GierasSTEAM Activities To Boost Engagement

“Learning challenges that feel relevant and self-directed can boost middle school students’ interest in any class,” explains Jenny Gieras, a STEAM and math enrichment teacher at Seven Bridges Middle School. “I collaborate with teachers across subject areas to create experiential learning activities that address curricular goals, integrate real-world problem-solving and provide students with choice, challenge, cheer experiences that promote student agency and celebrate individual successes.”

In a February 24th article appearing on Edutopia, an online resource that shares evidence and practitioner-based learning strategies to improve K-12 education, Mrs. Gieras shared her best practices for using STEAM activities across the curriculum to boost engagement. She highlighted was her collaboration with Latin teacher, Michelle Ramahlo, who wanted to provide her 5th-grade students the opportunity to learn more about ancient Roman culture but was concerned that the subject would be too broad. The two created an inquiry-based project unit in which students started with the Question Formulation Technique, chose a subtopic to research within the larger one, and then explored creative ways to apply their knowledge. The result was students using their newly acquired content knowledge of ancient Roman architecture techniques to construct models of modern stores and homes, build an aqueduct out of modern recycled materials, and test the strength of arch designs made from various gathered materials.

“The keys to designing successful STEAM experiences are to make them student-centered, relevant, and empathy-driven,” Mrs. Gieras said.


SnowshoesSnowshoeing At Grafflin

Thanks to an InstaGrant from the Chappaqua School Foundation, 4th-graders at Grafflin now have 42 pairs of snowshoes.

“Snowshoeing has many mental and physical health benefits for our students,” explains physical education teachers Dan Fanelli and Dave Boniello. “Being able to get outside and play during the winter months provides vitamin D, has positive effects on serotonin levels and reduces stress and anxiety. And since snowshoeing is a cardiovascular exercise, the body burns nearly 45% more calories per hour as compared to standard physical activity.”

With the addition of a snowshoeing unit to the curriculum, outdoor spaces can be used during the winter months. Some of the activities include walking/jogging while using pedometers to track their steps/progress, participating in scavenger hunts, and now football, frisbee/frisbee golf and obstacle courses are viable options to get students outside and moving from November to March. 


AdvisoryThe Number On Great-Grandpa’s Arm

When 10-year-old Elliott asks his 90-year-old great-grandfather, Jack, a Holocaust survivor, about the number tattooed on his arm, he sparks an intimate conversation about Jack’s life that spans happy memories of childhood in Poland, the loss of his family, surviving Auschwitz, and finding a new life in America. Their tender exchange was captured in the HBO documentary, “The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm”, which is woven with historical footage and hand-painted animation to tell a heartbreaking story of Jewish life in Eastern Europe before and during the Holocaust.

The March Advisory lessons at Bell and Seven Bridges aimed to build a better understanding of some of the basic elements and important themes about life during the Holocaust. On March 9th, all students watched The Number on Great-Grandpa’s Arm, and then on March 21st, each grade level followed up with a different activity. Fifth-graders participated in a Q&A with Elliott--now a sophomore at Greeley; 6th-graders learned about upstanders through read alouds; 7th graders explored the theme of witness through survivor stories from the Museum of Jewish Heritage; and 8th-graders examined current events articles to understand issues of rising hate and Anti-Semitism.



DG kindergarteners are avid readers! They are delving into non-fiction, collecting Wow! facts, and jotting down their thinking.


Third-graders at RB choose their own journey when asked “What do YOU feel like you need to work on as a mathematician?” Math centers are engaging, empowering and exciting!


After reading about environmentalists, WO researchers begin investigating real world problems while brainstorming and designing their solutions.


Eighth-grade FACS students at BS create employee handbooks to explore professionalism and career readiness skills in a more authentic context.


SB Share Jr. and Sustainability Club members received the best thank you ever from rescue dog Kerrie after spearheading a school-wide donation drive to benefit Adopt A Dog Animal Rescue.


Filmmaking students at HG explore the concept of implicit bias and examine its relevance to the industry and the Academy Awards.



HG Boys Swim

2022 New York State and Federation Champions
Section 1 Championship
Conference Championship
Undefeated Dual-Meet Season
A Historic Year for G-SWIM
The only program to ever have both Girls and Boys State Champions in the same year!


ScienceThree Science Olympiad Teams Head To States

Science Olympiad tournaments are rigorous interscholastic competitions, often viewed as academic track meets, consisting of a series of individual and team events requiring preparation, commitment, coaching, and practice throughout the year.

These events are balanced between the various science disciplines such as genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering, and technology. There is also a balance between science facts, processes, skills, and applications.

