Friday, Aug 17th

Last updateThu, 16 Aug 2018 2pm

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JT2 3788 X4It seems that the debate about the replacement of Butler Field went on too long. Though the Scarsdale Board of Education approved a plan to replace the field at their July, 2018 meeting, unfortunately the field will have to close before the fall season. Dips in the field are too pronounced, the turf is beyond repair and rainfalls are causing conditions to degrade further.

The original schedule called for use of the field through November, and use of the track through January. Now there will be no use of Butler Field and track access will be suspended in October.

Fall teams will be without the practice and playing field and the district will be without the use of its only turf field. With field space already in high demand, this will undoubtedly strain both the district’s athletic program and fall recreational sports programs.

Here is a letter sent to the community from Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey and Director of Physical Education and Athletics Ray Pappalardi on August 16. Please share your thoughts on the field in the comments section below:

To the Scarsdale Community:

We are writing to provide an update on the upcoming closures of the Butler Field and Track, and how these closures will affect access to the facilities by community residents.

As you may know, Butler Field is 13 years old and has reached the end of its usable life. This spring season, it was necessary to increase grooming and repairs to Butler Field in order to keep the field usable. This, coupled with its upcoming renovation, has resulted in more intense monitoring of the field conditions, which has led to our having strong concerns regarding the safety and playability of Butler Field.

Our concerns about the condition of Butler Field are based on the following:

· At every five yard line, the field level changes.
· There are several locations on the field where the level changes more severely.
· Where the pre-construction borings were performed, the surface cannot be repaired completely; the turf is too old and worn.
· After each hard rain, more low spots appear, infill aggregates, and playing conditions continue to degrade.

As a result of these concerns, all fall season coaches have been made aware that Butler Field will be closed for all games and practices starting next week. We are working closely with the coaches to provide the best possible alternatives to Butler Field, including use of turf fields in other local schools.

Construction fencing on the inside perimeter of the track is scheduled to be put in place on Friday, August 24. There will still be access to the track until early October, when the entire area will be closed for the renovation. The track replacement may not be completed until well into the spring, or even later, depending on weather conditions.

It is expected that the Butler Field and track renovation will begin in early October with removal of the current turf field, followed by upgrades to the drainage system, installation of the new turf surfaces, and finally track replacement.

Sincerely,

Stuart Mattey
Assistant Superintendent for Business and Facilities

Ray Pappalardi
Director of Physical Education, Health and Athletics

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GASitePlanJuly12Several people noted some drilling underway at Greenacres Elementary School around July 4 and asked us to follow up with the district for further information. Here is what we learned from Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey about the drilling and the progress of the renovation planned for Greenacres.

Here is what Mattey said:

“The drilling performed were soil borings of sub-surface soil conditions and to determine existing footing depths. The information garnered from these boring will be used by the structural engineer (foundation) and civil engineer (storm drainage/parking) to determine design requirements.

As far as the projects, plans are moving along well. As shared previously with the Board/community, we are focusing on the GA and security vestibule projects at the present with the goal of fall submission to SED for plan review and eventual approval in time for Summer 2019 construction. GA meetings were held throughout the Spring with teachers, department chairs and administration regarding space designs and concepts. Security Vestibule meetings have included the District's security consultants and district and building level administration and directors.GreenacresRendering

We will indeed be providing regular updates to the Board and community throughout the year to keep everyone abreast of where we are in this process.”

We followed up with questions about what the test results showed about the level of the water table and the composition of the site, but have not heard back.

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GradhatsPhoto by Jon ThalerThis year, the weather cooperated nicely as Scarsdale High School graduated its 101st senior class this past Friday, June 22. Almost 400 students received their diplomas at Dean Field, surrounded by family, friends and SHS faculty, and were urged to “endeavor to make the world a better place.” As he congratulated his seniors, Scarsdale High School Principal Ken Bonamo said, “The key to your success…will be to infuse love into your work, your relationships and your self-regard.”

Scarsdale School Board President Bill Natbony welcomed the crowd and reflected on how the graduates had come: “Your heads must be so filled with dates, formulas, historical facts, vocabulary words, grammar rules, foreign language words and artistic concepts. Some of this knowledge you will actually use in your careers; some of it you will happily forget or have already purposely forgotten. However, there are certain key lessons and rules you should never forget.”

