City School District of New Rochelle

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Students Pick Up Free Books, Backpacks, Supplies
Ten by ten, the children filed into the Mascaro Clubhouse gymnasium to snap up book bags, supplies, and books - tables crammed with books, thousands of books, in stacks higher than their heads.

The event last Saturday was the second annual book giveaway by New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees. This time, they joined forces with the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle, which provided the donated backpacks and supplies.

Students perused brand new hardcovers and paperbacks. They stocked up on crayons, markers and scented erasers that smelled like blueberry, strawberry and grape.

"It's a wide range of books," said Albert Leonard Middle School seventh-grader Kaeleigh Graham-Purdy, who enjoys realistic fiction - or anything else she finds interesting. "There's something for everybody."

There were books on sports, young adult series, superhero books. The volumes on Star Wars which were favorites of Columbus Elementary School first-grader Allen Mendoza. He chose the perfect backpack for them as well, emblazoned with a silvery image of the Millennium Falcon spaceship. His older sister, Columbus fourth-grader Ashely Mendoza, favors historical fiction and realistic fiction. But she's open to others. It all depends on whether the blurb on the back of the book sounds interesting.
"If I like it, I read it," she said.

"It's such a wonderful community event," said New Rochelle FUSE President Martin Daly. "Anything that helps the kids get hooked on books and reading is great."

He thanked the New Rochelle High School boys varsity soccer team for helping out. The athletes led children in outdoor activities while they waited for the doors to open, then chaperoned the young students, helping them to find the books they wanted.

"Free new school supplies can make the difference for many kids in how they start their school year," said Board of Education member William Iannuzzi, who is also director of the club's Mascaro Unit. "These supplies not only help parents, but they also boost a student's self-esteem knowing they are going to school with all new items."

FUSE received the books thanks to a partnership between the nonprofit First Book and the American Federation of Teachers, of which New York State United Teachers is a chapter. The Boys & Girls Club portion of the giveaway was sponsored by the 5 Star Jeep Club and supported by the Mascaro Women's Auxiliary Club and TP Toys and Accessories of New Rochelle.

Planetarium Shows Begin Wednesday
The free stargazing shows at the New Rochelle High School Planetarium begin next week with the presentation "Oasis in Space," at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. The event is open to the public.
"Becoming familiar with the sky is a great way to start the new school year," said planetarium director Bruce Zeller, an astronomy teacher. "It's a lot of fun to look at the sky and be able to identify and point to different objects."
Zeller will begin the evening by using the planetarium's original optomechanical projector, nicknamed "Irving," to show the audience what celestial delights they can spot outside on their own. At this time of year, Jupiter and Saturn, along with three beautiful stars that make up the "Summer Triangle", are easy to find.
The featured show, "Oasis in Space," is a journey through the galaxy and solar system and will be shown using the planetarium's new Spitz SciDome projector.
Zeller, who has been presenting the shows for years, is always thrilled to welcome the community into the planetarium.
"The District truly believes in the planetarium and they keep it updated and upgraded," he said. "It's beautiful and filled with the latest technology."
The planetarium shows are held once a month - with extra showings in December for a special seasonal presentation.

Attendees are urged to be prompt. The doors open at 6:45 p.m and no one can be admitted after the show begins at 7 p.m. The planetarium is near the corner of Flandreau and Argyle avenues.
Vaccination Deadline 
Next Week
The deadline for students to receive required vaccinations in order to remain in school is approaching next week. Nonmedical and religious exemptions to vaccine requirements are no longer permitted in New York.
By law, students who previously asserted a religious or nonmedical exemption need to provide proof to the District that they have received the first round of all required vaccines within 14 days of the start of the school year. That means those students need to provide documentation by Tuesday, September 17, showing they have received the first dose of the required vaccines, or they will be excluded from school beginning the next day, Wednesday, September 18, until such documentation is provided.
Further, students have 30 days from the first day of instruction to demonstrate that all follow-up doses of required immunizations have been scheduled in accordance with the vaccine catch-up schedule recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
The law requires that all students excluded for lack of immunization must be reported to the Westchester County Department of Health.
Please send your child's proof of immunization and/or schedule of upcoming immunization appointments to the school nurse. For additional information, visit the New York State Department of Health website or contact the City School District of New Rochelle Health Services Department at 914-576-4264.
Sports Schedule
For upcoming New Rochelle athletic competitions, check out*

