October 3, 2020

Chappaqua Central School District

RB KDear Chappaqua Central School District Community:

I hope this first edition of What's Happening In Chappaqua’s Schools finds you and your family doing well as we start the second month of the school year. Thank you for your partnership in successfully and safely navigating September - it was great to have our teachers and students back in our buildings!

Our administrators, faculty, and staff are working so incredibly hard to ensure all of our children learn and thrive during this unprecedented experience. And, as we move forward with our plans to increase the number of secondary-level students we have onsite, we will continue to take advantage of our outdoor spaces, reimagine use of our indoor spaces, and instill in all of our students the importance of social, emotional and physical safety and wellbeing.

I would also like to thank you for your continued patience as we learn from our experiences and improve our practices. Your perseverance, resilience and determination as we faced some new challenges has enabled us to continue to provide all the traditional hallmarks of a Chappaqua education -- problem-solving, thoughtful communication and critical thinking.

Please take a moment to read a few highlights from our first few days of the 2020-21 school year and important COVID-19 updates.


Christine Ackerman, PhD
Superintendent of Schools


We have updated our Continuity of Learning Plan and supplemental Remote Learning Plan to reflect our shift in onsite capacity, adjustments in our practices based on our experiences, and new guidance from the NYS Department of Health (below). Also, to ensure all families complete the morning health screening document, starting Monday, October 5th, all parents of students attending onsite will receive text message reminders.   

NYSDOH COVID-19 In-Person Decision Making Flowchart for Student Attendance

NYSDOH COVID-19 Guide for School Administrators and Schools Nurses

Sustainability Research CenterCCSD & CSF Innovation Committee Plans for our New Sustainability Center

Following the Board of Education’s acceptance of an incredibly generous donation of 1.5 million dollars, made possible by the Robert and Ardis James Foundation, the District’s Innovation Committee came together on September 29th to review the architectural drawings provided by lead architect Erik Kaeyer and his associates at KG&D. The CCSD Innovation Committee, led by Dr. Pease and Mr. Culwell-Block, includes members from the Chappaqua School Foundation, student officers from Greeley’s Sustainability Club, as well as Greeley faculty members and administrators. This team has developed an instructional vision for this new, cutting-edge research facility, and will work collaboratively with the design team to ensure that the design supports the instructional vision.

This new Sustainability Center, to be constructed on the Greeley campus, will provide an environment for students to conduct biological and ecological research while expanding experiential learning opportunities. Once built, this modern, climate-controlled greenhouse will create the opportunity for new programs and courses in the areas of plant science, ecology, environmental science, and sustainability. The Sustainability Center will be used year-round and will support programs for students in grades K-12.

In addition to the above donation, we would also like to recognize and thank the Chappaqua School Foundation and Chappaqua Parent Teacher Association for their generous donations and partnership as we work together in realizing the vision of our new Sustainability Center.

The Person You Mean To BeAuthor, Researcher and Professor Dr. Dolly Chugh will Address CCSD Staff on November 3, 2020 on issues of Bias, Equity and Inclusion

We are excited to welcome Dr. Dolly Chugh, an award-winning social psychologist at the New York University Stern School of Business, BIPOC woman and author of “The Person You Mean To Be” to speak with our faculty and staff on November 3rd, which is a day of professional learning.

Dr. Chugh’s book addresses how to confront difficult issues including racism, sexism, inequality, and injustice so that we can make the world (and ourselves) better. Dr. Chugh writes in depth about unconscious and implicit bias and how those impact the way we experience the world.

Dr. Chugh’s TEDTalk was designated one of the Top 25 TEDTalks in 2018. All faculty members will receive a copy of Dr. Chugh’s book and will have the opportunity to read it prior to her visit and pose questions to her; all of which will inform our district’s equity and anti-racism work.

AthleticsFall Sports Began on September 29th

For the first time since March 2020, we opened our fields and welcomed our tennis, soccer, field hockey and cross country student-athletes.

To accomplish this safely, we developed protocols and procedures based on guidance outlined by the NYS Department of Health, NYS Education Department, Section 1, and the New York State High School Athletic Association.

We consulted with our district physician as well as other school districts in our region. And, while our CCSD Return to Athletics Plan focuses primarily on the fall program, it sets the stage for how we will also approach the winter and spring seasons.

Jacqueline AbairMs. Abair Receives University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award

Jacqueline Abair, an English teacher at Horace Greeley High School for the past 29 years, has received the University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award.

