October 30, 2021
Creativity At Play
Inspired by the story of Caine Monroy and the short film based on his cardboard Caine’s Arcade, 6th-grade artists and designers in Mrs. Pozzuto’s art class at Seven Bridges collaborated with peers to develop their own creations.
Students were challenged to design and build themed games that had moving parts and simple machines. Working within creative constraints -- limited to cardboard, hot glue, tape, and other found materials -- classes also worked with Mrs. Gieras in the SB STEAM Center to incorporate circuits, gain engineering expertise, and showcase their games.
Artists followed the Chappaqua Design Process to brainstorm, sketch, design, build, test, iterate and share their games. Padlet was also used to document and reflect on their process and final products. Then, on October 26th, they celebrated all of their hard work and persistence by inviting 5th-graders to come and play the various games, win prizes, and offer feedback
Thanks to the RB PTA, Janet Franco uses classical music and dance with RB kindergarteners to create and tell a story through movements
Student Government leaders are brainstorming ways to make SB an even more inclusive, equitable, and joyful place.
5th-grade authors at BS collaborate to generate realistic fiction story ideas, then draw on personal experiences to write story blurbs.
WO students in the GLC choose “just right” books and explore digital resources in their flexible “smart spots”
1st-grade scientists at DG observe shadows and how they change size based on the proximity to the light source.
In LIFE School, Algebra 2/Trig students “invent” the unit circle. In fact, they got in so deep that they created a new class mascot, Trig Pig.
Social Studies Alive
At the October 13th Board of Education Meeting, Roaring Brook 4th-graders and administrators detailed the work and learning that students are experiencing through the new TCI Social Studies Alive Program being implemented, K-4, across the District. TCI uses the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) framework to inform the social studies standards that we adhere to in New York State, and encompasses 6 key components:
Me and My World explores relationships that students have with their families, friends, teachers and neighbors.
My School and Family introduces the structures of schools and families.
My Community teaches students the basics of American history, geography, economics and citizenship in the context of learning about their local community.
Our Community and Beyond broadens students' awareness about the local and global communities in which they live.
America’s Past covers American history from the first migrations into the Americas through the 20th century.
Regions of Our Country presents five regions of the United States through the lens of economics, geography, political science, and history.
For Roaring Brook’s presentation, they chose to focus on America’s Past and provided a snapshot of some of the preview activities, vocabulary, and hands-on, interactive activities implemented to explore geography, migration, customs, beliefs and practices of Native Americans. The students articulated their understanding of the content by facilitating a discussion on how Native Americans adapted to different environments in North America, which led to a deeper conversation on how we can bridge the gap between the past and the future to better understand the Munsee and Lenape people who lived right here in the Hudson Valley region, and how we can honor them.
How Dare The Sun Rise
District 8th-graders have been reading How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana. This memoir tells how Sandra survived a brutal massacre in Burundi yet found the strength to overcome the trauma and loss she experienced. Sandra was ultimately able to move to the United States as a refugee, fleeing a country where her people were oppressed. After starting school in Rochester, NY, Sandra soon discovered that she would have new challenges adapting to American culture.
At first glance, this text serves as a “window” into another world, far away from Chappaqua. However, our students were soon able to see some of the moments that provide “mirrors” for us to see ourselves and reflect on our own culture and the social issues in our society. Sandra’s memoir has helped our students to have deep discussions around war, racism, bullying, mental health and other serious topics. 8th graders have proven that they are ready to have courageous conversations, ask thoughtful questions, learn about different cultures and face some of the systemic problems we have in our country. We are so proud of the compassion and curiosity they have conveyed throughout this unit.
Thanks to the PTAs, Bell and Seven Bridges had the opportunity to host a virtual author visit with Sandra Uwiringiyimana, and are grateful to Sandra for having the courage to tell her story and for answering students’ questions. It has had an immense impact on our students, and they are inspired to write and share their own stories in an upcoming ELA unit.
Plant Science & Sustainability
Construction of the Sustainability Research Center (SRC) at Horace Greeley High School is underway, perhaps the only facility of its kind on a high school campus. Once completed, the SRC will provide an environment for students to conduct biological and ecological research while expanding experiential learning opportunities. The 2,000 sqft structure will also create opportunities for cross-curricular lessons, units and elective courses focused on plant science and sustainability research.
