A Special Section of
The Record-Review August 24, 2012
Back to School
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Back to School
A SPECIAL SECTION OF
The Record-Review AUGUST 24, 2012
Friday, August 24, 2012
3A Getting ready for the college visit 4A Learning locally:
History lessons in your own backyard
Kids bullying adults? What to do, why it happens
10A Family TV fare: Is wholesome content still on the viewing menu? A special section of
The Record-Review P.O. Box 455, Bedford Hills, NY 10507 914-244-0533 www.record-review.com
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Health & Wellness 8A Immunization update: HPV vaccine approved for boys
Fostering healthy teen dating relationships
8A School News
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It Takes a Lot of Heart to Educate a Mind Individual. Personal. Unique. It describes each of our students… and all of our teachers.
Openings in grades 6, 7 & 9 for 2012–2013 School Year
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Getting ready for the college Visit Important college decisions often call for campus visits By JOHN ROCHE
ampus visits are an integral part of the college selection process, but some planning, preparation and focus can go a long way in making the most out of a firsthand look at any school, according to area experts. “Visiting a particular college enables the student to consider if that environment and community match his or her evolving criteria and is a place that he or she might like to apply to,” said Jane C. Hoffman, a college admissions and educational consultant who runs College Advice 101 based in Larchmont. “In addition, information and impressions gleaned from the visit will help the applicant articulate a targeted and comprehensive answer to the ‘why I want to attend x college’ essay prompt that can be a part of that school’s application and so can help increase the likelihood of gaining admissions.” Carol Gill, whose educational consulting firm Carol Gill Associates is based in Dobbs Ferry, said that visiting a college a student is considering is imperative. “You wouldn’t buy a new pair of shoes without trying them on, nor would you buy a car without test-driving it first,” Gill said. “Likewise, a student needs to make a college visit before making a sound decision about a school. You simply cannot get a feel for a college from its catalog or website alone.” On average, a high school student will apply to nine colleges, but their initial list of schools they might be interested in could Continued on page 17A
Building Skills Raising Grades Lifting Spirits
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Friday, August 24, 2012
in your own
backyard By JACKIE LUPO
ducational outings can be fun for families (yes, really!) if you match the trip with the age of the kids, with what they’re studying in school or with some special interest. History can come alive with a visit to a 200-year-old house, a working farm, a famous battleground or a local museum. Residents of Westchester and environs are lucky to find dozens of historic and educational sites nearby, some close to home, others within a drive of a few hours or less. Many of these attractions are perfect for families, offering tours, hands-on activities and special events. Here are some of our favorites: At the Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, art lovers enjoy the changing schedule of exhibits in the modern galleries overlooking the Palisades. But kids of all ages love to return again and again to the original part of the museum, the fascinating Victorian-era mansion called “Glenview.” Formerly the home of the Trevor family, the Second-Empire style house has been meticulously restored to give visitors a sense of what life was like in the late 1800s. A perennial favorite with kids is the giant Victorian-style dollhouse, based on a composite of actual Second-Empire style mansions that were favored by wealthy merchants living along the Hudson. The dollhouse has real slate roofs, reproduction furniture, a haunted attic, and a doll family involved in a romantic adventure. While you’re in Yonkers, check out the Phillipse Manor State Historic Site, originally the home of Frederick Phillipse III, Lord of the Manor of Phillipsburg. Phillipse was a Loyalist who remained faithful to King George III during the Revolutionary War. He was arrested by George Washington and, after the war, his property was confiscated by New York State and sold at auction. Today, the manor house is a museum of history, art and architecture. A few miles up the Hudson River in Sleepy Hollow is Philipsburg Manor, a completely different site with a different story. This attraction is a recreation of colonial life in the mid-1750s, when the Philipses, a family of Anglo-Dutch merchants, operated a farm, mill and trading center here, with the help of 23 enslaved Africans. Today, costumed guides are on hand as visitors tour the 300-yearold manor house, walk through the working gristmill operated by “Caesar,” the enslaved African miller, and visit the wharf where “Dimond,” an enslaved riverboat pilot, carried goods up and down the Hudson. Kids can enjoy hands-on activities: thresh some wheat, shell some beans, work flax into linen, and make some biscuits. It’s easy to make a day of it at Philipsburg
Manor alone, but families with a lot of energy can double up on their touring with an additional visit to Kykuit, the Rockefeller estate where Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller and his descendants, through the era of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, lived in palatial luxury in an art-filled mansion with formal gardens and panoramic Hudson views. Visitors to Kykuit are required to park at Philipsburg Manor and buy Kykuit tickets in the welcome center there, then go by jitney bus up to Kykuit. The mansion itself is impressive, but probably more interesting for older kids. However, the stone Coach Barn, filled with antique carriages and cars, is fascinating for all ages. Also in Sleepy Hollow is Washington Irving’s Sunnyside, home of the creator of Rip Van Winkle, Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. The romantic landscape and the beautiful riverside house, which Irving expanded from a small cottage starting in 1835, are beautiful places just to walk around, or to take a tour from a costumed guide. There are also beautiful picnic spots. Don’t miss Children’s Book Day, a special event on Sept. 15. A short hop down Route 9 in Tarrytown is Lyndhurst, the Gothic “castle” built in 1838. Lyndhurst was home to politicians and merchants throughout the 19th century; railroad tycoon Jay Gould was probably the most famous resident. The house can be visited by guided tour only. The grounds are beautiful for exploring or picnicking; dogs must be kept on-leash. On Sept. 21-23, the grounds of Lyndhurst are given over to family fun as the site hosts its annual crafts fair. Hundreds of crafts artists are here displaying and selling their wares. There are food vendors, music and activities for kids. Come early for the best parking. If your family is interested in organic farming, fall is a great time to visit the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture a few miles north in Pocantico Hills. Visitors to this real, working farm can get up close and personal with a variety of farm animals, help collect eggs from some of the free-ranging hens, and learn how food is grown the natural way. The Harvest Fest on Oct. 6 includes music, a farmers market, farm demonstrations, workshops for adults and children, and visits by food experts. If you’re interested in farming the oldfashioned way, pay a visit to the John Jay Homestead in Katonah. John Jay was one of the Founding Fathers, serving as president of the second Continental Congress and as a foreign minister and negotiator during the Revolution. After the Revolution, he was the nation’s first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Today, Jay’s family home sits on a beautiful 62-acre site where visitors can focus on the history of the site, or learn about cold
A n ative american living history re-enactment at Phillipsburg Manor in Sleepy Hollow, NY.
Sign at the entrance to the Stony Point Battlefield, a state historic site in Stony Point, N.Y.
Antique cannons at West Point Military Academy, in West Point, N.Y.
The Husdon River Museum in Yonkers, N.Y. features hands-on exhibits and learning for all ages.
John Jay Homstead in Katonah features interactive exhibits and activities for all ages including a teaching garden.
Sunnyside in Tarrytown, N.Y. was the home of famed 19th century “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle” author Washington Irving.
frame farming, backyard chicken raising or beekeeping. Once you’ve learned about life on John Jay’s farm, you’ll also want to pay a visit to the Jay Heritage Center in Rye. This grand columned mansion on the Post Road dates from 1838 and is considered one of the country’s finest examples of the Greek Revival style of architecture. John Jay grew up on this property in the 1700s, but the mansion was built
by his grandson, Peter Augustus Jay, on the location of the original house, using timbers and nails from it. There is a 23-acre park with walking trails on the site. If you’re in the mood for a drive up the Hudson (fall foliage, anyone?), travel up to Hyde Park, N.Y. for a visit to the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and the FDR PresiContinued on the next page
The Record-Review Continued from the previous page
dential Library and Museum. The site includes “Springwood,” the lifelong home of FDR, our country’s only four-term president, and the presidential library and museum housing the president’s archives. Also on the site is First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s beautiful guesthouse, Val Kill, with its lovely gardens and grounds. Also in Hyde Park is the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, an estate modeled on an English country house, with 211 acres of parkland and gardens, and magnificent views of the Hudson. It takes about two hours to tour this site, and cell phone tours are available. While you’re in Hyde Park, plan a visit to America’s most famous cooking school, the Culinary Institute of America. CIA visitors can take a tour, visit a bookstore that features everything for the passionate chef, and eat at one of the five student-staffed public restaurants (reservations are suggested). For those whose interests are more historical than culinary, a fun “upstate” day trip is the Stony Point Battlefield on the west side of the Hudson River, where the American Light Infantry made its famous assault on a British garrison in 1779. Also on the site is the Stony Point Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse on the Hudson River. Visitors can tour the restored 1826 lighthouse and learn what life was like for old-time lighthouse keepers. The views from the top of the tower go on forever! While you’re across the Hudson, make a stop at Washington’s Headquarters in Newburgh, N.Y. Although many historic sites call themselves “Washington’s Headquarters,” Washington spent the most time at this location during the eight years of the Revolution. It was here that Washington lived with
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his wife, his officers and his servants, making many important decisions and, finally, drafting the armistice that ended the war. One of the area’s most fascinating tour sites is the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Visitors are only allowed to enter the academy grounds by guided tour, and tours are not given during days when there is a home football game, during graduation week and on certain other specified days, so it pays to call first. A visitors center includes exhibits on cadet life, including a full-scale cadet barracks rooms and a cadet uniform room. The West Point Museum has galleries with artifacts of famous military campaigns and illustrious graduates of the academy. There are centuries of weapons, military uniforms and artifacts on display, from George Washington’s pistols to the last message sent by General Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Visitors over the age of 16 must show a valid photo I.D. to enter West Point. Another attraction that takes a few hours to get to, but is worth the trip, is the Mashantucket Pequot Museum in Mashantucket, Conn. Housed in an ultra-modern building are exhibits depicting centuries of Native American and natural history. Learn how North America was sculpted by the glaciers 20,000 years ago, see how native people first arrived in this area, learn about Pequot daily life and see native artifacts found in the area. The museum contains research facilities, including a children’s library. And that’s just a sampling of what’s in your own backyard. The hours of operation of many of these attractions varies from month to month, and some do not offer tours during the winter. Please visit the individual attractions’ websites for directions, schedules and visiting hours, admission fees and listings of special events.