Students accepted into the University of Chicago Class of 2024 had the opportunity to reflect on their time in high school and nominate an educator who played a significant role in their education, made a positive impact in their lives, and whose influence has brought them to where they are today. An Outstanding Educator shapes young minds in meaningful ways--thoughtfully approaching instruction, sharing an infectious love for learning, and caring for students both inside and outside of the classroom.

The University of Chicago is honored to recognize excellence in teaching and sincerely congratulates this year’s Outstanding Educator Award winners, who are exceptional in their field and role models for all students. “The University deeply appreciates these educators as they have been critical in nurturing and inspiring the students. We thank them for going above and beyond the call of duty every day and leaving an impression that will be carried for a lifetime.

All award winners received a commemorative award, certificate and letter that includes details from the student who nominated them.

Composite Picture

Erica DunneThe Veterans of New Castle

After interviewing 18 New Castle veterans, senior Erica Dunne transformed their stories into an 84-page book titled, “The Veterans of New Castle,” which includes pictures, maps and badges for reference.

“Every year, I deliver cookies to veterans on Veterans Day and hear a variety of service stories, ranging from WWII to the Afghan conflict,” Erica explained. Many of the veterans I’d meet were rarely asked about their service. I knew I wanted to give them the recognition they deserved and bring to light these stories for the community.”

This journey started as a Girl Scout Gold Award project, but ended up encompassing so much more as Erica developed a website, created veteran educational programs for elementary students, and founded New Castle’s first Veterans Day Event, and as well as other pursuits.

She stated that the most challenging part of the process was transcribing the veteran interviews from audio form into a compelling, concise story. She knew she didn’t want to simply transcribe the interviews word-for-word, but make them engaging for all ages in the community. “Most of my interviews were well over 45 minutes, so it often took a while to decide how to organize each story, as every veteran shared something different and none of the stories followed the same format,” Erica said.

Her favorite part of the project was getting to stay in touch with many of the veterans after the interviews. Many sent her veterans’ resources, newspaper clippings, and even Morse code translations after the interview sessions. “I felt so grateful that they were willing to be so open and honest about their stories--even when describing the unfortunate problems veterans face, from PTSD to job discrimination.”

Erica donated a copy to Greeley’s Global Learning Center, and copies are also available for reference at the Chappaqua Public Library, and are on sale at the New Castle Historical Society. For more information, visit www.newcastleveterans.org.

HGHS NMSP2021 National Merit Scholarship Program

Commended Students
In late September, it was announced that 29 Greeley seniors were recognized by the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program as a COMMENDED STUDENT on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score to the 2019 PSAT/NMSQT exam. Our students were among the 34,000 commended students throughout the nation being acknowledged for their exceptional academic promise. Congratulations to:

Nicolas Andreshak
Evan Bazel
Kaitlin Blakeslee
Caroline Bomback
William Brandes
Matthew Burack
Riley Card
Daniella Chung
Matthew Crowe
Ainsley Cunningham

Karinna Cvijanovich
Jack Engel
Andrew Fogarty
Matthew Ginsburg
Anna Hallac
Eliza Hawthorne
Benjamin Hirschfield
Jason Kang
Elizabeth Knox
Sabastian Kockler

Eleanor Lynch
Owen Parsons
Molly Pluta
Samuel Rosenberg
Monica Rosu
Daniel Seong
Zoya Yan
Rishi Young
Jonathan Zhou

Congratulations to the 20 Greeley students who were among the 16,000 high school seniors nationwide to be named a SEMIFINALIST in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Competition.

Akanksha Basil
Joseph Blair
Tuan Anh Dang
Caroline Gershman
Ryan Guber
William Hutchings
Valerie Lippin
Leona Liu
Kyle McAfee
Dina Millerman

Sumer Moudgill
Ishan Roy
Lori Saxena
Lauren Schmutz
Kayla Singer
Cadence Weddle
Jack Wei
Katharine Wohl
Thomas Ye
Morgan Ziegler

Our students received this distinction by scoring among the top 5% of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2021 scholarship program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.


To learn more about HGSF and to make a donation, please visit www.hgsf.org.

Census 2020Census 2020 closes on Monday, October 5th.

The Town of New Castle’s response rate is only 81.6% (as of 9/22).

Please visit www.my2020census.gov today and complete your Census questionnaire.

What’s At Stake?
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.