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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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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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tennisThe matches were held on the high school tennis courts.One could taste the vitriol in the air at the SHS Boy’s Varsity A tennis match last Monday. The raiders faced off against arch rival Horace Greely in a game dominated by screeches, grunts, and anticipation. The victor would secure the number one seed in the section one playoffs, a coveted position that was to be decided on the court.

The match took place on an unseasonably warm mid afternoon in May with clear skies. After a quick meeting and pep talk, each player grabbed their rackets and separated into their respective matches.

It was a bit of a rough start, with Scarsdale losing three matches to Greely. But not all was lost. Tennis captain Luke Smith (’18) was victorious in first singles, toughing out the #1 singles player at Horace Greely. Also victorious was Jordan Ziffer (’19) and George Brady (’19) in fourth doubles, beating out their Chappaqua opponents. Nikolay Sahakyan (’20) came down from a set and break to even the match score at three a piece.

These victories made the game extremely contentious, and it came down to first doubles. Captains Suhas “Su” Vennam (’18) and Gus Thompson (’19) faced off against Greely’s top doubles team. The first set was close, but lead to an ultimate 3-6 Scarsdale loss. Suhas and Gus, however, weren’t going down easy, and proceeded to dominate Greely to a 6-3 victory in the second set. Now, it was the final set. The tiebreak. Suhas and Gus had laser focus, but sometimes even lasers break. After a valiant effort, Suhas and Gus fell to the first doubles greely team 6-10, which proved to be the critical mass necessary to tip scale over in favor of Greely, giving Greely the first seed in the section one playoffs, and Scarsdale the second.

On the loss, Suhas said “Well our team has been injured all season, especially at the top of the order with our singles players. Now that we are healthy, I feel like we could beat any team we face. We gained confidence from the Greeley Match, even though we lost. The score was close; we lost that match by a few points coming from my doubles match. If we close out matches, then we should be fine. The whole team is confident, if we meet in the playoffs, that we can beat them. I feel comfortable with the team currently. And if we just focus on each individual match. Then we should be fine”.

Although Greely was victorious on Monday, Scarsdale pulled off an impressive 8-3 season, allowing them to continue into the playoffs. Last Friday, the raiders played their first playoff match against Pelham and swept 7-0, demonstrating their true power as a team. As Suhas said above, the playoffs also give the opportunity for the two teams to potentially face off again if both are successful, perhaps allowing for the two rivals to truly determine who is the victor of the conference.

Photo courtesy of Village of Scarsdale.

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20180512 125030 1Kids Playing Carnival Games at the Edgewood GymAnother rainy Saturday on the day before Mother’s Day, didn’t dampen the fun a the five elementary school fairs on Saturday May 12. Elementary students from across the district to celebrated with games, activities, food, and more.

At the Edgewood fair, indoor activities took place in classrooms on the first floor of the first floor of the building, and included sand art, bead art to make bracelets, and temporary tattoos/face paint. This year’s theme revolved around rocks, so a rock museum was set up inside the old meeting room where students could learn about and explore the earth science behind topics including glacial formations. The gym was set up to have classic carnival that would normally take place outside with hacky sack and ring toss. As always, a raffle took place where students won items such as toys and DVD’s, and a flea market was set up for parents, selling clothes, shoes, and other household items. Sticking with the rock theme, the bake sale sold geode and crystal cupcakes along with regular baked good items. There was also a truck outside selling ices.

Screen Shot 2018 05 21 at 1.42.46 PMThe Bubble Bus at Fox MeadowFox Meadow students showed their pride by nearly all wearing their fair-specific Fox Meadow shirts to the event. Fox Meadow decided to have a bit more of the fair outdoors, and decided to cater it with a mobile pizza truck that served Wood Fired Pizza to students and parents. Fox Meadow also hired a bubble bus, which produced hundreds of bubbles to allow the kids to submerge themselves in a sea of bubbles. A DJ was set up outside who let the kids sing karaoke into a loudspeaker for the whole school to hear. Similar carnival games to Edgewood took place indoors.

Greenacres was filled with high spirits as kids took part in a variety of activities indoors. In the gyms, different carnival booths were set up such as balloon pop and basketball. There was even a booth that offered archery, where kids used plastic bow and arrows to hit floating balls, sponsored by Camp Mohawk. In the lunchroom, temporary tattoos and glitter tattoos were offered and all the proceeds were donated to the Paulie Strong Foundation. Greenacres clothing was also for sale at the fair. The cotton candy machine was a big hit. The fair was completed with a DJ in the gyms playing songs for everyone to enjoy.greenacres fair 4The Greenacres Fair

If anyone wants to share photos from Heathcote and Quaker Ridge, please email them to scarsdalecomments@gmail.com, and we’ll post!

 

 

 

Here are some more pictures from the different carnivals:

 

 

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school safety 2Emotions ran high at the School Safety Panel held at Scarsdale Middle School on Wednesday, May 2nd. The meeting was moderated by Scarsdale Middle School Principal Meghan Troy and led by Stuart Mattey, the District Safety Committee and Assistant Superintendent for Business and Facilities, Eric Rauschenbach, the Director of Special Education and Student Services, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin along with Police Chief Andrew Matturro, Lieutenant Joseph Dusavage, and Sergeant Steven Delbene of the Scarsdale Police Department.

