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Steven Weiner, Student Reporter: Bronxville Senior Class Takes Trip to Wall Street PDF Print Email



Dec. 18, 2013: On Tuesday, November 19, the Bronxville High School senior class visited Wall Street. The class was split into smaller groups that visited different places.

My group went to the Museum of Finance, where we learned about the difference between counterfeit and real money. Some of the differences are subtle, while others are more obvious. It might be helpful to know that the feel and look of currency paper are both accurate measures of authenticity. Currency that is real will have actual fibers that are a part of the paper. The fibers are red and blue, and they are very small. Counterfeit money also appears to have these red and blue fibers; however, upon closer inspection they are not fibers at all--they are printed marks.

Serial numbers also indicate if money is counterfeit. The numbers and the treasury seal should be the same color. In a counterfeit bill, the color of the numbers might not be the same as the color of the treasury seal, and the numbers might not be evenly spaced. The borders of a real Federal Reserve note should not be blurry but instead should look crisp and clear.

Senior Thomas Marchetti's group visited Bank of America. He said that he learned that banks create money by making loans. "When you deposit money, your money goes into a big pool of money with everyone else's and your account is credited with the amount of your deposit. In the event of bank failure, your money is protected as long as the bank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation," he said.

Some students visited the Greenhill Company. They had an informational session that taught students about investment banking. Senior Frankie Gallo said, "Investment banking helps companies and governments issue securities, manage financial assets, trade securities, and provide financial advice."

The Museum of Finance was not a popular choice because it was not an interactive experience; instead, it was a "lesson given by a tour guide," said Kailey Winston. But she did enjoy the food in Grand Central after the tour. "We arrived at Grand Central and I got a shake and burger from Shake Shack. Oddly enough, I never had a shake from Shake Shack, and it was very delicious," said Kailey.

Good news for the students: they got to enjoy a nice lunch at various food stands in Grand Central to end the day.

Photo by Andrew Dantes, who works on Wall Street

 
Frustration Arises as Bronxville School Implements New Common Core Standards PDF Print Email

Dec. 11, 2013:  The Common Core State Standards Initiative, new educational standards designed to elevate curriculum levels and improve the American educational system, adopted by forty-five states, has arrived at The Bronxville School.

"It's the biggest thing to happen in American public education in decades," said Margaret Mager, Bronxville School PTA president. The initiative's two major facets involve teaching new curriculum standards and testing to measure its effectiveness.

Not only has the initiative brought changes to the school’s curriculum, it has also increased anxiety levels among students, teachers, and parents.  Dr. Thomas Wilson, middle school principal, stated that the rollout of the Common Core initiative will continue to bring significant change along with rethinking and a retooling of the curriculum.

"Common Core is fraught with issues over entire school systems," Wilson explained.

Issues at The Bronxville School have arisen, in particular, around eighth grade math, which has become a flash point for initial frustration.

"Students were coming home from school saying that they were no longer being told how to answer the math problems," said Wilson.

Dr. David Katz, president of the Bronxville Teachers' Association, placed part of the blame for across-the-board frustration on New York State’s implementation of Common Core. "The state rolled out new tests for new standards without having first provided the documents that would allow teachers to be able to teach to those new standards," he said.

Parents have seen lower test scores and expressed concern about them.

Approximately seventy parents of eighth grade students attended a meeting on Wednesday, December 4, where Dr. Wilson explained aspects of the changing math curriculum. At the meeting, Wilson showed slides comparing math problems from previous tests and problems based on the new Common Core standards.

In a conversation after the meeting, Wilson explained that new math standards ask students to grapple with the unknown in solving problems. "It asks them to dig into the problems piece by piece," he said. "Problems will not be laid out for them as before."

Wilson pointed out that eighth grade math has become a Common Core focal point in Bronxville because of the school's multiple math course offerings at that level. He stated that students who opt for Algebra I or Algebra I Honors rather than Math 8 are at a disadvantage because Math 8 is "packed with essential material" not to be missed in meeting the new standards.

"Apparently a gap is appearing in the New York State test scores for students who went right into Algebra I without exposure to Math 8," Margaret Mager said.

Wilson stated that the school will address this gap as it brings its curriculum in line with the Common Core standards. "The curriculum content is of high value for the students," he said. "By everyone's estimation, it is what students need to be math literate."

According to Dr. Katz, the state has created frustration for teachers by releasing materials in a piecemeal manner. "The materials are being released slowly," he said. "Right now a math teacher is teaching without knowing what's coming next."

For parents and students concerned about test scores, Dr. Wilson emphasized that Common Core tests are less about individual achievement than providing a means to understanding about how an individual and a cohort of students learn. "The purpose of testing is to gauge programmatic health," he said.

As the school develops its curriculum in response to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, there will be additional workshops to explain and discuss changes with parents.

"We find ourselves in a very messy but exciting place," said Dr. Wilson.

Pictured here:  Dr. Thomas Wilson, Bronxville Middle School principal.

Photo by A. Warner

 
More than 375 Run in Seventh Annual Katie Welling Memorial Run/Walk: See Photos PDF Print Email

Dec. 11, 2013: The Seventh Annual Katie Welling Memorial Run/Walk was held, as has become tradition, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 30.

