Tiger Tracks mUfsd's monthly e-news

Celebrating the spirit of the season...It's winter concert time in Mamaroneck Public Schools!

December, 2016

District Highlights:

  • Smart Schools Grant to Improve IT Network Pays Dividends on Teaching & Learning
  • Reconfiguring Transportation in Past Few Years Amounts to 1/2 Million+ in Savings
  • PE Capital Project Update: Anticipate 'Earlier Than Expected' State Ed Dept. Approval
  • Mamaroneck Teachers Association Shows Care Through Local Toy Drive
  • Hour of Code Celebrated in All Of Our Schools
  • Computer Science Students Aim to Solve Real-World Problems: Present Prototype of Design to Make Railroad Crossings Safer
  • MHS Student Artwork on Display in Palmer Art Gallery
  • Model Congress Students Participate in 23rd Annual Conference at Yale
  • MHS Academic Team Comes Out Strong at Westchester Academic Challenge
  • MHS Robotics Makes Final Round in 1st Competition of the Season
  • Happy Holidays to All!

NY State's Smart Schools Funding Enables Range of IT Network Improvements and Learning Opps for Students

Phase II of MUFSD's IT Network Infrastructure Improvement Plan, made possible by a half-million dollars in NY State's Smart Schools Funding, is now complete. At the Dec. 6th Board of Education meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Shaps and Network Administrator Adish Ramrattan talked about the range of improvements that have been implemented (such as increased bandwidth capacity, new switches and routers, nearly 500 new access points district-wide, and improved design and flexibility for future expansion/adaptation to technology changes), and the District's technology coaches gave examples of how the reliable use of technology has created student learning opportunities that would not exist otherwise. “This robust and powerful network makes it easier to focus on teaching and learning,” said Instructional Technology Coach Gr 6-12 Mike Sammartano, who cited, among many examples, how middle school students are using technology to simultaneously collect, share, and explore in real-time earthquake activity around the world for Earth Science class.

Instructional Technology Coach, Gr K-5, Jesse Dancy pointed out that "Passion Projects" are another wonderful example of how technology is being harnessed at the 3rd grade level to promote authentic inquiry,

Transportation Policy & Regulation Changes in Past Few Years Have Resulted in $500,000+ Savings to the District

Also at the Dec. 6 Board of Education meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Business Operations Meryl Rubinstein provided the community with an update on District transportation services and the associated budgetary savings over the past few years. In 2014, the Board approved to shift a portion of the District’s transportation services for private/parochial Schools (gr 9-12) to public transportation. Then, in 2016, transportation regulations were revised to provide District services only when school is in session, effective this school year. In reporting out, Rubinstein said, "We wanted to examine and explore what we anticipated would happen compared to what actually happened." As a result of the policy change and revised regulations reducing the amount of buses required for transporting students, Rubinstein said the combined three-year cost savings amounts to $535,072

Project to Renovate Physical Education Instructional Spaces at MHS Expected to Receive SED Approval Ahead of Schedule

In other news, Rubinstein said the capital project that was approved by the community last spring for the reconfiguration of physical education instructional spaces at the high school is now underway. "We anticipate that the State Education Department will approve our design plan/construction work any day now -- ahead of the original March date. This earlier than anticipated SED approval will provide us with plenty of time to bid and get preferred bidders who are not already committed to summer work," she said. "Mobilization/construction is expected to begin in April, when we will block off certain areas so as not to interfere with the regular school day activities." According to the current timetable, the bond project should wrap up in October, 2017; the re-purposed space will translate into three new instructional spaces to deliver the high school's required physical education program and replace end-of-life locker room equipment.

MHS PE Instructional Spaces & Locker Room Upgrades -- Updated design plans presented at 12/6 BOE meeting

Mamaroneck Teachers Association Conducts Toy Drive to Benefit Local Families

The holidays will be brighter for some of our local families, thanks to the generosity of the Mamk Teachers Association MTA, which organized a toy drive at each of our six schools to benefit St. Rita's clinic. Nice job MTA, caring for students inside and outside of the classroom.

Hour of Code Celebrated in All Mamaroneck Public Schools

Students across the district -- from Kindergarten on up -- participated in Hour of Code during the global Computer Science Education Week earlier this month. Great to see so many students helping other students on code.org and looking forward to continuing their coding work at home on some of the free websites teachers recommended. Thanks to a coordinated effort by Mamaroneck School District staff members and the Larchmont-Mamaroneck STEM Alliance, students enjoyed a full slate of opportunities throughout the week both in school and outside of school to explore coding. In addition to coding activities in math classes and computer labs during the regular school day, nearly 20 events were organized free of charge after-school or in the evening throughout the community, including nighttime parent workshops and special coding events held at the local libraries.

“Hour of Code served as a powerful way to introduce the basics of coding and computer science logic to all students, regardless of their previous experience, and enable them to see how coding skills can enhance their passions,” said MHS Computer Science Teacher Jigar Jadav. “Once kids see that they can actually use coding to change things that matter to them – from building a website to hacking your phone apps – they move to coder and innovator quickly.”

Computer Science Students Aim to Solve Real-World Problems

MHS computer science students, participating in a local competition to design safer railroad crossings, presented a prototype that includes an on-track car removal device made possible by a computerized conveyor belt system and laser sensors using an Arduino microcontroller and Legos. Congratulations to team leader Paul Pedrozo and the other team members -- Pablo Garza, Sam Brause and Andrew Katz – on all of their hard work. The tournament was organized by Alan Brody, widower of former Edgemont resident Ellen Brody, who was killed tragically in February, 2015, when her SUV was hit by a Metro-North commuter train in Valhalla.

Student Artwork On Display in Mamaroneck High School's Palmer Gallery Until Late January

The Mamaroneck High School Art Department kicked off its 2016 Fall All-Media Art show, THE UNBREAKABLE NET, with an opening reception Dec. 14th. The art exhibition -- featuring the work of students in grades 9 through 12 -- is in the Palmer Gallery at MHS until the end of January. Stop by to visit if you have the chance!

Model Congress Students Compete at Yale Conference

Fourteen MHS students participated in the 23rd Annual Yale Model Congress conference, along with 650 other students from 30 schools – writing, debating and passing legislation on a wide variety of topics ranging from mandatory opioid training for physicians, to ending pay discrimination in the workforce, to providing funds for tutoring newly arrived immigrants. Congratulations to Jack Spiridellis, who received Best Delegate, Senate Foreign Relations; Peter Simpson - Best Delegate, House Energy and Commerce; Jordan Steinberg - Honorable Mention, Senate Homeland Security; Mira Goodman - Honorable Mention, House Education and the Workforce, and Max Plonsker, Honorable Mention, Senate Ethics.

MHS Team Makes Strong Appearance at Westchester Academic Challenge

Students from the MHS Academic Team fared quite well in competing against 20 other high schools from across the county in the Westchester Academic Challenge. Our A team finished 6th overall, and the B team came in 4th. Kevin Shen turned in an amazing performance, taking 5th overall in individual points scored! The next competition is scheduled for January 28.

MHS Robotics Makes it to Final Round in Season's First Robotics Competition

Mamaroneck High School Robotics made it to the final round in its first competition of the season, coming in 5th overall out of 18 teams and receiving 2nd Place for the Control Award at Red Hook High School in upstate NY. This award is for teams who do an outstanding job creating the programming code necessary to navigate their robot autonomously through the playing field. The next competition is Jan. 7th at Kennedy Catholic in Somers. Until then, students will spend the time iterating on their design based on what they learned from the robot’s actual performance during the competition. Way to go Tigers!!

Wishing everyone a safe & happy holiday season!!

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