Dear parents and guardians,
When we talk about high-quality, challenging education in the City School District of New Rochelle, we are looking at innovative programs that give us kindergarten authors to high schoolers exploring the sciences and emulating members of Congress.
We want to celebrate the creative ways in which our educators challenge our students and spark the joy of learning as we reach the second day looking at our Mission Statement: "The City School District of New Rochelle, through an active partnership amongst community, parents, staff and students,
will provide a high quality and challenging education for every child
, in a safe, nurturing environment that embraces our rich diversity and drives our success."
At Henry Barnard Early Childhood Center, all kindergarteners become authors, writing their own books, complete with an author’s page featuring their photographs and biographical information. They then read their books to older students – first graders, many of whom published their books the year before.
At William B. Ward Elementary School, second graders read complex texts such as the book
, then learn to identify figurative language such as similes, and to discern an author’s message. They are asked to read chapter books independently to practice these skills.
STEAM programs integrate sciences, technology, engineering, arts and math. Students learn via hands-on projects such as building bridges. At Trinity Elementary School, they begin science studies with the question: What does a scientist look like? The answer; if you ask questions and seek evidence to support or refute your claims, a scientist looks just like you. If you attended a recent Board of Education meeting at Trinity, you may have enjoyed a range of science-themed treats such as cut-away models of the Earth with its red core revealed, DNA helices made of candy and the lunar cycle shown in split-open Oreo cookies with creamy centers carved to depict the moon’s phases. They were a perfect example of the creative ways the topic can be taught.
New Rochelle High School students excel in all fields. Consider that the school offers more than 30 Advanced Placement courses. Students find opportunities to grow in a range of activities. They argue mock legislation in Model Congress. They explore everything from genetics to experimental psychology to the environment in a Science Research Program that has been bringing home an increasing number of awards from competitions in recent years. The Performing and Visual Arts Education (PAVE) program offers participants the opportunity to delve deeply into painting, acting and more.
The educators’ innovation is captured in unique activities. Where else can you see students exploring mock crime scenes as they do in Nature Study Woods for the final of the forensic science classes? The
en plein air
day brings art students outdoors on NRHS grounds to paint and complete pottery works following the raku method. Pieces are fired in a kiln, then dropped into combustible material to create random patterns.
Last year the teenage thespians in our TheaterWorks group made a splash at the regional Metropolitan High School Theater Awards. Entering for the first time in at least 15 years, they received a whopping seven nominations, and emerged with three wins.
We continue to explore ways to ensure that all our students have access to exceptional programs. For the first time ever, our proposed 2020-21 school budget includes a $2 million Equity Budget that will be apportioned to schools based on enrollment weighted by our priorities to start addressing success gaps.
During this time of unprecedented challenge, teachers use innovation to maintain the interaction with the students they miss so much. At Columbus Elementary School, teachers are re-creating part of the in-class feel by teaming up to create break-out groups in videoconference classes. They allow students to move from virtual room to virtual room, emulating the feel of small group instruction, teaching stations and more. The George M. Davis Jr. Elementary School has put a strong emphasis on the arts and has offered a virtual gallery for students to post their works.
This is just a small sampling of all the wonderful classes, programs and activities that go on in our District. While we all must remain physically apart at least through the end of this school year, it is encouraging to see the innovation continue with our Distance Learning Plan 2.0. The challenges are new, but the devotion and the high quality will always raise our students to a higher level.