Despite the cold weather, there was a great turnout; more than 375 people gathered at the outset on the front lawn of The Bronxville School. The 2.5 mile race always elicits tears and smiles. Katie graduated from Bronxville High School in 2002 and died in an off-campus fire while a student at Miami University of Ohio in 2005.

Beth Aherne of The Bronxville School Foundation gave the following opening remarks:  "For those of you who did not know Katie or don't know the Wellings, the family embodies the strength of community and friendship. That each of you is here today is a testament to her memory and affirms to the Wellings that we continue to build on these strengths. On behalf of The Bronxville School Foundation, I would like to extend a special thank you to the Welling family and to the friends of Katie's who have organized this race for their support of this event and for everything they have done for The Bronxville School and community. Their dedication and hard work have made this annual run a huge success."

The proceeds raised from this event benefit The Bronxville School Foundation.

Before the crowd made its way to the starting line, Tom Welling, Katie's father, expressed his family's appreciation for the community support and asked everyone to keep Katie in their hearts and minds forever.

The participants this year included local residents of all ages plus friends and family in the village for the holiday weekend. Despite temperatures in the low 30s, some shorts were spotted this year!

Jennifer Kenney, one of Katie's classmates and oldest friends involved in the event since the beginning, remarked, "Somehow every year the run/walk feels more and more special. Even with the cold weather last Saturday, hundreds of familiar faces and even some new faces showed up with enthusiasm to support an event that means so much to her friends and family. Watching the winners, especially the young runners, receive their awards is heart-warming! Katie is loving every minute of it. We are very lucky!"

Waiting at the finish line were enthusiastic supporters and a post-race feast contributed by J&G Deli, Lange's Deli, and Park Place Bagels. Flowers were contributed by Mrs. Morgan's and by Tryforos & Pernice, and water bottles from the Gelfand Family. A special thank you to The Running Company Store, which underwrote the T-shirts this year and also made the store available for registration.

To view photos of the runners, click on this link:  Katie Welling Memorial Run/Walk 2013

Photos from past runs, as well as additional photos of this run, may be seen on the website of The Bronxville School Foundation at www.bronxvilleschoolfoundation.org.

Pictured here: The runners at the starting line for the Seventh Annual Katie Welling Memorial Run/Walk on November 30.

Photos courtesy Peggy Williams, Executive Director, The Bronxville School Foundation

 
Bronxville Graduates, Classes 2006 to 2013, to Complete Electronic Survey on School Evaluation PDF Print Email

Dec. 4, 2013:  Recent Bronxville High School graduates, from the classes of 2006 through 2013, have been asked to complete an electronic survey designed to gather feedback on how effectively their high school experience prepared them for college.

"The survey is not going to be used as a statistical measure of effectiveness," said Principal Ann Meyer. "It's more for us to focus on some areas where we can really make a difference in preparing students for college."

Sent via email to addresses on file for the recent graduates, the survey will provide informal feedback and help the high school faculty examine where changes can be made to do things differently or better for students headed to college. Meyer encourages any graduate from the classes of 2006 through 2013 who did not receive an email to contact her at CLOAKING for the link to the survey.

Broad categories of questions on the survey ask graduates to assess the overall level of academic challenge they experienced during high school as well as their satisfaction with several aspects of Bronxville High School, including the environment, meaningful learning experiences, and support provided them in planning for post-high school life.

Respondents are also asked to evaluate their preparation in such specific areas as problem solving, reading and writing, creative thinking, and time management--all skills needed to succeed in college.

The survey also addresses effectiveness of preparation in academics and the arts, along with emphasis in classes on analytical thought, the application of learning to life situations, and becoming an independent learner.

Based on a similar survey conducted at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, Bronxville's survey is a project developed by the high school administration and guidance department, with feedback from the faculty. Meyer stated that discussions with Horace Greeley administrators about the data they received, data they felt they wanted but didn't glean, and recommendations about how to tailor the questions were very helpful.

Superintendent Dr. David Quattrone noted that the findings from this informal survey might assist the district in its more comprehensive satisfaction survey planned for late January or early February 2014.

Designed as an aid for the administration and the Bronxville Board of Education in setting goals, the satisfaction survey will be conducted by the Harris organization and will encompass parents, current students, and staff.

"The informal survey may help us develop some local questions as part of the Harris survey," Quattrone said. "It might raise some issues we want to explore further." The district has the option to tailor some questions on the satisfaction survey.

Meyer asks graduates taking the electronic survey to submit it by mid-December.

Pictured here: Front entrance to The Bronxville School.

Photo by N. Bower

 
St. Joseph School's Kindergarten and 4th Graders Collaborate to Produce Play About First Thanksgiving PDF Print Email


Dec. 4, 2013:  On Wednesday morning, November 27, the kindergarten and fourth grade students of St. Joseph School performed a heartwarming play about the first Thanksgiving.

The show was written by the fourth graders and acted by their kindergarten "book" buddies. It included the complete journey of the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, and their new Native American comrades.

The costumes and music added to the superb performance, which culminated in the first Thanksgiving feast.

Under the direction of kindergarten teacher Annette Casarella, the students were met with a standing ovation from family and friends.

Pictured here (rotating):  Photos of St. Joseph School students in play about the first Thanksgiving.

Photos courtesy Charlen Spillane

 
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