Open House Sunday, October 28, 1:00 p.m. www.countryschool.net
J O I N O U R J O U R N EY
new canaan country school An Independent School for Beginners through Grade 9 Ponus Ridge, New Canaan, CT
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Friday, August 24, 2012
Kids bullying adults? What to do, why it happens By EVE MARX
y now you’ve heard of or seen the video of the young male adolescents on a school bus who bullied their bus monitor. It’s painful to watch. Three or four boys, aggressive, bold, and completely confident, for over nine minutes harass, insult and verbally abuse an older woman whose job was to keep order on the bus. Before the video is over, the woman is in tears. While many articles have been published about bullying, most people associate bullying with children and adolescents bullying other kids. Not much is known or talked about children who bully grownups. Is this a new phenomenon? And what can be done about it? Dr. Jill Silverman is a Ph.D. clinical health psychologist in Greenwich whose practice focuses on adults and adolescents. She said that the incidence of children who bully adults is underreported. “Typically more teenagers bully adults than young adolescents,” Dr. Silverman said. She did not see the bus monitor bullying video, but knew about it. “Those children were young adolescents, not teens,” she said. “And that made it somewhat unusual.” Silverman said that if a parent suspects a child of bullying anyone, whether it’s another child or an adult, the first thing the
parent must do is not respond aggressively. Aggression only leads to more aggression. “If you find out that your child has been involved in or is witnessing an ongoing bullying situation, you must remove the child from the aggressive situation,” she said. In the case of younger teens or children, the parents should use this time as an opportunity for education. “Older kids know differently and have different capacities,” Silverman said. She said that in the case of an older child
known to be engaging in bullying behavior, the parents must take whatever action is needed to put an end to the behavior, even if it means calling on the authorities. “But first you have to be able to re-establish yourself as a parent,” she said. Silverman said it is typical, normal teen behavior to push limits. At the same time, she said parents are often very resistant to hearing that their child has pushed too far. “A parent’s gut response is to protect their kid and keep them from getting in
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trouble,” she said. “But a bullying child is going to push that parent, and if the parent does not do something to stop the bullying, the parent will lose confidence and control.” She said the current literature on bullying says that bullying can be a learned behavior; it can grow out of the child’s environment; it can be an outgrowth of a kid becoming involved with alcohol and drugs. Some youthful bullies suffer from emotional problems that cause them to become bullies. She said that when kids bully adults, including their own parents, the bullying itself can be physical, emotional, even financial. Some ways parents can interfere with or prevent bullying is to be more present at their child’s school. The school environment, Silverman said, is the most common place where bullying happens: “If you can’t be around and your child tells you that he or she is witnessing bullying, talk to your child about the importance of getting an adult who can help right away. Speak to the school about any incidents.” In other words, teach your children that if they see something, they need to say something. Some children, Silverman said, have never learned how to “temper their aggression.” “Learning how to temper one’s aggression is an issue of social preparedness,” she said. A person does not have to be the victim of a bully to be traumatized. Merely Continued on the next page
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witnessing an incident of bullying can be traumatizing. Silverman said that bullying almost always comes out of someone’s desperate need. “That need might be for group identification, or money, or drugs, or the bully already feels out of control and is hoping for someone else to step in to control a situation,” she said. Bullying can be a cry for help. What are the signs that your child might be a bully? Silverman suggests if your child exhibits extensive oppositional behavior, is threatening, uses intimidation to get their way, has physical or emotional outbursts that are repeated or is a cyberbully, it’s time to seek professional help to counter the behavior. “If your child sends anyone, including yourself, bullying texts, intentionally destroys your property, is using drugs or alcohol in the house, these are all problem signs,” she said. “Children who make fun of their parents in front of other people. Using credit cards without permission. Threatening siblings or pets in the household. This kind of behavior has to be addressed as bullying.” Beth Thompson, LCSW-R, and program director for the Joe Torre Safe At Home Margaret’s Place Program under the auspices of Westchester Jewish Community Services in Hartsdale, said that models of disrespect abound for teens and adolescents who use these models as a bar for acceptable behavior. Many popular TV shows and movies geared toward a young audience portray disrespectful, even humiliating behavior as funny. “People laugh
There’s all kinds of abuse, and abuse and bullying are a way of gaining and securing power. It’s important to teach kids how to be assertive about getting their needs met without being disrespectful.” – Beth Thompson, LCSW-R
when someone in a TV show or a film is being humiliated or bullied,” Thompson said. “There’s a mass approval for unacceptable behavior.” Thompson said that every youngster needs to be taught positive ways to handle disappointments and aggression. “Kids who are already stressed by what life has dealt them, be it their parent is unemployed, there could be a death in the family, a downsizing move, financial difficulties, these kids are more at risk to use aggression as a way of getting what they want or to feel better,” Thompson said. “There’s all kinds of abuse, and abuse and bullying are a way of gaining and securing power. It’s important to teach kids how to
Friday, August 24, 2012/ Page 7A
be assertive about getting their needs met without being disrespectful.” It’s now known that girls are just as likely now to be bullies as are boys. Girls tend to use different methods. “Girl bullies are likely to be social bullies,” Thompson said. “They use social exclusion and humiliation as their tools, although some girl bullies use physical and verbal aggression as well.” All children, Thompson said, need positive reinforcement to overcome any tendencies they might have to be bullies. Bullying a bullying child won’t work. Giving the child models of respectful behavior will. Watching popular shows and films with your child and discussing the themes provides a teaching opportunity to talk about bullying. “You can talk about how everyone is laughing, but how the bullied victim feels,” she said. Empathy for others, not abasement or ridicule, is an important learned behavior that parents must instill in their children. Commenting on the school bus video, Jim Chillemi, owner and director of New York Goju Karate in Hastings-on-Hudson, immediately asked what were the qualifications and training for the bus monitor. It’s not a bad question. “How could that school district send that woman into that job without giving her some training?” Chillemi said. “The aftermath of not training someone you’ve hired to chaperone children is evident in that video. I’m sure their hall monitors are trained. There has to be some awareness on the part of that school board and district of what could happen on a bus.” Chillemi is an advocate of zero tolerance for children who bully or abuse. “Those
children need to know that kind of behavior can’t and won’t be tolerated and that the consequences will be severe,” he said. “Adults in that kind of situation have to be protected.” As a way of directly addressing the bullying issue, Chillemi, or Shihan Chillemi as he is known at his dojo, is offering a special seminar on bullying at his New York Goju Karate school. The seminar will take place on Sept. 8. “A lot of us don’t understand bullying,” he said. “I have case studies of it at my school. I’ve been doing this for many years and I’ve seen all kinds of bullying.” Chillemi said he wondered how many times that bus monitor kept quiet and did nothing and let those children bully her. “How many times did that woman say nothing until those kids felt they could get away with anything?” he said. He said that when he talks to young students about bullying, he often talks to their parents, too. “Parents of a bully have to ask themselves, are they being bullied by someone at home? Are they being bullied by a domestic partner — or are they the bully themselves?” Bullying behavior, he said, is often learned at home. Karate and martial arts, he said, are useful tools for teaching children about character: “I only have high character kids in my program. Character is part of what we teach here.” Karate can be a weapon, Chillemi said, but it can be the kind of weapon that helps keep us safe. “America has nuclear weapons so we don’t have to use them,” Chillemi said. “Martial arts gives you the confidence to learn to protect yourself so you never have to.”
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Friday, August 24, 2012
Immunization update: HPV vaccine approved for boys
By TRACI DUTTON LUDWIG
arents take note: your boys’ annual physicals may include one more jab of a needle. However, according to doctors, all those extra pinches from the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine will be worth it, for the prevention of cervical cancer, genital warts and other genital and oropharyngeal cancers. Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expanded their guidelines on the HPV vaccine to make it a “recommended vaccine” for both genders. At the time of the vaccine’s approval five years ago, the focus was on immunizing girls against two high-risk HPV virus strains that cause 75 percent of all cervical cancers — HPV 16 and 18. According to CDC statistics, about 12,000 new cervical cancer cases appear each year in the United States, from which approximately 4,000 annual deaths will result. The vaccine is commonly available under the name “Gardasil,” manufactured by Merck. In addition to Gardasil, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a second HPV vaccine — Cervarix, made by GlaxoSmithKline — but it has not been licensed for use in males. Gardasil also immunizes recipients against the low-risk HPV strains 6 and 11, which are responsible for 75 percent of all genital warts. Cervarix does not prevent against infection by HPV strains 6 and 11. Approximately one in every 100 sexually active adults has genital warts at any given time, according to the CDC. Warts can grow on the genitals or groin anytime from weeks to several years after sexual contact with an HPV-infected partner. Since genital warts cause symptoms in both men and women, the HPV vaccine directly protects boys’ and men’s health in this way. This, of course, is in addition to the vaccine’s help in preventing the transmission of high-risk HPV virus strains to female partners. Research has proven additional benefits. Scientists are discovering links between vaccine-targeted HPV strains and
other genital cancers in both men and women. These include cervical, anal, vaginal, vulvar, penile and oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the base of the tongue, tonsils and back of the throat). Based on these associations, as well as cervical cancer statistics, the CDC projects that the HPV vaccine may prevent up to 7,000 HPV-associated cancers in men and 15,000 HPV-associated cancers in women each year. The HPV vaccine is a three-dose series. The second and third shots are respectively given at 60-90 days and six
months after the first shot. While the vaccine is approved for ages 9-26, the CDC website recommends girls and boys receive the first dose of the vaccine at age 11 or 12 because “the vaccine produces higher antibody that fights infection when given at this age compared to older ages.” For full protection, recipients must complete the series before becoming sexually active. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. The CDC estimates that 20 million Americans, ages 15-49, currently have HPV. Alternatively stated, this means that at least half of all sexually active men and women will get genital HPV at some time in their lives — most of the time without any outward symptoms. The association of HPV and sexual activity caused some controversy about the vaccine when it was first released. However, increased patient and parent information has tempered skepticism and concern. According to Dr. Katherine Hough of Pediatrics on Hudson in Hastings-on-Hudson, “The HPV vaccine has an excellent safety profile. Like almost any vaccine, you may see pain or redness at the injection site. Occasionally, patients may feel faint. But we recognize that the benefits by far outweigh any of these risks. When the vaccine first came out, it was highly political. Many felt that the vaccine would promote sexual promiscuity, and, along those lines, many rather outlandish side effects were attributed to the vaccine, none of which proved to be true. We remind parents that we give the Hepatitis B vaccine, which is also sexually transmitted, to infants. The HPV vaccine is no different — we want to vaccinate boys and girls before they need it.” The majority of Hough’s patients receive the vaccine without hesitation. “Most of our boys and girls are getting the HPV series,” she wrote in an email. “When it first came out, there was a little initial hesitancy. But, as a practice, we really promote it and provide our patients with lots of information. It has been an easier ‘sell’ to the boys, as it has been around, and parents come already well informed. We had parents of boys asking for the vaccine even before it received full approval.”
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Advice for fostering healthy teen dating relationships By SHARON CHARLES, LCSW and BETH THOMPSON, LCSW
ach of us wishes to have an enjoyable, meaningful and healthy relationship with someone we love and we wish the same for our teen and young adult children. Children learn about relationships in multiple ways: their parents’ and familial relationships, gender roles in their family and media representations of relationships on the Internet, television, movies, videos and music. As a result, children can sometimes get distorted ideas about relationships. They may believe relationships are fraught with peril and danger, a rollercoaster of ups and downs or an idealized romantic notion of Prince Charming. So how do children become knowledgeable about what is realistic so they can engage in healthy dating relationships? It’s simple: our children learn from us! They discover how to handle social and emotional events by watching us. They learn from the way we treat our partner, our interactions with other people and our interactions with them. When we show respect, patience and positive assertiveness in how we deal with life’s issues and handle disagreements, children will follow suit and deal with their frustration in healthy ways. Put downs, contempt and blaming are poor skills that are sometimes used to express anger and frustration. It’s better to fight fair and handle conflict with respect by using healthy coping skills such
Resources for parents: Having trouble talking to your teen about healthy dating relationships? There are several resources that can help: • Radicalparenting.com: Topics of interest to kids and parents presented by kids and young adults. • Athinline.org: Videos and info for teens on digital use and abuse and relationships. • RespectU.com: Bullying expert Joel Haber’s website. • Loveisnotabuse.com: Educational tools about healthy dating relationships and dating violence. • National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline: 1-866-331-9474. as speaking calmly, deep breathing, taking time outs or walking away. Children also learn a great deal from their relationship with us. When we willingly listen to their point of view and value their thoughts and feelings, they see a model for a healthy relationship. Showing respect and personal regard helps them feel valued and fosters their ability to solve problems, take responsibility and have healthy relationships even when disagreements occur. Another influence on children’s social development is the bombardment of media messages about relationships and gender roles. Parents have to guide them through this barrage by helping them dissect the many stereotyping messages disseminated through the media. One of the strongest “unhealthy relationship” messages portrayed in the media, and the most pervasive issue in abusive relationships, is control. Many young
men think that “being a man” is equated to “being in charge.” Young girls are faced with a flood of messages that overvalue their sexuality, sometimes leading them to equate sexuality with desirability and value, and to be confused about their role in intimate relationships. That’s why it’s important for parents to foster gender fairness and to promote qualities of strength, independence and sensitivity for both our sons and daughters. We must encourage and allow our sons to express themselves freely without feeling emasculated or ridiculed. It is equally important that we help our daughters to feel confidence and pride in themselves and their accomplishments so that they know they deserve respect and love from their partner. Every parent knows it is normal development for adolescents to become less reliant on us as they move toward adulthood.
Young people may talk less to us as they relish their independence and rely more heavily on peer relationships. But keeping the lines of communication open is vital. There are several ways to accomplish this even as our children begin to spread their wings: • Talk early and often. Start having conversations about relationships and dating when kids are preteens. • Don’t always try to fix. Listen and then listen some more. • Be flexible. Having too many rules can backfire. • Encourage them to come to you and then, do not overreact. Curb the “mama drama.” • Foster empathy and judge as little as possible. • Model and set clear family values and expectations. • Parent the way you would like to be treated. Ultimately we can best help our children to have healthy relationships by demonstrating respect, fairness, openness and flexibility. Most importantly, be vigilant about keeping the lines of communication open. Only 33 percent of teens in abusive dating relationships tell someone. Have it be you! Charles and Thompson are social workers at Westchester Jewish Community Services, which provides a wide range of programs and supports for children and youth throughout the county.
SLS_recordreview_9.833x6.667Kai_Layout 1 7/24/12 9:14 AM Page 1
Beyond Visit St. Luke’s
Open House – Sunday, October 21 email@example.com | 203.801.4833 | www.stlukesct.org St. Luke’s is a college-preparatory, secular day school for grades 5-12.
At St. Luke’s, I’ve found limitless opportunities to explore the arts. The sense of community and collaboration is extraordinary. Whether I’m jamming with friends in Blues Band or simply laughing in rehearsal, it brings a smile to my face and warms my heart. It’s been amazing to feel the power of recording, writing and producing my own music or displaying my gigantic sculpture where everyone can see it. The St. Luke’s arts program has been a way for me to truly express myself and be celebrated for it. Art is passion, and that’s what makes it so magical.
To see Kai’s art and hear her original music, go to www.stlukesct.org/meetkai.
