The City School District of New Rochelle has appointed Michael A. Tromblee as the new director of technology. The Board of Education approved Tromblee's appointment at its meeting last week.
Tromblee previously served as the director of technology for the Pelham Union Free School District from 2011 to 2017. He will begin work in the New Rochelle school district on March 13. Prior to working at Pelham, Tromblee was a technology integration specialist for the Redwood Area School District in Redwood Falls, Minnesota. From 2005 through 2010, he was a social studies teacher for the Pelham school district.
Tromblee is also a decorated combat veteran of the U.S. Air Force. For his actions in Operation Joint Forge and Operation Joint Guard in Bosnia-Herzegovina, he was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal and the NATO Medal. He was also selected as Airman of the Year in 2000 for the 341st Support Group and the 341st Communications Squadron.
"His experience as a technology educator and his leadership qualities will be a great asset as we accelerate progress in the innovative and effective use of technology in instruction and operations," said Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne.
Tromblee holds an advanced graduate certificate in Educational Leadership from Stony Brook University, a master's in Instructional Technology from the New York Institute of Technology, a bachelor's in Education from Minnesota State University, and an associate's in Electronic Systems Technologies from the Community College of the Air Force.
In addition to his kindergarten-12 experience, Tromblee currently serves as an adjunct professor in the Education Leadership program at the New York Institute of Technology. He is in the process of becoming a COSN Certified Educational Technology Leader.
As director of technology, Tromblee will have oversight and responsibility for all instructional and administrative technology functions across the district. He will assist students and teachers in effectively integrating technology into their daily work, and will help administrators use data analysis to shape the teaching and learning environment.
"I am honored that the members of the Board of Education, Dr. Osborne and the administrative team have placed their trust in me to join them as we work to fulfill the mission of the district," said Tromblee. "I am excited to work with teachers, students, parents, support staff, community members, administrators and all stakeholders in creating an educational environment that supports powerful and purposeful teaching and learning."
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Science Olympiad team shines in competition
New Rochelle High School's Science Olympiad team competed in the Lower Hudson Valley Regional Science Olympiad Competition Saturday, Feb. 11, receiving high scores in several categories.
The squad competed in all of the 23 events at the regional Science Olympiad against 45 teams from Westchester and Rockland. The competition was held at Byram Hills High School in Armonk.
"I am so proud and grateful for the dedication and success of the team," said Rekha Liveris, the team's coach. "New Rochelle High School's advanced science and mathematics curricula have provided these students with the skills to meet the demands of the rigorous expectations at the Science Olympiad Competition."
Seniors Jacob Gruza and Jeffrey Tallan placed first in the Hovercraft event, in which students constructed a self-propelled air-levitated vehicle made of balsam wood with up to two battery-powered motors. Each battery turned one propeller to levitate and move the vehicle around a track.
Daniella Basave and Wendy Yu, also seniors, placed second in the Microbe Mission category. This was a written test, in which students were asked to answer questions, solve problems and analyze data pertaining to different types of microbes. Most of the questions emphasized process skills, such as data interpretation from graphs and tables; use of a dichotomous key; drawing conclusions; calculations; metric conversions; determination of organism size; inferences and making observations.
Gruza and James Hidalgo, also a senior, placed second in the Optics event, in which students participated in an activity involving positioning mirrors to direct a laser beam toward a target, and were tested on their knowledge of geometric and physical optics.
Tallan and Tristan Awayan, a junior, were ranked fourth in the Wind Power event. Students created a device to capture wind power using a propeller, pinwheel and rotor attached to a compact disc.
During the competition, students were asked questions regarding the design, construction and operation of their project.
Gruza and Ricky Kauffman, another senior, placed fourth in the Write It/Do It event. In this category, one team member wrote a description (in 25 minutes) of an object and instructions on how to build it. The other student constructed the object (within 20 minutes) from the description.
NRHS placed 17th overall in the competition.
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Students clean up beach on day of service
On a recent Saturday morning at Five Islands Park Beach, the temperature barely got above freezing, but that didn't stop a group of 38 Albert Leonard Middle School students from heading out for a day of service - cleaning up New Rochelle's waterfront.
"It was freezing, it was muddy, and it was low tide," said Sara Yeterian, a special education teacher at Albert Leonard and facilitator of the school's Pay It Forward Club, which spearheaded the project.
Joining their Pay It Forward classmates on the beach, were National Junior Honor Society members, including eighth-grade members and seventh-grade invitees. The activists' shoes and jackets definitely felt the wrath of the mud, but their spirits stayed high.
"I was so impressed with the enthusiasm of these students," said Yeterian. "In 20-degree temperatures, on a Saturday morning, they were fierce, excited and worked non-stop."
