Gaynor Gazette, Winter 2020

Page 1


Stephen Gaynor School


Table of Contents WINTER 2020

2019-2020 BOARD OF TRUSTEES BOARD OF TRUSTEES Grant Duers – President Ericka Leslie Horan – Vice President Hamburg Tang – Vice President Jay Kramer – Treasurer Jillian Neubauer – Secretary Andrew Bast Kristine Baxter Hillary Blumberg Lorie Broser Patterson Chiweshe Carol Feinberg *Dr. Scott Gaynor – Head of School Oscar Gil Vollmer Benjamin Hamilton *Megan Hogan – President of Parents’ Association Henrietta Jones Steven Kobre Elizabeth Mily Keech Combe Shetty *Yvette Siegel-Herzog – Co-Founder and Director of Education Gordon Uehling *Ex officio member TRUSTEES EMERITI Dr. Mary Fitzpatrick Jo Ann Gaynor Gordon Gaynor GAYNOR ADVISORY COUNCIL Chris Canavan Seth Kramer ’95 Kristerfor Mastronardi Aly Organek Josh Wiener Editor: Deanna Ferrante Executive Editor: Mary-Lou Watkinson Editorial Design: Adriana J. Moreno Photography: Deanna Ferrante, Kathryn Greene Printing: Western Commercial Printing

Intermediate Division Director Michelle Fox contributed to a Monday Motivation Instagram series this fall. See more on Instagram @sgaynorschool









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On the Cover: On November 17, 2019, hundreds of participants came together for Gaynor's first-ever Day of Service. Read more on page 8.

Helping others has always been one of the cornerstones of our strong community. The photo on the inside back cover was taken in 2005, one year before we were able to expand into our new building on 90th Street. The project was to collect supplies to send to a school in New Orleans that was impacted by Hurricane Katrina. It was a successful drive as everyone worked together to collect, package, and ship the supplies to people recovering from the storm. Over the years, as our student population grew into our new campus, we still wanted to maintain the intimate feel of everyone working together for a common cause. We have always believed that it was important for each individual student to be actively engaged in a community service activity. Simply bringing in items to donate is not enough to make a meaningful connection to the people we are supporting. An essential component of service learning is the instruction and reflection that occurs in our classrooms before and after a community service project. Taking the time to understand the who, what, where, and why of a group in need builds an authentic sympathy for others. We want our students to be caring citizens of the world who are willing to take action on behalf of others who are in need. Today, there are numerous projects, activities, and programs that help to enhance the Gaynor community. First, it is important for students to show kindness and support their peers in their classroom. Our implementation of the Yale RULER program for social and emotional development helps our students understand how their feelings and actions impact the people around them. Many classrooms have created their own rules and charters to define the community values that are most important to them. This extends to our digital citizenship program, where we teach the importance of being good citizens on the internet. These are important lessons that our students will need in order to navigate the challenges of social media, as well as how to be a good friend or upstanding citizen, regardless of the medium. Modeling good community behavior starts with our faculty and staff. We have created our own charter based on the RULER program. This charter documents the

shared values that we believe make a healthy work environment, including being inspired, supported, respected, and mindful. You will also read in the following pages about our Senior Educator Program. Teachers who have been accepted into the program have already been teaching for a minimum of five years and have a master’s degree. While taking their courses, this group of dedicated teachers spends an additional two hours per week — following a full day in the classroom — on advanced study in topics such as understanding individual learning differences, curriculum development, and organizational leadership. Upon graduation from the program, our senior educators will take on mentoring rolls with other teachers at Gaynor. This enables our senior educators to not only share their expertise, but helps to build connections among teachers who wouldn’t normally work together.



The strength of our internal community is best exemplified when we reach out beyond our borders to help others. Our Community Learning Center (CLC) is in its twelfth year of supporting young readers in our local public schools. We celebrated the success of this reading program at the CLC Basketball Tournament in December, raising awareness and funds for this program. In November, I was very proud to see the hundreds of volunteers who showed up with thousands of school supplies to donate to children in the Bahamas on our firstever Day of Service. Our students and families spent time learning about the nonprofit organization in the Bahamas, stuffing backpacks with supplies, and writing personal messages to the recipients. I have enjoyed seeing our school grow while maintaining our strong commitment to being a caring community. The rewards can be seen and enjoyed inside our classrooms and far beyond.

DR. SCOTT GAYNOR Head of School




Senior Educator Program By Jill Thompson, Assistant Head of School

The teachers and specialists at Stephen Gaynor School are exemplary special educators. The question posed during the strategic planning process in 2017 was: How do we establish a community of veteran educators dedicated to continuing at the highest level in their field who are also explicitly trained to mentor faculty members new to Gaynor? Assistant Head of School Jill Thompson describes the inspiration behind, and elements of, the Senior Educator Program. The Senior Educator Program was conceived through Gaynor’s most recent Strategic Plan, which highlighted a need to focus on retaining great educators and developing long-term career paths that support the school’s overall curriculum goals. The three-year Senior Educator Program, currently taught by myself and Director of Lower Division Donna Logue, covers three areas of study: understanding individual learning differences, curriculum development, and organizational citizenship. At the start of each school year, a cohort of qualified candidates is selected to enroll in the program, which involves two multi-week courses per year. We currently have two cohorts moving through the program — one in their first year, and one in their second. The first year focuses on the individual student through an analysis of students’ readiness, interests, and learning profiles, and how to prescribe a differentiated plan for each unique learner. This concentration on the individual student






educational program described in Gaynor’s mission. The second year focuses on curriculum design principles rooted in essential understandings through a “backwards design” approach, as well as how to create a curriculum accessible to all students using a Universal Design for Learning framework. The participants learn to develop First-Year Cohort

instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessment through multiple means of representation, expression,

Back Row (L to R): Mollie Book, Jensen Pincus, Casey Adler

and engagement. The participants are moving beyond the

Front Row (L to R): Erika Bentsen, Robyn Kramer, Lindsey

individual student or classroom, and discovering broader

Rappaport, Dionne De Lancy, Audrey Schaefer

strategies that can be used throughout the school.



The third year of the program focuses on the development of a mentoring program in support of the school’s mission and curriculum goals. Rooted in a reflective inquiry approach, in which participants ask questions to develop deeper understanding, the third year underscores mentoring practices and leadership experiences. Participants may undertake individual or group mentorships, facilitate workshops, or participate on curriculum committees. This year is dedicated to helping our veteran educators spread their knowledge and experience across the institution.

