHS Model UN Delegates Take Manhattan
New Rochelle High School was one of only a handful of high schools from across the United States to send a delegation to the Change the World Model United Nations (CWMUN) conference on March 29 - 30 in New York City. Nine students from the New Rochelle Model United Nations Club traveled to Manhattan and the actual United Nations for this year's event. They engaged in debate with fellow high school students from around the globe on major issues of the international political agenda.
CWMUN is an annual meeting of more than 3,500 students from many nations, which provides collaborative, educational opportunities focused on contemporary global matters. Students were arranged into committees with titles such as the Food and Agriculture Organization and Economic and Social Council. They debated topics ranging from youth employment in agriculture as a sound solution to ending hunger and poverty in Africa, to assuring and fostering reconstruction and sustainable development in post-conflict areas.

Students worked together to brainstorm solutions in much the same way the UN's real world forum operates, encouraging students to engage with, and gain unique perspective on, these key geopolitical issues.

"The students were excited to be placed in the same committees and committee rooms as real-life members of the United Nations," said club faculty adviser and social studies teacher Ms. Lauren Jackson.  "It's amazing to watch students as they become inspired with hands-on learning of social studies in the field. It helps them put to use all of the skills we try so hard to make them see the relevance of: research, writing, public speaking and debate. It's cool for them to realize that these skills are actually fun!"

CWMUN, and Model UN clubs in general, help students interested in international politics and social issues develop leadership, research, writing, and public speaking skills. Model UN students also develop an early expertise in problem solving, working together to build consensus through mediation and negotiation, conflict resolution and the ability to rapidly build friendly and profitable relations among people.

"I'm so thankful we were able to find two supportive and amazing advisors, Ms. Jackson and Ms. Generoso, to help us revive the high school club," said student Carly Rieger, who had been an active member of the Model United Nations Club at Albert Leonard Middle School, and who worked to reorganize the club this year. "We went to our first conference in NYC and had the exciting opportunity to have committee sessions in the actual UN! Hopefully, this club continues to grow, because we have so many ideas for years to come."
NRHS Senior Wins National Ceramics Honor for 2nd Year
Rebecca Velasco had not imagined her ceramic work would make it into a prominent exhibition of works from around the country even once, let along twice. But the New Rochelle High School senior recently had the honor of sending her work to be presented in the Annual National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition  for the second year in a row.

What's more, she won awards both times.

Her 17-pound work Tribe Leader: Native American Bust was exhibited in the show last week in Minneapolis. The exhibition is hosted by the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts and is held in conjunction with the council's annual conference, the preeminent ceramics event in the country.

Tribe Leader: Native American Bust.
Former teacher Grace Fraioli encouraged Velasco to send in a piece last year.

"Ms. Fraioli saw something in it and she told me to at least try," Velasco said.

This year, o nly 153 pieces were chosen for the exhibition out of 1,141 pieces submitted. The judges awarded Velasco t he Marilu Tejero Award for Latin American Cultural Content . The piece also won the Ci Product award.

The piece she submitted last year also won The Marilu Tejero Award.

Her current teacher, Ellen Salov, says Velasco has "a real gift" for ceramic work. It's more than that, too. When Velasco found working on the pottery wheel to be a bit difficult, she put in the time to get it right.

"When she saw that she would have to work at it a little harder, she started coming during her free periods," Salov said. "She's gotten really good at it in a short period of time."

Velasco finds working with the clay calming.

"It's very relaxing," she said. "I find peace in throwing on the wheel."
She plans to study forensic science when she attends the University of Tampa next year. But she plans to keep ceramics as a hobby.

"I like that there are no set rules or boundaries," she said. "There's always something different to learn. You can make something unique and different from any other piece you've seen."