An Afternoon of Learning to Celebrate the 85th Anniversary of the Scarsdale Adult School
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
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You're invited to celebrate 85 years of continuing education at the Scarsdale Adult School afternoon of learning on Sunday December 3, from 1-4 at Temple Israel, New Rochelle. Click here to sign up.
Full program enrollees will receive a signed copy of King: A Life (2023) by keynote speaker Jonathan Eig. Additional signed copies will be available for purchase at the event.
Gently used coats and books for any age group will be accepted for donation to other local nonprofits.
The celebration begins with keynote speaker, Jonathan Eig, in conversation with Lori Rotskoff from 1:00pm to 2:15pm. The celebration continues with three concurrent lectures from 2:30pm to 3:30pm from notable SAS instructors Nicholas Birns (Breakout Session One), Francis Morrone (Breakout Session Two), and Tey Meadow (Breakout Session Three). The day concludes with a Champagne Reception and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony from 3:30pm to 4:00pm.
Schedule of Events
1:00pm-2:15pm – Keynote: Jonathan Eig, King: A Life (2023)
Eig's latest New York Times bestseller, King: A Life, was long-listed for the 2023 National Book Award. Vividly written and exhaustively researched, the book is an intimate portrait of Martin Luther King, Jr., the courageous and often troubled preacher who demanded peaceful protest for his movement but was rarely at peace with himself. The acclaimed author will appear in conversation with Lori Rotskoff, cultural historian and moderator of many SAS book discussions. Informed by insatiable curiosity and formidable storytelling gifts, Eig will illuminate how he uncovered revelatory information about MLK and his complex relationships with the FBI, his wife and children, and fellow activists, as well as broader lessons learned while researching previous subjects, including Lou Gehrig, Muhammad Ali, and the visionary inventors of the birth control pill. He will also speak about upcoming theatrical, TV and film adaptations; Universal Studios has optioned the rights to King: A Life for a film by executive producer Steven Spielberg and producer/director Chris Rock. Time will be reserved for Q&A.
JONATHAN EIG has been praised by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns as a “master storyteller." He was born in Brooklyn, began his writing career at age 16 working for his hometown newspaper, the Rockland County Journal News, and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He worked as a reporter for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Dallas Morning News, Chicago Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal and as a feature writer for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Chicago Magazine, and other publications. He has authored six books, including his most recent King: A Life. His previous book, Ali: A Life, won a 2018 PEN America Literary Award and was a finalist for the Mark Lynton History Prize. Eig's first book, Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig, reached No. 10 on the New York Times bestseller list and won the Casey Award. He has appeared on the Today Show, NPR's Fresh Air, and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. But his greatest claim to fame, according to his parents, is that his name once appeared in a Jeopardy question (which was solved correctly for $200). He lives in Chicago with his wife and children and shares office space with the laundry machines.
LORI ROTSKOFF is a cultural historian, writer, and educator committed to adult education. She is the author/co-editor of two books and the recipient of grants from the American Historical Association and the Radcliffe Institute.
2:30pm-3:30pm – Breakout Session One: American Protest Music in Literary and Cultural Contexts
Political protests influenced the lyrics and literature at the time of Scarsdale Adult School’s founding. Learn about and listen to American protest music from the 1930s to 1950s, including the works of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Billie Holiday. Contextualize the music scene within the broader currents in and problems of American literary culture.
NICHOLAS BIRNS is an adjunct instructor at NYU and is the author of many books and articles on modern world literature. He has written on Moby-Dick and published in Leviathan: A Journal of Melville Studies.
2:30pm-3:30pm – Breakout Session Two: New York Art Scene Circa 1938
Eight-five years ago, émigré artists were fleeing Europe to settle in New York, the Federal Art Project sponsored by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) under the New Deal was underway, and new art museums and galleries were beginning to populate the city’s landscape. Explore the influence on the New York art scene of Fernand Léger, George Grosz, Pavel Tchelitchew, Hans Hofmann, and Salvador Dalí, and American artists Reginald Marsh, Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, Stuart Davis, and others. Step back in time to view scenes from and learn the origins of the now famous Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Downtown Gallery, the Julien Levy Gallery, and more. Vintage photographs illustrate the thoroughly researched narration of the city’s rich cultural history.