He quoted Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten: 1) Share everything; 2) Play fair; 3) Don’t hit people; 4) Put things back where you found them; 5) Clean up your own mess; 6) Don’t take things that aren’t yours; 7) Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody; 8) Wash your hands before you eat; 9) Flush; and 10) Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you; 11) Live a balanced life – learn some, drink some, draw some, paint some, and sing and dance and play and work everyday some; 12) Watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together; and, last but not least, 13) Be aware of wonder…. “Each of these has significant meaning in your life and future… 13 years later,” he concluded.

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Photos above by Jessica Solodar

Mason Marsh and Jake Miller, co-treasurers of the graduating class, followed Natbony to introduce class advisors, Sandra Chan and Elise D’Ammora. “We have the pleasure of introducing our Class of 2018 government advisors…(who’ve) worked tirelessly over the past four years to provide our class with fun and meaningful events… Their hours upon hours of dedication and hard work should not go unnoticed.” Chan and D’Ammora then addressed the graduates. D’Ammora said, “Leave here with at least one good memory and let the bad ones go… Stand up for what you believe in, even if others disagree with you… Ask questions, stay informed, and play an active role in whatever you do… Find the courage to find something new.”

Chan said, “Accept that you will make mistakes… Hopefully, your experiences here in Scarsdale have taught you that mistakes can be a pathway for growth, if you choose to learn from them… Finally, appreciate your friends and be a good friend… A true friend celebrates even the smallest successes with you, listens without judgment and forgives unconditionally. Hold on tight to those friends… and embrace every opportunity to make new ones in the future.”

Class of 2018 Co-Secretaries Rhea Kothari and Perri Thaler then extended thanks to SHS faculty and staff for their work and support throughout the last four years. “For all that you’ve given us, we cannot thank you enough. Thank you to everyone who has made our high school experience memorable.”

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Photos above by Jon Thaler

Matthew Greenberg, senior class vice president, followed and said, “We were lost in this strange place called Scarsdale High School. But, somehow, by some miracle, we all made it here today… We learned compassion, through endless community service. We learned the importance of hard work and perseverance… And we learned, that when our own efforts were not enough, we could always turn to our teachers and our friends for aid.” Blake Goldstein, senior class president, then addressed his fellow graduates, citing their many volunteer efforts and willingness to speak up for what they felt was right. “Together we are strong of will and full of passion… As we step out into college and into the real world… we cannot forget the impact we’ve made here and will continue to make.”

Just before presenting diplomas to his graduates, Bonamo stated, “Your engagement and initiative in advocating for change reminded meGradLauraPhoto by Laura Halligan of the inspirational language of Robert F. Kennedy, who said, ‘Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their peers, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rare commodity, rarer than bravery in battle or great intelligence… To make real change and bring about progress, you will need to add personal courage to the skills and knowledge you gain in school and college.” He continued, “Given the magnitude of (today’s) social and global problems, we will need your fresh voices and new ideas…. Write your untold stories for yourselves and those around you.”

Scarsdale Schools Superintendent Thomas Hagerman then certified the seniors as graduates of Scarsdale High School and bid them to go forth, grow in wisdom and serve the common good. Each each student was awarded with his or her diploma. You may watch the ceremony online, via the Scarsdale School District website.

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kindergartenIf current trends hold, the Scarsdale School district may have the lowest enrollment in the last ten years when school opens in September. At the July 10 meeting of the Board of Education, Assistant Superintendent Drew Patrick delivered what he called, “unusual enrollment numbers,” and reported that as of now, the district is projected to be down by more than100 students from the 2017-18 school year, with 88 fewer students enrolled in kindergarten.

The demographer had projected that the district would have 324 students entering kindergarten in September, but as of today, only 236 have enrolled. The decreases are across all schools with the following declines in kindergarten enrollment projected:

Edgewood was projected to have 66 and now has 35
Fox Meadow, projected at 70, now stands at 49
Greenacres, projected at 49, now has 42
Heathcote projected at 61, now at 33
Quaker Ridge, projected at 78, now has 77

enrollmentWhat’s responsible for the missing kindergartners? Patrick reported that he spoke to the directors of local nursery schools that offer programs for 5 year-olds whose parents decide not to enter them into kindergarten, though they are eligible. He said that there has been growth in this trend, sometimes called “Redshirting,” but that only accounts for 25-26 of the missing students.

