Tuesday, Oct 03rd

Raiders to Keep Their Name, Inequities in Sports Participation, Gifts to the Schools and More from the BOE

girlslacrosseThe NYS Education Department says Raiders can keep their name.At the last meeting of the school year, the school board got an update on the Raider’s name, discussed gift policy, named an interim Principal for Scarsdale Middle School and praised departing administrators Carol Priore and Stuart Mattey. The meeting was led by Board VP Ron Schulhof as Board President Amber Yusuf was out.

Cell Service
About improvements in cell phone service Schulhof reported that Verizon plans to have improvements at Fox Meadow and the high school in place by September and that discussions with T-Mobile are in process. He also noted that the Board held a retreat for self-evaluation and that he attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the district’s first softball field at Greenacres. See more here.

Raiders to Keep Their Name

Superintendent Drew Patrick and Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi held a conference call with David Frank, who serves as the Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy to review the new mascot regulations. Patrick explained what he learned about the Raider name and research on the name from Colgate University who uses the same mascot. He said, “We have no evidence of ever using indigenous imagery with our team name. I am pleased to report that Frank agreed – and assured us that we can keep the Raider’s name. Therefore the matter is resolved!”

Book BorrowingSD7Seniors display their copies of Bandersnatch

By the numbers: Patrick reported that Greenacres Library has analyzed their library book borrowing and found that one fourth grade student topped the list, borrowing 164 books this year. In total over 16,000 books were borrowed and over 2,000 students signed into the library out of class time. Patrick also noted that at the High School the 2023 yearbook, Bandersnatch, is out.

Graduation Dates

Patrick announced that the Alternative School graduation will be held on June 16 at 4 pm and the SHS Graduation will again be held in the evening, on June 22 at 6:30 pm on Butler Field.

Interim Principal for Scarsdale Middle School

Assistant Principal Chris Coughlin was officially named the interim Principal of Scarsdale Middle School effective July 1, 2023, replacing current principal Meghan Troy who is now an Assistant Superintendent.

CoughlinCoughlin was named Interim Principal of Scarsdale Middle SchoolFacilities

Stuart Mattey gave an update on summer facilities work planned for the district.

-The Heathcote offices will be renovated this summer
-Beginning June 12, work will be done at Butler Field to repair damage from flooding. The work should take about a week.

Sports Participation Numbers

Athletic Director Ray Pappalardi followed up on some statistics he had presented to the Board in April, which showed a decline in girls participation in sports. He reported that he re-ran the reports and found that participation in girls flag football and boys crew had been omitted from the report. When those numbers were included he concluded that participation is actually on a good trend. Scarsdale currently has overall participation of 58% boys to 42% girls for spring sports which is in line with 2018-19.

Pappalardi said he did some research to determine what was behind the disparity in girls participation rates in sports. He spoke to parents, interviewed girls, and held focus groups.


He found that the following factors influenced girls decisions:
-A perception of competence – kids know what they are good at.
-Traditional vs. non-traditional sport participation – things like dance and alternate activities
-Expectations for participation in youth and high school sports are not always the same.

He plans to address these concerns in the future with:
-Clearer communication about our purpose and values, especially related to equity
-Development of a common language and shared purpose
-Inclusion of ISO’s (include parents, coaches and ISO’s, in the high school transition)
-Examination of our programs – need a streamlined survey process.

Jessica Resnick Ault thanked Pappalardi for coming back with more concrete numbers. She asked about the process is for assessing the introduction of some of those additional non-traditional sports?


He replied, “We assess the level of student interest and our ability to run these programs. At the middle school, we look for trends that will drive participation in our programs at the high school. We are going to try to make the transition easier from the Youth programs to the high school programs. “We will try to bridge that level of interest or a spectrum of interest for student athletes so that there's a balance of fun for fun sake, and competition, so that we don't drive students away with high levels of competition.”

Ron Schulhof said, “Are you collecting data on whether this would be the students first sport or a potential replacement?” Pappalardi said, “For example, Flag Football for girls has not become a siphon off of any other sports. I think we've had two girls who came from other sports out of the 40 on both teams. He added, “At the middle school we do try to gather information about interest and decide whether that is sustainable, and then whether there's competition for it.”


