Friday, Apr 12th

CalculusA decision to include funding for an additional half time math teacher to teach Multivariable Calculus at Scarsdale High School has engendered debate among parents in the community. What could be the problem with offering more math to talented Scarsdale students? It turns out that it’s not that simple.

The issue is that students who follow the course sequence from middle to high school for the highest level math courses don’t end up in this math course. The current curriculum leads to BC Calculus which is now the highest level math course offered.

In order to take this course, students need to “accelerate” or “double accelerate” their math courses by skipping math in a lower grade so that they can take calculus as a sophomore or a junior and then have time for this new course as a senior. As a student would have had to prepare for this step years ago, only a very few students who accelerated or took summer math courses would be prepared for Multivariable Calculus.

There seems to be no precedent for offering advanced level classes that are not part of a curricular path. In addition, there is no AP test offered for this course.

We reached out to Assistant Superintendent Edgar McIntosh who conferred with SHS Principal Ken Bonamo and sent this response to our questions:

He said, “Multivariable Calculus is currently offered as an online course overseen by our teachers. The proposal to make it an in-person experience was driven by the

1) increased number of students qualified to take it
2) desire to meet our students where they are
3) goal of providing the best possible experience for them

And it is true--there is currently no way to do that without the student studying independently and skipping a lower level of math by taking a placement test. (With or without a tutor, this demonstrates exceptional mathematical aptitude.)

We discussed that this may be seen as a new capstone course in math instead of BC (which is already highly rigorous). The reality is that Multivariable Calculus has already had a place in our catalog. This advanced math course offering has been public for a while- just not in an optimal form.

From an educational angle, we know that creating a "double accelerated track" has its complications. We know of two districts that eventually dismantled that pathway because the long-term data suggested that the "coverage rush" in earlier grades created conceptual gaps that impacted students completing the full cycle and even their interest in continuing in STEM.”

Diane Gurden, a parent of two college aged students sent the following email to the Board of Education expressing her thoughts on this addition to the curriculum:

She wrote:

“1) What is the upside of adding Multivariable Calculus? It seems part of the answer is that other schools have it, so we want to look competitive. Do we also feel that colleges are looking for it? Which schools? How many students do we see taking it?

2) What is the downside of adding Multivariable Calculus? Students will most likely take it again in college because there is no AP test for it and I don't know of a college that will let you test out of a college class because you took a high school class. I do know many schools that let you test out of Calculus 1 and 2 with a 5 (and maybe a 4?) on the AP BC Calculus test, though.

3) What is the path for a student to take Multivariable Calculus? I agree that this is a total rework of the current math curriculum, and impacts SMS, too. Because, now, you have to do Honors Math in 8th grade, then level 4 math for 3 years to get to AT BC Calculus, so there is no path there without taking classes or tutoring outside of SHS, and possibly outside of the regular school year.

4) Will adding Multivariable Calculus water down the transcripts of students who are currently taking AT BC Calculus because they are no longer taking the highest level math class offered? This is a valid question and I would also ask if SHS will guarantee that every dean of an AT BC Calculus student will have a disclaimer added to their recommendation, stating that Multivariable Calculus was recently added as an option and was not available across the board to all students in the current class? How many years will that disclaimer be made?”

Paulina Schwartz, a math teacher and Scarsdale parent had this to say:

“I am against this being offered as an add-on course to the current curriculum. I find it concerning that there is no standard curricular path to Multivariable Calculus, and yet we are being asked to fund it. As taxpayers, we would be paying for the addition of a course that no student has access to unless their parents have taken private measures outside of school to push them ahead of the Scarsdale curriculum. If Scarsdale wants to start funding this course, there needs to be a path to it within the schools, where the teachers are choosing which students qualify, not the parents.

Offering Multivariable Calculus this upcoming September as a last-minute surprise now is completely inequitable. I have spoken to the math chair, Ms. Connelly, and there is no way for current juniors that are now in the highest level offered in Scarsdale to now get into this course no matter what they do. They would have had to plan ahead, having no idea that this announcement was coming.

