District News and Announcements

  • 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
  • Columbus and Webster Schools Begin Readathons

    As three elementary schools wrapped up their month-long readathons this week, they passed the baton to two others - Columbus Elementary School and Daniel Webster Magnet School.
     
    Students at Columbus and Webster began their readathons on Wednesday, setting out to see how much they could read during the month of November. In many of the readathons, students find sponsors to donate to the PTAs for every minute they spend with the written word. At Webster, the funds raised will go to improving the school's Learning Garden, possibly to buy a greenhouse.

    Columbus is taking a slightly different approach, asking students to keep track of the number of pages they read rather than the minutes.

    "We're really just building up the kids to set goals for their reading," said Columbus Assistant Principal Shelli Owens. "We want them to be a little mindful of how many pages they read. And we'll use that to set their reading goals for the rest of the year."

    The school will hold a Stop, Drop and Read each Thursday morning, when students, teachers, administrators and other staff members will spend 10 or 15 minutes reading for pleasure. They're planning to have guest readers come in. Owens is planning a game with questions about character, plot or other aspects of fiction written on beach balls, to be answered by students who catch the balls when tossed.

    Webster set goals for students by grade, assigning each level a different number of minutes to spend reading. On the first night, Webster School held a pajama party where parents were able to shop for books at the school's book fair, and then enjoy family literacy activities.

    "The readathon is one way to place a school-wide emphasis on the importance of reading on a daily basis," said Webster Principal Melissa Passarelli.

    "It will benefit the school and yourself," said Webster fourth-grader Rohan Ross. "When you read more it will help you become smarter and it will help the Learning Garden."
     
    The schools that finished their readathons on Tuesday are George M. Davis Jr., Jefferson and William B. Ward elementary schools.
    City School District of New Rochelle
  • New Garden is the Buzz at Columbus

    Columbus Elementary School second-graders helped assemble a wooden bed for an outdoor garden recently with the hope that, if you build it, they will buzz.
     
    It is the first of five garden beds that will be built, not only to grow colorful flowers, but to create a mini-ecosystem where bees hover, butterflies flit and birds wing in for visits.
     
    "I love planting flowers, because they give a good scent and that attracts the bees," said student Kaily Chavez. "It's important for the bees because that's their food."
     
    Students planted daffodil bulbs in the first 2.5-foot-by-6-foot bed and are busy predicting when the plants will sprout, bloom and die off. But the real attraction for the flying pollinators will be the perennials the students will plant in the other four beds come spring.
     
    The garden came to the school with a $1,000 Feed A Bee grant from Bayer.
     
    "The goal is to learn about life cycles and about how plants and animals interact," said the school's science coordinator Elizabeth Barrett-Zahn. "They'll do that by observing plant growth to learn about their life cycles and the role that bees and other pollinators play in plant reproduction - and in the creation of our food."
     
    To second-graders like Abigail Godoy, the attraction to the activity is that it is very hands-on and down-to-earth. After planting the bulbs, she was looking forward to seeing what comes up when winter passes.
     
    "There's always a new thing to see in the spring," she said.
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  • Theme Announced for Black History Month Exhibit

    In partnership with the Westchester Alliance of Black School Educators (WABSE) and the New Rochelle Black History Month Committee (NRBHMC), the City School District of New Rochelle is hosting the sixth annual district-wide Black History Spoken Word and Art Exhibit on Saturday, February 10, 2018 at New Rochelle High School,'s Whitney M. Young Auditorium and Rotunda. The exhibit, along with student performances, is part of a day-long celebration and will commemorate the life, work and legacy of Harriet Tubman by celebrating themes of freedom, perseverance and tenacity. All staff in the City of New Rochelle School District is invited to facilitate, and all students are eligible to participate.
     
    The theme of freedom serves as an entry point for educators in the District to teach students about the enduring legacy of slavery, both in our society and throughout the world. WABSE chose to commemorate Harriet Tubman after a new photo of the freedom fighter was discovered and the New York Times released a multimedia article on the Underground Railroad. The Times article aims to provide its readers with a deeper understanding of a complex American hero.

    As students explore this year's themes and the life and accomplishments of Harriet Tubman, they are encouraged to express their understandings through written, visual and performing arts. Suggested literature from schools and local libraries may provide interested participants with inspiration. Students may create original works in the form of speeches, poetry, song, dance or any media for visual arts.

    Students are expected to submit work that meets the Common Core State Standards for English language arts, which include clear and coherent writing, descriptive details, and appropriate and relevant facts. All speeches, poems and performances will be vetted prior to the show.

    All art work should contain the student's name, school, grade, name of teacher, and classroom. Visual art should be on paper with a maximum dimension of 18 inches in width and 24 inches in height. Art submitted by students will be displayed in the rotunda outside of the Whitney M. Young Auditorium on Saturday, February 10, 2018.

