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A Special Section of The Record-Review

August 19, 2011

Page 2A/The record-review

Back to School

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School

The record-Review

Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 3A


Parent’s Guide to Back to School 4A

Parents and homework: To help or not to help?


6A Detecting and correcting reading lags 8A

Moving Up: The mission for a smooth transition

A Special Section of The Record-Review

August 19, 2011

A special section of

The Record-Review 264 Adams Street Bedford Hills, NY 10507 914-244-0533 PUBLISHER Deborah G. White SECTION EDITOR Todd Sliss


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Back to School

Friday, August 19, 2011

Parents and homework:

To help or not to help?



hould parents give their kids help with homework? The answer: homework help can have both a positive and negative impact on kids and their education. If it sounds like a conundrum, it is. Homework help has long been a thorny issue for parents and educators. So what’s a parent to do? To find the answers, we talked to two educators and a speech and language therapist, with some enlightening results. On the elementary school level, Jennifer Allen, principal of the Greenville Elementary School in Edgemont, expressed her views on homework help. She said children need to make a “good faith” effort to complete their work on their own, then reach out to their parents to check what the assignment is, to check answers or to clarify. “There may be language on a question to help them with the assignment,” she said. “Well-intentioned parents can contribute more for their child and they do more than they should,” Allen said. “Teachers are pretty skilled in determining when there’s been too much assistance from parents.” Allen explained that ultimately kids lose out because they don’t get the benefits from learning the assignment. She suggested that parents put a note on the assessment and ex-

plain that their child really had trouble with the assignment and ask the teacher to help him. “Children can get dependent on help, which prevents them from doing the work on their own if too much work is done by someone else,” Allen said. “The goal of the parents should be mindful to have children who are independent learners.” Allen, who was previously the assistant principal in Edgemont’s middle school, knows from experience that the older children get, the more important it is to do the work on their own and learn to ask the teacher for help. She said that when students move into the middle school and high school, they will be expected to do the work on their own. Middle school: hands-off help Bill Barrett, the middle school division head and upper school dean at Rippowam Cisqua School in Chappaqua, agreed with

Allen, stressing the importance that homework be done by the child as much as possible. “When we give a child homework, it’s meaningful, not new learning,” Barrett said. At the middle school level, which at Rippowam starts in fifth grade, parents need to know what the child is expected to do and try to engage the child in discussing their assignments. Parents should understand what the optimal learning environment is for their child and provide it; for example a quiet space or perhaps listening to quiet music while doing their work. But “every child is different.” Barrett explained that work that is done independently at home creates another opportunity “for us to assess how they’re doing at that time … if the student receives too much help at home, it can hamper the teacher’s ability to judge where the student is at that

Children can get dependent on help, which prevents them from doing the work on their own if too much work is done by someone else.” — Jennifer A llen, principal of the Greenville Elementary School

Continued on the next page

prepared Parents are key to back-to-school success


ith summer coming to a close, perhaps your child is resisting trading in his or her fun, leisurely schedule for the school routine. “End of summer is bittersweet for some children, while others are much more fearful about going back to the classroom,” said Thamara Thirri of the Scarsdale Huntington Learning Center. “No matter what your child’s demeanor, it is beneficial for parents to prepare children for the change.” Huntington offers these six tips to get your child ready to head back to school:


Take your child back-to-school shopping. Spending a day together buying school supplies and maybe a new outfit. Shopping is a fun way to get into the school mode and a good opportunity to let your child tell you the things he or she thinks will help make him or her successful. It’s also a


Plan on getting extra help. For students who struggled in the previous school year, the idea of going back to school may be especially stressful. Summer is a great time to build skills and improve weaker areas, but if your summer was focused on other things, now is a great time to investigate supplemental education services for your child. Talk to his or her teacher in advance about problem areas and how the two of you can work together to get your child off on the right foot. good chance for parents to have one-on-one conversations with their children about any goals they have for the year.


I ntroduce your child ahead of time to another classmate or two. A few weeks before the first day of school, reconnect with friends from last year who will be in your child’s new class. If your child is new to the school, look around your neighborhood to find other children of the same age.


Set an optimistic tone. As a parent, you have a lot of influence on your child’s attitude toward school. Show him or her through your actions that learning is fun and a part of everyday life. Teach your child to value effort and hard work.


B e prepared. Many schools have an orientation a month or so before school starts, which gives parents the information they need about school supplies,

dress code, required forms, transportation and more. Being organized and on top of all school requirements will minimize firstweek stresses for both you and your child.


Meet the teacher. Your school may host a meet your teacher day, which is a great opportunity for your child to get to know his or her new teacher before the first day. Get familiar with the school layout and other school resources (like guidance counselor and speech therapist) that will help your child. The beginning of a new school year is full of excitement and promise, and parents can set the tone at home so that their children see it that way, too. “Let your child know that he or she has a strong support system in you and his or her teacher,” Thirri said. “And remember that when it comes to going back to school, a little preparation and a good attitude can go a long way.”

The record-Review

Continued from the previous page

particular time.” However good teachers know where the kids are, he said, and they do assess them daily. And if kids ask parents for help, what should be the appropriate response? Barrett said if a child is writing an essay or report and asks a parent to read it to see if they’re on the right track, it is appropriate. “If the parent is correcting their work, I think the work should be the student’s,” he said. “I know there are always shades of gray,” he added. “The line between where a child’s work ended and where the parents began, then it becomes murky.” Some parents have a hard time not helping, however well-intentioned, when they think a child is asked to do too much and want to support them. “If a parent is giving help every night,” Barrett said, “we’d love to hear from that parent.” He advises that if kids are having trouble on a particular assignment parents should encourage their child to self advocate and talk to their teacher so they can “hone in on what’s needed.” Barrett approves of parents and tutors coaching at home for teaching time management and other skills, which can be helpful, but not doing the actual work. He said it is neither helpful nor appropriate: “If parents help too much, the child will lose confidence.” Special help Dorothy Leone, a speech and language therapist and owner of Little Wonders Therapeutics in Dobbs Ferry, said the parent “is always a part of the process” in her work with children. “Sometimes there is a disconnect between schools and home,” Leone said. Working as consultants, her company can observe a child either for parents or the

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school district. Leone, who is a full-time professor in speech communications at Iona College, said there are many “pieces of parent involvement” in the therapy and learning process. Sometimes she has a parent sit in on an appointment and sometimes it’s hard for parents not to answer questions for the child, but it is important for the child to share information with her. She said she encourages parents to be involved “appropriately” and suggests cooking or baking with their child at home. Some parents need help creating ways to communicate with them at home, she explained, and others need to know what the optimal learning environment should be for their child. For Leone, the biggest benefit for parental help is to have the parent “on board with you” in providing opportunities for the child. “Appropriate parent involvement is the key to success … parental help at home cuts down on the amount of time they need help in school,” Leone said. As an example, she said that if a child is working on narratives (telling stories), a parent should help them at home. “It shouldn’t end in the classroom or in a therapy session,” she explained. “Give them language.” Parents can help by asking a related question when asking “What did you do in school today?” or the work they may be doing with Leone, to encourage more than one-word answers. One of the challenges for kids that have been getting her help for years is to help them become more independent learners. “One goal builds on top of another goal — a child should be able to do more work on their own over time,” Leone said. “Once a child can master a goal, take away [that] help and move to the next one.”

Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 5A

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Detecting and correcting reading lags



ut simply, it’s impossible to overemphasize the importance of a student’s ability to read and comprehend what he or she reads. The two skills go hand in hand as the most important building blocks on the road to success in school. What happens, then, if a student — no matter the age — is found to have a problem that keeps him or her behind in class? Tutoring may sometimes be the answer. Lags in reading skills typically are suspected in the early elementary grades, particularly in first grade, when many, if not most, Westchester County school district teachers and administrators, expect their youngest students to be able to read independently by the end of the year. Students who don’t meet those standards may be tested for any number of problems. Some problems are simple; others, not so much. “You can see signs that there might be a lag as early as kindergarten, when the kids are introduced to sounds and they can’t make the connection between sounds and letter awareness,” said Linda Salomon, owner of Elite Tutors in Yorktown Heights, a firm that assigns tutors throughout Westchester County. Oftentimes a child’s teacher picks up the problem before a parent does, but not always. “A parent absolutely should call the school for intervention,” Salomon said. “If the school agrees with the parents in seeing the issues parents are describing, the district would go forth with testing. At Elite Tutors we always do an assessment, and there are a number of programs we use in preventing academic failure, including ones used at Windward School and also in the White Plains public schools.”

Patricia Wagner of Katonah Tutoring Club agrees that parents often know best. But she takes it one step further. “The moms always know there’s a problem,” Wagner said. “They may not have the right label for it, but they see it. The only time it’s a little hard is if it’s the first child. Parents don’t have the barometer they do when there’s more than one child in the family.” Public schools in Westchester would like children’s reading to be about six months ahead of grade level, according to Wagner, who has a doctorate in education and is also a child psychologist. For Wagner and others, the statistics are somewhat sobering. She cites “Preventing Early Reading Failure,” by Dr. Joseph Torgesen, director of the Florida Center for Reading Research, who writes that “children who are poor readers at the end of first grade almost never acquire average-level reading skills by the end of elementary school.” “Reading is a foundation you build early,” Wagner said. “I can’t impress upon parents how important that is. Everything else becomes building a house on a foundation of quicksand. By the time they’re in third and fourth grades, you have to keep their heads above water. That’s particularly difficult as they get into middle school.” But Wagner stresses that it’s never too late to get help. By waiting, “it just becomes a bigger problem. People wait too long to get help. It’s the old scenario of the stomachache

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Back to School

see if there are comprehension issues.” Paying attention to a child’s “desire for reading and determining how the child deals with frustration when he or she is reading” are also important, Hopf continued. “Also, has there been a fluctuation in grades, whether it be in academic courses or standardized test scores? Have the scores dropped down or gone up?” In performing its initial student assessment, Katonah Tutoring Club “goes back to the beginning reading program,” Wagner

can have problems. “Students in the upper grades compensate for lack of basic reading skills by memorizing and cramming,” she said. “The first step for parents is to determine why their child, no matter the age, has these poor reading skills. The first thing is to listen to their child of any age read something — books, articles, Internet mail, even an article from a teen magazine. Then parents should ask the child to tell a bit about what he or she has read, so the parents can

said. “We will zip through what a student knows, and find out if there’s something in there that she’s not connecting.” Elite Tutors performs individual assessments as well, and provides one-on-one tutoring in children’s homes. “Scheduling is flexible,” Salomon said. “Lots of times with the children who are just beginning to read, in first and second grades where reading skills get noticed, we schedule to meet the needs of that age group. If it’s in the summer, tutors go to homes before camp, 7:30

Tips to turn your child into a better reader Reading is the most important skill that children need to master to be successful in school and life. However, kids increasingly are struggling with this most basic of academic abilities. When children have difficulty reading, they quickly can fall behind their peers. Luckily, there are ways to improve almost any child’s reading proficiency. “Telling children to try harder is not the key to developing better readers. Rather, students need to be taught the building blocks of words: phonograms and spelling rules,” said Denise Eide, a teacher and author of the new book, “Uncovering the Logic of English.” There are many things parents can do to help: • Explain writing is code. Many students guess wildly while reading because they have never realized words are made of individual sounds blended together. Show them how letters and groups of letters represent sounds. Then practice blending the sounds to form words. • Teach all the sounds. Many letters say more than one sound. For example, the letRCS_Record ter “S” soundsReview_9.83x6.67:Layout different in the word “sad”


than the word “is.” Many students misread simple words, because they don’t know all the sounds. • Cover pictures. Many young students struggle with the left to right eye movement of reading. Allow students to look at 7/22/11 12:00 PM Page 1 the pictures then cover them with a blank

sheet of paper while reading. Covering pictures makes it easier to focus on text. • Teach all nine ‘Silent E’ rules. Many students know only one reason for a silent final “e” — the vowel says its name because of the “E.” This explains words like “game” and “ripe,” but leaves many kids struggling to read “have” and “give.” • Find answers. Too often we answer questions about reading with “that is an exception.” This frustrates many bright students and discourages them from reading. Rather than dismissing words as exceptions, look for answers and explanations. English is more logical than most Americans think. Answers to questions about English reading and spelling can be found in “Uncovering the Logic of English” and by visiting “Many students complain English spelling appears inconsistent, especially highly logical children who may grow up to be scientists or mathematicians,” Eide said. “By teaching students how English works you will improve their reading abilities and encourage them to read.” n — StatePoint

Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 7A

or 7:45 a.m. During the school year, it’s right after a student gets home from school.” “One thing I can tell you is that at Huntington we take the guesswork out of the testing,” said Hopf. “We provide a full-length academic evaluation, which provides for parents a complete road map of all the skills a child would possess or need. The parent then knows if the child is meeting expectations in all the skill areas most important for academic success.” Abilities at the time of testing vary wildly. “We have seventh-graders who can’t read at all past the third-grade level, and others who can read beautifully but don’t understand a thing they’re reading,” Hopf said. Parents and teachers aren’t the only ones who realize there’s a problem — the children can as well. “I can just say that kids know they are struggling,” Salomon said. “Their faces light up when they realize they’ve read a whole sentence for the first time. It’s exciting when they know they’ve just read something and understood it, rather than just struggling to read the words properly. Finally, it all makes sense; they understand it.” Salomon used the analogy of learning to ride a bike, when “you fall off a million times” before getting the knack of it. “We feel good as tutors because of the strategies we use in teaching reading skills,” she said. “Once that kick-in clicks, the sounds and letters, they read everything. They’re like sponges, they want to learn everything.” Positive experiences in something as simple as reading can breed positive, lifelong relationships with school. “Parents just have peace of mind to know that a child is functioning at grade level and has the tools to function appropriately at their age and beyond,” Salomon said.