I also do think that there is valid concern that this will dilute the value of BC Calc or AB Calc on a current student's transcript. Will current students effectively be penalized by colleges for having not taken this course (even though it was not offered to them)? “

And Claudine Gecel, the Former PTC Budget Study Chair, a former institutional investor and the parent of a freshman engineering student pointed out: I love math. Our son also enjoyed it in Scarsdale. And my husband, a physician, also enjoys it. Becoming proficient in math is like becoming proficient in a foreign language. But the pandemic shut-downs have reinforced the vital importance of student mental health. Especially when it comes to tweens and teens. Our son is completely loaded up with advanced math core requirements for his engineering pathway. All the colleges that accepted him, did so because he told them about his leadership skills, not his math scores. And his math scores were excellent. As parents, I think we need to be extra mindful of the social opportunities that teens crave. And are crucial for their development. Better to be out socializing, and learning how to navigate the world, then to be taking college math in high school. Both my husband and I were in classes where the teacher wants you to go farther, faster. It’s not always a good idea, and this is an opinion shared by many."

The Board of Education will vote on the proposed budget that includes the extra math teacher at their meeting on Monday night April 8, 2024.

financial literacyAt a special Budget Forum meeting held on Monday March 25th, the Board of Education proved that community members really do have a say in how the school budget and schools are shaped. After reading over 140 written communications in regard to the budget, and listening to dozens of people and organizations speak at the forum, BOE members used the feedback to help them come to the decision to make adjustments to the current proposed draft budget from March 11th. After much thought and deliberation, the BOE agreed to add back to the proposed budget a .5 FTE teacher at the high school to teach both Financial Literacy and Multivariable Calculus; early morning safety monitors at each of the elementary schools, and funding to continue the roll out of “door ajar” sensors. The total increase to the proposed budget is $112,000.

With an expected proposed budget that exceeds the state-mandated tax cap, the Scarsdale community had a lot to say at the Board of Education’s special Budget Forum meeting on Monday March 25th. Before the BOE invited members of the public to speak in person or via Zoom, Superintendent Dr. Drew Patrick gave a brief recap of the District’s budget development process thus far including what the latest March 11th proposed draft accomplishes, a summary of the budget growth drivers, and a summary of the expenditure reductions. You can see the details of Dr. Patrick’s recap here:

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During public comment, it quickly became clear that most of those who spoke at the Budget Forum, are overwhelmingly in favor of the District’s proposed budget. It was also made clear however, that many of those who spoke, still have questions and concerns, and despite the fact that it exceeds the tax cap, many advocated for adding some of the reduced expenditure items back into the budget. As BOE President Ron Shulhof pointed out later in the meeting, most of these items fall into a few categories including support for adding a .5 FTE math teacher at SHS to teach Financial Literacy and Multivariable Calculus and a desire to keep safety monitors at our schools during all student related activities.

Support for continued use of safety monitors (and more):

Amy Frank and Moira Crouch spoke on behalf of Maroon and White and although they expressed their gratitude to the board for keeping funding for Varsity and JV “B” teams in the current proposed budget, they also expressed their concern for cutting an after school safety monitor at the high school saying that, “Safety is paramount to the Scarsdale Community and eliminating this could jeopardize our students and faculty members.”

Edgewood PTA Co-Presidents spoke next and reported, “Our community members widely expressed the desire for clarity around the budget decision making process and reasoning around items selected for reductions/elimination.” The duo went on to advocate for the following items to be added back into the proposed budget:

-Annual Indoor Air Quality Baseline Testing, particularly given the recurring flooding in the Teacher’s Lounge and the age of the Edgewood building.
-An early morning Elementary Security Monitor is critical to ensure the safety of the students attending morning band/orchestra which sometimes starts at 7am and typically at 7:30am.
-Maintain schedule for the roll out of door ajar alarms and outdoor security cameras.
-Maintain schedule for enhanced wifi access roll out– this may impact the hallways that are frequently used by students for small group work, independent study, bulletin boards with QR codes for research, etc.
-No reductions in textbooks to elementary school libraries.

See their statement here:

Quaker Ridge PTA President Erica German and Greenacres PTA President Jennifer Galeon, also spoke in favor of keeping early morning security monitors at our elementary schools in addition to maintaining funding for the roll out of more security cameras and “door ajar sensors.” German expressed that it is prudent that there are always security monitors when a school holds student related activities.

Support for hiring a .5 FTE at SHS to teach Financial Literacy and Multivariable Calculus (and more) :

In addition to advocating for a long range financial plan, an investment plan that would prioritize keeping our schools open during flooding events, and for more parking at Scarsdale High School, Jeffery Osterman expressed his strong support for hiring a .5 FTE at SHS to teach Financial Literacy. Osterman argued that many of the math classes taught in high school have limited utility in the wider world and caters to only a subset of students. Financial Literacy though, would benefit ALL students and provide an opportunity for a wide variety of students to be taught together.

