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A school grad 7Warm weather and cheerful spirits made Scarsdale High School’s Alternative School graduation an even more special event for the graduating class of 2018. On Friday, June 15, friends and family of the 28 graduates attended the outdoor ceremony held at the A-School. A-School advisor Jennifer Maxwell welcomed all who attended, and recognized Superintendent Thomas Hagerman, School Board President William Natbony, and SHS Principal Kenneth Bonamo, who showed their support at the event. Bonamo then spoke, addressing the graduating seniors and commenting on the unique nature of the A-School.

Due to the small graduating class size and the sense of community the school embodies, each student was individually recognized with a speech from their advisor highlighting the special qualities the student brought to the school and how they've grown throughout their years as a high school student. Each senior was presented with a personalized gift from two underclassmen whom they've formed relationships with in the past years. The ceremony closed with a speech from Senior Zachary Friedman, who spoke about the significance school and its impact. The emotional ceremony brought smiles and tears to the students as their three-year experience came to an end.

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ChrisWelshChris Welsh will become an Assistant Principal at Scarsdale High School in July.Christopher Welsh will join the administrative team as an Assistant Principal at Scarsdale High School in July. In an effort to learn more about him, we asked him the following questions and here is what he shared:

Please tell us about your education and prior experience.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree from Fordham University with a major in Political Science and a minor in Business Administration. I received a Master’s Degree of Science in Teaching - Adolescent Social Studies, also from Fordham University. Lastly, I completed a Master’s Degree of Science in Education - Administration and Supervision, also from Fordham University.

I have worked at Pleasantville High School for the past 8 years. For the first 6 years, I served as a Social Studies/Special Education teacher, with assignments ranging from Resource Room to Advanced Placement Government and Politics. I then took on the role of Curriculum Coordinator while still maintaining a reduced teaching load. This year I concurrently served as the Coordinator of Student Services and Curriculum Coordinator, while no longer serving as a classroom teacher. I work closely with building administration on a wide variety of long term projects and the day to day operation of the school.

What were some of the curricular initiatives that you implemented or managed during your tenure?

I have served as the point person for our transition to the Microsoft 365 platform, which has required a significant amount of time for professional development. I have worked with the technology committee to develop our Tech 4 All program, where all 5th and 9th grade students will receive a convertible 2 in 1 computer. I spent a great deal of time working with a team to explore Active Learning spaces. I chaired a committee to explore block scheduling. I run the new teacher mentor program at the high school.

What was your role as Coordinator of Student Services? What did that involve?

The biggest responsibilities in this position have been Grade Reporting and Master Scheduling. Essentially, the position has allowed me to work closely with our Principal and Assistant Principal on circumstances related to teaching and learning as they arise.

What were some of the challenges of your previous position?

There has certainly been a learning curve for our staff as we have rolled out lots of new technology. The professional development demands often came into conflict with some of our other curricular programs. I think any time an organization which has experienced success tries to initiate change, there is a natural tendency to question the motivation. We have tried to overcome some of these difficulties by providing ongoing support, gathering feedback, and working collaboratively to ensure the needs of our students are met.

What are some of the differences between Pleasantville and Scarsdale?

The biggest difference is clearly the size of the schools. Scarsdale has about three times the number of students and teachers as Pleasantville. So it will certainly take a bit more time to get to know everyone, but that is certainly one of my first priorities. Otherwise, I think there are quite a number of similarities in terms of both being involved and supportive communities with high expectations.

What will be your role at SHS?

I will serve as the Assistant Principal for Academics and Operations, which involves work around schedule development, academic policy, and budgeting to name some the larger responsibilities. In general, I view myself as someone who will support students in any way I can.

What are you looking forward to in the new position? And when do you start?

I am extremely excited to become a part of such a wonderful community of learning. From my brief interactions, the students appear self-motivated and mature, the faculty is dedicated and cares deeply about their students, and the administration is top notch. Mr. Bonamo and his team have welcomed me with open arms, and are committed to helping my transition to SHS be seamless. I can’t say enough good things about Mr. Renino, who I am replacing, as he continues to offer support and guidance. My official start date is July 1, 2018.