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Back to School

Friday, August 19, 2011

Moving up

themission for a Smooth



ids don’t always welcome change, especially when transitioning from one school to another. It can be downright scary for some younger students moving into middle school. Parents worry too how their children will fare in a new environment with older students and more demanding work. Kids worry, “Will I be able to find my locker?” “Will I be on time for class?” “Will the kids like me?” Even kids who roll well might have pause for concern. That first day, even the first few weeks in middle school or high school, can be an anxious time for both parent and child. The schools in our area help allay some of that anxiety before school starts and prepare

students as they make the leap between schools. Schools are ready to help smooth away the bumps that may pop up along the way and help prepare students for what’s ahead. Some schools have formal programs built into their curriculums. Here’s a sampling of how area schools help pave the way to an easier transition and advice from two therapists. Normal anxiety or a red flag? Dale Karp, a child and family therapist with offices in Scarsdale and New York City who has been involved in school programs that help kids transition, works with preschool age through high school children, but mostly 10- to 12-year-olds and adolescents. She said she doesn’t see students specifically about transition, but sometimes the issue comes up. “There can be a family dynamic that’s go-

ing on when it looks like there’s a problem,” Karp explained. “There can be a certain level of anxiety if the family is going through a divorce, there’s sibling rivalry — it could be a million things — all these things can heighten anxiety. If a kid doesn’t do things in an easy way, that’s a red flag. “Very anxious children may feel anxious when changing from a small comfortable environment to a larger one. For more confident ones it’s not such a big deal.” Karp added that when schools make a lot of effort to bring the children in, let them visit, perhaps have a buddy system of peers who can take them around, it adds to their

comfort level. “When schools don’t do this until September they worry all summer that they won’t find their way around,” Karp said. “It’s much more effective if they do this in June. Some schools let the kids spend the whole day and let them feel like they’re already there … it’s very effective.” She noted that older kids have a greater ability to cope with change. Clear expectations At Rippowam Cisqua School in BedContinued on the next page

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ford, Bill Barrett is the middle school division head and the upper school dean. The lower campus is comprised of pre-k through fourth grades, while middle school is fifthninth grades. (Rippowam Cisqua has no high school.) To make transition more comfortable for students moving from the lower school into the middle or upper school, Rippowam has several supports and programs in place built into the curriculum. Middle school faculty regularly visits the lower school and the lower school goes up to the middle school on a regular basis. “We set up many opportunities for lower school students to get to know what it’s like at the middle school,” Barrett said. Students get to meet the teachers and attend middle school plays. Cast members

Most kids are anxious when going to a new school. They going from a comfortable environment, “to one [that’s] kind of a mysterious experience.” – Steve M arcisz, Fox L ane guidance counselor

visit the lower school and students participate in a dress rehearsal of the middle school play. Barrett said that this past year for the first time they brought fourth-graders up to the middle school for field day, an event the students will be involved in when they get to the middle school campus. The ninth-graders, the school’s seniors, visit the lower school on a regular basis, while and the entire lower school visits the middle school. The school has a formal buddy program for fourth-graders that takes place in the spring. Barrett said the school has lots of conversations with parents about what life is like at the middle school. “For us it’s really about setting expectations, that kind of clarity helps a lot in transition,” he said. Barrett and the school psychologist talk to parents about what they expect from the kids and what parents should expect. “I tell parents that students will struggle with going from concrete thinking to more abstract thinking,” Barrett said. Parent to parent It’s helpful for parents to talk to other parents whose kids are also going through transition to compare notes and with parents of older kids who can share their experiences. Barrett stressed that keeping the lines of communication open is very important, especially when a student is not transitioning well. He noted that that’s where the partnership between parents and the school becomes critical. “If we’re all working together it helps the child make a better transition,” he said. Children need to know that the ups and downs they’re feeling are normal. When they feel comfortable with themselves, they’re willing to take more risks and try


Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 9A

new things. “I think children at this age want to feel known, have success, feel confident with who they are,” Barrett said. “They want to know what is expected of them. Parents and school need to help communicate that … the school needs to provide clear expectations on a daily basis.” Formal programs at SHS Sue Peppers, the assistant principal for student life at Scarsdale High School, described the two formal programs the school offers that students can opt into which help them “adjust to the challenges of freshman year.” In the spring of eighth grade, students can opt into Civ Ed, which requires extra scheduling because it’s given twice a week for an entire year. Ninth-graders in Civ Ed are assigned to a team made up of an English and social studies teacher and their dean for a weekly community meeting; once a week they meet as a small group with their peer leader, an upperclassman who has been trained as an advisory counselor by an outreach worker. Students who opt for Freshman Seminar meet with an adviser and their dean once a week for a semester, which is built into their schedules. Peppers said that all students have a mandatory two-day orientation program before classes start in the fall. In eighth grade, students come up to the high school in June and meet with their deans, plus there are eighth-grade and parent orientations. And what are the most daunting issues for kids transitioning into the high school? Peppers said the high school is a bigger space than the houses at middle school, which divides the kids into smaller groups and for the first time they will all be together. “It

takes a while to get used to the high school,” Pepper said. “Most students will have more unscheduled time during the week than they’re used to… they have more freedom.” The challenges of transition Dorrie Bernstein, an educational psychologist in private practice in Hastings and a former school psychologist in a Westchester school district, offered her insights on transition. She explained that in many districts, students go from a classroom with a single teacher they are familiar with in elementary school to a departmentalized day in middle school with different teachers for each subject. Students have to get used to different teacher personalities and styles of learning than what they were used to in elementary school. Students move from the safety of elementary school, “a school they’ve grown up in where they are the oldest kids and move to a new building where they are the youngest.” The curriculum is more advanced and tests are more frequent. “Students may have concerns about being ready for the academic challenges,” Bernstein said. Hastings Middle School begins in fifth grade, but classes are not departmentalized until sixth grade. But, Bernstein said, it gives students a chance to get used to the building “one challenge at a time.” For districts that allow students to accelerate in eighth grade in math and/or science, “They’ve had some experience with high school level classes, so high school can feel less scary for them,” she said. Bernstein said when students go from middle school to high school, “They like the block scheduling, they feel grown up, but they may have the same issues if they

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Transition Continued from page 9A

New therapy for special needs kids Donna Klein & Associates, a leading provider of therapy for children in Westchester County, continues to expand its options for parents to get quality services. Complementing their existing individualized options of occupational therapy and physical therapy in the convenience of your home or in their dynamic therapy gym, Donna Klein & Associates is now offering groups. With social skills, handwriting, yoga and personal Donna Klein & Associates therapy provides services in varitraining groups among others ous settings. available, Klein said children of better-quality therapy. are “able to gain skill and self“We’ve long been thought of as some of esteem in the company of new friends.” the best therapy services available in our “This allows children to build self esteem through new friendships while gain- area” Klein said. In addition to group therapy, Donna ing competence,” Klein said. Klein & Associates continues to provide Groups combine their high quality therindividualized service for sensory inteapy with the concept of children motivating children. Not only does each therapist grative disorders, children on the autism tailor a group’s goals to each child’s indi- spectrum, fine motor/gross motor incovidual needs, but also each child can find ordination, children with learning disabilities and children with ADD/ADHD and be a “mentor” for their new friends. For over 20 years, Donna Klein & As- and neuromuscular disabilities, as well as sociates has provided therapy services auditory-based interventions such as interto Westchester children. Klein believes active metronome. Visit or “maximizing a child’s potential, hearing what’s important to a parent and provid- visit Facebook for at home therapeutic tips ing topnotch intervention” are the essence and strategies.

are going to a new school.” They are very aware that their grades count — the college process has started and it can be “scary.” 3 houses merge into one Steve Marcisz, the guidance chairman and middle/high school guidance coordinator at Fox Lane in Bedford, referred to the transition program as “pretty elaborate.” The Fox Lane campus has a middle school for sixth through eighth grades, which draw kids from five elementary schools in the district, and has a house system like Scarsdale’s. Each house gives kids a small school experience with the same teachers who meet weekly to discuss the kids. Teachers may change from year to year, but their guidance counselor remains the same for their three years in the middle school. Like Rippowam Cisqua, middle school teachers visit the elementary schools and talk to teachers about the kids, learn their strengths, personalities and any issues. Counselors also visit teachers to get the scoop on the kids to find out what red flags there may be and what support they may need in the middle school. In the spring, kids and their parents are invited to an open house to learn about the school, its facilities and the guidance counselors to learn about what support is available to them. Kids are bused over for a walking tour of the middle school, so they know “what they’re walking into” and learn about the school’s student government. Marcisz said that most kids are anxious when going to a new school. Some kids have more anxiety than others when meeting new kids. “It could be that guidance counselors

Friday, August 19, 2011

or psychologists are already alert to that,” he said. “[They] might assign a guidance counselor or psychologist to them if they’re really anxious.” Transitioning from middle school to the high school, “which they can see up on the hill,” the students are going from a comfortable environment, “to one [that’s] kind of a mysterious experience.” The school tries to make the transition as smooth as possible. Guidance counselors meet with eighth-graders in their second semester to discuss what courses they will be taking, get an overview of high school transition and the sports available to them. Students are taken to the high school, where they meet social workers and psychologists and get more familiar with the campus, learn what electives they can take and meet with teachers. At a parents’ night in January, parents meet the administration and learn about all the courses. There’s also a Q&A session with a panel of ninth-grade students. “A lot of parents are very, very nervous,” said Marcisz. “They find it helpful to them.” This past year Peer Power, a recent grad’s idea, was introduced, where upperclassmen are assigned to incoming freshmen. “Sometimes it’s the first friend they meet … hopefully it’s someone they can depend on for support,” Marcisz said. Similar to Scarsdale, there is an orientation before school starts. They meet their teachers and other staff and enjoy a social event — “It could be a BBQ” — which serves as the culmination of Fox Lane’s eight-month transition program. Despite all the programs the school has in place, issues with small daily routines, like working their lockers and other uncertainties happen. Marcisz said, “Most students can adjust to that, but it does come up the first week of school.” n

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The record-Review

Back to School

Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 11A

School Reports Bedford Central: continuing our focus on the future By JERE I. HOCHMAN Bedford Central Schools Superintendent

“The pupils of the school in District No. 9, Bedford and F.E. Smalley, teacher, held their closing exercises on Thursday afternoon. The exercises consisted of dialogues, compositions, recitations, calisthenics, and more. A large attendance of visitors listened with great interest and were delighted with the way in which every part of the program was rendered. At the close of the entertainment, the children were served with ice cream and cake which had been kindly sent by Mrs. James Wood. Many thanks are due the teacher for her admirable way in which the school is conducted and for the progress the pupils are making. May her well-deserved vacation be pleasantly spent.” What a great article! Community, a meaningful curriculum, children performing, monitoring progress, evaluation and a modest celebration! “School the way it oughta be!” A review of one of our June elementary school moving up ceremonies? No. Town historian John Stockbridge sent me this 1884 article recently and I just smiled.

