Maroon and White Celebrates Fall Athletes at Lake Isle
- Category: Schools
- Published on 07 November 2016
- Written by Emmeline Berridge
Maroon and White celebrated fall athletes at their annual award dinner on Thursday November 3rd at Lake Isle- and there was much to celebrate! Several teams made it to the sectional semi finals and finals, with the girls' Field Hockey Team headed for the state's in Binghamton. Note the accomplishments of all the athletes and teams below:
Senior Field Hockey Captain Emma Coleman put the highlight of the team's season simply, "winning the section finals". Finishing the regular season 13-1-1, and with a historic season still underway, the Girl's Field Hockey team has a lot to be proud of. The Raiders are now regional and sectional champions, hoping to add state champs to their resume. They will play in the state semifinals at 12:00pm on Saturday, November 12th against Section 3's Baldwinsville.
Girls's Soccer: Finishing 10-3 in the overall season, the Scarsdale Girls Varsity A Soccer team had a memorable year. Senior Captain Haley Rozencwaig noted that her highlight for the season was the second game against formidable opponent John Jay East-Fishkill. "We were winning at first, but then they tied it up. In overtime we came back. This was the first time that we came together as a team, we were all so proud of each other. I think it set a really good note for the rest of our season." Captain Kate Donovan also mentioned that she loved the teams' camaraderie this year, wishing the girls best of luck for next season.
Boys' Soccer: The Boy's Varsity Soccer team had a heart-wrenching end to their season, losing in the section semi-finals by two goals in a penalty shootout. Senior Joey Ballon's highlight for the season was coming back after a four game losing streak in the middle of the year. "We turned it around, and were the best team in the section at one point." Stephen Nadler added, "We were able to come together as a team, play good fútbol, and enjoy ourselves at the end of the season. We have a great group of guys."
Cross Country: Senior Fiona Flanagan recognized an early major meet called "Gressler" in White Plains as the teams motivation for their success this season." We all tried really hard, but our girls' team isn't the best in our league. At the end of the meet, [coach] Clark pulls a trophy out of his bag. We won the whole meet, which we did not expect at all. It was a great team moment." Emily Markowitz also mentioned that the Boys team won as well that day, even without the meaningful contributions of decorated Senior Greg Crowley.
Captain Cara McDermott discussed how proud she was of the team this season. "As a team we excelled this season. We came our closest to beating White Plains for the first time ever, and had awesome swims. Jane Glaser emphasized the importance of team cohesiveness for a successful season in such an individual sport. "While we didn't win a lot of meets, as a team our greatest accomplishment was our camaraderie, great energy, and supportiveness throughout the meets." Tanvi Pabby and Sydney Vleck made the Section One state team, Tanvi for the 100m butterfly and 200m IM, Sydney for the 100m breast.
Girls' Tennis: Seniors Haley Sontag and Gabi Schott recognized their multiple tie breakers as the highlights of the season. "We won a lot of sets, and lost a few. It was a learning experience. We all grew stronger together". Captain Sam Lieberman also enjoyed getting to know the underclassmen and helping them improve their skills. Finally, the seniors noted how sad it will be not being able to play again next season. "We just love the tennis team".
Volleyball: Boys: Making it to the section semi finals, an unusual feat for a new team and program, was Corey Waldman's favorite part of the Boys Volleyball team's season. Tyler Brody mentioned, "We worked really hard, and its great to be recognized as section semi finalists". Although in a section with only 4 teams, the boys were excited to be able to garner this playoff experience.
Girls: Senior Jessica Waldman is most proud of how close the Girl's Volleyball Team got this season. "In the beginning the team was new, with a lot of new members. At the end of the season we were definitely one cohesive unit and are all really close friends at this point". Even though being knocked out by North Rockland in the Section Semi Finals was hard for the team, the Raiders finish the season 25-15-6 sets and leave proud of their accomplishments.
Cheerleaders: Senior Mary Kate Filos noted that the fall marks the beginning to the Scarsdale Cheerleading season. The squad is looking forward to what the rest of the competition season brings, hoping to make it to Nationals this season.
The Raiders Football team had a memorable season, making it to the section finals against New Rochelle.