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Friday, August 24, 2012
Family TV fare
Is wholesome content still on the viewing menu? By LAURIE SULLIVAN
s the age of innocence long gone on the small screen? Or are there still TV shows for your family to watch together? The answer is yes. And no. When my own kids said goodbye to “Sesame Street,” Mr. Rogers and the “Electric Company,” they graduated to shows targeted at families with older young kids. Back in the day, there was plenty of appropriate familyfriendly TV shows for all of us to watch, shows I didn’t have to worry would be filled with foul language or adult themes. We moved into the era of the adorable Olsen twins on “Full House” and the fictional, ultra-nerdy Steve Urkel on “Family Matters.” And, of course, who could forget know-it-all Alex Keaton played by Michael J. Fox on “Family Ties”? And let’s not forget “Seventh Heaven” and the wholesome “Partridge Family” from back in the day. Those days may long be gone, but there are still some family shows to watch together in 2012. Maybe not just the variety and quantity of the shows that existed back in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and even as recently as a decade ago — although you can still find plenty of these old school shows on cable TV. If you can tear your kids away from their handheld devices, computers and cell phones — which can all be a challenge for parents — and set aside a specific time for family viewing, you might just find there are still some interesting, appropriate and fun shows you can all enjoy, especially with the help of cable TV, DVRs, DVDs and on-demand programming, which has made family TV time certainly much easier. Thumbs up for TV Scarsdale’s Julie Gerstenblatt, who writes the column “On The Verge” for The Scarsdale Inquirer, recently published a “humorous novel” titled “Lauren Takes Leave.” Gerstenblatt is the mother of a 7-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son and monitors what her kids watch “once
they’ve finished their work,” much the same way she was raised. She explained that there are TV shows she approves of that she lets them watch “while I’m cleaning up the kitchen.” One of these shows called “Victorious ” is described on the Nick/Nickelodeon website: “[the show] follows the journey of Tori Vega, a 15-yearold” who escapes the shadow of her talented singer/performer older sister, who discovers her own star power. Gerstenblatt also allows her daughter to view anything on Nick Toons, which is on cable. “One of the good things about recording a show first is that they can do all their work and we can schedule a time where we sit down together to watch together,” Gerstenblatt said. She and her children generally watch TV together about three times a week. She gets recommendations from friends on shows to watch and doesn’t prescreen the shows, but feels that some shows are too sophisticated for her kids, including shows like “Modern Family.” Gerstenblatt said the closest show to old school family-friendly shows is called “Good Luck Charlie” on the Disney
channel that they watch together. She described it as a “wholesome show about a family.” “Charlie” is the nickname for Charlotte, the youngest of four Duncan kids, who is about 2 or 3 years old. Older sister Teddy tries to show Charlie what she might go through when she is older by making video diaries for future reference. At the end of each video Teddy or another family member always says, “Good luck, Charlie.” On one of the last episodes of the show that Gerstenblatt’s son watched before leaving for camp for the summer, it was announced that a new baby was expected. He made his mom promise to let him know whether the baby would be a boy or a girl. “The show really captures them,” Gerstenblatt said. “It’s very ‘Full House’-ish — there’s still humor and the family really works together and they’re very close. The teenage boy works at some food place and you learn about work ethics. It’s about family dynamics.” She added, “Everyone I know watches reality competition shows.” Gerstenblatt and her son watch “Chopped.” “At the end of each show
you’ve seen people work really hard and you’ve seen a winner,” she said. “I think it’s an OK way to watch [TV] with your kids.” After her daughter goes to sleep, she and her son watch something educational. “I don’t think she could sit through an hour of something, [although] she has watched the Food Network’s ‘Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.’” Her kids are now watching a “new or newish” show from Australia called H20 about three mermaids in “either middle or high school” who keep their mermaid identities hidden from everyone except one friend. Gerstenblatt said her friend’s daughters who are aged 7-11 like it. Once her kids are off to sleep, it’s Mommy time, when Gerstenblatt gets to watch her shows that she’s previously recorded on DVR. When asked what parameters she uses to decide what shows are age appropriate for her children, she said, “I think it has to do with the channel it’s on. Nickelodeon and Disney [are appropriate]… most Continued on the next page
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of those history shows, as long as they’re not bloody, I think are interesting.” She stressed that she will never let them have a TV or computer in their room. They have a laptop that can move around. “By setting those parameters, I’m in control,” she said. “I Like TV,” Gerstenblatt concluded. “It’s a nice mental break, especially since kids are so overscheduled, especially in the winter.” Thumbs down from watchdog According to the nonprofit Parents Television Council’s website, PTC uses a simple traffic light guide to rate the 90plus shows on the five TV networks (NBC, CBS, FOX, ABC and CW) that it tracks in prime time now being shown in the 8-11 p.m. slots. Only one show has been given its “green light” seal of approval: “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” In a typical weekly TV lineup that PTC rated, 22 shows were given a yellow designation, indicating shows that contain adultoriented themes and may be inappropriate for children. Red lights are shows it deems as having gratuitous sex, explicit dialogue, violent content or obscene language and are unsuitable for children. PTC’s Melissa Henson said the stoplight guide is intended for kids in “grade school and older.” Its Family Guide for Primetime TV profiles every sitcom and drama on the five networks. Henson said the PTC doesn’t have the resources to monitor cable TV. In addition to ratings, the PTC, a grassroots organization established in 1995, also pressures TV networks to show more family-oriented shows, but Henson said net-
works want to make the shows more edgy, more like cable TV. “But my argument is that cable only accounts for a fraction of the viewers,” she said. When asked where the PTC draws the line between green and yellow ratings, Henson said it applied to “anybody that is in grade school or older.” The PTC criteria includes the “frequency of violence, profane language, pro-social content, not just inappropriate content.” In response to whether there are any family-friendly TV shows, Henson said, “The picture is fairly bleak right now on network TV during prime time.” She continued: “There isn’t a whole lot left on network TV, except for game shows and competitions. You take a program like ‘American Idol.’ We encourage people to steer away from the early stages of the show and encourage people to watch the later stages after the final selections are made.” The same holds true for “America’s Got Talent.” “Once they narrow down to the final contestants, then it becomes a much more suitable environment for families to watch,” said Henson, noting that these shows are appropriate for ages 10 and up. Henson lamented that “as recently as just a few years ago they were offering ‘The Wonderful World of Disney,’” which is now only available on cable. Henson, who has been with the PTC for 15 of its 17 years, said there has been a dramatic shift in TV programming over the last 10 years. “It’s not that our standards have changed. It’s the networks that have,” she said. “There are a handful of cable shows … with more original TV programs Continued on page 12A
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Family TV fare Continued from page 11A
and reruns of ‘Early Edition.’ It’s more family programming.” So does she have any hope for the future of the TV networks offering family shows? Despite the fact that Hollywood has a history of governing itself for family shows, Henson said she believes that “under the right circumstance, programs [like ‘Full House,’ ‘The Cosby Show’] … could come back.” Henson said, “We need someone who wants to bring back the Golden Age of TV, like a Grant Tinker.” Till that time comes, she noted, “Parents have to decide what’s appropriate for their kids.” Educational fare: a bright light Lynn Kestin Sessler is senior producer of digital media for Random House Children’s Books and works on the website for “The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That” — the very same cat from the Dr. Seuss book series published by Random House. She described the show as an educational program shown on PBS and geared for younger viewers (ages 2-6). The program, which recently won a Parents’ Choice Award, features the perennial Cat and his pals Sally and Nick as they explore the world of science. Kestin Sessler, who started her career at Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., had her own production company (Show and Tell Productions) from 1995 until last year when she joined Random House. She previously produced shows for “Sesame Street,” worked on many specials and also “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego” on
HBO Family for which she was awarded the prestigious Peabody Award. Kestin Sessler produced the TV show “Word Girl,” which still airs on PBS. The mission of the show’s namesake is to “shower the world with words,” and is geared for 6- to 8-yearolds and their families. Also geared for that age group is the newly reconstituted “Electric Company,” which has been updated for the 21st century and picks up where “Sesame Street” left off. A Web animated series on pbs.org, “Noah Comprende,” teaches Spanish to older children and, according to Kestin Sessler, it is presented “in a very humorous way.” Also in the educational department is a show called “Cyber Chase” that Kestin-Sessler described as “a fun math show for older kids.” Something old, something new “The Wizards of Waverly Place,” a Disney creation, is targeted to tweens, but is OK for younger viewers, according to Melanie Dee, an online Yahoo! Entertainment contributor. The show is reminiscent of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” which still airs in reruns. Wizards is about a family of five with three kids who have magical and wizard powers, inherited from their dad, who lost his when he married their mortal mom. “Throw magical powers into children’s hands though, and it leads to a lot of fun, quirky and interesting events … the show pretty much has a moral lesson which is taught at the end of nearly every episode,” Dee said. And, of course, parents can bring back those wholesome, old school shows of yore on reruns to enjoy with a new generation of kids — their own — on a cable channel called Fave. Parents will find the Oldie Goldie Network on Fave with shows dating
back to the ’50s like “Lassie” and “Rin Tin Tin” to the shows of their generation. Fave also features the Hallmark channel, Halogen and Family Net. In the new department, Lana Iny of HBO said in an email that although the cable network doesn’t offer family sitcoms, a new show for older children about divorce produced by Rosie O’Donnell will air in mid-September around 9:30 p.m. Family shows: some not exactly According to TheBlaze.com entertainment contributor Dave Urbanski, for a brief time back in the mid-’70s the FCC pressured the top three networks to start a “family viewing hour” from 8-9 p.m. While the policy only stood for a few years before the courts struck it down, he said, “That it existed at all would seem to demonstrate the gradual shift in what’s defined as ‘family friendly’ to the present day.” At first blush, what could pass for family fare, shows like the music-filled “Glee” and reality shows like “American Idol” and “The X-Factor” and others, may seem appropriate. But, in fact, Urbanski said that during the pilot program of Simon Cowell’s “The X-Factor” a contestant took his pants off during a performance and judge Paula Abdul “walked out in disgust.” Urbanski agrees with the PTC’s Henson, saying that the music reality shows are fine — once through the audition stage and it gets down to the finalists. And “Glee,” unless viewed by older, more mature kids and their parents, is freighted with very adult themes and not meant for the 6-11 set. Good news for parents! The good news for parents is that there is some good family fare on TV, according to Urbanski, like ABC’s “The Middle,”
Friday, August 24, 2012
starring Patricia Heaton, who played Ray Romano’s wife in “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and ABC’S “Once Upon a Time,” about a mother and daughter who mix fairy tale fantasy with reality. Urbanski quotes David Weingand of the San Francisco Chronicle: “The [program] is not only great, fluffy fun, but it occupies a traditional family time show on Sunday nights… ABC is clearly looking to revive that tradition… ‘Once Upon a Time’ is both family-friendly and smart enough to win viewers of any age and level of sophistication.” On basic cable, parents can find Disney XD, a TV network part of the Disney/ ABC Television Group division of the Walt Disney company, which airs children’s TV series, with some live-action programming and movies aimed primarily at kids aged 6-14. It also airs family-pleasing shows that include “Zeke and Luther,” “Kickin’ It,” “I’m in the Band” and “Pair of Kings.” Also look for the upcoming “Wander Over Yonder” airing soon on Disney XD. The show is an animated comedy series about “best friends and epic enemies set in surreal places across the universe” from Emmy-winning producer Craig McCracken, according to Greg Isaac on the website DCFans.com. Another upcoming show for kids and families is an unscripted reality show featuring a hidden camera and special effects titled “Code 9,” with kids playing pranks on parents, also on the Disney Channel. So parents don’t abandon hope quite yet. Those shows you’d love to share with your kids are out there. It just takes a bit of channel surfing to find them. Stay tuned!
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Back to School
sporty, funky & loud...
By MARY LEGRAND
o many families, Back to School means a return to shopping for clothes after a summer spent at camp or lounging around the pool in swimsuits and flip-flops. Luckily, there are tons of shopping options here in Westchester County, and storeowners and staff are in the know about all the latest fashion trends. Phyllis Samuels, co-owner of Neil’s in Scarsdale and Mount Kisco, predicted a “great fall season following a great spring.” NFL or NBA jerseys “with all the new players on them” are at the top of many boys’ must-have lists. In addition, “We’re doing an unbelievable business in lacrosse shorts with crazy prints,” Samuels said. “Dri-FIT tops from Under Armour, Nike and Adidas are also very popular. This is a fabric which,
Madison is wearing Free People top and Mother jeans; Hannah looks great with a Free People shirt, Work Custom jeans and Recover tank; and Taylor is sporting a My Tribe sweater and Work custom jeans. They are all wearing jewelry by Indigo Chic of Hartsdale.
Continued on page 14A
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Back to School
sporty, funky & loud...