SHS student Matan Davies also advocated for the District to offer a Financial Literacy course at the high school and explained that there are already 55+ students registered to take the course next year and over 181 people who have shown their support for the course offering by signing an online petition. In addition, Davies explained that there is already a New York State Bill in the works that would require a Financial Literacy course before graduation and urged the District to be prepared for when the bill becomes law. For more of Davies’ arguments in support of a Finacial Literacy course you can read his article in the SHS newspaper Maroon:

At the end of the article you can see that SHS Dean Michael Gibbs commented on the article and said, “...and had a surprisingly large number of students requesting this course, which appealed to students across the spectrum. Students were excited to learn pragmatic skills, and I was excited by the prospect of an academic course which offered students a heterogeneous setting to exchange ideas and learn important life skills. I hope your article and the petition will allow the Board to look again at the possibility of offering this rich opportunity to our Scarsdale High School community.”

Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez spoke via Zoom and among other things, argued that the District should offer more transparency to allow voters to understand decision making during the budget process. She also strongly advocated for a long term financial plan that offers scenario analysis and will help our District better prepare for surprise events in addition to evaluation metrics for new programs so we can understand their effectiveness. Kirkendall-Rodriguez went on to show her support for a Financial Literacy course and noted that numerous Districts in the state already offer the course.

Support for the current proposed budget (and more):

SHS President Beth Cukier spoke via Zoom to share a statement on behalf of the SHS Executive Committee. In the Statement Cukier expressed support for the current proposed budget but also advocated for the hiring of a Learning Resource teacher at the high school, a .5 math teacher to teach Financial Literacy, and continued use of security monitors after hours and on Saturday at the high school. You can read her full statement at the bottom of this article.

Dalya Khan read a prepared statement on behalf of the Scarsdale League of Women Voters. The statement began with, “The League supports the 2024-25 Proposed Scarsdale School District Budget with the comments made below, and recommends that, barring any significant revisions inconsistent with our comments before its adoption by the Board of Education, the community vote “YES” to approve the final proposed Budget on May 21, 2024 at Scarsdale Middle School.” Read the full statement here.

The statement went on to offer comments and recommendations regarding certain budgetary items as well as the budget process.

Manisha Marria, Scarsdale Middle School PTA Budget Co-Chair, read from a prepared statement saying, “On behalf of the SMS PTA Executive Committee, we join hands with the Board of Education and PTC in expressing our support for the Proposed Budget for the 2024-25 academic year, presented on March 11. This budget reflects a deep commitment to preserving the high-quality educational programs that are the hallmark of our district, recognizing the delicate balance required to maintain these standards within the fiscal constraints we face.

While this budget is, unfortunately, above the tax cap and would require a supermajority vote, we feel that this budget protects the core components vital for our students’ academic and social growth. A budget below the tax cap would require the elimination of core programmatic resources such as a SMS computer teacher, aides and Varsity B sports and would negatively impact our students’ overall experience.”

Joe Vaughan read a prepared statement on behalf of the Scarsdale Teachers Association strongly in support of the proposed budget draft. While the current proposed budget isn’t the “forward looking” budget that the STA feels would best support our students and uphold the optimal standard of excellence in our District, Vaughan appreciates that it balances fiscal stewardship while making a statement on our community’s shared value of education. To read the STA’s full statement see here:

PTC President Leah Dembitzer and PTC Budget Study co-chair, Ranjana Saini-Chandarana, read a prepared statement that both expressed their strong support for the current proposed draft as well as posed some questions and concerns. You can read that letter in its entirety here:

A few others also spoke at the Budget Forum. To hear hear their comments and all of the comments in their entirety you can watch a recording of the meeting here.

After the public had a chance to share their thoughts, comments, and concerns, the BOE took the opportunity to thoughtfully discuss the themes they saw emerge from community feedback. BOE President Ron Schulhof acknowledged that the themes were only a part of the 140+ written communications they received about the budget, but since these items had enough people advocating for them, he thought it prudent for the Board to explore them further.

First the members deliberated about the prospect of adding back into the budget a .5 FTE at the high school teacher to teach a Financial Literacy Course and a Multivariable Calculus course. After considering the overwhelming number of people, including parents and students, who wrote in support of offering these classes, the BOE decided to add this item back into the proposed budget. Amber Yusuf made the point that a sense of “belonging” is an integral component of our District’s mission and that the Financial Literacy class is an opportunity for all types of students to learn together. Suzie Hahn agreed with Yusef and added that it was really gratifying to see so many students write to the BOE and advocate for their own educations.