Text by Emmeline Berridge, Photos by Sarah Abbe.
Place your order for Raiders gear from the Fall Maroon and White Apparel Store before the deadline on Sunday November 13th.
This is your opportunity to purchase Scarsdale apparel and show your Raider pride.
There is a large assortment of amazing Raider gear. All orders will ship on or about December 10, 2016 to your individual homes.
Sizes available in Youth, Men's and Women's.
To order, click here:
Questions: Email Beth Patrizio at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for visiting the Raider store and supporting Maroon & White.
Greenacres: Taking the School off the Agenda Does Not Make the Problem Go Away
- Category: Schools
- Published on 01 November 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Now that I have had a chance to take a pause and reflect on the discussion about the future of Greenacres School, the path to the future and the framework for making the decision seem clearer than ever.
It seems to me that if the Board of Education and the Administration consider just the following three questions, the answers will put them on the road to resolving the issues and moving forward.
Here are the three questions to ponder:
First: Since the school is inadequate, should Scarsdale re-district and bus Greenacres kids elsewhere in the district?
Second: Should the new or renovated school meet model standards for classroom sizes and overall square footage per child?
Third: If a renovation of the existing school will take three years, is it fair, safe or reasonable to expect young children to attend a school that's a construction zone for three years?
Let's take these questions one at a time and discuss the merits of each.
Is re-districting the answer?
I have heard some suggest that the district close Greenacres all together and disperse these 400 odd children to other elementary schools or bus them to Quaker Ridge where a large, multi-floored school could be built. To me, this solution would create more problems than it solves. As far as I know, there are not 18 available classrooms in other parts of the district, so this answer would require construction and disruption elsewhere. Furthermore, Greenacres parents moved here for a neighborhood school and the community was built around five neighborhood elementary schools that feed into a central middle school and high school. I don't believe this concept is negotiable.
Others have suggested that the fifth graders be sent to the middle school, one year earlier. Again, it does not appear that the middle school and the current house system could accommodate four, rather than three grades of children.
For all these reasons, re-districting Greenacres kids does not appear to be the answer.
Should the renovated or new school meet model standards?
Again, there is really no debating this one. If the district is going to invest in a 21st century school, it should definitely meet current requirements, which includes adequate space for the students. Who moved to Scarsdale for undersized and inadequate schools?
Greenacres currently has 78 square feet of usable space per student as compared to an average of 105 square feet per student at the other four elementary schools, meaning it has 26% less overall usable space than other schools. According to architects KG&D, the optimal classroom size is 950 square feet for kindergartners, with 43 square feet of space per student for classes of 22 students. Classrooms for kids in grades 1 thru 5 should be 850 square feet.
Under the Greenacres B1 renovation plan, six new classrooms would be built that meet model standards, but the other classrooms, including those for the youngest children would remain way below current standards. The school would still have no real cafeteria or auditorium and the gym would remain in original 1914 condition, minus the large windows that would be covered up by the new classrooms.
Therefore, since we can't build a school that meets the model standards through a renovation, that option should be off the table.
Is it reasonable to ask young children to attend a school under renovation for three years?
Again the answer seems obvious to me. Why, as a potential homeowner, would I move my young family to Greenacres to have one, two or even three children live through a three-year renovation at their school? Some parents have environmental concerns, which are reasonable given the school's history of poor air quality and a wet basement, in addition to the risks of tearing out sections of a building that is over 100 years old. Others are simply concerned that their kids won't be able to concentrate given the noise and distraction. Last, kids would need to be rotated around the school depending on the staging of the work, which is far from an optimal experience. One woman already reported that she was having trouble selling her house in Greenacres due to fears about a potential three-year school renovation.
Given all the above, it seems clear to me that the district needs to build a new school across the street and keep the kids in the old school until the work is done. There is no other way.
While we wait, the kids are crowded, there's no room for specials, lunch is served in three periods and the facility remains subpar when compared to the environments at other district elementary schools.
There's no longer a reason to wait and see. Taking the matter off the agenda doesn't make the problems go away. With $60 million in debt expiring in May 2017, the Board and the Administration have a responsibility to fulfill the promise they made to the community to "deal with Greenacres" in a Spring 2017 bond resolution to fund a new school. Don't delay ... don't take polls ... consider the facts and move forward.