Second-Year Cohort

From left: Chris Meyer, Cristina Fabricant, Donna Logue, Rebecca Felt, Adalake Barnwell, Erica Kasindorf

The benefits of the Senior Educator Program are threefold.






educators who are in pursuit of educational excellence — faculty members who are well-informed of cognitive neuroscience and the implications on education practices. Second, the program serves as a recruitment and retention tool that benefits the faculty participants by offering financial incentives and master-level coursework connected to professional growth opportunities. And third, the entire organization benefits because the program facilitates distributive leadership, maintains our role as leaders in specialized education, and creates a mentoring program that eternalizes the Gaynor mission.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES UPDATE Dear Gaynor Families, I am excited to be working with my fellow trustees on

We’ve also adopted a longer-term strategic plan, the

behalf of an institution we all hold so dear.

Gaynor 2028 initiative, which is led by board member

This year, the board’s key priority is to plan for the future of the school. We are focusing our efforts on the Strategic Plan, which is currently in its third year out of

Andrew Bast. This looks at the question of how we maintain our level of excellence in the field while maintaining the school’s accessibility to all families.

five. Goals were set in four areas — community, faculty,

I am excited to work towards the future of Gaynor and

curriculum, and resources — and we’ve approached,

continuing to build the strong, positive community at

reached, and in cases surpassed those goals.

the school. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I assure

Through events like the Gaynor Day of Service and the service projects Blue Cluster students have been participating in, Gaynor has achieved its goal of providing

you that we are all working diligently to fulfill the mission of unlocking each student’s potential at Gaynor. Best regards,

opportunities for the community to give back. Through the Senior Educator Program and the expansion of a backwards design curriculum in reading and math, Gaynor has developed growth opportunities for both faculty and students. Additionally, last year’s Annual Fund appeal raised more money than previous years,

Grant Duers

with the money going toward resources to support all

President, Gaynor Board of Trustees

initiatives in the Strategic Plan.


Five Questions With...

Jane Moskowitz By Kathryn Greene

Jane Moskowitz is a Head Teacher in the Silver Cluster at Gaynor, but her career path started with psychology and neuroscience rather than education. After experiences working in a pediatric epilepsy lab and at a nonprofit, she was able to narrow her focus, finding her way into special education. Her personal passion, rescuing dogs from the island of Aruba, was another serendipitous journey. We sat down with Jane for the latest installment in our “Five Questions With…” series to learn more about her favorite aspect of being a teacher, as well as her nonprofit, Cunucu Dog Rescue.

Have you always worked, or wanted to work, in education? I wouldn’t say that I’ve always wanted to work in education. But I have vivid memories of begging my parents for a chalkboard in third grade. I would always play a teacher with my chalk and chalkboard and make my friends listen to my lessons. But I wasn’t the kid growing up saying, “I’m going to be a teacher.”

What do you consider your greatest achievement? Something



think about a lot — and feel most satisfied about — is I feel that I have found a career — it sounds so cheesy, but it’s true — where

When I was at Duke University, I studied psychology and neuroscience

I’m legitimately happy and eager to

and always thought that I would be a clinical psychologist. So after

come to work every day. That feels like an

graduating in 2012, I worked in a pediatric epilepsy lab, which was

achievement to me.

really fascinating. But I quickly realized that research can be isolating. And what I liked most about my work there was working with the kids and prepping them for their MRI scans. That’s when I began to question, "Do I really want to do five years of a Ph.D. program, or do I want to pivot?" I pivoted to education, and I worked for a family foundation in D.C. that worked with public and charter schools. And then I realized that I really wanted to be in the field of education and in the schools with the kids. So eventually my husband and I moved to New York, and I applied to graduate school and started at Bank Street. At the same time, I started here at Stephen Gaynor School as an assistant teacher. 4


I feel proud that I work in a career where I feel like I’m effecting real change. There’s never a dull moment, and I feel happy to come to work every day. That was not an easy path; I had to make a career change and be in school at the same time as I was teaching, and it wasn’t easy to get there. But I’ve landed in a career where I can really see myself forever.

FIVE QUESTIONS WITH... What keeps you coming back to work every day? How could I not say the kids? Obviously




What are you up to when you’re not at Gaynor?

single day I find this work to

When I’m not at Gaynor, you can find me at

be fascinating. It’s an endless

home with my husband. I live on the Upper

puzzle that you’re constantly trying to put

West Side. I grew up here­— I am a die-hard

together. You’re trying to figure out each

Upper West Sider. We have a dog, Josie, who we love more than

individual child and their profile as a learner,

anything in the entire world. The other thing I do outside of

but also who they are as a human and how

school is volunteer for Cunucu Dog Rescue, which we launched

to connect with them. That to me is such an

in March 2019. That is sort of our baby at the moment.

interesting component of this work. That’s never going to end. You get a different batch of kids every year, and it’s a challenge.

My husband and his family have been going to Aruba for 30 years; his grandmother was one of the original travel agents to start bringing tourists there. I’ve been going with them for the last eight years or so.

What is one of your favorite

Every time we visit, we’re acutely aware of the stray dog crisis.

moments you have had as a

But the last time we went we were so moved by it. We had


been fostering dogs here in the city for quite some time, and we

I had a project for grad school where I had to draw something, but I am terrible at it. So I

thought, "There is this really bad problem in this place that we love, and so many organizations here in New York City, so why don’t we try to help while we can in Aruba?"

mentioned it to my reading class,

It’s a very complicated process to rescue the dogs. We have

and one of my students went home that night and

to find people on the island who are willing to foster them for

worked tirelessly on this drawing and brought it

a limited time, find someone on the island who is interested in

back to me the next day. He drew exactly what I

bringing them to the vet so they can get clearance to travel, and

wanted, which was a representation of disruptive

then we have to find someone who is willing to take them on

thinking. I presented it to my class at Bank Street.

their flight home from Aruba to New York.

That was really meaningful to me. I feel like I’m the one always trying to help the students, and in that moment he was able to use his skills and his talents to help me. That’s definitely one of my favorite moments.

Since we don’t have a brick and mortar shelter, we have established a small foster network here who are willing to take in puppies, which has been instrumental to us. To date, we’ve done about 25 adoptions.

Whether you’re looking for a dog to adopt or just want to see a whole lot of cute puppies, visit Ms. Moskowitz’s nonprofit on Instagram at @cunucudogrescue or online at




Athletics Update This fall, Pat Fitzgerald was named Gaynor’s Athletic Director, and while it may be his first year as AD, he has been a physical education specialist at Gaynor for the past eleven years. Through his leadership and that of Assistant Athletic Director Jackie Smith and the Gaynor coaches, our students had a great fall season of growth and team spirit. Here are a few highlights from the season:

SOCCER Green Squad soccer started off the fall season with a 3-0 win against The School at Columbia. Coach James Melillo said, “We’re proud of the effort our team brings to every practice and game. It’s not about the scores, but the teamwork and determination of our players and the fun they have on the field. That’s what really counts.” The Green Squad finished their season with a 3-4 record. In October, the White Squad took on Cathedral School in the Field House, ending a hard-fought contest in a 3-3 tie. Coach Andrew Prasarn said, “This was our most physical game so far, and we were very evenly matched. We were down 3-nothing early in the game, but scored three straight unanswered goals to salvage the tie.” The White Squad ended their season 4-1-1 overall.