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Student MainEven though high school juniors can peruse websites, read glossy brochures, and take college tours, for some, the best way to get a true picture of college is to speak to an SHS student who goes there. On Wednesday May 23, the Scarsdale High School PTA facilitated these face-to-face meetings at its annual student-to-student college night when former SHS students, who have just completed their freshman years, were invited back to speak with juniors who are in the midst of the arduous college selection process. With the blow of a whistle, juniors rotated from table to table chatting with a freshman from a college of their choice. This night gives students the chance to speak to former SHS students who have gone through the process and can help guide them based on their experiences. Topics discussed included student life, academics, extra-curriculars, and more. Below are a few of the details shared from representatives from various colleges:

Student 5Binghamton

At the SUNY Binghamton booth, food, studying, and sports were among the topics of discussion. The Binghamton students mentioned that lectures tend to be either one hour three times a week or ninety minutes twice a week, so it’s very easy for students to study a bit each night and allocate time efficiently. 

On food, the students said that the C4 dining hall is particularly popular among students due to its late night hours, allowing students to fuel up well past sunset. When they’re not eating, some students like to play or watch sports including rugby and basketball, which are popular on campus. It was also noted that there are many club sports available. They also brought up an interesting non-sports related activity REACH, a program that allows students to speak with their peers about various health issues that affect college students, ranging from mental health issues to alcohol and drugs.

Getting home from Binghamton is easy; it’s only three hours away and can be traveled via car or bus.

They concluded that overall, Binghamton is very different from Scarsdale in that the campus is much more relaxed, featuring a nature preserve. A piece of advice from a student: start conversations with people; everyone is nice.

CornellStudent 4

A cousin of Binghamton to the Northwest, Cornell came out in full force at the student night.

On workload, the Cornellians noted that the work is harder than it is in high school, but you have a lot more time to complete it, so the overall stress level isn’t necessarily higher. Additionally, the field of study one chooses to can greatly impact the amount of work one has to do. For example, the freshmen pointed out that an engineer will most likely have a greater course load than a business student. They also noted that high school work is more stressful due to its individual nature while the majority of the work at Cornell is group oriented, easing the stress.

On culture, the students noted that it was refreshing to escape the fast paced lifestyle of Scarsdale and NYC for calmness in Ithaca. Although Ithaca is more laid back than Scarsdale, there is still much to do. Cornell is home to many parties, frats, clubs, sports, and more. Also, off campus activities include nearby wine tours and bars, boating on Cayuga Lake and hiking in nearby parks.

Transportation is also easy from Cornell, with a bus that can easily bring people back to Westchester or NYC. They added that most freshman do not bring cars on campus, but there is a Cornell bus that comes every five minutes to transport students around campus.

Student 3Michigan

Michigan students addressed the social and academic aspects of life in Ann Arbor.

In their perspective, social life can vary greatly at Michigan; some weeks one might go out on every weeknight, but work the whole day. They stressed that the “work hard, play hard” mentality is very real. About 15-20% of the student population are involved in Greek life, and is an option to branch out and meet people. From gaming to student government, there’s bound to be a community that fits someone’s personality and interests at Michigan.

While Michigan is a very large school, everything a student could want is on campus, and they advised that a car isn’t necessary. From one edge of campus to another is about a twenty-minute walk. 

Typically students take 4 courses which translates into 18 credits per semester. Students are autonomous in choosing their courses, in that an advisor will ensure a student is on track to graduate/complete a major, but the student can choose which classes they want to take and what time of day they would like to go to class. Although most classes are more difficult than those at Scarsdale, the high school does a good job at instilling proper time management skills in students. While each class may have a larger workload than a high school class, students are taking less classes in general, so the overall impact isn’t too substantial.

They felt that the culture at Michigan we more collaborative than competitive. While veryone wants to do well, bit is not cut throat environment and people work together. Even in math class, students work on problem sets together to enforce the collaborative attitude.

BrandeisStudent 2

Similarly to Michigan, the Brandeis students pointed out the work is rigorous but that have more time to do it. There’s a lot to do at Brandeis, however, besides work, including more than 260 student run clubs and organizations. Specifically, a cappella groups, club sports, and dance groups are among the most popular. Additionally, volunteerism is a huge part of Brandeisian culture. The Waltham Group gets hundreds of students a year to volunteer in the area surrounding Brandeis (Waltham, MA). They said that similar to Scarsdale, much of extracurricular engagement is centered around community involvement.

A student noted that Brandeis students are very kind, more so than Scarsdale. If you meet someone new, they always say hi to you; everyone is friendly.