(This is an opion piece from Scarsdale10583 site founder Joanne Wallenstein)
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From Scarsdale BOE: Greenacres and the World Language Survey
- Category: Schools
- Published on 20 October 2016
- Written by Heather Gilchriest Meili
The future of both Greenacres School and the World Language program were once again key topics at the School Board meeting which took place this past Monday evening.
Superintendent Dr. Hagerman alerted the community to expect his second "Facilities Update" email, which was in fact released later Monday evening. The full text of that email is re-printed below. This is one piece of the overall communication plan which has been recently developed to provide accurate information to the community regarding the status of Greenacres as well as the district-wide Facilities Plan. Additionally, Dr. Hagerman's email provides a link to a complete archive of all materials that have been generated throughout the Greenacres process.
Is this communication plan reaching throughout the community as intended? Robert McFarlane of 1247 Post Road, a 16 year resident and empty nester, had this to say on behalf of himself and his wife Carmella: "I don't know what others are experiencing...we sent one written communication to the board (on the subject of Greenacres) and received two responses of thanks for our comment, several weeks apart. So we must be in the email records. Yet we received nothing telling us where to look for further information, and no information has been sent to us. In our opinion, the communications we have received from outside the Board and many of the comments at public comment meetings have been highly prejudicial on one side or another, and at the moment we feel we have no solid or reliable information on which to really form an opinion."
Wendy Shi of 198 Brewster Road received the latest update, but points out that although the increased community outreach is welcome, the future of Greenacres School should be "a decision about what's best for children present and future" rather than which plan is the most popular. Similarly, Katharine Miao of 51 Walworth Avenue favors more decisive action: "I wish there had been more of a consensus but the board needs to make a decision one way or another."
Paulina Schwartz offered this comment on the email Dr. Hagerman sent out this week. She said, "To say that the space issues at Greenacres are minor is understating the degree of the problem. Note that the Greenacres Feasibility Study included the following five facts:
-The model program is used as a benchmark for the design options that were explored as well as a basis for comparison to other schools in the District. Perhaps the most meaningful statistic to emerge from this comparison is the amount of net usable square footage per student:
-Greenacres Existing: 78 square feet of net usable square feet per student
Average: Edgewood, Fox Meadow, Heathcote and Quaker Ridge: 105 square feet of net usable square feet per student
-Greenacres has 26% less overall useable net square footage per student than the average of the four elementary schools.
-Scarsdale's other four elementary schools have larger classrooms than exist at Greenacres in all categories.
-This highlights one the major issues with the Greenacres building - there is not adequate space for the full student program. Perhaps the most serious manifestation of this issue is the size of the core instructional classrooms themselves.
A further question is how the current decision-making process and timeline is perceived outside the Scarsdale community. Discussion around the neighborhood turns up stories of residents who know city families contemplating a Scarsdale move who have crossed Greenacres off their list due to the uncertainty surrounding the school.
However, Meredith Gantcher of 164 Brewster Road sees the current pause for assessment and communication as highly valuable to the community and its reputation: "The latest update is a meaningful attempt by the Board to fulfill Dr. Hagerman's charge that the Board of Education must codify and disseminate the information gathered over the last two years by the GA Building committees and the Board while studying the current conditions and needs of the GA School....It's clear that Dr. Hagerman and the Board are making it a priority to dispel damaging myths and rumors that have circulated in the community that have grossly exaggerated problems at Greenacres and needlessly harm the reputation of the entire district. It's clear that Dr. Hagerman is making every effort to inject objectivity and fact-based analysis into the Greenacres discussion...."
Dr. Hagerman also announced an additional element of his communication plan which is to engage survey company Unicom Arc to poll residents on their views. He said, "It's a little more expensive than we had hoped initially so we're probably going to have to pare down from three surveys to something less than that, but we look forward to getting out and engaging the community in that way."