We envision the use of the SRC to be year-round and inclusive to our entire student body. The potential usage of the SRC is far-reaching and includes the creation of various partnerships and connections both near and far.
In preparation, some of the behind-the-scenes work has included the creation of learning teams, K-12 sustainability curriculum alignment and identifying additional curricular connections.
We have organized several learning teams of teachers and stakeholders from all levels in the District to work toward integrating sustainability into each of our schools.
The groups engaged in everything from curriculum research to site visits.
Pictured to the left is our visit to Stone Barns to deepen our understanding of how we might enhance our curriculum with this new facility.
Scope & Sequence
The construction of our new research center has accelerated our work on a vertically aligned K-12 sustainability curriculum.
We developed a set of K-12 Standards that defines what our students should know, and be able to do at each level, in order to be “sustainability literate.”
These standards are not exclusive to science classes, as they stretch across all disciplines and content areas.
Teachers have been hard at work to identify plant science connections that exist in our current curriculum and state standards, as well as drafting proposals for potential new courses at Greeley to be included in next year’s Decisions catalog.
The Living Environment, AP Environmental Science and AP Biology courses at Greeley are considering ways to restructure existing labs to utilize the Greenhouse when it opens.
Cum Laude Honor Society Inductions
At a ceremony on October 28th, 166 seniors who earned a 3.8 or higher for six semesters were inducted into the Cum Laude Society.
Please click HERE for a complete list of names, including this year’s 12 valedictory honorees, and video.
Special Education Program Review
In May 2021, the District partnered with Public Consulting Group (PCG) to embark on an external review of the Special Education Department, including its current program offerings, effectiveness of individualized services, continuum of services, monitoring and compliance, related professional development, consistency and articulation between schools, resources, and parent relations.
Public Consulting Group (PCG) is actively engaged in reviewing information from the offices of Special Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Business, Human Resources and from our Data Management Systems.
In addition, five focus groups have been held with parents, and parents have also shared information via a survey and by email. Educators in the District have participated in IEP File Review teams, classroom observations, and survey responses. Interviews have also been conducted with administrators and District leaders.
PCG is planning to present their findings to the Board of Education at the end of the fall semester. The results of the review will be utilized by the District’s leadership team to develop a strategic plan for special education with a focus on how the CCSD can more effectively organize its structures, systems, and processes to better support the delivery of services to students with disabilities.
PPS Leadership Transition
You may recall that Ms. Ellen Doherty, Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services, announced her retirement effective November 1, 2021.
The Chappaqua Central School District is grateful to Ellen for her dedication and hard work supporting Chappaqua students and families through the many challenges associated with the pandemic. Ellen’s leadership, expertise, empathetic approach and gentle demeanor have proved invaluable during an extraordinarily challenging time.
The entire Chappaqua Central School District community appreciates Ellen’s efforts on our behalf and wishes her (and Fiona) the best of luck as she embarks on the next phase in her life.
On August 11, the Chappaqua Central School District Board of Education appointed Jamie Edelman as Interim Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services, effective November 2, 2021.
Jamie is the current Director of Literacy and former Grafflin Elementary School Principal.
Since August, Jamie has been working alongside Ellen to help ensure a thoughtful and thorough transition for our students, families, and staff.
Supporting Pre-tenured Teachers
The Chappaqua Central School District’s #Project720 Professional Development Curriculum Map defines what teachers in their probationary period of employment should know, and be able to do, in order to be highly effective by the end of their probationary period in the Chappaqua Central School District.
Included are four years of learning goals with essential understandings, followed by cross-cutting concepts that are aligned to our District’s priorities, followed by an outline of the concepts taught each year throughout the probationary term.
We owe it to our students to ensure that the teachers who are granted tenure in the Chappaqua Central School District have the qualities and skills that are aligned with research-based best practices and demonstrate the innovative, equitable and responsive culture that we so strongly believe in.
Core Beliefs about Teaching & Teachers:
- Teacher effectiveness matters as skillful teachers more positively impact student growth than those less skillful.
- Given the right support, all teachers can become skillful teachers.
- Skillful teachers engage in research-based practices that positively and dramatically impact student learning.
- These research-based practices are known, and must be explicitly taught and practiced so they are mastered over time.
- Skillful teachers build a sophisticated mental model as they progress through developmental stages.
- #Project720 has been designed as a roadmap through these stages.