After hearing lots of concern about the District’s plan to save money by cutting the hours of the safety monitors at all the elementary schools and at the high school, members of the BOE discussed trying to maintain funding for the current safety protocols. Amber Yusef asked if shifting the early morning coverage by 15 minutes (from 7:30 to 7:45) was worth the disruption it could cause for families and the music teachers. Jessica Resnik-Ault added that any time there is an academic program that is required for students to attend, she believes there should be a safety monitor present. Suzie Hahn added that they heard broad support from every elementary school’s PTA to retain early morning safety monitors.

The members went on to discuss shifting some of the cost savings to the afternoon safety monitors. After learning that every elementary school would have two safety monitors until 3:45 pm and one safety monitor who stays until 4 pm, the Board decided to keep early morning safety monitors arriving at 7:30 am and shift the reduction in time to the afternoon still managing to save money and keep all elementary schools secure while there are students present.

In regard to monitors at the high school, Eric Rauschenbach clarified that there would be two safety monitors (one at the Brewster Road entrance and one at the Athletic entrance) every school day until 5 pm and on Saturdays, a monitor would be stationed by the Athletic entrance. Rauschenbach also made clear that there will be a monitor at Brewster Road entrance whenever there is a big event after school like the school play. After learning these details, the BOE agreed to keep the current recommended safety monitor reductions in place at the high school.

Board members also discussed a desire for the District to continue their roll out of improved security measures with the implementation of “door ajar” sensors and more security cameras at each of the schools. Robert Klein proposed that instead of eliminating the budget for these items completely, that we should reduce the funding so as to balance both fiscal responsibility and the community’s want for more safety measures. The BoE agreed to keep some funding in the budget to cover the implementation of the “door ajar” sensors.

The Board of Education plans to adopt the proposed budget at their meeting on April 8th. If you have questions or concerns about the proposed budget, you can reach out the Board of Education by emailing them at: BoardofEd@Scarsdaleschools.org.

Budget Statement from the Scarsdale High School PTA

Dear Board of Education,

The SHS PTA Executive Committee would like to thank the Board of Education, the Administration, and community members for the many hours that we have collectively spent developing a budget for the 2024-25 school year. We acknowledge the added challenges this year from a tight budget landscape, shrinking state aid, and being still early in our strategic planning process as a District. We appreciate that this work was approached in a collegial fashion, keeping in mind our shared values of providing an exceptional education while remaining fiscally resposible. We encourage the District Administration to publish elements of its strategic plan as they become available in the next few months, and encourage the Board of Education to engage the community in their deliberative process of response.ScarsdaleHighSchool

The SHS PTA EC believes that the March 11 budget, which has been endorsed by the members of the Board of Education, generally represents a good balance between fiscal conservatism and maintaining the educational experience for all of our students. We would, however, recommend that the Board of Education consider restoring several elements that have dropped out of that budget that would have a material impact on the high school community.

First, we would suggest that the 1.0 FTE for a learning resource teacher be restored. When looking at the high school cohort for 2024-25, there are projected to be only 4 open spots within the LRC program. If we don’t authorize additional hiring now, then any students who are newly classified after the start of the school year, are more likely to need to change their general schedule in order to access their mandated support. Current teachers may need to teach an overloaded schedule, thus reducing the time they have for team meetings, to collaborate with classroom teachers, and to liaise with parents. LRC provides vital executive functioning support to many families, and this change would dilute its effectiveness for all; creating more of a study hall environment. In the past, deans used LRC to support students who struggled upon transition to a new grade, especially incoming 9th graders, before and without a formal classification hearing. With no excess capacity in the system, these students would be left to flounder. Additionally, or alternatively, the school may try to fulfill the need using contingency hiring. However, the candidate pool for midyear hires is much smaller, and it would be difficult to secure a quality teacher at that point. If historic rates of new student classifications continue, and we have no reason to believe that they would be materially different in the future, then we can expect the LRC program to be oversubscribed for 2024-25. It would be prudent to budget for this now so that we can get the best candidate rather than just hoping that we can defer meeting the need for an additional year.

Second, we would encourage the BOE to reconsider the 0.5 FTE math position. This position would allow for the creation of a financial literacy elective that would be accessible to any 11th or 12th grade student. While it is difficult to consider the addition of new programming while also administering cuts to many areas of the budget, this is a program that warrants real consideration. Scarsdale lags behind many comparable schools in offering a financial literacy class. Financial literacy teaches both important “adulting” skills of personal finance, and also critical civic education so that students can engage in public finance debates such as this one. We have heard community support for this curricular offering here at Board of Education meetings, over Facebook and local media, from our students in the Maroon, and in bills considered in Albany.