The group collected enough trash to fill more than 30 bags. They also gathered several large pieces of scrap metal, and even pulled an errant shopping cart out of the muck. That, alone, took the combined strength of 10 students.
Special thanks go out to L.L. Bean of Yonkers, for providing trash bags for the project, as well as warm gloves. Everyone appreciated having cozy fingers as they enjoyed getting mud-covered for a good cause.
"This is so much fun," said Raul Maldenado, an eighth-grade student at Albert Leonard. "When can we do it again?"
Last year, the same group participated in the International Coastal Cleanup, a global event organized by Ocean Conservancy, an organization founded in 1972 and dedicated to uniting people to "work together to keep the ocean and our coastal communities healthy and prosperous." Ocean Conservancy reports that 144,606,491 pounds of trash have been removed from beaches during the campaign over the past 25 years.
The Pay It Forward Club is proud to act locally as part of ongoing global efforts like this. Kudos to these young activists for keeping New Rochelle's piece of oceanfront clean for our community and for the world.
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Isaac E. Young students Start with Hello
Isaac E. Young Middle School (IEYMS) kicked off its first annual Start with Hello, a Sandy Hook Promise initiative that teaches students to reach out to those who may be dealing with chronic social isolation.
Sandy Hook's Promise trained 40 student leaders, also called Castle Ambassadors, to promote a connected and inclusive school community. The nonprofit is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December of 2012. The goal of the program is to reach out to students who are isolated and to build a connected school community.
"Middle school is a very difficult time, and students struggle with friendship, relationships and fitting in," said Dr. Tawanda Robinson, the assistant principal. "We want to make sure all of our students feel accepted and welcome."
IEYMS embraced the Start with Hello initiative at the suggestion of Jennifer Vivolo-Carsen, a reading teacher, who thought the program's focus on tackling social isolation was important for middle schoolers, especially in the age of social media. The school already takes steps to improve the school climate and stop bullying through schoolwide advisory lessons. In an effort to create even more social connectivity at IEYMS, Vivolo-Carsen reached out to Sandy Hook Promise.
Last week, students entering the building were greeted with high fives, smiley faces and encouraging words to jumpstart a positive day. Student groups such as the basketball team, the National Junior Honor Society, the French Honor Society and the Student Organization club served as greeters.
On Monday, students were welcomed at the door, and Castle Ambassadors accompanied new students to the Castle Ice Cream Social in the afternoon. On Tuesday, Say Hey Day, students were encouraged to spend time getting to know five new people. Wednesday was Random Acts of Kindness and Make Someone Smile day when students saw decorated lockers and positive notes on their desks. On Friday, Mix It Up Day, students sat next to someone new in class.
The effort carried on this week and will continue until the end of the school year. Fifty-five sixth-graders were trained to ensure that IEYMS is an inclusive community and bullying doesn't take place.
"There is a really nice energy level in the building," said Vivolo-Carsen. "It makes everyone very connected. Everyone has smiles on their faces."
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NAHS and Jefferson students collaborate on Elements of Art mural
New Rochelle High School's National Art Honor Society students and Jefferson Elementary School fifth-graders collaborated on a project that now adorns the hallways of the elementary school.
The students created Elements of Art murals that hang in the hall adjacent to the art studio. The National Art Honor Society (NAHS) students were teamed up with the 30 Jefferson visual arts students and divided into eight groups. Each group worked on one of the eight panels. After the panels were completed, the NAHS students assisted the Jefferson students with mini oral presentations about their work.
The idea was created and executed by Alexi Brock, NAHS advisor and art teacher at NRHS, and Paolo Fiorino, art teacher at Jefferson. The students had an amazing time working together.
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STR²EAM convention showcases student talent
Columbus Elementary School's recent STR²EAMing into LEARNing K-5 Convention was a huge success, with 41 classes highlighting the school's longstanding belief that children should be engaged in authentic, project-oriented inquiry.
"To have the opportunity to share their knowledge, teach others and present their work to the community for feedback, review or celebration is a wonderful recognition of their work," said Principal Michael Galland. "We're putting kids in the position to become researchers, scientists, mathematicians and writers of information. This matters."
The convention, based on science, technology, reading/researching, engineering, art and mathematics (STR²EAM) curriculum, offers students an occasion to demonstrate their learning accomplishments. The idea goes back to 1995, when Charlotte Stadler, Columbus' beloved math facilitator, launched the Math in the Workplace program, which became a fourth-grade, school-wide project.
In 2002, the project morphed into the EXPO project, which added third- and fifth-grade levels. Two years later, a Literacy Fair was created to give kindergarteners and first- and second-grade students an opportunity to demonstrate their learning proficiencies.