FRANCIS MORRONE is an architectural historian and writer and the author of eleven books, including, with Robin Lynn, Guide to New York City Urban Landscapes (W.W. Norton, 2013) and, with Henry Hope Reed, The New York Public Library: The Architecture and Decoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (W.W. Norton, 2011), as well as architectural guidebooks to Philadelphia and to Brooklyn. He was an art and architecture critic for the New York Sun for six and a half years, and his writings appear in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, the New Criterion, City Journal, and Humanities. He received the Excellence in Teaching Award from NYU School of Professional Studies, and the Landmarks Lion Award of the Historic Districts Council. Travel and Leisure magazine named him one of the 13 best tour guides in the world.
2:30pm-3:30pm – Breakout Session Three: Transgender Kids Today
Something about gender is changing. From courtrooms to classrooms, discussions about transgender children seem to be everywhere. Why do some children have strong gender identities that differ from what others expect? What is fueling the current controversy? What should trans children be able to do? What can they really know about themselves? Explore the current political moment and the families and children it impacts. Audience questions about trans youth and their lives will help guide the discussion.
TEY MEADOW is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, where she conducts research on contemporary issues related to gender and sexuality and teaches courses to undergraduates and PhD students on gender and sexuality, queer theory, qualitative methodology, law, and the analytics of risk and uncertainty. She is the author of Trans Kids: Being Gendered in the Twenty-First Century (University of California Press, 2018) and the co-editor of Other, Please Specify: Queer Methods in Sociology (University of California Press, 2018). Meadow’s published works appear in academic journals and focus on a broad range of issues, including the emergence of the transgender child as a social category, the international politics of family diversity, the creation and maintenance of legal gender classifications, and the ways individuals negotiate risk in intimate relationships.
3:30pm-4:00pm – Champagne Reception and Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Our celebration will end with a champagne reception and, of course, there will be cake! Raise a toast for the debut of a figurative SAS Hall of Fame to honor those whose efforts have contributed to SAS’s success and longevity. The inaugural inductees will be Alfred Hunt and Harriet Langsam Sobol. These two long standing teachers have been engaging students and developing a devoted following for years at SAS, with Hunt leading history and current events courses and Sobol organizing writing and book discussion classes. Jonathan Cobert, who provides the live entertainment in the popular Movement to Music classes, will be performing.
Signing Day at Scarsdale High School
- Written by Joanne Wallenstein
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The SHS Athletic Department and Maroon and White held a joyous celebration for three student athletes who have signed national letters of intent to play sports at Division 1 or Division II school next fall.
On Thursday November 8, the school held a “signing day” ceremony and lauded three female athletes who will compete in college.
-Nina Franco, who will play lacrosse at Fairfield University
-Shannon Kelly who will complete in Track and Field at College of the Holy Cross
-Maxine Silverman who will play lacrosse at Lehigh University
Students and families posed for photos of the athletes signing their letters.
Explaining the process, Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi said, “Signing a National Letter of Intent ends the recruiting process since participating schools are prohibited from recruiting student-athletes who have already sign letters with other participating schools.”
“A student athlete who has signed a National Letter of Intent may request a release a release from his or her contract with the school. However, if a student-athlete signs a National Letter of Intent with one school but attends a different school, he or she will lose one full year of eligibility and must complete a full academic year at their new school before being eligible to compete.”
Pappalardi also celebrated additional athletes who have committed to play intercollegiate sports. Their names will be share in the spring.
State Assemblyperson Jenifer Rajkumar Says "Courage is a Muscle to Exercise"
- Written by Wendy MacMillan
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“Be courageous. And remember that courage is a muscle, the more you exercise it, the more courageous you become.” This was just one piece of sage advice that New York State Assemblyperson, Jenifer Rajkumar shared with a robust audience at the Scarsdale Library on Sunday Oct. 15th.
Ms. Rajkumar, the first South Asian woman to serve in any New York State Office, was invited to speak at the library by South Asian Students for Justice (SASJ). SAJS “is a Westchester-based organization dedicated to dispelling harmful narratives and injustices against South Asians and empowering and uniting South Asian students.”
