City School District of New Rochelle

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Davis Student Grows Skills
in Garden
Matthew Spoto weeded the garden at George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School just once last year before he got hooked.

"Then I kept doing it more and more and more," he said. "It's relaxing and fun, and you get to eat what you grow."

Now, the fourth-grader comes in at about 7:30 a.m., a half hour before his schoolmates show up, to get some extra time tending the plants.

"Rain or shine, it doesn't matter, he's out there," said Assistant Principal Laurie Marinaro. "Cold, too. He's there at the same time every day. He's an amazing kid."

Many students help out with raking, watering and weeding the cherry red tomatoes, cubanelle peppers, eggplants, flowers and more. But Spoto does more. He is the right-hand man to Bob Mandorano - Mr. M, to the students - a lunch monitor who is also the resident gardener.

When students help out during lunch, Mandorano doesn't even need to be there. Spoto can oversee his fellow students.

"I don't know what I would do without him," Mandorano said.

When Marinaro sees Spoto advising the other students - not ordering them, but guiding them - it's clear that flowers and vegetables are not the only things growing in the garden.

"Matthew is developing his own leadership style out there," she said. "He takes pride in teaching. He shares what he knows and brings it back to the classroom."

He was inspired by his grandfather's garden, and grandmother's cooking. While he enjoys a sugary snack, like any 9-year-old, the gardening has sharpened his appreciation for a flavorful vegetable, too.

"It's exciting to see," his mother, Rosa Spoto, said about the gardening. "It's something that he loves and enjoys so much. It's heartwarming."
Matthew Spoto tends the tomato plants at Davis.
Building Operators'
 Training to Save District Money
The City School District of New Rochelle's ongoing efforts to streamline facilities maintenance operations has led to further training of building operators in its three largest school buildings. 

Secondary Plant Managers Raymond Casher of New Rochelle High School, Billy Coleman of Isaac E. Young Middle School and Joe Creanza of Albert Leonard Middle School successfully completed the Building Operator Certification®, which is offered by the New York State School Facilities Association (NYSSFA) in conjunction with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Graduates of the certification training help their organizations substantially cut operating costs as much as $20,000 per year. They also make their buildings more comfortable, efficient and environmentally friendly, thanks to the skills they master in classes. 

The seven-month program is the leading training and certification program for building engineers and maintenance personnel. It teaches facilities personnel to understand complex and interdependent building systems and how to bring them collectively to peak efficiency
From left, Raymond Casher, Billy Coleman and Joe Creanza.
Sports Schedule
For upcoming New Rochelle athletic competitions, check out*

* This link connects to an outside website
Dates to Remember
Friday, May 24: Schools Closed, District Offices Open

Monday, May 27: Memorial Day, District Closed

Monday, May 27: City of New Rochelle Memorial Day Ceremony, Memorial Plaza, 10 a.m.

Wednesday-Friday, May 29-31: Kindergarten Registration, Columbus

Wednesday, May 29: Spring Jazz Concert, NRHS, 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 29: Planetarium Show, NRHS, 7 p.m.

Thursday, May 30: Creative Arts Festival, Jefferson, 6 p.m.

Thursday, May 30: Best of PAVE Art Show, Whitney E. Young Rotunda, NRHS, 6:30 p.m. and Whitney E. Young Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Thursday-Friday, May 30-31: Kindergarten Stepping Up, Ward, 9:30 a.m.

Friday, May 31: PTA Meeting, Columbus, 9 a.m.

Friday, May 31: School Spirit Day, Barnard

Friday, May 31: NRHS Musical Theatre, Film Class, Linda E. Kelly Theater, NRHS, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, May 31: Best of PAVE Awards, Whitney E. Young Auditorium, NRHS, 7 p.m.
Voters Approve Budget
for 2019-2020 School Year
Community members await results Tuesday night.
Residents approved the City School District of New Rochelle's budget for the 2019-2020 school year with a vote of 2,239-1,134 on Tuesday.

The $281,067,000 budget is a 3.95% increase over this year's budget. However, the tax levy will increase by 2.2%, staying within the increase permitted by the New York State tax cap. The budget is supported partly by increases of $4 million in state aid and $2 million in other non-tax revenue.

The spending plan maintains existing programs and adds more than 20 positions, improves resources in areas such as special education and building maintenance and addresses priorities expressed by administrators and the community such as supports in social-emotional health.

