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Ironmen2Iron man awards were given to four year, three season athletes.Though there was no barbeque this year, there was a joyous celebration for outstanding athletes and scholars in the Scarsdale High School Class of 2021 on Monday June 14, 2021. At a ceremony in the SHS auditorium, which is still adorned with plexiglass shields, Maroon and White and the high school athletic department recognized the achievements of seniors who had distinguished themselves during their high school careers

Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi and Assistant Athletic Director Joe DeCrescenzo from the high school, along with Kevin Hooey and Joe Feldman, filling in for David Alin, from Maroon and White presented the awards to the students.

Pappalardi acknowledged it was a difficult year, but was pleased that 58% of Scarsdale High School athletes were able to participate in team sports. He said, “Though we knew it would not be perfect, it was far better than the lost spring season of 2020.

Kevin Hooey thanked Maroon and White members and said that the booster organization is now in its 53 year. Their primary objective is to support Scarsdale student-athletes when certain equipment and team needs go beyond the school budget.

The first awards were given to Raider’s Iron Men -- student athletes who participated in three seasons of high school sports from grades nine through twelve.zolandFootball team manager Aaron Zoland received the Timberger Award

Receiving the Iron Man awards were:

Walter Jake Coleman
Hudson Crane
Shan Daniel
Alexa Doyle
Edward Eforo (not pictured)
Alex Friedman
Benjamin Hoexter
Bradley Kauffman
Madelyn Seltzer
Abigail Talish
Michael Waxman

Recognizing students who plan to play a sport in college, Maroon and White called out the following athletes:

IronmanAthletes recruited to play on college teams.Charles Berridge will play golf at Berkeley
Jake Coleman will run track at UC San Diego
Shan Daniel will run track at Case Western
Justin DiSanto will swim for Bucknell
Danielle Eforo will swim at Wesleyan
Julian Higgins will play football at Case Western ReserveHoexterIron men Ben Hoexter and Bradley Kauffman show off their Raiders sweatshirts.
Joy Jiang will swim at University of Pennsylvania
Brendan Knopp will play football at Franklin and Marshall
Melissa Lass will cheer at Lafayette College
Megan Lee will swim for Amherst
Steven Lee will golf for the University of Pennsylvania
Ben Miller will play football and lacrosse at Bates College
Anya Pabby will swim for NYU
Maddie Seltzer will swim and dive for Princeton
Emily Ann Tsai who will play tennis at Franklin and Marshall
Van Eer Yurami will run track at Union College.

SeltzerMaddy Seltzer received the Mooney AwardThey moved on to the Timberger Award, named for Elizabeth Timberger who served on the board of Maroon and White and was an enthusiastic rooter on the sideline. She died at young age. This award honors someone who help the team, whether they be a manager or a sports writer. This year, the award was given to Aaron Zoland who managed the Boys Varsity Football Team. Zoland was said to be a person of few words, always calm who was focused on the team’s success and would do whatever he could to make things better for the team.

Joe Feldman presented the Nina Mooney award for Mooney who passed away at the age of 54 in 1991. According to Feldman, she lived a “boisterous, happy, existence,” and had a “perpetually open house on Bradley Road. She was both “fun and feisty, and loved organizing Maroon and White events. “If you knew her you were part of her family.”

The winner of the award, Maddy Seltzer, was called a team player who excelled in her individual role and as a great role model. She was a Civ Ed advisor, won the Con Edison award, and was an all-American swimmer. She graduated with a 3.8 GPA and will attend Princeton.

Kevin Hooey, surrounded by members of the Knopp family, presented the Knopp Award in honor of Mary Knopp who lived in Scarsdale for 20 years. She cheered on four sons from the sidelines and showed unwavering support for athletics as a member of Maroon and White for ten years.PorterJack Porter with the Knopp Family

The Knopp award is given to a male senior varsity player for dedication, spirit, enthusiasms, concern for others and a positive work ethic.

As it was daunting to select only one athlete, this year, two Knopp awards were given to track star Jack Porter and to Mary Knopp’s grandson and football standout Brendan Knopp.

The Grant Geiger award recognized athletes who are dedicated to their sport and also dedicated to their studies. The award is given to athletes who earned a 3.5 GPA or higher. This year’s awardees are Victoria Wilson and Adam Wasserman.