In addition to organizing the informative event, Scarsdale High School students, Ravi Vora, Arun Nayakkar, and Rohan Sehgul, also acted as day’s moderators. Through a series of thoughtful questions, the trio helped Ms. Rajkumar detail her experiences as a South Asian woman in government.
Ms. Rajkumar began by describing her early life and how being the daughter of immigrant parents, shaped her work ethic, drive, and determination. Indeed, she credits her parents and her faith for stressing the importance of focus, asking others for help, and being willing to take risks…all attributes which have directly contributed to Rajkumar's success both as a human rights lawyer and as a politician.
When asked about her time working as a lawyer, Ms. Rajkumar explained how even as an 8th grader, she knew she wanted to work to better the lives of marginalized and disenfranchised people. Among many other achievements, Rajkumar described how as a civil rights lawyer, she litigated class action cases on behalf of “workers, tenants and women and was part of the legal team of Velez v. Novartis, ranked by the United Nations as one of the top 10 cases in the world advancing women’s equality.”
Equally impressive, while acting as the Director of Immigration Affairs for New York State, Rajkumar built and led a first-in-the-nation $31 million project to ensure that every immigrant has access to legal representation.
Rajkumar went on to discuss a few of her legislative accomplishments, some of which include passing a “milestone legislative package that gives domestic workers the full protections of New York State Human Rights Law. She also passed a landmark bill establishing New York State’s first-ever Asian American & Pacific Island (AAPI) Commission. As a strong advocate for public safety, Rajkumar passed a bill to expand compensation for victims of crime, which the Governor signed into law.” But perhaps some of the work she is most proud of is helping to establish Diwali as a recognized holiday in NYC public schools and she is confident it will soon be recognized throughout the state.
Having recounted much of her previous endeavors, Rajkumar then highlighted some of her other areas of interest including Artificial Intelligence (both its potential and the need for it to be overseen by the government), 3D printers and how they could help stave off the housing crisis, common sense immigration reform, issues in diplomacy and how we can work to bring people together, and last but certainly not least, working to change classroom textbooks that misrepresent South Asians and Hindus in particular.
Towards the end of the event, Ms. Rajkumar was asked “How can young South Asians get involved?” She responded by saying, “Just go and start. Don’t delay. Volunteer…start somewhere.” She also encouraged students to keep persisting and to be open to failure reminding them that failure is just the first step towards success.
When asked why he thought it was important for the Scarsdale community to hear from Assemblyperson Rajkumar, Arun Nayakkar said, ““When I learned about Assemblywoman’s efforts to get Diwali and Eid as recognized holidays in New York City, I couldn't help but feel that, for the first time, the South Asian voice was truly being heard. So, when the organization got the opportunity to invite her to speak, we immediately jumped at the chance. No matter the nationality or the religion, I firmly believe South Asians will play a pivotal role in the future of this country, and it starts with individuals like Assemblywoman Rajkumar paving the way for our community in government and politics.”
Rohan Sehgul had this to add, “It was great hearing from the Assemblywoman, and I thoroughly enjoyed sharing the message of her progress as a leading South Asian voice. To everyone who came out to listen to the Assemblywoman, it was great hearing their opinions and voices on the various topics we discussed. I hope this helped inspire future generations of leaders no matter their race or religion.”
At the BOE Meeting: Statements from Community Leaders on the Crisis in the Middle East
- Written by Wendy MacMillan
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Acknowledging the pain that many in our community have been feeling over the past two weeks, was at the forefront of the Board of Education meeting on Monday October 23rd. In his opening remarks, BOE President Ron Schulhof not only condemned the terrorist attacks against Israel on October 7th, but also made clear that The Board of Education does not tolerate any form of hate in our schools. On behalf of the BOE, Mr. Schulhof began the meeting by sharing this statement:
“It’s been an incredibly difficult past two weeks in the aftermath of the terrorist attack by Hamas on Israel. The Board condemns this heinous act of terror, mourns the lives lost, and hopes for the safe return of the hostages.
Given the deep connection many of our students, families, faculty, and community members have with Israel and the region, the impact in our community has been especially profound and heart-wrenching.
