Mark your calendar: Family Night is March 16

posted Mar 1, 2015, 5:55 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Mar 1, 2015, 5:55 AM ]

[March 1, 2015] On Monday, March 16, there will be no homework, no tests to study for the next day and no sports or extracurricular events after 5pm. Instead, Ramapo Central families are encouraged to spend quality down-time together as part of the District’s first-ever Family Night.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Suffern Middle School social studies teacher KC Davan and RP Connor Elementary School teacher Michele McKiernan.

“With families’ busy schedules, it can be difficult finding time to just be together,” said Davan. “Family Night will give Ramapo Central families an opportunity to take a school night off to have fun together.”  

More than a dozen community partners have already signed on to participate and will be offering dining discounts and free, family-centered activities. Stay posted to the Family Night webpage (also under Quick Links on the District and building home pages) for updated information.

Excelsior is on its way

posted Mar 1, 2015, 5:44 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Mar 1, 2015, 5:47 AM ]

[March 1, 2015] The Winter issue of the Ramapo Central newsletter, Excelsior, will be arriving in mailboxes across the District this week with news about a new SHS course offering, the Chinese language program, the Project Lead the Way pilot at Montebello and much more.

Don’t want to wait? Click here to read Excelsior online now.

Suffern Robotics advances to Super-Regionals

posted Feb 12, 2015, 11:15 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Feb 12, 2015, 11:15 AM ]

[February 12, 2015] Suffern Robotics Team 7487 won the Think! Award at the 2014-15 Empire NY FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) Regional Championship at Pace University on February 8 and will advance to the FTC East Super-Regional Championship at the University of Scranton next month. All three Suffern Robotics teams earned a berth at the regional competition in Westchester.

The Think! Award is awarded by event judges to the team whose engineering notebook exemplifies “their journey as a team and engineers.” Suffern High School math teacher and robotics team advisor George Mugno credits Sarah Pungitore and Kristine Stewart for their outstanding work in terms of documenting each step of the engineering design process—including troubleshooting and 3D modeling—used to design and build the robot affectionately known as “Edgar.”

At the Super-Regional Championship (March 19-21), Team 7487 will compete against the top 71 teams from Maine to Virginia for a chance to advance to the World Championships in St. Louis, MO.  

Photo caption: Suffern Robotics Team 7487 is headed to the FTC East Super-Regional Championship next month! Pictured here are:  Jared Rubin, Alex Goldstein, Megan Grosmark, Kristine Stewart, Sarah Pungitore, Saganisha Valow-Picarello, Alex Fernandez, Neil Sullivan and advisor George Mugno. (Members John Poulos, Denny George, Tim Bell, Fadi Wassaf and Joe Montuoro were not present for the photo.)

Snow days a chance for out-of-the-box learning

posted Feb 12, 2015, 11:04 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Feb 12, 2015, 11:04 AM ]

[February 12, 2015] Although wintry weather has led to several cancellations this year, the District’s Snow Day Challenges have kept the learning going—at home!

First launched in February 2014, the year-old Snow Day Challenge has become a hit with Ramapo Central families. Using their creative problem-solving skills, snowed-in students have had a blast building newspaper towers, coding Valentine’s Day animations in Scratch, conducting weather experiments and much, much more.

When those winter storm warnings start rolling in, remember to stay tuned to the District home page and social media feeds for Snow Day Challenge info.

In the meantime, check out some of our students’ fantastic snow day projects on the District’s Facebook page.

ICYMI: More schools post their #firsttweet

posted Feb 12, 2015, 10:53 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Feb 12, 2015, 10:53 AM ]

[February 12, 2015] Earlier this school year, Ramapo Central took the leap into social media with the launch of District Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lisa Weber’s Twitter feed.

Montebello Elementary School (@MontebelloEagle) and Suffern Middle School (@SuffernMS) were the building pioneers, posting their first tweets in early fall.

Since then, three more buildings have joined the conversation: Sloatsburg Elementary School (@SESPirates), RP Connor Elementary School (@ConnorCougars) and Cherry Lane Elementary School (@CherryLaneES).

