[June 27, 2014] Over the past week, hundreds of Ramapo Central students celebrated a milestone in their academic careers. For fifth-grade students, moving up ceremonies marked their passage from elementary to middle school. Eighth-graders bade farewell to middle school and embarked on their transition to high school. Suffern High School’s Class of 2014 commemorated graduation, with newly-minted alumni looking forward to college, career and starting their adult lives.
Congratulations to all!
Photo captions: Expressions of encouragement and heartfelt appreciation were highlights of each ceremony—from elementary to middle to high school.
[June 25, 2014] If Room 230 felt a little creepy this week, it was likely due to the dozens of highly-detailed crime scene dioramas lining the perimeter of the classroom. These are the culminating products of Suffern High School forensic science courses taught by Christie Barricella.
Suffern High School currently offers five sections of forensic science. Two follow the Project Advance lab science curriculum provided in partnership with Syracuse University, through which juniors and seniors earn four college credits.
For their year-end project, students write a news story, sketch and build a crime scene, construct an evidence log (with five pieces of evidence, minimum), create a photo gallery of the crime scene, describe lab testing techniques and results, profile suspects and “solve” the case.
“This project is really a creative exploration of what they’ve learned. Students take the basics of forensic science and apply them to a real or fictional case,” Barricella explained. “Forensic science doesn’t just appeal to science-minded kids. It’s a little bio, a little chemistry, a little physics, a little law and a little psychology…and it enables them to make connections to what’s happening in the world around them.”
[June 24, 2014] The District's inaugural "Spark Your Summer Learning" event drew a standing room-only crowd on the evening of June 23.
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lisa Weber worked with the District’s reading and math specialists to inform families about online educational resources for students and suggestions for sustaining progress made during the school year through the summer months.
“The District has this tremendous wealth of resources," said RP Connor math specialist Linda Brennan. "Gone are the days of sending packets home...learning is now at students' fingertips."
Cassandra, a Cherry Lane third-grader, helped launch the District’s first-ever Summer Challenge. Students in grades K-12 are invited to submit short, creative videos demonstrating a math concept they have learned. The top videos will be featured on the Ramapo Central website as part of a homework help resource being developed for students and parents.
Cassandra screened a video that she had created about adding three-digit numbers for other students this year in Dr. Cortney Steffen's class. She credits her understanding of ">" and "<" to a video a classmate had made.
"It's fun. You can make a video about addition, subtraction, multiplication...anything," she said. "You can make up your own math problems."
Weber’s closing message to students was simple: “Keep learning!”
Some quick summer learning tips:
- Short, frequent math practice (3-4 times per week) is much better than longer, but less frequent sessions
- Since online accounts are linked to individual students, parents are asked to ensure that students use their own IDs (and don't log on to programs under their siblings’ accounts) to practice so that teachers will have an accurate record of their progress.
- Need help finding new books to read? Students finishing Grade 2 and up can enter their lexile level and genre of choice at Lexile.com for a list of recommended books. Or, if you don't have your child's lexile number, simply enter the title of a recent "just right" book he or she has read and lexile.com will provide the lexile level.
Missed the “Spark Your Summer Learning” event?
- Students may find extra motivation (and earn prizes) by participating in fun--and free--summer reading programs through their local libraries. Miss Jennifer from the Suffern Library encouraged students to read anything of interest: "Magazines, eBooks--they all count!"
Click on the links below for information.
Elementary (Gr. K-5) Online Resources
Additional Elementary Math Resources
Summer Challenge (Gr. K-12)
Photo caption1: Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lisa Weber invited Cassandra to screen her math video tutorial as part of the Summer Challenge launch.
Photo caption (others): More than 60 elementary students and parents attended the June 23 Spark Your Summer Learning event at Suffern Middle School.
[June 24, 2014] Second-graders at Cherry Lane Elementary School and Viola Elementary School exchanged ideas with local mayors during a series of June classroom visits. The events served as the culmination of a social studies unit on citizenship, which focused on communities, the rights and responsibilities of citizens, leaders and decision making.
