District News and Announcements

  • Congratulations Class of 2017!

    The New Rochelle High School class of 2017 graduated on June 22 in a ceremony filled with pride, praise and eyes turned to the future.

    In the school's 119th commencement exercise, 642 students received their diplomas. Dressed in purple robes with white sashes, they walked across William H. McKenna Field and into a new phase of their lives.

    "Honor things that make sense, but don't be afraid to create new traditions and blaze new trails," high school Principal Reginald Richardson told them. "Each and every one of you has unlimited potential to contribute positively to our society."

    Graduation will take the members of the class of 2017 in many directions.

    "Our dreams for the future vary widely," salutatorian Melanie Anaya said in her address to the class. "Some of us want to become politicians, others doctors or mechanics or anything under the blue sky."

    Several of the graduates, sharing hugs and snapping photos with friends and relatives after the ceremony, showed a variety of goals and dreams. Nicolette Mejia will study culinary arts at Westchester Community College. Jaren Smith will attend Berklee College of Music in Boston to study music production and engineering. An aspiring songwriter, he credited his time in the high school chorus and teacher Derrick James with bringing out his singing ability.

    "He helped me to become a master of my craft," he said.

    Nicholas Romandelli said NRHS, with its many Advanced Placement courses, prepared him well to study economics at Lehigh University. He took eight of them. "You really get a good perspective of what college is like," he said.

    Albert Forero will study mechanical engineering at the New York City College of Technology. "New Rochelle, because it's a big, diverse school, prepares you for anything in life," Forero said.

    During the ceremony, valedictorian Wendy Yu told her fellow students she was eager to see the success of her classmates.

    "I can't wait to see where the power of your minds takes you all," she said. "And I only hope that together we will carry forth with an open mindset as we disperse across the world."

    Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne challenged the students to take their place in the world fearlessly.

    "I urge you to ask the hardest questions, tackle the thorniest problems," he told them. "Confront injustice. Create and innovate. The world is in your hands. Make the most of it."

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  • Public library offers summer reading, programs

    New Rochelle students of all ages can look forward to a fun and entertaining summer full of learning at the New Rochelle Public Library.

    "Build a Better World" is the theme of the library's 2017 Summer Reading Game. It is among an array of free six-week programs to help elementary school-age children stay energized and on-track with their learning. (See the full calendar.)

    The kick-off event will be held Saturday, June 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The library will be offering a sampler of the programs, including a hands-on building workshop with ArchForKids and live entertainment by the National Circus Project.

    Preschoolers and students entering grades K-5 can register for the Summer Reading Game at the kick-off event or anytime during the summer.

    The library is also offering free summer programs for middle and high school students, including creative writing classes, Mexican dance lessons, healthful cooking workshops, yoga journaling and weekly movies. The six-week sessions begin the week of July 3.

    In addition, students entering grades 8 through 12 can select between two three-session workshops of Sound and Video: Re-imagined. Instructor Sean Hartywill teach the technicalities of sound and video production while integrating the art of the industry and participants' creativity. Students will learn the basics in creating music, shooting a video and editing it all together.

    For complete details, please visit the library website.

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  • Columbus gets grant for bee garden

    There's good news for Columbus Elementary and for the bees it hopes to nurture.

    The school has been awarded a Bayer Feed a Bee Grant to help develop a Plant Forage Garden for Local Pollinators. The $1,000 grant will fund a planting project, which will provide a tangible, sustainable solution to the current lack of forage for bees and other pollinators. 

    "As grant recipients, we will use this opportunity to develop a student-led, community supported, problem-based approach to the planning, construction and maintenance of our Feed a Bee Garden at Columbus School," said Elizabeth Barrett-Zahn, the K-5 science facilitator at Columbus. "With an integrated STR2EAM (Science/Technology/Reading/Research/Engineering

    /Art /Mathematics) approach to guide our work, the students will experience firsthand how interdependent relationships in ecosystems work. This is an important New York State Science Learning Standard, and it will influence our planning decisions about the garden." 

    Columbus is one of 58 projects that have been funded in 31 states and Washington D.C. The Feed a Bee program was designed to increase food for bees and other pollinators by planting pollinator-attractant plants and establishing additional forage acreage.

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  • After 46 years, Albert Leonard's Di Iorio retires

    Students in Jo Ann Di Iorio's Albert Leonard Middle School class could never complain that they had nothing to read. The seventh-grade English Language Arts teacher's room is as much a library as a class. Shelves are stuffed with volumes categorized by genre, and spinning racks offer paperbacks for the borrowing. Many of them are titles Di Iorio hand-picked over the decades at used book sales and church and tag sales.

    "I choose books that I love, and I talk about literature," she said. "I try to impress my enthusiasm on them."

    Now, after teaching middle school in New Rochelle for 46 years - her entire career - Di Iorio is stepping down.

    She is one of 44 teachers, administrators and other staff members retiring this year. But no other has served as long as Di Iorio, who began teaching at the Isaac E. Young Middle School in 1971. After 25 years there, she moved to Albert Leonard and taught another 21 years.