Events are generally separated into three categories:

  • Study Events where participants take a written exam on a specific subject matter.
  • Build Events require the design and construction of a structure that will either perform a specific action (a robot picking up a pencil), maximize its function given a set of parameters (a wooden bridge that can hold the maximum load while minimizing bridge mass), or showcase both technical and creative skills (build an instrument and perform a song on it).
  • Lab events involve conducting experiments along with answering conceptual questions.

Advancing to States
Competing at the 2022 Lower Hudson Valley Regional Science Olympiad Tournaments (Feb. 12 for high schools & Mar. 5 for middle schools), HGHS placed 2nd out of 40 local teams. The Seven Bridges and Bell teams placed 1st and 4th respectively. These achievements qualified each school to send a team to the New York State Science Olympiads hosted by Le Moyne College in Syracuse. Greeley competed on March 18-19, while Bell and SB will pack their gear to compete on April 8-9.

The teams leave each Olympiad feeling positive and upon reflection remark on how the experience impacts them as learners and individuals. “We learned from this experience, but more importantly, we made memories and friends that will stay with us for a lifetime.”

Thank you to the PTAs and all those supporting our Middle School Science Olympiad teams. Providing opportunities that enable students to venture out beyond the boundaries of CCSD and experience growth that they may not have had the opportunity to experience in a traditional classroom setting is much appreciated.

. . .In other Science news. . .
Science Research students from Greeley showcased their advanced projects virtually to judges – who are local experts in the fields of life science, physical science, environmental studies, psychology, and engineering – during the 21st annual Regeneron Westchester (and Putnam) Science & Engineering Fair (WESEF) on March 19 and 20. Congratulations to the 21 students who won awards at WESEF, including senior Ben Wang, who was awarded 1st place in the Medicine & Health category and top-20 project at the in-person awards ceremony on March 24th. This achievement qualifies Ben to compete at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Atlanta, Georgia on May 7-13th. Please click here to see a full list of the winners from Horace Greeley High School.

. . .A different path to ISEF
On March 28th, senior Anika Puri won 1st place in the Environmental Research category at the New York State Science & Engineering Fair (NYSSEF) qualifying her to join Ben at ISEF in Atlanta.


Poetry SlamPoetry Slam!

Seven Bridges 6th-grade ELA teachers Alessondra Anzano, Pauline Daglio, and Desiree Miller gathered their students in the Lower Commons for a good old-fashioned, cafe-style poetry slam on March 4th.

A poetry slam is an event where presenters prepare a dramatic reading of a published poem or of an original one that they wrote. The intention is to share ideas, foster connections through the messages in the poems, and inspire others through the work.

Students prepared by writing original poems, reading from a wide variety of published poems, and researching presentation styles by analyzing poetry slam presentations online. Students also learned about figurative language, central ideas, themes, and the mechanics of poetry, through the lens of a reader while practicing their writing of these pieces. Through the written parts of the task, students gained experience in honing a purposeful use of punctuation, word choice, and consideration of the content of their readings and writings.

On the day of the poetry slam, some students presented in small groups while many others presented on their own. Audience members offered “snaps” in support of ideas that resonated and cheered for each other at the end of each performance. “It is not easy to speak in front of an audience,” Mrs. Daglio said. “Moreso, many of the kids chose poems about emotional and powerful topics like illness, loss, friendship, fear, and growing up. Some kids spoke from deeply personal experiences. They took risks. And through it all, their peers were supportive, encouraging, and proud.” The environment was so inclusive some students were motivated by the experience and insisted on trying a second time.


LichtensteinCongratulations Laurie Lichtenstein!

At their virtual benefit on March 8th, Facing History and Ourselves recognized Seven Bridges Middle School teacher, Laurie Lichtenstein, for her dedication to the practice of delivering equitable and socially responsive learning experiences to students. Facing History and Ourselves is an organization that works with teachers to provide them with resources and curricula to address issues of combating hate through their teaching. By integrating Facing History’s guiding principles into her curriculum as a 7th- and 8th-grade English and social studies teacher, Ms. Lichtenstein is able to leverage these resources in a way that heightens students’ understanding of racism, religious intolerance, and prejudice to increase students’ ability to relate history to their own lives and promote greater understanding of their roles and responsibilities in a democracy.

These principles can be seen in her teaching in such units as the Civil War, Slavery and Reconstruction, Immigration, The Holocaust, and the Civil Rights Movement. During a unit on Civil Rights, 8th-graders were taught about the idea of memorializing events or people who have shaped history. Students choose a civil rights issue, research it and memorialize it by creating something. Through collaboration with her colleagues, she has found a way to build on the foundations of this unit in a manner that adds depth and meaning in such a way that it has become a highlight of the 8th-grade experience.