We understand that these events have not only impacted us emotionally, but that there are concerns for our safety in our own community. We are not immune to incidents of antisemitism, islamophobia, racism, and other forms of hateful action or speech. The Board of Education does not tolerate any form of hate in our schools. We have worked over the years to proactively put in place policies and structures to support an inclusive school environment. These policies also ensure our administrators have the appropriate tools and guidance to address inappropriate behavior.
Over the past two weeks, along with the administration, we have been actively engaged in the wake of this attack to support our schools, students and families, faculty and staff, and the entire school community. We are all here each and every day for our students. In this District, we will not be indifferent to the wrongs that occur in the world. We live by our mission of Non- Sibi, not for oneself, and are fortunate to have the students, families, community members, administrators, faculty, and staff that make it possible to come together in these difficult times.
Thank you to everyone for the support, care, and comfort you have shown each other and to our students.”
Superintendent Dr. Drew Patrick then offered his appreciation for Mr. Schulhof’s opening remarks and added, “ It has indeed been a profoundly difficult two weeks for our community.” Having previously communicated with our school community on this topic, Dr. Patrick went on to say, “I will confess to having struggled in recent days to decide how best to use these few moments I am privileged to have as Superintendent. I found myself reflecting on other critical moments and events that have occurred during my lifetime, and how those events often mark a time of “before” and “after”. Friday, October 6 - just one day before Hamas’ deadly incursion into Israel- was the 10th annual Global Citizenship Day at Scarsdale High School. Author Colum McCann was the keynote speaker, and he took the opportunity of the committee’s invitation to share his message of fearless hope through radical empathy. Mr. McCann is a brilliant writer and storyteller whose message to young people is to encourage them to know the grief, happiness, love, and sorrow of others to expand the world and to grow more deeply empathetic. Through his work as co-founder of the Narrative 4, he and other authors and artists have run programs in schools and communities all around the world helping those who share their stories to use them as a means to foster a sort of human reciprocity- “You take responsibility for my life; I take precious care of yours.”
Dr. Patrick then described how Mr. McCann helped our SHS students to “explore the idea of a story as a means to ‘..step into the shoes of others in order to be able to step back into our own.’” He added, “This is a message that we, as educators, take to heart. We are working every day to support our students and families by listening, building empathy and understanding, and fostering belonging.”
With this message in mind, Dr. Patrick reminded attendees about two important initiatives that the District is undertaking: First is a “survey to measure belonging as part of our wellbeing, inclusion, diversity, and equity efforts. Faculty and staff will be taking the survey in early November, with students in grades 4-12 and all parents following shortly thereafter.” Information about the survey will be shared on November 8th at the special “Share Out” program starting at 7:30pm in the SMS auditorium.
In addition to the Belong Survey, “We also have our community World Cafe dialogues scheduled for the evenings of November 15 and November 29 in person, and December 6 on Zoom. These conversations are perhaps more important than ever, and we urge the community to come, participate, and be in dialogue with others.”
During Public Comment later in the meeting, PTC President Leah Dembitzer shared a statement on behalf of the PT Council Executive Committee:
“The Scarsdale Parent-Teacher Council Executive Committee (PTC EC) was horrified and deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks in Israel last Saturday and the continued violence in the region. We offer our strength, support, and shared grief to the Scarsdale Schools’ Jewish community and to all others who have been touched deeply and indelibly by these tragic events. The PTC EC strongly condemns terrorism, hate, and antisemitism in all forms.
The PTC EC takes seriously its missions of creating and nurturing an inclusive community and of protecting the physical, mental, and emotional health of Scarsdale Schools’ students, parents, families, faculty, and staff. We believe that wherever and whenever innocent people are persecuted or terrorized, we need to stand together in solidarity and surround them with compassion and strength.
We understand that families in our community are struggling to navigate through this extremely disturbing crisis. We thank our schools for their commitment to supporting all of our students and ensuring that they feel safe emotionally and physically in these troubling times. You may find the resources shared by the District here. Furthermore, our PTC DEI and PTC Wellness committees are available as resources for parents.
Please reach out if we can support you in any way. You may do so by contacting any of our officers or committee chairs directly.”