CROSS COUNTRY Coach Caitlin Kearney said, “We compete against many schools, and there are 150-200 runners in each of the boys’ and girls’ races; however, each week our runners kept improving and getting faster and faster. Even though we may not be the top finishers, each runner put in fantastic effort, and our athletes show incredible grit, drive, and determination.”




VOLLEYBALL Interest in girls’ volleyball was so strong this year that the coaches split into two squads for the majority of the season. Both the Green and the White Squads worked hard to gel as teams, and practices included team-building activities, as well as volleyball skill building. The teams won their matches against Rodeph Sholom and Speyer, prompting a celebratory message from Coach Molli Grady, “The girls did fantastic! Woo!” The combined squads’ record for the season was 2-6.

Coaches in all fall sports were impressed with the athletes' work ethic and commitment to excellence.

GAYNOR athletics

In addition, Gaynor Athletics kicked off the fall season with a new look! The coaches' shirts featured the new custom-designed logo for the department, and team uniforms will begin sporting the new logo as the year progresses.





November members








siblings, alumni, faculty, and friends came together for the school’s first-ever Day of Service. At Gaynor, it is as important for our students to be good global citizens as it is for them to succeed in the classroom, on the stage, or on the athletic fields. A commitment to service is integrated into our classroom curriculum, and each year we incorporate a variety of opportunities for our students to be of service, whether through the Thanksgiving Food Drive, various classroom-wide or Cluster-wide service learning projects, or our donations to Ronald McDonald House each spring. This year, we decided to expand this philosophy to include the entire Gaynor community on a single Day of Service. Participants were asked to collect a variety of supplies to support Exceptional Education Outreach (EEO) Bahamas, where they are helping their citizens recover after the devastating effects of Hurricane Dorian earlier this fall. EEO is a public, nonprofit special education and literacy project operating in the Bahamian Family Islands. EEO strives to provide special education and literacy outreach programs to students and their communities in Eleuthera and Harbour Island. They do this through direct service in schools, training programs for teachers and parents, and professional medical assistance to underserved students. 8



As always, the Gaynor community rose to the occasion and then some — with over 400 participants donating thousands of school and medical supplies for EEO, writing and drawing hundreds of letters and pictures of support, and taking over 150 selfies with well wishes for the students served by EEO. The supplies were sorted and placed into over 300 backpacks sent to the Bahamas. Head of School Dr. Scott Gaynor said, “The children of Eleuthera will benefit greatly from the work and generosity displayed by our community today. The Day of Service helps build a greater sense of community among our Gaynor family, and provides a terrific opportunity for our students to experience the value of helping others. I am very excited for this new Gaynor tradition!” As Silver Cluster student Anya K. said, “We should do it again next year!"

Thank you to alumni parent Ann Cutbill Lenane, who brought the 800 pounds of supplies the Gaynor community gathered on the Day of Service to distribute in the Bahamas. In a Facebook post during the supply distribution, Ms. Lenane said, "Thank you Dr. Gaynor for bringing your student body together to help the Bahamian children who are most in need. Your donated school supplies not only will help EEO Bahamas students on Eleuthera but two children’s homes that care for kids who have lost their parents — the Ranfurly Home and the Children's Emergency Hostel."




Music Update

Michael Piedmont’s students in the EC and Pink Cluster

the students to experience working with a live orchestra.

learned songs that taught them how to say hello and

This marks the first staff pit band at Gaynor. Ellen

goodbye in various languages this fall. They also

Lee, Courtney Smotkin, Molli Grady, Brian Russ, Eric

learned about musical rhythmic symbols in the

Rosenblum, and Mr. Piedmont have been rehearsing

form of familiar shapes, with Pink Cluster students

once a week during off periods, and it is already

translating those shapes into musical notations. The EC students worked on their performance of The Three Piggy Opera for the EC Winter Showcase, and Pink Cluster students worked on their performances

sounding amazing! Abby Shuppy’s Orange and Silver Cluster students used skills in the “music toolbox,” which consists of the body, voice, imagination, concentration, and

of This Little Light of Mine and Over The Rainbow for

cooperation. Students developed expressive

the Winter Concert.

movement skills to music through group

Red and Yellow Cluster students learned songs in a call

games and activities. Using their imagination,

and response mode and how to use musical notations to

students created music through improvisation

create their own compositions. Yellow Cluster students

activities, and through concentration, they learned the

also began reading music on the staff and in treble clef.

value of focusing on skills to become better musicians.

Students studied musicians and artists for Hispanic

Students participated in group games to promote a sense of community in the music classroom. They also sang on solfege syllables to encourage pitch matching, as well as prepared for their Winter Concert performances. Green Cluster students focused on building their musical skills while working in an ensemble. Students learned melodies and chords on ukuleles and keyboards, and they built a basic understanding of music theory (rhythm, reading notes, and musical terminology) while learning instruments and participating in group activities. Students also focused on learning rhythmic skills while playing percussion instruments.

Heritage Month. Red Cluster students worked on their performances of Edelweiss and Rainbow for the Winter Concert, and Yellow Cluster students worked on their performances of You Gotta Be, Fight Song, and Rainbow for the Winter Concert. For this year’s middle school musical, Disney’s High School Musical Jr., Mr. Piedmont wrote orchestra parts for several staff members at Gaynor, allowing


Blue Cluster students built on skills they previously learned and worked on performing as an ensemble. Students were also given a choice of which instruments they would like to focus on, with the options being ukulele, guitar, bass guitar, drums, keyboard, and vocals. The students developed a deeper understanding of music theory through playing an instrument, and they explored composition and electronic music while creating melodies and drum loops on the computer programs Soundtrap and Flat.

Bringing a Sense of Self to Art and Drama


by Meredith Akins, Drama Teacher

This fall, Green Cluster drama students answered the

the elements that stood out the most to them and

question, “What are your core values when you create a

informed their artistry. The students depicted their

work of art?” core values are the fundamental beliefs a

core values through artwork, specifically through the

person holds. These guiding principles dictate behavior

use of mandalas.

and help artists to determine if they are on the right path and fulfilling their goals. Defined core values lead to greater empowerment when we create works of art, including what we bring to the stage as performers.