Ray Pappalardi presented the Athletic Director’s awards, giving the Raider award to Ben Miller for his work ethic, resilience, leadership and being an athlete “anyone would want on their team.” He said that Miller, “refused to lose, never quit and led by example.”

KnoppBrendanA proud moment for the Knopp family, as Brendan receives the award.Also recognized by the Athletic Department was Scarsdale Tennis Team captain Zoe Tucker, for embracing the role of captain and getting along with everyone.

The Peppers award, named for former SHS Assistant Principal Sue Peppers and her husband Jerry who raised four girls in Scarsdale is given to a male and a female athlete who is a team player with strong academics. This year’s winner was Abigail Talish, who graduates with a 4.1 GPA, is a national merit finalist and a three sport team captain. On the basketball team she was a starter for three years and led the team. She will attend Columbia University.

Michael Waxman, a three season athlete and President of the Scarsdale High School student body took home the Peppers Award as well. He was described as “kind, caring, disciplined, polite and a great kid to have on the team.” With a 4.1 average he is in the honors society and won the Principal’s Award. He will attend Harvard University.TalishAthlete and honor student Abigail Talish with the Peppers Award

Though Maroon and White did not have the chance to honor all the spring athletes this year, they were pleased to be able to hold the ceremony and carry on this SHS tradition.

waxmanSchool President, three season athlete and Harvard bound Michael Waxman won the Peppers Award.

ConlansDeb Franco, Kevin Hooey and Kate and Matt Conlan from Maroon and White

PamandAlisonPam Fuehrer and Alison Singer will complete their terms on the BOE at the end of the school year.The Board of Education is preparing for the summer transition to next year’s board, where it will seat new members Jessica Resnick-Ault and Jim Dugan and say goodbye to President Pam Fuehrer and Vice President Alison Singer. While traditionally the Vice President assumes the role of President, this year is different as Singer was not re-elected for a second term. The new President and Vice President will be elected by the 2021-2022 Board at the July 7, 2021 Reorganization Meeting. Current members Karen Ceske and Ron Schulhof have expressed interest in the presidency, and Amber Yusuf has spoken about potentially seeking the vice presidency. Member Carl Finger indicated that he is interested in either position. During the reorganization meeting, members are openly nominated and voted on for these two positions.

During one of the last full meetings of the current Board on June 7, members and administration staff reviewed key village Covid-19 metrics, welcomed a new cohort of teachers, and spoke about the district-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policy.

COVID Report

On the Journey Forward Update, the administration reported that the district is trending in the right direction for active Covid-19 cases. Scarsdale is at Level 2, and to reach Level 1, the village must see a seven-day average of under 10 cases per 100,000 people. Currently, there are only three active cases in Scarsdale and 14.06 cases per 100,000 people over the last seven days. The daily rate has dropped to 1.8.

Currently, ceremonies of 500 or less are allowed without testing measures or proof of vaccination under New York State guidance. As a result, this year’s fifth grade Moving Up Ceremonies will be held outdoors and by individual classes. For the high school graduation, because the event will be attended by over 500 people, proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test will be required. Finally, Governor Cuomo announced that schools do not need students to wear masks outdoors. Because of this guidance, Scarsdale removed outdoor mask requirements for all students, however the indoor mask rules remain in place.

Personnel

For the Personnel Report, the administration announced that five new faculty and one returning staff member were hired in probationary positions. Many of the new staff attended the meeting and were there in-person when the measure was adopted. These new staff members include Lauren Armstrong (Speech teacher, Heathcote), Jennifer Cronk (Computer teacher, SMS), Trisha McNeil (Special Education teacher, SMS), Dana Kani (Special Education teacher in charge, Elementary), Alyssa Kuefner (Returning Speech teacher, SHS), and Hanna Walton (Strings, elementary).

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Next, the administration updated the Board on the work of the Compact Committee in implementing the new DEI policy. Over two meetings, the committee established the goals of DEI for the elementary, middle, and high school levels using the NY state education framework and rigorous standards. While the goals for each education level were developed by independent teams, there was considerable overlap in the choices.