This half position would also be able to support a growing cohort of students who exhaust the math offerings at SHS during their junior year. The landscape of STEM education has changed over the past decade. “BC” calculus is becoming the expected standard for incoming first years at elite science and engineering programs. In order to differentiate themselves, our students need to show a deeper engagement. More and more families are engaging outside mathematical enrichment for their students during elementary and middle school years, preparing them to take Algebra I before 8th grade. SHS and SMS math departments have increased awareness of opportunities for students to test into the appropriate high school math classes. We would encourage the District to look critically at the math sequence from 5th grade through high school graduation to ensure that all students have an awareness of and reasonable access to the onramps to accelerated study, especially as curricular support at the highest levels is expanded. In the past, students who complete AT Calculus during their junior year would need to turn to online courses or independent study to continue their education in mathematics. Additionally, the number of students who opt to take multiple math courses their junior or senior years, studying AT Linear Algebra or AT Statistics along with the traditional mathematics sequence in lieu of free’s, has increased. There is now a sufficient cohort of students at this level to make a class offering the more efficient, effective and equitable option.

Finally, the SHS PTA EC would ask the Board of Education to weigh the relative costs and benefits of reducing security coverage. While limiting the building access to a single point in the evenings and on weekends can be seen as merely an inconvenience, the impact would lead to having community members and visitors wandering through the building to reach evening events, Adult School classes, and creating more congestion for parking, drop-offs and pickups from a single entrance. We question whether the bottom line savings would be worth the cost in the inconvenience to the broader community.

The SHS PTA EC thanks the Board of Education for its careful consideration. We understand that it is not possible to include every worthwhile proposal in the 2024-25 budget. If any of these requests are deferred, we ask that they are considered for the following year.

Sincerely,
SHS PTA Executive Committee

Iceland1Spain, Iceland, and Singapore! The opportunities for global education at Scarsdale High School are just amazing! While the trip for SHS juniors to the Asia Pacific Youth Leadership Summit in Singapore won’t take place until later this summer, two groups of lucky students just got back from their explorations in Iceland and Spain.

spain2In October of this school year, Scarsdale High School hosted the first phase of a cultural exchange program with the IES San Fernando School in Madrid, Spain. a group of Spanish students came to stay with Scarsdale families and over the February break, our SHS students spent a week living with families, attending school and exploring Madrid.

According to one of the chaperones, SHS teacher Heather Waters, “We were happy to see the students embrace the experience wholeheartedly- explore a new country as an insider and use their Spanish. Many made great connections to the history they had studied in 9th grade as well as marveled at how different the classes and school were.”

The bonds and connections made between SHS students and the students from Spain were so great, that many were teary-eyed as they said their good-byes to one another. After their farewells, the SHS students traveled to Cordoba and Seville where they explored historical sites, a futball stadium, and practiced their Spanish as they dined in local restaurants and explored the beautiful cities.

Waters, along with her co-chaperones Brendan Lee and Chris Hughes, felt that “the kids were wonderful and understood what a unique and transformative experience they were having. It is why we design these experiences and are so happy when they meet -or exceed -our expected goals.”

Also over the February break, another group of SHS students had the great fortune of exploring Iceland with their teacher-chaperones Tammy Marchini, Dan Meiselman, and Michelle Brito.

In Iceland, the group took in the culture of charming cities like Reykjavik, with panoramic walking tours and an exploration of historical sites.

They also toured the Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plant where they learned how Iceland uses hot water as a major source of energy production and even visited a geothermal bakery where they were treated to delicious bread.

While the cities of Iceland are beautiful, the students also took in all the beauty that nature has to offer as they hiked glaciers and a black sand beach, saw geysers and waterfalls, and explored the Kerid Crater. Of course, no trip to Iceland would be complete without a dip in a geothermal spa at the Blue Lagoon, which was the perfect way for the students to end their incredible journey.

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Students who took part in the tour of Iceland are grateful for the wonderful experience they had and say that they loved trying all the different kinds of food, are inspired to grow a garden in a greenhouse, and to explore how we, in the US, can keep moving toward “greener” energy production.

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This summer, finally back live after virtual years resulting from Covid restrictions, juniors are again invited to join the Asia Pacific Youth Leadership Summit in Singapore. Next year there is an Italian Exchange and an environmental studies-themed trip to Costa Rica. Informational meetings for these trips will be rolling out in mid-March. In addition, Chorus, Band and Orchestra will be traveling and performing abroad next February break.