The word "mandala" is from the classical Indian language of Sanskrit. Loosely translated to mean "circle," it represents wholeness. A mandala contains symbols of a person’s inner self, guiding principles, and overall

Students arrived at their core values by determining what

ideas about the world. The significance of objects within

skills were important to work well as a chorus. A chorus is

these mandalas are conveyed by shape, size, and color

a group that works together for a common goal. Another

— with abstract designs that signify which core value is

word we use for chorus in drama is ensemble.

important for them and central to their life.

To help us remember the necessary components of

All of this analysis and creativity allows our students

an ensemble, we used the acronym C.H.O.R.U.S. The

to better understand characters and perform them

elements include communication, honesty, openness,

realistically. In this particular exercise, the students also

respect, unity, and safety. Students participated in

learned the skills they need to create a collaborative

different exercises that required each element to

atmosphere in their stage work.

be a part of a successful ensemble. They then chose



Fired Up! Project-Based in the Pink Cluster In social studies, the Pink Cluster learns about the concept of goods and services. Within this unit, students learn about various services provided by community helpers in the neighborhood, as well as the goods that are needed to carry out their jobs. According to Pink Cluster Head Teacher Morgan Conlon, “We define a service as ‘what others do for us,’ and a good as ‘an object.’” The first community helpers the Pink Cluster explored were firefighters. A visitor to the Pink Cluster classrooms in October would have come across quite a sight. Students filled the hallways and classrooms with energy and excitement. They had already studied the services firefighters provide and the goods firefighters use in the classroom, and had even taken a field trip to Engine 74, the local fire station. At the end of October, they brought all of their knowledge (and imagination) together as they spent time “trying out” to become firefighters themselves. Students worked in small groups to practice completing the four jobs of a firefighter (saving people and animals, putting out fires, training, and teaching others). The teachers created four stations that represented those four jobs, using kinesthetic activities to cement what the students had learned in the classroom and on their field trip. Pink Cluster Head Teacher Megan Scanlon described the four stations: “Our students ‘saved’ people and animals from pretend fires while navigating an obstacle course, ‘put out a fire’ by pouring water into a bucket, and trained by exercising (e.g., jumping jacks and pushups). They also had a station where they taught their fellow classmates and teachers by using visuals of the content they had learned.” The firefighters in Room 217, or Fire Engine 217, and Room 220, or Fire Engine 220, were awarded with individual firefighter badges in a graduation ceremony. According to Ms. Conlon, “The Pink Cluster had an absolute blast working together to bring the content we have been learning to life!” [Editor’s note: No actual blasts occurred during the teaching of this unit!] 12



Silver Cluster: Trip to Inwood Park In October, the entire Silver Cluster ventured out to Inwood Park, where they learned about where parts of the Lenape tribes settled. While there, they explored the variety of natural resources that Native Americans might have used, learning some key nature tips, like how to tell if berries are poisonous. They had the chance to hike through some beautiful trails and hear from Ranger Nick about the plants and trees that surrounded them. Last, but not least, the students had the chance to sit in a wigwam, which they really enjoyed.

Field Trips – Taking Learning Beyond the Classroom Green Cluster: Trip to Adventure Park Students in Rochelle Rubin and Caitlin Kearney's Green Cluster classes left their comfortable classrooms for a day of high adventure. Their trip to Adventure Park in Long Island was more than just a fun activity: the students found that it built self confidence and leadership skills, as well as encouraging a sense of community. Head Teacher Ms. Rubin said, “As teachers, we were prepared to jump in, break down directions, and model the procedures. However, we were pleasantly surprised that the students began problem solving to figure it out on their own. The students worked hard to stop and think before taking their next step and used executive functioning planning and self-monitoring techniques to support them with the obstacles.” The









encouragement and support students offered their peers. They truly lived the motto "be together, not the same" when they stood together to overcome challenges, develop respect for one another, and bond together as a group. Ms. Rubin said, “Before going on the field trip, we had conversations about taking risks, trying new things, and knowing your comfort level. I was in awe to see our students step outside of their comfort zone and attempt something that may have been challenging, scary, or new to them.” WINTER 2020



The Incredible, Indispensible Performing Arts Center: Year in Review The Performing Arts Center opened in October 2018 and immediately became an

integral location for the Gaynor community. The PAC was the last stage in the nineyear expansion project of the South Building, which began with the purchase and

renovation of the historic Claremont Stables. Designed by Rogers Partners Architects for multi-use purposes, the PAC has tiered seats for a theater capacity of 300, and since the seats can be fully retracted, the floor space can be used for social events,

movement breaks, drama classes, and more. The walls are translucent polycarbonate, using both form and function to create a safe space with nearly indestructible walls.

It is hard to believe that our Performing Arts Center opened just over a year ago. Head of School Dr. Scott Gaynor said, “From the moment we opened the doors to the PAC, it became the hub not only for celebrating the performing arts and multi-disciplinary learning, but the nexus for community building at Gaynor.�

Students, faculty, and staff experienced their first-ever assembly in the Performing Arts Center with a multimedia presentation and a surprise appearance by Mary Poppins!



Gaynor’s annual Winter Concerts are always filled with smiles and beautiful singing, but in 2018, something was a little different; Pink through Silver Cluster students took to the stage in the new Performing Arts Center rather than the gym, where the performances were historically held.

en ts Le t’s move! St ud af te rin th e K ung Fu scho ol cl ub to ok e ad va nt age of th ac e PAC’s fle xi ble sp ss on . to ho ld th ei r le

A spe a k e r f ro m the n o npro fit o rg a n iz at io n R ach e l’ s C h a lle n g e v is i te d t h e PAC to s p re ad a me s s a ge abou t t h e im p o r t ance o f k in d ne s s in t h re e s p e c ia l as sem b lie s f o r s t u de n ts and p a re n t s.

Months of research, thought, and preparation came to fruition with the first-ever Ancient Greek God and Goddess Fashion Show presented by students in the Green Cluster to an audience of admiring parents.

t h e Upp e r f o s r e b a Me m a n d dram e ic s u m n ton D i v is io e d a c aps m t n e s e r p f ro c la s s e s e i r wo r k h t f o e s sh o wc a e me s te r. s g in r p s the

Th e a n n u a l P lac e me n t Fa ir b ro ugh t a lum n i a n d t h e ir p a re n ts to t he PAC t o s p e a k t o c u r re n t s t u de n ts a b o u t t h e ir p o s t- G ay n o r s ch o o ls .

ed ne ar ly Dr. Gayn or welc om e co urse of 700 gues ts over th Re latives an d th e 2- day, 4-pa rt Sp ec ia l Fr ien ds Day.