Want to stay posted on student achievements, program news and snow day cancellations and the innovative work of our faculty? Be sure to check our home page regularly and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

*ICYMI = In case you missed it

Save the date: RTA Blood Drive is Jan. 28

posted Jan 22, 2015, 6:56 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Jan 28, 2015, 10:11 AM by Ramapo Central ]

[January 22, 2015] Once again, the Ramapo Central teachers are partnering with the New York Blood Center to provide lifesaving blood and blood products for our neighbors in need. 

The 44th RTA Annual Blood Drive will be held on Wednesday, January 28 from 11:30am-5:30pm at the Ramapo Central School District Administrative Offices, 45 Mountain Road, Hillburn.

NYBC reports that there is a critical need for donations during the winter months. A single blood donation can save up to three lives.

Members of the Ramapo Central community are encouraged to participate. For information on who may give blood, please click here to check the New York Blood Center’s eligibility page.

Walk-ins are welcome; no appointment is required. However, if you wish to schedule an appointment, please email blood drive coordinator Christine D’Antonio-Krebs.

Donors must present identification with photo or signature and should arrive well-hydrated and with a full stomach.

Plan to donate? Please consider spreading the word on social media to challenge friends and family to join you. Check out New York Blood Center’s recently-launched #blood4What campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for inspiration.

Ramapo Central graduates first Model School cohorts

posted Jan 22, 2015, 6:37 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Jan 22, 2015, 6:38 AM ]

[January 22, 2015] This fall, 18 Ramapo Central teachers volunteered to participate in a Model Schools Core Plus cohort, a program designed to help teachers leverage instructional technology to enhance student engagement and achievement.

“It’s a very light footprint in terms of formal instruction—actually less than a full-day workshop,” noted Model Schools coach Leslie Accardo.

Since October, an elementary cohort composed of 10 teachers from RP Connor Elementary School and Sloatsburg Elementary School has set individual goals, created and tested tech-integrated lessons using Google Apps for Education—Google Drive, Google Classroom, Apps Play Store and Google Hangout—and exchanged ideas with their Model Schools peers. Eight Suffern Middle School teachers undertook the same challenge, in a separate cohort. All were provided with Chromebooks for their work.

Participants report that it was a powerful process.

“Having the opportunity to do the work over time with Google Apps and the Chromebooks, we really had time to think about what we were trying to do,” reflected RP Connor special education teacher Barbara Brain. “It slowly became part of our being.”

“It was empowering to have training tuned in to how I want to grow professionally,” said Sloatsburg fifth-grade teacher Brad Sahlstrom.

RP Connor art teacher Steve Pashley tried a number of different tech-integrated assignments with his students, from reviewing a work of art to sharing digital artwork.

“At first, I thought this was more for middle school. But I tried 18 different things to do with art and found that it’s a great tool,” he said. “The kids jump all over it.”

While January marks the completion of the first two cohorts, their work will continue. Participants plan to keep their Google+ communities going, explore new ways to leverage technology in their classrooms and to share what they’ve learned with colleagues.

A Suffern High School Model Schools cohort is slated for launch this spring.

“When you look pedagogically at what you can accomplish with your students through technology, you realize that you should buy in,” said RP Connor third-grade teacher David Grammerstorf, a Model Schools participant.

Providing differentiated, job-embedded support helped teachers with varying levels of tech experience become more adept (and creative) in terms of integrating technology into their instruction. 

“Our involvement with this LHRIC (Lower Hudson Regional Information Center) service was made possible through the efforts of Dawn Bean, chairperson of the District’s Tech Professional Development committee and Instructional Facilitator at RP Connor, who immediately saw the potential in this model,” explained Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Lisa Weber. “Because each teacher’s professional growth and application of the technology is unique, the overall benefit to the District is amplified as these experiences are shared with colleagues and other students.”

Photo caption: RP Connor art teacher Steve Pashley demos a slideshow of student artwork and comments created with Google Apps for Education tools.

Sloatsburg hosts swearing-in of NYS Assemblyman Brabenec

posted Jan 21, 2015, 12:23 PM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Jan 21, 2015, 12:24 PM ]

[January 21, 2015] Sloatsburg Elementary students got a front-row glimpse of government in action as witnesses of the ceremonial swearing-in of New York State Assemblyman Karl Brabenec in their school gymnasium on January 16.