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as opposed to cotton, wicks the perspiration away from you and has an unbelievable comfort level.” High NBA-type socks are making the rounds with Westchester County boys, Samuels said: “They come in prints and teams and colors and they’re really fun. The whole gist is that boys have fashion now; it’s not just for the girls. But boys are very tactile sensitive, so if something doesn’t feel good in addition to looking good, they’ll pass it by.” Girls are flocking to Neil’s for the latest early fall colors: “plums, charcoals with a royal blue to pop,” according to Samuels. “We’re still seeing some peeks of neon, to pop a charcoal or to pop a plum. And the cutout shoulder is continuing from spring, mostly for ages 7-16. Worn over a tank, it’s called a ‘cold shoulder,’ and is almost literally a circle cut on the shoulder of a sweatshirt, for example.” Animal prints, leggings, jeans and jeggings are still big with girls, and, as with boys’ clothing, comfort is key. “Everything has more and more stretch in it,” Samuels said. “We have sweats that look and feel like cashmere — there are no cotton sweats anymore — they’re washed and washed and washed before we get them. There are even sherpa-lined sweatshirts, soft and stretchy.” Lindsey Isanberg, owner of Infinity in Scarsdale, describes her shop as “fashion forward, very trendy. We set the trends that others follow.” Infinity’s target customers are preteen and teen girls, who are buying up printed and/or colored denim pants, shirts with elbow patches and more. Skinny jeans, which hit big time this past spring, are still the rage, as is clothing with imprinted skull patterns, Isanberg said. There are lots of options for tops at Infinity, and plenty of accessories as well. “Zipper bracelets are a very hot item for back to school,” Isanberg said. “They come in metallic, tie dye and with charms, and they would be great gift items.” For weekends, special occasion party dresses and skirts are popular at Infinity, as are patterned or neon overnight bags for sleepovers, plus “great
soft plush pajamas and the coziest pajama pants,” Isanberg said. “The patterned bags are cool, trendy and new instead of regular old-time backpacks.” Lester’s in Rye has “exactly what you’re looking for,” according to Marilyn Werner. “Although we are seeing neons offered for fall, we feel as though we’ve given the customer enough of the neon colors for spring and summer, so we will transition into jewel and deeper tones for the fall.” Skinny jeans are the only way to go, said Werner, who added, “We are not offering boot cut at all.” For the rare occasions when they want to dress up a bit, girls ages 7-14 prefer short, body hugging knit skirts, with the 4 to 6x size girl “also accepting a longer and less mature version of the body hugging knits,” Werner said. As for tops, Werner said that chiffon prints are “very important” for the fall, especially in animal and python prints. “Solids are selling as well, with sequin pocket trims,” she said. “In tees and sweatshirts, skulls, stars and stripes are the rage.” Animal prints are “by far” the most popular now, Werner said. “We’re seeing them in printed chiffons and bottoms. Printed jeans, printed pants and jeggings are very popular. We’re also seeing the trend in dresses.” Again, girls find comfort to be important, with “soft and comfy sweat fabrics” and “cashmere-feel fabrics” popular at Lester’s. Another important trend for fall is “faux or vegan leather in jackets and bottoms; also faux fur in vests and vest/ sweater combos,” Werner said, adding that layering is still big, with sheer tops over bandeaux or camisoles. For boys, tees are top sellers at Lester’s. “The trends in tees for boys are rock bands, retro looks and, of course, sports done in updated graphics,” Werner said. “For little boys, superheroes like Superman and Spiderman are happening.” Up in Pound Ridge, Silhouette, owned by
Merri Virgilio, caters primarily to girls and the adults who purchase clothing and gifts for them. “We run the gamut from jewelry to journals to bags, handbags or small little totes, wristlets, things like that,” Virgilio said. Any kind of “nontraditional tote such as a cross-body bag or hobo bag” is proving popular for back to school, Virgilio said. Silhouette sells custom bags with school names embroidered on them — green and white for Pound Ridge Elementary School; black, red and white for Fox Lane middle and high schools. Alternatively, initials, names or symbols can be custom embroidered in just a matter of days. Girls wanting to accessorize an outfit are in good hands at Silhouette. “They’ll come in looking for necklaces that have a specific symbol, like a ballerina, frog or peace sign,” Virgilio said. “These are really popular, whether they buy them for themselves or as a gift. We also have chokers on elastic, sometimes with a bottle cap or some other type of symbol or token on them. They come in bright colors and are not tight.” Fashion trends “come and go,” Virgilio said.
Friday, August 24, 2012
Back to School
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At Denny’s in Scarsdale, Robert is sporting all Under Armour — zip hoodie, wide side stripe pant, collegiate thermal top and backpack — while Ray has on a Volcom Inyoface fleece hoodie over a neon Quiksilver tee and Quiksilver skinny jeans. The Flow Society backpack completes his look.
Hannah is sporting Seven’s gold colored jeans, a Vince tweed sweater and Frye boots, while Andreas has a Vince sweater, John VarVatos tee, AG jeans and Converse sneakers. Available at Beginnings in Scarsdale and Armonk.
“Tie dye’s not so big now; girls are mostly going for bright neon colors. But then again, we always thought that peace signs would be gone, but they’re not.” The ever-popular Pound Ridge sweatshirts, in children’s and adult sizes, are big sellers at Silhouette, with pullover and hoodie styles available. Pound Ridge tees should be back in stock soon, Virgilio said. Gaynor Scott is owner of Boo Girls in Katonah, a popular store that attracts scores of girls from 7-12 all the way through high school and college. “For pants, it’s still all skinny jeans and cords, in jewel tones, lots of really bright colors — emerald greens, purples, blues, reds — every color you could possibly imagine,” Scott said. “Sweaters are not as oversized as they were last year. This year they’re V-necks and crewnecks, in a heavier yarn. I have quite a few cable knits, with the weave a little bit looser in between the cables.” Jean jackets are back, Scott said, “but they’re inlaid with different fabrics in the sleeve or shoulder. We’re still seeing graphic tees with rock and roll screen prints on them, going back to the days of Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, that sort of thing.” Boo Girls also has a lot of “really pretty chiffon blouses, animal prints and floral prints,” Scott said. “They button up with a collar, but are very drapey. When you have that skinny bottom in terms of the jeans, it’s very nice to have something flowing on top.” Dresses for sweet 16 parties, bar and bat mitzvahs and other special occasions bring area shoppers to Boo Girls. Dress fashions, Scott said, “have changed a lot over the years. Instead of girls’ dresses being very fancy, everything is now fitted to the body. It’s a fairly uniform style, so we have some really pretty fabrics in the store right now. There’s one with elbow-length sleeves that’s Continued on page 16A
Ava is sporting JBrand denim jeans, Busy Bees ruffle blouse and Hartford metallic jacket at Bubble & Tweet in Bedford Village.
At Bubble & Tweet in Bedford Village, Ava is wearing JBrand jeans, Pink chicken floral dress and Naturino ballet flats.
Morgan is in Vintage Havana purple denim jeans and a Ragdoll & Rocket plaid long shirttail shirt topped with a Pinc crocheted fringe vest, and Sydney is all set in her Vintage Havana dip-dyed skull sweater over bright dyed Flying Monkey jeans. The down vest is lightweight enough to be stored in a backpack. Available at Denny’s in Scarsdale.
At Indigo Chic in Hartsdale, Taylor is wearing a Free People top, Work custom jeans and a vest by Tempo Paris; Hannah has a BcBg top, Lysse leggings, a My Tribe leather jacket and jewelry by Indigo Chic; and Madison rocks leggings by David Lerner, a top by Kokua and jewelry by Indigo Chic.
Photos by Jim McLean
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BTS FAshion Continued from page 15A
a fairly conservative dress. It fits well on the body, and that’s what the girls like.” Yogi’s Paw, in Mount Kisco, has seen girls buying basics in the past few weeks, said owner Leslie Bijoux. “Color is going to be really big,” she said. “A lot of times you see colors toned down a bit in the fall, but we’re still seeing bright tones. The point is that color is going to be a big part of fall, as opposed to gray and black.” Feminine, sheer blouses, “with a lot of lace,” are flying out of the store, Bijoux said, adding, “a lot of the tops we’re selling and buying right now are not exactly cropped but on the short side. They’re not particularly long. Right now in the store we have mostly short-sleeved tops, a little oversized and extremely feminine.” Bold prints — floral, Aztec, geometric, abstract — often come in black and white and serve as a great contrast to all that color. Dresses Bijoux is seeing for fall continue a trend from the spring. One of them she called a “twofer,” which, she said, looks like a skirt with a blouse. “It’s all put together and is the look that everybody wants,” she said. “It’s just one piece. You put it on and it’s done. Having said that, we do sell a lot of separates to get the same look, like the little black skirt with blousy top.” Across the state line, Butterflies & Zebras in Ridgefield, Conn., caters to shoppers 7-14 “all the way through contemporary, cool mom clothes,” said owner Shari Harowitz. “Colored jeans are going to continue to be hot for fall, paired with crop tops and plaid shirts, but with more fitted silhouettes, not your father’s plaid shirts.” Knit blazers are a “nice way to change it up a bit, but not so structured and not in a stiff fabric,” said
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Harowitz. Butterflies & Zebras stocks gray and navy knit blazers with sleeves that can be rolled up to expose a jacket’s striped lining. “Skirts will always continue to be popular,” Harowitz said, describing the bestselling one offered at her shop as a “pull-on, one-size-fits-all skirt that they wear with leggings. It’s a super-mini; that’s why the leggings are so great.” Butterflies & Zebras’ signature seamless tank, available in an array of colors, goes well under any top or sweater, Harowitz said. “Honestly, denim jeans are what the girls all wear, with some kind of a cute crop top,” Harowitz said. “Layering is very important. They like to wear what they’ve been wearing, and then mix it up with accessories, which include chunky bracelets, denim bracelets and anything that has zippers.” With Labor Day rapidly approaching, it’s time to go shopping to make that Back to School wardrobe fresh and its very best. To get there, all the shop owners agreed that Uggs remain the footwear of choice for most girls — certainly for those in the middle school and high school crowd — and they’re perfect for tucking in those skinny jeans everyone loves.
At Beginnings, with locations in Scarsdale and Armonk, Hannah is wearing a Cindy Press T hand-painted tee, with Rich skinny black coated jeans, Suzi Roher black belt and Frye boots, and Andreas goes with a Local celebrity tee, AG match box jeans and Converse sneakers.
Back to School
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be higher. Traveling to colleges as part of whittling down your wish list could prove costly and time consuming, so what are some ways to ensure college-bound students and their parents can get the most bang for their buck during a campus visit? Choosing when to schedule a college visit is one important consideration, local experts say, since it can help narrow down the schools a student will apply to. And for Westchester students and their parents, visiting a few relatively nearby colleges can assist in the decision of what type of college the student might prefer. “Touring colleges before applying helps students in their decision-making,” said Betsy Woolf, who offers customized counseling and advice through her Mamaroneck-based firm Woolf College Consulting. “Initially, students can visit colleges and universities that are nearby in order to get a sense of what feels right. I often tell students to visit NYU if they want to see what an urban university is like, or the University of Connecticut for a big state university experience, and a nearby small liberal arts college---there are a number from which to choose.” Leslie Berkovits, a partner in Collegistics headquartered in Scarsdale, which provides a team approach to personalized college advising, said the timing of a campus visit is important for a number of reasons. Seeing a college as a high school sophomore, for instance, would likely result in very different impressions than would be gleaned from a visit late in a student’s junior year of high school. “It’s important to recognize that seeing a campus in tenth grade may provide a dif-
ferent perspective than looking a campus as an informed high school senior,” Berkovits explained. “In our experience, most students begin and are best prepared to take full advantage of formal tours and information sessions during their junior year in high school.” The local college application consultants agreed that while there might be preferred time to aim for to schedule a college visit, there are a number of factors that play a part in when visits are feasible for a prospective applicant and their parents. “It certainly is helpful to visit when school is in session so that high school students can see the college students and make a better determination regarding fit,” Woolf said. “But schedules don’t always work out, and many families find that summer visits are more suited to their schedules. Visiting at any time is better than not visiting at all.” If you want to interact with students at a college, it might be a good idea to keep in mind when students are likely to be on campus, according to Woolf. “It’s better to visit during the week and not first thing in the morning,” she said. The Collegistics team also encourages tapping into informal conversations with students and faculty whenever possible during formal or informal campus tours. “Although it may not always be possible visits should take place when school is in session,” said Ellen Golden, another partner at Collegistics. “Interacting with college students is a good way for prospective freshmen to get a sense of whether they can see themselves living on that campus.” Golden said that high school students and parents should consider asking a college to tailor their visit to include a more personalized look into the academics and other offerings of a particular school.
