MAMARONECK UNION FREE SCHOOL DISTRICT   
   1000 West Boston Post Road,  Mamaroneck, NY 10543   
May, 2010 
TIGER TRACKS
 the District's E-Newsletter 
 
( In between our monthly editions of the District's E-News, please watch for important
District announcements in your school's weekly newsletters.)
Note: Browsers used to open this E-News vary.  You may need to select "Dowload Images" to view
photos/design. 
Harlem Wizards
 
More than 600 children and parents from all six schools came out for the Harlem Wizards vs. Mamaroneck School District Faculty game last month.  Hosted by MHS's A.P.P.L.E. program (A Place Where People Learn Excellence), the following brave faculty members entertained the crowds for an evening of fun and smiles: TJ Hild, Steph Chinn, Mike Chiapparelli, Evan Rivel, Diane Nelson, Rob Rainaldi, Nick Cucchiarella, Charles Alben, Greg Cuddy, Mario Washington, Amary Seck, Brian Duignam, Denise Ruchala, Ron Blain and Lo Lo Mitchell.
  Washingtonville - jazz band 
 
The Mamaroneck High School Jazz Band "A" accompanied renowned jazz trombonist/composer Delfeayo Marsalis at the Washingtonville Housing Alliance's 30th anniversary gala.  Read more below about the Jazz Band's recent accomplishments.
 
 
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Inside this Tiger Tracks Edition:  
  • School Budget Vote TODAY
  • MHS Valedictorian & Salutatorian Announced
  • Student's Success Earns Hommocks a Digital Photo Lab
  • Concerns Over Popular Social  Networking Sites:  A Few Pointers for Parents of Teens
  • Helping Special Needs Children Succeed - District and SEPTA Present Highlights of This Year's Accomplishments  
  • Upcoming MHS Event Highlights:
     -- May 19-22, PACE's Final Show of the Year - Dance & Theatre Workshop
     -- May 21, Wellness Day, Featuring Nearly 40 Workshops for Students
     -- May 24, Original Science Research Symposium        
  • Other Noteworthy Accomplishments
  • Kemper Memorial Essay Contest Winners Gear Up to Participate in May 25 Ceremony
  • Community Opportunity:  Kids for World Health Fest
budget vote day School Budget Vote TODAY - Tuesday, May 18th
 
For last-minute information on the 2010-2011 Proposed Mamaroneck Schools Budget, which reflects millions of dollars in reductions (and the lowest estimated tax rate increase in more than 40 years) yet preserves the District's educational core of our high quality schools, click here.  Most importantly, don't forget to vote!!  Polls are open until 9 pm.
 
Despite the rain, voters are making it to the polls...and they are even coming with smiles!
 
Mamaroneck High School Announces Class of 2010 Valedictorian & Salutatorian
Mamaroneck High School announced at last week's MHS Awards Ceremony that Catherine Gerkis will be the Valedictorian for the class of 2010, and Natalie Diacovo has been named Salutatorian.  The two, who were told of their honors in a surprise meeting called by MHS Principal Dr. Mark Orfinger and their guidance counselors, will be among the featured speakers at graduation.  Read More...  
 
7th Grader Takes Grand Prize in Microsoft's Earth Day Photo Contest: Earns Digital Photo Lab for Hommocks
earth day photo winner
Precision, Discipline and Speed.  Those are the qualities that likely contribute to Hommocks 7th grader Stephen Sollod's recent accomplishments of qualifying for the Nationals in fencing AND capturing the grand prize in Microsoft Bing's Earth Day Photo Contest.  But how often does a school reap financial rewards from an individual's success?    As First Place winner of the photo contest for the 11-13 age category, Stephen earns a prize package with a retail value of $2,800 benefiting Hommocks Middle School and its students.  Within the next few weeks, Hommocks will receive a Digital Photo Lab, including12 HP Pavilion desktops, 12 monitors, three PhotoSmart Printers, 10 paper and ink value packs and three Canon Rebel EOS Cameras....all thanks to Stephen.
 
"Our entire family is thrilled that the Mamaroneck Schools can benefit from this donation, especially during a time of such steep budget cuts, including cuts to technology,"
says Sylvie Otten, Stephen's mom, who will be traveling all-expenses-paid with her son to Seattle to meet with the Bing editorial team, select the photos for the Bing.com homepage and receive the honor.
 
Stephen entered the contest after learning about the website Artsonia.com, where students can post their artwork.  When he received an e-mail from Artsonia about the Earth Day Photo Contest, Stephen immediately began thinking about what he would do.  His winning photo of an orange butterfly, which Stephen believed met one of the competition's main criteria of showing appreciation for nature, was voted in as a finalist among more than 3,000 photos.  
 
Hommocks Principal Dr. Seth Weitzman said the photo contest award is a "really wonderful bonus for Mamaroneck and our students."  The photo lab equipment will be housed in the middle school's art studio.   
  