I am sure every year since this article was written in the Mount Kisco Recorder on July 4, 1884, our parents and the community have gathered to hear about and see the accomplishments of children right up to our recent moving-up ceremonies and Fox Lane graduation. Does it get better than hearing children read their compositions or engage in meaningful dialogue? At the end of every year, just like in 1884, we review the progress of children and the performance of our staff, have a little cake and ice cream, and then continue building on that progress in the fall. Some things in public education never change. On the other hand, oh, how things have changed. Today, self-proclaimed education reformers equate success solely with test scores and a narrow curriculum, and politicians promise instant results as frequent high-stakes testing, unfunded mandates and technological scrutiny redefine public education. Granted, accountability, supervision of our work and research-based change are essential, however, a call for balance is in order. And, a little “old school” is a good thing! This fall, having been immersed in 13 years of a rigorous curriculum — and the arts, activities and projects — 304 wellrounded Fox Lane graduates will depart to over 150 colleges and universities (there were

Having successfully implemented our “Bedford Central Buzz” we will explore additional ventures to enhance communication with parents and the community. over 1,000 college acceptances for this class). As these young men and women head off to college, we welcome 320 kindergarteners, the Class of 2024, to their public school journey. Of course, envisioning the world in the year 2024 is daunting, but I am confident these kindergartners also will spend 13 years learning a rigorous curriculum with outstanding teachers and a supportive staff in well-maintained buildings. And, we will balance the press for high-stakes testing with, yes, “school the way it oughta be,” including the arts, research projects, problem-solving, field trips and more. Decisions we make this year will set the

course for that future. Over the next several months, we will discuss our district’s programs, plans for the future, the financial landscape and the tough choices necessary to move forward. Our annual analysis of all we do and your input will guide those decisions. And, the litmus test for those decisions? The success of every single student, every day, now — and in 2024. As the school year opens, we are confident that our ongoing work in professional development will keep our curriculum and academic programs vital and current. Many teachers and administrators have spent time in the summer in various workshops beginning the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards “Take One” evaluation process, delving into Innovative Designs for Education (IDE) training which promotes our efforts in differentiation and projectbased learning, and training to become instructional coaches which will enhance the pedagogy of hundreds of teachers. Throughout the school year, teachers will engage in professional learning based on our district’s teaching and curriculum standards. Simultaneously, much of this year will be devoted to infusing regulations of the newly adopted state teacher and principal evaluation law into our planning and evaluation model. Continued on page 14A

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School Reports

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Katonah-Lewisboro keeping up with advancing world By DR. PAUL KREUTZER Katonah-Lewisboro Schools Superintendent


he Katonah-Lewisboro School District is progressing on a positive path that will play a strong role in preparing our students to be successful adults in the 21st century. Our educators, our parent council and our district leaders continue to review student data and fine-tune plans that we have been developing over the past few years. Thanks to the dedication of our staff, students and community members, Katonah-Lewisboro is regarded as a highperforming district with excellent programs that present a variety of opportunities for our children. The 2011-12 school year will officially begin for students on Sept. 7, opening day. During this year, some aspects of our program will change while others will stay as they have been. The district’s goal of providing students with a high-quality and challenging education remains consistent, and we are pleased to maintain so many programs that were introduced in previous years. In that same vein, changes are necessary in certain areas in order to keep

up with the rapidly advancing world. The new school year will bring new courses, new staff members and new phases of longterm plans. The district has announced three major administrative appointments over the last several months. I have already introduced myself as the new superintendent of schools, and you are probably also aware that Ms. Connie Hayes joined the district as director of special services. We are also fortunate to welcome Mrs. Jessica Godin as principal of Katonah Elementary School. Like myself, Mrs. Godin has relocated to the area with her family, after living in Colorado where she most recently served as the pre-k-8 principal in the Cheyenne Wells School District. Across the district, upgrades have been made to the curriculum over the past year, and we continue to support these advancements in 2011-12. Project-based learning units were piloted last year in grades k-12, and project-based learning remains an important element of our academic program across all grade levels. The opportunities developed through this approach will be enhanced so that every student will experience some level of project-based learning instruction. The sustainability curriculum, which was piloted in grades k-2 and 3-5 in past years, will now be implemented in grades k-8. Additionally, we have adopted

John Jay High School will introduce several new courses that will prepare students to meet the challenges of a world centered largely around communications. Response to Intervention (RTI) framework created by the New York State Department of Education to ensure that assessment and instruction are linked and needs of all students are met. Preliminary RTI developments that were made in the district previously will be put more strongly into place through the work of a committee that has been formed with the goal of providing even more avenues for students to learn within the general education setting. Katonah Elementary School, Increase Miller Elementary School, Lewisboro Elementary School and Meadow Pond Elementary School are maintaining most curricula and instructional units, but are piloting some new science programs to

create a more hands-on approach while keeping content consistent. Elementary school parents will have opportunities to hear more detailed overviews of grade level curriculum and plans for the school year during curriculum nights scheduled at each elementary school on Sept. 13 and 21. Families that are new to our district will be introduced to their respective elementary schools during new family orientations on Aug. 31. The kindergarten bus runs will also be held at each of the four buildings on Aug. 31, and will include an opportunity to meet and greet the administrators and kindergarten teachers. At the middle school level, project-based learning goals that were introduced last year will be continued as part of our long-term plan. Project-based learning initiatives have been under way in various subject areas, including mathematics, language and music, and teachers are enthusiastic about improving and refining interdisciplinary units this year. In the subject of science, teachers are creating and implementing more inquirybased units that were developed through a plan to add and enhance lab experiences. The inquiry-based approach was introduced last year, and its expansion is intended to provide students with a greater level of academic rigor. Also at John Jay Middle School, a new Continued on the next page

The record-Review Continued from the previous page

student leadership program is being launched, taking a grassroots approach to maintaining a positive climate in the school environment. Four staff members will advise seventh- and eighth-grade students who have been selected (after being recommended by teachers and expressing an interest in participating) to serve as student leaders. The students will meet with their advisers twice a month, during which times they will share their experiences and receive training in anti-bullying measures, including identification and appropriate prevention strategies. School administrators will address severe matters and conflicts, but the peer leaders will offer helpful insight to more subtle situations from the student perspective. John Jay High School will introduce several new courses in the 2011-12 school year that will prepare students to meet the challenges of a world centered largely around communications. A journalism course will explore journalistic writing and its many forms, including blogs, features, columns and more, as well as documentary filmmaking, and will also teach students to frame ideas and conduct interviews. As part of the experience they will write for the school newspaper, The Focus. Another new course, 21-12: The English Experience in the 21st Century, has a traditional focus on reading and writing skills while emphasizing independent choices and independent research supported by exploratory learning and project-based interdisciplinary study. Author’s Origins, also a new addition to the course offerings, will present students with many opportunities to find stories, and to explore and reinvent their

Back to School

plots as they master new ways of writing. Take Two! Film Studies and Filmmaking is an exciting new class as well, teaching students about all aspects of filmmaking as they create their own films and analyze others’ work. In addition, this is the first year that an online course our own staff members developed in collaboration with BOCES will be presented. The course, Environmental Physics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Planet, will be led by John Jay High School teachers David Gewanter and Jim Tanzer, and will be offered to our students as well as those from seven other high schools. Another new “challenge” being taken on by John Jay High School students is their first-time participation in MSG Varsity’s “The Challenge,” an academic competition that features students from neighboring high schools. Teachers, custodians and administrators are currently preparing all of our buildings and classrooms so they will be ready to welcome students on the first day of school. John Jay High School will sport fresh paint, carpeting and tiling in many hallways and classrooms. By opening day, the district office will have moved to Increase Miller Elementary School. The AP Farm Athletic Fields construction work and John Jay High School ball field renovations have been under way and progressing steadily since the groundbreaking in April. The projected opening of the multipurpose turf field at AP Farm is scheduled for the first day of school, and renovations to the ball field at John Jay High School are expected to be finished in early fall of 2011, with the field opening on the first day of the spring 2012 season.

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Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 13A

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Back to School

News & Notes

Prevention council supports communities The programs that the Bedford, Lewisboro, Pound Ridge Drug Abuse Prevention Council (DAPC) supports are in place for the fall. The 18th annual Katonah-Lewisboro Family U Night will take place on Nov. 9. This year, back by popular demand, the KatonahLewisboro Family U Night will feature Rachel Simmons, the nationally acclaimed author, educator and presenter. Simmons’s keynote address will discuss the various ways that boys and girls are affected by relational aggression, which she defines as the use of friendship as a weapon. Simmons will also discuss many of the facets of this issue, including the power of gossip and rumors, “the silent treatment,” aggressive body language, cyberbullying and the use of humor in aggression. Another presenter at Katonah-Lewisboro Family U Night will be performance artist Shaun Derick, who uses his own experiences and popular music to inspire the audience to make their dreams come true and not get detoured by negative actions and thoughts. Derick’s entertaining, interactive presentation will encourage both parents and students to be true to themselves while they “write” their own music and “sing” their own songs.

Jennifer Powell-Lunder, Psy.D., a parent in the district and an internationally acclaimed co-author of the book “Teenage as a Second Language,” will also give a presentation. Using her years of experience as the director of the Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Unit at Four Winds Hospital and her work with children, adolescents and their families, Powell-Lunder will make suggestions on how to improve communication between parents and their teens. For more information about additional workshops go to The Family U Education Network book club will also be meeting in the fall at the Katonah Village Library. The books that the group is planning to discuss are “Teenage as a Second Language” by Powell-Lunder, Psy.D., and “The Blessings of a B Minus” by Wendy Mogel, Ph.D. Check or call 2343227 for more information. The popular parenting workshops sponsored by the DAPC, based on the Active Parenting and the Systematic Training for Effective Parenting series, will begin in October. The workshops run several weeks and are for parents of children of all ages from preschoolers to teens. Most of the classes will be held during the day, but there will be one series for parents of teens that will be held in the evening. Another series will be held on Saturdays in November for parents of children of all ages. For details go to

Friday, August 19, 2011

Bedford Central Continued from page 11A

Having successfully implemented our “Bedford Central Buzz” and other new district communications, we will explore additional ventures to enhance direct and twoway communication with parents and the community. We will continue our efforts with citizen participation on many district committees, and we will carry on our work as a community to build assets for our children. In my address to the seniors at graduation, I stated, “Across the community, in the parks, the libraries and playing fields where you grew up; at the Boys and Girls Club, Neighbors Link, the little leagues, and the field trip destinations; with the support of local businesses, the firefighters, the police, Aspire intern mentors and community volunteers; and the array of houses of worship; yes, in this entire village you have grown with remarkable opportunities to explore and nurture your interests.” As we embark on the new school year, our commitment to our incoming kindergartners is that they, too, are embraced by the entire community working together for their success. We are particularly excited to utilize the Future Focus community feedback and student surveys to take next steps providing continued community dialogue, building community assets, and envisioning the future and success in our schools. Similarly, we will continue to audit and scrutinize all district programs for productivity, prudent practice and efficiency. Our annual State of the District reports to the board of education and district publications will illustrate academic performance and

district progress and will identify areas for continued improvement. We are eager to implement recommendations from studies such as our recent TriStates Consortium review of our k-12 writing curriculum, the review of our special education program, the work of our curriculum committees and the bullying task force, as well as recommendations from annual financial audits. Numerous district program analyses, the work of our budget advisory, capital planning and other committees, and recommendations for long-term planning projects will be folded into a comprehensive plan with our ongoing “to-do” list. And, then, there is the financial landscape! Plain and simple, looking toward 201213, we anticipate a significant gap between the program that keeps us on a path toward outstanding success and the reality of the financial landscape. We have tightened our proverbial belts significantly and our community has responded favorably to three years of a tax levy less than 2 percent, but without help from Albany, the fiscal picture is bleak. Hence, this fall we will seek your input on a comprehensive plan with those “tough choices” and set our sights on achieving goals for our students in the future. We have ambitious plans to build on our success and to enhance our work with our students. Simultaneously, we recognize there are difficult decisions we must make to navigate the financial landscape ahead. Through it all, we will remain focused on the achievement and engagement of every single student, every single day, in the 2011-12 school year — just like the success of Miss Smalley’s class in 1884 and our aspirations for the Class of 2024 and all who follow.

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The record-Review

Back to School

Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 15A

Decision-making 101

How major is a major on your college application? By JACKIE LUPO You’re sailing through your college application when the next question stops you in your tracks: the one that asks you for your intended major. If you’re like the majority of college-bound students, you’re not sure what you intend to major in. But when you’re confronted with a long list of potential majors, checking off that forlorn-looking “undecided” at the end of the list looks so, well, forlorn. So indecisive. Or does it? How does checking off “undecided” affect the way colleges look at applicants? And how does indicating a probable major affect your chances for admission? We talked to local college consultants who are experts on application strategy to help you decide what to do about the “undecided” question. Liberal arts: don’t know? No problem “College admissions people don’t necessarily expect 17-year-old young people to know what they want to major in,” said Carol Gill, founder of Carol Gill Associates, a college consultancy based in Dobbs Ferry. “If a student is applying to a college of arts and sciences, then going undeclared is perfectly OK.”