Student 1Elon

Like Brandeis, students said that everyone at Elon is nice. This stems in part from its diversity, as one student noted their suitemates came from Guam, Ecuador, and New Rochelle. This diversity makes it easy to make friends, and eliminates the potential for cliques. Also, due to the small size of the school, it’s a close-knit community. Since the school is not near a major city, most students stay on campus and bond with one another.

The twenty four hour dance marathon for charity is one of the most popular student activities. Students reported that it’s very easy to join any club.

In terms of workload, Elon’s is relatively similar to that of Scarsdale, but it does get harder as each students progresses throughout their years at college. Additionally, they said, the professor and major play a significant role in workload and rigor.

Although these are reports from only five schools, one can see the common thread in Scarsdale students experiences at these different colleges across the country. All the students noted that they were well prepared for college coursework and to embrace the wide variety of opportunities presented at each school.

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Maggie in the gardenIn her 25 years at Scarsdale High School, Maggie Favretti evolved from being a traditional teacher in front of a classroom to designing a project based learning curriculum that is now modeled by other teachers and other schools. A passionate educator, she taught her students to learn by doing, rather than listening, and to craft novel solutions to real world problem.

So, how did Favretti wind up teaching at SHS? After graduating from Yale University, majoring in art history, minoring in history, and tripling up in student teaching, with a teaching certificate, she was paired with Eric Rothschild, an SHS teacher, to be her mentor in part of Yale’s teaching program. After teaching for two summers at Taft School, a boarding school, she decided she wanted to teach in a public school. For Favretti, who teaches with an immense amount of emotional intensity, boarding school was just too exhausting. After receiving job offers from private schools including Taft, she called Eric for guidance who told her there was an opening at Scarsdale. Favretti took the job and stayed at Scarsdale for two years, then moved to Middlebury to teach, only to move back to Scarsdale eight years later.

What makes Favretti such a prized teacher at SHS is her passion for learning and her teaching philosophy. A large part of this philosophy is that collaboration between teachers is necessary for success.

As a 22 year-old, the youngest in the department by 15 years, with no masters degree and very little experience, the entire department collectively mentored her. “It was a much better experience than what new teachers have now,” she remarked. In her opinion, although the mentor program is wonderful, she believes it leads other teachers to be less inclined to mentor and help the new teachers. “Teaching is collaborative,” said Favretti, “reflective teachers are normally good teachers because they are constantly thinking about their practice and how to do it better… they are constantly asking their colleagues what they think.” She believes that relationships between department heads and teachers should be less evaluative and more collaborative, as it was for her. When Favretti first started, she looked to the department chair as her mentor and had a very open relationship with him.

Favretti has team taught almost her entire career, and relies on others to be successful. In both City 2.0 and the STEAM programs, students must collaborate with each other in projects in order to be successful, a methodology that Favretti has used throughout her entire career.

A key to Favretti’s teaching philosophy is her belief that teaching should occur inside and outside the classroom.

Favretti is also passionate about the way students are educated. “I have always believed in student centered education but also student ownership of education,” she said. According to Favretti, because of technology, the demands and expectations of the world are constantly changing. She believes that education must be interdisciplinary in order to cater to this rapidly changing world. “Everyday you hear about how young people are using those technologies and social media to solve really complex problems… this is where they are putting it all together,” using problems like climate change, and how to create an equitable city as examples. “Currently, school is opposite to interdisciplinary,” noted Favretti. She added that the school is still operating in a model that was formed 100 years ago and is not equipped for the way the world works today. Since the kids she teaches today are going to be the business and world leaders of the future, she believes it is necessary to adapt schooling to prepare students for the challenges ahead.

Favretti has already implemented programs to push SHS forward in modernizing education. One way she has done this is by implementing a City 2.0 class. In this class, students learn the true meaning of an interdisciplinary class as they help solve the biggest problems facing Scarsdale, New York, and even the country. “Students feel a huge disconnect between what they’re doing and the world,” said Favretti. Favretti combats student’s tendency to “get it done and get a grade,” rather than do something that matters. She stressed, “Schooling has to be about purpose… students won't engage unless what they’re learning has real world accountability.” Favretti continually referred to Ted Dintersmith’s book, “What School Could Be,” in which Dintersmith shares many of Favretti’s concerns. The struggle to keep students passionate about education and keep topics relevant prompted her to launch the City 2.0 program four years ago. See how City 2.0 allows students to respond to real world situations here

This philosophy is also what why Favretti, along with Lisa Yokana, got involved in implementing a STEAM program at SHS. For Favretti, this program is another way to stimulate innovation for students. According to Favretti, this program has been rapidly growing all over the world, “they have to be able to do something other than take tests and get good grades,” she said. This program helps kids learn to view failure as a part of the learning process, not as just something negative.