    "Jo Ann is one of the sweetest, kindest, most giving and loving teachers I've ever had the pleasure of working with," said Albert Leonard Principal John Barnes. "What makes her so amazing and special is that she's always looking to improve upon the previous day."

    When he once asked her how she keeps it fresh after 40-plus years, she said, "I still haven't taught my best lesson yet."

    Di Iorio changed with the times, embracing technology as it emerged and methods of teaching that address the different ways students learn. But the best part has remained the same: "It's the excitement in the classroom when learning takes place," she said. "You see eyes open wide. You notice that ah-ha! moment."

    Her book collection includes classics and modern fiction. Farewell to Manzanar, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The Pushcart War, Slumdog Millionaire and Dogs Don't Tell Jokes are all there. A popular one is Fever 1793, about an 18th century teenager surviving a mosquito-borne epidemic in Philadelphia. A favorite of Di Iorio's is Nothing But the Truth by Avi.

    Di Iorio won't be leaving completely. She plans to be a substitute teacher in the district. And that library? That will be a gift to her successor.

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  • Public Hearing on District-Wide School Safety Plan

    Attached is the draft District-Wide School Safety Plan.  The Public Hearing on the plan will be held on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 6:10 p.m. in the Carew Room at City Hall


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  • NRHS students receive awards for academics, arts, athletics and service

    One by one, more than 200 New Rochelle High School seniors on the verge of graduation strode across the auditorium stage to applause as they received honors for academics, athletics and service in the annual Student Awards Ceremony.

    "It's really nice to see everyone cheer on their peers and to see how much we've achieved as a class," said 2017 salutatorian Melanie Anaya, who won several awards.

     So many awards were bestowed that the event was divided into two sessions, a morning Student Awards Assembly on Friday, June 9, and the Student Awards Ceremony on Monday evening. Each was attended by hundreds of the students' friends, family members and schoolmates.

    "You have set a very high bar for our next generation of students," Board of Education President Rachel Relkin told the honorees. "We are not only proud, but we are thankful to you for the strong example you have set."

     In all, more than 400 awards were handed out, including scholarships, books, plaques, certificates and, for three students, fully-loaded MacBook Air laptops. They were arranged on tables on the stage, many wrapped in shining purple paper.

    The awards came from a wide range of sources, including organizations such as the NAACP, the New Rochelle Council on the Arts and the New Rochelle Bar Association. Some of the scholarships were offered in honor of former New Rochelle residents. Others came from local businesses, including the Backstreet Gallery and Talner Jewelers.

    "To the entire the community, whose generosity is seen on the table in front of us, thank you for supporting the future by supporting our great school district," said Schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne.

    The MacBooks, from To the Top with Laptops, were given to Maria Mendola, Adrian Morfin-Chavez and Tileeyah Rogers. The Girls Inc.'s Lucile Miller Wright Scholarship was given to Adriana Santiago, a member of Girls Inc. of Westchester, who was named a National Scholar by the organization. A Jandon Foundation Scholarship was awarded to Tileeyah Rogers. And Gwendolen M. Appleyard Fund Scholarships went to Ana Acevedo, Emma Berg, Amanda Ferrara, John Freeman, Ethan Manley, Claudia Morris, Francisco Orozco, Tatiana Rivera, Samuel Schiller, Kathryn Schoenherr, Lauren Toneatto and Michelle Zhi Hui Zhang.

     New Rochelle High School Principal Reginald Richardson encouraged the students to reflect on the process they went through to achieve their awards. 

     "That's actually what's most important; the learning and the experiences that you took away from that process," he said.

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  • Isaac E. Young "Money Makers" win stock market competition

    For the second time in as many years, students from Isaac E. Young Middle School have won the Spring 2017 New York State: Lower Hudson Valley/Westchester County Stock Market Game. 

    The team, comprised of sixth graders Kaediah Barratt, Joseph Ulgalde-Aguilar and Brittani Varela, finished first out of 206 middle school teams, and ranked No. 17 out of 1,940 high school and middle school teams combined in their region. 

    Each team begins the game with $100,000 to manage through investments in the stock market over a twelve-week period. Teams are ranked not only on their net profits compared to other groups, but also by their profit percentages as compared to the S&P 500 index. The team from IEYMS, which took on the nickname "The Money Makers," finished with $115,775 in their portfolio, 12 percent above the S&P 500 index. 

    The group was guided by its math teacher and advisor for the project, Calvin Heyward. This is the fourth time a team led by Heyward has captured top honors in the program.

    "The Money Makers" took an assertive but measured approach to picking their stocks. They simply looked for stocks that were trending upwards over the three months prior to the competition, with price points between $10 and $20. Three of their best stocks included Ultra Clean Holdings (UCTT), Lands' End (LE), and Kratos Defense and Security Systems (KTOS). While the competition ended April 28, those stocks continued to rise and would have netted the group an additional $8,000 as of the close of the stock market on June 12.

    As part of an exit quiz for all his math students, even those not involved with the Stock Market Game, Heyward asked, "Suppose in the 5th grade you received one share of stock in Samsung Electronics when it was worth $1.3 million dollars, and now that one share is worth $2.4 million in 2017. What would you do with the extra $1.1 million dollars?"