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genderChanges to the fifth-grade health curriculum this year, as it relates to puberty education, have met with objections from some parents. At issue is the inclusion of new content about gender expression and gender identity and a decision to conduct the classes in mixed gender groups rather than separating girls from boys as it has been traditionally done.

In an email dated February 29 to fifth grade parents from Assistant Director for Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction Edgar McIntosh he explained the plans.

His email says, “The curriculum content reflects much of what has been taught in previous years, including the discussion of healthy habits during puberty: the importance of hydration, nutrition, sleep, stress management, exercise, and technology and their effects on health.

As before, there will be a discussion of what causes puberty to begin, hygiene awareness, body changes, and processes related to female development (menstruation and menstrual cycle) and male development (erections and nocturnal emissions).”

However, he outlined the new plans saying, “Two content changes are being made from past years that reflect guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics' inclusive approach to puberty education.”

“Both sex assigned at birth and gender identity will be discussed. Students will also learn that gender expression and gender identity exist along a spectrum and discuss the potential impact of gender-role stereotypes on one's self and others.

Lessons will be delivered to mixed-gender groups with opportunities for students to ask questions anonymously and privately. Small group learning sessions will also take place.”

As for the rationale behind the new curriculum, McIntosh explains, “As part of our work on creating the most inclusive environment for all students and families, we strive to reflect the lived experiences of our students and families in our curriculum. The points of the discussions are to both educate students and to create empathy for different life experiences. Puberty is a time when questions about gender and gender expression are extremely relevant and an omission of this content would not serve the learning and emotional needs of our students.”

He said that continuing to separate the sexes for these discussions can “perpetuate the stigma of the topic and that students who are gender diverse are better catered for in mixed groups.” He also said students act more “maturely” in mixed groups and that in mixed groups students can “learn about topics from different perspectives from different genders and develop empathy for the changes and challenges experienced by those of another biological sex.”

Asked if this curriculum is required by the state, McIntosh said, “There is no law to teach gender diversity during puberty instruction. There is no mandate that we teach puberty in fifth grade at all. In our goal to provide fact-based, inclusive, and body-positive puberty instruction, we would not be serving our students if we did not address gender diversity.”

Further justification for the program is based on Board of Education Policy 105 which states that “The Scarsdale Union Free School District… recognize that inclusive education is based on the principles of acceptance and inclusion of all members of the school community. Therefore, students and faculty should see themselves reflected in the curriculum, physical surroundings, staff/faculty representation, and the broader environment, in which diversity is honored and all individuals are respected.”

McIntosh said that the curriculum is guided by both the American Academy of Pediatrics and National Sex Education Standards.

He assured parents that the program rollout had been extensively planned. The elementary school PE teachers who will teach the classes had been trained during summer planning days, at a Scarsdale Teacher’s Institute Class and at Superintendent’s Conference Day.

However, all of this planning has failed to reassure some parents who say they had no opportunity to give feedback about the program and “strongly prefer to have such gender identity and gender expression discussions with our children in the manner we believe is best for their emotional and developmental health. “

They are asking for the school to give them the chance to opt their children out from the gender identity portion of the program but still participate in the balance of the three-day program which includes nutrition, hydration, technology, and sleep habits.

They also feel that since gender identity and expression will be taught in middle school it might be a more appropriate time for children to learn about these topics.

A letter stating these objections is being circulated to fifth grade parents asking them to write to the Board of Education.

Responding to parents, McIntosh made two additional points:

1) The district does not seek parent consensus on curricular matters

2) Though he is happy to set up a meeting with parents, he would not entertain suggestions from them on revising, editing or eliminating any of the content.

Here is what he said: "As in other curriculum areas, we rely on external research and guidance, and internal educator expertise to adopt, adapt, and design our curriculum- we do not seek parent consensus. It has, however, always been our practice to lead with a thoughtful and thorough explanation of our process and rationale- and answer parent questions related to either.”

He added: "…. I do want to be clear, that my purpose for the meeting would be to review the lessons related to puberty and answer questions, not as an opportunity for parents to suggest how we might revise, edit, or eliminate any of the lessons or their content."

BethelswimAre gray skies and icy streets making you pine for summertime? Better weather will be here before you know it and now’s the time to consider summer programs for your children, from tots to teens.

Here are just a few good options to explore for day camp, art and music and pre-college courses. There’s something for everyone this summer and we've heard that many programs are already filling up, so sign up soon!

