District Announcements

  • NRHS Students Perform at Area All-State Festival

    Nine student musicians from New Rochelle High School were among the best high school musicians in the county performing in the Westchester County Area All-State Music Festival Concert on Nov. 16.
    The New Rochelle musicians and musical groups they played with were: Annael Alvarez, soprano I, treble chorus; Isabella Gonzalez, soprano I, mixed chorus; Alissa Johnson, clarinet, symphony orchestra; Taz Kim, cello, symphony orchestra; Jada Miller, violin I, string orchestra; Elijah Pomerantz, alto saxophone, band; Julianne Paccione, violin I, string orchestra; David Rubertone, tenor II, mixed chorus; and Gabriella Sgobbo, soprano II, mixed chorus.
    Students are admitted to the Westchester County Area All-State Band, Orchestra or Chorus in grades 10 through 12 on the basis of their audition scores at the New York State School Music Association Solo Festival held in the spring. They rehearsed two days at White Plains High School and all day Nov. 16 at the SUNY Performing Arts Center in Purchase. The concert was held that evening at the SUNY Performing Arts Center.
    Three of the students - Kim, Alvarez and Rubertone - will go on to play in the Conference All-Star festival in Rochester, Nov. 30 through Dec. 3. Kim will play cello in the Symphony Orchestra and the others will sing in the Mixed Chorus, Alvarez as Soprano I and Rubertone as Tenor II.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • NRHS Students Take Environmental Lessons to Stone Barns Farm

    They collected eggs, cooked dishes with beets, turmeric and kohlrabi straight from the farm, and shared a vegetarian meal, all as part of the Advanced Placement Environmental Science class. The students in Julia Chillemi-Kouyoumdjian's class spent the day recently at the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture in Tarrytown. The trip took their lessons off the whiteboard and projection screen and out to the down-to-earth setting where nature and agriculture play out. The Stone Barns Center seeks to transform "the way America eats and farms by creating a healthy, sustainable food system," its website says. "It was really cool to see how they work sustainably, which might not be the case on other farms," said student Grace Turkewitz. The students made lunch with the Pocantico Hills farm's bounty, including cabbage, spinach, kohlrabi, beets, turmeric, ginger and scallions. They made a chick pea, coconut, and spinach curry, a cabbage and kohlrabi slaw and other dishes. Alexis Cohn said she might not have eaten the dishes if she'd seen them elsewhere, including the beet salad she made that glowed with a hot pink color. "Because I knew what was in it, and I knew that we made it, I gave it a shot and ate it," she said. "The students learned that many natural processes can promote the growth of crops rather than relying on harmful synthetic, petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides," said Chillemi- Kouyoumdjian. They took an in-depth look at how knowledge of ecological relationships affects farmers' decisions. They also discussed the lack of access to sustainably grown food and the way food quality in the United States varies greatly. "I was also very proud of the collaborative effort the students put into making and enjoying a meal together," Chillemi-Kouyoumdjian said. "They discussed their relationships with food, and showed they were beginning to understand how food choices impact personal and environmental health." An educator from the Stone Barns Center will come to the class in the near future for a follow-up discussion to wrap up the two-day program. "It taught me a lot about how farms could be better for our environment," said student Jack Rieger. "Everyone is looking for the solutions for the long run, to keep farming going," Cohn added. "One thing I observed on the trip is that all the answers are in nature already."
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Webster Students Stage Show with Life-Size Puppets