“To get more in-depth insight, students may want to arrange sitting in on a class, staying overnight in a dorm or meeting with professors,” Golden said. “The upside of visiting during formal preview days is that there are special events, such as student panels and faculty presentations. The downside is that crowds of visitors make it difficult to sense the day-to-day atmosphere on campus.” Gill cautions students and parents not to try to cram too many college visits together, particularly on the same day, and suggests allowing time before and after formal tours or information sessions in order to take in the campus at their own pace or revisit highlights from the tour. “Give yourself time to roam the campus before or after an interview, tour or information session,” she said. “Pick up a copy of the college’s newspaper or other publications to take home with you. Also, scan bulletin boards around campus. This is all really great evidence of what’s really happening on campus, and it will help you get a feel for a school’s atmosphere and tone.” How a campus “feels” for a student should not be overlooked, according to Gill. “Ask yourself, ‘Can I see myself here as a student a year from now?’” she said. “Most important of all, trust your gut feeling.” Is more than one campus visit recommended for a college or university high up on a student’s list? ”It’s a good idea if you can do it,” Woolf said. “Typically, students narrow their choices and revisit the top two, especially if they are applying early decision.” The consultants from Collegistics agree. “Whenever possible, a student should see a school at least once before accepting an offer of admission,” Berkovits said. “Certainly, if a student elects a binding admissions option, at least one visit tot hat campus is warranted
THE ART OF TEACHING
prior to applying. Once decisions are in hand, we recommend students then take advantage of ‘accepted student days’ to visit often. What seems desirable in the fall may seem less desirable in the spring, and some students do change their mind about which college they prefer to attend.” There are some misconceptions about college visits that students and parents might want to keep in mind. Woolf said that often students and parents mistakenly think that all students at a school are as bright, cheery and spirited as their tour guide. “That’s not necessarily true,” she said, reminding applicants and parents to try to talk to students on campus who aren’t leading the tours, if possible. Gill also recommends that students try to speak to college students one-on-one. “Talk with students on your own, without parents or others around,” she said. “Their answers may be more candid and a better barometer of the campus.” While parents should ask their own questions, the professional consultants point out the importance of allowing and encouraging the high school students themselves to embrace the college exploration process, since it enables them to be more invested in the decision-making. “Let the students take the lead to allow them to form independent impressions,” Golden said. “This is a time to explore, not necessarily make final decisions. “The student can record their impressions of a school by jotting notes or sending themselves a quick email during the visit. Sometimes the little things on a college visit end up being the tipping point in choosing one college over another. And it doesn’t hurt to have a few specific examples from those observations when Continued on page 18A
g Ridge S on
Educator Profile: Anne Mengden
The College visit
Friday, August 24, 2012/ Page 17A
br atin 75 Y g
has a long-standing fascination with the acquisition of language and with children’s learning. She loves working with young children because they are “inquisitive, curious, willing to try new things, and capable enough to handle tools and able to read basic information.” ANNE
As for teaching science, the arena is “exciting, dynamic, and immensely important to daily life. I have been awed by scientific phenomena and humbled by the workings of nature. Even the smallest discoveries, like pulling a potato from the school garden, continue to excite me!” Her most memorable teaching moments involve the “eureka” moments a science classroom so capably delivers: “Examining an egg and watching a chick hatch, seeing frustration transform to joy when a child successfully lights a bulb with an electric circuit, and watching a child try to ‘save a bug’ rather than step on it because of his or her newfound appreciation of insects.” BA, University of Michigan MBA, Tuck School, Dartmouth M.Ed, Sarah Lawrence Years in Education: 10 Years at LRS: 10
OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY, OCTOBER 21 2PM
478 Erskine Road, Stamford, CT 203 322 7693 longridgeschool.org
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answering why you’re interested in that school that is often asked on college applications.” Gill also stresses the importance of taking notes during each visit. “You make think you will remember each campus, but trust us---they do begin to blur together in your mind,” Gill said, encouraging both students and parents to record their impressions during or immediately after each campus visit on a notepad, smartphone or whatever way is convenient. All the experts stress that the simple act of asking questions during a college visit is the best way to get information and answers. But they also suggest thinking about what questions to ask beforehand. “The best questions come when students and parents do their homework before visiting,” said another Collegistics partner, Lillian Hecht. “We suggest investigating academic offerings and degree programs. Ask meaningful questions, regarding, for example, interdisciplinary study options, certificate programs and research opportunities, which can be addressed by admissions staff. In addition, ask about career, professional and graduate school placement, academic advising and support, counseling services and social life. It might also be helpful to listen to the questions asked by other visitors.” Ms Woolf noted that casual questions can also provide helpful information. “A student might consider asking a college student ‘How well do you know your professors?’ or ‘What did you do last weekend?’ or even ‘How does college compare with high school?’” Woolf said. Students should also remember to check out the town or area where a college is located. “Visit the surrounding community,” Gill said.
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“What kind of appeal does it have? Are stores or movie theaters accessible without a car?” Ms. Hoffman also pointed out that a campus visit is important from the college’s perspective, since it’s one indicator that the student has a strong interest in that particular school. “Research by colleges shows that applicants who visit are more likely to enroll,” she said. “Therefore, many colleges treat the visit as proxy for ‘likely to enroll’ and as a positive factor in their admissions deliberations. Visiting is one of the elements of demonstrated interest that many colleges like to see.” Woolf generally concurs that schools themselves take into consideration whether a student has visited. “As a rule of thumb, private colleges within a reasonable driving distance like to see that students who are applying have taken the time to visit, and it does make sense that one needs to step foot on campus before making a commitment to apply early decision,” Woolf said. “But there really are no set rules. Every case is different, and I help students make those decisions.” Gill suggests making sure that each college is fully aware that you visited. “Sing in with the admissions office, and make sure there is a record of your visit,” Gill said. “Complete a visitor’s evaluation form if one is provided. Some schools use ‘demonstrated interest’ as an admissions factor, so makes sure they know you have been there. Also, note the name of the admissions representative you meet during the visit. Send a thank you note or email, and plan to use that contact for any future correspondence.” The Collegistics team also pointed out that college visits are an opportunity for parents and students to spend some quality time with each other. “Be informed, be observant, be open-minded, but also enjoy this time together,” Berkovits said.
Westchester Fashion Academy for Children
Friday, August 24, 2012
An I.E.C.’s integral role By JANE C. HOFFMAN
wish that more was written about the integral role of college admissions advisers and independent educational consultants (IECs) as educators. In the current, complex, and often competitive terrain of college admissions in 2012, we teach. The arguments about us often seem to range from “we are all about college fit” to “they are pariahs who package and promote.” Personally, I think those two poles miss the integral role we play as educators. I teach students about college curriculum, general education requirements, what it means to declare a major, the opportunities and options, how college differs from high school, the differences between liberal arts colleges and universities, and so much more. I teach parents how the college admissions terrain is so different than when we applied and the large role of enrollment management. I decode how colleges think and the importance many place on demonstrated interest and that some expect that families have nothing more to do than “college shop.” I explain that the student will have options and so the challenge is to first self-assess and determine his or her goals, to next identify appropriate college choices based on an understand-
ing of the student’s admissibility and the competitive terrain and to then apply and gain admission to those schools. Particularly as the college search process needs to start earlier and earlier in the lives of high school students, I often find myself talking to 15-year-olds about what it means to be in college, which can feel like a remote abstraction. I teach students and parents how to quiet all the relentless “noise” out there and what to pay attention to, such as the student’s learning style and the family’s values, and to look within rather than to start with a focus on any particular colleges. I also believe that IECs have an opportunity and a responsibility to educate college representatives about the tremendous stress students and families experience as they conduct the college search and application process. As we translate to students and families how schools interpret applicants, we should also advocate on behalf of the public for more sanity in college admissions. Jane C. Hoffman runs College Advice 101. Visit www.collegeadvice-101.com or 833-1573.
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School Reports Bedford Central: Every single student, every single day By JERE I. HOCHMAN Bedford Central Schools Superintendent
very single student, every single day! No doubt you have seen that phrase on our website, on letterheads or in email responses. It is not our “official” mission statement. It is not one of those lofty “… to nurture students to maximize their potential acquiring 21st century skills and to become critically thinking problem-solvers …” mission statements. The work of our school district is understandably complex. That complexity is supported by guiding principles and policy, sound infrastructure and fiscal prudence, regulatory compliance and effective twoway communication. Upon those, our goals for every student’s academic success and sense of belonging are built — with results. How? We work on our mission, every single day. “Every single student.” It is our litmus test, our marching orders, our mission and purpose. It is what we expect to see in every classroom and school setting. It is the reason we chose to become teachers or chose to work in a school district.
Every student, all students… getting their fingernails dirty working in gardens, climbing and crawling, and performing science experiments. All students reading thick books and intriguing poetry, taking initiative, calculating, singing, writing, presenting, speaking and researching. All students analyzing history, current events, and the future. All students being and feeling safe, working and playing well with others and… learning. Every single student… engaged, connected and learning. The Bedford Central School District embraces over 4,300 students from five towns and villages; students all over the socioeconomic strata; students with an array of interests and experiences; remarkable students who take risks, make and learn from mistakes, and achieve quiet and great accomplishments. The class of 2013 and the class of 2025 are in the same school district preparing to walk on the path to an unknown future. It doesn’t get better than that! We have the success stories, the anecdotes and the data to support that we are on course — and we report these to our board and public throughout the year. We observe students learning to cooperate on the playground in kindergarten, dissecting frogs (real or virtual) in middle
school and engaging in Socratic seminars in high school. We observe their success in classrooms, on stages, on playing fields and in common spaces. We are as proud of the array of colleges and universities our graduates attend across the country as we are with the superior rate of college acceptance. And, test scores are well above state averages while we maintain a real and rigorous curriculum and what I affectionately (and nostalgically) call “School the Way it Oughta Be.” As expected, I receive letters periodically when the “every student” phrase is thrown back at me. “I read your mission statement about ‘every student’ and I have a complaint.” Understood. In spite of all of our planning and preparation, we challenge ourselves knowing that we are not batting a thousand. Are we successful with every single student, daily? Not yet. Our highest achieving students can explore and discover more deeply in subjects and causes for which they are passionate and also in areas that are not their strengths, but subjects worthy of their exploration. Our students “in the middle” can be challenged even more as we learn their interests and make school as relevant as can be. And, we have students who struggle, students we know can be
more successful as we connect the dots for their success. Are there anomalies in our standardized test results? Yes. We are analyzing those results by student, by grade level, by school and by subject in order to accelerate learning for all. Are we void of students who tease or even bully others? No. We continue to learn and are implementing a districtwide program to provide consistency in our response and language. Have we kept taxes low enough (under 2 percent or the “tax cap” for four years in a row) to everyone’s satisfaction? Probably not. Still, in the face of legislative, financial and political obstacles, we have demonstrated that we take our responsibility for accountability and efficiency seriously while preserving the high expectations our community has for our students. These challenges, our mission and enacting public education inspire us. The best part about public education is it is real. Public schools not only teach democracy and are guided by the principles of a democracy, public education is democracy-in-action. As exemplified in Bedford Central, public schools are the last bastion of participatory governance, “local Continued on page 21A
Pound Ridge Montessori School Founded in 1969
Intimate Multi-Age Classroom Picturesque Campus Located on the NY/CT border Student Enrichment: Spanish & Sign Language • Music & Dance Art history & Appreciation
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Friday, August 24, 2012
Katonah-Lewisboro ready to welcome students By DR. PAUL KREUTZER Katonah-Lewisboro Schools Superintendent
he Katonah-Lewisboro School District will welcome students on Wednesday, Sept. 5, the opening day for the 2012-13 school year. The district is pleased to introduce an assortment of new developments, including added courses and programs and the expansion of previously existing ones, implementation of the new Common Core Standards and APPR (including the introduction of Professional Learning Communities), and buildings and grounds upgrades. In addition, several new staff members have joined the district and have been busy in their roles preparing for a successful school year. The district recently welcomed several new administrators. Scott Persampieri has joined Central Administration as assistant superintendent for human resources, and Nancy Kim serves as director of technology. John Goetz has been appointed interim principal of John Jay High School, Marisa Merlino has been hired as interim director of guidance at John Jay High School and Patricia Kristoferson joined the district this past spring as supervisor of transportation. Katonah, Lewisboro, Increase Miller and Meadow Pond elementary schools have implemented many enhancements.