Important to Monitor Teens' Use of Social Networking Sites
The environment surrounding technology use among our teens is growing more and more complex each and every day.  We have seen many e-mails of concern from parents over the past several months about social networking sites, including www.formspring.me, the focus of a recent New York Times article.  We hope you'll take the time to learn about this site -- which kids log on to, inviting people to post anonymous questions/comments -- and the dangers involved when kids expose themselves in such a way and allow themselves to be so vulnerable.  We encourage you to continue to monitor both the length of time your child is permitted to use the computer, as well as the content they are associated with.  
 
"We believe that excessive computer use and particularly cyber-bullying through sites such as www.formspring.me do indeed impact your child's performance in school.  Every Monday, after the weekend, kids line up outside the guidance counselor offices to show their counselors printouts of what people have said about them online.  It can be pretty traumatizing," says Hommocks Middle School Principal Dr. Seth Weitzman.  
 
Dr. Alan Dienstag, supervising psychologist of the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Community Counseling Center (LMCCC) - which runs advocacy groups with about 140 eighth graders at Hommocks - says, "Formspring is a reminder that social networking sites can be destructive and that letting adolescents use them without adult supervision is unwise at best and dangerous at worst.   Think of how much time and resources we put into preparing our kids to become drivers.  There is a progression and a very clear structure to the process.  The same approach should be applied to internet use.    Parents and kids should work towards greater responsibility and independence over time starting in grade school.  There needs to be some framework and agreed upon set of guidelines that parents and kids can follow."
 
Dr. Dienstag suggests a few general principles to keep in mind when helping to promote the development of responsible internet behavior among teens:
  You are the gatekeeper of your family's home network and Internet connectivity.  This means that the password is in your hands and stays there.  You can turn it on and turn it off as needed and should.
  The earlier you begin working on this with your children, the better.   Fourth or Fifth grade is a good time. If you wait until high school, creating rules and expectations will be much harder.
  Every family should have a sign up in the room or rooms where computers live that says DON'T DO ANYTHING ON THE INTERNET THAT YOU DO NOT WANT THE WHOLE WORLD TO KNOW.  Frame this, keep it visible, and do not let it disappear. 
 
Adds LMCCC Executive Director Dr. Mark Levy, "An equally important  part of the equation beyond the monitoring of computer use is the fostering of open dialogue with your teens about a multitude of decisions and challenges they have to face, including issues that come up through Facebook or social networking sites.  The older our kids get, the greater independence we allow and the more important this open frequent, ongoing dialogue becomes." 
 
Helping Special Needs Children Succeed - Accomplishments and Future Areas of Focus, presented by SEPTA and the Mamaroneck School District, Monday May  24th at 7:30 p.m., Hommocks School Library.  Dr. Anthony Minotti, Assistant Supt. for Student Support Services, Personnel and Administration, and Annie Ward, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction & staff will share accomplishments this year that benefit children with special needs or learning differences and discuss areas of focus for the 2010-2011 school year.  Special guest: Incoming Superintendent of Mamaroneck Schools, Dr. Robert Shaps.   Please join us for our final program of the year!  SEPTA members will also be electing officers for the 2010-11 school year and voting on amendments to SEPTA's by-laws.  Questions?  Contact Lisa Marr at Lmarrz6@aol.com or Pattywolff1@gmail.com.
 
Upcoming MHS Events - Don't Miss Them!...
* Final PACE Performance of the Year: Dance and Theatre Workshop
PACE invites you to its final production of the year, "Dance and Theatre Workshop 2010." This year, they'll be presenting four one-act plays by published playwrights directed by juniors and seniors and twelve dances choreographed by juniors and seniors.  There are two different programs, featuring 80 performers!   Schedule is as follows:
 
Show A:  Wednesday May 19  8 pm  & Friday May 21 8 pm
"Sorry, Wrong Number" by Lucille Fletcher - directed by Jack Pace
"English Made Easy" by David Ives - directed by Eliot Cohen
Dances by Christina Angilletta, Wendy Becker and Becca Greenblatt, Danielle Joselson, Noah Rauschkolb, Danielle Rome, and Katie Stuntz
 
Show B: Thursday May 20  8 pm & Saturday May 22  8 pm
"Three Dimensions" by  Jerome Hairston - directed by Megan Correia and Dani Kogan
"Drugs are Bad" by Jonathan Rand - directed by Eric Glauber and Jackie Sadofsky
Dances by Brendan Gaffney and Janaye Stanford, Matt Gray, Veronica Guerrero,
Kaitlyn Mirabella, Rebecca Paganini and Ilana Zucker-Scharff, and Liza Strauss 
 
* Looking Forward to Wellness Day
wellness day photo
MHS students look forward to this Friday's Wellness Day, where students will have the opportunity to benefit from a morning full of special sessions emphasizing the importance of leading a healthy, happy and balanced lifestyle.  In developing the day, Dr. Mark Orfinger said, "We looked at wellness beyond the four walls of our school and in the broadest sense -- from physical wellness to emotional wellness and how to help students think about what an enriched life looks like." 
 
