April, 18 2020

What's Happening In Chappaqua's Schools April 18, 2020
NYSEDDear Chappaqua School Community,

I hope this email finds you and your family well. With our Student Remote Instruction Week during what traditionally would have been our Spring Recess, and then Tuesday's shift back to iLearning, I continue to be amazed by everyone's dedication, hard work, and commitment during these trying times.

We understand that iLearning can in no way replicate the magic of our classrooms in a digital environment. Nevertheless, with our community's significant investment in technology, and our willingness to integrate this technology into our instructional program, we were well positioned to create powerful learning experiences for our students from afar. 

With this in mind, we were pleased to find out that our District's continuity of learning plan - Essential Aspects for iLearning - was recognized and featured by the New York State Education Department as "a model plan that other districts can use as a resource when creating their plan." Our plan was a collaboration between Chappaqua Congress of Teachers Executive Council Members Miriam Longobardi, Brian Petruso and Mara Cohen, along with myself and Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Adam Pease. Before submitting our final version in mid-March, feedback was solicited from members of the larger teacher and administration groups.

Personally and professionally, COVID-19 will continue to challenge us in ways that we haven't experienced before. As we face this disruption to our practice together, let's continue to seize these opportunities and offer the best of ourselves to support each other and do what's best for kids. Working together, we will come out of this safe, healthy, and even more skillful at using technology to personalize learning.


Christine Ackerman
Superintendent of Schools 


Josh Culwell-BlockTransforming Education through Leadership & Learning

Congratulations to Josh Culwell-Block, winner of the 2020 TELL Award for Outstanding Innovative Leadership, presented by the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center.

"Recipients of this heralded award have demonstrated an outstanding, innovative or strategic approach to technology integration in their schools and district," said Kathy Conley, Executive Director of LHRIC. "It is our honor to recognize Josh's outstanding creativity, achievement, and technology skills."

Josh was named the District's Director of Technology, Innovation & Mathematics in 2018 and one of his first orders of business was to lead the charge in formulating the Technology Department Vision Statement as well as Digital Learning Goals to keep the District on the leading edge of technology and innovation.

For his first initiative, Josh wanted to ensure that all students had access to the digital tools they need for learning. This led him to shift to a 1:1 environment and today, all students in the Chappaqua Central School District have access to a digital learning device.

As Josh was improving student access to devices, he was also improving the infrastructure that supports mobile online learning. Some of these critical improvements including upgrading the WiFi access and bandwidth of our schools, implementing a printing and badging system to help move the District to become paperless, and expanding the District's learning management system to include students in grades 5-12.

Innovative Instructional Spaces
In addition to learning devices and infrastructure, over the past two years, Josh has overseen the construction of  several new innovative learning spaces throughout our school district. Each of our schools has a brand new and developmentally appropriate MakerSpace or STEAM Center. These spaces were built to mirror the Chappaqua Design Process so that students moving through the process (brainstorming, production and reflection) understand where they are in the process, understand why they are there, and have the resources they need for each phase of production. Students in these spaces learn both physical and virtual production skills through a hands-on approach while simultaneously building their problem-solving and collaboration skills.

His integration of STEAM and instructional technology has laid the groundwork for teachers to leverage creativity and self-expression as an integral part of the Chappaqua learning experience. Throughout the District, and across the grade levels, students are creating books, crafting music, producing podcasts, filming and editing traditional and stop-motion videos, designing 2D and 3D inventions and artwork, and integrating all manner of media for both self-expression and application of their learning across all disciplines.

Digital Citizenship
Leading the charge in safety and security, Josh has spearheaded the work regarding digital citizenship. With parent evenings, faculty meetings, and administrator education sessions, Josh has been educating the community and all constituents about internet safety, phishing scams, digital responsibility, and cybersecurity. In addition, he has worked hard to ensure that all student data and privacy are at the highest, most stringent level of compliance.

"Josh's leadership in technology has positively impacted the teaching and learning within and beyond our school community in so many ways," said Dr. Ackerman, Superintendent of Schools. "His commitment to innovation, student-centered instruction, and active problem-based learning has spearheaded the shift in our District away from traditional, teacher-centered classrooms toward a more personalized, active, and engaged student experience."


Virtual ForumChappaqua PTA To Host Virtual Community Budget Forum

On Wednesday, April 22nd at 6:30pm, the Chappaqua PTA will be hosting a virtual school budget community forum using the Zoom video conferencing platform.