As part of their studies, the second-graders brainstormed about problem areas that they passionately felt needed attention, such as too few parks, too much pollution and the high cost of college tuition. Students also generated ideas on ways they could make a difference in their own communities.
“Then we figured out which of our federal, state and local leaders the kids had to reach out to. Some of us wrote to the President, others to Gov. Cuomo and the others to Mayor Boesch, “explained Cherry Lane teacher Jay Auerfeld. “We heard back from the President and the Governor--cool! Then the mayor emailed and asked if she could address the kids personally.”
In an hour-long visit, Airmont mayor Veronica DeMeo Boesch spoke about important community leadership decisions she makes, where the money to build things and fix things come from and the process she goes through with the council on making laws and decisions.
“Being a former social studies teacher, she spoke to the children in terms they could understand. She discussed civic roles and told us about her life and how she became a community leader,” Auerfeld added. “They felt amazing to have reached out and received such a response.”
At Viola, Montebello mayor Jeffrey Oppenheim, MD was the guest of honor.
“The children learned about the village’s new initiatives and shared their ideas on how to improve the community in the categories of environment, safety of people and new construction in the village of Montebello,” reported Instructional Facilitator Lynda Hammond. “Mayor Oppenheim was gracious in answering the many questions the students had about how ideas become laws in a community and invited the students to attend monthly village meetings.”
Photo captions: Mayor visits were a highlight at Viola and Cherry Lane, where second-grade students have recently finished units on citizenship and community.
[June 18, 2014] For about an hour on June 6, Suffern Middle School seventh-graders were transported to the 19th century thanks to a visit from Richard Ricca’s Civil War traveling museum.
The interactive, historical presentation blended lecture with hands-on exploration of Civil War artifacts. From prosthetic legs to hand-drawn love letters, students pored over a wealth of 150-year-old personal effects. The academic enrichment program was funded through a REACH Foundation grant.
“It’s a great experience for our students and it wouldn’t be possible without the REACH Foundation,” said social studies teacher K.C. Davan.
Ricca noted how objects, such as the invention of the Spencer repeating carbine, play a role in shaping history. “If you have the technology and the industry to produce it, you can literally win a war,” he said.
Students noted that handling the artifacts made them feel closer to their original owners and gave them a personal glimpse into the Civil War era. They examined items closely in preparation for a writing assignment on a single object of their choice.
Dylan said that he’d been awaiting the presentation all school year. “I’m really interested in the Civil War,” he remarked. “I’m a huge Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman fan.”
Seventh-graders are in the midst of learning about the social, strategic and economic factors that contributed to the Civil War, and how women and African Americans contributed to the war effort.
Photo captions: Seventh-graders connected with Civil War-era Americans through artifacts on June 6.
[June 13, 2014] Assistant Superintendent for Business Kelly Seibert was recently elected Vice President of the Lower Hudson chapter of the New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO).
Comprised of business officials from school districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, NYSASBO advocates on behalf of public education and promotes leadership in the management of resources to ensure quality education for all students. The Lower Hudson chapter spans Rockland, Westchester and Putnam counties.
“I am pleased that Kelly’s colleagues in NYSASBO have recognized his strong fiscal leadership skills and commitment to high-quality financial practices. These are the same qualities that Kelly has displayed in his work here in our District over the past three years,” said Superintendent Dr. Douglas S. Adams.
Seibert has served in his current post since joining the Ramapo Central School District in 2011.
Photo caption: Assistant Superintendent for Business Kelly Seibert was elected Vice President of the Lower Hudson NYSASBO chapter.
[June 13, 2014] Four Suffern High School seniors and Rockland BOCES Career and Technical Education students were inducted into the National Technical Honor Society at a June 6 ceremony at Rockland BOCES.