Both events took place for the next 11 years. But in 2014, school officials thought it was time to change up the events and introduced the "STR²EAMing into LEARNing" project, which includes both the EXPO and Literacy Fair.
Again, this year, instructional facilitators Elizabeth Zahn, Dan Cocciardi, and Vanessa Costa worked with teachers from beginning concepts to final presentations and inventions.
Kindergarten classes focused on weather-related investigations. First-grade classes had penguins and the Arctic as their topics, and second-grade classes focused on insect adaptations.
Third-grade classes addressed the topic of extreme weather. Fourth-grade classes focused on damage done to the environment with political outreach efforts. Fifth-grade classes had water filtration and water systems as their topics.
Additionally, the Westchester Children's Museum trained 30 parents to staff different STEM tables.
"It was really incredible," Galland said. "The parents were trained to not solve the problems, but engage students in their questions. In such a powerful way, they really became teachers.
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Webster School and Columbus School Magnet Lottery Update
Webster's Magnet Open House will take place on Tuesday, February 28th at 7:00 PM at Daniel Webster School.
The deadline to submit Magnet Lottery Applications for Webster School and for Columbus School is Friday, March 3rd. Applications should be submitted to the Magnet Program Office on the second floor of City Hall.
The Magnet Lottery will take place on Thursday, March 9th at 1:00 on the second floor of City Hall in the Board Room.
City School District of New Rochelle
Campus HS embraces Restorative Practices
Forgiveness and a chance to make things right are powerful life lessons that the Campus Alternative High School advocates because misbehaviors are learning and growth opportunities.
For the last 25 years, restorative practices have been used to teach students that "when you do something wrong, you have to make it right."
Embracing that sentiment, school officials are using teachable moments to guide students on their path to becoming responsible adults.
At a recent Board of Education meeting, students Shayne Castro and Dazyiah Davis humbly spoke of a public library altercation they were involved in. When Director Joel Fridovich became aware of the situation, the students were initially suspended.
"We spoke with Mr. Fridovich who talked to us about our decision making and how our actions reflected badly not only on ourselves, but also on our school, and he asked what we planned to do to try to clean things up," said Davis. "We were feeling pretty guilty. We decided to write letters of apology to the director of the library."
Fridovich asked the students if they would be willing to do some work for the library "to try to make things right and show them that we were really better people than we had shown previously."
During a meeting with library officials, a six-week plan was set up in which the two would stock book shelves, giving 40 hours of their time. The expectation was that this would demonstrate their remorse over being involved in the altercation and their sincere interest in making amends.
"It didn't feel like punishment, it felt like we had been forgiven," said Davis, adding the two received thanks and future job offers if they ever wanted to work in the library. "What started out as a messy situation turned into something really good that we can actually be proud of."
That's exactly what Fridovich hopes for if students make bad choices and get themselves involved in similar situations.
"It's life lessons in responsibility," said Fridovich. "If you make a mess of something, you have to do something to clean it up."
Still, if that doesn't happen, Fridovich reinforced "the goal is not only to own your misbehavior, but also hopefully do something to make it better, so when it's over, others feel better about you and you feel better about yourself. Turn something negative into something positive. Coming up with a restorative solution may take more time to plan and carry out than a more traditional punitive approach, but the results are definitely worth it."
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Goorevitch appointed to NYS Rehabilitation Council
Yvette Goorevitch, the director of special and alternative education for the New Rochelle school district, has been named to the New York State Rehabilitation Council, an advisory body appointed by the New York State Board of Regents.
The council provides guidance to the State Education Department's Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) on how to effectively deliver rehabilitation services to New Yorkers with disabilities that will eventually lead to employment.
In making the appointment, the board noted her accomplishments, including development and implementation of the grant for the Model Transition Program (MTP), development of the New Rochelle District Plan for Special Education, and being an effective strategist in the development and implementation of multidisciplinary programs to ensure access to curriculum for all students.
"I'm excited this appointment allows me the opportunity to make recommendations that impact policy decisions for young adults with disabilities," said Goorevitch. "The district shares the vision of integrated and supported opportunities for young people with disabilities to live and learn and work in the community. I hope to make that dream more of a reality within New York."
Goorevitch has spent nearly 40 years in public education working with students with disabilities and their families, 25 of them in her current role in the New Rochelle school district. Her name was suggested to the Board of Regents by parent advocates with whom she has worked for decades to help children transition to an independent life after school.
The rehabilitative council is comprised of adults who represent people with disabilities, such as advocates, attorneys and post-secondary education agencies. Goorevitch is the only member that represents a school district.
Last year, the New York Council of Administrators of Special Education (NYCASE) awarded its "Special Education Administrator of the Year" award to Goorevitch. The award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated outstanding leadership and accomplishment for the benefit of students with disabilities.