Superintendent Christine Ackerman, Assistant Superintendent for Business John Chow, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Adam Pease, and Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Leadership Development Tony Sinanis will present a brief overview of the proposed budget, which will then be followed by a Q&A session moderated by the PTA. Please use this form to submit your question in advance.

Please click HERE to join the webinar on 4/22 at 6:30pm.

The Board of Education is scheduled to vote whether or not to adopt the 2020-2021 Proposed School Budget on Wednesday, April 29th.

As always, you can email the Board of Education at board@ccsd.ws at any time.


Lincoln Thanks YouGreeley Grads On The Front Lines

Rykiel Levine ('09) and Adam Rodrigues ('06) are emergency medicine resident physicians at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the South Bronx.

They were looking to raise awareness regarding an urgent need for PPE, funding, and general support including care packages, clothing, food, and messages of encouragement. . .and boy did CCSD deliver.

Rykiel said they have since received many emails of support and students even embarked on some passion projects with them in mind. Rykiel was kind enough to send the accompanying photo.


Our recent Student Remote Instruction Week (April 6-13) was designed to engage students in learning around topics of interest, continue long-term assignments, develop passion projects, participate in daily physical education challenges, and explore iBounce and Adventure boards under instructional guidance from our faculty.

Please take a look at just some of the innovative passion projects pursued by our students.

Pathogen Projectwww.PathogenProject.org

Tenth-graders Tingting Chung and Sunoo Kim collaborated on a website - www.pathogenproject.org - to raise awareness about global problems, such as viruses or any microorganisms, that cause diseases. 

Their current focus is COVID-19, and they publish short, easy-to-read news articles and blogs for public consumption.

They continue to update the website daily and plan on adding a 'Mental Health & Coping' section that will help families address loss-of-life along with a 'Genetics & Research' section to focus on the progress of vaccine development.


The Big HouseEntering The Big House

For their Passion Project, Grafflin 3rd-Graders Jackson Finkler and Dylan Weiss chose to Hack-A-Problem that the University of Michigan might face in September. . .how to allow fans to safely attend games at The Big House in case the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into the college football season. 

Both students are huge Wolverine football fans, and after some brainstorming and doing the research, they came up with ideas and suggestions in the form of a Google Slide presentation for the U-M Athletic Department to consider. 

They addressed issues such as student and fan entrances, refunds, player & coach safety, tailgating, seating, eating/drinking, and hygiene. #GoBlue


Thank YouThank You All Health Care Workers...Our Heroes

After reaching out to Rykiel Levine, four friends at Bell Middle School - Miles Brensilver, Landon Hoffner, Cole Rothenberg, and Caden Schwartz - collaborated online for this passion project video thanking those working on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We came up with this idea because we wanted to make the health care workers feel appreciated and feel great about what they have done, and what they are doing!"

Using Google Docs and text messages, they were able to collect short clips from their classmates offering words of encouragement, and then put it all together with iMovie.


Bryce JacobsQuarantine Goodie Bags

Bryce Jacobs, a 5th-grader at Seven Bridges Middle School, chose to assemble quarantine bags with treats, toiletries, and cards of well-wishes. 

After coordinating with Rykiel Levine, Bryce decided to make bags for elders who are home alone, as well as for the doctors and health care workers at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the South Bronx.

According to Bryce, "The reason why I am doing this is because I thought it would be a nice thing to do for people to help them feel less scared, more relaxed and also to show appreciation."


Twisted GrapheneModeling Physical Properties Of Twisted Graphene

Advait Huggahalli, an 8th-grader at Seven Bridges, researched the emerging field in physics of Twistronics, but more specifically, the revelation of twisted graphene and its superconductive properties. A portmanteau of 'twist' and 'electronics', Twistronics is the study of how the angle (or twist) between layers of two-dimensional materials can change their electrical properties.

In addition to his research, Advait wrote a Python program that can create any moiré pattern with virtual graphene lattices embedded in his code.

"Although humanity has only scratched the surface of what twisted graphene brings to the table, I think the code I wrote will make it so much easier for scientists working with this wonder material to test for superconductive and insulative properties, without having to do immense testing a lab," Advait explained. He plans to use this project to enter the upcoming Tri-County Science Festival.


Chalhoub Bros.Chalhoub Boys Save The Planet

Three brothers from Grafflin - Alex, Chris, and Nicky - teamed up for this Passion Project video presentation on what we can do to help save the planet. 

