WPSBA Schools have lots to celebrate!
Check out some recent accomplishments here, as touted by the local press:
- Mindful teachers make mindful students at Farragut Middle School
- Woodlands school goes 'Inside Out,' joins global art movement
- 'Shark Tank' event at Horace Greeley sparks student interest in improving learning
- Putnam Valley students upgrade community service program with digital solution
- Yorktown High School is the Home of the Huskers (and ESTEAM)
- Greenburgh-Graham school gets tech overhaul with help from HP
- Pelham's Hutchinson School kids beta test for Google
- BioBus Sparks Science Intrigue Among Elmsford Students
- White Plains Boasts State's Only Public School Mariachi Band
- How One Mount Vernon School Turned Around It's Test Scores
- Yonkers Students 'Warm Up' to Climate Change Education out of the Classroom
- Therapy Dog Brings Calm, Confidence to High School
INTRODUCING LAKELAND CSD’S “BRIDGE ROOM”
Lakeland has opened its first "Bridge" Room. The program provides a safe haven for students who are experiencing school phobia, and previously not coming to school. In addition it serves as a transition program back to school for students who are completing concussion protocols. The room is staffed by a full time psychologist, with teachers rotating in and out to monitor the progress of students. To date over a dozen students who were previously out of school are now able to begin the process of normalizing their education.
CARAMOOR AT SOMERS HIGH SCHOOL
Students in the Somers High School orchestra, band, choir and music classes are treated to a performance, as well as a hands-on master class by the Verona String Quartet, the Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts. Many of these students were also guests at the Quartet's concert in Katonah the previous evening.
KATONAH-LEWISBORO'S LEARNING CAFE
‘It was very nice to hear some expressions of real appreciation for the teachers and the difficult spots they’re in sometimes.’
—Andrew Selesnick, Katonah-Lewisboro Superintendent of Schools
IRVINGTON HIGH SCHOOL CORE VALUE AWARDS PROGRAM
"Whether our students are raising the academic bar, starring on the field or on the stage, or demonstrating 21st-century dispositional traits, we are looking to celebrate their successes."
- David Cohen, Irvington High School Principal
IN WHITE PLAINS CSD, INSTRUCTIONAL LEADERSHIP FOCUSES ON STUDENT LEARNING
This year, the White Plains administrative team has focused its instructional leadership development by taking a first step toward an Instructional Rounds approach to a long-established practice of conducting Learning Walks in the nine schools across the district. All members of the administrative team have received a copy of Instructional Rounds in Education: A Network Approach to Improving Teaching and Learning by City, Elmore, Fiarman, and Teitel. The text has provided a strong foundation for the work to build upon.
Utilizing an instructional rounds protocol, data collection during classroom visits has been focused on non-judgmental descriptions of instructional tasks along with what students are doing and saying. During the debriefing of class visitations, data is analyzed for recurring themes and next steps for professional development are developed through a collaborative process of reflection.
There is a heightened level of enthusiasm amongst the members of our administrative team as we continue to refine our approach and build instructional leadership capacity in a non-judgmental manner by examining classroom instruction through the lens of student learning!
WPSBA Districts Share Their Initiatives:
STUDENT INNOVATION FUND GRANTS ALLOW ENTREPRENEURS TO BRING PASSIONS TO LIFE
Thanks to a partnership between the Irvington Union Free School District and the Irvington Education Foundation, students are able to pursue their passions and turn their innovative ideas into leading-edge projects and programs that positively affect the school community. Through Innovation Fund grants, which the Irvington Education Foundation awards to several deserving students each year, the students introduce new learning opportunities to their peers and complement District-sponsored programs.
“Rather than take the traditional approach of having teachers write grants for initiatives they would like to see in the classroom, the Innovation Fund empowers students to submit grants for projects that will improve the school community,” Director of Technology and Innovation Jesse Lubinsky said. “These grants provide opportunities for student voice, choice and agency.”
The Irvington Education Foundation – a not-for-profit organization that funds education enrichment programs for the District – carefully considers each inventive proposal during the highly competitive grant process.