    The papier mâché puppets were so large that it took three Daniel Webster Magnet School fourth-graders to operate just one. "You are the arm; be the arm," teacher Adam King reminded the two students who each operated one limb, while another held the torso and head aloft. They were rehearsing with Peacemaker, the main puppet character in a tale about the uniting of the Iroquois peoples. Forget hand puppets and sock puppets. The main characters in this tale were as tall as the teachers. They are pieces in a play performed by the students and organized by the Arm-of-the-Sea Theater, a performing arts organization from Saugerties, N.Y. that leads theater arts programs in school districts. Patrick Wadden, co-director of the Arm of the Sea, worked with about 90 fourth-graders on six different days to prepare for the performance, which took place Wednesday. "The puppets are showing how they lived a long time ago," said student Kaylee Galvez, one of the performers. The show was "Peacemaker and the Tree of the Great Peace," a story of how five Native American tribes joined together to become the Iroquois Confederacy. "We're helping the students make something that is larger than oneself, and larger than anything any few of us could pull off," Wadden said. In rehearsal, student Keira DeNigris, another performer, said, "I like how the main characters are made. It's going to look realistic, the way they move." The show incorporates puppets and props created in previous years, along with new pieces. This year, the students created a 12-foot-high paper mosaic "Tree of the Great Peace" and a papier mâché otter head. "It's a hands-on way of learning about the Iroquois," said Kathy Coyne, the school's magnet facilitator. "The value they place on nature, the value they place on animals - that all comes out in the play."
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Peer Tours for New Students Create Warmer Welcome at Trinity

    When Trinity Elementary School fifth-graders Erick Alvarez and Catalina Fuentes recently showed a new schoolmate from Guatemala around the building, they were kicking off a program to help welcome students from other countries and those who do not yet speak English fluently. Alvarez and Fuentes gave their tour in Spanish, visiting the main office, nurses' office, auditorium and cafeteria, and introducing their new friend to the CAMPEL (computer, art, music, physical education and library) teachers. "I think he liked it because whenever he met a CAMPEL teacher, they smiled at him and he smiled back," said Alvarez. The tour adds a welcoming touch to the process for taking in new students. That process is a collaboration among Assistant Principal Michael Hilderbrand, Melissa Kelly, four English-as-a-new-language teachers, and Tiara Reyes-Vega, the District's Director of Instructional Support. It also involves meetings with the student and parents and recommendations from ENL and bilingual/dual language teachers to determine the best program for the student. This initiative is part of Trinity's English Language Learner screening, identification, and placement process mandated by the New York State Education Department. "To be a student who is new to the country, and new to the school, it's critical to feel welcome and connected, not just by the adults, but by your peers," Hilderbrand said. The school of 850 students receives newcomers throughout the year, many from other countries, and some who have been to several other schools before arriving in New Rochelle. "A lot of them have moved a few times," Kelly said. "After a tour, we find that they feel more comfortable and adjusted on the first day." Fuentes agreed that the new student seemed to appreciate the introduction to the school. "I think he felt good knowing what the school looked like," she said.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • ALMS Teacher Marion Costa Leads Opening Doors Club for Students

    A safe harbor for Albert Leonard Middle School LGBT students now exists, thanks to a new club led by teacher Marion Costa. The school's Opening Doors Club, officially the most visible component of the middle school's newly established Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), was created this past school year. Costa feels it's already a positive impact for students looking for a place they can go to be who they are. "I want this club to be a safe place for students who feel they don't have a safe place 'outside,'" said Costa, an ELA eighth-grade teacher and eighth-grade class advisor. "They just want a place with people like them, where it's not a big deal. That's what's most important for them right now." The club's genesis began when eighth-grader Roan Etkin spoke to Principal John Barnes and spearheaded the idea about a club. ALMS brought together a committee to plan its creation. Separately, Costa asked Barnes about the opportunity to be its advisor after learning about the recent Understanding Gender program at the high school. She was invited to be a part of the committee. "I've been dealing with gay issues since I was in grammar school," she said. "I was always sticking up for my friend Roger, who was gay. In high school, I was always sticking up for my friend Anthony, who was gay. My own son came out to me a few years ago. The only thing I was concerned with was, 'Are you happy? Are you healthy?'" The club has met five times this fall with a consistent attendance of 15 to 20 students. The reaction has been extremely positive. "This is a brand-new group," said Costa. "We're talking about what they feel comfortable with, as far as going out into their own school community. Not all of them are 'out.' Having a safe harbor is what's most important to them right now." Costa's hope is that all ALMS LGBT students know the club is a place for discussion and support. "We want them to feel good about who they are," said Costa. "We believe this club gives them an important outlet for acceptance as they continue with their academic careers."
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Enjoy NR Fund's Community Pancake Breakfast on Nov. 18

    Whether you call them pancakes, hotcakes, griddlecakes, or flapjacks, be sure to stop by New Rochelle High School on Saturday, Nov. 18 beginning at 8 a.m. for the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence's annual pancake breakfast, followed by New Rochelle's Thanksgiving Parade.