When asked about her experience as a middle school teacher at a time when her students are facing so many delicate issues, she remarked, “History is a powerful tool that can be used to deepen students’ understanding of the world they inhabit which can help them to respond to injustice in appropriate and proactive ways. I am fortunate that I teach both 7th and 8th grade. It allows me to teach many of the same students so that I really get to frame their experience of American History through a critical lens and help students make connections with how they can respond to injustice in our society. This begins by understanding the history of our nation.”



Congratulations to Greeley musicians Julia Sun (violin) and Jingyan Zhang (oboe).

They recently performed with the New York State School Music Association’s (NYSSMA) All-State Conference Symphony Orchestra in Rochester.

They were selected from the thousands of students who compete for a chance to perform in the All-State bands, orchestras, and choruses, through the NYSSMA solo-ensemble festivals held throughout New York State each year.

In addition, Jingyan was one of only 58 New York State high school students selected to the 2021 NAfME National Honors Ensembles.


ArtScholastic National Medalists

Congratulations to the two Scholastic Art & Writing Awards 2022 National Medalists from Horace Greeley High School!

Junior Tessa Wheeler received a National Silver Medal for her poem entitled, To Someone I Once Knew, and junior Daisy Benardo received a National Gold Medal for her mixed media piece, Gym Class.

Daisy’s original work was created in Jennifer Schmidt’s Art class with tech help from Zach Arnold.

Entries are selected for awards without knowledge of the student’s gender, age, ethnicity, or hometown by some of the foremost leaders in the visual and literary arts. Jurors look for works that exemplify the Awards’ core values:

Work that breaks from convention, blurs the boundaries between genres, and challenges notions of how a particular concept or emotion can be expressed.

Technical Skill
Work that uses technique to advance an original perspective or a personal vision or voice, and shows skills being utilized to create something unique, powerful, and innovative.

Emergence of a Personal Voice or Vision
Work with an authentic and unique point of view and style.

Daisy is invited to a star-studded National Recognition ceremony in June. #WeArtChappaqua


SpEdUpdate: Special Education Strategic Plan

On March 10th, the Special Education strategic planning process began as a team of key stakeholder groups, including parents, teachers, building and district administrators, and Board of Education members met with Jonathan Costa, Assistant Executive Director for EdAdvance.

They started the work of crafting a plan to mitigate the barriers identified in the audit by outlining the steps necessary to facilitate the development of purposeful programs and supports, which will create equitable access to the curriculum for all students. The group’s purpose is to review the contents of the “Special Education Review” that was conducted by the Public Consulting Group, to determine which of the review’s recommendations merit implementation in the immediate, short term, or long term, and to plan for the work that would need to be done to accomplish those tasks.

One of the first steps in this process was to develop a collective understanding of Chappaqua Central School District’s definition of inclusion and what is meant by “least restrictive”. This framework will ground the committee’s purpose in a common goal and lens for identifying the meaningful work that needs to take place. Specific objectives that will be discussed within the committee include conducting an in-depth review of the learning environments and specialized services and defining criterion-based indicators for measuring high expectations for student outcomes.

Some of the key elements that the committee will address as part of the next phase in this process include:

  • The identification of key roles and responsibilities including leadership, human capital, systems and structures, and family and community engagement.
  • The breakdown and assignment of subgroups charged with thoroughly unpacking recommendations to determine feasibility and to collect background research that will be used to inform the group about the cost and impact implications for implementing each of the 18 recommendations.
  • The preparation and collective agreement on a working definition and philosophy of inclusion.

The committee will reconvene on April 1st to synthesize the work completed to date, as well as to continue the discussion of prioritizing and sequencing recommendations, and developing action items to be addressed next.


CCEChappaqua Continuing Education
Spring 2022 Hybrid Program - Registration Continues

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” ~ Thomas Huxley

For over 40 years, the Chappaqua Continuing Education program, offered through the Chappaqua Central School District, has provided enriching courses for residents of Chappaqua and the surrounding communities who are 18 or older.

We are happy to announce that CCE has another exciting line-up for the spring. Our program will be a hybrid of in-person classes, which will meet at Horace Greeley High School (unless otherwise noted), and online classes via Zoom, which can be taken from the comfort of your home! We have added many new and interesting classes to the spring schedule while continuing many of the favorites from years past.

  • Register early to ensure your spot - Many classes do sell out
  • We offer plenty of one-day classes
  • We do cancel classes for lack of enrollment, so don’t delay in expressing your interest.

Please visit for course descriptions and to register, or call 238-7201 ex. 2318.