Eric Rauschenbach reported that he and Mike Spedaliere attended the first annual school safety summit put on by the New York State Education Department. He said, “There was a wealth of classes around Crisis Response, around bringing belonging into the school safety world as a major pillar, which we've been doing here. It was a validating experience seeing what the best practices were and in large part being able to check off those best practices things that we practice here in Scarsdale.”

He also said, “We are doing our final testing of the integrated lockdown system the week after school ends. So there will be notices going out to the community that they may hear lockdown announcements and drills at the various schools around the district. “

Case of the Missing Tortoise

Rauschenbach continued on a lighter note. He said, “At Fox Meadow it seems that we had the case of a missing tortoise. It disappeared out of one classroom and was found making a flee for it down the hallway. So we are investigating how the tort made its way out of a classroom and found his way down the hall. Patrick asked, “Does it have its ID?”

Summer Curriculum Work

Edgar McIntosh said that this summer teachers will be working in collaborative groups to update refine, align and enrich existing curriculum and assessments as well as expand and develop new curriculum and assessments. He outlined a long list of projects that will be done including interdisciplinary work on belonging, wellness, inclusion, diversity and equity. At both the high school and middle school they will be looking at grading practices and curricular and instructional alignment. “

Public Comment

During Public comments, PTC President Lauren Grossberg said, “I'm speaking on behalf of myself as in my role as the PTC president but not on behalf of the PTC. So you may or may not know but traditionally the outgoing PTC president makes a statement at the last Board of Ed meeting each year with a focus on wishing the outgoing board members the best of everything and unusual circumstances. We do not have any outgoing board members this year. This has only happened two other times since before 2010. The last time being 2017-2018.

Regardless, it didn't feel right to pass up the opportunity to say how much I valued being in the role of PTC president and being able to liaise with the board are open dialogue is crucial to the work we all do on behalf of our school community. I look forward to seeing all the great work this repeat board does next year. I'd also like to take a quick moment to wish Stewart Mattey and Carol Priore, a wonderful retirement and re retirement and welcome Megan Troy and Andrew Landon to the cabinet.”

Gift Summary and Policy

Following a discussion about a large gift from the Fox Meadow PTA to build an outdoor classroom at a prior meeting, Superintendent Patrick introduced the topic of gifts to the school. As a summary this year, the board accepted a total of $327,182.91 in gifts from 11 different donors or donor organizations. The largest single gift came from the Scarsdale Schools Education Foundation to fund the purchase of furniture for the Scarsdale Middle School library.

He said, “We also received generous gifts from each of our PTAs and from Maroon and White in addition to a few other organizations and individuals on behalf of the district. I want to express our collective gratitude once again for these gifts and we're grateful for the generosity of our community and appreciate each and every one of these gifts.

He introduced a draft of a document that describes gift procedures which you can see here.

He explained that the intent of the document is to help bring clarity and support organizations and individuals who are interested in gifting guidelines. It outlines what to think about, what to do, who to contact when, and how the process works from the district’s side, once an offer of a gift is made through the form of a letter or a notification.

He said, “The first step in the in the procedure as we drafted it flushes out some guiding questions like, is the proposed gift part of the core educational program and therefore something that districts should take financial responsibility for? Other questions are, does the proposed gift accelerate implementation of an idea or a program or a practice? How does it fit into the donors or the donor an organization, multi-year commitment? These are not questions that have to be written down and responded to, but they're a guide to the thinking that might take place as a donor individual or organization contemplates making a gift. “ The remainder of the document moves in the steps that are required for drafting of a memo submission.”

He continued, “The idea here is that this is a draft and then perhaps once we've lived with it for a little while, could become like an exhibit attached to the policy, and that way people would know it's linked. So that's something that board can consider and we may recommend doing that.”

Board members thanked Patrick and commented:

Suzie Hahn Pascutti said, “You might consider putting “equity” as just one of the considerations?

Bob Klein said, “Is it typical or not to put number boundaries on gifts or in terms of the amount or not?”

