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Public Schools of the Tarrytowns

Table of Contents Message from the Board President............................ 3 New Assistant Principal Joins the Middle School............... 3 Foundation 20th Anniversary ........................ 4



Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Message from the Superintendent I want to thank the diverse members of the communities of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow for the very warm welcome so many individuals have extended to me. I have been very impressed by the sense of pride in the villages expressed by students, teachers, parents, and residents of neighborhoods throughout the villages. I have been received as a new member of a very special place. Part of my entry plan has been to formally meet with key individuals and groups. I have met with Village Leaders, a vibrant ecumenical group, the Rotary Club (I continued on page 2

Sleepy Hollow Shorts............. 4 First Day of School................ 5

District Holds Community Forum on Fields, Facilities The Tarrytown Board of Education turned to the community on Sept. 19 to discuss the possibility of putting a capital projects proposition on the ballot that would finance improvements to aging District schools and to some of the Tarrytown's athletic fields.

Challenge Summer Institute.............................. 6

“No decision has been made as to whether or not to put up a proposition,” said Board President Mimi Godwin. Instead, she said, the Board and a committee of community members that has been studying facilities and fields needs presented their findings at the meeting and the Board heard from the public who attended. The Board plans to conduct a more in-depth discussion of facilities and fields needs at an Oct. 3rd meeting, then hopes to vote on whether or not to move forward at its meeting on Oct. 17, said Ms. Godwin. The Board has also established an email address,, to take questions and comments from the public.

Fall Sports Update................. 7

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher Clouet, in a presentation at the Sept. 19 meeting, noted that any decision to move ahead with a bond issue should reflect the concerns of the community at large. “We're all one community,” he said, “and we need to decide as a group whether we'll benefit or not from making these improvements.”

Board President Mimi Godwin and Superintendent Dr. Chris Clouet listen to residents discuss the need for capital improvements at the Sept. 19 meeting. If the Board votes in favor of putting a referendum before the voters, it must do so a minimum of 45 days before any vote, according to state law. If the Board votes in favor of a referendum at its Oct. 17 meeting, then Dec. 10th would be the earliest date to submit a proposition to voters, said Dr. Clouet. continued on page 2

Test Scores and APPR News Please visit our website. On the right side, halfway down, you will find information about NY State Assessment Scores, the APPR, a letter to parents from the Commissioner and Dr. Clouet's original message from

when the scores were originally released. We will hold a public meeting on Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in the Middle School auditorium to review the scores.

Message from the Superintendent continued from page 1 am a proud member), senior citizens, other groups including the Chamber of Commerce, the Public Library, TEAC and more. Let me note how thoughtful and gracious Howard Smith has been in helping me to acclimate to TUFSD. I am grateful for that. The landscape of education is transforming in historic ways that merits the attention of everyone in the community –whether or not one has students currently in the district. The Common Core you may have heard about is an important step in the history of our nation. It is the very first time in our history that we are taking steps towards developing a national set of academic standards. It is important to know that the Common Core is not a national curriculum. They are standards. They serve as an important point of reference for redesigning curricula to make teaching and learning more rigorous and relevant.

In spite of the plethora of changes, we continue to emphasize the traditional “3 Rs .” In fact, we are working on redesigning how we teach writing so we will guide our students to be better writers and, by extension, better thinkers. The district is fortunate to have a quality teaching staff, and a hardworking leadership team topped off by a strong and committed Board of Education. I am glad to be here. I look forward to serving our students and the whole community. Please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to share ideas and hear any concerns you might have. Office: 914-631-9404, email:, twitter: @TarrytownClouet

Christopher Clouet

Superintendent of Schools

Community Forum continued from page 1 “We also must keep in mind that we'll be asking the community to vote twice for our schools,” said Dr. Clouet, referring to both a proposition in the winter and the budget vote in May. Discussions surrounding the District's aging school buildings and deteriorating athletic fields are not new, said Dr. Clouet. A report on Tarrytown's fields was done in 2008, and even back then, a number of recommendations to improve the fields were made. And in January 2013, the Board heard a presentation by the Capital Projects Steering Committee that conducted a year-long study of the District's facilities and fields.

At the time, the committee estimated that capital improvements would cost the District approximately $8.4 million. Co-chairs of that commmittee — Joseph Lillis, Kiran Batheja and Paul Rode — have proposed that a number of improvements be made to the District's school buildings including: • upgrades to Sleepy Hollow High School's 35-year-old freight elevator • a partial roof replacement at Sleepy Hollow High School • masonry chimney reconstruction, plumbing upgrades, ventilation upgrades, partial roof replacement, and the installation of a three-story elevator at the Winfield Morse School • new lighting and window and roof replacement work at the John Paulding School • new gas service, masonry repairs, plumbing upgrades, electrical upgrades and partial roof replacement work at the Washington Irving School • partial roof replacement and masonry chimney repairs at the Administration Building • the demolition of the existing “carriage house,” which now serves as a storage facility and garage, and construction of a new storage/concession/ transportation facility

Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow residents discuss their ideas at the community forum.


