July 8, 2019

What's happening in Chappaqua's schools - July 8, 2019

Have a great summerThe summer provides the opportunity to pause and offer thanks to our students, families, staff, Board of Education and the broader school community for another successful year. Please allow me to also share a sincere congratulations to our graduates; the entire District looks forward to hearing about all your future accomplishments as you journey beyond our community.

Over the course of the past school year, we have made tremendous strides as we continue to address our strategic coherence plan target areas. Social-emotional learning and curriculum alignment will continue to be high priorities for our school community moving forward. As our capital projects are completed, we are beginning to see our students thrive in our new spaces, as they grapple with solving challenging real-life problems using the design process and critical thinking skills through a collaborative approach. Our strong partnerships with Google, Microsoft, and Apple have enabled our staff to leverage technology in new ways to provide feedback, personalize instruction, and monitor student progress. Please take a moment to review a sampling of this work in our final newsletter for 2018/19.

During July and August, we will be busier than ever. We will be engaging in professional learning experiences, curriculum writing, hiring new faculty and staff, completing multiple construction projects and sprucing up our buildings and grounds. We are excited to open our doors for the new school year and will be preparing all summer for the arrival of our 3,900+ students and their families.

I hope you have a terrific summer and we'll see you in September.



#BaseCamp 2019 ~ Mission Accomplished!

Base camp 2019We are still trying to determine if BaseCamp 2019 was a fitting end to the 2018-2019 school year, or the unofficial start of 2019-2020. Either way, it was P.D. Done Differently on June 27th - the first day of summer vacation - as the Chappaqua Central School District hosted an un-conference that brought together 150 of the region's most innovative and energetic teachers, leaders, facilitators, and life-long learners.

It featured a grassroots agenda that was built for the participants, by the participants, so it expanded in real-time as the RSVPs came rolling in.

Sessions ranged from the traditional planned and facilitated symposiums, to the impromptu CrashCamp discussion sessions, Choose Your Own Adventure!, Spark Sessions for Leaders & Teachers, DemoSlam, Appy Hour, and Potluck P.D.

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Game expo at RBS
The Chappaqua Design Process was on full display during Roaring Brook's game expo, a celebration of multi-disciplinary project-based learning.

Grade 4 immigration simulation
RBS students recently completed a unit of study on immigration where they tackled the essential questions of what defines a culture?why would people leave their homeland?why did they choose America?, and how has immigration changed the United States?

mind mapping at RBS.
Roaring Brook learners deeply engaged in Mind Mapping their year. It was a simple and organic way to reflect on units of study and to help visualize connections between ideas.

All Rise. . .7B Supreme Court is now in session

Seventh-graders at Seven Bridges recently participated in The Constitution Works program, a four-week project-based learning program that emphasizes the central issues of democracy and government. 

In the classroom, the students collaborated to prepare oral arguments and questions for a mock Supreme Court hearing that examined issues of national security and freedom of the press. 

The culminating event was a memorable trip to the Town of New Castle Courthouse where the students, acting as U.S. government lawyers, counsel representing a fictional newspaper, and Supreme Court Justices, argued and finally decided on the merits of a 1st Amendment (freedom of the press) case.

Fake newspaper - Denver Dispatch. Kids in town hall courtroom. kids being sworn in as justices.

Denver Dispatch v. United States
A local newspaper has printed the first article of a six-part series about a secret biological weapons research plant. The government claims the lab and its information are secret and are seeking a court order blocking further publication because it feels the articles could jeopardize the safety of the nation. Is this a First Amendment violation?

First annual ChappHacks was a huge success!

First annual Chapp hacks competition.Three years ago, Rohan Acharya, now a rising senior at Horace Greeley High School, scoured the internet in search of a local hackathon to attend. When he couldn’t find one in Westchester, he had no choice but to travel to Boston to participate. After attending the event, Rohan realized that hackathons are a great way to meet like-minded students and learn from each other. So, he took the initiative to create something similar in Westchester and founded ChappHacks.

A hackathon is an event, typically lasting several hours, in which a large number of people collaborate to solve a challenge using technology. 

Acharya, along with the team of Jonathan Zhou, Tuan Dang, Stefanie Gschwind, and Cadence Weddle, brought the inaugural event to Robert E. Bell Middle School on June 9th, with guidance from James Howard, Joshua Culwell-Block, and Matthew Friedler. The 8-hour event drew 104 students in grades 7-12 from 37 schools across Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Fairfield, and New York City.