Favretti is also very passionate about climate change and wishes to “create a global network of college students networking and working against climate change so they can act and innovate in their hometowns”. This love of nature also prompted her to start the garden club and plant and maintain an impressive vegetable garden at the school. Here she is able to share her passion for gardening with fellow students and help the school achieve sustainability. In August 2014, she was even invited to the White House to recieve an Honorable Mention for the Presidential Innovation in Environmental Education Award. Read more about it here

Even though Favretti has grown as an educator and thoroughly enjoyed her experience teaching at Scarsdale, she is retiring early to pursue a new path. Professionally, Favretti wants to continue her work on educating kids for a changing world. She wants to bring these ideas into communities that are facing challenges, so education can solve these problems. She traveled to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria to work with the state education department to rebuild communities. Learn more about the impact Favretti had during her trip to Puerto Rico in our previous article

She says she met “amazing people” and witnessed how with a little guidance, children could solve real world problems. She hopes to share the City 2.0 curriculum with other schools and use it to help students solve problems in their own communities. In her retirement, Favretti hopes to continue to help communities like the one she visited in Puerto Rico to expand education, build back better and form more resilient communities.

In her future work, Favretti is hoping to change the meaning of a diploma, and offer credit for work beyond sitting in class. This may mean continuing her work with STEAM programs and other programs similar to City 2.0 worldwide.

While teaching in Scarsdale, Favretti has lived apart from her husband who is a photographer for the U.S. Coast Guard in Connecticut. She now commutes on the weekends visit him and is excited that she will be able to spend more time with him and her daughter after she retires.

Favretti has created a lasting impact on not only the people at SHS, but also on the school’s curriculum and has designed courses that are at the forefront of new trends in education. While she will be missed in the halls, her work at SHS will live on through the students and teachers of the future.

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AndrewPatrickDr. Andrew P. Patrick (Center) Receiving His Doctorate and AwardOn an evening when tornadoes touched down nearby, Manhattanville College Graduate School of Education hosted a pre-graduation reception for the doctoral class of 2018 at Reid Castle. Amid 100-mile per hour winds, the century-old granite structure held strong—an apt metaphor for the enduring capacity and supportive relationships shaped through Manhattanville's Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership.



The crowd of faculty and administrators, graduates and their guests, and graduates from the prior eight years of the doctoral program as well as many currently enrolled, gathered in the gracious Ophir Room. Renee Gargano, Assistant Director for the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, opened the evening, followed by a welcome by Manhattanville College’s Provost Louise H. Feroe and a toast by Dr. Shelley Wepner, Dean of Manhattanville College School of Education.



The graduates were called up one by one by their advisors and presented with a gift and hood for commencement, including Scarsdale Schools Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Leadership Development Dr. Andrew P. Patrick.



Dr. Stephen Caldas presented Dr. Andrew P. Patrick with the award for Outstanding Leadership in the Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership.

“Drew used his time in the program to research the flaws that he saw within the state’s Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) plan,” said Dr. Caldas. “The powerful evidence demonstrated through his research caused the State Education Department to put a moratorium on using growth scores in the APPR—a moratorium which is still in effect today.”



Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES and Manhattanville College’s impact on preparing educational leaders is remarkable, far reaching, and deep within many school districts in the Hudson Valley and beyond. Several of the graduates also received their prior degrees from Manhattanville College and the many leadership preparation programs offered through the Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES, namely the Future School Leaders Academy.



“I have shared the joy of watching several of these new doctors grow since they were very young teachers,” remarked Gargano.



“The Latin root of doctor--doceō, literally means 'I teach,’” said Dr. Monson, Director of the program, in his closing remarks to the graduating class of 2018. “Defending your dissertation to the faculty was your first conversation among peers. As practitioner-scholars, you have the opportunity to effect broader change throughout the field of education.”

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