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foxAssistant Superintendent Drew Patrick announced that the district has hired an assistant principal for Fox Meadow School. Melissa Feinberg, an enrichment teacher from the Great Neck North Public Schools will join the staff immediately and work with interim Principal Karen Eldon.

Here is the announcement from Drew Patrick that was sent to Fox Meadow parents today, Monday July 16:

Dear Fox Meadow Community,

I am writing to share the news that Dr. Hagerman will be recommending Melissa Feinberg to the position of Assistant Principal at Fox Meadow Elementary. Melissa will be joining us from Great Neck, where she served as a classroom teacher, staff developer, and enrichment teacher for the past 20 years. Melissa impressed us with her knowledge; experience as a teacher, staff developer, and teacher-leader; and enthusiasm for the work of leadership. The references I spoke to contained remarkably positive and supportive feedback, and identified Melissa as a star in Great Neck. They lamented there wasn't an opening for her among the ranks of leadership at present, and commented on her decency and humanity along with her skill and talent.

Given the unique transition required at Fox Meadow, we have asked Melissa to start right away. She will be meeting with Karen Eldon and Duncan Wilson this (Monday) morning, and will develop plans from there for the transition. Both Karen and Melissa are planning letters of introduction, as well as opportunities to meet and start to get to know you. Please join me in welcoming Melissa when you get the chance!

Finally, I want to thank the entire interview committee, and the Fox Meadow representatives in particular. They served the FM community well, and committed a substantial amount of time, thought, and energy to this process. Teachers Alethea Lynch, Kim Assatly, Lyndsay Freed, and Michele Boyum, along with parent representatives Molly Ardalan and Diane Baylor, deserve our gratitude.

Sincerely,

Drew Patrick
Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Leadership Development

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Pool 7Many Scarsdalians spent this July 4th taking in the sun and cooling off at the Scarsdale Municipal Pool. The pool was packed, with kids and parents alike occupying nearly all of the surrounding grass. To celebrate the holiday, balloons were handed out to kids upon entry, and the pool set up an inflatable bouncy slide for the children so they could take a break from the water-based activities. Other non-pool activities available included basketball, volleyball, the playground, and an ever-popular GaGa pit.

In the main swimming pool, two lanes were designated to allow kids and their parents to race across with large pool floats. Sprinklers were set up next to the wading pool for the enjoyment of Scarsdale’s youngest residents.

Steven Orlofsky and David DaSilva, two former SHS students, were working at the pool on Independence Day. ”I think it’s going very well. The turnout this year is better than previous years” said DaSilva on the effectiveness of this year’s July 4th pool efforts. Orlofsky added that “All of the families seem to be enjoying themselves”.

You can view more pictures of the event below:

{besps}Pool2018{/besps}

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Costa 1Costa Rica has become a top adventure travel destination for American families. In under five hours from a New York area airport (we chose Newark), you can be in the land of monkeys, ziplines, passion fruit cocktails, and, as they say in Costa Rica, PURA VIDA!

Although we had been to Costa Rica in the past as a couple, planning it with kids (ages 8 and 10), added a whole other element to the trip and we had a hard time finding good information online. It was overwhelming, to say the least. Should we rent a car, hire a driver or fly? Where should we stay and where should we go within Costa Rica? Do we need to speak Spanish? Where can we see lots of diverse wildlife easily? And our kids were hoping we could find a water park. Hmmmm…

Costa Rica has an extremely well-developed tourist industry. This means an abundance of activities for travelers, tour companies offering safer ways of experiencing adventure that aren’t always found in less developed countries (e.g. helmets), everything running on time, the water being potable and a plethora of high-end hotels and restaurants from which to choose. “Ex-pats” from all over the world have made Costa Rica their home and their business, hence the higher quality (and prices that match) that you’ll find throughout the country for anything tourist-related. Do you need to know how to speak and understand Spanish? Certainly not, but it does help so give it a shot even if you just know a few words. My son answered, “Quiero bailar!” when asked by a local if he likes Costa Rica but they loved that he was trying out his Spanish skills. (It means “I want to dance.”)

We stayed for 9 nights and didn’t want to spend too much time traveling within the country. We wanted a beach scene and some rainforest time; the kids were adventurous and wanted action packed days; we wanted good food options and nice places to stay; the kids wanted a swimming pool. Safety, however, was the top priority. 