The DEI elementary school goals:

• Assess the physical environment of the classroom and school to determine whether a variety of diverse cultures, languages, orientations, and identities are reflected, represented, and valued. Promote a variety of perspectives that represent the diversity of the state of New York beyond designated icons, historical figures, months, and holidays.
• Build rapport and develop positive relationships with students, and their families, by learning about their interests and inviting them to share their opinions and concerns. Find opportunities to address and incorporate their opinions and concerns.
• Create opportunities to allow different groups and ideas to become part of the fabric of the school community by organizing proactive community-building circles and activities that promote positive relationships among individuals from diverse backgrounds. Include students, teachers, school staff, leaders, families, and community members in these opportunities.

The DEI middle school goals:

• Build rapport and develop positive relationships with students, and their families, by learning about their interests and inviting them to share their opinions and concerns. Find opportunities to address and incorporate their opinions and concerns.
• Create opportunities to allow different groups and ideas to become part of the fabric of the school community by organizing proactive community-building circles and activities that promote positive relationships among individuals from diverse backgrounds. Include students, teachers, school staff, leaders, families, and community members in these opportunities.
• Feature and highlight resources written and developed by traditionally marginalized voices that offer diverse perspectives on race, culture, language, gender, sexual identity, ability, religion, nationality, migrant/refugee status, socioeconomic status, housing status, and other identities traditionally silenced or omitted from the curriculum.

The DEI high school goals:

• Review of district policies (codes of conduct, curriculum reviews, community engagement, etc.).
• Identify and address implicit bias in the school and community environments.
• Create opportunities to allow different groups and ideas to become part of the fabric of the school community by organizing proactive community-building circles and activities that promote positive relationships among individuals from diverse backgrounds. Include students, teachers, school staff, leaders, families, and community members in these opportunities.

Each of the three teams will meet with affected groups over the summer and reconvene in the fall to set metrics for success. Member Ron Schulhof inquired why each level did not have matching goals. Superintendent Hagerman answered that each school was independently able to choose the goals that work best for that education level, and that each group will meet with the 189 people across the district involved in DEI work before setting their success metrics. While Dr. Hagerman acknowledged the need to neaten the district's DEI materials and create a separate DEI tab on the website, he stated that "all of that is on the back of the brain while we focus on the content work right now."

Assistant Superintendent McIntosh announced that the district narrowed the search field for DEI consultants down to four experts. Each candidate will create proposals for the district and interview with the leadership team and Teacher's Association representatives. Depending on these interviews, the school may engage some or all of these consultants in ways that match their expertise.

During public comments many questions were asked about the DEI policy.

Jonathan Rothenberg asked, “What specific failures have been identified? What are the barriers to achieving DEI?... The goals seem generic, what are the tangible implications? What will actually be changing? How can community members get more insight into DEI work? Will the proceedings be open to the public? How can we participate in creating the metrics?”

Mayra Kirkendall-Rodriguez said, “Metrics are very important… you should encourage transparency in the Compact meetings. Are there minutes from these meetings? Can we receive an agenda from them? It is unclear how these objectives were chosen. I am grateful for the June 22nd meeting. A lot of parents were involved in DEI work for years so I am glad to be included. Given the number attending, will there be documents to read ahead of time? Teachers should post syllabi online.”

About the Board's successions plans she said, "Thank you to all four BOE members who are volunteering to lead the BOE. Three of the people who have expressed interest did not run in a BOE trustee election. You were selected in a closed-door nominating committee process. Hence voters did have the opportunity to vet you. Much remains to be done to re-integrate our students after the severity of this pandemic. We do not know what academic, emotional, or mental challenges will arise. It is unclear to me how assessments are being undertaken to determine gaps. We really need strong and inclusive leadership. I urge all of you in the new Board to really conduct your due diligence about the potential leaders. Who of these people has previous Board or leadership experience that would be relevant to the new Board now? What is their track record other than these last two years on the Board? During your time at the Board, you certainly have seen that many of us care about what goes on in our schools."

Rachana Singh said, “I am thankful for DEI work. I don't want internal HR work, I want it to be community based work. It's about the school's efforts but I want community-based work; climate surveys in each building would be very telling. Who will be responsible for creating metrics? How is the compact committee diverse? I would like to see more about neuro-diversity.”