Jim Dugan asked, “How would this policy affect the process in terms of timing for a gift to be approved by the by the district and the board? Patrick said, “This doesn't mark any change the policy. This is just a procedure and it largely reflects the same timing that we followed as long as I've been paying attention to this.”

Speaking for Amber Yusuf, Ron Schulhof said, “In terms of step two, where there's discussion and a request for more information, the donor organization should provide that to the Board based on that discussion.”

For item three, whether it would be helpful to provide background on who the donor has already spoken to. I think the idea that Amber was trying to convey was just to bring as much information to the board ahead of time to get ahead of any questions that might come up.

Patrick discussed the benefit of outdoors spaces for education vis-à-vis the proposed gift from the Fox Meadow PTA.

Gift for Edgewood Elementary

The Board accepted a gift for $2,600 for the Edgewood School to purchase wireless mics to improve the acoustics at performances.

Praise for Mattey and Priore

Carol PrioreCarol PrioreAfter a discussion of the Board’s self evaluation process, the Superintendent made some comments about retiring cabinet members Carol Prioire and Stuart Mattey.

He said, “So part of our plan for this section of the meeting was to recognize Ron and Amber for their incredible leadership this year, leading all of those ambitious goals and priorities that were just discussed in the self-evaluation. But we're going to wait till Amber's back and we're going to take the chance on July 6 to say some nice words and celebrate your leadership over the last year, both of you but we also have two other colleagues at the table who are moving on and this is the last board meeting of the year. So I'll start with Carol.

Carol as I took over as Interim Superintendent just over a year ago, I knew the biggest practical challenge facing me was how on earth would we navigate all the HR work ahead as I left that role? You stepped in with confidence, a can do attitude and with the necessary knowledge and skills to handle the work. Most importantly, however you develop the trust and confidence of those around you. Your previous service to Scarsdale meant that you had relationships and bonds with people but it is really your positive attitude, empathy, student centered belief system and your kindness that have made your work here so successful. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you've done for this district.

Turning to Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey, Patrick said, I can’t express how much your partnership has meant to me. Truly from the day I arrived in Scarsdale you helped me to read the culture. You supported me heavily in those early contract negotiations, then you let me take on more responsibility as I found my own footing. A careful considered discussion has been par for the course on every single topic we have put our heads together on, and since I have taken on the role of Superintendent you have taught me even more. And one of the things I am most proud of is this past budget process which we managed both behind the scenes and in public. Thank you for the strong foundation of practice that you’ve instituted over the past eight years. You have set Scarsdale and your successor up for success. I know you will enjoy the next phase of your life with Robin and your family and it is very well deserved.

Board Vice President Ron Schulhof also thanked Mattey and Priore on behalf of himself and Board President Amber Yusuf.

He said, “Stuart: Thank you for your dedication and commitment to this District and our students over the past 8 years. Throughout your time in Scarsdale you have overseen a budget process that provided the resources for our district to continue its educational excellence while also managing this process in the tax cap era. You have also successfully helped pass multiple bond issuances as well as ensuring the successful implementation of the bond work that touched every building in the district and most recently culminated with the bond to address the long overdue renovation of the High School Auditorium.MatteyStuart Mattey

While the community may see your work on the budget and bond firsthand at board meeting, you lead many other important areas that are student focused.

Your work to bring food service to four elementary schools will have a lasting impact, and your willingness to work with parents to bring healthy and nutritious options to all students is notable. For several years you also managed the District’s Safety and Security work, including ushering in many key improvements throughout the District such as the security vestibules and safety monitor program. In addition to all these areas, you have also managed our large and complex transportation program and have kept our buildings running day in and day out through quite a wide array of challenges, from flooding to pipe breaks to emergency repairs.

We wish you a wonderful retirement and hope you’ll stop by for the first performance in the new auditorium space.

Carol: Thank you for taking the time out of your retirement to come back to Scarsdale and support our district this year. It’s been quite the busy year for recruiting at all levels throughout the district and our buildings. You ensured our human resources and leadership development areas continued the high level of excellence throughout the year and maintained our collaborative approach to hiring and professional development training. Thank you for your leadership during the collective bargaining process this year. We wish you all the best as you continue your retirement and thank you for being here for this year to support the Scarsdale Schools.”

Watch the meeting here:

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