We landed in San Jose and were met by a ride arranged through the Adventure Inn’s owner, Eric Robinson. The Adventure Inn is a full-service hotel in San Jose that also offers adventure travel to all parts of Costa Rica. They can arrange almost anything expeditiously and for a competitive price. We made our way over to the Southern Pacific coast where the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park stands. We asked our driver to stop at the Rio Tercoles on the way to the park to see crocodiles below a bridge…and they did not disappoint. There were at least 25 massive and very active American crocodiles gathered below the bridge, measuring between 10 and 18 feet long…a sight to behold!Costa 5

There are many exceptional hotels in Quepos. We hired a park guide (arranged by the hotel) and learned about tropical trees and insects within Manuel Antonio National Park. We also spotted snakes, three-toed sloths, white-faced capuchin and howler monkeys, frogs, giant iguanas, agoutis and lots of colorful birds. The beaches within the park are stunning; it’s worth spending some time there. Late morning, we were picked up for a zipline adventure in the Quepos area. There were kids as young as seven in our group. It was a fun adrenaline-rush but if ziplining is a priority, the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde areas are better.

Despite the state of the roads, we decided to rent a car for our three-day trip South to Uvita, also on the coast. We heeded all warnings about American car rental companies and rented through Adobe. We highly recommend using Adobe and also suggest renting a 4-wheel drive vehicle for almost anywhere in Costa Rica off a main highway. 

We arrived at Vista Celestial, a gorgeous and upscale boutique resort about 20 minutes up an extremely steep hillside. It was actually rather nerve wracking getting up the steep hillside (and this is coming from a thrill-seeking family) but the view was unbeatable at the top. Vista Celestial has a small handful of immaculate, roomy, and well-appointed villas, each with an outdoor private dip pool and a view of the famous “Whale’s Tail” beach (which looks like a whale’s tail from afar and can be accessed at low tide). Meals aren’t included and are simple but well made and the service and management are both top notch. There is a secluded yoga platform if that’s your thing; it can also be used for gymnastics practice by a 10-year-old (while your husband watches nervously thinking she may fall off).

Costa 2We packed our days with a walk to Nauyaca Falls (pretty and accessible waterfalls), lots of beach time, and a mangrove tour in Sierpe. The mangrove tour was the highlight of our experience with wildlife and showed us a different slice of Costa Rica. The car was helpful to have for all adventures in and around Uvita. We joined a semi-private tour on a small motorboat and explored the mangroves with a well-versed guide we found (again) via Tripadvisor. Hotels can arrange tours as well. We saw huge troupes of several types of playful monkeys; one even tried to grab a banana from my son! We saw big crocs (a little scary from the small boat), sloths, several types of snakes, visually stunning Scarlet Macaws and more.

The next day we returned our rental car in Quepos and got a ride to Rafiki Safari Lodge. Rafiki is a South African-inspired ecolodge situated on a river suitable for whitewater rafting. We stayed in a family-friendly permanent safari tent that is more luxurious than one might think. Each tent has a private, attached bathroom and a platform deck. From there we saw a family of toucans playing more than once.

Rafiki is a really special place and was the highlight of our trip. Adventure is plentiful and we took advantage of it. Whitewater rafting was a first for the kids. There were enough rapids for it to be exciting but it wasn’t so wild that we feared for our lives. Rafiki’s guides were excellent and we enjoyed it so much that we opted to do a second trip a couple of days later. We went horseback riding one day high into the surrounding mountains; one of the owners served as our guide providing continuous information about the history of the area as well as insight into the flora and fauna. When we weren’t adventuring, we were relaxing with other guests in the hot tub, enjoying the view with a cocktail from the communal lodge, or watching the kids go down what might be one of the world’s fastest water slides (and that is no exaggeration)!Costa 3

Food was mostly included at Rafiki. It was extremely fresh and surprisingly well prepared for a place so off the beaten path. Breakfasts were leisurely and filled with fruit, fresh fruit juices by request, and either typical Costa Rican breakfast food (rice, beans, eggs and plantains) or an American option. Service came with a smile and Rafiki’s employees seemed happy to be working and interacting with guests. The lunches were varied and delicious and the dinners, at a set time each night, could have been served at an upscale NYC restaurant instead of the jungle. Each night there were several choices for dinner for both adults and kids; there were always meat and seafood options.

We chose to drive back to San Jose for an overnight at Adventure Inn before leaving to head back to the U.S. (Learn from me and book that flight back to keep that “pura vida” feeling). Adventure Inn will arrange for its visitors to catch a shuttle to the airport in time for their flight; it’s complimentary with the room booking.

