November 27, 2019

What's Happening in Chappaqua's Schools. November 27, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!The American tradition of Thanksgiving has roots in the early phases of the relationship between Native Americans and the English colonists in the early 1600s. The practice of giving daily thanks for nature's offerings had been an important part of life for Native Americans and they articulated their sense of gratitude in an oration known as The Thanksgiving Address. Thanksgiving, as we know and experience it today, became entrenched as an annual celebration in 1863 when President Lincoln declared a "day of Thanksgiving" during the Civil War.

It is no coincidence that, in our elementary schools, the TLC word for November is Gratitude -- the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to consciously return kindness.

This Thanksgiving, I remain profoundly grateful for our engaged community, dedicated staff, and passionate students. Over the Holiday weekend, whether you are traveling near or far, or gathering here at home, I sincerely hope that time spent with family and friends brings you great joy and many moments of gratitude.


Christine Ackerman
Superintendent of Schools

Malala Yousafzai, Greeley Students and SB Orchestra.

ICYMI: HGHS Student Creates Hot Food Program To Feed The Homeless

“Never doubt that a small group of citizens can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
 – Margaret Mead

Finding an authentic audience

During the District's Strategic Coherence Planning process, the committee was tasked with answering the question, "What are the most important skills and attributes that our students should possess to be successful in life, learning and work beyond school." After surveying the entire school community, the committee used the responses to develop a Profile of a Greeley Graduate, with oral/written communication coming in as the #1 skill needed for success in life. 

One way in which the District emphasizes communication is by providing students with an authentic audience where they can share and showcase their work. These powerful interactions with authentic audiences allow students to apply, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize their content knowledge while at the same time receiving honest and meaningful feedback. Studies have shown that when students know someone beyond their teacher will see their work, they can be inspired to elevate the level of their work and achieve new goals.

Here are just a few examples of how students are sharing their classroom work with a larger audience:

Three WO students presenting to sharks in the imagination tank.Along with Art teacher, Sara Cury, Westorchard students in Erin Posner's Grade 4 class stepped into the 4th annual "Imagination Tank". 

After reading the book, "Classroom Habitudes: Teaching Habits and Attitudes for 21st-Century Learning" by Angela Maiers, Ms. Posner began taking each habitude -- Imagination, Curiosity, Self-Awareness, Adaptability, Perseverance, Courage, and Passion -- and created an interactive, hands-on, problem-based learning experience to better understand the benefits and importance of each habitude, not just for the fourth grade, but for life.

One goal of the "Imagination Tank" is to help her students define imagination by using the Chappaqua Design Process, which includes the following steps: 1) Brainstorming, 2) Planning, 3) Building/Creating/Making & Rebuilding/Recreating/Remaking, 4) Final Presentation, and 5) Reflection & Celebration.

Thank you to the volunteer "sharks" for providing an authentic audience and actionable feedback as students premiered their commercials and presented their innovative creations to solve real-world problems.


SoHyun Bae working with a student.Painter and Chappaqua parent SoHyun Bae held a master class with AP Drawing students as part of the humanities department's Miles Chair Lecture Series.

The artists are working on a portfolio that comprises 15 pieces of art, with each body of work demonstrating a sustained investigation through practice, experimentation, and revision. The student artist chooses their theme and has to develop a sequential body of work that demonstrates both conceptual and visual growth, with the most sophisticated portfolio demonstrating visual relationships among materials and intention.  

Students also shared multiple iterations of their concepts (sketches) to showcase their brainstorming process or stages of completion. Having another set of professional eyes reviewing their work, and providing feedback, is a valuable experience for any aspiring artist.


Pranay Talla delivering a lightning talk.Congratulations to Greeley senior Pranay Talla. Pranay recently presented both a poster and "lightning talk" on his research "The Thermodynamics of Covalent Modification Cycles as Biological Switches" at the 2019 IEEE MIT Undergraduate Research Technology Conference.

Hosted on the campus of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the IEEE MIT 2019 Undergraduate Research Technology Conference (URTC) brought together undergraduates from around the world to present, discuss, and develop solutions to advance technology for humanity.

Read More


Grafflin fourth grader gives a tour of the school-wide photography project.During Parent/Teacher conferences on November 5th, student docents conducted parent tours of the school-wide photography project, "Grafflin Through My Eyes." 

In the art classroom, students spent time learning how to communicate visually through photography. Students then discussed concepts such as composition, bird's eye view, worm's eye view, wide shots vs. close-ups, emphasis, movement, texture, and the "rule of thirds."

Patrons of the exhibit were asked to ponder, "Which photographs speak to you?" and "What is it about those photographs that draw you in?"


%th Grader and 2nd Grader share their writing.Happening Soon - On December 13th, Eileen Kenna's fifth-graders from Bell Middle School will visit Susan Diskin's second-graders at Roaring Brook Elementary to celebrate the writing process and share their memoirs. In preparation for the visit, second graders are selecting several of their favorite pieces from a variety of genres including small moments, all about books, authors as mentors, and persuasive letters to review.