Praise for Heroic Efforts by School Staff During Rainstorm
- Written by Wendy MacMillan
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At the Board of Education meeting on Monday October 2nd, the room was filled with gratitude and appreciation for all of those who went above and beyond to help during the weather emergency on Friday 9/30. BOE President, Ron Schulhof, began the meeting by stating:
“Before going into my specific comments for tonight’s meeting, I would like to thank all of the faculty and staff around the District for managing our schools on Friday and ensuring everyone was able to safely get home. I would especially like to thank our custodians, bus drivers, security guards, and the many other people who were out in the rain helping our students safely get into the buildings in the morning and then get home during dismissal. I think the community would also appreciate knowing that even after most people went home, there were custodians in all seven of our buildings that stayed overnight to ensure any additional rain or flooding was managed. While this is some of the work we don’t often see as parents, these efforts are what keep our buildings running in all types of weather and keep our students safe.”
Our Superintendent, Dr. Drew Patrick, echoed these sentiments and expressed his appreciation for the countless number of faculty and staff who jumped in to make Friday’s dismissal go as smoothly as possible, adding that many stayed late into the day even though they had their own long, treacherous drives home. Dr. Patrick also took time to recognize the efforts of the athletic department in conjunction with the maintenance, custodial, and grounds staff in swiftly repairing and preparing Butler Field after the storm, in order to host a football game on Sunday afternoon.
During the Building Report, Andrew Lennon, Assistant Superintendent for Business, first conveyed his deep appreciation for our bus drivers and all those who work in the transportation office. He described the commotion that resulted from the unexpected severity of Friday’s storm that left multiple phones ringing off the hook and the need for a myriad of drivers to make quick accommodations in order to respond to the weather emergency. Lennon explained how the entire team pulled together to work collaboratively and creatively to ensure that they deliver all of our students home safely. He commended the team on their flexibility and dedication to the safety of our students saying the teamwork of our drivers and transportation staff, their “can-do” attitudes, and their willingness to jump in, was incredibly impressive and left him in awe.
In addition, Mr. Lennon reported that during the weather event on Friday, multiple known “troubled areas” throughout the district were expertly attended to. Because of the attention and hard work of our custodial staff, we were able to keep leaks and water at bay in these spots and there is no new, major water damage to report. He also described how many custodians stayed in the buildings and worked continuously through the night on Friday to ensure the safety of our school grounds.
Both Dr. Patrick and Mr. Eric Rauschenbach described that administrators, faculty, and staff will meet with our DERT team in order to debrief about Friday’s weather event and to review their Emergency Response Plan. They hope to identify areas of strength as well as areas that may need improvement.
During the Public Comment portion of the meeting, PTC president Leah Dembitzer read a statement of gratitude in regard to the storm response:
“Good Evening. On behalf of the Scarsdale PT Council Executive Committee (PTC EC), which is comprised of the four PTC officers and the Presidents of the seven schools, I would like to extend a deep thank you to the District and Building Administration as well as the faculty and staff of our seven schools for your care of our community’s students and District Buildings. A special thank you to our building custodial teams - the best teams around. As it is National Custodian’s Day, the PTC EC would especially like to highlight the incredible hard work and care put forward by the building custodial teams.
The impact of Friday’s storm was unexpected and harrowing for so many in our community. The PTC EC thanks you for your sincere efforts and active communication under difficult and complicated circumstances.”
Dr. Patrick responded by stating that he was proud to be a part of such a supportive and wonderful community.
Other meeting highlights:
The BOE quickly reviewed the external audit report and the corrective action plan and later in the meeting resolved to accept the external audit report for the 2022-23 fiscal year as prepared by EFPR Group LLP and management's corrective action plan (CAP).
In addition to detailing current happenings at each of the elementary schools, in his update Dr. Patrick described a touching memorial service given at SMS for former Principal Mike McDermott. Fox Meadow elementary school will also hold a memorial for former principal Joan McCann.
.-Dr. Patrick congratulated Greenacres Elementary School on being named a National Blue Ribbon School.