    Inquiries and work should be submitted to Shelli Owens at sowens@nredlearn.org. The deadline for performance proposals is Friday, January 19, 2018. All art work must be submitted by Monday, February 5, 2018. For more information, please call 914-576-4401.
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  • ALMS Student Raises $2K for Food Allergy Research

    This year, Maria Bulfamante, an eighth-grader at Albert Leonard Middle School, hoped to match the $1,000 she raised a year ago to help end food allergies. Instead, she doubled it, and then some.

    Bulfamante wants to see a cure for allergies like the ones that keep her younger sister and their cousin watching what they eat so carefully. She's doing her part to make that happen. She raised the funds by holding a Fall-O-Ween Boo-Tique at the school with friends, and participating with friends and family in an Oct. 14 walk with FARE, or Food Allergies Research & Education, at Glen Island Park.

    "I set a goal and thought maybe we could get a little bit more," she said. "Then we got a lot more."

    This is her third year taking on the cause; she began in sixth grade, with the blessing of Principal John Barnes. In the Boo-Tique, she sold glow-in-the-dark nail polish and hair bands, Halloween-themed headbands and other items.

    "To me, to see a student at this age identifying a problem and then coming up with a way to make it better is exciting," Barnes said. "Maria is really a role model to her classmates, and she's an example of what it means to pay it forward."

    Maria hopes to continue the effort next year with her sister, who will enter ALMS.

    "I want to find a cure for them so they won't have to worry about it," she said.

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  • NRHS Theatre Works Rehearsing Classic Comedy Harvey

    The student thespians at New Rochelle High School are rehearsing scenes while the sets are being built for the upcoming Theatre Works production of Harvey, the comedy about Elwood P. Dowd and the large, furry friend that only he can see.
     
    The classic play that centers around a six-foot-tall invisible white rabbit was written in 1944 by Mary Chase. But the theater students in rehearsal this week still saw relevance in its playful take on what's real, what's imaginary and, ultimately, what's most important.

    "The person who's considered 'crazy' is the only one who shows any humanity or compassion," said senior Brea Watkins, who plays Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet, during rehearsal this week in the Linda E. Kelly Theatre. "Elwood is the only one who's pure and wants to have a nice time."

    For senior Rebecca Dubin, who plays Dowd's sister, the allure of the play is its "ability to entertain the audience and be funny, and still have a really deep meaning."

    Performances are 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16, 17 and 18, with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Nov. 18. Tickets are available at the door: $10 for adults, and $7 for children and seniors.

    Many of the 12 cast members and the students building sets and working the lights are from the school's Performing And Visual Arts Education (PAVE) program. Theater teacher Daniel Browne encourages students to try out different roles in the troupe's productions, both on stage and off. Junior Antonio "Tony" Corona, head carpenter on Harvey, has come to appreciate working with his hands since beginning set building last year. In the spring production of the musical Wonderful Town, he built sets while acting, singing and dancing in the show. (Exhausting? Sure. But Corona said, "I loved every second.")
    Browne chooses the plays they perform, and felt Harvey was a good fit.

    "I like to give actors an opportunity to work on plays that have really good characters," he said.

    Senior Nicholas Baker, who plays the lead role, said he was fascinated by Dowd.

    "It was interesting to delve into his character and learn all his quirks," Baker said.

    Browne wants the show to leave the audience members making up their own minds about whether Harvey the invisible rabbit is real. But for Baker, discussing his role as Dowd, there was no uncertainty.

    "Of course he is!" he said.
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Biography

 Dr. Brian Osborne 

Dr. Brian Osborne, an educational leader in the New York-New Jersey region, became Superintendent of the City School District of New Rochelle in July 2014. A believer in quality education for all, he worked in partnership with the Board of Education and leaders across the district to design a Strategic Roadmap for this diverse district of 10 schools and 11,000 students that was adopted by the Board of Education.

Dr. Osborne has devoted more than 25 years to education as a teacher and administrator, including key positions in the New York City Department of Education, the nation’s largest school system.

Before coming to New Rochelle, Dr. Osborne led the South Orange-Maplewood School District in Maplewood, New Jersey for over seven years. In that district, which also boasts a diverse population, he significantly improved student outcomes while narrowing the achievement gap on state assessments. He created an environment that encouraged more students to take higher-level courses and saw more graduates continue on to college. His top priority there was to restructure the budget to devote more resources directly to classroom instruction and learning.

Fluent in Spanish, Dr. Osborne began his career in 1991 as a bilingual Spanish teacher in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Four years later, he co-founded a public school in the Bronx, the New School for Arts and Sciences.

His leadership skills were honed in administrative positions in the Plainfield, New Jersey schools and later in the New York City public school system, which serves 1.1 million students in more than 1,800 schools. In New York, he served as Chief of Staff, Teaching and Learning and as Director of Instructional Technology. While there, he spearheaded a program that provided a laptop computer to every student in 20 middle schools – more than 1,500 classrooms.

Dr. Osborne holds a doctorate and master's degree in administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and a master's degree in mathematics from New York University. He and his wife, Karen, live in Weehawken, New Jersey, where they are raising two daughters.