These projections will mean that the district will only need 103 of the 106 classroom sections allowed for in the budget. Fortunately no teachers will be laid off, as a split in the 5th grade inclusion class at Greenacres will require an additional two teachers, and another teachers will be needed to cover a maternity leave.

Enrollment at the middle school is projected to up by 29 students, and decline by 7 students at the high school.

Patrick did say that typically another 40-45 students enroll during the summer, so these numbers may change radically by the time the district needs to make decisions in August.

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We asked local realtor Heather Harrison from Compass for her interpretation of the enrollment dip and here is what she shared:

“I think the new tax law is the key to this market. Some buyers are more sensitive to property taxes this year and are wait and see. The Scarsdale gift fund tax credit is a start, but we don't know what the IRS will say. I'd like to see Scarsdale do even more...like a home buyer tax credit to help keep values strong.

The city real estate market is also not as strong this year. In years past, my city buyers would tell me they had to sell their apartment, but the market was so strong, they would get multiple offers quickly and it was as good as cash. One of my team members had a deal fall through this year where the buyer backed out because they couldn't sell their apartment.

A key sales figure from our MLS: in 2017, there were 142 sales that went to contract through June. This year, 133 deals have gone to contract, so down about 6%. But just as important, supply is higher. In July last year there were 154 homes on the market. This year we have 172, so that's about 11% more. You're seeing more empty nesters listing their homes this year and more new construction on the market.

I expect the numbers to improve this summer. Scarsdale deals in contact since the start of June are higher this year than they've been in years which is great news! In recent years, the spring market has been extending more and more into the summer. With more inventory, buyers have more choices and some are taking more time before they buy their Scarsdale dream home!”

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RetireWatersJohn Waters shakes hands with Dr. HagermanAfter 40 years of teaching, John Waters has decided to put down the smart board pen one last time. A graduate of Manhattan College, Waters began teaching at Brooklyn Tech in 1978, and taught there for 20 years. He left his position at Brooklyn Tech to become Math Department Chair at Bronx Science, and taught there for three years. Mr. Waters, however, always had an interest in teaching in a suburban school, and in 2003, Scarsdale had an opening. He’s been teaching at Scarsdale ever since.

Waters believes that day to day teaching is the most rewarding experience a teacher can have at SHS. Scarsdale is full of motivated students who want to both do well and learn, which makes his job more meaningful and enjoyable.

Mr. Waters believes that as the years have gone on, his philosophy and style of teaching have changed. Waters recognizes that each and every student who walks through his classroom has a different style of learning: some students are visual learners while others are auditory learners. As a result, Mr. Waters tries to cater his lessons towards all learners through the use of technology. The only downside to this technology, according to Waters, is that it requires more prep work on his part, however, he finds it’s worth it if it yields a more enhanced learning experience.

Mr. Waters has also learned a lot from his students. Waters noted that it’s especially important to listen to students in math, as they may have a different approach to a problem that still yields a correct answer. It’s important for a teacher to recognize this and learn from it, so in the future, the teacher can show students this new method for solving a problem to add more insight. Waters put it best: “Don’t limit yourself to your own knowledge.”

Waters is going to miss the students the most. He’s described the students of SHS as a “group of motivated young people who want to learn”, and has developed a sense of appreciation for their passion.

Upon retirement, Waters will still work part time at a local college, but will also have more time to pursue his unique passions. Waters is an extreme cyclist who bikes roughly 2,000 miles a year, and is also a big sports fan (specifically, Yankees, Giants, Rangers, and Knicks — in that order). Waters also loves to travel.

Perhaps the biggest mystery surrounding Waters is the origin of the iconic Superman poster sitting in his classroom adjacent to the side wall. Waters has finally spilled the beans. A former SHS computer teacher worked with the now-retiring Ms. Bell to make a calendar for the French club. Each year, the calendar had different themes, including classic TV shows. Mr. Waters was asked to be Superman, so his face was photo-shopped onto George Reeve’s body by the computer teacher, and was used as the picture for one month of the calendar. These calendars were sold to students, and received an extremely positive reception, but the calendars were unfortunately discontinued when the computer teacher left SHS.

Waters offered the following advice to anyone planning on entering education or becoming a teacher: He believes a successful teaching career is rooted in having a passion for both the subject matter and the students. New teachers also have to be willing to learn and be open to change.

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