Among them, the Response to Intervention (RTI) program has been extended to include math in addition to ELA, and progress reports will be made available on Infinite Campus’s parent portal. All four elementary schools will also continue their collaboration with the Katonah Museum of Art in providing enriching lessons and activities for students. Over the summer, elementary school grade-level teams developed curriculum plans to begin the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards for Mathematics. The teams met with a consultant to develop units for the first six weeks of school. The Common Core Standards shifts — focus, coherence, fluency, deep understanding and dual intensity — are designed to provide students with strong knowledge and deep understanding of prioritized mathematical concepts, prompt students to build on foundations developed in previous years, increase students’ speed and accuracy in making simple calculations, promote a deeper understanding of concepts from a number of perspectives, teach students to appropriately apply concepts, and balance practicing and understanding. The elementary level has also adopted and will begin implementing a new science program, Science Technology Concepts (STC, Carolina Biological), after successfully piloting several units from the program in the past few years. This year, one
new unit will be introduced to most grade levels, followed by the addition of one or more units in the next two years. The STC program was developed with the input of both scientists and experienced educators, and encourages students to think and act like scientists by participating in meaningful, hands-on activities in life science, earth science and physical science. It is supported by the National Academies and the Smithsonian Institution and is aligned with national and state standards. At John Jay Middle School, RTI will be implemented in grade six, having been introduced to the elementary grades last year. The middle school will also begin piloting aspects of the Professional Learning Communities (PLC) model, which complements the school’s team-planning structure in which teachers have a common planning period each day. Many teachers received PLC training this summer, which is expected to help the teams work more collaboratively and efficiently. Teachers will analyze formative assessment data to better inform instruction. Also at the middle school, counselors will be working with teachers on incorporating new character education components to the curriculum. At the high school level, a new social studies course titled Pop Music and History has been added, as has the new world language course Conversations in Spanish. AP Euro is now available to 10th-graders, and painting is being offered again. The
Latin program has grown from five classes to eight. A great deal of facilities work has been initiated and/or completed throughout the district. In the high school’s administration office, asbestos abatement has been completed with all floor tiles removed, walls have been painted and carpets have been replaced. Ceramic tile is being installed in the gallery hallway, and electrical piping to support laundry facilities in the athletic department has been completed. Carpets in the band and chorus rooms will be replaced before school starts, and both rooms have been painted. Carpet has been replaced in the drivers’ room of the transportation office as well. At the middle school, roof repairs are under way and expected to be completed by the start of school. Wiring for a PA and associated AV feeds will be completed in the dining room before school opens, and exterior painting of the entire school has begun. At Katonah Elementary School, exterior painting, interior painting of the stairwells, repairs and painting of the cupola, paving of the circle and area behind the building, and replacement of the catch basin have been completed. Restoration of an all-purpose room on the ground floor has begun, and asbestos abatement of the floor tile in a basement hallway will be completed and the hallway re-tiled before school opens. Continued on the next page
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Katonah-Lewisboro Continued from the previous page
The fire alarm system and its components have been completely replaced. At Lewisboro Elementary School, exterior painting including cupola painting and repair has been under way. At Increase Miller Elementary School, carpets have been replaced and new tile has been installed in two rooms, the playground and walkways have been paved, and HVAC control work has been carried out. New carpets were installed in the district offices located within the school building. At Meadow Pond Elementary School, two classrooms have been remodeled and the playground and walkways have been repaved. Structural renovations to the old district office are all but completed. Capital projects throughout the district are in the design phase, with work expected to commence in the spring of 2013. This includes the addition of new domestic water tanks at Meadow Pond Elementary School, roof replacements at John Jay High School, Katonah Elementary School, Increase Miller Elementary School and Meadow Pond Elementary School, boiler replacements at Increase Miller and Meadow Pond, and installation of occupancy sensors districtwide. The district is also working with its new energy manager to further save energy and associated costs. The district’s leaders, staff members and community members continue to work together to provide students with a highquality educational experience that presents them with enriching opportunities and prepares them for bright futures.
Friday, August 24, 2012/ Page 21A
Bedford Central focused on next steps to achieve success Continued from page 19A
control” and citizen voices being heard. Public education is an elected board of education with individuals who take the role of “trustee” quite seriously, an involved community, a budget voted upon by the people, and a playing field that provides access for all. Public schools are the microcosms of America and its evolution from pockets of homogeneity to inclusion; schools where children as different as can be learn and work and play together; and schools where all children can and will be challenged… wait for it… to reach their maximum academic potential, to fulfill their interests and to pursue their dreams on the same playing field. Yes, “every” means every, not some. And, the best part of public education is that it is a constant, consistent and dynamic work-in-progress. So, from a districtwide perspective, what is on the proverbial front burner in your Bedford Central School District this year? Our 2012-13 school year is focused on the annual “next steps” to achieve the highest levels of success for every student; professional work; efficient and productive operations; and leadership, governance and community involvement. Highest levels of student success: • Implement the newly adopted (K-5) mathematics curriculum and reading initiatives and authentic assessments of learn-
ing in all subjects (K-12). • Assess the college application process, implement a homework policy, and develop a testing and assessment policy and stance. • Research, design and implement a revised high school master schedule and elementary and middle school allocation of time to enhance student learning. • Implement new initiatives and programs to close the achievement gap for students achieving below state averages: Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID college readiness program), The Tripod Project (Harvard Kennedy School research), and others. • Inform and support students seeking deferred action through executive order regarding immigration. • Implement the Dignity Act and the district anti-bullying policy. • Begin collective bargaining with the Bedford Teachers Association. Highest levels of professional work: • Implement the new Annual Professional Performance teacher and principal evaluation process. • Engage every teacher and principal to achieve a school/district goal of accelerating every student’s literacy. • Align staff development with current academic initiatives and reduce teachersubstitute days. Highest levels of efficient and productive operations: • Complete the design of the district’s
next “10-year” Capital Plan. • Complete asbestos tile removal in three buildings. • Implement the new 5-year transportation contract. • Generate significant energy savings. • Maximize utilization of academic and managerial technologies and system upgrades. • Reorganize human resources and implementation of critical data base systems. Highest levels of leadership, governance and community involvement: • Continued community involvement and input on all major district initiatives (capital plan, annual budget, board of education policy and others). • Maintain a firm stance on public school district local control. • Advocate for BCSD students and district on relevant state and federal education policy and legislation and on New York “Commissioner’s Regulations.” From academic achievement to activities and athletics to asbestos removal to annual audits and inspections, the work of our school district is understandably complex. Our focus is remarkable education that is supported by guiding principles and policy, research and best practice, sound infrastructure and regulatory compliance, professionalism and communications. For those areas, our goals are to be productive, efficient and prudent. And, in the end, yes, our mission is simple: Success for every student. Period.
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Before, during and after school care in Katonah Established in 1957, Lissie’s Katonah Playschool at 31 Bedford Road in Katonah is a private, nonsectarian child care center for toddlers through fifth grade. LKPS is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and is licensed by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services, offering many different options for care and learning (see below). The preschool curriculum is enhanced through music, art, drama, tae kwon do, yoga, Spanish, science, cooking and computers. An outdoor playground allows for fresh air fun. Kindergarten Enrichment is offered Tuesday and Thursday mornings and every afternoon. Bus transportation is provided by the school district. Science is the main focus (learning to experiment, experimenting with liquids, powders and crystals, color and light, power of magnets, to name a few). Children keep a daily journal to document their findings of their experiments and daily activities. Children are engaged in writing, illustrating and publishing their own books. Familiarity with word families will help with word recognition. Before and after school care for school age children is offered beginning at 7:30 a.m. Breakfast will be available and transportation is provided by the district to school. After school, children will be helped with their homework, and can en-
Friday, August 24, 2012
Children are proud of their Native American dioramas at Lissie’s Katonah Playschool.
gage in art activities, games, piano lessons, fun with food, entertainment/drama and outdoor play. Preschool options: morning and afternoon classes (2.5 hours), add a Lunch Bunch class (4.5 hours) and extended day (9 a.m.-3 p.m.). School age options: morning and afternoon kindergarten enrichment and before and after school care for kindergarten through fifth-graders until 6 p.m.
Call 232-5903, email kpkids@optonline. net or visit www.katonahplayschool.org.
Bet Torah programs set for fall sememster Bet Torah registration continues for the fall 2012 semester of Mom’s Day Out, a program of separation, socialization, shar-
ing and fun for toddlers. Classes begin Sept. 11 and run through Dec. 20. Children 18 months and older as of September may be enrolled for one or two mornings of music, art, story time, movement and indoor and outdoor play each week. Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:30-11:45 a.m. A snack is provided. Enrollment is limited. Limited spots in Bet Torah Nursery School are available for families wishing to enroll their children in preschool programs for fall 2012. Two-day, three-day or five-day morning classes are offered for 2-year-olds from 9:30-11:45 a.m. Children in the 3s and 4s program meet MondayFriday from 9:15 a.m.-noon. The Bet Torah Nursery School program is designed to promote cognitive, social, emotional and physical growth of each child. An outstanding, nurturing and creative staff strives to provide opportunities for children to learn through play each day. The curriculum includes regularly scheduled visits by music, sign language, science and movement specialists. Special events throughout the year include Tot Shabbat, family services, schoolwide assemblies and celebration of the Jewish holidays. Bet Torah (www.bettorah.org) serves as a leading center for Conservative Judaism in Northern Westchester. Bet Torah Nursery School is located at 60 Smith Ave. in Mount Kisco. Parents wishing to arrange a tour of the school or receive information about the program may call 666-7595.
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Friday, August 24, 2012/ Page 23A
Critical thinking a priority at Rippowam Cisqua School There’s been a fair amount of agreement in the educational world that “critical thinking” is not only good, but also essential. Like many cultural jargon phrases, this term has become part of the vocabulary landscape and the speaker or writer assumes that the listener or reader has the same understanding; but what is it? When educators refer to critical thinking, they are referring to an individual’s ability to take in data — whether written, verbal or visual — and reason his or her way to a conclusion or a separate idea without being led there specifically by another person. This whole notion was somewhat revolutionary within education, initially because it is based on the premise that all children are thinking beings, even at very young ages, and not empty vessels into which adults should pour information. Related to that idea is anticipating consequences. What will be the real and unintended consequences of the pattern of thought? The process of thinking has to lead somewhere. Tangential thinking is fine, but a person needs to know when the tangent is going nowhere and get back to the original line of reasoning in order to solve the problem or reach a valid conclusion. Finally, thinking great thoughts without the ability to relate them to others is meaningless. Communicating ideas is every bit as important as having them in the first place. An enormous amount of time at Rippow-
am Cisqua, with campuses in Mount Kisco and Bedford, is spent thinking about thinking, particularly now, in the 21st century, when information is so easy to acquire. What to do with that information is as important as the information itself. Rippowam Cisqua believes its work is vital because educators don’t think in a bubble — they think to be able to teach children to do the same. It is the single most important skill Rippowam Cisqua can impart to the children entrusted to its care.
In a setting focused on children as individuals, wherein the elementary school classrooms have one teacher for every seven students, Rippowam Cisqua presents children with situations and problems at every age and in every discipline. Educators listen to them reason, question them constantly about where this idea of theirs is going — what do they think will happen next? Countless hours are spent teaching children to write, speak and listen so they will be able to communi-
cate ideas and hear responses. Rippowam Cisqua School has been raising leaders for 95 years. The commitment to the task of teaching critical thinking and communication skills is taken very seriously. After all, the school is providing the very foundations on which these children will build their lives. They only go to elementary and middle school once, so it needs to be the best education possible. Rippowam Cisqua School, a co-educational independent country day school serving prekindergarten through ninth grade, offers an academically challenging and nurturing environment that focuses on critical thinking, individual development and personal excellence. Last year’s graduates enrolled at Choate, Deerfield, Fox Lane, Hackley, Horace Mann, John Jay, Rye Country Day and Taft, among others. Graduates of the last four years attend Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Hamilton, Harvard, Middlebury, Princeton, Trinity and Yale, among many other fine schools nationally. Rippowam Cisqua enjoys an overall 6:1 student/teacher ratio and offers a dynamic program of academics, arts and athletics. Its deeply committed faculty challenge students to discover and explore their talents to the fullest. For more information, call Bob Whelan at 244-1291 or email bob_ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making future gains begins now at Greenwich Academy By Dr. ANN DECKER Where will I be in 2025? Preparing students to enter and contribute to an evershrinking and interconnected world. As I ponder what teaching will be like I can’t help but consider the skills and knowledge that students will need as they pursue a post-secondary education in technical fields such as engineering, math, research and medicine. The National Academy of Engineering has outlined 14 Grand Challenges, global issues that affect all of us and range from making solar energy economically feasible to providing access to clean water to reverse engineering the brain. If we (as a generation) are to overcome these challenges, scientists, doctors, engineers, policy-makers, educators, etc., will need more than just a bunch of memorized facts — we will need to be expert problem solvers who can think
creatively, communicate our messages clearly and be able to effectively collaborate across disciplines. In light of this, several trends emerge. Many problems we face globally can and will be addressed with technical solutions in collaboration with politicians, governments and business. Scientific and technical endeavors themselves will become more global, i.e. the human genome project, the search for a malaria vaccine or a cure for HIV. Projects will be approached in a more interdisciplinary manner facilitated by rapidly advancing computing and communications technologies. Shrinking research budgets will force collaboration globally, driving the improvement of technology, computing and communication. This interdisciplinary approach will include the merging and interaction of once separate groups such as academic departments. Indeed many universities are building open floor labs where different groups share
equipment, space and ideas. In terms of preparing students to contribute to this world we need to consider first the need to retain women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math-related) fields. Second, we need to help these young women develop the personal and professional networks and relationships that will anchor and propel successful scientists. In the future they will need to navigate those relationships as well as identify and connect with individuals who will be good mentors, advocates, collaborators and guides. Out of this thinking comes the Greenwich Academy In STEM (GAINS) network mentor program. It is well established that relationships with role models and mentors have a significant impact on young women as they consider and pursue STEM-related fields of study and careers. Considering that many young women who pursue STEM majors and careers indicate that they became inter-
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ested in those areas during high school and some as early as middle school, we believe that connecting girls with mentors — especially women — who can act as role models will help our students further develop, nurture and maintain interest in these fields. The primary goal of GAINS is to connect GA students who are interested in STEMrelated fields with GA alums and friends who are currently working and/or studying in those areas for the purpose of building mentor relationships. From an academic, extracurricular and relationship perspective, we are giving our girls every opportunity to nurture their interest in these fields. I firmly believe that GA girls will be at the forefront of shaping our future — I know they’re ready.