Three of the inductees—Alane Co, Jason Seeback and Angela Song—were enrolled in the New Visions Health Careers Exploration Program, a rigorous one-year program for high-achieving, college-bound students that includes clinical rotations, mentoring, job shadowing and internships.
Kylie Colorito completed the Cosmetology program, which is taught by certified instructors in fully-equipped salons and prepares students for New York State written and practical licensing exams.
Both programs offer students the opportunity to earn dual high school/college credits.
To qualify for National Technical Honor Society induction, a student must maintain a 90 average or better in career education courses, demonstrate leadership and skill development and be involved in school and/or community service.
[June 6, 2014] The Sloatsburg Elementary School and Cherry Lane Elementary School kindergarten orientations have taken on a special significance this spring, as both schools will welcome new principals on July 1. In Sloatsburg, Principal Eric Baird shared the floor with his successor, Joseph Lloyd. A week later, Baird was introduced to current and soon-to-be kindergarteners at Cherry Lane, where he will succeed Interim Principal Ken Levy. Both Lloyd and Baird expressed their excitement and enthusiasm about joining their new school communities.
From building tours to bus rides, the orientations provided new kindergarteners and their families with a preview of what to expect when they start school in September. The Cherry Lane Kinderstars sang and offered sound advice to their younger peers.
“Coming to kindergarten is a big step,” said Havish. “You meet new friends and learn new things.”
Photo caption 1: The Kinderstars sang the Cherry Lane school song at the June 6 kindergarten orientation.
Photo caption 2: Interim Principal Ken Levy looks on as Eric Baird introduces himself to Cherry Lane’s soon-to-be kindergarteners.
Photo caption 3: Incoming Sloatsburg Principal Joe Lloyd gave Ryan a hand with a kindergarten orientation activity on May 29.
Photo caption 4: Safety tips, like buckling up and talking quietly with seat mates, were shared with youngsters as they took their very first school bus ride.
[June 5, 2014] Local scholarships totaling nearly $100,000 were presented to 118 Suffern High School seniors at the annual Evening of Excellence ceremony on June 2.
“I am always impressed by the diversity and number of scholarships available for our students,” said Principal Patrick Breen. “This is a wonderful celebration of the achievements of the Class of 2014.”
Recognition began with the presentation of the Principal’s Medallion to those placing in the top 10 percent of the Class of 2014. It is the only medal worn by Suffern High School seniors at graduation. The Class of 2014 top 10 percent are: Justin Adelson, Nicholas Assad, Thomas Bristow, Wyatt Buchalter, Jacqueline Chi, Alane Co, Hacheming Compere, Kathryn Conway, Alexander Costa, Kristin Costantin, Kevin Deptula, Jimmy George, Daniel Green, Sylvanna Gross, Benjamin Hack, Stephanie Hosier, Alex Joo, Lauren Kaufman, Aislinn Keane, Alyson Kim, Ashley Liso, Ryan Martin, Casie Morgan, Ryan Morgan, Daniel Newmeyer, Rebecca Nicholson, Ajay Paulose, Rebecca Philip, Gianna Radeljic, Tess Rimmel, Justin Rosenblum, Rebecca Scherwatzky, Michelle Severs, Angela Song, Samantha Stark, Jordan Turock and Kate Yeager.
Students were recognized for their academic achievement, community service, strong character, work ethic, “facing challenge with courage and grace,” leadership, compassion and “love of laughter.”
In all, more than 80 scholarships were given by community organizations and local businesses, including PTA, American Legion Posts, Rotary and Lions Clubs, the Ramapo Masonic Lodge, the Village of Sloatsburg, Hillburn Community, the Ramapo Teachers’ Association, the REACH Foundation, Avon and Pfizer. Many of the awards were made by families, friends and colleagues in memory of beloved Ramapo Central alumni, staff and community members.
Photo captions: Over the course of the June 3 Evening of Excellence, 118 members of Suffern High School’s Class of 2014 were awarded a collective total of nearly $100,000 in local scholarships and awards.