    Join district administrators, principals and Board of Education members for this fun, child-friendly, community-wide event where you can enjoy tasty short stacks of pancakes alongside your neighbors.

    While there is a $5 admission to help cover costs, the breakfast is not a fundraiser; it's a way for the Fund to say "Thank you" to the community.
    Breakfast guests should enter New Rochelle High School at the entrance by North and Braemar avenues, near the tennis courts.

    Following the breakfast, a contingent from New Rochelle Fund will march in the parade, a seasonal highlight in the community presented by the City of New Rochelle and the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce. Everyone is invited to participate, but marchers must be in the lineup, at North Avenue and Eastchester Road, by 9:30 a.m. The parade proceeds downtown to Main Street and Maple Avenue.

    The New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence aims to preserve the excellence in education in New Rochelle schools by providing programs that would not exist due to the district's budget constraints, including benefit concerts performed by New Rochelle High School students, SAT prep courses, "Poetry Out Loud" and theater arts.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • District Appoints Interim Special Education Supervisor

    Dara Joseph, the District's Committee on Special Education (CSE) chairperson, was appointed interim Supervisor of Special Education during the Board of Education's recent meeting.

    She is appointed to the current position for the 2017-18 school year only, while the District searches for an Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services and a Director of Special Services.
    Joseph joined the District this past school year in a role where she was responsible for all CSE operations, as well as district-wide Individualized Education Program (IEP) development and implementation.
    In her new position, she assists in overseeing the department's budget, and finance and compliance in addition to state reporting. Joseph also handles special education professional development training for select district staff; oversees daily operations including human resources; and assists in the evaluation of daily operations of special education administrative support practices.
    "My immediate plans are, in addition to supporting the District's mission of providing the best education to all students, to ensure the implementation of the procedures related to special education compliance and for the department to remain stable in the services it offers to students with disabilities," said Joseph. "I also see my role as one which consistently supports staff in their work in addition to supporting all District stakeholders through collaborative communications. I support a team-oriented disposition in teaching and learning by promoting student achievement; creating a shared vision and evaluating instructional practices."
    Joseph has 13 years of experience as a classroom teacher. She was also supervisor of special education for the past seven years in other Westchester County school districts. 
    Joseph, a Nyack resident, holds three master's degrees: One in school administration and supervision from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry; a second in special education from the City College of New York; and the third in educational leadership from Touro College in New York. She earned her bachelor's degree in education studies from Empire State College.
    In addition, for the last eight years, Joseph has been an adjunct faculty member at Mercy College in its graduate education division. She was also nominated by The Journal News for its Top 40 Under 40 recognition program.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Ward Students See Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway

    William B. Ward Elementary School students took a trip to Manhattan and into a musical world of make-believe when they saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on Broadway this week.

    With more than 190 students and 25 adults, Wednesday's mid-day trip to the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre was the largest of the school's annual visits to the theatre district in recent memory, said fifth-grade teacher Jonathan Fox, who has participated in the event for the past seven years.

    On past trips, students have seen Aladdin, Annie, Matilda the Musical, and others.

    Fifth-grader Karla Alvarez was looking forward to this year's trip because she had read the Roald Dahl book the show is based on, and had seen both movie versions.

    "It's exciting to see it once again because it was part of my childhood," she said.

    While this was Alvarez's first Broadway show, her classmate, Jake Neiterman, had gone once before to see The Lion King.

    "I'm excited because I love Broadway shows," he said shortly before leaving for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. "I've read the book, and I've seen the movies, and I want to compare them."

    The students' tickets are purchased with the support of the school's Fifth Grade Committee, a group of parent volunteers.

    "We have many kids who have never had the Broadway experience," said Assistant Principal Kimberly Peluso. "It's great to see their enthusiasm."
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • NRHS Soccer Teams Honored for Sportsmanship

    The New Rochelle High School Boys and Girls Soccer teams were honored this week for showing that scoring goals is not the only important objective on the field. The boys' team won the Sportsmanship Award from the Westchester-Putnam Approved Soccer Officials Association.
    The girls' team was one of five finalists among girls' teams. The WPASOA picks a winner and several runners-up for each gender.
    "It is a great honor when the soccer officials recognize teams for the way they conduct themselves on the field," said Athletic Director Steve Young. "I am proud of our teams and coaches Notaristefano and Garcia for being not only outstanding coaches but also exemplary role models for our student-athletes. To me, this award proves that the soccer teams are both successful competitively, as they both were league champions, and in the level of respect that they have for their sport."  
    The winning teams received their awards at the WPASOA end-of-year dinner Wednesday at the Women's Club of White Plains. They were chosen from soccer officials' recommendations of teams who behaved well on the field. Finalists are sorted by the fewest number of yellow and red cards received for the season.
    "The honor says that the players go out and they play clean, they play hard and they play by the rules," said WPASOA President Richard Leaf. "They know that it's important to win, but at the same time, we need to conduct ourselves well. They're representing their town, they're representing their school, and it's important to put a good foot forward."
    "This award goes up there with us winning the state championship last year," said boys' team coach Jarohan Garcia. "Four years ago, when we were tasked to rebuild the program, sportsmanship was the sole focus. We knew that if we earned respect on and off the field, regardless of scores, we would be able to keep our heads high and take pride in what we were trying to accomplish as coaches, players and a program."
    "It was never about the ring, the banners, the fame; it was about reshaping a program," said Javier Amezcua, a captain of the boys' team for two years and two-time All-Section selection. "There is no better way to recognize our four-year journey than by accepting the sportsmanship award."
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • IEYMS Castle Ambassadors Building Closer School Community

    It was more than just ice cream with all the toppings. 

    The real aim of Isaac E. Young Middle School's recent Castle Ambassadors Ice Cream Social was to welcome new students to the middle school and reinforce the group's commitment to helping all students feel comfortable.
    "Sometimes it can be hard making friends in a new school," said seventh-grader Leah Shefferman, one of about 15 Castle Ambassadors. "In the ice cream social, they could learn more about the school and maybe even meet some new people there."
    It was one of many events from the group that began a year ago to build a friendlier, more tightly knit school community.
    "School can be such an over-whelming experience, even more so when you start a new school during the middle of the year," said Assistant Principal Tawanda Robinson. "The Castle Ambassadors program is a wonderful way to build community and foster a sense of belonging for students. The research is clear that when students feel connected to their school and have positive and supportive relationships, they are more likely to excel."
    One of the school's key goals is to create a student-centered environment where students are comfortable leading and have a voice in creating the type of school they want IEYMS to be. The ambassadors seek to create more student ownership in the culture of the school, decrease social isolation and create a positive, inclusive school environment. The program also helps develop students' leadership skills.
    "The members of Castle Ambassadors truly drive the group's activities," said teacher Jennifer Vivolo-Carsen, an advisor of the group. "The ideas for Spirit Week, the discussion at the ice cream social and ideas for future activities are all from the students themselves. They have a strong desire to build a positive school community."
    Last year, students were trained through the organization Sandy Hook Promise on how to develop a stronger school community.
    Next week, they will start Motivational Monday, where they read an inspirational quote with the morning PA announcements to start off the week.
    "It will get people motivated and make them feel better," Shefferman said.
    City School District of New Rochelle

NRHS Activities Calendar