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SHS Girls Varsity A Soccer Team Wins League Championship

soccer1The Scarsdale High School Girls Varsity A Soccer team completed its regular season last week with a 2-0 defeat of White Plains High School on Friday, October 16, after besting arch rival Mamaroneck 1-0, playing under the lights at Mamaroneck High School on the preceding Wednesday night before a crowd of over 300 people. For the first time in memory, the Raiders won all eight of their league games, and also took the league championship for the first time since 2012. Even more impressive, the team compiled a 12-2-2 overall record, with eight shutouts. Their only losses came in tight games early in the season against powerhouse teams from North Rockland and Clarkstown South. As reported this past weekend in USA Today High School Sports, the Raiders are now ranked 9th in their Rockland-Westchester County division and 4th among all Class AA teams (determined by school size).

The team's success in 2015 is attributable to a number of factors, beginning with the outstanding efforts of Head Coach Mindy Genovese and Assistant Coach Kiera Fox. Coaches Genovese and Fox assembled a talented group whose play continually improved over the course of the season. They stressed a team-oriented approach with the philosophy that team goals are paramount and supersede individual accomplishments. The team was led by senior co-captains Eryn McDonald, Zoe Epstein and Kara Elcik and junior co-captain Hayley Rozencwaig. The Raiders have a mix of veterans and newcomers, and an unusually large number of freshmen – six - two of whom are full-time starters. There has been significant emphasis on team camaraderie, with frequent team meals and social events. The closeness of the players and their focus have unquestionably contributed to the team's outstanding performance during the regular season.

The Raiders are now the second seed in the sectional playoffs. The team's first playoff game, to be held on Saturday, October 25 at 3:00 p.m. at Scarsdale High School, where they will play the winner of a game this week between White Plains and Carmel. Given the Raider's impressive performance during the 2015 regular season, their goal is to bring home a section championship for the first time since 2000. Scarsdale residents are encouraged to come out and support the Raiders! Scarsdale10583.com will follow the team during the playoffs and report back on what will hopefully be a successful playoff run.

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Global Citizenship Day Brings the World to SHS

group projectOn Thursday, October 8, Scarsdale High School hosted its 3rd annual Global Citizenship Day. The purpose of the event is to foster awareness of various problems facing the planet on an economic, environmental and political plane. The day also seeks to enlighten students about important global trends. Speakers from the local community, service organizations, professors, teachers and/or student groups offered workshops on a wide variety of topics, ranging from climate change to sustainable agriculture to educational equity to LGBT rights to a host of other topics relevant to our world today.

A discussion entitled "Race, Class and Public Education" on inequities in education was led by Zakiyah Ansari, Advocacy Director for Alliance for Quality Education. (www.aqeny.org.) AQE is a coalition mobilizing communities to keep New York true to its promise of ensuring a high-quality public school education to all students regardless of zip code. Ansari discussed various issues affecting urban public schools such as how high stakes testing can negatively impact a school and its community, overcrowding, and aggressive policing within schools. Many of the students who attended this lecture are part of social studies teacher Maggie Favretti's City 2.0 urban studies class and have an upcoming assignment to study a city block. Students were urged to think about the schools in their study area and try to understand the students who attend these schools without judgment. Ansari's message "we all do better when everyone rises" resonated with the audience.

refugeesAnother workshop, led by Science Teacher and debate club faculty advisor, Joe Vaughan, and facilitated by the debate club, focused on the European Union's response to the migrant crisis.

Senior Abigail Goldstein, Debate Club Co-President, and Junior Karen Zaklama, Debate Club Officer, gave a presentation (example slide above) to provide background information to a classroom packed with students from Mr. Mounkhall's English class and goldsteinMs. Guerra's social studies class. Workshop participants were divided into groups and assigned various roles/countries to play such as Syrian migrants, Germany, Hungary, Greece, etc. Student groups then had to negotiate with each other to achieve assigned objectives such as permission to enter, aid, etc.