The meeting started calmly with panelists providing information on school safety. Mattey kicked off the affair by reading the email Dr. Hagerman sent to the community back in February highlighting the steps the district has taken to improve safety and security across the schools. In 2016, the district contracted with Altaris, a K-12 safety, security, and emergency management firm. Altaris is collaborating with the district in three key areas: preparedness and prevention, emergency response, and post-incident recovery. Altaris attends District Safety Team meetings to brief members on current safety and security trends as well as provide updates on building level team meetings. Improvement opportunities identified during assessments and building level team meetings are discussed for consideration for uniform district-wide implementation.

Hagerman also cited specific progress made since 2016 in the Scarsdale Schools, including single, limited points of entry at each of the schools; portable radios for every administrator and other select staff; extensive public address system upgrades; electronic card access control systems for doors; landscaping hazard mitigation (to improve sight lines, and to deter concealment); exterior lighting enhancements; and evacuation drill improvements, to name a few. Mattey also added that a district liaison will be added to work with district/building teams to ensure consistency in safety policies between buildings.

Scarsdale Police Chief Andrew Matturro spoke next about the ongoing efforts of the Scarsdale Police Department to improve school safety. Specifically, every patrol vehicle is now equipped for immediate response to an active shooter incident so the police no longer need to wait and assemble before entering the school. Additionally, five years ago, the police department began making random school visits to district schools to both familiarize the officers with the floorpan of the schools and to allow students to see officers in a non-threatening way. Matturro also highlighted that the goal of the police is to address the threat before an incident occurs, and information regarding these threats may not be given publicly due to safety and not secrecy. He ended by encouraging people to contact the police department whenever they have relevant information.

Rauschenbach took the floor next to speak on district wellness initiatives designed to improve student quality of life and decrease the threat of violence. Many teachers have participated in STI courses to better understand mindfulness and the anxiety students may face. Measures have been taken including assuring students have adequate recess time and free periods. Additionally, special programs have been put in place to target students with specific wellness issues.

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin finished the panel discussion with a brief synopsis of gun control legislation that has been passed or introduced in Albany, the most comprehensive of which is the SAFE Act, passed after the Sandy Hook shooting, which requires a universal background check on gun purchases, enacts a ban on assault weapons, and requires the recertification of pistols every five years.

After Paulin spoke, the panel began answering pre-submitted questions before answering questions from the vocal audience. Among the pre-submitted questions included the notion of adding metal detectors, which was not discussed when planning new safety changes. Other topics addressed in the pre-submitted questions included the new safety measures created from the latest bond, which included the addition of security vestibules at all five elementary schools accompanied with camera surveillance systems. Additionally, a floater security guard has been added to the high school to take the place of the current security guards during their breaks.

School SafetyThe next round of questions came from the parents present in the room, and the main topics of discussion revolved around the idea of adding police officers to the schools and the addition of metal detectors. Metal detectors tend to only be present in schools that face serious violence issues, and tend not to be an active deterrent when it comes to school shooters. According to a study done by the Journal of School Health, there is insufficient data to determine whether the presence of metal detectors in schools reduces the risk of violent behavior among students, and may even detrimentally impact student’s perception of safety.

Many parents also voiced support in adding police officers to all district buildings to improve safety. However, many mass shootings, including Columbine and Virginia Tech, occurred despite the presence of armed police officers on their campuses. Furthermore, because officers no longer wait and assemble before entering an active shooter situation at a school, response time has been significantly decreased. While addressing the issue of police presence, Chief Matturro also noted that Scarsdale is part of a mutual aid agreement throughout Westchester so an officer from a neighboring area can respond to specific incidents nearby.

Roger Neustadt, who was unable to attend sent the following comment to Scarsdale10583, “It was apparent from the video that the parents in attendance...are in favor of having police officers stationed at each of our schools. The reception from school representatives on the panel was tepid at best. Our children are not afraid of the police. Their familiarity with police officers can only be a positive in the face of horrific circumstances. There was frequent mention of the fact that Scarsdale is not an urban environment and we don't have the same issues with respect to gang violence, etc. Does it really need to be said that the Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland tragedies occurred in communities far more similar to Scarsdale than to NYC?”

He continued, “as mentioned at the forum it is certainly possible that a resource officer may be at the other end of the school from the location at which an incident occurs. Is this a serious objection to the placement of officers in our schools? I prefer to look at the glass as half-full and think that there is a chance the officer will be in the right place at the right time. He/she will certainly respond far faster from several hallways away than driving from the Village. The time for this discussion is now and the essential parties to this conversation are the parents. It is we who have far more to lose in the face of delayed or insufficient action and our tax money that will have to pay for the increased expenditures. Are we willing to put a price on the safety of our children?”

One could hear the tangible fear in many parents voices when discussing school safety; however, difficult as it may be, the school administration is working to strike a balance between maintaining student safety as well as safeguarding student freedom and access to the schools by the community. It should also be noted that the most concerned parents were in attendance of meeting, and the views expressed by these parents may not represent the collective view.

To watch the entire presentation click here.

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