“Geared toward introducing student-motivated and innovative learning experiences for students in the school community, the Innovation Fund is a vehicle to accelerate student opportunities and foster an entrepreneurial culture within the District,” Lubinsky said.
Students in the past have developed projects that educated other students about sustainable living, video game programming, engineering and robotics. They’ve also implemented a recycling program, held a one-act play festival and hosted a conference for gender equality groups and clubs in area high schools, among others.
Thanks to an Innovation Fund grant, a group of high school students are working to complete their “Tiny House” project, which is a self-sufficient and eco-friendly building located on the Dows Lane Elementary School campus. Designed by a Class of 2017 student and built by a team of students, teachers, parents and community members, the building will be used as a learning tool and space in the District.
Throughout the Innovation Fund process, students work with faculty mentors who provide them with coaching and insight into their projects and assist them with developing a timeline. Each project must be completed by June 1.
LEARN. ACHIEVE. LEAD: HOW RYE NECK APPLIES THESE PRINCIPLES THROUGHOUT THE DISTRICT
In Rye Neck Schools, traditional faculty meetings have been replaced with teacher-run breakout sessions that foster strong working relationships and professional learning communities. This shift in conventional meeting time is deeply rooted in Rye Neck’s motto: Learn. Achieve. Lead. These three words are part of the beliefs that guide our community of learners: a community where our teachers’ desire to learn new things is just as strong as our students’. As we continue to move into a more modern era of education, an era in which technology takes center stage in lesson planning and curriculum design, teachers want to learn new practices to enhance their curriculum; and school administrators wanted to find a way to support that enthusiasm. The impetus for change came from the teachers themselves and their expressed desire to collaborate with other professionals, especially those outside of their discipline. They heard about innovative things their colleagues were doing in their classes and wanted the opportunity to learn from them. After a successful trial run with the high school staff this past fall, the middle school quickly joined in on the progressive movement to use this designated time as a collaborative way to build professional learning communities among the staff. This approach not only allows us to tap into the 10 Google Certified Educators we have on staff, but also promote other teacher leaders in our district who share best practices from their own experiences in the classroom. We build on our strengths to leverage what people know and develop our capacity to learn, achieve and lead. As teachers learn new ideas and practices, they can then turnkey train others and lead the next initiative. Breakout sessions have offered everything from technology programs to curriculum design to strategies for teaching English Language Learners. Traditionally, faculty meetings were reserved for information and announcements. Some of these items have moved over to a weekly newsletter shared with the staff via Google Drive or the staff will meet as group to hear important information before moving to the day’s breakout sessions. The feedback on this approach has been universally positive, as teachers are invested in something they helped create and it allows them to explore new ideas to benefit their students
DOBBS FERRY UFSD - RECYCLING & WASTE REDUCTION INITIATIVE
This week officially kicks off the recycling and waste reduction initiative at the Dobbs Ferry High School/Middle School campus where students and staff will now sort food waste in combination with paper, bottles and cans. The District is working closely with the Sustainability Project Team from Greenburgh Nature Center to help train its teachers, staff, students, custodians, food service workers and cleaning service to educate them on what it takes to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!
Approximately 20 teachers from the High School and Middle School have jumped on board and comprise the newly formed “Green Team” subcommittee to offer important feedback and suggestions. The High School’s Legislative Branch of Student Government is enthusiastically spearheading the recycling efforts in their building and have conducted an audit of disposal bins in each classroom and the common areas. The Middle School’s Ecology Club is also energizing students to BYOB (bring your own bottle) to school instead of plastic throwaway drinks, and to utilize the new water filling stations located throughout the buildings.
Our schools need to be a place where this life-long expectation is cultivated and reinforced. All of these efforts - recycling, composting at Springhurst Elementary School, and working collaboratively with the Village of Dobbs Ferry and other community organizations -strengthen us in our resolve to help our students “change the world.”
More information can be found on the Dobb Ferry School District Website/Recycle Center at DFSD.ORG