Annual Black History Celebration
February 11, 2017
NRHS, 4:00 p.m.
See attached for more information
Dear CSDNR Community,
We are very excited to be opening our doors to the 2016-2017 school year, and welcome our new and returning students, staff, and faculty. This year marks the start of the district’s five-year capital improvement plan; the second year of our district-wide Wi-Fi installation initiative that expands the use of Chromebooks which allows us to further our students’ college and career readiness skills in technology; and our continued efforts to bring the highest quality academic programs into our classrooms. Each of these pursuits emphasizes the district’s commitment to providing a learning environment where our students are challenged, engaged, and love to learn.
The 2015-2016 school year was marked by many student accomplishments including six National Merit Scholarship Finalists, chess teams’ wins, finalists in the MIT Inspire Competition, a U.S. Presidential Scholar, Division 1 college athletic scholarships, winning the SIFMA Stock Market Game, and music, art and theater recognitions.
In the spring, the community approved a $106.5 million capital improvement bond to fund urgent infrastructure needs in every school and address significant and necessary health and safety projects. Of importance with the bond passage is that there is no net increase in debt service over the lifetime of the bond because of completing payments on existing debt and a 48.7% reimbursement rate from New York State on the work. And, Moody’s Investors Service recently affirmed the district’s Aa2 rating and removed its negative rating, reflecting the hard work done over the past two years to put the district’s fiscal house in order, resulting in more beneficial interest rates on the bond.
At this important time in our infrastructure investment we are pleased to welcome Mr. Carl Thurnau as our new Director of Facilities.
The district also welcomes Dr. Magda Parvey to the position of Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer. Dr. Parvey will provide leadership and coordination for the district’s instructional goals that emanate from the CSDNR Strategic Roadmap of 2015. This position is seen as an integral part of the district’s effort to provide all students with rigorous learning experiences and prepare them to thrive as critical thinkers and problem solvers who are college and career ready.
The City School District of New Rochelle is one where successes happen every day, and we are exceptionally proud of each and every one of our students and faculty. There are wonderful things happening in the New Rochelle Schools – we are happy you have chosen to be part of them.
Brian G. Osborne, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools
and the CSDNR Board of Education
Seventy-six juniors studying U.S. History and Government continue to reap the benefits of a recent visit to Philadelphia that gave them an exciting first-hand look at how the government functions.
The trip included several educational highlights, according to social studies teacher Virginia Gunther, who accompanied the students. They visited the National Constitution Center, which offers a variety of student-centered interactive activities, such as Roles of the President trivia, Supreme Court cases and legislative laws, among many others.
This week, students were assigned to read President Obama's farewell speech. The next day, several students commented that Obama used the phrase, "We the people," from the Constitution, and spoke of the Founding Fathers. Both references stemmed from their Philadelphia visit.
"Whenever students experience or view firsthand information, it becomes a part of their knowledge set," said Gunther. "The student excitement of visiting historic Philadelphia, engaging in the principles of our government, discussing and sharing ideas with peers created an energy in and out of the classroom that resonates today."
During the trip, students posed for pictures in Signers' Hall, where they learned about the crafting, creation and enduring relevance of the Bill of Rights. They viewed the country's historical timeline in Freedom Rising, which offers a combination of oral history and video performance of the history of the U.S.
Students also modeled and took roles as future presidents and voters, and participated in Constitution Jeopardy. In addition, students toured Independence Hall and held discussions about the Constitutional Convention.
They ended the tour with a visit to the U.S. Philadelphia Mint, where pennies were being minted that day.
The trip was underwritten by the National Constitution Center's Youth Scholarship grant.
Daniel Webster students are benefiting from an intensive artist-in-residence program where they are learning history through a mix of theater, music and art.
Patrick Wadden, the artist-in-residence, is running a four-week program where fourth graders meet twice a week with the aim of creating a puppet show about history. This is the fourth time that Wadden's Malden-on-Hudson-based Arm-of-the-Sea Theater is offering the program at Webster.
The project this year is built around Henry Hudson's exploration of the Hudson River. History is explained from the perspective of the Dutch and English explorers and the Native Americans they encountered. Emphasis is placed upon the exchange of cultures that occurred when they interacted.
As part of the program, students work with the artist to create puppets using cardboard and paper. They also work on a script with the help of Wadden.
The four-week effort will culminate in a show on Jan. 24 for students and family members. At the show, students will be the puppet masters, provide musical sound effects and will narrate the show, said Kathy Coyne, the school's magnet facilitator.
Students, teachers and staff at Isaac E. Young Middle School can read the latest issue of the Modern Youngster newspaper, a publication that was revived in 2015 after an extended gap.