An already completed survey formed the core of Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Lynn Shain's update on World Language. Ms. Shain reported that since the survey closed on October 13 they have been evaluating the results. In something of a surprise, given the attention the issue has received of late, the survey received only a 32% response rate (856 families responding out of a potential 2,707.) In Ms. Shain's words: "Many said that they would not want to add a new language to elementary, middle, or high school programs. That is a significant piece of the pie here and we have to do some more analysis of all of this data."
Current 5th grade parents throughout Scarsdale should note the timeline for 6th grade World Language registration has been pushed back to allow further survey analysis. The first parent meeting was originally to take place on November 15. That will be rescheduled and a new timeline will be forthcoming. November 28 is set as the date when Ms. Shain will present all World Language data results to the Board.
As one of the founding members of the Mandarin in Middle School Initiative Team and Co-Chair of the Education Committee of the Scarsdale Forum, Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez offered her reaction to the survey's initial findings: "I am very grateful the Scarsdale School Administration created a language survey; it is important to get the response of the community. If the Administration is disappointed that more parents did not respond, I'm not sure that 32% should be considered a low response rate as it's above normal email survey response levels. The Administration should consider carefully how to encourage parents to answer surveys? Instead of concluding people don't want additional languages, perhaps reconsider the method of survey distribution and design. Perhaps by having the surveys distributed through class parents, for example, they would get more attention. Additionally, perhaps make it clear why the survey matters: what action is expected to be taken based on survey results."
When the Board invited comments from those present on Monday evening, Leanne Freda, PT Council President, stepped forward with warm thanks to the Board in observance of the Governor's proclaimed School Board Recognition week. Addressing those gathered, Ms. Freda noted, "They work extraordinarily long hours in service of out community to ensure that our schools remain on the cutting edge and deliver an excellent education....Throughout the many challenges facing our community they have remained calm, respectful and professional." Accompanied by applause from the room, she concluded: "On behalf of the Scarsdale PT Council, we express our sincere gratitude for your service, commitment and contribution to the students and families of Scarsdale."
Next, Dan Hochvert spoke as a Member of the Board of Friends of Scarsdale Parks, bringing positive news about the improvements made in the former Harwood Park area surrounding the brook between the high school gravel parking lot and the library. He describes its previous state as "terribly neglected...a snow and garbage dump." Yet through volunteers' efforts over the last 2 1/2 years invasive plants have been removed and 600 native plants restored to the area. As a result a mother and baby deer have been observed enjoying the habitat, and students have been observed enjoying a beautiful new pathway to the library.
Switching hats to his role as Co-Chair of the Scarsdale Forum Education Committee, Mr. Hochvert announced the completion of the Committee's draft report on Greenacres which they hope will be useful to the Board and serve to "narrow the gap between the B1's and the C1's."
(Here is the text of an email sent out by the Scarsdale Schools on Monday October 17th)
What is the current condition of the Greenacres School?
At the time that the District's successful 2014 bond was first being considered, the architectural firm KG&D conducted a feasibility study of Greenacres.
KG&D began by giving Greenacres a survey of the entire structure from foundation to roof, and determined that the building had been well-maintained. Careful maintenance has extended the "useful life" (parameters set by experts in the field) of various components of the building, such as the slate roof, windows, and mechanical systems.
Next, a checklist was reviewed of building code compliance issues and expectations, including:
Classroom square footage
Ventilation and air quality
Toilet facilities and plumbing
ADA accessibility (including door widths, obstructions, counter heights, etc.)
Although the overall building was determined to be sound, the review did reveal some problematic areas, particularly in light of our goal to provide a 21st century educational environment for our students. One of the issues is the small size of classrooms. Teaching approaches have changed significantly in the last 100 years; for example, classroom desks are no longer set up in rows but in clusters; extra room is needed for science and other projects and use of technology; and special needs inclusion practice requires adequate space for children and their aides.
Moreover, the building has been divided and subdivided over time to accommodate changing programmatic and student needs. Computer labs, student service offices, Maker Spaces and the like are all staples of today's education; however, these additions have resulted in a reduction in traditional classroom space.
Why weren't these conditions addressed in the 2014 bond?
The original Greenacres Building Committee was convened during the course of Districtwide planning for the December 2014 Bond Referendum. At that time, the Committee reviewed the feasibility study and concluded that the scope of work was too great to be addressed within parameters of the 2014 bond. The Committee recommended that the future of Greenacres would require further study and should be addressed in a future bond.