Public Sc hools of the Tarrytowns

Proposed athletic field improvements would include:

• new synthetic turf, ball safety netting, and goal posts at the Sleepy Hollow High School multi-purpose athletic field • installation of synthetic turf at the SHHS baseball infield • replacement of the press box at the SHHS multi-purpose athletic field • sod and irrigation for the upper and lower fields at Washington Irving Intermediate School, the costs of which would be covered by private contributions “Our children are at a competitive disadvantage without turf fields,” said Mr. Batheja, who heads up the fields subcommittee. He noted that the nearby Briarcliff, Ossining, and Irvington school districts all have synthetic turf fields or are currently having the fields installed. Even with a turf field at the high school, said Mr. Batheja, the frequent wear and tear of fields in the District — particularly at Washington Irving — will continue to be an issue in the future. Many parents who attended the Sept. 19th meeting echoed Mr. Batheja's sentiments, recommending that the Board consider the installation of synthetic turf fields at Washington Irving as well. Mr. Batheja noted that improvements at Tarrytown's athletic fields are supported not only by District groups, but by a coalition of community groups including the YMCA, the village Recreation Department, AYSO soccer, and the Wolfpack non-profit youth football league. continued on page 8

Message from the Board President This is a school year that will be defined by tremendous change. This is a new era in education across our country and we in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow are fully engaged in this process. The Common Core Learning Standards are much more than a mere slogan. First, let me express how pleased the Board is with our new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Christopher Clouet, our new Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction and Human Resources, Dr. Colleen Carroll, our new Principal at John Paulding, Maureen Barnett, as well as the many new teachers and other staff members who have joined us. In addition to our current staff, this is a strong team! We have high expectations of them, but feel confident they are well positioned to lead the district through the profound changes we are facing. They are appropriately focused on the wellbeing and academic achievement of our many students. The work of the Board of Education is rooted in the need for balance. We must balance the needs of our community’s students with the needs of the wider community. We practice sound fiscal management, we listen to the community (our well-attended September 19 Public Forum on potential Capital Projects was a recent example) and we adhere to the many laws and regulations which guide our governance of the district. All buildings –such as our homes- go through cycles when repairs become necessary. We have overseen years of hard work to maintain our school buildings, but the time has come to deal

with some important facilities issues, including the need to repair several roofs. A number of parents and community members have come forward to ask us to consider an upgrading of many of our athletic fields. We are committed to making our fields available to community groups as well as our students. With over-use comes an inevitable decline in the quality of our fields. Many parents and students report that our fields are far below the quality level found in many of our neighboring communities. This puts the student-athletes at a competitive disadvantage. The Board is grappling with this set of issues and is seeking to balance the needs of every sector of our community as we deliberate on making a reasonable decision about what next steps we should take. We thank you for your support of the district. A quality school district is essential for the next generation and is key to the health of a community. This a time of great change, but working together, we are up to the task. Please attend our meetings and feel free to contact me or the Superintendent with any questions or concerns you may have.

Mimi Godwin

President, Tarrytown Board of Education

New Assistant Principal Joins the Middle School It’s been quite the year for Joseph Engelhardt. Not only has he recently taken on a new position as Assistant Principal at Sleepy Hollow Middle School, but he and his wife are expecting a baby girl—one they’ve already named Emma Violet.

Mr. Engelhardt said he especially appreciates the mentoring he's received from other Tarrytown administrators, including Superintendent of Schools Chris Clouet and Middle School Principal Elizabeth Lopez. Mr. Engelhardt joins Tarrytown after serving for more than five years as a math and science teacher at New York City’s School for Global Leaders, a public school on the Lower East Side. He also served as chair of that school’s science department and director of athletics.

He is proud of the fact that his math students at the School for Global Leaders, a majority of They also happen to be renovating “a super duper whom participate in the free and reduced lunch handyman special” home in Plainville, L.I., to program, posted some of the highest scores on replace the home where they once lived, after the 7th-grade math assessments in New York watching it being destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. state. Following the life-altering events that marked his 2012-13, Mr. Engelhardt already looks comfortable in his role at the Middle School, where he joined the administrative team in midAugust. “I am thoroughly enjoying it here,” said Mr. Engelhardt. “It’s a collaborative environment and the staff here in Sleepy Hollow have welcomed me as a part of the family. I’m humbled and proud.”