The Youngster first came out in the 1920s, and morphed into a magazine that published poetry and creative writing by students. After ups and downs over the decades, it returned as the Modern Youngster in November 2015, a 21st century version of a student newspaper.
In its modern incarnation, the newspaper contains news about school events, clubs, sports and the New Rochelle community. It also runs announcements, puzzles and riddles created by students. It published four issues in the 2015-2016 school year.
Today's issue is the first of the 2016-2017 school year and was produced by the 25-member newspaper club comprised of sixth and seventh graders. They were guided by club mentor Danielle DeLancey, a sixth-grade English Language Arts teacher.
Three other issues will be published before school is out in June, DeLancey said. Students can find hard copies of the Modern Youngster at school and read it on the school website.
The New Rochelle Special Olympics Team has wrapped up a successful soccer season, and this month has begun competing in floor hockey. The team's home floor hockey games will be played on Jan. 31 and Feb. 7 at Isaac E. Young Middle School, and on April 5 at New Rochelle High School.
The team's soccer season ended with a 3-1 victory over Ardsley on Wednesday, Dec. 14, bringing its final record to five wins, two losses, and one draw. One of the goals in the final game was a rebound scored by Thiago Reche after a shot by Kyle Fitzpatrick. This season's top scorers were Alyssa Padilla, Victor Castellanos and Kenny Jaramillo.
The team competes in the Public School Sports Based Pioneer League against Mamaroneck, White Plains, Port Chester, and other Westchester County schools. Each year, students play a full season of soccer, floor hockey, basketball and volleyball.
At the end of the school year, student athletes gather for a night of dinner and dancing held at one of the participating schools. There are currently 40 student athletes playing for New Rochelle - 30 high school students and 10 middle school students.
New Rochelle High School's Jordan Wallace beat John F. Kennedy High School's Jack Krug Saturday to win the Murphy-Guccione Shoreline Classic in his 170-pound weight class.
Saturday's win was Wallace's last opportunity to take the prize in his hometown tournament because he is a senior. In addition to the title, the 17-year-old won the tournament's prestigious Most Valuable Wrestler award. It's the first time in recent memory that a New Rochelle student has won the title, said Steve Young, NRHS's director of athletics.
"It's been my goal to win this tournament since I was an eighth-grader," Wallace told The Journal News after his 6-2 decision over Krug in the finals. "I remember telling my coach (Eddie Ortiz), 'I'm going to win the Shoreline,' and he was like, 'It's easier said than done.' It was important to me to win my hometown tournament."
Named 53 years ago for two former NRHS wrestling coaches, the tournament is an invitational that attracts high school wrestlers from throughout the Northeast.
Wallace began wrestling in seventh grade and has been very successful in the sport. As a senior, his record has been 20-0. Eighteen of those wins have come from pins, said Young.
He's also on the Honor Roll and takes special interest in politics and history. He hopes to go to the University of Maryland to study business or politics, and wrestle in the Big Ten Conference.
The City School District of New Rochelle will assemble a committee that will explore the disparity of language offerings among schools and present to the Board of Education options it will consider for a districtwide world language program.
Dr. Magda Parvey, Assistant Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer, and Juan Mendez, Chairman of World Languages for the district, will name a committee, which will include approximately 35-40 stakeholders - parents, teachers and administrators. The committee will include representatives from each school.
The committee will research other world language and bilingual programs, update the Board of Education at various points along the way, and then make recommendations to the Board as to what is best for the district. The committee, along with Mendez and Parvey, will determine a timetable for completion.
Of the district's seven elementary schools, five of them - Davis, Ward, Webster, Barnard and Jefferson - offer foreign language, and of those, four offer the Children International Language Academy program. Currently, the programs are very site based and not formally structured by the district. Two of the elementary schools do not offer foreign language.
"The disparities in world language exist at the elementary level, and there is a very strong desire from parents, administrators and teachers to provide equal language services for students," Dr. Parvey said.
She added that current cohorts will not be disrupted, and a new approach will not require additional resources to implement.
New Rochelle High School students Nicholas Townley and Steven Solar have each received a perfect score of 36 on the ACT test, a high school achievement and college admission assessment.
The two are in elite company. According to ACT, fewer than one-tenth of 1 percent of all test-takers receive a perfect score. Out of 2.1 million testers in the graduating class of 2016, only 2,235 achieved the highest score.
Townley, 17, a senior, said he was excited to learn that he aced the test. Always a top student, he is senior class president and captain of the varsity swim team. He is also a member of the National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, the PAVE Vocal Music Program, the IGNITE (peer mentoring) Executive Board, TheatreWorks and Model Congress.