* This link connects to an outside website

Dates to Remember
Monday, September 16:  SEPTA Meeting, NRHS Room 207, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, September 17:  Webster PTA General Meeting, 8:45 a.m.
Tuesday, September 17:  Barnard Meet the Teacher Night, Grades K-2, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, September 17:  Davis Back to School Night, Grades 3-5, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, September 18: Planetarium Show "Oasis in Space", NRHS, 7 p.m.
Thursday, September 19:  NRHS PTSA Freshman Guidance Overview
Thursday, September 19:  Ward PTA Meeting, 7 p.m.
Thursday, September 19:  Webster Meet the Teacher Night, Grades K-2, 6 p.m.; Grades 3-5, 7 p.m.
Friday, September 20:  Jefferson Welcome Back BBQ, 3:30 p.m.
Friday, September 20:  NRHS Extended Day: Last Day of Registration
Friday, September 20:  Webster International Day of Peace
Saturday, September 21:  Trinity Car Wash and Flea Market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
From left: Kate M. Spillane, Abigail Kazakov, Stephen A. Bartell, Martina Freed, Maya S. Schloss, Aaron M. Cohen.
Six NRHS Seniors Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists
Six New Rochelle High School seniors have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, joining about 16,000 other students across the United States who received the distinction in the 65-year-old annual competition.

The NRHS students are: Stephen A. Bartell, Aaron M. Cohen, Martina R. Freed, Abigail Kazakov, Maya S. Schloss and Kate M. Spillane. The academically skilled students have reached the first major step in competing for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

"It's nice to see our hard work rewarded," said Bartell.

More than 1.5 million juniors in 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

"These students are great examples of the high level of achievement we see from students in New Rochelle High School," said NRHS Interim Principal Joseph Starvaggi. "We are incredibly proud of them for the hard work and dedication they have shown and continue to show."

Bartell plans to major in math in college. He said NRHS has given him many opportunities to pursue his interests.

"There are a lot of academic resources here," Bartell said. "There are a lot of courses to take and a variety of offerings if you know what you're passionate about."

Freed is also interested in math and echoed Bartell's sentiments about opportunities at NRHS.

"There are a lot of options," she said. "With the number of classes that you can take - some of them very specific in their topics - it's almost like a college."

The seniors are involved in a variety of organizations, clubs and activities, including the National Honor Society and the honor societies for specific subjects.

Cohen said the school's clubs, such as the Robotics Team and Academic Team, complement the classes in preparing him for his plans to become a physicist.

"Physics is the backbone of all the sciences," he said. "It explains everything that happens."

Kazakov plans to become a doctor. She is deciding between adult internal medicine and dermatology.

"I've taken a lot of science classes here - physics, biology, chemistry - that will prepare me for medical school," she said.

Schloss also plans to enter medicine, as a pediatric surgeon.
"I like working with kids and I find surgery very interesting," she said. "I'm very detail oriented, so the field requires a lot of the skills I have."

Spillane plans to be a mechanical engineer to seek solutions for some of the world's challenging problems.

"There are many great teachers and guidance counselors who are willing to help you here, as well as amazing students who are willing to push you to do better," she said of NRHS.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist, working with a high school official, must submit a scholarship application with information on the student's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities and employment, as well as honors and awards earned.