Meanwhile, fifth graders have their audience in mind as they write their memoirs picking those stories that, upon reflection, show a shift in their lives. Students as a group will then share their advice about writing and spend time discussing how it feels to read their writing to an unfamiliar audience, and if there are any changes they would make after reading their writing aloud.

Each year, this collaboration allows students to share their implementation of taught techniques as they move forward in developing their writing fluency. Students also develop a heightened awareness of how much they have grown as writers and how conversing with an unfamiliar audience helps to reinforce their confidence, both as writers and as life-long learners.

Chappaqua PTA STEM Committee
Weekend of Code

Click Here To Register

Hour of Code
​Friday, December 6th
6pm - 7:30pm
Seven Bridges Middle School

Hour Of Code.

♦ Introductory-level coding session targeted at elementary students and middle school students that are new to coding.

♦ Introduction by STEM PTA and CCSD Lead STEAM/Math Support Teacher.

♦ Volunteer- and teacher-led breakout sessions to experiment with beginning code in SCRATCH. 

♦ Parents will assist their children with basic coding commands and concepts to build interactive programs to accomplish tasks.

♦ Parents will receive ahead of time the 4-5 sub programs that will be introduced so they can familiarize themselves beforehand. We will have volunteers in each breakout session to direct and assist.

♦ Time commitment 1.5 hours.

Day of Code Learning
​Saturday,  December 7th
10am - 2pm
Seven Bridges Middle School

Laptop and drone.

♦ Middle school-targeted session for students with basic coding experience.

♦ Introduction by STEM PTA and update by CCSD STEAM Curriculum Head.

♦ 2 x 1½-hour sessions coding in Python, Java, Drone programming, Mobile App programming and more.

♦ Led by various vendors and assisted by volunteers and teachers.

♦ Pizza provided.

♦ Opening remarks targeted to parents. (The event is drop off but parents are welcome to stay and observe.)

♦ Time commitment 2-4 hours. 

Hackathon and Presentations
Sunday, December 8th
10am - 2pm
Seven Bridges Middle School

Tables of people coding with laptops.

♦ Intro by STEM PTA.

♦ HGHS Student Club provides a short intro to the “Hackathon”.

♦ Pizza provided.

♦ Opportunity for students from “Day of Code Learning” and “Hackathon” to present their learning.

♦ Time commitment 3+ hours.




Upcoming Events

  • Nov. 27:  Early Dismissal - BS/SB at 11am; HG at 11:10am; DG/RB/WO at 11:50am (no lunch served)
  • Nov. 28-29:  Thanksgiving Recess - Schools are Closed
  • Nov. 30:  Class of 2019 Reunion Brunch, 12pm-2pm (Cafe)
  • Dec. 2-6:  National Inclusive Schools Week
  • Dec. 3:  HG Class of 2021 Day of Giving
  • ​Dec. 3:  RB Phonics Coffee, 9:30am
  • Dec. 3:  SB Band Concert, 7pm (PAC)
  • Dec. 4:  DG/RB/WO Learning to Look, 6:45pm
  • Dec. 4:  HG Orchestra Concert, 7pm (Aud)
  • Dec. 4:  Special Education Meeting - Assistive Technologies, 7pm (BS)
  • Dec. 5:  DG Phonics Coffee, 9:30am
  • Dec. 5:  BS Band Concert, 7pm (SB PAC)
  • Dec. 6:  HGSF Game Night, 7:30pm (Chappaqua Crossing - register)
  • Dec. 6-8:  CPTA STEM Weekend of Coding (SB)
  • Dec. 9:  BS Grades 5/6 Orchestra Concert, 7pm (Aud)
  • ​Dec. 9:  HG Pathways to Graduation for Students with Disabilities, 7pm (iLab)
  • ​Dec. 10:  WO Phonics Coffee, 9:30am
  • ​Dec. 10:  BS Grades 7/8 Orchestra Concert (Aud)
  • ​Dec. 10:  SB Orchestra Concert, 7pm (PAC)
  • ​Dec. 10:  Greeley Sports Boosters Meeting, 7:30pm (HG PE Classroom)
  • ​Dec. 11:  Board of Education Meeting, 7:30pm (HG Academic Commons)
  • ​Dec. 12:  HG Symphonic/Stage/Concert Bands Concert, 7pm (Aud)
  • ​Dec. 17:  SB Chorus Concert, 7pm (PAC)
  • ​Dec. 18:  HG Chorus Concert, 7pm (Aud)
  • ​Dec. 19:  BS Chorus Concert, 7pm (SB PAC)
  • ​Dec. 23 - Jan. 3:  Holiday Recess - Schools are Closed

Full Calendar

Athletic Events