They researched inorganic waste recycling, discussed microplastic leaching and its harmful effects on the environment, and the effects of methane gas from landfills being released into the atmosphere.

They concluded by illustrating the composting lifecycle and the benefits of recycling organic waste.

"Night and day I am your planet, the only one you have. Please take care of me!"


Virtual Garage SaleThe Tucker's Virtual Garage Sale

Bradley Tucker, a second-grade student at Roaring Brook, spent many hours during spring break working with his siblings to organize a virtual garage sale/fundraiser to benefit Northern Westchester Hospital. 

They worked hard to select, prepare, wash and list toys and baby gear via the Chappaqua Moms Facebook page. Bidding closed on Friday and all proceeds were sent directly to NWH. 

The kids have gotten so much joy from helping others who have been working selflessly for us and our community!


Alien Paradox#StayHomeSweetHome

The show must go on for these talented 8th-graders. The band Alien Paradox had practiced for months and prepared a 3-song setlist for what was to be their final act at Seven Bridges during the school's talent show scheduled for March 20th.

They decided that physical distancing could not stop their love of performing together and virtually recorded a cover of Motley Crue's "Home Sweet Home."

Using Adobe Creative Cloud software made available by the District, Ollie edited and stitched together the four recordings to create a master audio/video track.

The band hopes to encourage people to get inspired by music during these challenging times and to #StayHomeSweetHome during the ongoing pandemic.
Alien Paradox: Ciela Elliott (lead singer), Ollie Baccay (guitar), Jayden Holmes (drums), and Finn Franks (piano & bass guitar) 


Masks for MealsMasks For Meals

On April 3rd, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines advising that face masks/coverings be worn at all times in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. "We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms and that even those who eventually develop symptoms can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms," the CDC said in a statement.

For their Passion Project, Lawson (WO), Lacey (WO) and Tucker (SB) Chmielecki helped to make masks and sold them with Will Johns (SB) to raise money for meals for first responders. 

Katelyn (WO) and Jackson (SB) Fishman created the advertising signs for the sale and together they have raised over $500 so far!

Breaking News: Governor Cuomo has signed an executive order mandating that starting on April 17th all New Yorkers going out in public during the coronavirus crisis must wear a face mask or cloth covering when unable to maintain social distance space of 6 feet.


We wish that we could spotlight all of the wonderful submissions that we received from students. Please visit the following Passion Project Padlet Boards that has an archive of all student submissions.

acro gymnastics • chain reaction • old dog / new tricks • poetry • DIY face mask • tennis • thank you cards & signs • piano • marble run • social distance dance party • choreography • infinity gauntlet • toys for shelter dogs • Genie from Aladdin (documentary) • cooking & baking • reading to kids • crafting • Fortnite invention • gender equality • camping things • ocean pollution • remote control car using gas / oil • long-range basketball shot • cartwheel / handstand / headstand • clarinet / viola • miniature bedroom model • climate change • ending poverty • singing • keeping preschoolers entertained • mysteries & maps • watercolor • digital poster • skateboarding • robo-medic • logo design • rainwater filter • gardening • competing in quarantine • tips on dog training • a day in the life (COVID style)


Class of 2033Kindergarten Enrollment For September 2020

During the week of May 11th, completed registration packets can be submitted via an online platform. More information will be made available as we get closer to the date.

As a reminder, District children who will be 5 years old by December 31, 2020 are eligible to begin kindergarten in the Fall of 2020.

If you have not received a registration packet, please take a moment to pre-register your child by contacting Mary Marchionno, the District Registrar, at MaMarchionno@ccsd.ws or 238-7200 ext. 1007.


NY Is Counting On YouMake Sure You're Counted

New York State's fair share of the more than $800B in federal funds for programs essential to health care, housing, economic development, and transportation, as well as New York's congressional representation in Washington D.C., all depend on an accurate and fully-counted census response.

At the local level, the census count impacts the amount of federal dollars communities receive for school funding, special education, classroom technology, teacher training, after-school programs, school lunch assistance, and more.

The Chappaqua Central School District is just one of the many organizations seeking to raise awareness to have all of New York's residents counted to ensure adequate funding.

Participating in the 2020 Census is easy. You will be asked to answer a simple questionnaire about yourself and everyone who is living with you as of April 1, 2020.

The U.S. Census Bureau website shows the questions you'll be asked (no citizenship question), provides tips for responding to each one, and information on how the Census Bureau will use your answers. Explore the Census Form and questions.

For more information, please visit New York State 2020 Census.