Costa Rica has many other places that people rave about but we could not access within our short travel time frame. There are volcanoes to climb, small islands to explore, sea life to be discovered while diving or snorkeling, coffee and chocolate plantations to be toured and so much more. And we’ll be back for more passion fruit juice and pura vida.

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boundless2For my 40th birthday, (or was it my 29th?) I wanted to do a high ropes adventure course with my girlfriends. We ended up in the Berkshires for the weekend because there was nothing decent close by. We had the absolute best time bonding and we sulked about the bummer of having no ropes course near us the whole way home.

Therefore, I was beyond excited to recently learn that Boundless Adventures just opened a brand-new adventure treetops course almost in our backyard: right on the campus of SUNY Purchase. The course is for ages seven through adult and has varying levels of difficulty. Parking is free and so is observing; spectators can watch from easy to access walking paths, bridges and picnic tables onsite. (That’s certainly not a Disney World perk!)

Now that my siblings and I all have families of our own, it’s hard to find time to be together, just the three of us. So off we went, with our spouses as our sitters, to reconnect at 40 feet up in the trees while balancing on acrobat wire and zip lining on a snowboard.

Forty feet up in the air…okay, so a quick note about safety. Boundless Adventures puts safety first and has all new equipment included for use in the cost of your ticket. All staff members seemed really well versed in safety and helped us into full body harnesses. They explained that we would be attached to a safety line ensuring that we are always connected via a high-tech double belay system. After a thorough safety talk, they had us practice using the carabiners and belay system and took us through zipline specifics.

Ready to climb…we did “Rock, Paper, Scissors” as all mature adults do to determine who would go first. We chose to start out on a green (intermediate) course. The course is broken up into four different levels and there are multiple courses for each. Yellow (beginner) is the easiest at about 10 feet off the ground with slow zip lines and small bridges and beams. Green (intermediate) is up 15 feet high and has longer zip lines, ladders and beginner rolling elements. Blue (advanced) is 22-26 feet up and requires more strength and agility for its challenges. Black (expert) is 30-40 feet high off the ground and boasts the most difficult elements requiring strength, balance, stamina and agility. Boundless1

We found the green course to be super fun but a bit easy so moved quickly onto one of the blue courses. Now, I don’t want to give away any of the secrets or the fun, but this is when our adrenaline started pumping. We helped each other through the more difficult parts and then moved onto (GULP) the black course. The black course had some extremely difficult elements. My sister and I sent my brother ahead and we quickly realized that we all had to help each other out in terms of confidence building, helping each other keep our stamina up and encouraging each other to finish the element. It’s possible that my brother said his first curse word ever. Your wristband buys you three hours of time on the courses (after the safety presentation) and we were positively zonked at the end of our three hours.

It is highly recommended to make reservations ahead of time due to lines as well as reserved times by camps, parties and corporate groups. They offer group discounts and there were several birthday parties being held while we were there. The kids looked like they were all having an absolute blast and it was priceless to see them cheering each other on. There are plenty of picnic tables so it made it easy to congregate kids for pizza and cake.

Boundless Adventures is open until 8:00 pm so it’s great for date night, bachelor or bachelorette parties, girl and boy scout troops, teambuilding events and more. Kids (ages seven and up) and adults are welcome to enjoy the challenge.

Boundless Adventures is open during the following days and times: (check back for Fall hours) Weekdays: 10am – 8pm
Saturday: 9am – 8pm
Sunday: 10am – 8pm

Follow the signs when you enter the SUNY Purchase campus to Boundless Adventures!boundless3
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, New York 10577
914-893-4550
pcinfo@boundlessadventures.net
www.boundless adventures.net

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WRT steam 1The Westchester Reform Temple Early Childhood Center’s STEAM Extravaganza was an exciting place to be on Thursday May 31. Open to ECC families and their friends, the night highlighted hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math investigations for children. Young scientists were able to master the power of the magnetic field at the Magnetic Forest Makerspace, and explore the foundations of Archimedes’ Principle at the Float Your Boat Design Lab. They utilized chemistry within the visible spectrum while creating Edible Rainbows, tried to defy gravity at the Ramp It Up Inquiry Zone, engineered their own erupting volcanoes, and more!.

“It was wonderful to feel the excited energy in the room as we celebrated STEAM within our school,” said Sue Tolchin, WRT/ECC Director. Special guest RoboThink allowed children to build and utilize robots using their unique kits, and families celebrated their night of STEAM with a dinner, including their own color changing thermochromic Rad Lab cups! 
WRT steam 2WRT Steam 3WRT steam 7WRT steam 6WRT steam 5WRT steam 8

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