    While many students gave admirable answers about buying homes for their families, helping the homeless, and donating to other charities, Heyward was happiest with students who said they'd reinvest the money. 

    "With the extra $1.1 million, I would buy another share to make more money," Yazmin Alvarez explained. "I'm investing so that I have money whenever I need it."

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  • ALMS teacher is among MUN Educators of the Year

    Colleen O'Reilly, the long-time social studies teacher at Albert Leonard Middle School, is among a handful of Model United Nations (MUN) Educators of the Year. She runs the only middle school MUN program in Westchester County.

    The award is given by Best Delegate, an organization that works with school districts, nonprofits, governments and education companies to help schools build Model United Nations programs. Since 2010, its training and resources have helped more than 3 million people learn about Model United Nations.

    In April, O'Reilly led 18 ALMS MUN club members to a two-day conference in Canada where the students competed against high school students. The students participated in various committees that discussed topics such as illicit arms trade, the future of the European Union and a historical committee on the Berlin Conference.

    They won four awards, including two best position paper prizes. Tyler Manley, club vice-president and third year member, received the highest honor, the Best Delegate gavel.  

    "Colleen O'Reilly is the most amazing MUN educator because she works so hard, and she deserves the world," said Carly Rieger, president of the ALMS MUN team. "She has taught me so much about leadership and public speaking. I have led club meetings, taught lessons to my classmates to prepare for conferences, and I have led activities for the club."

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  • Associate Superintendent Diane Massimo to retire

    In her 28 years serving New Rochelle schools, Dr. Diane Massimo has been instrumental in projects that have changed the face of education across the district. Now the Associate Superintendent of Schools, who began in 1989 as coordinator of guidance and of high school pupil personnel services, is stepping down.

    The programs Massimo established or worked on include creating a developmental school counseling curriculum, creating the annual college night, implementing an initiative to expand the number of students who take Advanced Placement courses and providing teacher training in "differentiated instruction," in which educators use varied approaches for different students geared toward how they learn best.

    "It's been a wonderful experience in a wonderful district," she said. "I really have valued the diversity that this district has and the opportunity to collaborate and partner with so many talented teachers and administrators. They deeply care about the kids, and that's what it's all about - changing lives."

    Over the years, Massimo collaborated with language arts chairperson Leslie Altschul to organize literature festivals, and with math department chairperson Ronald Morris to establish summer classes to keep students to take accelerated and Advanced Placement courses.

    One of the literature festivals served to kick off the district's teaching of Mandarin. Events spanned the grades, with books depicting Chinese culture, memoir writing workshops, tai chi instruction and Chinese food provided in the cafeteria.

    "The initiatives that Diane Massimo worked on, often in collaboration with others, have improved education on all levels in the New Rochelle schools," said Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne. "Her child-centered approach to education has brought us many programs that will enhance students' learning experiences and lives for many years to come. We appreciate her service and wish her all the best."

    Massimo, a member of Osborne's cabinet, is one of 44 staff members across the district who are retiring this year, a list that includes teachers, administrators and other staff members.

    During her time in the district, Massimo held several positions. After serving almost 12 years as coordinator of guidance, she was named assistant superintendent for secondary education in 2001. Seven years later, she became the districtwide assistant superintendent, a job she held until she was named associate superintendent of schools in November 2013.

    Massimo has several ideas for projects to take on now that she's retiring, including traveling and learning Italian. "And I have a pile of books that I'm just dying to read," she said.

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  • Senior Sports Awards Night honors student athletes

    New Rochelle High School athletes were honored at the Senior Sports Awards Night ceremony at the Greentree Country Club on June 13. Athletic Director Steve Young presented the awards, which were handed out by New Rochelle High School Principal Reginald Richardson.

    The awards were as follows:

    Leadership Award: Ethan Manley, Nicholas Townley, Jenna Tammaro, Jordan Wallace, Jeanneney Currie.

    Sportsmanship Award: Lily Grantcharova, Matthew Long, Betsey Morgado, Daniel Ayala, Savita Dean, Jonathan Hudson.

    Coaches' Award: Matt Almonte, Venessa Restrepo, Denmar Wellington, Robert Economou, Ryan Goldstein, Mason Newman, Ade Cornelius.

    Senior Athlete - Fall Semester: Christian Valencia, Moriah Raysor, Sydney Jasper.

    Senior Athlete - Winter Season: Kiana Stallworth, Jordan Wallace, John Freeman, Valia Gregory, Jarret Haines.

    Senior Athlete - Spring Season: Jake Armiento, Kiana Stallworth.

    Scholar Athlete - Fall Season: Megan Conroy, Zharia Crisp, Sophie Wolf, Adrian Morfin.

    Scholar Athlete - Winter Season: Nicholas Ramondelli, Arthur Liebowitz, Nicholas Townley, Karina Sirabian.

    Scholar Athlete - Spring Season: Jake Armiento, Robert Economou, Isabella Dente, Alec Kremmins.

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