Is overcrowding at Greenacres an issue?
Although some classrooms are smaller than those at the other elementary schools in Scarsdale, Greenacres students are satisfactorily accommodated. There have been reports that students are forced to sit on the floor due to lack of classroom space for desks/tables and chairs; however, this is not true. It's possible that this misconception arose from individuals seeing or hearing about students sitting on the floor (usually on special rugs), which is a normal part of the school day for younger grades throughout the District. This technique has been found to help focus student attention and, in many cases, allows students to access Smartboards and other technology.
What about moisture or mold in the building?
A major challenge facing Greenacres is moisture. The dirt crawl spaces and basement underneath the building generate significant humidity, which is controlled through the constant use of dehumidifiers. Without this continuous monitoring and mitigating, this moisture could result in serious issues affecting air quality, structural integrity, and maintenance.
It should be noted that repeated testing by both District staff and outside consultants has shown that there is no significant mold problem at this time. Concerns about mold throughout the District are addressed with inspections from outside experts.
To learn more about Scarsdale's facilities, bond updates, and Greenacres information, please visit our Facilities website pages here.
District Opens Revised Bids for Approved Construction Projects for the Scarsdale Schools
- Category: Schools
- Published on 26 October 2016
- Written by Heather Meili Gilchriest
On Tuesday morning October 25 the Scarsdale School Board and administration opened the much-awaited set of revised bids for a series of new construction and renovation projects approved by voters in December 2014 and originally estimated to cost $18.1 mm. When the initial bids were received in the spring of 2016, administrators rejected them as they were as high as 30% above the estimate. This summer Stuart Mattey, Assistant Superintendent for Business Stuart Mattey repackaged and regrouped the work and requested new estimates, which came in high, but closer to the targeted numbers.
The array of information the group reviewed and considered was formidable, so afterwards I asked Assistant Superintendent for Business Stuart Mattey to bring me up to speed on the bids received and the decision-making process underway.
(The following is lightly edited for clarity and length.)
Here are questions and answers from Stuart Mattey:
In the new set of bids received, can you share what the numbers were, and how they compare to the previous bids?
For this bid cycle we broke the projects up into three separate base bids along with nine different bid alternates that could be accepted if funding allows. Bid One included the Edgewood, Heathcote and Scarsdale Middle School projects, Bid Two was Scarsdale High School only and Bid Three was all four buildings. For each project there were four separate prime contracts that bids were accepted for: General, Plumbing, Mechanical and Electrical. The breakout of the bids also allows for a mix and match of low bidders for bid one and bid two if the District decides to proceed with work at all schools. The timing of this bid was ideal for contractors and their participation was evidence of this as the District received numerous bids for each contract. It is the feeling of the District and its consultants that the bids received will be best that we will see on these projects. Having said that, base bids (without alternates) still came in higher than original construction budgets called for. Bid one (the three schools) came in about 35% higher, Bid two (SHS) about 15% higher and the All Schools options came in at about 14% higher or about $1.75 million. The previous bids that were received in the spring were over $2 MM more than these bids and had very poor participation.
My impression was that the current bids would allow work to begin on the planned timeframe as long as the Scarsdale Foundation is able to step up to cover the Design Lab and Fitness Center. Do I have that right?
The Design Lab and the Fitness Center were bid as alternates and can be completed on the planned timeframe if funding is in place. The other base bid projects are not dependent on these alternates and could proceed with or without Foundation funding in place.
I also understood that there are questions pending about how the money would need to be transferred from the Foundation in order for the District to sign a contract allowing those portions to go forward.
Funds for the construction bids related to the Design Lab and Fitness Center must be in place in order for those alternates to be accepted by the Board.
Can you clarify which portions of the planned work are considered the "alternates"?
The nine alternates are: Edgewood Resource Room, Heathcote Multi-Purpose Room HVAC, Middle School band HVAC, Middle School music room, Middle School orchestra ceiling, High School greenhouse, High School auditorium, High School design lab, and the High School fitness center.
Are they in fact to be included in the work going forward, or possibly done by in-house workers instead?