The Music Department took advantage of the new performanc e space to host a first-ever Green Cluster choir concert.

Participants at our Spring Carnival checked out the virtual reality offerings and tried their hands at the LED arcade in the Performing Arts Center.

Mary Poppins likes to say that she is “practically perfect in every way,” but the members of the cast and crew of Mary Poppins Jr. lived up to that description and more during their performances in the inaugural performance of the spring musical in the PAC.

01 9 2 e n Ju

For an event to honor both the past and the present, there was no more fitting place than the new Performing Arts Center. Hosted by the Gaynor Alumni Net work, the Alumni Reunion Honoring Gaynor’s Distinguished Faculty & Staff reconnected alumni with one another, and their former teachers, specialists, and staff.

The Class of 2019 enjoyed a t wo-day celebration of their time at Gaynor, beginning with a Graduate/New Alumni Breakfast on June 13, followed with a formal graduation ceremony on June 14.


With Charters, Students Create a Positive Classroom Environment Developed by the Center for Emotional Intelligence at Yale, RULER is a socialemotional program that helps students learn how to cope with their feelings, make decisions, and get along with others. Charters fit under this umbrella, because they are documents that help to create a supportive and productive learning environment.

Gaynor has been incorporating charters for the past two

classroom charters hanging up, each listing the words

years, not only in the classroom, but also with faculty

that the class wants to feel when they’re in the classroom

and staff, thus furthering the integration of RULER into

and at school.

the curriculum. Through classroom charters, students work together to create common goals and hold each other accountable for creating a positive classroom environment.






“Together, the community describes how they want to

Intermediate Division Director Michelle Fox said she views the charters, both for the faculty and the students, as a framework to reference when things are going well and when things are more turbulent.

feel at school, the behaviors that foster those feelings,

Ms. Fox said, “I keep the Silver and Green Cluster

and guidelines for preventing and managing unwanted

agreements at the top of all our meeting agendas. If we’re

feelings and conflict.”

able to do this and walk-the-walk as educators, then the

This fall, author and illustrator Kathryn Otoshi visited

students are able to do it, too.”

Gaynor and talked to EC and Lower School students

The Blue Cluster incorporates charters through the Blue

about finding value in themselves and others, as well

Cluster Agreement. Upper Division Director Christine

as accepting each other’s differences. Inspired by this

Karamanoglou said students first wrote down descriptive

visit and Otoshi’s book Beautiful Hands, Orange Cluster

words in their journals that represented how they want to

Head Teacher Sarah Lewis decided to incorporate these

feel at school. They then chose two individually, and as an

teachings into her classroom charter.

advisory, they picked 5-7 words to portray in a museum

Ms. Lewis had her students create a rainbow using their hands and different colors of paint. Inside the rainbow are

walk. The Blue Cluster as a whole then voted on the words and created the Blue Cluster Agreement.

five words the students voted on — welcomed, happy,

Ms. Karamanoglou said, “We are trying to make it as

brave, courageous, and comfortable — each representing

student directed as possible.”

how they want to feel and how they want others to feel at school each day.

Gaynor will continue to develop all charters, starting with a deeper dive into the faculty and staff charter. In

Ms. Lewis said, “I think with a charter, it creates a sense of

December, the administration looked at what it really

community and ownership in how they want to feel and

means to have a school charter, which will then be

how they want others to feel, because they picked the

reviewed with all faculty and staff this January. This will

words out themselves.”

help to further strengthen the Gaynor community and

Other teachers have also incorporated classroom charters into their curriculum. The Green Cluster has all of their

set an example for how classroom charters can efficiently operate and positively impact students. WINTER 2020



Creating Responsible Digital Citizens Students at Stephen Gaynor School are learning how to be

Cluster, it now starts with students in the Red Cluster. A

responsible digital citizens through a six year collaborative

technology teacher and one of the school psychologists



partner with one another to teach each class the

departments. The Digital Citizenship curriculum, which

lesson in a discussion-based style. This helps create a

teaches students how to use technology in a safe and

safe space where the students can feel comfortable to

responsible way, was created based on a cultural change

confide in the teachers. Mr. LeWinter said, “We found

in how children approach technology.

that then they’re free to talk and give us information,











without feeling like they’re going to get in trouble.”

LeWinter said that in the past, students were allowed

The curriculum begins with a review of the Acceptable Use

to bring their own technology to use in the classroom.

Policy, which students and guardians must sign before

However, administrators realized that providing students

students can use technology at the school. Students go

with uniform technology was more efficient and safe.

through the policy line-by-line and discuss its contents,

Mr. LeWinter said, “It was a bit of a Wild West. We decided

opening up lessons on contracts, respect, and technology

we needed to give them equity, so everyone has the same

use. From there, students learn about online safety, social

devices, and we needed to be able to control it.”

media, and being mindful with technology use, which

Out of the desire to teach students to be responsible

encompasses screen time and technology addiction.

and safe when using technology, the Digital Citizenship

Mr. LeWinter said given the nature of technology, the

curriculum was created. Originally taught only to the Blue

curriculum is ever evolving, and the theme of Digital Citizenship can also be present in other lessons on technology. He said, “Teachers lead the lesson, but students lead the discussion.” Understanding how important these lessons are for all students, Gaynor’s Psychology and Technology departments worked to gather and present information on the Digital Citizenship curriculum for the New York Association for Independent Schools in April of 2018. The team that implements the curriculum consists of Director of Psychological Services Dr. Clare Cosentino, Director of Technology and Operations Matthew LeWinter, technology teachers Brian Russ, Joel Levin, and Molli Grady, and school psychologists Dr. Shayna Nash, Dr. Marc Guttman, and Dr. Lauren Levenson.

The full presentation is available on the Parent Portal. 18



Digital Citizenship Shuffle

The Digital Citizenship Shuffle is a game for families to play together that encourages an open discussion about technology use and online behavior. To play, cut out the cards below, shuffle the cards upside down, spread them out, and set a timer for 30 minutes. With the youngest player going first, flip over a card, ask another player the question, and then answer it yourself. Keep playing until all cards have been answered.

Have you ever regretted something you've done with technology?

If you could change one thing about technology, what would it be?

Does technology help you connect with family or friends? Does it ever get in the way?

Have you ever come across cyberbullies online?

What is one piece of advice you could give about technology to the person you are playing with right now?

Does technology affect how you feel? Does it ever make you happy, sad, mad, afraid, frustrated, etc?

What do you think technology will be like in the future?

What social media apps do you use, or which would you like to use? For what reasons?