The administration will hold a Collective DEI meeting on June 22nd to solicit input from the community on how to implement the policy moving forward. This meeting will serve as a springboard for continued work over the summer.

DuganResnick AultJim Dugan and Jessica Resnick-Ault were elected to the Scarsdale School Board.The Non-Partisan Slate came out on top in the hotly contested school board election on May 18, 2021. A total of 1,788 votes were cast, on a ballot that featured two candidates nominated by the School Board Nominating Committee, and two independent candidates.

Current School Board Vice President Alison Singer made an independent run and was favored by six out of seven members of the school board and endorsed by many former school board presidents. As an incumbent, many believed she had an advantage. However, perhaps in a sign of the times and dissatisfaction with the past school year, she failed to win re-election, getting 763 votes.

Also running independently was Irin Israel who was a vocal critic of the administration this past year and ran on a platform for better communication and transparency. He received 607 votes.

The two candidates nominated by the SBNC and backed in a strong campaign by the Coalition for Scarsdale Schools took the two available school board seats now held by Board President Pamela Fuehrer and Board Vice President Alison Singer.

Jessica Resnick-Ault, a reporter and committed community volunteer got 1,101 votes and Jim Dugan, an attorney with considerable volunteer experience as well got 835 votes.

The school budget passed with an 85.2% approval, from 1524 “yes” votes and 264 “no” votes.PamandAlisonPam Fuehrer and Alison Singer

Here is the tally announced by the Chair of the District Meeting for the School Board and Budget Vote and past President of the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale, Leah Dembitzer:

School Budget

Yes 1,524
No 264
Approval Rate: 85.2%

School Board Candidates

Jessica Resnick Ault: 1,101
James Dugan: 835
Alison Singer: 763
Irin Israel: 607

It was the first time in history that two independent candidates challenged the SBNC slate. The campaigns featured a candidates forum, campaign signs, meet and greets, mailers, emails and social media campaigns.

Voters began to arrive at the poll at Scarsdale Congregational Church at 7 am and continued to roll in until the doors were shut at 9 pm. A meeting of the Fox Meadow Neighborhood Association ended just before the polls closed, and last minute voters showed up at 8:57 pm. Though it wasn’t the highest voter turnout in the past ten years, there was a strong show of voter participation.

BudgetVote History
Before the votes were counted, no one in the room seemed certain of the outcome and there was stunned silence for a few seconds after the results were read. Without exit polls, there was no way to predict what the outcome would be.

Commenting on the results, Jessica Resnick Ault said, “I am honored that the community decided that Jim and I are up for joining the school board at this challenging time. The SBNC decided that we would work well together. I did not know Jim before, but I am impressed with his thoughtful and calm demeanor, especially when unexpected things crop up. I hope we will work well with the board and administration. With four people running there was uncertainty about the outcome and I did not know what would happen. Before coming here tonight I enjoyed a cake with my daughter that said, “Yea Either Way.” I think it’s important to teach kids that things don’t always go the way you expect and to make the best of every situation."

James Dugan added, "I’m very humbled to have been elected by the community to serve on the School Board. This is a year in which people wanted change, and Jessica Resnick-Ault and I are looking forward to working with the other members of the Board and the School District and working for the people of Scarsdale to be their voice on the School Board."

Commenting the following day, Alison Singer said, "It’s not the outcome I had hoped for, but it’s time to put campaigning behind us and move forward as one community. We all need to focus on the future and on supporting our students, our faculty and our administration as they tackle the many challenges ahead. I am incredibly grateful to everyone who supported my candidacy and to everyone who voted. I know that we are all committed to ensuring that every child in Scarsdale has access to an outstanding education, and I plan to find new ways to make sure that happens. I look forward to continuing to work with all the members of our community."

And I offer my congratulations to Jessica Resnick-Ault and Jim Dugan.

Irin Israel said, "I’m so grateful for all of the people that voted and helped me both with the campaign and during the year. I’ve been fortunate to meet some incredible people in our community. I’ve spoken with Jim and Jessica throughout the election and I’m hopeful that as School Board members they will push for much needed change, communication and transparency."