All our experts agree that for a liberal arts college or liberal arts division of a major university, undecided is a perfectly valid declaration. “If you truly don’t know what you want to study, colleges are OK with that,” said Betsy Woolf, owner of Woolf College Counseling of Mamaroneck. Statistically speaking, she said, colleges know that students, on average, change their majors just under three times. In the liberal arts environment, where students are usually required to take classes across a broad spectrum of humanities, social sciences and math/science subjects, it’s not surprising that students often find themselves graduating with a major they never even considered when they were applying to college. After all, that’s what a liberal arts education is supposed to be about: exposing students to a range of subjects; opening their eyes, and their minds, to new possibilities. The student who loads up on science courses during freshman year because he always assumed he’d be a biology major may take an elective in philosophy and end up 10 years later as a bioethicist. A high school poet may end up digging for dinosaur bones. But what if you do know what you want to major in? Can declaring that interest on

your application help? It can — especially if you can back it up by your experiences so far. According to Leslie Berkovitz, a partner at the Scarsdale-based college advisory Collegistics, “If you have the background to support a particular major, it would be to your advantage to mention activities and work you’ve done to support your application. On the Common App, you’re required to expand on a work or extracurricular experience that is significant to you. If one of these supports a particular major, shows that you have a passion, this makes your application unique. It says, ‘I really know what I’m saying when I’m committing to a major.’” The experts agree that indicating a major works best if you have something to say about why you’re interested in the subject.

Have you taken (and excelled in) related courses, done outside reading, had an internship or job related to your interest? “If you have a passion, it makes sense, but if you indicate interest without the backup, admissions officers don’t know whether, after three months you won’t be interested in something else,” said Berkovitz. When admissions officers look at applications, they’re not only looking for students who satisfy some performance standard as measured by grades and test scores — they’re also in the process of assembling a freshman class. In essence, they are creating a community of, ideally, individuals with diverse talents and enthusiasms. That’s where it can help to promote that special something about yourself that makes you interesting. Are you premed? Fine. A preContinued on page 22A

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Navigating the student loan maze College costs aren’t limited to just tuition. You need to consider room and board, books, meals, transportation and more. After you’ve applied for scholarships, grants and federal loans, it’s not uncommon to need additional funding for a complete college education. This is where a private student loan can help. If you’re exploring what private loan is right for you, here are some important questions to ask so you can make the right decision for today and your financial future. You must decide if you want a fixed-rate loan or a variable-rate loan. A fixed-rate loan will typically have a higher interest rate, but the rate will not fluctuate over the life of the loan, so you’re protected from large interest rate swings. For example, U.S. Bank offers two types of student loans. The fixed-rate student loan option offers an interest rate of 7.99 percent (7.80-8.46 percent APR) for approved applicants. This provides security because the interest rate will never change. The variable loan rate option has no fees and can range anywhere from a 3.45 percent to a 10.95 percent interest rate (3.39-10.22 percent APR). This rate and APR may increase after consummation and can change over the life of the loan. All applications are subject to normal credit approval. It’s important to weigh your options to determine what is right for you. Because eligibility, interest rates and reserve fees for private loans are based on your credit, a co-signer may help you get the loan you need at the rates you want. This is

particularly true for younger students who may not have an established credit history. A co-signer may be a parent, guardian or close relative who has an established credit history and stable income. It’s important for any co-signer to understand that if the student borrower cannot pay the loan for any reason, the co-signer is then responsible for any remaining loan obligations. It can be difficult to predict the future, but one way to help determine what amount you should borrow is to estimate your future earnings. It’s wise to be conservative in your estimates. For help determining average earnings for specific careers, visit the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics website. A good general rule to follow is your monthly student loan payment should not be more than 8 percent of your monthly salary. Remember that if you borrow too much and have late or missed payments, this will be reflected on your credit history (and any co-signer’s credit history). Every loan has different terms and it’s important to understand all the details before you sign the paperwork. Any time you take out a college loan, only take out as much money as you need for education-related expenses. Start by learning your options when you apply at; an application takes five minutes or less. Once you find the right loan for you, you’ll be able to get the degree you want and set yourself up for financial success in the future. n — ARA Content

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Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 17A

BTS Fashion


The record-Review

Kids have options from head to toe By MARY LEGRAND


he 2011-12 school year might not begin for another few weeks, but that doesn’t keep fashion-savvy students — and their moms — from heading to the stores now for their back-to-school shopping. Trends shoppers are seeing so far are wide-ranging, including everything from skinny jeans for all ages to faux fur trims on just about everything and surf- or sportsthemed shirts and hoodies for boys. Certain colors are bigger than ever this year, even on fabrics where they don’t usually appear, such as denim. Trends may change from season to season, but for Jane Sims, owner of Acadia on Main in Mount Kisco, usability and durability are still key. “First of all, because of the economy, people are looking for clothing they can be active in as well as be cute, fashionable and current,” Sims said. “We look for brands that do both.” Continued on page 18A

At Bubble and Tweet in Bedford Village: Savannah is wearing a Local cashmere sweater and Free People skinny jeans.

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Page 18A/The record-review

Back to School

Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School fashion 2011

1 Continued from page 17A

It’s helpful to purchase clothing and outerwear that can take kids and teens from school to afterschool activities, Sims said, and this year what she called “retro-fashion” is affecting the outdoor and active wear world. “There’s a resurgence in classic looks,” she said. “Patagonia has brought back Polartec fleece in retro colors — berry, burgundy, blue, turquoise, black and gray. This warm, technical piece is slim-fitting and protects the body’s core temperature. It also wicks moisture and dries quickly.” The old-school look continues at Acadia on Main with footwear, including Merrell hiking boots and Sorel’s Joan of Arctic faux-fur-lined boots, which Sims called a modern classic. “Another footwear option comes from The North Face,” she added. “Its Back to Berkeley boot harkens back to 1968 and combines an old-school look with new-school tech.” Marilyn Werner, director of marketing for Lester’s, with locations in Rye and Manhattan, said that this year’s back-to-school fashion trends “do seem to cross all age barriers. One of these trends is faux fur, which this year is really going to be an important element — on vests and boots, trimmed on knits and hats, even motorcycle jackets for little girls and boys.” Another big hit in the boys’ department is from Volcom — its lines of Ninja and Peepers zippered sweatshirts for boys come complete with hoods that zip all the way up, covering the whole head with the exception of the eyes. Quiksilver’s Gutless zippered sweatshirts for boys, also at Lester’s, take fur trim to new heights, with mohawk-style stripes right down the middle of the hood. Back-to-school shopping is fun for many students and their parents. At Butterflies & Zebras in Ridgefield, Conn., owner Shari Horowitz ca-

ters to girls in middle to high school, as well as their fashionable mothers, who enjoy shopping together. “Oftentimes the daughter is approving what the mom wears and vice versa,” Horowitz said. “We started to bring in more items for moms after we saw the mothers browsing while the kids were shopping.” Cropped tops continue to be popular. Butterflies & Zebra’s initial supply of fall sweaters sold out the first weekend they went on display. Cropped sweaters may be short, but that doesn’t mean a child has to look under-dressed. The store’s private label seamless tanks to wear underneath cropped tops “have become the uniform for girls,” Horowitz said. “We carry them in 20 colors, and we’ve found the girls are wearing them under everything. They layer them two at a time in different colors. We emphasize to the moms that everything we sell is age-appropriate, so their daughters’ bodies are covered. Even though the sweater may be short, we provide a tank top to go under it.” Skirts and dresses are popular at Butterflies & Zebras too. “We’re seeing a lot of influence from ‘Gossip Girls,’” Horowitz said, citing “pretty tweedy, flirty skirts a la Blake Lively.” Preppy tartan plaid skirts, “flowy in a heavier fabric,” are going to be big this year. As the mother of 12- and 17-year-old daughters, Horowitz knows what that age group is looking for, and special-occasion dresses are important for weekends off from school. “It’s hard to find dresses that are appropriate for 13-yearolds,” she said. “We try to find lines that are ageappropriate and not revealing. Once girls get into high school they want a dress that fits closer to the body.”

High-schoolers and college students flock to Churchills of Mount Kisco for the latest looks. Denim has stood the test of time. “The last two years in jeans have been all about the comfort,” said Lori Land. “It’s the comfort of a boyfriend style, but slim in the legs. They’re often paired with oversized, off-the-shoulder sweaters.” Colored jeans are back again. “We’re seeing a lot of green denim,” said Land, “and leather pants are huge again, with leather leggings continuing because they look so great with the oversized cardigan, turtleneck or v-neck.” Other color choices include brown — chocolate and caramel — being among the most popular. Navy is also big, as is winter white. Churchills continues to carry full collections of clothing, with many items trimmed in faux fur. “It’s popular to mix a faux fur vest with a cashmere sweater, also to add faux fur accents to chocolate brown,” Land said. Men’s fashion remains a mix of styles, Land said: “The look is juxtaposed between tailored and sloppy. One of the designers hit it right on the head — his whole advertisement was that men’s fashion is a tad dressy, but a tad disheveled.” Lynda Piscitelli of Indigo Chic in Hartsdale Continued on page 20A

The record-Review

Back to School

Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 19A

Photos by Jim Maclean


At Dennys in Scarsdale: Alexa, left, is wearing a Free People top layered over a Sugar Lips tank and paired with dark wash denim jean by Mavi. Backpack by Zinnia. Ariana is wearing a Vintage Havana toile sweater layered with a Charm School tank and scarf tied around waist, paired with Dori pinstripe leggings.

options for all




At Beginnings, with locations in Scarsdale and Armonk: Shelley, left, is wearing a JoieEmilie sweater, an Italica cheetah scarf and Hudson Chelsea jeans, while holding a JJ Winters small envelope bag. Leah, middle, is wearing a Haute Hippie suede fringe jacket and Seven Jiselle jeans. Jenna is wearing a G1 co-ed shirt, a Minnie Rose charcoal vest and Citizen Ava jeans.


At Neil’s, with locations in Mt. Kisco and Scarsdale: Matthew is wearing an Adidas long sleeve dri-fit tee, Adidas triple stripe pants and a Northface backpack. The mystery model is wearing a Monster hoodie and Adidas triple stripe pants.


At Bubble and Tweet in Bedford Village: Kingsley, left, is wearing a Pink Chicken jewel dress. Ava is wearing a Pink Chicken Madeleine shirt, Go Gently bow tie cardigan and Kit & Lily Peasant top.



At Neil’s, with locations in Mt. Kisco and Scarsdale: Allison, left, is wearing a Faux fur vest, dark stretch jeans, a long sleeve Star tee and feather clips. Emma is wearing a Burnout multi-colored studded LOVE long sleeve tee, stretch jeans and feather clips.


At Dennys in Scarsdale: Michael, left, is wearing a striped Volcom hoody over an Element tee, paired with Quiksilver cargo pant and knit hat. Luca has on an Authentic Proteam vintage tee and hat, paired with Vibe cargo sweatpants.

4 6

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Back to School

BTS FAshion Continued from page 18A

agrees that colored jeans are making a huge fashion statement this school year, as are fringed tops, animal prints and fur trim. Cherry, cobalt blue and purple are among the most popular jeans colors, while gray and black denim remain perennially popular. The jeans, she said, “are very dark pigmented in different colors, a look that has changed from prior years. Usually there are different shades and washes of blue, but this year color is really big.” Offering clothing to customers “15-70,” Indigo Chic’s fashions transition through different ages. “It seems as if the off-theshoulder look is still really big,” Piscitelli said, citing “really big, slouchy tops that fall off the shoulder, plus asymmetrical blouses and tops.” Barb Jacobowitz of Industry in Dobbs Ferry said colored denims are popular in bright as well as muted colors — royal blue and red or deep purple, plum and army green. Wearing skinny jeans and cords is a trend that, while not new, remains extremely popular. Tops in stripes, polka dots and floral prints help complete the look. Accessories such as vests, jewelry and hats are equally “in” this year. “Vests are popular as fashion pieces,” said Piscitelli of Indigo Chic, who added, “If you’re going to wear a sweater indoors, the vest would add an extra layer. It also could be worn throughout the fall instead of a jacket.” The fedora remains the hat of choice — for teens and young adults of both sexes all the way down to fashion-forward elementary school students. For women’s jewelry, there’s a lot of mix-

At Beginnings, with locations in Scarsdale and Armonk: Shelley, left, is wearing an Elizabeth & James hooded poncho and Hudson Chelsea jeans. Leah, middle, is wearing a Lauren Moshi Bridgit swing tank, an Ever black leather jacket and Seven Jiselle jeans. Jenna is wearing a Three Dot long sleeve scoop watermark top, a Sanctuary faux sherpa vest, Citizen Avan jeans, while holding a Diane VonFurstenberg bag.