Third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students attended the brief ceremony, along with a number of local government leaders. Sloatsburg Village Clerk and Ramapo Central Board of Education member Thomas Bollatto, Jr. administered the oath of office; Mayor Carl Wright held the Bible.

Principal Joseph Lloyd explained to students that in his new role representing the 98th District, Assemblyman Brabenec will work at the state level as “a critical thinker and problem solver for many Rockland and Orange County citizens.”

For his part, Assemblyman Brabenec reflected on his experience and offered students advice.

“When I was Town Supervisor of Deerpark, lots of people came to me asking for help. Most of the time, there was something I can do—you always have to make the effort. Be friendly, be positive and do your best to help your neighbors and you will be successful,” he said. “Thank you for sharing this special moment with me.”

Photo caption: New York State Assemblyman Karl Brabenec takes his oath of office before an audience of Sloatsburg Elementary students on January 16.

SMS battles bullying with kindness

posted Jan 21, 2015, 12:15 PM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Jan 21, 2015, 12:15 PM ]

[January 21, 2015] 
Bullying prevention gets a lot of attention at Suffern Middle School. Throughout the year, assemblies, monthly homeroom meetings and clubs work together to reinforce a “bully-free” environment and promote compassion.

On January 16, homerooms building-wide spent 30 minutes focused on tailored, grade-level lessons developed by the school’s Olweus team. Eighth-graders focused on setting and respecting boundaries in their relationships and reflected on how their behavior “sets the tone” for others. Seventh-grade students worked to distinguish between joking and bullying, and the importance for taking responsibility for hurtful behavior. Sixth-graders explored the devastating impact of bullying and tried to understand the bully and empathize with the target.  

“We have these meetings every month,” noted Katie, a sixth-grader in teacher Jennie Narciso’s class. “They’re helpful because you see what can happen because of bullying; I think it makes people think about their behavior.”

As part of the January lesson, a number of classes also worked to create paper chains comprised of individual links representing acts of kindness students had witnessed or performed over the last few weeks. Segments will be joined to create a single “chain of kindness” for unveiling at a culminating Olweus event at the end of the school year. 

The project was a tie-in with the work of the Kindness Crusaders.

“We focus on encouraging positive behavior, promoting kindness, happiness and empathy,” said English teacher, literacy specialist and club advisor Nicole Tarife. “I follow Rachel’s Challenge on Twitter and the paper chain idea came from there. It is a physical representation of how our actions affect each other and it helps to give students a concrete image as they reflect on their own behavior. My hope is that by the end of the year, our paper chains of kindness stretch across the entire stage or even the entire football field! Imagine a middle school that has contributed to that many kind acts; what a wonderful learning environment that could be!”

Photo caption: Links representing acts of kindness were created by students during the January 16 Olweus homeroom meetings at Suffern Middle School. Ultimately, they will be joined to create a single “chain of kindness” and displayed in the building.

Kindergarten pre-registration is underway

posted Jan 19, 2015, 5:16 AM by Ramapo Central   [ updated Jan 19, 2015, 5:16 AM ]

[January 19, 2015] Kindergarten pre-registration has begun for the 2015-16 school year. Children must be five years of age on or before December 1, 2015 to enroll.

Parents of incoming kindergarteners are urged to contact their home elementary school to begin the pre-registration process. Once they have pre-registered with their home elementary school, parents will be assigned a specific time to report for registration and screening with their kindergarteners-to-be. 

Cherry Lane Elementary School: To pre-register, call (845) 357-3988. Parent orientation for incoming kindergarteners will be held on April 16 at 7pm. Registration and screening dates are May 4 & 6.

Montebello Elementary School: To pre-register, call (845) 357-4466. Registration and screening dates are May 5-7.

R.P. Connor Elementary School: To pre-register, call (845) 357-2858. Parent orientation for incoming kindergarteners will be held on May 4 at 7pm. Appointments for screening and registration will be scheduled for May 11-15.

Sloatsburg Elementary School: To pre-register, call (845) 753-2720. Registration and screening dates are May 5 & 7.

Viola Elementary School: To pre-register, call (845) 357-8315. Registration and screening dates are March 25, 26 and, if needed, 27.

Unsure where to register? Call (845) 357-7783 to confirm your home school information.

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