-Dr. Patrick also announced that he will hold three Strategic Plan Public Sessions. The Scarsdale Public Schools are launching a series of public engagement sessions to discuss how best to prepare our students and our schools for the future. All community members are invited, and your input will be used to inform our next multi-year Strategic Plan. Please join us -- your voice matters! It's Our Future, Together. For more information and to sign up for one of the sessions please see: https://www.smore.com/ev921-our-future-together?ref=email
BOE Member Jessica Resnick-Ault, reported that the SAFE Coalition met on Monday 10/2 and discussed that October is National Bullying Prevention Month. They also discussed the “Everyone Knows Someone” program to be held on 10/27. For more about the SAFE Coalition click here:
Another BOE member Suzie Hahn who is also the liaison for the PTC, reported that a Special District Share Out Series will take place on Wednesday November 8th at 7:30pm in the Scarsdale Middle School Auditorium.
The PTC, SHS and SMS PTA joint program committees invite you to join us for an informative, two-part program as presented by district administrators. First Dr. Drew Patrick and Dr. Edgar McIntosh will introduce the Belonging Survey. Building on our theme of Connecting our WIDE (well-being, inclusion, diversity, and equity) Community, Dr. Patrick and Dr. McIntosh will outline the District's plan to engage students, parents, faculty, and staff this fall in a survey focused on belonging. They will explain how the survey fits into the district's DEI work, describe the survey measures and elements, and review the timeline for survey administration. They will also discuss how the results will be communicated and utilized to inform next steps in the work. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions during the session.
Next, Jeannie Crowley, Director of Technology and Innovation and William Yang K-12 Coordinator of Digital Learning & Literacy will share a selection of the survey results from the Technology Survey administered in June 2023. The Technology Department solicited survey responses from faculty, parents, SMS students, and SHS students. The anonymous surveys were collaboratively developed by the Technology Department, the PTC, and the STA. In their presentation, Ms. Crowley and Mr. Yang will highlight how the data artifacts can be used by parents, administrators, faculty, and students to learn more about the technology experiences of Scarsdale Public Schools community members.
A short Q & A session will follow the Tech Survey presentation. All are invited to submit questions prior to the presentation via this form:Technology Presentation Question Submission Form
The presentations will take place on Wednesday, November 8th at 7:30 pm in the Scarsdale Middle School Auditorium following the SMS PTA and SHS PTA meetings beginning at 7pm.
Dr. Edgar McIntosh reported that all of the fifth grade classroom teachers and PE teachers are working collaboratively to update the fifth grade Health Curriculum. When the update is complete, the new curriculum will be made available to parents.
-All NY State Test scores have been made available for parents to view. Though the state has not given the go ahead for any school district to discuss trends, or what the scores indicate for a particular district, as soon as the state gives clearance, McIntosh will present the findings.
Eric Raushcenbach related that the District Emergency Response Team (DERT) recently met to review all emergency response plans and conducted a tabletop exercise to practice what to do if there is a gas leak.
-Raushchenbach also reported that after the injury of an opposing team’s football player at our homecoming game, DERT met with the people who were present and administered care to the player, to debrief and review the response. The team evaluated response times and records and deduced that the timeframe from injury to the ambulance was 12 ½ minutes, in line with an expected timeframe. Raymond Pappalardi, our Director of Athletics, also described how Scarsdale goes above the state requirements and has a M.D. and athletic trainers at every football and hockey game. Dr. Patrick happily announced that the injured player is fully recovered.
Director of Athletics, Raymond Pappalardi presented an Athletics update for the BOE. Among many items, Pappalardi shared a thoughtful Statement of Purpose and also reported:
-In regards to the Field Study, two firms have been identified and are being evaluated.
-Fall enrollment in athletics is up this year and at the highest it has been in 5 years.
-All of our coaches take part in specialized DEI training.
-The Athletic Department is creating a survey that will be distributed to coaches and players before and after each seasonal sport. The department hopes to make sure that they are meeting the needs of all athletes and reaching appropriate goals.
To conclude the business portion of the meeting, the BOE discussed several information and discussion items, including a second reading of policy 5152 (Admission of non-resident students). The Board then voted to approve previously addressed policies, a new textbook for SMS titled Yellow Face, and gift proposals for Scarsdale Middle School, Scarsdale High School, and Quaker Ridge Elementary School.