How much time do you spend on digital devices each day? Do you wish it was more? Or less?

Have you ever seen something on the internet that made you uncomfortable? What did you do or say?

What are your favorite apps and digital games and why?

Are you ever distracted because of technology?

Reflections from Gaynor Families Students in the Blue Cluster were asked to take the game home and bring it back with the responses to the questions written on the back of each card. A few common themes were found based on the discussions families had, such as online safety, setting limits on technology use, and being able to connect with family. Players were able to find both positives and negatives of technology use. •

“It definitely helps keep me connected with family. It also sometimes prevents us from having real conversations and discussions in person.”

“If there’s an emergency I can call mom, but if I am doing homework it distracts me.”

“It often keeps me from paying better attention to my kids.” WINTER 2020



Parenting in the Digital Age Dr. Cosentino recommends that parents educate themselves. The best thing to do as a parent is to stay aware. •

Figure out your parenting style and family culture.

Seek to understand the digital landscape and be a role model.

Create a Family Acceptable Usage Plan (see

Remain positively engaged.

Pay attention, look for teachable moments, understand technology use, and encourage positive technology usage.

Adopt a developmental approach: the use of technology changes with age and personality.

Tackle peer pressure by communicating with other parents and work together as a community to establish limits.

Is Your Child Ready? Before purchasing a smartphone for your child, Diana Garber, the author of Raising Humans in a Digital World, suggests asking the following questions: •

Have your children developed the social and

information they find online?

emotional skills necessary to use their gadgets wisely? (Have they learned how to show empathy, kindness, respect, and civility?) •

Are your children equipped to be digital leaders? Do they know how to be upstanders? (The internet is in

Do your children know how to manage their online

desperate need of kids who can stand up to bullies,


create inspiring content, make moving videos, share uplifting stories, and invent new technologies that

Do your children know how to make and maintain

improve our world.)

healthy relationships? Do they know what to do if they encounter dangerous or unhealthy

unplug from their virtual worlds and plug into “real” life?

Do your children know how to protect their privacy and personal information?

Do your children understand the importance of “unplugging”? Are they equipped with strategies to

relationships online? •

Do your children know how to think critically about

Are your kids equipped to make their digital world better and safer?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then your children are not ready for the massive responsibility of owning a connected device. The stakes are too high. However, you can teach them all of these life skills — no matter how much or how little you personally know about technology.



Decide on the levels of technology intervention It is important to decide on the levels of technology intervention in your home, and make sure it is clear to your children what the outcomes are for breaching technology guidelines. HONOR SYSTEM: You have continuous check-ins, but your involvement is solely conversational. This is based on trust alone. SOME LIMITS: You approve in-app purchases and set time limits. You may also specify the locations and daily guidelines for technology use. MORE LIMITS: You are blocking apps and websites. You’re reviewing texts, emails, and social media. There are restrictions on which apps can be used, and you have all of your child’s passwords. STRONG LIMITS: There is only monitored technology use. You may incorporate timers and restrict the websites that can be accessed on the home Wi-Fi. Ensure children understand proactively the outcomes of breaching technology guidelines. These may include removing technology for a period of time, no smart phone, or just a basic phone for contacting you.

Remember to… •

Set boundaries – limit exposure for young children. Turn off devices during mealtimes and one to two hours before bedtime.

Monitor use, behavior, and content – block inappropriate content, watch and play the video games your children are playing, keep electronic media in public places, and talk to the parents of your children’s friends about what your children do at their homes.

Be clear about what is acceptable – establish and enforce hour rules about screen time, and don’t let media interfere with family relationships.

Engage and lead by example – obey your own house rules, and remember your children are watching.

Technology can be positive Don’t forget that technology is also a positive tool. It helps students to connect, learn, discover, create, and build. Technology provides useful organizational, accessibility, and advocacy tools, and it expands logical thinking and problem solving. By teaching students how to responsibly use technology both in school and at home, it is giving them the tools to succeed and unlock their true potential.




COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTER SUPPORTS GROWTH OF LOCAL STUDENTS Started in 2007, Gaynor’s Community Learning Center (CLC) is a free after-school reading remediation program for first and second graders in neighborhood public schools (P.S. 84 and P.S. 166) who are at risk of reading failure. For one hour twice a week, first and second grade students receive tutoring lessons from highlytrained Gaynor instructors. Students learn strategies and techniques that directly supplement the instruction they receive in their regular classrooms and help them become confident readers and learners. The CLC is free to community students thanks to grants, donations, and fundraising events. This fall, the Microsoft Alumni Network provided a $2,500 grant to the CLC in honor of Gaynor Board President Grant Duers. Duers, who worked at Microsoft from 1994 to 2006, became the leader for the New York chapter of the Alumni Network two years ago. The chapter instituted a new award that honors the chapter leader who has done good deeds to promote the goals of the organization, which was accompanied by the grant. Gaynor’s annual Jackie Long Memorial Basketball Tournament to benefit the Community Learning Center took place on December 14. The 3-on-3 tourney is a long-standing Gaynor tradition. Alumni, parents, faculty/staff, and friends come together for a morning of friendly competition. This year’s tournament featured many returning teams, as well as new ones. After a fierce competition, the team From 3 Portland, sponsored by Associate Director of Admissions Roberta Hirsch, walked away with the trophy, securing their place once again as the champions of the tournament. The tournament is in memory of long-time Admissions Director Jackie Long. Teams make a donation to play, and all proceeds support the CLC. To date, the CLC has helped over 300 students since its founding, the vast majority of whom are reading on grade level by the time they graduate from the program.




Benjamin Mitchell always knew that he wanted to work in the entertainment industry — even while he was a student at Stephen Gaynor School. He says that Gaynor gave him the stepping-stones to get to the career he now has as an Assistant in the Branding and Endorsements department at William Morris Endeavor, an international talent agency. Mitchell remembers being in Gaynor’s theater productions and loving art class with Ruth Rachlin. During the time he was at Gaynor, he also started swimming competitively in an outside program, which he says helped him to clear his head and focus on what was important — skills he still uses today. He went on to Churchill after Gaynor and later attended American University, where he started in their Learning Services Program, which helps students with learning differences adjust to the college experience. Mitchell was also a Division I athlete at American, swimming competitively until his senior year. While at American, Mitchell started managing local artists. This experience helped him to paint the picture for his future and pushed him to get his dream job at WME in Los Angeles, where he relocated after graduating from college and is continuing to work hard every day to grow within the company and live his dream. Mitchell says, “Stephen Gaynor School has done so much for me,” and he is grateful for the doors it opened for him to the life he has now.