Diane Greenwald and Art Rublin, Co-Chairs of Coalition for Scarsdale Schools, said, “Coalition for Scarsdale Schools (CSS) is thrilled that the community overwhelmingly approved a budget that will help move Scarsdale schools forward at a critical time for children.

We are also grateful to Scarsdale voters who elected Jim Dugan and Jessica Resnick-Ault to the school board. Jim and Jessica secured the confidence of Scarsdale’s time-honored School Board Nominating Committee (SBNC) and also the District’s electorate, and promise fresh perspectives in service to students and families. We are proud to have strongly supported them with an incredible campaign team.

We wish to express genuine gratitude to Alison Singer for her dedicated service as School Board member and Vice President and applaud her expressions of commitment to serving children and education in the future. We also wish Irin Israel well in his future endeavors and hope he remains an engaged advocate and volunteer.”

Last Minute VotersLast minute voters streamed in until 9 pm.

ThomasandLeahThomas Hagerman and Leah Dembitzer

CoalitionCoalition for Scarsdale Schools Campaign Team

EdgarandKarenAss't Superintendent Edgar McIntosh and Board Member Karen Ceske

BookshelfJust days after an unnamed threat closed Scarsdale High School, the Board of Education heard a debrief on the administration’s handling of the incident and posed questions about the response and protocols. Also on the agenda was an education report outlining new initiatives in the curricula at all grade levels.

Superintendent Hagerman began the meeting with a tribute to longtime elementary and middle school teacher Marianne Madoff, who passed away last week. You can read more about her dedication to Scarsdale Schools here. Hagerman described her as someone who “ignited learning and inspired students… she lived her values." During her memorial, high school senior Samantha Wachs remembered Ms. Madoff as someone who was "always a guiding light… her kindness, openness, and passion for teaching will forever be remembered by her students and the surrounding community.”

The Incident on May 21

Next, the administration addressed the event at the top of everyone’s mind – the May 21st incident at the high school and subsequent lockdown. The exact nature of the threat remains under wraps.

Assistant Superintendent Rauschenbach reviewed the timeline and stated that a verbal threat was reported to a staff member on Friday morning, and the Threat Assessment Team immediately assembled. The team announced the lockout at 11:05 AM, called in police presence, and decided on an early dismissal around midday. About students who left the school during the lockdown, Rauschenbach said, “We determined that if students were finished with their school day they could leave through one of our marked entrances.” At 1:05 the entire school was dismissed en masse.

During this time, the Scarsdale Police Department (SPD) investigated and attempted to directly contact the source of the threat. They ultimately reached the source later in the day. Several announcements were made about the lockdown over the school PA system and six emails were sent to parents over six hours. Unfortunately, there were technical difficulties in activating the Blackboard Connect emergency text system to reach students.

Dr. Hagerman recognized the frustration many in the community feel about the lack of transparency, and he reviewed the guidelines that prohibit the administration from revealing details surrounding the event. He added that threats against schools are usually made by students, parents, or other community members. As a result, the administration must be extra cautious when sending out written communications, as there is a high probability that the person making the threat will also receive the message and could use the information to further put the safety of students at risk.

He reassured parents that fire drills, bus evacuations, lockdown and lockout drills required by the state have been done with the students, despite the COVID closures.

Board member Karen Ceske inquired about the failure to send out text communications, which the administration says is fully functional but was not applied correctly during this emergency. Board Member Amber Yusef asked why, if the school was in a lockout, students were permitted to go in and out of the building. The response was that, because the police had identified the source of the threat, it was determined that students could go in and out of the building. She also wanted to know if students were on the District Emergency Response Team (DERT).

Both Board members Karen Ceske and Carl Finger pointed out where the District Safety and Security policy could be found on the district website. Please find it here.

Vice President Alison Tepper-Singer asked how well the actions on Friday aligned with the protocol. While specific figures remain unknown at this time, the administration stated that it was a very effective lockout and dismissal was smooth. Dr. Hagerman added that he was pleased with the district’s coordination with the police during the incident.