Day Camps

Beth El Day Damp in New Rochelle is the place to be for children ages 2-8! Our dynamic program is widely recognized as the best-in-class day camp in Westchester. Beth El continues to be the most fun, most trusted choice for young campers and their parents, year after year. The magic happens from Monday, June 24 - Friday, August 16, 2024. We offer before and after camp care 7:30 am–6:00 pm. Campers love our innovative and age-appropriate activities: the sports, especially tennis, swimming twice a day in the pool, music, art, nature, STEM, yoga, karate, our delicious lunches, towel service, and much more! We are also known for our nurturing environment and commitment to safety. We have the best-trained professional staff and a very favorable child to staff ratio. Whether this is your child's first camp experience or not, at Beth El everything begins with love and ends in fun.

Beth El Day Camp, 1324 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10804, (914) 235-2700 ext. 256, daycamp@bethelnr.org

Summer Stars at Scarsdale Synagogue is a seven week camp experience offered to children ages 18 months to 6 year olds. Our campersSummerStars are engaged in activities such as sports, music, art, daily water play and much, much more. We also have a special day each week focusing on a theme such as Circus Day, Hawaiian Day or Carnival Day. We strive to foster friendships in a warm, nurturing environment and encourage children to grow socially, emotionally and intellectually as they engage in fun, stimulating summer activities. We offer a three-day option for Toddlers ages 18 to 30 months and our Two year olds may choose 3 or 5 mornings a week. Our Three year olds to Six year olds may choose a half-day 9:00-12:00 option or a full-day 9:00-2:00 option which includes a served lunch. Contact Jody Glassman at mazeltots@sstte.org or 914-723-3001.

ramaquoisCamp Ramaquois is not like every other camp. Our day camp for boys and girls ages 3 to 15 in Pomona, NY (only 30 minutes from the George Washington Bridge and 15 minutes from the Mario Cuomo Bridge) provides a truly authentic camp experience. Our magnificent 44 acres, 5-acre lake, 9 heated swimming pools, and exceptional facilities and programs allow us to provide children with a dynamic and memorable summer filled with love, warmth, and being part of a special community. Our campers are encouraged to take healthy risks, learn new skills, develop relationships with their peers and counselors, develop independence and assume responsibility.

Camp Ramaquois, 30 Mountain Road. Pomona, NY 10970, 845-354-1600

JCCMW

JCC Mid-Westchester offers summer camp programs for children ages two and older across a variety of interests including gymnastics, dance, arts & crafts, STEAM, and performing arts. With a dedicated team of experienced staff and instructors, the JCC is committed to fostering the growth and learning of each camper in a safe, supportive, and fun environment. Weekly and daily options are available to fit all schedules. Make this summer truly memorable by choosing the JCCMW!

Learn more and register at jccmw.org/camps. Contact Brian Symons at symonsb@jccmw.org.
JCC of Mid-Westchester 999 Wilmot Road, Scarsdale, NY (914) 725-7300

squires2020Squire Advantage and Squire Sports Camps at Maria Regina High School in Hartsdale is celebrating over 50 years and is the proud recipient of the first ever Westchester County Inspector Choice Award! Squire Advantage Primary (grades K-3) and Advantage Choice (grades 4-9) is created for campers who wish to custom design their own schedule by choosing activities like swimming, sports, fine arts, science, cooking, archery and more. There are more than 60 different activities to choose from! Squire Camps programs run from July 1st until August 16th, 2024. Courses are taught by certified schoolteachers, and hot lunch and Early Drop off is included. Extended day and transportation available. Attend our open house on February 10 from 1-4 PM.

Matt Davanzo, Director, Squire Camps, Maria Regina High School, Hartsdale, NY, (914) 328-3798

Pre-College Programs

Adelphi’s Summer Pre-College Program will take place from July 7-27, 2024 and is open to rising sophomores, juniors and seniors in high school. Our credit-bearing program allows students to explore an academic area of interest, participate in college readiness workshops, and discover all that Adelphi University has to offer. Both residential and commuter options are available. This summer's courses include:

Art Foundations: Drawing and 2D DesignAdelphi Pre College Image
Business and Society
Computer Science and Coding
Digital Media Production: Filmmaking and TV
Future Educators: From High School to Higher Ed
Introduction to Nursing as a Career and Profession
Pre-Law: Understanding the Bill of Rights
Pre-Med: Microbiology, Nutrition, and Human Disease
Psychology and Pop Culture
Quantum Engineering
Speech Language Pathology

Take a amazing class, make new friends, and earn college credits all in our summer program tailored just for you! Visit adelphi.edu/precollege to learn more and to apply today! 