"The support from this community for this budget holds true to our commitment to provide the very best education for our students while maintaining fiscal responsibility," said Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey. "The community has taken another major step to ensure the continued success of its students."

The budget includes additional special education teachers, English as a New Language instructors, academic intervention specialists, a literacy coach and Spanish teachers. Clinicians - two social workers and a counselor - will be added at the middle school level. It will also add an Assistant Director - Instructional Technology.

The budget allots $250,000 for a new press box and $200,000 for a renovated concession stand, both at New Rochelle High School's McKenna Field. Capital projects also include partial roof repairs and replacement of auditorium seating at several schools.

"I am thankful to the voters of New Rochelle for their support of the 2019-2020 budget," Board of Education President Jeffrey Hastie said. "The School District continues to put its students in the best position to be successful in their academic careers."
New Board Members
Voters also elected two members to the Board of Education. The highest vote-getters - William Iannuzzi and Valarie D. Williams - will serve five-year terms beginning July 1, 2019.
Ilana Schechter, a junior at NRHS, paints by Huguenot Lake.
Students Bring Art Outdoors for En Plein Air Day
By Huguenot Lake, students painted the scenery of their school campus, while not far away, their schoolmates used tongs to carefully lift pottery that been fired in the 1,850-degree heat of raku kilns.

The occasion was En Plein Air day at New Rochelle High School, when students from six art classes practice their painting, pottery firing and photography outdoors.

Raku-fired pottery still needs to be scrubbed for a deeper luster.
"It's such a wonderful opportunity to be out here, to be able to look at nature and paint what you see," said senior Adam Jones, who has participated in en plein air all of his four years at the school. He was painting a gnarled tree across the lake from the French Norman-style school building that overlooks it.

"We have the most gorgeous campus in Westchester County," said art teacher Alexi Brock. "Why not take advantage of it?"

The raku pottery - ceramic jars, bowls and even rings - were fired in Japanese-style kilns that burn so hot, the air inside turns to an orange shimmer. Once the pieces were done, students removed them carefully, with arm-length tongs, and placed them in drums with newspaper and other combustible materials for post-firing reduction, which draws out surprising hues from the glaze with the flames. Finally, the works are "quenched" in water from the lake to cool down.

"This process is special because it brings out these metallic colors," said teacher Joanna Schomber.

Other pieces are left white, without glaze, but then are touched with strands of horse hair that singe into unpredictable, random curlicue marks.

"We put the horse hair on it and let nature take its course," said Julia Alvarado, a senior.

The painting students' challenge was to create their landscape of the high school building overlooking the lake, or trees, using only tertiary colors. No pure blue, red, yellow. No secondary colors either. The half-joking rule of thumb was, if you could name the color, it didn't count.

It was a challenge, but for freshman Amanda Cao, it was ultimately liberating to discover the range of colors that could be created.

"It's a lot easier to make more accurate colors," she said. "I think it gives you more freedom."
Jesus Torres
NRHS Junior Earns
Boys & Girls Club Honor
Jesus Torres, a New Rochelle High School junior, won second place last weekend in the New York State Youth of the Year Competition, an awards program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America that recognizes leadership, service, academic excellence and dedication to living a healthy lifestyle.
Torres is the first elected Co-President of the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Rochelle's (BGCNR) August Mascaro Clubhouse Keystone Club, a teen group dedicated to leadership and community service. In this capacity, he has served as an ambassador for the Mascaro Clubhouse and BGCNR as a whole. He participated in the 89th annual Civics Day, serving as Youth Mayor, shadowing New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson.
He is the second person in BGCNR history to rise so far in the Youth of the Year competition. He had earlier been named the BGCNR 2019 Youth of the Year.
"The Youth of the Year Competition has been an amazing experience," Torres said. "The Boys & Girls Club has been a second home for me, where I have been able to explore my future. I am very thankful for the Club and for my Director Will Iannuzzi for helping me and guiding me through this process."
For the competition, Torres wrote three essays, obtained three recommendation letters, gave a three-minute speech and conducted a 15-minute interview with a panel of judges.  One of 29 candidates from across the state, Torres received a $2,000 scholarship with the prize.

BOE Approves Calendar
The first day of class for the 2019-20 school year is Wednesday, Sept. 4 on the District calendar, which the Board of Education adopted this week. The one-page calendar sets school days, vacations and holidays. School calendars are found under the PARENTS/COMMUNITY tab on the District's homepage