Board member Robert Klein asked the administration to elaborate on the phrase "out of an abundance of caution," which the administration used frequently when describing their actions. Klein stated that this can be confusing because while the SPD may be called as a precaution, to some, a police presence may make the threat seem more dangerous than it is. He highlighted that not everyone feels protected by the police to begin with. Superintendent Hagerman stated that they use that expression to indicate that they are aware there is something to investigate. He said, “That while there can be a misalignment between the intention of “an abundance of caution” and reality, overall, the police bring a calming presence to the situation. “

Rauschenbach added that this phrase is used to assure the community that everyone is safe, but they are taking some extra steps.

Ron Schulhof suggested that one of the members of the Board of Education sit on the DERT team, but Pam Fuehrer said that since the team hasto be available to respond quickly, there would not be time to call in a Board member to participate.

During public comments, resident Michelle Sterling said the cell service at the school makes it difficult for kids to get calls or send texts which poses problems in an emergency situation. She asked for this to be addressed.

About the administration’s response on Friday Sterling said, “One of the things we teach our children is that you don’t always do everything right. People make mistakes, and when you do make a mistake, to own up to it and learn from it.” She said, “It is important for the administration to own up to their mistakes.” She recalled a similar incident two years ago at the middle school that had several technical and protocol failures, and she chastised the administration for not correcting these same mistakes. She said, “It’s very painful to never hear a mea culpa from our Superintendent.” While Sterling stated that she understands why certain information cannot be shared publicly, she criticized what she saw as “zero empathy” in the communications from the school. She concluded by asking the Superintendent to take ownership and apologize for the failures that occurred on May 21.

Dr. Hagerman responded that students who have Wifi should have no trouble communicating, despite the fact that the school is in a dead zone. About empathy, he said, “It is certainly our goal to be empathic in these communications. We go through an active process of debriefing.”

Education Report:

The next action item of the evening was the presentation of the last Education Report of the academic year entitled Re-energizing our Educational Goals Aligned to Scarsdale's Strategic Plan.

Nancy Pavia, the Elementary Math Coordinator, presented the steps taken at the elementary level to improve math instruction. Next year, 51 teachers will pilot three new programs with the intent to adopt the most successful strategy for the 2022-2023 school year. While the current program Primary Math meets content standards, educators determined it does not meet practice standards. Examples of practice standards include “using appropriate tools strategically,” “reasoning abstractly and quantitatively,” and “looking for and making use of structure.” Board Vice President Alison Tepper-Singer pointed out that often programs that focus on language density are very challenging for children with special needs. Ms. Pavia assured her that each pilot program is problem-based and will engage students without being word-heavy.

Elementary Science Coordinator Jenn Kylie presented an upgraded science learning plan for our youngest students. This upcoming school year, a new science curriculum will continue to be piloted. The biggest shift is that these new standards no longer require students to memorize scientific facts in isolation. Board Member Carl Finger later highlighted the impressive work the schools are doing. He stated that the last curriculum was implemented only eight years ago, and that “constant thought about what we are doing keeps us ahead of the curve and [maintains] a good educational experience.”

Next, Middle School Principal Meghan Troy presented on the classroom libraries project at the middle school. Teachers are shown to be the strongest influence over what students read, and giving middle schoolers fingertip access to a wide range of books through classroom libraries will increase reading rates. The middle school is currently working to expand these libraries and provide increased professional development opportunities for faculty. Board member Karen Ceske asked how the libraries are set up to engage reluctant readers or students who may feel overwhelmed with options. Ms. Troy again emphasized the importance of teacher recommendations, and the strong influence individual teachers have over what their students choose to read.

High School Principal Kenneth Bonamo spoke about the school’s Advanced Topics (AT) review. The AT program was created in 2007 to give teachers more flexibility in designing the most challenging curriculum offered at SHS. This program review began in 2019 to analyze course expectations and learning experiences, and evaluate how the AT curriculum promotes critical thinking. Educators from the Tri-State Consortium will be coming to the high school this winter to consult on the data collected through this review. These consultants will compare AT courses with more traditional AP courses and evaluate what best suits the needs of students.

Additionally, Mr. Bonamo addressed some college admission uncertainties. While many colleges made standardized testing optional during the pandemic, some institutions are moving away from these tests more permanently. Mr. Bonamo speculated that this may increase the emphasis on AP exams, as APs are not scored on a bell curve and every student has the opportunity to maximize their score.