Before the School for Global Leaders, Mr. Engelhardt taught math for three years at the Secondary School for Journalism, also a part of the New York City school system. Mr. Engelhardt, a first-generation American, and his wife, Laura, a special education teacher on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, were living as newlyweds in the house in Sheepshead Bay, which had been owned by his grandfather for many years, when Hurricane Sandy struck the

region last October. Six feet of water filled the home, and the couple was only able to save some of their belongings by moving them (and themselves) to the home’s third floor. They and their two dogs, Max and Scarlet, stuck it out for two days until the water receded, then made it to Mr. Engelhardt’s car, which he had wisely parked far from the hurricane zone. The couple retreated to Port Washington, L.I., where they are now living until they settle into their new house. “Even though we went through a lot, we were lucky to have a place to go. Some of our neighbors weren’t as lucky.” Mr. Engelhardt was so moved by his neighbors’ plight that he enrolled in an online course offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to learn more about disaster assistance and management. He has already earned 30 credits in the program. Mr. Engelhardt also earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Quinnipiac University, a master’s degree in teaching from C.W. Post University, and a master’s in educational leadership from Brooklyn College.



Foundation Celebrates 20th Anniversary and Welcomes New Co-Presidents Happy anniversary to the Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns! Founded in 1993 by parents, teachers and the superintendent of schools, the Foundation has funded hundreds of programs in the arts, sciences, athletics and technology that have benefited thousands of students. The bulk of the Foundation’s funding comes from Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow community members, with a smaller percentage coming Rosa Nigro, left, and Catherine Foti, right, Founda- from non-profits and corporations. And since tion Co-Presidents its inception, the Foundation’s donor base has increased, which has allowed it to expand and provide the most up-to-date programs and cutting-edge technology for all students pre-K through 12th grade. A heartfelt thank you to our donors — all Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow students appreciate your giving! Shelly Colley, Foundation director, also welcomes two new co-presidents to the Foundation in 2013-14, Catherine Foti and Rosa Nigro, who will each serve two-year terms. Both have been a part of the Foundation’s 17-member Board of Directors for eight years, and have worked on reviewing teacher grants and ensuring that the District is awarded a balance of enrichment programs across all grades and schools. “They have also helped raise thousands of dollars through our annual dinner dance and auction,” said Ms. Colley. “It is a natural progression for Cathy and Rosa to take on an even bigger role now. I am looking forward to working closer with them — we have a very busy year ahead of us.”


Dinner Dance Set for March 29

The Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns has scheduled its annual Dinner Dance and Auction, which will celebrate the Foundation’s 20th anniversary, on March 29 at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club. The Dinner Dance and Auction is the largest fundraising event by the Foundation, and invitations will be mailed to community members over the winter months. Volunteers are needed in many aspects of organizing this event. For more information about how you can help, visit the website at, contact Shelly Colley at 914-366-8457 or email

Sleepy Hollow Shorts Dr. Carroll Named PDK Emerging Leader Colleen E. Carroll, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and personnel at the Tarrytown Union Free School District in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., has been named a PDK Emerging Leader. Dr. Carroll earned this distinction for her work helping teachers strengthen and expand their strategies for teaching reading and writing. “I am passionate about weaving literacy into every subject area,” Dr. Carroll said. “I believe that children who are successful readers and writers have the skills to be successful in all other areas and in life outside the classroom. As an administrator, I help reading teachers and classroom teachers reach every student by providing them with continuous professional development.” Since the Common Core State Standards are placing a stronger emphasis on teaching literacy, Dr. Carroll has been helping secondary teachers incorporate the standards into their curriculum.


“I give teachers the tools they need to feel successful at teaching reading strategies through their content area, and I help them see the value in doing so,” she said. “It is a true team effort and I am inspired daily by the teachers I work with.” PDK International, the education association that has recognized Carroll as an up-andcoming leader in the K-12 profession, will host Dr. Carroll and 25 other education leaders at a weekend networking event this December. The PDK Emerging Leaders will gather in Washington, D.C., meet with federal education policymakers, and share best practices with each other. “The Emerging Leaders program is our way of paying it forward in public education,” said William J. Bushaw, PDK International’s executive director. “We find people under 40 who are standouts in the profession and we bring them together for a weekend of networking and expertise-sharing in the nation’s capital. By investing in these young leaders, we are investing in the future.” PDK International is an association that represents nearly 30,000 professionals in K-12