Class Notes EMILY HIRTLE ’12 AND OWEN COLBY ’12 Emily Hirtle and Owen Colby stopped by Gaynor recently before heading back to college where they will be finishing their senior years. Emily will finish her double majors in Sociology & Sexuality and Women's & Gender Studies at Amherst. She spent the summer doing research for a professor and working on her thesis. She attended Stuyvesant for high school. Owen is returning to Brown University where he is triple majoring in Computer Science, Economics, and Public Policy. He spent this past summer interning at Morgan Stanley. Previously, he attended The Beacon School.

WINTER 2020 23


JACKIE KLEIN ’15 Jackie is heading into her senior year at King School in Connecticut. She is spending her time dancing, working with children, starting a fashion blog, and playing tennis. She is looking forward to applying to college this year. Regarding her time at Gaynor, she says, "The advocating skills emphasized each and every day along with the confidence building that occurred within the walls of Gaynor are amongst the most valuable skills I gained. Not only myself, but my parents, teachers, peers, and bosses can attest to the fact that I use these skills every day and would be nowhere near where I am without them. I attribute all of my educational success to the Stephen Gaynor School, which, like I said, could not have provided me with any better skills to thrive."

MIHRET SMITH ’15 Mihret is a junior at Albertus Magnus, where she is playing defense on their soccer team. Sports journalists in Rockland and Westchester picked Mihret for their dream team of 11 players out of 80 kids.

AMANDA COHEN ’08 Amanda is completing her master’s degree in early childhood (she’s just two courses and state exams away) at Hunter College. She recently began her career as a teacher at Temple Shaaray Tefila, where she attended preschool. After Gaynor, she graduated from The Beekman School with a Regents diploma and from Hunter College with her bachelor’s. She is excited to graduate with her master’s soon.

JAMES NICHOLLS ’86 James recently celebrated the birth of his first child, Matthew. He also completed his master’s degree in Public Administration, with a focus on Health Service Management, and took a step at putting his new degree to work by accepting a position as Department Specialist for Physician Information and Interoperability at Sutter Valley Hospitals.



Early Childhood Division

Creating Change Makers

At Gaynor, students are encouraged to find causes they are passionate about and work to create change in the world. Starting in Early Childhood and continuing on into the Blue Cluster, students learn to appreciate what makes themselves and others different, and why it is worth fighting for those differences. Studying social justice requires students to learn about problems that drastically impact the quality of life for certain populations, and how people have worked to solve those problems. Keep reading to see how the social justice curriculum at Gaynor is tailored to each age group.

Although it may appear that social justice topics are too complex for children ages 3-6, the teachings in the EC are essential in creating the foundation for the social justice curriculum students learn throughout their time at Gaynor. Students in the EC learn through picture books that show diversity in topics and physical representation. EC Division Director Rebecca Jurow said around holidays, they try to focus on the different types of families, and the similarities and differences of each holiday. “We try to make everything just natural and matter of fact,” Ms. Jurrow said. “We’re celebrating the differences and just recognizing the idea of respecting everyone, regardless of who they are.” Ms. Jurow said a lot of the social justice discussions happen organically, simply by the students asking questions. This rang true for students in the Willow Room. A conversation during snack time sparked a debate about the idea of girl’s toys and boy’s toys. Students said that when they go to McDonald’s, they are asked if they want a girl’s toy or a boy’s toy, but they all agreed that there is no such thing. After having this discussion, the students decided to send a letter to the McDonald’s headquarters to let them know that there is no difference in toys. One line from the letter read, “Saying that a toy is only for some people doesn’t make sense, because all the toys are for everybody.” Working together and with their teachers, the students saw an issue and worked to create change. WINTER 2020 25

SOCIAL JUSTICE Red Cluster Head Teacher Jordan Thaler is implementing a new social justice curriculum inspired by the picture book Say Something by Peter H. Reynolds. The book discusses the various ways a single voice can make a difference and create change. Lower Division Director Donna Logue said,

LOWER Division

"As students move through the Lower Division, they are more developmentally ready to tackle more nuanced social justice issues." The curriculum starts by asking the students, “What does it mean to say something?” Ms. Thaler then dives into how you can say something and when you should say something. From there, students learn about activists they are more familiar with, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and Malala Yousafzai. Ms. Thaler said, “I think it’s really important to encourage students to feel empowered, and it’s important to start as early as possible.” Students then learn about activists they aren’t as familiar with and about the differences between environmental and social activism. Through the curriculum, students are able to connect their personal experiences to those discussed and recognize when they’ve been an activist in their own lives. Ms. Thaler said, “I want my students to know they can feel empowered by something and act in a meaningful way. I want them to be able to say, ‘Even though I’m a child, I can do something.’”

Intermediate Division Director Michelle Fox said she is really passionate about finding topics that students are interested in so they can connect to the material and want to make a difference.

Intermediate Division

Ms. Fox said, “We are agents of change — purposeful, positive, and negative change. We want students to realize that they have the power to create purposeful, positive change in the world.” Keeping that in mind, Silver Cluster Head Teacher Jane Moskowitz created a social justice curriculum where students learn about social justice movements and activists by taking a look at themselves. Students start the curriculum by talking about who they are and what their identity is. After learning about what makes them unique, students then move into learning about others. “We want to normalize things from other cultures,” Ms. Moskowitz said. “We need to start to understand the differences that make up this country.” Students learn about the uniqueness of other cultures, but in a way that makes it part of their daily lives. They then move on to learning about issues of social injustice, social movements, and social change, all culminating with each student choosing a cause they are passionate about and taking their own form of social action — whether that be in the form of a petition, a letter, or a picture. Ms. Moskowitz said the social justice curriculum is important because Gaynor students struggle academically and can become easily frustrated. To help counter that frustration, the social justice curriculum generates excitement and passion. “We want to help them become passionate about something,” Ms. Moskowitz said. “Academics can be frustrating, and this creates excitement. It plays into the emotional aspect, and that’s very real for the students. We’re exposing kids to being authentic changemakers.” 26 GAYNOR GAZETTE


Upper Division Director Christine Karamanoglou said that Blue Cluster students begin their social justice curriculum by building empathy in advisory, literature, and history. The students work on projects such as a newscast that portrays different sides of the Revolutionary War, learning about different character traits, and working on service learning projects that give back to the community. Ms. Karamanoglou said, “We really ask students to look at things from different perspectives.”