Any or all alternates could be accepted, however, at the Board meeting I think you heard that the Middle School - Music Room, Design Lab and Fitness Center are the priorities and they all are funded outside of the bond authorization and therefore wouldn't impact the bond budget. Alternates not completed as part of this bond project could be completed in the future as part of regular budget plant improvement projects or included in future bond work.
I believe the target date November 14th was given as the day the Board would formally go ahead and accept bids, and that they would be parceled out to different sources. Is that an accurate recap of the current thinking?
Any decision to move ahead would happen no later than November 14th. If the Board decides to move ahead with work, the number of contracts awarded would depend on which projects receive the go ahead.
If the bids are indeed about $2 million higher than the bond approved by voters,
perhaps the board will consider using monies from the general fund to finance the shortfall. At the end of the 2015-16 school year, there was a surplus of funds in the budget so perhaps that can be used to supplement the construction budget.
Many residents, especially those in Greenacres, may be eager to know whether the projects discussed Tuesday morning have any implications for the Greenacres School question. While Greenacres was never at any time considered a part of this work currently being bid, it was nonetheless illuminating to hear both Mr. Mattey and Superintendent Thomas Hagerman express dissatisfaction with various aspects of the relationship with KG&D, the architecture firm primarily concerned with allof the construction projects to date. Both identified concerns about errors, communication issues, and responsiveness. School Board Member Pam Fuehrer noted, "They were so off on their costs." Fellow Board Member Art Rublin suggested, "It would be a good idea to use independent estimators to verify numbers in the future," and Mr. Mattey agreed. Superintendent Hagerman summed up his view, saying "We need someone who understands how all projects fit into our larger plan.... We need to feel we are a priority." Board President Lee Maude brought the discussion back to the responsibility of the Board to the voting community: "We need to make sure we deliver on what voters approved."
So perhaps the future of Greenacres School will be guided by a fresh concept in due course? In any case, it seems that Scarsdale residents can look forward to the approved renovations beginning soon throughout the District.
SHS Students to Examine the Refugee Crisis During Exchange Trip to Heidelberg
- Category: Schools
- Published on 17 October 2016
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
Six Scarsdale High School students will travel to Heidelberg, Germany, to team up with six students from the Elisabeth von Thadden Schule in February 2017. Together, the German and American students will examine issues surrounding refugees in the past and present and develop ways to contribute positively to the effort to reduce the painful effects of relocation.
The exchange program is offered by the SHS Social Studies Department and led by Maggie Favretti, with the goal of bringing young people together to strategize about an important humanitarian issue.
The program has a unique historical context because during World WarII, the founder of the Heidelberg school refused to follow the Nazi program and was executed at Ravensbruck. After the war, the school was reopened in her name in the interest of humanitarian principles. By 1950, the school held a semester-long exchange with Israel (which they still do), and have since added several other exchanges to examine key social issues.
Since Heidelberg is not only a spectacularly beautiful intact medieval city in a lovely and historic region but is also the center for refugee resettlement in southern Germany, it is a perfect place to visit and stay. Students on last year's exchange met a young Iraqi refugee who attends the school and this year, students will meet his brother, too. Their story compelled Scarsdale students to want to do much more. They furthered their efforts by conferring with Holocaust survivors and refugees from the USSR, visiting a synagogue and a mosque, and visiting with people who are in charge of humanitarian outreach in the resettlement camp in the old US Army base.
They also travelled to historic cities, such as Speyer, home of the Shapiro (originally same word) family who now has descendants in Scarsdale. Following the trip, Scarsdale students will host their German friends in mid-March. Last year they toured New York City, met with humanitarian leaders in Bay Ridge, spoke with Holocaust refugees, visited a Harlem neighborhood and met with jazz drummer Phil Young for an "up-close and personal tour."
Together the two groups of students created Students for Refugees, a bi-continental club dedicated to helping to inform young people about the refugee crisis and effective ways to offer direct and indirect help. This year, the club is adding to its membership, and its repertoire of activities. The information meeting about the 2017 Germany/Heidelberg Exchange is Wednesday October 19th, 7th period in room 2N5. For more information, email Maggie Favretti at email@example.com.