Finally, Principle Bonamo stated that the administration will review the way high school assessments are conducted. Next year they will pilot a new schedule for the third marking period with no specific testing days to see if this increased flexibility improves students’ experiences. They will also explore using a rolling grade book instead of the dedicated marking period system (quarters). The school will work with the Technology Department to gauge the effectiveness and future use of new assessment tools that were used during the pandemic. Going forward, the staff will prioritize performance-based assessment practices by examining current assessment strategies and creating collaborative opportunities among the faculty.

DSC03008After a year like no other, Scarsdale High School seniors will enjoy their traditional rites of passage after all! At the Board of Education meeting on Monday night May 10, 2021, Eric Rauschenbach announced that the prom will go on–- this year at Glen Island in New Rochelle rather than inside a tent at the high school.

Only Scarsdale High School Seniors will be permitted to attend the event which will take place in two rooms at Glen Island – one for eating and one for dancing. With capacity for 1,900 people, there will be plenty of room for social distancing. Prom is planned for Thursday night June 3, 2021.

In a more normal end to a very abnormal year, more good news was communicated about graduation. After some uncertainty about what would be permitted, the administration announced that there will be one graduation ceremony for the entire senior class to take place on Butler Field on either Thursday evening June 24 or Friday morning June 25. There will be no tent, so the rain date is necessary. COVID testing and proof of vaccinations will be required with more details to come from the district on the rules for the grads and their guests.

The seniors will also have the chance to perform their Senior Play which will take place on June 11, 12, 13. Each performance of “High School Musical,” will be limited to an audience of 100 attendees.

The lower grades will also celebrate. At Scarsdale Middle School, there will be four graduation ceremonies, one for each of the houses.

Elementary school moving up ceremonies will also be held by class during the school day, with two guests permitted per student. Students will return to class after the ceremony. There will also be field days at the elementary schools, but this year no parents will be in attendance.

And for fifth graders moving up to sixth grade, orientation will be held prior to the start of school. A scavenger hunt will be designed to help the students learn their way around the school.

What’s Next?

Speaking about guidelines, Dr. Hagerman anticipates that as the pandemic eases, the Governor will give up his emergency powers to regulate schools and this power will return to the NYS Board of Regents. In Scarsdale, the Restart Committee, which has governed the schools during the crisis will now go into hiatus. In response to questions about next year, Dr. Hagerman said, “We are anticipating a normal school year, normal schedule, the full gamut of programs, services, clubs and activities – though possibly with masks.” He added, this year we developed our capabilities and can respond to any sudden changes, twists or turns,.”

Rauschenbach added, “My bet is that we will not have a virtual-only option next year.”

What about the plastic desk barriers that were purchased? Dr. Hagerman said, “We made the decision to purchase the barriers to keep our risk mitigation plan in place. Then we got guidance that barriers were not needed.” After surveying teachers, the district found that, “85% of teachers said the barriers were impacting learning in their classrooms…. the feedback was largely negative.” Therefore the district has decided to leave plastic barriers available in cafeterias and instructional spaces for us on a discretionary basis.

Rauschenbach reported that there were only 13 active COVID cases in Scarsdale, and the infection rate is in the single digits, the lowest since November. The positivity rate has a seven day average of 1.1%.

On Thursday May 13, Scarsdale Village Ambulance Corps will provide vaccines for students 16 years of age of older.

Summer Enrichment Program

Administrators provided an update on a summer enrichment program that will be offered for the first time this year. The program is called “SPARK “ an acronym for Summer Project-Based Academic Retreat for Kids.

Classes will be offered at Fox Meadow for students entering grades one, two and three and at Greenacres for those entering grades four and five. To date, 350 students are enrolled in the program which will run from 9 am to 11 am. The district has partnered with the Village to allow the children to be bussed from the academic program to a recreational program, and about half will go to the rec and the other half will be picked up.

The program will be based in project based learning and allow kids to learn through the research and design process. The SPARK program will also be the subject of a class through the Scarsdale Teachers Institute where they will refine teaching practices and assess project based learning based on their activities in the summer program.

Seventy of the students who are enrolled are special needs students. The program staff will include special education teachers, a nurse and aides.

It appears that the students and the district are rapidly bouncing back from a long, arduous and difficult year. All signs point to better times ahead.

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