Ms. Favretti, who is also the faculty advisor for the Sustainable Garden Club led a workshop in the school's garden. Students from world language teacher Ms. Chan's and science teacher Ms. Konishi's classes completed tasks in the garden and harvested vegetables. Food from the garden is donated to Grace Church Pantry in White Plains and Fred's Pantry in Peekskill.

Other workshops were also very hands on and foodpreprequired little explanation. Social Studies Teacher, Ms. Minchillo, organized students to prepare bagged lunches for families at the Hope Soup Kitchen in New Rochelle.

There were other activities throughout the day such as a panel from the Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center with a survivor, a representative from UNICEF discussing how to help children in war torn counties and many classes run by high school faculty on topics including protest art, Cuba, the upcoming presidential election and so many more. Overall, the day was a great opportunity for students to think critically about their world and true to the school's motto, Non Sibi, focus on making positive contributions. Scarsdale High School students are offered many wonderful educational experiences beyond an ordinary school day due to the dedication of its many outstanding teachers (many more than were mentioned here contributed to this day!) who develop and deliver unique programs like this one.
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Streetlight Falls at Red Plum In Mamaroneck, Stop Sign Run Down in Hartsdale

Around 2 pm on Saturday, when the SOWE Music Festival brought many to town, a van hit a lamppost on the sidewalk and knocked it over onto a table at the Red Plum Restaurant where many were sitting outside enjoying lunch. Fortunately, that one table was unoccupied and no one was hurt, but the accident did cause pandemonium on the sidewalk.

Following the accident, emergency vehicles were dispatched to clean up the mess.

stopsign1Stop Sign Run Down in Greenacres

A Greenacres resident who took an early morning walk on Saturday 9-19 at 6:50 am reported that he found a Stop sign knocked over at the top of Exit 16 of the southbound Bronx River Parkway, near the Hartsdale Train Station. This must have happened sometime after 7PM on Friday night when the man walked home from the station and remembers that the sign was standing.

Looking closely at the marks on the pavement, he assumed that the driver of the vehicle was either under the influence, fell asleep at the wheel or was driving so fast that he or she lost control of the vehicle, climbed the curb while turning and knocked the sign over. From the tire marks, he could not tell what kind of car or truck was involved.

The Stop sign is at least two feet from the start of the sidewalk and it looked like the rear wheels of the vehicle also climbed the curb, which is more than six inches high at this point.

The vehicle may have landed with a thud when it finally fell off the curb and back onto the road because the curb was about a foot high at the point the vehicle wheels re-entered the road.

Since the Stop sign is mounted on steel and looks quite strong there must have been a considerable impact.stopsign3

School Board Reviews Building Plans, Collective Bargaining and a New School Website

walktoschoolCollective bargaining, building plans and a new district website were all on the agenda at a study session at the October 7 meeting of the Scarsdale Board of Education.

Dr. Bernard Josefsberg, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources, provided a brief summary of the negotiation framework and status of the 4 labor contracts covering over 700 district employees that will be up for renewal this academic year. The largest contract unit is the Scarsdale Teachers' Association (STA). Others labor groups include Principals, Middle Managers and Teachers' Aides. He stated that the STA contract generally sets the tone for the others and will likely be the first to be completed. Both the district and the STA are in the data gathering phases of the process and the first proposals will be exchanged no later than February 15, 2016. Face to face meetings will follow. Josefsberg noted that this process, by statute, is not intended to be transparent. Until an agreement is reached, the public will know "little more than good faith negotiations are continuing" balancing the issue of cost containment with compensation and benefit packages that allow Scarsdale to attract and retain the best teachers in the field.

Jerry Crisci, Director of Instructional Technology, provided an update on the roll out of the new district website. He discussed the processes used to develop the new site (user focus groups, studying other district sites) and some of the guiding principles behind the design (Maroon color scheme, Scarsdale seal, preference for a classic look with modern design). He showed a mock-up of the page that has been agreed upon to date. The new design allows for more categories of information accessible from the front page (such as quick links, upcoming events, headlines, popular links, calendars, etc.). He also discussed how the new page will be linked with social media accounts so that Facebook could draw more users to the website and the site could send information to Twitter. Many hundreds of pages of site content are also being updated as part of this roll out. The website design team is also looking at where information is located within the site and received a lot of feedback from the parent focus groups on how the information should be organized. Crisci would still like to receive feedback from the community on the design and to that end he will be posting a link on the district webpage with a screen shot of the latest version of new design and an area for comments. The current plan is to finalize the design this month and launch the site in the November/December timeframe. There will also be a mobile app launched in December.

