District News and Announcements

  • Jefferson, NRHS Students Create Mural

    A new mural hangs outside the art room at the Jefferson Elementary School, created by fifth-grade Jefferson students and members of the New Rochelle High School National Art Honor Society.

    "What better way is there to do service than by working with the younger students of our community?" said Jefferson art teacher Paolo Fiorino. "The idea was to give elementary school children a chance to visit the high school setting and learn some art concepts from the older students. Also, it hopefully piqued their interest and instilled in them a desire to continue in the arts as they grow."
    Forty students from Jefferson and NRHS created the mural. The artwork covers eight plywood panels, each 2 feet by 4 feet. The panels illustrate each of the seven elements of art: line, color, shape, form, space, texture and value. The eighth panel features the mural's title: Elements of Art.
    "We painted the panels at New Rochelle High School," said NRHS art teacher Alexi Brock. "At Jefferson Elementary School, the students planned out and gave a short oral presentation of each panel explaining the Element of Art to the class and the principal."
    The students completed the panels over two morning sessions, one at NRHS and one at Jefferson. When the panels were completed, district carpenters installed them at Jefferson.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Statement on Alleged Social Media Threat Following Tragic Stabbing

    The City School District of New Rochelle issued the following statement on Jan. 10, 2018:

    We are aware that a specific alleged threat against New Rochelle High School was circulated on social media. The New Rochelle Police Department, with cooperation from the District, investigated the alleged threat and determined it to be unfounded. Thank you to those who brought the matter to our attention.

    (For a letter to the community regarding the stabbing, see the previous post.)


    City School District of New Rochelle
  • BOE Urges Continuation of CHIP, DACA programs

    The New Rochelle Board of Education urged Congress and President Trump last week to continue two federal programs that help many children obtain health insurance and protect undocumented residents from deportation if their parents brought them to the United States when they were young.
    The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was created in 1997 to provide coverage for children in families that did not qualify for Medicaid and could not afford private insurance. The program is credited with reducing the rate of uninsured children from 14 percent when it began, to 7 percent in 2012.
    In late December, federal lawmakers passed a stopgap measure that funds CHIP through the first few months of 2018, but they have not reached a deal to permanently continue the program.
    The board passed a resolution Tuesday calling for CHIP to be continued. A second resolution supported undocumented aliens protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, also known as Dreamers.
    The DACA action reinforced a resolution passed by the board Oct. 3, after the Trump Administration announced that the program would be phased out. The program is set to expire March 5; anyone whose DACA protection would have ended before then had until Oct. 5 to apply for a two-year extension.
    "The level of urgency ratchets up each and every day," said Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne.
    "I'm proud of the fact that we are using our voice as a body," said Board of Education Member Todd Kern as the board voted on both resolutions. "As often as we can, we should do this."
    In addition to making the board's views known to key officials, Kern said, "We're also communicating to folks in our community what it is that we value."
    The resolutions are being sent to: President Trump; U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions; key members of Congress; U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos; Westchester County Executive George Latimer; New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Dr. Betty Rosa; and New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.
    They are also being sent to the New York State School Boards Association and the Westchester-Putnam School Boards Association.
    Julia Muggia Ochs, President of the New Rochelle PTA Council, thanked the board for taking the actions.
    "These two programs directly impact the health and security of many of our District's students, and I thank you for advocating for them in this powerful way," she said. "It is comforting to know that our Board of Education and District administration are doing all they can to support our families at the local, state, and national level."
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • New System Tracks Building Condition Issues

    As a way of keeping the City School District of New Rochelle facilities in the finest shape they can be for the benefit of students, staff, and community members, the City School District of New Rochelle has introduced a new tracking system for school facilities issues and complaints. 
    The form is accessible by first visiting this link, www.nred.org/RESCUE, which brings users to the district's "Health and Safety Presentations and Reports" page. Users should scroll down to the lower right side of the page, looking for the word "ATTENTION." The "click here" prompt will take users to the Building Health and Safety Notification System page where forms can be downloaded. 

    "Facilities staff are trying to do their best to keep all of our facilities in good repair, but we simply cannot be in all places at all times," said Carl Thurnau, director of facilities. "One goal of the complaint-tracking system is to allow any members of the general public who see our facilities while visiting our schools, playgrounds, sporting events, theater productions, and so on, the opportunity to notify the facilities department of an issue that they believe should be corrected. The facilities department can then receive these issues, prioritize them and correct them as quickly as possible." 

    The system also features an electronic response, allowing users to feel confident their concerns were received by the district.