ing of semiprecious stones with different golds, according to Land from Churchills: “From rose gold mixed with white gold, yellow gold mixed with rose gold, you can wear any kind of jewelry. You no longer have to wear all your white gold or all your yellow. Because the price of gold is so high a lot of designers are mixing diamonds with sterling silver, and pyrite is huge again.” Going back to school means students must carry their supply of books, tablet computers, laptops and cell phones, a heavy proposition sometimes. While the basic black book bag remains at the top of the popularity list, accents in bright colors can make an other-

wise ordinary necessity pop. “The North Face is making some backpacks that continue the old-school look,” said Sims of Acadia on Main. “Most of them will have sleeves for laptops. Kids are also looking at daypacks. Patagonia makes them in hot pink, blue, orange and army green.” Diana Tyler at Kelloggs & Lawrence in Katonah has noticed students purchasing more than one backpack or daypack: “People now have two or three, and they really reflect an individual’s personality and what he or she is using them for at the time.” Combining colors is popular in this year’s backpacks, Tyler said. “Even for a guy’s bag,

Friday, August 19, 2011

we find yellow and purple with red loops, for example. But guess what sells the most — classic black with accents of color.” Cross-body bags are the choice of most college students, and there’s even a bag specifically made for the iPad, available in a number of Westchester stores. Look in many local shops for hats, boots, outerwear and other items to complete the back-to-school look. “We just bought 250 unbelievably cool hats,” Tyler of Kelloggs & Lawrence said. “Some of them even have curled dreadlocks in different colors.” Lindsey Isanberg, owner of Infinity in Scarsdale, said that feathers are “very big this fall. We’re finding that feathers in hair — hair extensions — feathers on clothing, on earrings and all accessories are extremely popular.” In addition, Isanberg noted the trend toward colored jeans, with skinny jeans remaining popular but “wide-leg jeans making a comeback” as well. A “neighborhood shop,” according to Isanberg, Infinity sells to girls size 4 to 6X, 7 to 14 and teens. “I know everybody and all their kids,” she said. “We get a lot of repeat customers, all of whom loving shopping here for back to school.” Back-to-school clothes shopping is as important as ever for kids and parents. “When I went back to school I couldn’t wait to get my notebook, pens and backpack,” Werner of Lester’s said, “and those are still things that kids like, only now they’re more interested in fashion as well. “There’s a blending of fashion. Kids don’t want to look unfashionable. With Facebook and the access that kids have to what’s online, they’re speaking to one another about what they’re wearing. No matter what the age, they want to be hip, cool and fashionable in school.” n


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Back to School

Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 21A

Backpacks & Lunchboxes Backpacks & Lunchboxes • Clothing & Accessories Clothing & Accessories New Merchandise Arriving Daily New Merchandise

Arriving Daily

Assorted Sugar Lips In All Sizes Pass It On Kid’s Kloset director Stephanie Roth organizes donated children’s items for redistribution to local families in need.

Kid’s Kloset, issues a ‘clothes call’


Westchester Jewish Community Services is issuing a “clothes call� for cold-weather clothing to stock Pass It On Kid’s Kloset, which provides new and gently used children’s clothes and essentials to Westchester families in need free of charge. An all-volunteer effort, Kid’s Kloset relies on donations of children’s clothes, diapers and strollers to pass on to families who cannot afford them. “As winter approaches we have a tremendous need for warm clothes, especially coats, jackets and boots,� said Stephanie Roth, Kid’s Kloset director. “The start of school is

a good time to sort through children’s clothes and pass on those that no longer fit as well as items that children have outgrown such as pack ‘n plays and car seats.� Kid’s Kloset is located in downtown White Plains. Clothing donations can be dropped off at WJCS, 845 North Broadway, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. or by appointment at Kid’s Kloset. Contact 761-0600 Ext. 715 or For more info about Pass It On Kid’s Kloset, go to or “like� it on Facebook.

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College major Continued from page 15A

med major who also plays the harp? That’s much more interesting (assuming you really do). By letting colleges visualize you on campus, “It can be really significant in letting them know who you are,” said Jane Hoffman, founder of College Advice 101 in Larchmont. “Colleges are looking for fit.” That being said, sometimes looking for fit may not be the way to make admissions officers salivate over your application. At schools such as Kenyon or Bard, applicants who were high school poets, literary magazine editors, and writers are a dime a dozen. It could be that such a school would even come up with some merit scholarship

If you truly don’t know what you want to study, colleges are OK with that.” Students, on average, change their majors just under three times. – Betsy Woolf, Woolf College Counseling

Back to School

money for a science major. Hoffman noted that such a “contrarian approach” can help you get into a school that is looking for applicants to support the faculty of an undersubscribed department, such as, say, the art history department of a college that is known as a science school. But taking a contrarian approach is something to consider only if you feel that the college is a good fit for you in other ways. How do you know what majors colleges are looking for? “This question really depends on the major you’re interested in and the college you’re applying to,” Gill said. “For example, at many schools, there are premed quotas, so it may be a disadvantage to declare premed as opposed to biological sciences. This is research that we at Carol Gill Associates do for students and it can change from year to year. It varies: some colleges are eager to develop their engineering department, or, let’s say, eager to develop and grow a specific department, so then it would be an advantage to declare.” Keeping your options open A declaration of a probable major on your application is not binding. But applicants to large universities usually don’t find the process as open-ended as do applicants to liberal arts schools. “If you’re applying to a small liberal arts college, there’s a lot of fluidity,” said Woolf. “But if you’re applying to a major university, in some cases you need to indicate your intent at the get-go if you’re applying to a particular school at the university. Some programs you can’t really transfer into later on.” For example, specific “schools” or majors at large universities, engineering schools and business schools often must be applied to directly. They have different criteria for applicants (for example, engineering schools


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generally expect higher math test scores and may be more forgiving of lower verbal scores than a liberal arts school) and different curricula. For example, at some business and engineering schools, the required business or engineering-related courses begin in freshman year, making it difficult, or impossible, to transfer into later on. Those who do transfer in later may not graduate in four years because they have to backtrack to fulfill prerequisites. “If you’re a student who is truly not 100 percent sure, investigate how easy it is to transfer between schools,” said Berkovitz. She noted that at some universities, transferring between schools is much easier than at others. A tip off that this is the case is whether all candidates for a bachelor’s degree, regardless of school or major, are required to

Friday, August 19, 2011

take a certain number of liberal arts courses. The more that this is the case, the easier it may be to transfer from, say, the college of arts and sciences to the school of business, or vice versa. Research, say the experts, is the most important step you can take before you decide where to apply. Then, make sure your application will really let colleges get to know you. “There are many ways to promote oneself, but it should be something that has been a strength and a demonstrated interest. Otherwise, it just comes off as a marketing ploy,” said Gill. “Admissions people are savvy. They can read right through something that is not sincere. I certainly am the first one to say colleges play games themselves, but the best thing is to be honest about who you are, and express that.” n

Back to School

The record-Review


Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 23A

Private Schools

New Canaan Country School: The effects of Think Beyond! By KATHY KRAVEC What do you get when you blend a group of diverse, highly motivated, and intellectually curious learners from various towns and schools with passionate, committed master educators dedicated to elevating the learning experience on a vast, state-of-theart campus for six Saturday mornings this past spring? The answer is simple: happily engaged scientists, artists, mathematicians, chefs, photographers and actors all involved in a new enrichment program, Think Beyond. Think Beyond, a new academic and creative arts enrichment program for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders opened its doors on the campus of New Canaan Country School for the first time in April 2011. During each morning session, students and teachers embarked on a learning journey which began with community activities, mind-bogglers and cooperative games designed to bring all participants (including parents at times) together in a welcoming, fun and relaxed, yet challenging way. Once our brains and bodies were awakened and primed, students would disperse to various classes. It wasn’t long before the inviting aromas wafted from the Top Chef kitchen, where delectable dishes such as hot baked cinnamon apples with fresh whipped cream or spicy cheese enchiladas were concocted and shared. Meanwhile, our electrical scientists were experimenting with circuitry and

figured themselves into groups of thespians and forensic scientists. In the Theater Experience space, students developed personal expression through improvisation and one-act plays. Voice projection, characterization, nonverbal communication and gesturing were but a few of the dramatic techniques explored. Meanwhile, in the forensic science lab, our CSI detectives were working against the clock to scientifically test, sort and categorize our mock crime scene evidence. Students were so engaged that not only did they not want to leave when their families arrived to pick them up, but they often also spent the week between sessions hypothesizing as to “whodone-it”! The six weeks flew by quickly, and in the end, the entire Think Beyond community experienced so much more than expected. Not only were questions raised, mistakes made and problems solved, but new friends were made, confidence grew and other perspectives were appreciated and respected. In the words of the students, “I learned… how to take one step at a time, that you can’t jump to conclusions, that everyone has different opinions, and how to work together.”

New Canaan Country School students are challenged to Think Beyond.

conductivity in the hair-raising ZAP-ology class. At the same time, all around campus, the Digital Photojournalists were exploring new angles, lighting, shutter speeds and

special effects. After a short snack break (often hosted by our Top Chefs) and lively discussion about the morning’s adventures, it was back to “work” as the students recon-

For further information about upcoming sessions, including course descriptions, dates and details, visit THINKBEYOND or contact director Kathy Kravec at (203) 801-5890 or thinkbeyond@ n

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Private Schools

Independent scholars high achievers at Greenwich Academy By NICK HIEBERT Inspired to pursue interests in subjects that deepen and extend their work in the classroom, increasing numbers of Greenwich Academy students have worked in conjunction with faculty advisers and the school’s Duff Center to design independent study projects for academic credit. Launched in 2009, the Duff Center encourages GA students to “see the entire world as a campus where active and intentional learning can be pursued through engagement with real world challenges.” The school’s blossoming independent study program testifies to the student body’s growing interest in selfdirected learning. Since 2009, GA students have pursued independent work inspired by their passions for art, science, literature, politics, journalism and theater. Students have conducted cancer research, written stories, examined voter turnout. They have studied marine ecosystems, deconstructed fashion magazines, created artistic portfolios. They have written and directed documentary features, participated in gene-cloning research and staged their own adaptations of Shakespeare. This control over the direction of one’s education is exactly the kind of thing head of school Molly King had hoped for in the flourishing of the Duff Center’s independent study program: “Real ownership of one’s learning in one venue — whether conducting

Four of the nine independent scholars, all members of the Class of 2011, who exhibited their work at GA’s First Annual Independent Studies Exhibit in May-June 2011: Sydney Simmons, Carolyn Floersheimer, Lindsay Callahan and Heather Miller.

research in a lab or interning on an organic farm — translates to greater confidence and potential achievement in all venues.” As a 2009-10 participant describes the experience of working with her twin passions for marine ecology and art, “It’s fun because there are no boundaries. It’s all my own, so I can really zero in and do whatever I want with [the work], which is what I love.” “I think the independent study option allows students to capitalize on what they have been experiencing in the classroom,”

said Duff Center co-director Ann Decker. “These projects are a great combination of student-centered, process-driven work that involves working closely with a mentor to gain understanding of something the student is passionate about. It's the perfect storm of skill development.” To participate in the independent study program, students submit a written proposal detailing the objectives, goals and timeline for their project, which can be interdisciplinary in nature. After the student’s selection of a faculty mentor, who will work closely with

the student throughout the entire project, a committee of upper school department heads reviews the proposal. At the conclusion of the project — which can last for a semester or the entire school year — the student presents her work to the entire upper school in some way, be it a performance or a podcast, a presentation or a paper. Dr. Decker was thrilled with the spring presentations for the 2010-11 projects: “As a group, these students are as inquisitive as they are intelligent and motivated. Their desire to know is evident each time they discuss their work.” With interest in independent study continuing to grow, the 2011-12 school year will witness another inspiring batch of projects. Currently 10 students have proposed projects ranging from the effects of technology on physical wellness to a primary source study of “Bleeding Kansas.” The self-directed study and mentorship that independent projects require underscores the essential ideals and principles of a Greenwich Academy education: rigorous academics, abiding faculty/student relationships and the expectation of excellence in all pursuits. As girls take the lead and assume responsibility for their education, they personify the Greenwich Academy motto: “Toward the Building of Character.” Nick Hiebert is a Greenwich Academy upper school English teacher. n

Harvey School’s 5-day boarding program a big success While New England may have some of the best known boarding schools in the nation, Westchester County is home to two schools with a different type of residential program: the five-day boarding program. “From the outset, five-day boarding had a different feel for me,” said Barry Fenstermacher, headmaster of The Harvey School. While traditional boarding schools are a distinctive form of independent school education with their own set of customs and traditions, the five-day program offers the perfect solution for families who are looking for a residential opportunity for their children during the school week and the resumption of a normal family life on the weekends. For busy parents, five-day programs can also provide a welcome sense of relief. “At our school,” according to Fenstermach-

er, “we see the program as a way to help these parents, especially when one or both parents may have demanding careers or may travel during the week, five-day boarding provides a safe, convenient haven for their children.” While many of Harvey’s boarders come to the Katonah school from some of the more distant parts of the New York metropolitan area such as Rockland, Dutchess or Putnam counties or from New York City itself, some live just a few miles from the school. All of them enjoy a cordial residential atmosphere that includes snow day parties, birthday celebrations and occasional family-style meals with the residential faculty. For the most part, however, the focus of the weekly program for boarders is more academic than social. Time normally spent in transit to and from school can instead be de-

voted to homework. Proctored evening study get organized; it really prepares you for colhalls and room study give students additional lege, and taught me to be more independent,” time to focus on their schoolwork. “Dorm said one recent graduate who is heading off to faculty members are always available to help, college this fall. whether it’s with academic or personal probFinally, there is the opportunity to meet lems,” one senior boarder said. and make friends in ways that cannot always The availability of on-campus faculty en- be duplicated in a day school setting. As one hances the quality of life not only for the sophomore said, “Two years ago, I met 12 othboarders, but also for Harvey’s predominant- er girls who have become a part of my life.” ly day school population. “The fact that the At the end of the week, busy parents aplights are on and the community is a welcom- preciate having their children at home when ing place is helpful to all of us,” offered one family time is more abundant. junior, who is a day student. “After six years as an educator in a sevenThe entire community benefits from the day boarding school, I arrived at The Harvey need for a food service and from libraries and School, with its five-day boarding program,” labs that stay open late for all to use. And for said headmaster Fenstermacher. “Soon I bethose who do choose to board, the advantages gan to believe that five-day boarding was a can be more than academic. new kind of ‘school heaven’ and I have gone WSSD_RecordReview_B2S_11_FINAL_Layout 7/21/11 10:25 1 paradise.” n “The dorm is an excellent place to learn to 1 on to spend 25 AM yearsPage in this

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Private Schools

Signing up for the future at St. Luke’s in New Canaan Hundreds of students, parents and teachers from St. Luke’s School in New Canaan grabbed a permanent marker and signed their names to a steel beam destined for the school’s new Center for Leadership. St. Luke’s head of school Mark Davis explained, “Our community is at the heart of this center. Having so many people sign the beam symbolized the collaborative nature of this whole project and our commitment to the Center for Leadership.” The concept for the center began two years ago when St. Luke’s began a new phase of strategic planning. “One of the strongest calls we heard from our parents was the desire for St. Luke’s to develop stronger leadership skills in our students,” said St. Luke’s parent and board member Peter Goettler. “We viewed this mandate in broader terms: while our excellent academic program prepares our students to excel in post-secondary education, we want to bring an increased focus to a wider set of skills they need to excel in life.” With its official launch in September, the Center for Leadership will strengthen existing global and service initiatives and grow specific skills such as the ethical use of technology and media, effective collaboration and public speaking. The physical centerpiece will be a technologically advanced “Global Classroom” with capabilities to connect entire St. Luke’s classes with partner schools and organizations around the world. The Center for Leadership will be a point of distinction for St. Luke’s, closely tied to the school’s motto, “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to

St. Luke’s students sign a beam from the Center for Leadership.

Serve.” Davis said, “We want students to give back and make a positive impact, but they will have their own individual aspirations and measures of success. Some will want a corporate path, others may seek out humanitarian efforts, and I hope we’ll have many with careers in the arts. The center will

not define success, it will provide the tools to achieve it.” Jim Foley has been appointed the new director for the Center for Leadership. A 12year veteran of St. Luke’s, Foley has worked as a teacher, academic technology coordinator and coach. He earned his masters in edu-

cational technology from Fairfield University and was St. Luke’s Teacher of the Year in 2007. Foley was selected after an extensive search that included almost 100 applicants from across the country. “We went into this search knowing the director would be pivotal to the center’s success,” Davis said. “Jim embraces St. Luke’s core values: love of learning, good character, pursuit of excellence and community.” Foley sees the Center for Leadership as an opportunity to take St. Luke’s existing strengths to the next level: “The center allows St. Luke’s to capitalize and build on our existing programs in global education and service learning curriculum. And our students will have a voice in how the center evolves — we want them to see how their daily educational experiences connect to the real world.” The students will not have to wait long to weigh in. When they return in September they will find a new state-of-the-art structure in the heart of the school. It will include the Global Classroom and an expanded, newly updated community and dining commons. For head of school Davis it will be the realization of a community’s dream: “St. Luke’s is so fortunate to have the kind of families and faculty that could both conceive of the Center for Leadership and help make it a reality.” St. Luke’s is a secular, independent, collegepreparatory, day school for grades 5-12. To learn more about St. Luke’s and The Center for Leadership, visit n

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Aldo Sammarco

In-house Soccer Program South Salem

Nursery School

Not Competitive • No Travel • No Saturday • Tuesdays Only

tuesdays 6:20 - 7:45 at Bedford hills Memorial Park Between October & November, all games under the light

Boys & girls Ages 4 -10 Register at Aldo’s Barber Shop

Limited Space Available - Register Now!

Fall 2011-2012 ageS 2-5 Art • Music • Foreign Language Science • Literacy • Field Trips Cooking • Nature Outdoor/Indoor Play Social, Emotional and Intellectual Development Kindergarten Enrichment

111 Spring Street, South Salem, New York


14 Main Street, Bedford hills

Registration Ongoing Scholarships for players in need - speak to Aldo at registration Program run by renowned soccer pioneer and East Hudson Soccer Hall of Fame Member Aldo Sammarco • Founder of East Hudson Soccer League • Founder of Bedford Youth Soccer Club • President of F.C. Bedford Soccer Club • Founder of Men’s Soccer League • United States Soccer Federation Licensed Coach • Has coached championship youth teams in U.S. and Italy • Leading goal scorer during extensive playing career • Vice President 3Xs of South New York Soccer Association

d Pai hes c Coa eded e N

Registration Fee $150 for Fall & Spring Covers shirt, shorts, socks and soccer ball

Not Competitive! No Travel Games! Non-Profit Organization

For more information call (914) 666-2271

Fall 2011 Schedule: Sept. 13, 20, 27; Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25; Nov. 7 Spring 2012 Schedule: Apr. 3, 10, 17, 24; May 1, 8, 15, 22, 29

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Private Schools

Whitby School is rigorous and welcoming For more than 50 years, Whitby School in Greenwich has created an environment for students 13 months old through eighth grade, inspiring a passion for learning that yields academic and personal success. As the oldest and premier Montessori school in the United States, Whitby continues its innovative approach to education by integrating the prestigious International Baccalaureate (IB) program, one of the world's most highly regarded and successful educational programs. This makes Whitby the only school in America accredited by both the American Montessori School Society as well as the International Baccalaureate from pre-k through grade 8. A seamless extension of Montessori practice and philosophy, the IB

programs develop the intellectual, emotional, and social skills needed to learn, live and succeed in a rapidly globalizing world. Whitby’s educational program is designed to meet the needs of the whole child — cognitively, socially and physically — while setting high academic standards. The expert faculty, small classroom size and low studentfaculty ratio ensure a tailored focus on each student to stimulate the child’s thinking and maximize learning. The rigorous academic program is complemented by Whitby’s welcoming and engaged community that embodies the school’s values of friendship, compassion and service. Whitby students have a track record of achievement, from virtually all students leaving the

primary program (kindergarten) as proficient readers to eighth-grade graduates finding success in both acceptance and achievement at highly competitive secondary schools. Whitby incorporates music, drama, art, multiple foreign languages and a modern library, plus leverages technology to enhance learning and achievement. Whitby students harvest organic vegetables grown in their garden, perform original plays in the performing arts center and are challenged by athletics and team sports beginning in third grade. The result is 385 inspired students who grow and learn together in a state-of-the-art facility on a beautiful 25-acre campus. To visit or learn more, call (203) 302-3900 or email n

Ridgefield Academy educates, encourages students Ridgefield Academy is an independent school (preschool-grade 8) serving academically motivated students with diverse backgrounds, interests and talents. The campus is located on 42 scenic acres in Ridgefield, Conn., and draws students from Westchester and Fairfield counties. Graduates have been accepted to competitive boarding and day schools on the East Coast. The preschool curriculum inspires children of all levels by enhancing their social, emotional, intellectual and physical development in a safe, caring and inspiring environment. Mission statement: To educate and encourage students to become knowledgeable, independent thinkers who are passionate about

learning and embrace new challenges with confidence and enthusiasm. Ridgefield Academy maintains high academic standards and emphasizes the importance of responsibility, respect and service to others. The school strives to be an inclusive, diverse and close-knit community where students are valued, supported and inspired to excel. Unique features: The school is committed to the individual growth of each student, offering a broad-based, challenging curriculum enhanced by a wide variety of extracurricular activities in athletics, the arts and service learning. Service learning is an integral part of

A Musical Treasure in Westchester Join MCW This Fall! For over 80 years, the Music Conservatory of Westchester has provided outstanding music instruction for students of all ages and all abilities. Conveniently located in White Plains, MCW offers lessons, classes, ensembles and more in a beautiful building provided by outstanding teachers, plus a nationally-recognized music therapy program, and live performances monthly.

For more information, call (914) 761-3900 or email or visit our website. View our 2011-12 Course Catalog on our website today.

Friday, August 19, 2011

This fall we’re pleased to welcome Juilliard-trained pianist Chuan Qin to our faculty!

the RA curriculum and students engage in hands-on service activities and projects. In fall 2011, Ridgefield Academy will open a 5,800-square-foot state-of-the-art technology center. This new facility will allow students to learn the latest technological tools to develop their writing, learn the current methods of research and explore the digital arts through classes such as animation, digital storytelling, film and sound editing. RA is accredited by the CT Association of Independent Schools, and is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and the Fairchester Athletic Association. Call (203) 894-1800 or visit n

Melrose offers merit scholarships For the first time in its history, The Melrose School is offering merit scholarships to academically talented, motivated students from neighboring communities in New York and Connecticut. Students selected to receive a Lincoln Merit Scholarship will earn $7,000, which covers approximately 50 percent of the annual tuition at Melrose. Applicants are limited to new students entering fourth through eighth grade. The scholarships are renewable each year, based on a student’s academic performance. “Our school is investing in students who thrive on a value-based education; enrichment programs; small classes; individual attention; and a safe, nurturing environment,” said Melrose headmaster Robert Billings. Melrose draws students from Brewster, Carmel, Mahopac, Somers, Katonah, North Salem and other New York communities. Families who wish to apply for a Lincoln Merit Scholarship should refer to the school’s website, For more information, contact admissions director Tom Burns at (845) 279-2406 or Celebrating its 48th anniversary, The Melrose School offers co-educational classes in preschool through eighth grade to children of all faiths and backgrounds. The school is located at 120 Federal Hill Road in Brewster. n

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Private Schools

A surprise at The Long Ridge School Award-winning children’s book author Kevin Henkes visited the kindergarten and first-grade class at The Long Ridge School in Stamford, Conn., in May as the surprise ending to the class’s yearlong study of authors and illustrators. Henkes has been prized as an author with the Newbery Honor and as an illustrator with the prestigious Caldecott Medal. Henkes won his Caldecott in 2005 for “Kitten’s First Full Moon,” a story of a kitten who mistakes the moon for a bowl of milk. The author’s and illustrator’s theme incorporates language arts, mathematics, music and science to create a memorable learning experience for the children. The theme is partic- Author Kevin Henkes dropped in to the Long Ridge School. ularly appropriate for this age lar Olivia series, is a frequent visitor to group as it extends the children’s natural his alma mater, and LRS student Lauren love of art and literature as they become Redniss was at school signing copies of her writers themselves. The journey has led the buzz-worthy book, “Radioactive: Marie & class through the works of authors Don- Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout.” ald Crews, William Steig, Eric Carle and The Long Ridge School is an indepenTomie Depaola. The first-graders debuted dent, co-educational day school for chiltheir own original children’s books at their dren in beginners, nursery and kindergarown author’s night. ten through grade 5. The school, which Henkes is not the first acclaimed author was founded in 1938, is committed to proto spend time with the students. Caldecott viding a joyful and challenging education winner and Long Ridge graduate Ian Fal- using meaningful, hands-on experiences coner (Class of ’73), author of the popu- that engage and inspire young children. n

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Private Schools

Critical thinking at Rippowam Cisqua 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 we 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 Rippowam Cisqua 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 it is the single most important skill the school can impart to the children entrusted to the school’s 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. Teachers listen to them reason; teachers question them constantly about where this idea of theirs is going — what do they think will happen next? Teachers spend countless hours

teaching children to write, speak and listen so they will be able to communicate ideas and hear responses. Rippowam Cisqua School has been raising leaders for 94 years. The school takes its commitment to the task of teaching critical thinking and communication skills 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 pre-k through grade 9, offers an academically challenging and nurturing environment that focuses on critical thinking, individual development and personal excellence. Last year’s graduates were accepted at Brunswick, Choate, Deerfield, Greenwich Academy, Hackley, Hotchkiss, Masters and Rye Country Day, among others. Graduates of three years ago will matriculate this fall at Trinity College, Dartmouth College, University of Chicago, Cornell University, Harvard University, Middlebury College and Yale University. The school 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. Call Susie Danziger at 244-1292 or email n

Bet Torah registration continues Limited spots in Bet Torah Nursery School are available for families wishing to enroll their children in preschool programs for fall 2011. 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 Monday through Friday 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 ( 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 Amy Portnoy at 666-7595. n

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Private Schools

Diverse offerings at Sacred Heart Convent of the Sacred Heart is an independent Catholic day school for girls from preschool through grade 12 located in Greenwich, Conn. The student body includes a diversity of ethnic, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds that allows for a dynamic and inclusive community with a wide range of interests and talents. A Sacred Heart education provides a strong academic foundation appropriate to each student’s individual abilities within an environment that fosters a strong sense of personal values. Graduates are prepared to become leaders with broad intellectual and spiritual horizons. Part of a network of more than 200 Sacred Heart Schools in 28 countries, the 22 Sacred Heart Schools in the United States share a common set of goals and criteria that bind them together, both philosophically and spiritually, in a common educational mission. As a member of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, Convent of the Sacred Heart participates in an exchange program that enables students to broaden their global perspective. With a beautiful view of Long Island Sound from Convent of the Sacred Heart’s 110-acre campus, the 775 students carry on the Sacred Heart tradition of academic excellence and the development of the mind, body and spirit. The campus consists of modern classrooms equipped with the latest in computers and technology for learning, state-of-the-art science laboratories, art studios, an observatory, theater and

library and media center which includes facilities and professional equipment for a suite of broadcast journalism rooms, a story-telling area, a group study room, quiet study areas, and lower and middle school computer labs. Sacred Heart’s athletic teams are strong competitors in leagues in Westchester and Fairfield counties, and throughout New England. Varsity sports include basketball, crew, cross country, field hockey, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, diving and volleyball. Students use synthetic turf and other playing fields. The school also has a 3-mile cross country course, six tennis courts, an indoor swimming pool, gymnasium and fitness center. Convent of the Sacred Heart seeks highly motivated applicants who are academically prepared and whose talents and intellectual curiosity will enable them to take advantage of the challenging curriculum and rich resources the school offers. The Sacred Heart Admission Committee looks for students whose respect for differences and compassion for others will lead them to make positive contributions to the school community. To learn more, visit the campus or look online at Opportunities to visit include monthly tour days, the Upper School Open House on Thursday, Oct. 27, and the All-School Open House on Saturday, Nov. 5. For information, contact the admission office at (203) 532-3534. n

Discover the Joy of Singing • For Professional and Aspiring Opera & Musical Theater Vocalists • NYSSMA Preparation • College Entrance Preparation

Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 29A

Katonah Playschool prepares young ones Established in 1957, Lissie’s Katonah Playschool is a private, nonsectarian child care center, operating on the premises of the First Presbyterian Church of Katonah. LKPS is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and is licensed by the Office of Children and Family Services, offering various options for care and learning for toddlers through fifth-graders. Lissie’s Katonah Playschool provides an educational experience that promotes a healthy, happy atmosphere where children are encouraged to develop social-emotional, language, cognitive, fine and gross motor, and self-help skills, in order to prepare children for kindergarten. An outdoor playground allows for fresh air fun. Kindergar-

ten enrichment is offered two mornings and five afternoons. After-school homework help for grades k-5 is offered Monday-Friday from 3:30-6 p.m. All staff members are trained in CPR and first aid. All teachers have or are working toward a bachelor’s degree in ECE or have a bachelor’s degree in another area, and are working toward accreditation in ECE. All teaching assistants have or are working toward their CDA. Preschool programs include two, three and five half-day sessions, extended day from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., and Lunch Bunch, which extends the half-day to 4.5 hours. (Four days is another option.) Visit n

South Salem Nursery in historic setting Founded in 1963, South Salem Nursery School has over 40 years of experience educating generations of local children. Located on a historic site in South Salem in a beautiful natural setting, children enjoy the changing seasonal colors and nature exploration. Facilities include large, open, sun-filled classrooms with separate art areas, a large kitchen and a developmentally appropriate fenced playground. South Salem Nursery School has an open learning environment which has as its goal the social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth of children through a varied curriculum that includes music, dance and movement; age-appropriate class trips; guest visitors; organic gardening; varied art mediums; class performances presented to families/friends; and a multisensory pro-

gram teaching language through music. With a developmental approach to early childhood education, the environment fosters initiative, self-discipline and self-reliance while encouraging a love of learning and kindergarten readiness. Registration is open for the 2011-12 school year for children ages 2-5 years old. Programs feature two, three, four and five half-day sessions. A kindergarten enrichment program is also available two afternoons a week. The South Salem Nursery School is an outreach of the South Salem Presbyterian Church, which was founded in 1792. South Salem Nursery School is nonsectarian and open to all, celebrating the cultural uniqueness of each individual child. Call 763-3560 or visit n

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BTS Got lice? Facts to help ditch the itch By ANNA KROSCHE Take a closer look at that scalp. What may initially look like dandruff could be head lice. Pediculus humanus capitis, or head lice, live and feed exclusively on the human head. These tiny insects live in human hair, causing intense itching, after they have been present for several weeks. More of a nuisance than a medical threat, these tan or grayish-white insects are roughly the size of sesame seeds and don’t fly or jump. The nits, or eggs of adult lice, are laid where the hair shaft meets the scalp, making them difficult to see and remove. Contrary to popular belief, lice are not a sign of poor hygiene, but rather easily latch on to clean hair. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, head lice is most often found on children between the ages of 3-10 and their families. Head-to-head contact and the sharing of hair brushes, towels, hats and pillows, are the most common ways lice are spread. Frequent scratching of the head may be the first sign of a problem. Small, red bumps on the scalp and neck may help you identify head lice, along with tiny, yellowish-white, oval-shaped eggs that are attached to the hair shaft and are difficult to pick out. Nits are most commonly found at the top of the scalp, behind the ears and base of the neck. To see head lice, you must look closely in good light or use a magnifying glass.

Friday, August 19, 2011

News and Notes

When it comes time for treatment, a natural enzyme shampoo should be used that kills the lice on contact followed by manual combing with a specialized metaltoothed comb. This is the most effective way to remove nits. Lice have become resistant to both over-the-counter and prescription products containing pesticides. Treatment should include: thorough vacuuming, hot water and high heat laundering of linens and clothing, and boiling combs and brushes. Head lice cannot live on pets, nor can they be passed via the household cat or dog. Good communication with your child’s teacher, school nurse or daycare provider can assure that an outbreak can be avoided and that they are free of live lice and nits before returning to those environments. Anna Krosche, The Lice Lady of Westchester, is a natural lice and nit removal specialist. Her salon is located in the Town of Greenburgh. Inhome lice removal services are also available. Call 497-5465, email or visit www.TheLiceLadyof

MultiFlex helping students excel MultiFlex Tutoring, a subsidiary of Bowman Educational Services Inc., recently opened a branch in Chappaqua, adding to its growing list of branches across the country. Although the new office is located in Chappaqua, the group is offering in-home tutoring services across all of Westchester County and surrounding areas.

MultiFlex Tutoring offers a systematic, multisensory approach to teaching reading, writing and spelling to children with dyslexia, dysgraphia, reading/spelling deficits and ADHD. Fran Bowman, director of MultiFlex Tutoring, explained that MultiFlex is very different from traditional tutoring companies: “We try to be very specific in our treatment, aiming to coordinate our tutorial programs with instruction that is taking place at the child’s public, parochial or private school.” MultiFlex Tutoring also offers multisensory support in math and written language. They also provide organizational (executive function) coaching services to help students to manage their time, organize their school materials, and use appropriate, individualized approaches to studying for tests. MultiFlex Tutoring, led by Bowman, already has branches existing in Columbia and Baltimore, Md., McLean, Va., and Los Angeles, Calif. She is happy to bring her services to Westchester County, where a group of trained and certified tutors have been helping children of all ages since January. They work closely with Dr. Marta Flaum, a clinical psychologist, who has been doing in-depth psychological evaluations and providing counseling services in Chappaqua for the last 20 years. MultiFlex strongly believes in serving the “whole child,” recognizing that a deeper understanding of a child’s strengths, as well as their needs, will help them to overcome their academic difficulties and improve their selfesteem. Visit www.bowmaneducationalservices. com, call (410) 868-4781 or email

Uniquely U. fixed-rate summer package With the return of Harvard and Princeton to the college early decision/early action sweepstakes, the pressure on students to apply early this fall will be greater than ever, according to Maxene Fabe Mulford of Uniquely U. College Essay Consultants, now in its 14th year. As an antidote, UU is offering a 15hour package that will enable students to enter school this fall with a completed application. The $3,000 curriculum will be delivered in three five-hour stages, each designed to guide each student 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, core essay drafts); “When and why did I come to be unique?” (finished crafted core essay); and “How and where do I plan to shape my future?” (completed, proofread Common Application or its equivalent, which includes the Perfect Match supplement essay and UU’s famous stand-alone activity sheet). The first step, however, as always, is Uniquely U.’s free consultation. Not until everyone, but especially your senior, feels strongly that UU can make a significant difference in the quality of the completed application, does the actual process begin. For more information and/or to book your free consultation, contact Mulford toll free at 1-866-UUESSAY, uniquelyu1@ or n

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Creativity counts: Why kids need the Arts By JACKIE LUPO “What does your son do after school?” asked a mom to her friend one day over coffee. “Music? Art? Acting?” “Well, he doesn’t seem to be an ‘artsy’ person,” answered the second mom. “He has never shown signs of being talented in any particular direction. I guess he’ll just do sports.” End of discussion. And maybe, the end of a child’s interest in the arts, even before it had a chance to begin. Does a kid need to show creativity or talent to benefit from participation in the arts? We asked that question to local experts from the fields of music, theater, dance and the visual arts. The answers we got may surprise you. “We say, everyone’s a creative person. You were born a creative person,” said Jill Abusch who, with her husband, Steve, owns Play Group Theater in White Plains. “Our job is to nurture and guide it.” Steve Abusch agrees. When it comes to success in theater, he said, “We’re definitely of the understanding that it’s a taught skill. We don’t expect the kids to come in with the skills that we will teach them. Sometimes kids say, ‘Oh, I can’t do this, because look at everybody up there on the stage. They’re so good.’ But it’s not that they are better — they have learned the skills.” The Abusches run acting classes for kids during the school year and a theater summer camp. Their goal, throughout a typical day of camp, is to nurture creativity. “The idea is

to provide a complete creative environment. That includes providing creative role models — teachers and adults who lead creative lives,” Jill Abusch said. “We gather together at the beginning of every day and we have the ‘question of the day.’ For example, today’s question was, If you could combine any two animals, what two animals would you combine, and what would that animal be like? It gets you thinking outside the box. Everybody’s voice is heard, and their personalities emerge. And they’re challenged to think in a new way.”

What about talent? Steve Abusch doesn’t even like to use the word. “The idea that you’ve either got talent or you don’t is a complete misconception,” he said. It’s the process that counts Where there’s a will there’s a way, according to our experts. “Arts are great for kids whether they’re talented or not,” said Nancy Rothenberg, owner of Studio B Dance in Eastchester. “It’s just a way to express oneself. Art should be appreciated by all kids, even kids with disabilities.

There doesn’t have to be any talent.” Dance experts agree that for those kids who want to progress to more advanced levels of very formal disciplines such as ballet, there is a natural selection process. “Kids can be as young as 4 or 5, and we sometimes see they have a talent,” Rothenberg said. “Sometimes, when they turn 8, they suddenly become serious. Talent can be developed at any time. In dance, you can see if children have good feet. You can see if they are good listeners at a young age.” But what about kids that are not naturally graceful — those that are, in fact, on the klutzy side? Don’t write off the idea of dance, said Rothenberg. “A lot depends on what the studio’s philosophy is,” she said. “A very structured ballet studio might not be best for that child. They might feel better, if they’re not comfortable in ballet, doing something like hip-hop. Not every child has to be excellent — they just have to have the opportunity to express themselves. So, I think that when a child wants to dance, if they enjoy doing it, you don’t want to discourage them.” Diane White, owner of Scarsdale Ballet Studio, said desire is just as important as talent. “I have learned that, though some children show obvious ability from a very young age, one mustn’t overlook any student with a desire to learn,” she said. “Many of my students have been late bloomers. At the same time, no matter how much talent a child has, or Continued on page 33A

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Arts & Enrichment

Hoff-Barthelson Music School has programs for all ages The Hoff-Barthelson Music School, a major Westchester center for music education and performance for more than 65 years, extends a welcome of warmth and caring to all who walk through its doors and into its musical home. HBMS students embark upon a journey of musical growth under the guidance of a distinguished faculty, and are encouraged to explore their musical ideas, tastes and potential in a setting of friendship and support. Private musical instruction, sequential musicianship classes and annual performances constitute the school’s core curriculum. The 90-member faculty, comprised of many of the region’s most distinguished performers, offers lessons for all students in both classical and jazz idioms. Students of all ages and skill levels may join one of the many chamber, choral, jazz or orchestral ensembles. (Students from outside the school may participate in an ensemble or club for a modest fee.) Hoff-Barthelson’s Orchestral Training Pyramid is unique among music schools in Westchester County in structure, substance and quality. Students begin their orchestral experience in the Lower School Symphonette, move on to Chamber Orchestra or Wind Ensemble and then may audition for the selective Festival Orchestra, which has been lauded as one of the finest high school orchestras in the country by the New York State Council on the Arts. HBMS isn’t just for youngsters! Adults have a special treat in store at HBMS with a new program, Dalcroze for the Older Adult, an A-ScarsdInquirer:Layout 1 through 7/1/11 approach to learning music concepts

Fred Sherry, cello, and Jun Nakabayashi, music director of the HBMS Festival Orchestra.

movement. This 14-week course will meet weekly and participants will explore music concepts while exercising skills in balance and gait. Adults will experience the pleasure of moving with music and a general sense of increased well-being. An open house is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 9, at 2:15 p.m. The very youngest students will enjoy Hoff-Barthelson’s Music & Movement Program, staffed by dynamic, highly skilled eurhythmics teachers, which features Music and Movement classes for parents/caregivers and children from birth to 5 years old. These 7:45 AM Page 1 classes present an opportunity for parents



o on an archaeological dig, build your own robot, read important books, learn an instrument, write a play, make a film, or hone your jump shot. Your experiences here will change you— so you can change the world. Upper School Open House: Saturday, October 1, 1—3:30 p.m.

and their little ones to share songs, rhymes and movement games in a nurturing setting. The music school introduces language learning through music with its Hola Niños and Welcome to Mandarin classes for preschoolers 3 and 4 years old. The school’s group recorder classes introduce children to the basic concepts of music on an early wind instrument. A full Suzuki program for violin, viola, cello, flute and piano completes the roster of preschool programs. The HB preschool, which has offered a daily program for 3- and 4-year-olds, with a

special emphasis on music and art since 1975, has a few openings available for the upcoming school year. The public is invited to hear the school’s many fine ensembles, often in performance with renowned guest artists, at the Classics in Concert and the Music of Our Time festivals. The HB Artist Series (the Faculty in Performance) presents the School’s exemplary professionals in chamber music recitals that are open to the public for a nominal fee. The school’s distinguished tradition of free-of-charge Master Classes coached by world-class musicians continues with internationally renowned cellist Joel Krosnik, flutist Bart Fekker, pianist Seymour Lipkin and violinist Jennifer Ko. The New York Philharmonic will return on April 16, 2012 for its 16th annual educational residency for chamber ensembles. Other special events will include a commissioned work for the HBMS Jazz Studies Department by David Grossman, bassist with the New York Philharmonic, and a lecture recital, Classical-Jazz Connections, by Stuart Isacoff on Friday, Nov. 4, at 7 p.m. Adults who wish to refresh their instrumental technique or who enjoy choral singing may join the Adult Chamber Program or the Festival Chorus. The Festival Chorus participates in the school’s major music festivals. The Adult Flute Choir always welcomes new members. At Performers Showcase, avocational players hone their performance skills before a sympathetic audience of fellow performers. School opens Sept. 9. Call 723-1169, email or visit n

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The record-Review

Continued from page 31A

how hard he or she works, there is no guaranteed outcome. It’s the process that counts. In dance, as in any other discipline, each class should be a reward in and of itself.” White’s philosophy may surprise parents who assume that participation in the arts is only worthwhile as long as the child is making steady progress toward some level of “professionalism.” But experts in other arts agree with White that it’s the process — the experience of performing, or creating art — that’s of real value to kids. Loren Andersen, founder and owner of the Katonah Arts Center, teaches art to students from third grade to adults. She notes that “people are born with more or less activity in one side of the brain.” Some students come in with more natural, open-

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Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 33A

Photo by Sally Semonite Green

ended creative ability — “right-brain” people. Others are recognizable as “left-brain” people — folks who tend to thrive in a more structured situation. “You can train the right side of the brain to be more active,” said Andersen, who uses exercises such as the ones in the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” to unlock a person’s creative potential. Andersen said that sometimes kids who first arrive at class with a left brain approach have to be “untaught.” “Instead of teaching them, ‘This is how to draw a face,’ we teach them to see the face,” Anderson said. “When they’re drawing metal or glass, forget what it is, and look at value, shape, color. Then it becomes accessible to them.” Andersen believes teachers and parents

can play major roles in either promoting or discouraging a child’s creativity. “Parents should be nothing but positive,” she said. When looking at a child’s drawing, if it isn’t realistic, “Don’t say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t look like this in real life’ or ‘That sky doesn’t look real.’” She recounts the story of a parent who would make some critical remark about her young daughter’s painting every time she came to pick her up after class. “That child didn’t continue the next year,” noted Andersen. Music is an area in which the need for technical proficiency often leaves kids by the wayside. Once again, some parents have the perception that every child needs to strive for some level of professionalism to make the effort worthwhile. This attitude, and the pressure on kids that comes with it, often

results in kids quitting music lessons after a few years. But according to Joan Bergman, director of Hoff-Barthelson Music School in Scarsdale, “Music is an essential part of life.” “Students here glean an enduring love of music and discover the joy of sharing it with others,” she said. “We emphasize the intrinsic value of a life enriched by the ability to appreciate music, and the skills to interpret the vast menu of music literature available to us. We encourage the creative inspiration that gives voice to the music within our hearts.” Many of the school’s students have gone on to professional careers in music. But not every young pianist will make it to Carnegie Hall, and not everyone wants to. Some just want to be able to play their favorite pieces at home, or for friends and family. Who’s to say what’s more important? n

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Friday, August 19, 2011

Arts & Enrichment

Many opportunities to perform at ArtsCaravan Studios


rtsCaravan Performing Arts Studios has grown up. That is the assessment of studio owner Dana Merritt: â&#x20AC;&#x153;The students who started here as 3-year-olds are headed off to middle school this fall. They are ready for more performance opportunities and this year we will provide exciting new platforms for all our students.â&#x20AC;? ArtsCaravan now has a childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theater troupe comprised of actors ages 10-19. They will be performing original works for children throughout the area this fall. A dance ensemble will be available for local appearances as well as trips to performance venues throughout the country. ArtsCaravanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Katonah Tap Company will find members performing in the City this fall. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When I first opened, most of my students were very young,â&#x20AC;? Merritt said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I read in a dance teacher publication that it takes patience to grow your own dancers. It is delightful now to watch those first little ones blossom into talented young dancers

Clowning around with ArtsCaravan

and actors. As our students have matured so has the program itself.â&#x20AC;? ArtsCaravan now offers an extensive bal-

let program with several classes per week for pre-pointe and pointe students. Merritt and several of her teachers are members of

Actorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Equity. Merritt believes that having a professional performance background just adds to the knowledge you can impart to your students. ArtsCaravanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newest teacher is a former Rockette and Broadway dancer. Guest artists, intensives and trips to dance events have also been added to the ArtsCaravan program. Merritt said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Tap is my passion. I love dancing it, teaching it and choreographing it. I hire teachers who are as passionate about what they teach as I am about tap. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to inspire a student when they see how much you enjoy what you do.â&#x20AC;? Placement classes for new students above the beginner level and auditions for the theater and performance companies will take place in early September. Students from John Jay Middle and High schools and KES can take the bus to ArtsCaravan. The studio is also working on plans to make busing available to other district elementary schools. Contact ArtsCaravan at 232-0424 or Visit n

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s back to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;farmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; school for children at Rainbeau Ridge


ainbeau Ridge, a sustainable agriculture farm and community resource, announces its fall kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; program schedule. Rainbeau Ridge is now accepting registrations for its hands-on programs. Classes are available, with ageappropriate activities, projects and learning opportunities, for children 2 years old through third grade. These programs offer a unique opportunity for kids and families to integrate nature into their lives. Registration information is available at Space is limited. Roots, Buds and Sprouts classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 13, and continue for a 10week series. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Rootsâ&#x20AC;? 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 $300 for the series. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Budsâ&#x20AC;? is a drop-off program for 3- and 4-year-olds on Tuesdays or Wednesdays from 1-2:30 p.m. This program will feature farm activities, including visits with

Kids enjoy a hands-on experience at Rainbeau Ridge.

animals, activities in the garden and exploration of nature through art projects, food, puppets and more. The cost is $375 for the series.



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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sproutsâ&#x20AC;? is a drop-off program for kindergarten through third grade children on Wednesdays from 3:45-5:15 p.m. In this program, children gather at the farm

where they participate in farm life, enjoy interacting with the animals, work in the garden, learn about seasonal activities and embrace the culture of Rainbeau Ridge. The cost is $375 for the 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 Ridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s programs and products are important parts of the social, cultural, educational and commercial activities that tie the community together. Rainbeau Ridgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s award-winning farmstead goat cheese products are available at local specialty food shops as well as at fine restaurants. Visit n

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Back to School


Back to school after all these years



graduated from college in 1999. I never did well sitting in a classroom (not gradewise necessarily, but sitting and paying attention for long periods of time). The only “classroom learning” time I’ve had since that time would be short classes at an annual two-day press convention. Next month, however, is my first real backto-school experience in over a decade. For four years most of what my son, Henry, knew was either staying home with mom or dad or going to his grandparents’s houses for the day. We knew that he wasn’t getting much socialization with his peers, but it caused no strain on our already empty wallets keeping him home with us, plus it also helps that parent-child bond. Then this year in the winter and spring once each week for an hour, Henry went to a cooking class. This summer he spent 2.5 hours five days a week at camp. Now, in his final year before he’s old enough for kindergarten, our 4.5-year-old is going to pre-school. This is big stuff for us, major stuff for him. He loves being around kids, but doesn’t always know how to handle the situations that arise. (From my observation, many of the ones who have been in daycare or been to pre-school don’t either.) The cooking class and camp were a transition for Henry — he got a timeout for not listening at each one, but for the most part was on his pretty good behavior. The real reason we’re sending him to pre-school is for the social aspect, for him to get into a routine and reinforce everything his parents have been telling him about how to behave before we unleash our little monster into public school. With Henry going to school, and his younger brother Jeffrey to follow in four years, I feel like I’m going back to school. Sure, I may not be sitting in classes, taking tests, writing papers or doing projects, but eventually I feel like I will be. I’m going to have to know lots of things that I forgot before I even took the tests back in elementary school, middle school and high school so I don’t look like a total dope to my kids. Luckily I think between my wife and I

we have the math and humanities angles covered at least until a certain point where they surpass us. Just the other day Henry asked me two questions: 1) Is Mercury the smallest planet? and 2) What about Pluto? Luckily I had my laptop out so I could at least attempt to answer his questions (sad, right?). And then try explaining to your 4.5-year-old that Pluto is not a planet and that his Baby Einstein DVDs, Blues Clues and apparently all of the scientific community since 1930, were wrong. Then tell him that it’s one of 40 “dwarf planets.” Now imagine you actually know what that means. This is the same kid that listened to his mom — by his choice — read from my old Golden Guide space book about nebulae and not even flinch, and then laughs hysterically when I tell him we live in the Milky Way Galaxy. Soon enough it will be time to go over the whole Uranus pronunciation thing. Ah, the life of a parent. I think, especially in Westchester County, getting an education is as much a strain on parents as it is on kids because of the expectations we place on our schools and our children. How will I as a parent handle my children’s education? Will I advocate for them? Will I sit back and not make waves so they don’t get caught in the middle? Will I help with the homework? Too much, not enough? Will I value creativity? The arts? Sports? Certain subjects in the classroom? And how will my kids handle me? A colleague came in a few years ago and told us that her then-kindergartener grandson and his classmates were given an activity/coloring book about saving — for college! We all had a good laugh about it, but in reality, 13 years goes by QUICKLY! I’ve seen plenty of people spend what they have now to make sure their kids are getting the proper education they need to get into college — my wife and I fit into that mold right now — but when high school hits, they start to panic, especially with the costs escalating each year. I don’t look forward to that feeling. From pre-school to college and everything in-between, the collective process does make you nervous all over again, kind of like going back to school.

Friday, August 19, 2011/ Page 35A

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Friday, August 19, 2011

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