City School District of New Rochelle

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Letter from the Interim Superintendent
Dear New Rochelle Community,

What a great start to the school year!

Since classes began on Wednesday, I have been visiting schools across our District. In each building, I have seen students refreshed from their summer break, happy to reconnect with friends and eager to learn. Our teachers were elated to see them. The educators were ready to make their students feel welcome and to continue instilling in them a lifelong love of learning.

The start of a new school year is alive with fresh starts and endless possibilities. I was thrilled to see teachers leading activities, and asking students how they learn best. In kindergarten, they engaged in activities to get to know each other. These were perfect examples of tending to students' social and emotional health from the first day.

The school year begins in phases. On Tuesday, we welcomed back teachers in our annual convocation. Tuesday evening, the Board of Education formally granted tenure to 30 educators and other professionals, after hearing glowing praise from their principals.

By Wednesday, they were ready for elementary school students who came in for a half day of classes, middle school students who came for orientation and welcome-back assemblies, and the incoming New Rochelle High School freshmen. The newest members of the NRHS student body were welcomed with a cookout and activities. Upper class members from the mentoring program Ignite - donning the signature purple T-shirts - were there to begin helping them navigate their new school.

All of this was made easier because the school buildings themselves are looking better all the time. The Facilities Department took advantage of the summer months to ramp up renovations, upgrades and general upkeep. They are well past the halfway point in making the upgrades being funded by the $106.5 million bond act passed by voters in 2016.

Everywhere you look, it seems, there are plantings, fresh paint, new doors. The new bleachers and floor in the NRHS gym are sporting a sharp, refreshed look that will make us proud to host games.

Next week starts the first full week of school. By then, the 2019-20 school year will be in full swing. It's going to be a great one.

Dr. Magda Parvey
Interim Superintendent
Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey meets with students at Columbus Elementary Shool.
Amy's Greenhouse Ready for 9-11 Ceremony
The public is welcome to Barnard Early Childhood Center's annual 9/11 observance at Amy's Greenhouse, the living memorial that the school created from the tragedy. It will be held at 3:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11.

The greenhouse is named for Amy O'Doherty, who perished in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. Her mother, Geraldine Davie, a Barnard pre-kindergarten teacher at the time, received so many gifts of flowers after the tragedy, that she asked instead for donations to create something permanent in O'Doherty's memory.

The result was the greenhouse, which now also includes a patio and gazebo.

Scheduled to speak at this year's ceremony are New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, City School District of New Rochelle Interim Superintendent Dr. Magda Parvey, Barnard Principal Nicolas Cracco, and Geraldine Davie, who has retired from the school, but returns each year for the observance.

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

* This link connects to an outside website

Dates to Remember
Sunday, September 8:  New Rochelle Street Fair, at and around City Hall, 515 North Ave. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, September 9:  Barnard First Full Day of Pre-K
Monday, September 9:  Webster Bus Drills Begin
Tuesday, September 10: Ward Meet the Teacher Night, Grades 3-5, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, September 11: Barnard 9-11 Ceremony, Amy's Greenhouse, 3:45 p.m.
Wednesday, September 11:  Columbus Meet the Teacher Night, Grades K-2, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, September 11:  Davis Back to School Night, Grades K-2, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, September 11:  Trinity Back to School Night, Grades K-2, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 11:  ALMS Meet the Teacher Night, 7 p.m.
Thursday, September 12:  Columbus Meet the Teacher Night, Grades 3-5, 6 p.m.
Thursday, September 12:  Ward Meet the Teacher Night, Grades K-2, 6 p.m.
Thursday, September 12:  Trinity Back to School Night, Grades 3-5, 6:30 p.m.
Friday, September 13:  Ward Popcorn Friday
Friday, September 13:  Davis New Parent Coffee, 9 a.m.
Friday, September 13:  Webster Kindergarten & New Student Social, 3:15 p.m.
Friday, September 13:  Davis PTA Fall Carnival, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday, September 13:  Trinity PTA Welcome Back Picnic, 5 p.m.
Friday, September 13:  Ward Welcome BBQ, 5 p.m.
Collecting the books to distribute. From left: New Rochelle FUSE Executive Vice President Billy Coleman, FUSE Vice President Aisha Cook and NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Phillipe Abraham.
Free Books, Book Bags Available in Giveaway Tomorrow
New Rochelle children and young adults can pick up free books tomorrow in the New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees' (FUSE) second annual great book giveaway - and this time, they will also come away with brand new book bags to carry them in.