    In addition, by clicking on the "Condition Report" button, users can learn the status of items currently being addressed at all school buildings. 

    "This system will allow us to receive and respond to your concern and track its status from initiation through completion," added Thurnau, in a note posted on the district's website. "We look forward to working together to keep our facilities in the best shape they can be."

    Anyone with additional questions or comments can also email directly to: info@nredrescue.org.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Bond Helps Planetarium; Shows Resume in January

    Good news for indoor stargazers, science buffs and anyone who enjoys a spectacular show: The planetarium at New Rochelle High School is getting an upgrade.

    A brand-new Spitz SciDome projector mounted on the wall will project sharper video shows of heavens and vast landscapes in high definition.

    "It's going to look bigger and more spectacular because it's going to be crystal clear," said astronomy teacher Bruce Zeller, who runs the planetarium. "It's beautiful."

    The projector will replace an early version of the SciDome installed in 2005. Also, the circular space will hold more viewers with 80 seats replacing the 63 that had been there. Better still, the new seats will recline comfortably to allow visitors to take in the vistas more easily.

    Shows in the planetarium are expected to resume in late January. The work is funded partly from the $106.5 million in bond construction funds approved by voters in May 2016.

    The room with its star shows has been a community gem for decades. Everyone gets to enjoy it. Zeller teaches four units of astronomy at NRHS. The District's elementary and middle school classes also visit for presentations, as do other high school science teachers with their classes. For the public, Zeller offers a monthly show throughout the year, and a special holiday season presentation in December on the Northern Lights.

    Even with the new features, the planetarium will keep its original "star ball," the opto-mechanical projector in the center of the domed space that has risen from the floor on command since the star-viewing room opened in 1970.

    Zeller plans to continue using the opto-mechanical projector for stationary displays because of the unsurpassed clarity of its images. Also, the moment when the classic projector rises from the floor like a retro sci-fi wonder is part of the drama of the shows.

    But the new projector will allow for a range of presentations and exhibitions with background music and narration.

    A new entrance will create a smoother experience walking into the space. Visitors will no longer walk past the operator controlling the projector.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Columbus Hosts Chess Competition

    Five inches of snow did not deter the more than 100 chess players who gathered at Columbus Elementary School on Saturday, Dec. 9, to participate in the National Scholastic Chess Foundation Columbus Winter Scholastic. The City School District of New Rochelle was represented by students from Isaac E. Young, Albert Leonard, Columbus, Webster and Ward.

    Seven students from Columbus competed in the Elementary Booster section, winning first place as a team. Individual awards were won by Kevin Lopez and Alan Verghese. Also playing for Columbus were Dylan Minchez, Salvador Torres, Sahir Aguilar, Frida Arenas and Evelyn Sanchez.

    Nine students from Columbus competed in the Primary Novice section, also winning first place as a team. Ignacio Valencia led this section of the team with a third-place individual trophy. Dylan Solovyev was awarded a medal. Also playing for Columbus were Naolin Concha, Gianna Murgia, Giovanna Murgia, Kaily Argueta, Constantine Zelatis, Sofia Valencia and Joel Salick.

    As the highest-rated player on the team for Columbus, Gabriela Ceja competed in the Reserve section, which is for students rated under 1000.

    IEYMS teacher Calvin Hayward brought four students to play in the tournament. Former Columbus students Darren Chen and Leo Liu competed in the Championship section, coming in second place as a team. Darren won an individual award for third place. Lus Jimenez came in sixth place in the Reserve section and Raekwon Sok played in the Booster section.

    ALMS student Ozzie Kelly-Yuoh came in second place in the Championship section.

    Ward student Daniel Babayev came in first place in the Primary Novice section, and Gabriel Kramer-Griffith, also from Ward, came in fifth place in the Booster section.

    Webster student Samuel Kietlinski won a medal in the Primary Novice section.

    The day was also made notable when Westchester County Legislator Jim Maisano stopped by the school to honor Columbus Chess Coach Mark Hegenauer. The Westchester County Board of Legislators proclaimed December 9, 2017, as Mark Hegenauer Day in Westchester County. He was recognized for faithfully facilitating the chess club at Columbus Elementary School since 1998.

    Columbus parents were busy throughout the day selling breakfast, lunch and snacks to raise funds to send the team to Nashville, Tennessee, in May for the Scholastic Chess Nationals.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Hands-On Lessons Charge Full STEAM Ahead

    Folding sheets of tinfoil, second-graders at Daniel Webster Magnet School created boats to float in small basins of water, then dropped pennies in one at a time until they sank.
    From narrow canoe-like craft to flat-bottomed vessels, the boats helped students discover which designs made the most sense (and held the most cents.)