Finalists will be announced in February, and in the spring, three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered. National Merit will award 2,500 scholarships of $2,500 each. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by 220 corporations and business organizations. Finally, 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored awards.
Barnard Principal Dr. Nicolas Cracco with current and former students unveiling new sponsored bricks in greenhouse patio.
Amy's Greenhouse Commemorates 9/11
Henry Barnard Early Childhood Center kept alive its tradition of observing 9/11 this week with its annual ceremony at Amy's Greenhouse, which honors a former teacher's daughter who was lost in the 2001 attacks.

"Amy's spirit - who she was, who she will remain - is alive and well in this setting," Geraldine Davie said of her daughter, Amy O'Doherty, who perished when the airplanes struck the Twin Towers. Davie was a Barnard pre-kindergarten teacher at the time.

Davie was addressing the gathering of staff members, friends, New Rochelle firefighters and others at the greenhouse. Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey praised Davie and the Barnard staff for creating the greenhouse in O'Doherty's memory.

"Here at Amy's Greenhouse, the staff of Barnard realized an idea from Ms. Davie to emerge from tragedy - a day that shook our nation to its core and a personal tragedy that struck so close to home - and to create in its aftermath a place that celebrates life," Dr. Parvey said.

State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson and Barnard Principal Dr. Nicolas Cracco also spoke.  Current and former Barnard students started the ceremony by leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Dr. Cracco then recruited students to help unveil several new sponsored bricks in the greenhouse's patio.

Dr. Cracco announced that teachers Trish Flanagan and Tara Knebel were named "Amy's Greenhouse butterflies", the name given to all who help with the greenhouse.

Flanagan, addressing the gathering, pointed to the window of the class where she was teaching when the attacks occurred. She talked about the greenhouse as a source of joy, and said she looked forward to the year's activities with students. Tasting fresh-pressed cider, decorating pumpkins and witnessing amaryllis flowers bloom in "a shocking display of floral beauty that you never expect," she said, "will create a meaningful, positive wealth of memories in their young hearts."

Retired Teachers
Donate Supplies to Trinity
Third-graders at Trinity Elementary School received unexpected gift this week when a group of retired teachers from throughout Westchester brought them bright new boxes with school supplies.

Members of the Retired Educators and Children Together committee from the Tarrytown office of New York State United Teachers shopped for and donated the 166 boxes. They came in neon colors of green, orange and yellow.

"I like what's inside; the crayons and the erasers and the pencils," said student Logan Mercado.

"I'm going to take it home and draw with it," said Arabella Aloyse Caré.

The teachers said seeing how happy students are to receive the supplies helps them remain connected to the field they devoted their lives to.

"What I get out of it is joy," said retired teacher Suzanne Carlock.

Trinity Princ ipal Michael Hilderbrand was grateful his school had been chosen for the program.

"It was such a special gift to welcome the NYSUT REACT group to Trinity Elementary School," he said. "Our third-grade scholars not only received pencil boxes filled with school supplies, they witnessed educators continuing to give back to their community. They are a gift that keeps on giving!"
District Physician to Moderate Discussion After 'Resilience' Screenings
The documentary "Resilience" will be screened twice this fall at the New Rochelle Public Library. After the film, the City School District of New Rochelle's Medical Director, Dr. Brooke Balchan, will help facilitate a discussion about this important topic.
The one-hour documentary explores the science behind stress and the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, looking at how abuse and neglect, exposure to violence, familial mental illness, substance abuse or separation from a parent impacts our lives. Childhood traumas can put children at greater risk for chronic health problems in adulthood, Dr. Balchan explained.
The film is a great opportunity for the community to learn how to build resilience in young people to help them persevere against life's challenges.
As the film explores intensely emotional topics, it is recommended for a mature audience. A mindfulness exercise will follow the movie, and Dr. Balchan and Dr. Andrew Bell, a psychologist with the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health, will then lead a discussion. 
"We'll be there to make it a safe space to talk about this," Dr. Balchan said. 
The screenings are Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to noon, and Thursday, Oct. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Ossie Davis Theater at the library, 1 Library Plaza at Lawton Street. Register for either date at the Westchester Library System website here  or at: