November 2015 Education Roundup

The school year races towards the holiday break, and our area schools continue to excel. This month’s Education Roundup features the continuing search for a Superintendent, a fantastic season on the soccer field, and a stress-busting video.

November 2015 Education Roundup – Irvington
Irvington High School Girls Soccer Team’s Magical Run Ends

The Irvington Girls Soccer team had their amazing season come to a bittersweet end on Friday, October 30, with a 1-0 loss to Albertus Magnus in the Class B Sectional Final. The game, played at Arlington High School in LaGrangeville, NY, capped a season that saw the team go undefeated in the regular season, winning the league championship, then taking out Ardsley 5-1 in the Sectional quarterfinals and Briarcliff 4-0 in the Sectional semifinals before the heartbreaking, one-goal loss. They ended the season 18-1.

Youth-to-Youth Motivational Speaker Visits High School
Ty Sells, Director of Youth-to-Youth International, visited Irvington High School November 3-5 to bring his messages of making healthy and responsible choices to promote positive change to the students. Sells, who has spoken at schools all across the country, began his visit with a school-wide assembly on Tuesday, November 3, followed that up with a number of student workshops on the 4th and 5th, before finishing with an evening forum for parents on the 5th centered on how they can better connect with their children.
Sells’ visit was sponsored by Irvington About Safe Kids (iASK). iASK coordinator Lisa Tomeny said Sells’ ability to relate to teens while speaking about serious topics was a big reason for bringing him to Irvington. “It is our goal to continually provide support, awareness and education to our teens and young adults in order to help them make healthy and responsible choices as they age in an increasingly complex world,” said iASK Co-chair Allyson Felix. “We are happy to be partnering with the Irvington School District.”


November 2015 Education Roundup -Briarcliff Manor
Briarcliff Manor PTA Honors Board of Education
On Monday, October 19, Briarcliff Manor’s PTA, along with District Administration members, formally recognized the Board of Education ahead of School Board Recognition Week, which began on Oct. 26.
“Tonight we not only recognize and appreciate our School Board members, we also honor them,” said PTA President Izel Obermeyer. “We see and hear you at the Board meetings, whether in person or on our televisions, and very few of us truly appreciate how much work goes into preparing for those meetings. So tonight is our turn to tell you that we are truly thankful to have five such dedicated individuals serving our School District.”

Superintendent of Schools James Kaishian presented a proclamation to the Board during their regular meeting. Each Board member also received a pen/stylus in recognition of their hard work.
“There isn’t anything more underappreciated in terms of efforts involved and its importance as public service,” said Kaishian. “We have five tremendously talented, dedicated, and committed community members who volunteer their time to make our schools wonderful places to learn for all who enter the buildings each day.”

Students Dive Into American History in the City of Brotherly Love
Thursday, October 22, saw 115 seventh-grade students from Briarcliff Middle School (along with 13 teachers and parent volunteers) descend upon the historic city of Philadelphia for the school’s annual field trip.
Stops on this hands-on day of learning included the Liberty Bell, Christ Church, Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross House, Benjamin Franklin’s burial site and print shop, and the National Constitution Center.

Eighth-Graders Produce Stress-Busting Video

Briarcliff Middle School eighth-graders Daniel de Castro, Lee Gelfand and Aaron Rotter created a video public service announcement on combating anxiety as part of their health curriculum unit on mindfulness.
“Now we know the bad effects of stress and how to deal with it better,” said de Castro. “We also asked our classmates about strategies they use to deal with stress.”

Health teacher Allison Murphy introduced students to the concept of mindfulness and challenged them to examine the broader picture and fuse the assignment with the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom technique. “Through this teaching technique,” explained Murphy, “students are prompted to look at a problem and consider not only how it affects their own lives, but how it may also be a global issue. They are then asked to investigate a solution and take their finished product or solution outside of the classroom.”