    "We can do more!" Aidan Wigfall said as a boat his group devised took on its 26th penny - the number that had sunk their previous attempt. 

    Floating boats and wafting parachutes have become the engineering activities that continue to expand in the school, ensuring that the students never run out of STEAM. The school's programs in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics began two years ago as activities for kindergarten through second grade. The school added third grade last year and fourth grade this year. For the fourth grade, they have adopted curricula from the Brooklyn Children's Museum.

    "We want to have the students experiment with real world problems," said Dawn Huston, the school's instructional technology facilitator and STEAM instructor. "We want them to broaden their minds and to become young engineers."

    Some of the lessons are based on fairy tales, but feature challenges and solutions from real-world physics. The first-graders build towers out of cardboard tubes and construction paper, then add methods for Rapunzel to escape, such as a zip-line or trampoline, for instance.

    As the lessons work their way through the grades, the students begin to pick up scientific concepts earlier.

    "A question that I asked the third-graders last year I have to ask the second-graders this year," Huston said.

    Student Joan Pancho devised the most efficient boat - a craft that held 80 pennies. Classmate Indiana Twist also exceeded most of the others with a 66-penny boat.

    "If you spread out the pennies, then it makes it less dense than water, so it floats," Twist said.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Civics Symposium Tackles Hot Topics in Community

    Community leaders gathered recently in the annual New Rochelle High School Civics Symposium to debate the hot topics of the day, responding to arguments made by NRHS students.

    Five students' papers, filled with substantive research, presented positions on gun control, gerrymandering, political correctness, the question of police bias and the disparate effects of the Drug War on people of color. The issues kept the discussion rolling among the panelists, who had been provided with the papers in advance.

    The panelists were: Leslie Demus, an attorney and longtime advertising executive whose many civic activities include serving on the New Rochelle Library Foundation board; New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson; Alex Eodice, chairman of the Iona College Philosophy Department and a former New Rochelle City Councilman; Westchester County Legislator Jim Maisano; and Jeanne Zaino, a professor of political science and international affairs at Iona College.

    The students whose papers were discussed were: Mikaela Brecher, Brandon Guizar, Ever-Maat Mack, Elijah Pomerantz and Andrew Sorota.
    Amy Bass, a history professor and director of the Honors Program at the College of New Rochelle, moderated the session.

    The event, in its 20th year, was presented by the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence. It is a long-term collaboration with NRHS teachers, most notably AP Government teacher Deborah Minchin.

    "The symposium offers 150 students from AP classes in Macroeconomics, Human Geography and U.S. Government an opportunity to participate in the discourse of democracy," Minchin said. "The papers serve as a jumping off point for discussions that allow our students to hear panelists offer differing views, and then to hone their own ideas while examining the complex issues which face our nation."

    Pomerantz presented his paper on gerrymandering of political districts.

    "In many ways, gerrymandering is at the root of disfunction," he told the panelists and audience in the Linda E. Kelly Theatre.
    Bramson agreed with Pomerantz's view.

    "There will be challenges no matter how you do it, but I think we can do it much, much better than it's done today," Bramson said.

    The symposium allowed the students to sink their teeth into issues that tap into the country's zeitgeist.

    "This is the definition of power," Zaino said of the gerrymandering question. "If you want to change your system of government, gerrymandering is where it's at. This is what all the kids should be talking about."
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • Action Alert: Send a message about the Federal tax reform legislation with our advocacy tool

    Oppose the federal tax reform plans Congress is working on that could have a detrimental effect on public school funding. Visit our action center to learn how you can send a message to your representatives in Congress.


    City School District of New Rochelle
  • 'Pay It Forward' Students Help Toys for Tots

    Albert Leonard Middle School's Pay It Forward club joined with Toys for Tots on Dec. 2 to help prepare presents for Westchester families so they can provide toys for their children for the holidays. Ten students and two of their mothers spent the morning at the organization's Elmsford location, where they sorted toys by gender and age.
    Then they packaged the toys into large bags and carted them to the storage room for delivery later in the month.

    "By the end of the morning, the students were asking if they could come back and help again," said Sara Yeterian, who runs the club. "The coordinator asked if they could return, too. They did a great job of representing responsible and helpful Albert Leonard Middle School students."
    City School District of New Rochelle