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Page 24A/The Record-Review
Friday, August 24, 2012
Learning to read is focus at New Canaan Country School
o parents want their children to learn to read in an environment that capitalizes on the innate joy, energy and curiosity of children? Do parents want their children in an environment that surrounds them with visual and auditory stimuli which produce in them a long-lasting love of reading, writing and literature? Learning to read is a process, and a complex one at that. At New Canaan Country School, children as young as 3 are beginning this process. A beautiful, remarkably child-centered space and thoughtfully planned activities in early childhood classrooms instill in children a sense of directionality and sequencing, while also developing their core strength, so that they have a stable foundation for developing finemotor skills. The youngest at NCCS first learn to identify themselves and their belongings with a symbol — a picture of a frog or a camel or a grasshopper — and bit by bit take note and recognize the curvy lines under the picture: their name. They understand that print carries a message and that the words they speak turn into words on a page as their teachers solicit and write out their stories. This growing understanding, however, must always be in a context of confident exploration. Children develop at different rates and in different ways. There is a link between a child’s development and
Reading is fundamental at New Canaan Country School.
his or her learning to read. It is not simply a cognitive process — it is also a social and emotional one. As children move into kindergarten at NCCS, they continue to work in classrooms that are rich in experience and print: a classroom library supplements the main one; the morning message reinforces sight words and “chunks” of consonant blends; teachers read “poems for beauty,” just to instill in children a love of the music of words. They also read “working poems” which reinforce syllabication,
When words become actions By MARK DAVIS Head of School, St. Luke’s
s I walk across campus, I see the world. In each face. In each song, painting, goal scored, experiment tried, problem solved. I see it in the big thoughts and small moments, because at St. Luke’s School (SLS) our global perspective means stretching our minds to accommodate the universe. One of the many ways we stretch our minds is by listening to students and faculty who explore the world and discover new territory within themselves. This summer, through St. Luke’s Center for Leadership, SLS “ambassadors” visited India, Argentina, France and Mexico. Our students and teachers share the belief that commitments strengthen when words become actions. One group, part of the SLS chapter of Free The Children, traveled to a village in India to witness the benefits of their extensive fundraising efforts. They saw with their own eyes what it means to make a difference. Another St. Luke’s group met up with our partner school from New Zealand and traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico. Students from the two schools worked with the Simply Smiles organization to help feed the people of the area. There they felt the effects of serving food to hungry children who traveled hours by foot, and they will never be the same. The Oaxaca trip included bouts of sickness and exposure to some harsh realities. After visiting a woman’s house located on the village dump, one student wrote: “We were
left in utter shock. None of us could imagine living in such conditions. Still, they had such pride in their home. It was uplifting to see happiness in such difficult conditions.” English Teacher Lisa Goldschmidt chaperoned the Oaxaca trip and shared this observation about students: “Helping people in the industrialized world is no easy task and traveling around the world to improve lives in a rural region was a daunting task from the start. Few take that challenge, but they did. Their compassion, labor and cheer brightened the lives of a couple of thousand people for the next month.” An SLS parent, in a note of appreciation to Lisa, truly captured the value of the world lens: “You observed our children as they were confronted with one of the world’s most impoverished areas and you reported their fortitude. You observed as our children interacted with the abandoned, disabled youngsters living in the orphanage they call home and reported their ability to bring comfort, laughs and giggles... You have given each of us the most valuable of gifts — the knowledge and certainty that our children will do well in the ‘world’ and the world will be a better place because of them.” As I write this, I am days away from my own journey to Rangitoto College in New Zealand. There I will swap ideas about education initiatives with a diverse group of educators from all over the world. When I arrive home, I know I will see things in a new way — something that means the world to us at St. Luke’s. To learn more about St. Luke’s, visit www. stlukesct.org. To read student and teacher blogs from trips abroad, visit www.stlukesct.org/cfl.
phonemic understanding and the soundsymbol relationships. Music class reinforces beat, rhythm, rhyme — all components of “phonological awareness.” At New Canaan Country School, in kindergarten and first- and second-grade classrooms, the teacher and apprentice in every classroom work with a small group, often just three or four children, on guided reading in leveled readers. Daily exploration of language arts skills builds vocabulary and deepens each child’s experience of phonics;
daily observations and regular assessments ensure that children’s comprehension is growing along with their decoding skills. Teachers often work one-on-one with students to further extend a child’s mastery of language. Reading specialists discuss methods to reach all students with classroom teachers, and they even work in classrooms to further reduce the student-teacher ratio. Of course, the complement to learning to read is learning to write. From an early age at NCCS, children love to “write.” Wavy curves and odd sticks across a page are precursors to a writing system. Young children dictate their stories and experiences to their teachers and then re-read them aloud to their peers. As their awareness of the soundsymbol relationship grows, they become more independent; children use “invented spelling” to write their own stories, which are then transcribed into more formal writing by teachers. Bit by bit, students in the early grades learn about mechanics: upper and lower case, basic punctuation, and making ideas and sentences connect with “and” and “but.” By third grade, most children reach the point of “reading to learn” rather than “learning to read.” Their decoding skills and comprehension go hand in hand; they read for meaning and enjoyment. These children are readers, having mastered a process begun when they first heard their parents’ lullabies and connected sounds, words and love.
Harvey School: trips break down language barriers By FRANCES VISINTAINER Harvey admissions
mmersion is possibly the most important aspect of learning a language, especially one so difficult as Japanese. Studying a modern language in high school can be rough; students really only have the opportunity to practice the essential skills of speaking and listening for one class period every day. It is important — perhaps even necessary — to immerse students in the environment of whatever language they are studying, to allow (and perhaps force) them to speak it and listen to it constantly. This is why the Harvey School’s Japanese program spends two weeks every other summer doing homestays all over Japan. When I was a student at Harvey, I studied Japanese and had the incredible opportunity to go on the first homestay trip that Harvey ever conducted. It was a life-changing experience, and inspired me to continue my study of Japanese language and culture at Oberlin College. This past fall I returned to my alma mater to work in the Harvey admissions office and in June I was given the incredible opportunity to go again as a chaperone, which at once allowed me to brush up on my speaking skills and get to know the dedicated and intelligent group
of students on the trip. Again, it was a life-changing experience. It was incredible to watch Harvey students with all areas of language experience — freshmen through seniors, level one through honors level five — overcome the language barrier and learn in some small way how to comprehend Japanese on an instinctive level. We stayed in rural Wajima, a city on the coast of the Noto Peninsula, and between the homestays, taiko lessons, high school visits, karaoke… we were inundated with Japanese culture. On top of that, the Harvey students made close personal connections, and I know of at least four students who have kept in close contact with their homestay siblings since returning to America. This trip was important for a few students in particular, as in April Harvey had invited four Japanese girls to visit our school for a week. These girls had been heavily impacted by the tsunami in March of 2011, and bravely came and stayed with our families for one week to talk to us about their experience and loss. For those host students, the opportunity to go to Japan was instrumental in bringing the experience full circle. The trip to Japan epitomizes everything that Harvey stands for and tries to do for its students: providing incredible educational opportunities in and out of the classroom.
Back to School
Friday, August 24, 2012/ Page 25A
BTS Enrichment Trampoline fitness pilot program for teens
New head of school Bryan Nixon’s three children will attend the Whitby School.
Whitby names new head of school
he board of trustees of the Whitby School in Greenwich, Conn., announced the appointment of Bryan Nixon as the new Head of School for the 2012-13 school year. An international educator and independent school leader for over 17 years, Nixon brings proven experience, as well as exceptional management and interpersonal skills, to ensure that Whitby remains a leader in 21st-century education. Nixon joins Whitby at a time when the school is experiencing solid growth and success as a result of heightened demand for Whitby’s academically rigorous and innovative curriculum. The only school in America accredited by both the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate (IB), Whitby is recognized as a leader in education at the forefront of child-centered learning. An innovator in education since its inception in 1958, Whitby guides students to develop the intellectual, emotional and social skills to thrive in today’s increasingly dynamic and changing world. “I am excited to bring my passion, vision and experience to Whitby,” Nixon said. “A Whitby education — with its low student to faculty ratio, a diverse student body with 40 countries represented, where every child is the central focus and engaged in their learning — is very special. I have spent my career working extensively with IB programs, delivering educational best practices within the classroom, successfully building schools to reach their fullest potential, and in particular, ensuring a school’s curriculum is preparing students for the 21st century.” Nixon comes to Whitby from The Bavarian International School (BIS) in Germany, a pre-K to grade 12 school offering the IB curricular program, where he had served in leadership roles for seven years, and the last four years as director, head of school. As head of school of BIS, Nixon was responsible for 920 students (from 45 nationalities and 32 spoken languages) and over 135 employees (leadership team, faculty and support staff). Prior to his tenure at BIS, Nixon was the curriculum coordinator at the St. Andrew’s School in the Bahamas where, under his leadership, the school successfully achieved authorized status from the IB Primary Years Program. Nixon is an IB regional workshop leader and a team leader on school IB authorization and evaluation visits as well as one of 12 people selected worldwide to write sample units of inquiry for IB Primary Years Program. Nixon brings his wife and their three children, who will be attending Whitby in the fall.
Starting this fall, kids in Westchester, Rockland and Bergen counties will have a chance to get fit and healthy by participating in a unique pilot program sponsored by Bounce! Trampoline Sports, wellknown New York area sports nutritionist Dr. Michael Wald and the Rockland Farm Alliance. The pilot program will involve 25 kids ages 12-15 who care about their own fitness and want to develop a program that will help other kids in the future. The program will run for eight weeks and involve exciting trampoline-based activities and games, workshops on creating fun and healthy snacks, and feedback sessions on what the kids like and want to adjust going forward. “We are very excited about our new Get Fit & Feel Great program,” said Danny Fried, co-owner of Bounce!, located in Valley Cottage across the Tappan Zee Bridge. “We developed the idea when several parents said, ‘Bounce! is so much fun, my kids don’t know it’s exercise!’ And we’re proud that it fits in with Michelle Obama’s get healthy campaign and we believe this program could change the way these kids think about themselves for a lifetime.” A NASA study identified working out on a trampoline as “the most efficient, effective form of exercise yet devised by man.” Head fitness trainer at Bounce! Trampoline Sports and former Cirque acrobat Victor Byrne will lead each class, developing new activities and programs based on feedback from the participants. Byrne, who oversees all classes and gymnastics training at Bounce!, is also director of the VBAD Stars, where he trains some of New York State’s best young diving champions at the
Bounce! Trampoline Sports announced a new pilot program to help kids get fit and feel great.
world class facilities at SUNY Purchase. Teens will meet one-on-one with Dr. Wald, director of nutritional services at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco, in the beginning to talk about their goals and weigh in, and then the focus will shift to having fun and finding activities that kids enjoy as well as how to make healthier food choices. “It is so important for kids to know that what they take into their bodies affects the way they move, think and interact throughout the day,” said Wald, who has been helping kids eat right and stay healthy for over 20 years. “Regardless of whether they play competitive sports or just want to throw a ball around with friends, we want to change
their mindset about living a healthy lifestyle.” The Rockland Farm Alliance, based at Cropsey Farm in New City, will provide organic and locally grown vegetables for the kids to sample so they can try new, locally grown foods and see the difference it can make when something is picked fresh and grown without harmful chemicals. A trip to the farm is also planned during the program to talk about how caring for the earth affects the foods we eat. The class will meet three times a week for one hour beginning mid-September and run for eight weeks. The children in the program will set their own goals and monitor their progress and provide feedback on what is working for them and what they might recommend for other kids for future programs. At the end of the eight weeks they will be able to evaluate their own progress and see how well they did. The fee for the pilot program is only $195 and registration began Aug. 1. A kickoff event is planned for September; visit www.bounceonit.com for details and information. Bounce! Trampoline Sports is a 25,000-square-foot facility offering all ages the opportunity to play sports, have fun and get fit on enormous courts of interconnected trampolines. They offer aerobics and acrobat classes, Bounce! Boot Camp, pick-up dodgeball games and league play, slam dunk basketball, and gymnastics and tumbling training. Bounce! Trampoline Sports is located at 612 Corporate Way in Valley Cottage off Route 303, just 2 miles north of the Palisades Center Mall. For questions call (845) 268-4000.