UPPER Division

Jackie Smith’s Blue Cluster advisory class showed empathy when they learned about Indigenous communities and the violence they faced from the European explorer Christopher Columbus. After researching the history of Columbus Day, as well as what other states have done to create change, the group of four students created a petition to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the Gaynor calendar. The students presented this information to the Blue Cluster during their Town Hall, as well as to all Silver and Green Cluster classes, giving a total of eight presentations. In the presentation the students said, “We want to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, because the Native Americans were tortured by Christopher Columbus and his troops. The Native Americans should have been treated better. We should learn the truth, because he and his troops abused them, killed them, and enslaved them.” After gaining more than 125 signatures from fellow students supporting the name change, Room 510 presented the petition to Head of School Dr. Scott Gaynor, who agreed to change the name for the upcoming 2020/2021 calendar. Dr. Gaynor told the students, “This is really a reflection of the power all of you have to make change.” Ms. Smith continued the sentiment and said, “What I hope they took away from this experience is that even though they’re young, they can make big changes. If you persevere and are passionate, you can do anything.” WINTER 2020 27



Megan Hogan began her term as President of the Parents’ Association this fall. Megan, whose son Jackson is in the Red Cluster, has been a crucial part of the leadership team for the past several years as chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. In her “free time,” Megan serves as Global Head of Diversity Recruiting at Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Dear Gaynor Families, I am thrilled to continue my service to Stephen Gaynor School as Parents’ Association President after being an active member over the last few years. I could speak to many things that I love about Gaynor, but I wanted to specifically share with you three things I believe all families benefit from here: First, your child is getting an excellent education. Not an excellent special needs’ education or an excellent education for kids with learning differences. An excellent education. Period. I’m consistently amazed by what our son Jackson is learning and the experiences he has inside and outside of school. Second, you will become a better parent. I take the work of the Parents’ Association very seriously. The faculty and specialists are hard at work teaching our kids throughout the school day. But I want to make sure we can all put some of those best practices into play at home as well. It’s why the PA hosts focused workshops throughout the year, including recent sessions on executive functioning and digital citizenship. I hope to see you at PA meetings and events this spring.

President of the Parents’ Association Megan Hogan, with her husband, Curtis, and son Jackson at Skate Night 2019.

Third, you will meet other amazing families and form life-long friendships. We became fast friends with a family we met a few weeks before Jackson started at Gaynor four years ago. We’ve attended each other’s birthday parties, gone on vacations together, and support each other in our personal and professional endeavors. You are sure to meet other families that will become part of your communities within and outside of Gaynor. I am proud to represent the parents and families of the Gaynor community, and I look forward to continuing to build our connections through social and educational events. Sincerely,

Megan Hogan Parents’ Association President 28 GAYNOR GAZETTE


Classroom Projects EC: Willow Room’s Multisensory Pumpkin Exploration

This fall, students in the Willow Room used their five senses to explore the inside and outside of a pumpkin, a very concrete

example of Gaynor’s multisensory approach to learning. The class made note of the physical properties of the inside and

Lower School: Orange Cluster’s Landscapes in the Concrete Jungle The Orange Cluster began the school year with a unit about landforms and bodies of water. They learned about various landscapes using a backwards design curriculum created by Head Teacher Jackie Kolbert before building their own landscapes. “This project is the culmination of the whole unit and really ties together everything they’ve learned,” said Head Teacher Jackie Dobish. Students used clay to create various landforms

outside of the pumpkin (round, smooth, orange, with lines on the outside, and wet, stringy seeds on the inside). They used their sense of smell and hearing as well. When asked why a multisensory approach is so important, Head Teacher Kate Homlish responded, “Using all five senses, especially touch, to explore the pumpkin builds a lot of new vocabulary. Rachel Fell and I used what the students noticed to teach about the parts and life cycle of a pumpkin. For example, the slimy, stringy, wet, orange ‘stuff’ inside the pumpkin are fibrous strands, and the bumpy lines on the outside of the pumpkin are called ribs.” In cooking, the students could incorporate their sense of taste. They used the seeds from the pumpkin to make Cinnamon Toast Pumpkin Seeds.

like the ones they learned about, including active volcanoes, islands, mountains, and lakes. Some were even a combination of all of the above. “This multi-sensory project is fantastic for our students. By taking clay and forming it into shapes to build their landscapes, they are engaging in a tactile way, which is memorable and fun,” said Ms. Kolbert.

Middle School: Blue Cluster’s Spooky Ghost Bubbles To celebrate Halloween, Andrew Prasarn's science class explored “ghost bubbles,” which are a combination of water, bubble solution, and dry ice. It was a lesson in molecules and states of matter, but mostly just spooky fun!

WINTER 2020 29

Students Show Their Courage at Winter Concerts This year, the theme of the Winter Concerts was “Courage.” Through a combination of skits and musical performances, the students in the Pink through Silver Clusters entertained “sold-out” audiences over two nights in the Performing Arts Center. The stage was set in the South Building lobby with a slideshow of beautiful works of art and colorful lanterns created by students in Andrea Nelson and Sophia Saad’s classes, highlighting the themes and music to come. The music and drama departments, led by Abby Shuppy, Meredith Akins, and Michael Piedmont, spent months preparing the students for their big night. In introducing the concert, Ms. Akins said, “We’d like to thank Yvette Siegel-Herzog and Dr. Scott Gaynor for having the courage to fulfill the vision to provide an individualized education for all students, and also realizing that the arts shouldn’t be relegated to something extracurricular, but something that is necessary for a well rounded child.”






Insta Recap Best selfie ever. #happyfirstdayofschool

Congratulations to Yellow Cluster student Adam Reznik who earned his Black Belt Everyone tried "a little bit of everything" at the EC #Thanksgiving Feast! #lifeatgaynor

in Taekwondo this fall! Years of hard work and resilience paid off with this amazing accomplishment.

Apples here, apples there, apples everywhere! #applepicking


#Kindness #Inclusion #Value #Friendship — Concepts our EC and Lower Division students explored during an amazing visit with awardwinning author Kathryn Otoshi. Thanks to Book Fair Co-Chairs Kathy Yang and Nina Norwood for organizing!

Hudson Ripley, a Silver Cluster student, took the test to receive his Black Belt 2nd Dan. After successfully breaking a wooden panel, Hudson passed the test!

Blue Cluster student Sam Curry-Levine, a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, performed in this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! WINTER 2020



Skate Night

Skate Night 2019 brought over 500 members of the Gaynor community together at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers for one of our most beloved traditions. Whether they were experienced hockey or figure skaters, or this was their first time ever on two blades, everyone had a great time.



In 2005, the Gazette was 12 pages long and still being created in the townhouse on West 74th Street. Even back then, Gaynor was committed to helping the community. The students and faculty were laying the foundation for the robust service curriculum of today.

WINTER 2020 33


Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future

Questions? Please contact the Advancement Office at or 212-787-7070 ext. 1125.