Among the nearly 40 hour-long sessions being offered: yoga and Pilates, healthy cooking demonstrations, journal writing, keeping relationships healthy, relaxation techniques, improvisation & imagination, and building financial independence.  In addition to attending workshops of choice, each student will hear a performance by poet Bridget Grey, the keynote speaker.
 
* Original Science Research Symposium  
Approximately 60 MHS students who have been participating in the three-year Original Science Research elective program will showcase their work at the Symposium being held on May 24th at the high school.  Students will be on hand to visit with attendees to discuss their displays and answer questions.  The event will be held at 7:30 pm in the MHS library.
 
Noteworthy Accomplishments 
-- The MHS Jazz Band A took 1st place in the 7th annual Sleepy Hollow High School JazzFest.  In addition, they won awards for Best Latin Selection, Best Trumpet Section, Best Saxophone Section and Best Rhythm Section.  The top four schools performed an evening concert, with the judges performing as guest soloists with the bands. This is the second year in a row that the MHS Jazz Band A has taken first place in this high school jazz band competition. 
 
--  Click here for our list of student musicians selected to participate as All-County members.  Congratulations to All!  
 
-- Hommocks PE Teacher Cathleen Ferguson was honored with the American Dreamer award at a BOCES luncheon last week for her dedication in helping students with disabilities achieve their goals.  Congratulations Cathleen!
 
-- MHS social studies teacher Caren Lee Caplan was one of thirty teachers from around the country accepted into the Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers program, which brings teachers together in Washington, D.C. for six days of educational activities related to teaching about the U.S. Supreme Court.  The Institute, co-sponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society, includes sessions led by Supreme Court experts, journalists, authors, and attorneys, who give teachers an in-depth understanding of how the Court chooses and decides cases, and what it is like to argue before the Court.  The Institute covers nine current or recent cases, and teachers even learn about the personalities of the justices. This exciting opportunity culminates with a visit to the Court to hear decisions handed down and a private reception at the Court.  The Institute prepares teachers to use innovative teaching methods with current and past cases. Beyond the content-rich sessions and activities, teachers are also equipped with the skills and tools to train fellow teachers at home.  
 
-- Senior Hayden Novikoff qualified for sectionals for the third year in a row for boys golf with a differential of 3.9 and made All League.  All League is the top 10 lowest differentials in the league.  Congratulations Hayden.
 
-- MHS math teachers Dr. Susan Allen and Maria Michelsson (Math Department Chair) were selected to present professional development workshops at the recent New York City Mathematics Project conference held at Lehman College.  Both workshops offered participants hands on activities that can be used in their high school math classes. 
 
-- Hommocks 8th grader Ben Marchiony qualified as a semi-finalist for the second consecutive year in National Geographic's 2010 New York Geographic Bee.  Congratulations Ben!
 
And the Winners Are...Patricia Cassidy and Max Gude,
Scheduled to Deliver their Winning Essays at the 10th Annual Richard Kemper Memorial Award Ceremony on  Tuesday, May 25th, 3 pm
MHS junior Patricia Cassiday and sophomore Max Gude have been selected as the winners of this year's Richard Kemper Memorial Essay Contest,  The contest, which pays tribute to the 98 Mamaroneck High School graduates who died in World War II is sponsored by the Richard Kemper Foundation for Promoting Human Rights Education and administered by the Social Studies Department under the direction of Mary Cronin.  The student authors will read their winning essays -- titled, Is America Honoring Her Veterans? and The Many Faces of Freedom based on FDR's "Four Freedoms" speech -- at the tenth annual awards ceremony on Tuesday, May 25th at 3 pm just outside the Tiered Classroom at Mamaroneck High School.  This year, a special plaque with the names of the contest winners over the years will be unveiled and displayed in a prominent place at the high school.  Also this year Elizabeth Goodspeed will receive a prize for designing a poster promoting the contest.  
 
Community Opportunity:
2010 Village to Village Kids for World Health Fest! 
Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Kids for World Health (KFWH) Students...making a difference in our world!  Sunday, May 23rd, 12 Noon-2:30 pm beginning at the Gazebo beside the Firehouse on Larchmont Ave., Larchmont.  Kids for World Health, a student grassroots non-profit organization founded in Larchmont invites you to bring your families and friends to join us in helping families around the globe suffering from neglected diseases.  Join us in our mission to raise funds for a KFWH operating room in Lwala, Uganda.  Event includes informational posters, exhibits, educational walk, baked goods, authentic products and music!  Gather supporters or simply make a modest contribution to walk and learn with your neighbors as we help other villagers in our world. 
 
"Hommocks Middle School" Water Tank in Haiti Being Put to
Good Use
Haiti Water tank being usedCheck this out...If you recall, we had included a photo in the last E-News of the water tank that Hommocks had raised money for in Haiti.  Here, at left, you can see that the tank (with "Hommocks Middle School" painted on it)  is being put to good use.