Steffi Nossen School of Dance opens doors
The Steffi Nossen School of Dance (SNSD) will open its doors to the community for a free week of dance Sept. 29-Oct. 5. With studios centrally located in White Plains (at the Music Conservatory of Westchester across from the Westchester County Center) and Chappaqua, SNSD appeals to the needs of a variety of dance students. The school’s core curriculum modern dance classes are taught to children in preschool through third grade and are accompanied by live music. These classes are followed by fourth- and fifth-grade modern/jazz and sixth-grade and up jazz classes which introduce and explore the rhythm, styles and music of the jazz idiom. Taking place on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, these classes develop both technique and creativity as they emphasize movement and dance vocabulary. Technique is taught in the form of dances set to a variety of child-friendly music and are designed to be appropriate to the physical and educational development of each age level. In addition, SNSD provides technique programs including modern, ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and a young children’s ballet program beginning with Classical Story Ballet at age 3. “Our program emphasizes the development of a child’s emotions, mind, creativ-
BILL BRAMSWIG PHOTO
Scarsdale dancer Emily Schloss, Steffi Nossen School of Dance student and current president of the Steffi Nossen Dance Company.
ity, as well as physical ability,” school director Kathy Fitzgerald said. “Our faculty collaborates to design a sequential, developmental and age-appropriate curriculum, exposing students to a variety of dance styles and allowing for the opportunity to perform. Faculty members are performing professionals and graduates of college dance programs.” Community members are invited to participate in Steffi Nossen’s classes during the
school’s Week of Dance Open House. All classes are available at no charge. For more information or to plan your dance year call 328-1900 or email info@ steffinossen.org. To learn more about Steffi Nossen School of Dance, visit www.steffinossen.org. Founded in 1937 by dance legend Steffi Nossen, the Steffi Nossen School of Dance offers a strong community-minded and leadership-focused educational model with developmentally appropriate dance instruction and performance opportunities for all ages and abilities. The school is owned and operated by the Steffi Nossen Dance Foundation, formerly the Dance in Education Fund, a not-for-profit dance advocacy and community outreach organization, which seeks to foster the arts in Westchester County. Through the support of the foundation, the school enables all students, including those with special needs, the opportunity to participate in their extensive programs and classes in a noncompetitive environment. A generous financial aid and scholarship program supports those with significant economic challenges. With a sterling reputation in the industry and a rich 75-year history, Steffi Nossen is a leader among dance schools, focusing on the growth of students’ mind, body, spirit and character.
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Back to School
Friday, August 24, 2012
BTS Parents Guide Seek: School Search Solutions helps find ‘best’ schools
esponding to the growing complexity, competition and resulting anxiety Westchester and other local area parents face in the school admissions process, school placement industry leader The School Choice Group officially launched a new division, School Search Solutions. With an initial regional roll-out in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, School Search Solutions consultants will work directly with parents of preschool through college-aged students to help them navigate the school search and admissions process at even the most competitive private and public schools available. With 100 consultants in over 50 locations worldwide, The School Choice Group is now extending its expertise — formerly accessible only to top executives at Fortune 100 companies — directly to local area families through School Search Solutions. “The level of stress surrounding school admissions is at the highest we’ve seen in years, particularly in Westchester and the New York tristate area,” said Liz Perelstein, noted education expert and founder of School Search Solutions. “It is important for families in this very competitive region to approach the school search and admissions process with accurate information and a strategy in place.” Speaking to the acceptance rates of elite
schools in and around Westchester and the greater New York City region, Perelstein notes just how difficult the process has become. Legacy, sibling and other set-asides can bring the acceptance rate at some schools for families with no ties to less than 5 percent, an acceptance rate that is lower than some of the country’s most elite colleges. Perelstein also commented on the rising costs of education. In the New York City K-12 market region alone, tuition has risen by 48 percent over the past 10
years, adjusted for inflation, according to data compiled by the National Association of Independent Schools. This trend is expected to continue. Tuition at several of the competitive New York City K-12 private schools is poised to cross the $40,000 mark in the 2012-13 school year. Tuition rates of several Fairfield, Conn., and Westchester County schools are not far behind, with tuition at the most competitive schools solidly coming in above the $30,000 mark. “With tuition costs continuing to rise
sharply and the competition more frenetic than ever, ensuring your child is in the right school requires expertise, a calm approach and a tested process,” Perelstein said. “The cost of a private education has transformed over the past several years from a standard expense to a significant investment.” Founded in 1998 and having achieved close to 6,000 successful school placements, School Search Solutions’ partner division, School Choice International, is the leader in the school placement industry worldwide. Originally, School Choice’s clients had been relocating families of high-level executives at Fortune 100 and other top corporations. In recent years, however, an increasing number of families have come to The School Choice Group directly, seeking the same level of services enjoyed by corporate executives. School Search Solutions offerings are outlined in detail at www.schoolsearchsolutions.com. Services range from a onehour professional consultation to the Platinum Placement Service package, which includes a full spectrum of services from school target analysis to school visits, application support and post-placement followup services. A number of add-on services are also available. They include boarding school placement, advocacy and support for gifted children and specialized services for children with learning differences.
Save: Uniquely U. offers special Explore: Back to farm school!
ecause the pressure on students to apply to college early can only increase, why not start out with a free fallback plan?” suggests Maxene Fabe Mulford of Uniquely U. College Essay Consultants, now in its 15th year. For families who sign on before Labor Day, Uniquely U. is offering a 15-hour Early Decision/Early Action package that automatically includes ongoing support should, come December, your high school senior be deferred or denied. The $3,375 pre-Labor Day package will be delivered in three five-hour stages, each designed to guide students to collect, connect and convey a detailed personal mosaic responding to the three questions asked or implied on every college application: “WHO I am now” (activities, aptitudes, essay drafts); “WHEN and WHY I came to be unique” (finished, crafted college essay); and “HOW and WHERE I plan to shape my future” (completed, proofread Common Application or its equivalent, including the short answer, UU’s famous stand-alone activity sheet and a “Perfect Match” supplement essay template). Paid in three installments, the package will also include three informal parent conferences, prep work for college visits and interviews, and deferral/denial insurance, plus free help with all future supplement application essays that ask, “Why is our school a perfect match for you?” Families who sign up after Labor Day may be billed additionally at $225/hour for
post-deferral/denial supplement essay help. All extra essays that some schools require or “suggest,” which fall outside the Common Application model, will also be billed at $225/hour. An a la carte rate of $250/hour is also available. The first step, however, as always, is Uniquely U.’s free consultation. Not until everyone, but especially your senior, agrees that UU can make a significant difference in the quality of the completed application does the actual self-defining process begin. For more information and/or to book your free consultation, contact Fabe Mulford toll free at 1.866.UUESSAY or email@example.com or submit the website form at www.uuessay.com.
ainbeau Ridge, a sustainable agriculture farm and community resource, has a packed fall kids’ program schedule, including farm and cooking classes for participants from 2 years old through sixth grade. These programs offer a unique opportunity for kids and families to integrate nature into their lives. Registration information is available at www.RainbeauRidge.com. Space is limited. Classes are offered as Tuesday or Wednesday series and begin in September. The weeks differ for the two series, so special attention should be given to the specific class dates. • “Roots” is a Mommy & Me program for 2-year-olds on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, from 10-11:15 a.m. This program will be filled with farm activities, including hands-on introductions to animals on the farm, the garden and exploration through music, puppets and art projects. The cost is $350 for the series. • “Buds” is a drop-off program for 3and 4-year-olds on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, from 1-2:30 p.m. This program will feature farm activities, including visits with animals, activities in the garden and exploration of nature through art projects, food, puppets and more. The cost is $400 for the 10-week series. • “Sprouts” is a drop-off program for kindergarten through third-grade children on Wednesdays, from 4-5:30 p.m. In this program, children gather at the farm where they participate in farm life, enjoy interact-
ing with the animals, work in the garden, learn about seasonal activities and embrace the culture of Rainbeau Ridge. The cost is $400 for the 10-week series. • “Somethin’s Cookin’” is an afterschool cooking class program offered on Tuesdays, from 4-5:30 p.m. In this series, participants “shop” on the farm for ingredients which are then used by the young chefs in original recipes in the farmhouse kitchen. This unique offering enables the participants to learn about where their food comes from and enjoy the food of their very own making. The cost is $360 for the eight-week series. Since its inception in 2002, Rainbeau Ridge has been committed to proving that local farming and appreciation for nature can once again be an important cornerstone of community life and is making sustainable living second nature. Rainbeau Ridge is a local resource for sustainable living and accessible agriculture, offering a wide range of activities, programs and products for families and individuals to incrementally integrate nature into their lives. Rainbeau Ridge helps people make choices which lead to a healthier and nature-enriched lifestyle. Rainbeau Ridge’s programs and products are important parts of the social, cultural, educational and commercial activities that tie the community together. Rainbeau Ridge’s award-winning farmstead goat cheese products are available at local specialty food shops as well as at fine restaurants.
Back to School
Friday, August 24, 2012/ Page 27A
From ‘School’s Out’ to ‘Back to School’ By TODD SLISS
here are two very powerful sayings each summer, one at the beginning, one at the end. Let’s just say the one coming up isn’t the topic of an Alice Cooper song. Yes, ladies and gents, it’s “Back to School” time. It’s almost like an entire season of the year unto itself. Whereas “School’s Out” is a bit of a countdown and a period of winding down before summer, what we are experiencing now is the exact opposite, a time of nervousness and preparation. And that’s on the part of the students, the parents and everyone at the schools. With my older of two sons entering kindergarten this fall, it’s finally go time. Things are about to get serious. He’s about to embark on a 13-year journey that will lead him somewhere — perhaps to college, a trade school, the working world, traveling, or something I have yet to even know or understand. And to pilot this journey we have picked a school district in which to live — not just a house, but a house based on a community fit to nurture our kids — and now it all begins. For us it wasn’t truly Back to School last fall when our son went to preschool for a half day from 9-12 — now we have bus routes, finding out his teacher and (more importantly) his classmates, getting school supplies for the first time, getting him back on a human sleep schedule so he won’t be fighting us in the morning when it’s time to get ready for school, which starts at 8 a.m. and runs to 3 p.m. That’s seven hours, a long day for a 5-year-old. (Note to parents: That’s also seven fewer hours they’re spending with you or seven fewer hours you’re paying someone to teach or watch them in addition to having already paid your taxes. Especially when it’s your first Our little boy isn’t such a little boy anymore. RCS Record Review_9.833x6.6667_final_Layout 1 7/11/12 9:12 AM Page 1 child, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for!)
A funny thing happens when kids love to come to school every day. They love to learn.
While my wife is handling many of the BTS logistics — she already did the school supplies order, has been talking to other moms about teacher assignments, bought the new sneakers and plans to take Henry to the bus before she heads to work each morning — I’ve got something on my plate, too. In addition to the work-from-home-dad thing I’ve been doing for 5.5 years (and have three more on my sentence with my younger son), this past spring I started doing another dad thing — coaching soccer. My unofficial volunteer assistant gig for eight weeks last season has now turned into, “We need you to be a head coach this year.” Though I prefer more of the backseat when it comes to all of this stuff, it’s an under-6 program, nothing I can’t handle with seven kids after having a good mentor over the spring. Plus I get to have five or six hours of training in a couple of weeks before I’m even allowed to step foot on the field as a head coach. Soccer was something we started early for various reasons, none of them truly having to do with soccer (c’mon, it’s the first sport most kids play for a reason — kick the ball and don’t touch it with your hands). My son knew kids from preschool, the town day camp and a cooking class he took through our recreation department, and we figured with this he could run around and meet more kids. It was a win-win for him and for us — as parents we get to know more of the wonderful people in our town. And so we transition into the real deal, an exhilarating and nauseating experience, depending on who you ask. The countdown is now at 11 days and with the exception of getting the bedtime schedule in order, I’d say we’re all set for Back to School. Of course, for many that also means that other countdown to Alice Cooper begins on the first day of the school year.
Join us at our Open Houses: Lower Campus – Grades PreK-4 Saturday, October 13, 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 325 West Patent Rd., Mount Kisco, NY 10549
Upper Campus – Grades 5-9 Wednesday, December 5, 8:45 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. 439 Cantitoe St., Bedford, NY 10506
Rippowam Cisqua School is a coeducational, independent country day school for students in Grades PreK through Nine.
Page 28A/The Record-Review
Back to School
Friday, August 24, 2012