Finally, Stuart Mattey, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Facilities, discussed the status of December 2014 bond projects and planning for future bond projects. As previously reported, the plans for the 2014 bond projects have been submitted to the State Education Department (SED) for approval as required. Unfortunately, SED is very backlogged and the latest update is that they are requiring 11 months on average to approve projects. The Board of Education intends to use all available avenues of advocacy to obtain approval as quickly as possible. However, there is a real possibility that the construction timeline will be delayed and that costs will increase as a result of inflation if the project is not approved until the spring when the district hoped to already be going to bid.

While the projects await SED approval, the construction committee is preparing for the bidding process and met on October 5 to review updated estimates to be used for the final bid plan. The bid plan estimates are currently $3 million more than initial cost estimates. Although it is not uncommon for the bid plan amount to exceed the original design estimate, Mattey said this variance was higher than expected. At this stage, the bid plan is still being fine-tuned by the architects and engineers. They are tightening estimates and will work on suggestions and options to decrease the variance amount. The next building committee meeting will convene in 4-6 weeks and updated information and estimates will be provided after that meeting. District spending on these projects is not allowed to exceed the original amount authorized by voters. Therefore, some items that may have been part of the original base bid plan may need to be shifted to a list of alternates.

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Finally, Mattey discussed future bond projects. The District commenced planning for new projects based upon known and projected needs of aging facilities with a planned community bond vote in May 2017. There is a retirement of debt in 2019-20 that allows for the opportunity to borrow funds in support of a major district wide project. Current estimates show an amount up to $62.2 million could be financed to support major facilities work without additional tax property growth. Input for selecting projects will include the building condition surveys currently underway. It was also decided that a master plan for the fields be incorporated in the overall facilities needs assessment. Building level committees will be formed to provide input to decision making.

The recently reconvened Greenacres building committee will be working on recommendations for the Greenacres School. The planning timeline associated with this bond is highlighted above in a chart from Mattey's presentation. It shows the Board of Education receiving formal recommendations from building committees in May 2016 (earlier for Greenacres) at which time they will turn the process over to a District Wide Steering Committee to prioritize needs and make recommendations back to the Board at the end of 2016. There will be public forums with the first set planned for the January/February 2016 timeframe. Under this timeline, any construction financed by a voter approved bond issuance would commence in the summer of 2019.

The entire October 7 meeting can be viewed at the Scarsdale School's Video on Demand site. The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 19.

Summer Game at Scarsdale Library Encourages Young Readers

curiousgeorgeThe Scarsdale Public Library's Summer Reading Game attracted 294 participants who read an average of 23½ books each. The program encourages children from infants through 5th grade to read or be read to during the summer months.

The most popular series was the perennial favorite, "Curious George." Other popular titles were "Thea Stilton" by Geronimo Stilton, "Babymouse," a graphic novel, and the "Garfield" series.

The largest group of readers was second graders and there were numerous pre-school children who came to the library to be read to.

Fewer children participated than in 2014, but each child read on average significantly more books, a sign of the commitment by those who signed up. The average number of books read was the most in recent years.
The Summer Reading Game encourages children to read or be read to during the summer months. Research has shown that reading during the vacation helps children maintain their reading levels when they return to school in September. Non-readers fall back somewhat from levels they achieved at the end of the school year.

Awards are given based on the number of books read or listened to. As an incentive to come to the library, children received a raffle ticket each time they visit. Four raffle tickets will were pulled each week with winners receiving a book.

"When the children come to the library, we like to have them discuss the books they have read with a librarian or have someone read a book to them," says Karen Zielinski, head of Youth Services. "The program has also become family event with older children reading to their younger siblings."

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