"It was super rewarding to know that all the hard work paid off," said Townley. "It was a moment of extreme joy."
Townley doesn't know yet where he'll go to college, but he's mulling business and political science as possible majors. A career in politics is a possibility, he said, as is a life in business.
Solar, 16, is a junior, and said he took the ACT test early because, "I just wanted to get it out of the way."
He was sitting in a college informational session when his parents informed him of the ACT test results.
"I had been doing well on practice tests, but never this well," said Solar. "I was very happy."
Solar describes his interests as "science-y" and says he enjoys studying physics and biology. He is captain of the Alternative Frisbee Club, and a member of the board of the Junior State of America (JSA) and of IGNITE. He is also on the varsity tennis team.
He would like to pursue a career in bioengineering and research.
The New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence will host the annual Civics Symposium on Friday, Jan. 13, bringing together experts to discuss issues of citizenship and governance.
For nearly 20 years, the fund has worked in partnership with New Rochelle High School teachers Debbie Minchin and Steve Goldberg to present the symposium. The event will take place at the high school library between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m.
The symposium will feature a panel of distinguished guests, including New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, Councilman Jared Rice, Westchester County Clerk Tim Idoni, Monroe College professor Lori Hall Armstrong, Iona College professor Alex Eodice and Graham Long, associate director of economic education at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
The seminar will include a discussion of student papers on what the president should prioritize during his first 100 days in office. Students from AP Government and AP Macroeconomics classes will attend the event.
The symposium is free and open to the public.
In popular perception, the library and robotics don't go hand-in-hand. But New Rochelle High School's Ryan Paulsen is among a small group of librarians that has taken up the challenge of helping students build STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) and 21st century learning skills.
Paulsen leads the New Ro-Bots, and is getting some well-deserved notice for starting the club. He is featured in the new book, "Library Robotics: Technology and English Language Arts Activities for Ages 8-24" by Sarah Kepple, which highlights the innovative robotics program at NRHS.
Paulsen volunteered to head the program four years ago, even though he had no background in technology. However, he had the passion and all the raw skills that were needed.
"As a librarian, my skills are not in specialized information. It is in the process of acquisition of that information," said Paulsen. "Because of my background in research, I was able to gather all the information needed to get the task done."
The season for the 30-member club begins with a six-week "build" period in January when they construct a robot from scratch for the FIRST Robotics Competition. Once the build period ends, the team participates in competitions over the next six weeks. In 2014, they won the "Rookie Inspiration Award" at the New York City Regional competition.
This year, the New Ro-Bots will compete at the 2017 Hudson Valley Regional on March 23 at Rockland Community College and the NYC Regional on April 6 at the Armory Track Facility. The kickoff event for the 2017 build period will take place at NRHS on Saturday when the high school will host seven local teams.
During the fall, the club trains new members and experiments with more advanced systems. The New Ro-Bots also offer a middle school engineering program for the New Rochelle Youth Bureau. The six-week program runs twice a year in the fall and spring.
Paulsen describes the robotics team as closer to a fully operational business/startup than just a competitive team. He oversees the club with the help of Natalie Medina, who is a special education and social studies teacher.
New Rochelle High School junior Francisco Maldonado will be featured on the Jan. 12 episode of "The Steve Harvey Show."
Maldonado and his mentor, Daniel Bonnet, director of the Center for College & Careers for The Guidance Center of Westchester, will discuss their relationship within the context of President Barack Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" initiative. Bonnet has been a mentor to Maldonado for four years.
Maldonado said the program and the relationship he has built with Bonnet have helped him develop the skills needed to be successful in life.
"It gives you communication skills, public speaking skills and writing skills," said Maldonado. "They provided me with moral, mental and educational support to help me learn how to be successful, not only in my school career but also in my profession."
Maldonado said he will be watching the episode for the first time, like everyone else, when it airs on Jan. 12. He said the experience was "a little nerve-wracking," but a good one. He's been to Connecticut and New Jersey, but traveling to Chicago and taking in the experience of the show was something unique for him, he said.
"It opened up my eyes about how everything works in the media - the producing, the arrangements, the planning - everything about how it works," said Maldonado. "I'm grateful for My Brother's Keeper for giving me the opportunity to go."
In 2015, New Rochelle became the first city in Westchester County to "accept" President Obama's challenge: To take an intentional, selfless part in improving life outcomes for young people, particularly boys, and young men of color. The city has adopted a plan of action with six points to guide mentees from "cradle to career."