Last year, FUSE gave away thousands of books in a first-time event. This year, they have joined forces with the Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle, which will give away book bags and supplies.

The reading material and other items will be given away tomorrow, Sept. 7, at the Boys & Girls Club's Mascaro Clubhouse, 79 Seventh Ave. The day starts at 9 a.m. with activities for children. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., teachers will hand out the books while Boys & Girls Club staff hands out the book bags and supplies.

The union has about 15,000 books to distribute, compliments of a partnership of the nonprofit organization First Book and the American Federation of Teachers. FUSE's Executive Vice President Billy Coleman and Vice President Aisha Cook drove to Albany recently to collect them from the headquarters of the New York State United Teachers.

Books left over will be distributed to schools in the District.
 Jeannine Shields uses a green screen photograph to insert herself into an underwater scene.
Educator Brings Ideas Back from Discovery Institute
For an eighth time, William B. Ward Elementary School Instructional Technology Facilitator Jeannine Shields attended the Discovery Educator Network Summer Institute (DENSI), an intensive invitation-only professional development program.
The weeklong Institute, held this year at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, continues to bring her new ideas. DENSI 2014, held in Nashville, was the inspiration for starting Ward's Our STEAM Café (#ourSTEAMcafe).
"It's amazing professional development," Shields said. "It creates a think tank of educators from across the country and other nations, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Mexico and Chile. You get to see the ideas that have been successful in their classrooms and you bring them back to your own classroom."
Taking the selfie with the new green screen.

The sessions inspired her to try ideas such as flexible seating, and her newest innovation - the addition of a more advanced green screen in her classroom to place students (virtually) in an endless array of locales the way Hollywood special effects wizards do it.

"The students can be on the moon or they can be in Paris or swimming with sharks," she said.

This year, more than 160 educators from around the world joined the Summer Institute. A global community of education professionals supported by Discovery Education , the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) connects members across school systems and around the world.

The Institute featured a number of interactive seminars and hands-on workshops designed to help educators combine the latest technologies and digital content to engage students with authentic digital learning environments.
"Jeannine's selection for DENSI demonstrates her outstanding leadership and commitment to using the latest technologies and innovative teaching strategies and techniques to improve student achievement," said Lance Rougeux, Vice President of Learning Communities and Innovation for Discovery Education. "Her participation in DENSI 2019 will help increase student engagement and help prepare all learners with the critical skills they need to succeed beyond the classroom."
Screen shot from the Scholastic video.
Davis Staff Bops in Upbeat 'Scholastic Book Clubs' Vid 
If you check out the bouncy new music video  touting the Scholastic Book Clubs, you may recognize the cast. Those moving-and-grooving, lip-syncing educators in the 46-second spot are from George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School.
The video arose from fourth-grade teacher Krista Gedney's connection with Scholastic. Others dancing and acting out a simple way to order books include Davis third-grade teachers Nicole Strome and Lauren Endres as well as Pamela Lynch, a teacher from PS 111 in the Bronx who was visiting Davis the day it was taped. A mother-son pair, Gioconda Munoz and fifth-grader Nick Ensuncho, got in on the fun, and even Principal Anthony Bambrola and Assistant Principal Laurie Marinaro joined the cast.
"We had a lot of fun filming with Scholastic," Gedney said. She has been making videos with Scholastic for about a year. When a crew from the company was taping a Book Talk with Gedney in August, they asked if the staff would like to appear in the music video.
"Traci Swain, the Creative Producer for Scholastic, quickly asked teachers who were in the building that day to be in the video," Gedney said. "Traci had a vision and executed it with ease. We had the music in the background and we followed her lead."
Four hours and many takes later, their work was done.  The video, running during the back-to-school season, is a great way to encourage children to read, Bambrola said.
"The video helps promote an easier avenue to getting access to the books online," Bambrola said. "Davis teachers are happy to support this effort and they put good energy into the video."

Come to New Rochelle
Street Fair Sunday
Now that you've made it through the opening days of the school year, come and unwind at the Seventh Annual New Rochelle Street Fair this Sunday, Sept. 8, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at and around City Hall, 515 North Ave. (Note that this is a new location; the fair is not downtown this year.) The family-friendly event will include DJ-spun music, food, entertainment, games and vendors, inflatables and much more. It will take place rain or shine.