Athletes Participate in the American Cancer Society’s Annual Walk
Briarcliff High School varsity and junior varsity athletes helped raise funds for the American Cancer Society on Sunday, October 18 when they took part in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Manhattanville College. “We had coaches and athletes from the varsity field hockey and junior varsity volleyball teams participate this year,” said physical education coordinator A.J. Thau, who spearheads the effort each year.

In addition to the walk, the varsity and junior varsity teams each hosted bake sales during one of their matches to raise money, and Briarcliff High School faculty members also got in on the act as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In all, students, staff, and families raised $1,726.55.
“It was another successful year of raising funds for a worthy cause,” said Thau. “The girls have a great understanding of the importance of showing support in the fight against breast cancer.”

November 2015 Education Roundup-Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow

High School Musicians Named to Westchester All-County Festival
The Westchester County School Music Association named fifteen students from Sleepy Hollow High School to the Area All-County Band, Choruses, and Orchestras. The students performed at the Area All-County Music Festival on Thursday, November 5 at the SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center.

Named to All-County Band were Casey Hanion, Viktoriya Molchanova, and Sere Politano. The All-County String Orchestra welcomed Patrick Leavy, Daniel Livingstone, and Benjy Povman. Virginia Ruhland-Mauhs and Leah Scarpati were named to the All-County Symphony Orchestra. Sleepy Hollow Chorus members invited were Kelly Rachlin and Juliette Phillips, who were named to the All-County Women’s Chorus, and James Carney, David Friedman, Peter Moriarty, Francis Pace-Nunez, and Georgia Vachon, who were named to the All-County Mixed Chorus.

Leadership Profile Report Released
Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates (HYA) delivered the results of their two-month long Leadership Profile Assessment to The Board of Education of the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns on Thursday, October 8.
HYA spent August and September speaking with stakeholders in the District to ascertain what people want in a new superintendent. They met in person with 77 individuals including parents, students, teachers, staff, administrators, Board members, and members of the school community. An online survey posted on the District’s website garnered an additional 198 responses. HYA cobbled all of this input together to create its Leadership Profile Report,  intended to be used by the Board of Education in the District’s search for a new Superintendent of Schools who would begin work on July 1, 2016.

While each group interviewed and assessed brought a different perspective to the project, HYA found a number of consistent themes from all who were either interviewed or took the time to fill out the survey. Consistent strengths mentioned included the District’s diversity, the high level of parental and community support for the schools, and the nationally-recognized 97% graduation rate. Consistent concerns or challenges mentioned by nearly everyone included State mandates such as testing, the tax levy cap, the new teacher evaluation system interfering and even conflicting with local program priorities, the desire for stability in the administration, and long-term worries regarding how the District will handle the coming rise in enrollment when projects such as Lighthouse Landing come to fruition.

You can download and read the entire report on the District’s website at

High School Chorus Sings to Veterans

The Sleepy Hollow High School Chorus entertained the troops on Friday, November 6 at the annual Veteran’s Breakfast. The event, held at Tarrytown’s Marriott Hotel, allowed the choral group to perform three times during the day to an audience of nearly 400 veterans of the United States military.

“After the wonderful job they did last year, we made them the main musical attraction this year,” said Judy Lohbauer of Phelps Hospice, who invited Sleepy Hollow High School’s Chorus to perform for the second year in a row. “They have worked very hard both last year and this year learning this new material.”
Gail Persad, the Sleepy Hollow High School Chorus Director, made sure her students were proficient in all five service songs in order to best honor the five different branches of the armed forces.

Middle Schoolers Enjoy Monster Ball

On Thursday, October 29, the Sleepy Hollow Middle School gym was transformed into a spooky dance hall as the Sleepy Hollow Middle School Student Council held their first annual Monster Ball. The event was designed to raise money for the 8th Grade trip to Washington D.C.

Students in a series of creepy, clever costumes danced to music provided by disc jockey Richard Molina, helped themselves to snacks and pizza, and let their inner-goblin shine.

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About the Author: David Neilsen