American Collegiate Adventures (ACA) is celebrating 31 years offering exciting teen summer programs for students ages 12 - ACA202418. Check out our Study Abroad Programs, Pre–College USA, Teen Tours, Career Exploration & Mentorship Programs, Malibu Surf & Sports Camps, Community Service & Adventure Programs, and Camp-On–Campus Middle School Programs. From our premier U.S. programs to our celebrated international experiences, we are certain you‘ll love the electives, activities, weekend adventures, and friendships that make an ACA summer truly unforgettable!

Learn more at acasummer.com or contact us at info@acasummer.com or call 773-342-0200.

Art, Dance and Music

BethelArtsBeth El Creativity Camp is a place where individualized attention is offered and talent shines for campers ages 8-12. Campers will learn new creative skills in visual, culinary, and performance arts. In our professional kitchen, campers will enjoy decorative baking, candy making, food photography, and so much more. Outside of the kitchen, they will explore a world of creative arts, including improv with Mainstages, an educational theater company for children. Campers explore creative horizons while having a fantastic summer experience with artist educators. No prior art experience necessary! The day is filled with new activities, delicious lunch, free swim with towel service, and time to hangout with friends!

Beth El Creativity Camp, 1324 North Avenue, New Rochelle, NY 10804, (914) 235-2700 ext. 256, daycamp@bethelnr.org

Hoff-Barthelson Music School is the ideal setting for a stimulating, challenging, and fun-filled summer of creative exploration. The School’s Summer Arts Program for students entering grades 1-9 runs from July 1 through August 2, 2024, and offers rich, individually tailored experiences in music, movement, and visual art. Participants benefit from expert instruction; a nurturing environment; learning and practicing with peers; exploring new instruments, styles, and art forms; growing in their understanding of the language of music (music theory); developing performance skills; and forming lasting friendships.

Choose from flexible scheduling options such as Morning, Afternoon, and Full Day sessions, as well as Early Drop Off and Late Pick up. Students can enroll for any three or more consecutive weeks within the program.

HoffBarthelsonSummer24Photo Credit: Mark JessamyDiscover a diverse range of classes, workshops, and performance opportunities, including Group Instruction in Strings, Winds, Brass, Guitar, Piano, Percussion; Piano as a Second Instrument; Creative Keyboard; Chorus; Simple Symphony; Orchestra; Wind Ensemble; Jazz Band; Crossroads Ensemble; Chamber Music; World Drumming; Chimes; Music and Movement; Reading, Writing, Listening: Building Music Literacy; Composers Corner; Music History Through the Ages; Music Technology; and Visual Arts.

Our exceptional faculty—made up of top performers and music educators—provide personalized attention to each student.

Space is limited; enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis. Early-bird registration discounts are available through April 3. Partial need-based financial aid is available.

Hoff-Barthelson Music School, 25 School Lane, Scarsdale NY 10583, 914-723-1169, summerarts@hbms.org. Learn more and register here.

NossenDance

At Steffi Nossen School of Dance from June 23 – August 16 preschoolers – teens enjoy a variety of dance experiences in a fun, nurturing and artistically challenging environment.

For Preschoolers five weeklong morning Story Book Dance Camps in White Plains and Briarcliff kids have fun with movement, music, and craft experiences based on a new story each week.

Two two-week long Dance Camps for kids in grades 1-5 and Dance Intensive for grades 6 and up include:

Dance Camp: an opportunity to explore a variety of dance styles: Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theater along with dance history and the chance to choreograph their own dances.

Musical Theater Camp and Intensive the chance to train with some of the best professional teachers in the Musical Theater field in daily acting, voice, and dance classes to enhance vocal and acting skills while honing dance technique. Performers learn music and choreography from a different Broadway musical to perform at week’s end.

SummerDance at Steffi Nossen is completed by two Adaptive Dance programs open to all. In Adult Adaptive Musical Theater Workshop June 24-27 f dancers 16+ learn dances to music from beloved movie and Broadway musicals. In a 6-week program of dance classes for Kids 5-8; Youth 9-15 and Adults moving to music and movement is adapted so that people with cognitive, physical, and neurological disabilities can succeed. Classes in both programs build physical strength and flexibility, self-confidence, coordination and are fun.

Camps take place at the Steffi Nossen School of Dance; 216 Central Ave, White Plains, NY 10606 (the Music Conservatory of Westchester Building). For additional information and to register please contact us at www.steffinossen.org or 914-328-1900.

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