After a few ice-breaker activities, hackers were divided into 8-person teams to tackle real-world problems by prototyping apps and web-based solutions to teen health and wellness concerns such as sleep, suicide prevention, nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, and vaping.

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Grafflin students publish their work in a variety of ways.
Writers at Grafflin published their original Fairy Tales in a variety of ways using Adobe Spark, Keynote, Book Creator, Slides, and some even chose to use good old reliable paper and pencil.

kindergarten students in the podcasting studio at Grafflin.
Behind-the-scenes of "Curiosity Rox", a new podcast produced by kindergarten students. In the hot seat that week was Grafflin's own Mrs. Bartlik, answering insightful questions about her career and what it's like to be principal.

Reading books about courage in Grafflin's GLC.
Parent volunteers visit Grafflin's Global Learning Center to share with readers their favorite books about courage.

Ending their HG careers with internships and self-directed study

Since 2010, Greeley’s Senior Experience Program has provided 12th-graders with the opportunity to design personalized learning experiences. Beginning in May, students enrolled in the program were released from classes to pursue internships, self-directed study, or a hybrid part internship, part self-directed study. 

The goals of the program vary for each student. Whether it was learning professional and technical skills, experiencing the general demands of the real world, or carrying out a project or an activity that the student has not had the time or space to do while in school, the Senior Experience Program afforded students a real opportunity to explore career possibilities, pursue passions, give back to the community, make self-discoveries, and realize how their efforts can influence the world beyond the classroom.  

Senior experience presentations.

Students are not assigned internships as an important part of their learning comes from the process of securing their own internship or designing their own project. Students must also meet certain requirements during their experience, including spending at least 30 hours over 5 days each week engaged in their project, writing weekly reflections, meeting at least once a week with a faculty advisor, and making a final presentation at the end of their experience.

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Bell pilots PBL experiences in preparation for new STEAM Center

Students filtering water from a simulated mudslide.

When students return to Bell Middle School in the fall, a new 4,000 square foot STEAM Center will be waiting for them. In anticipation, teachers have spent the past year collaborating between subject areas to design and pilot units to ensure students will be engaged in rigorous and meaningful coursework. Two examples are a science/math/art and a Spanish/science project-based learning experience that were first introduced to students at the end of the year. 

One project challenged students to, as engineers, design a theatrical experience for all to enjoy. They began in science by exploring the properties of light and sound waves, and their interaction with other media, moved on to math to sketch a theater stage design and props to scale, and ended in art with the fabrication of their design and filming a scene. 

Another project had Spanish/science students address the real world problem experienced by the people in Peru as a result of the weather phenomenon, El Niño!  To begin, there was a simulated mudslide in the classroom and the use of a stream table to observe how pollution traveled. Then, students were challenged to test materials and prototype a tool that would remove pollutants from the water supply in the aftermath of the mudslide.

measuring, patterns and paper weaving.
Westorchard artists are hard at work combining textile art and mathematics with measuring, patterns and paper weaving.

a few students dressed like principal Skoog and assistant principal Stoever.
I spy with my little eye. . .a couple of Principal Skoog and Assistant Principal Stoever impersonators patrolling the halls during spirit week's "dress like a WO teacher" day.

rainforest research using technology.
WO students leverage different technology platforms such as Padlet and Google for Education to organize their research on the rainforest and to support their learning.

A Fond Farewell

At the June 12 Board of Education Meeting, the District paid homage to this year's retiring staff members. They have a collective 568 years of unwavering service to the children of the Chappaqua Central School District. Their commitment and dedication will surely be missed.

As part of the celebration, conductor Kim Meade and some of her orchestra students performed the most-fitting piece, Con Te Partiro, or "Time To Say Goodbye".

In Case You Missed It. . .

Upcoming Events

  • July 8-9:  Board of Education / Administration Retreat
  • July 10:  Board of Education Meeting, 7:30pm (HG)
  • July 19 - August 2:  HG Fall Sports Registration
  • August 5-19:  BS/SB Fall Modified Sports Registration
  • August 7:  Board of Education Meeting, 7:30pm (HG)
  • August 19:  HS Fall Sports Begin

2019-2020 Academic Calendar