Public Sc hools of the Tarrytowns

education across the country. Every year, it recognizes a new class of PDK Emerging Leaders. For more information on PDK’s 20132014 Class of Emerging Leaders, go to www. Information about PDK International is at

SHHS Musician Named All-State Bassoonist Congratulations to Lily Sands, 17, a Sleepy Hollow High School senior, for being named to the NYSSMA All-State Orchestra on bassoon. Lily, who has been selected for the second year in a row, is one of only two bassoonists selected statewide to the orchestra, and the only bassoonist from Westchester County. She will perform with the All-State Orchestra at its annual Winter Conference at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester in December. Lily, who also plays piano, performs regularly at Sleepy Hollow in the concert band, orchestra, and pit orchestra. She has been taking lessons on the bassoon since age 9, and is enrolled on Saturdays throughout the school year in the Juilliard Pre-College program for young musicians.

Schools Open with Anticipation, Learning, and Even a Barbeque

Tarrytown schools opened on Monday, Sept. 9, with a few nervous introductions, some fun getting-to-know-you activities, and a lot of learning. Students entering new schools this year learned how to navigate unfamiliar hallways and lockers, met their new teachers, and, at the High School and Middle School, even enjoyed an outdoor barbeque. Here are some scenes from Tarrytown’s first day of school. Bridges


Challenge Summer Institute: Fun and Enrichment in Equal Doses Want to build a rocket? Learn about architecture? Conduct a mock crime scene investigation? Design a new toy? Then look no further than the Challenge Summer Institute, a four-year-old summer enrichment program designed around students’

said, “is more or less mythical, the gold standard for a challenging occupation.” In his Challenge Institute class, Mr. Bencosme’s students “take the raw science of Newtonian physics and apply it to design awesome vehicles to launch things into space over the field at Washington Irving School.” Along with the hands-on classes, students at all levels also participate in a daily body-mind class that varies slightly based on age groups, but incorporates a mix of martial arts, yoga, kickboxing, and breathing exercises.

passions and giving them a chance to enjoy learning and worry less about testing.

In this summer’s session, second and thirdgraders engrossed themselves in Myths and Legends, where they read classic myths and legends, then created their own. In Digital Storytelling, the same age group used computers and software to create storytelling projects. Solar Power was a hands-on class that helped the youngest students learn the science of the sun and how to harness the sun’s rays into energy.

The popular Institute, which takes place for two weeks in August each year at Tarrytown’s Washington Irving School, offers students a slate of classes at three levels — second and third grade, fourth and fifth grade, and sixth through eighth grade. This summer, 73 students enrolled in the program, which is self-sustaining based on tuition. “It’s an active, hands-on program,” said Institute Director Maureen Massaro, who also teaches during the school year in Tarrytown’s yearlong Challenge Program. The summer institute employs nine instructors, each of whom teaches two to three classes. “Our classes are driven by students and their interests, and each year, we try to add something new based on their ideas,” said Ms. Massaro. “Welcome, future rocket scientists!” is how Rafael Bencosme, a dual language teacher at Winfield Morse School, greets his Challenge Summer Institute students during the Institute classes. “When the kids think about occupations, certain careers come to mind first. Astronaut is always near the top of the list,” said Mr. Bencosme. The job title of astronaut, he


In the fourth and fifth grade program, students were able to choose from courses including Crime Scene Investigation, where they studied criminal investigation techniques and tried to solve crimes. In the Structure and Design class, students studied the architectural and engineering principles behind the structure and stability of buildings. They also created their own building models, using materials ranging from paper to Legos and K’Nex. And in Toy Company, students with an entrepreneurial streak in them studied how toys are designed and marketed, and formed their own toy “companies,” brainstorming the design, creation and marketing of their toy concepts. Jack Taylor, an incoming fifth grader who was enrolled in the Challenge Institute along with his younger sister Sophie, said his favorite class was Structure and Design. “My favorite part was learning more about architecture and building structures,” said Jack. “It was also fun being in the school during the summer and using the school in a different way.” Jack and Sophie’s mother, Michelle McHale-Taylor, said both of her children were enthralled with the Challenge Institute. This summer was their first time participating.

Save the Dates! If your child is interested in enrolling in the 2014 Challenge Summer Institute, the dates will be from Aug. 4-Aug. 15, 2014. Although courses won’t be posted until early 2014, students take their choice of three courses, each class meeting for 90 minutes per day. Many courses offered in 2013 will be returning next year. Also, new in 2014 will be the option to register for single weeks and half-day programs. You can find the registration form for the 2014 Institute at

Public Sc hools of the Tarrytowns

“The range of courses was great and introduced them to many new things, ranging from martial arts, to courtroom proceedings, to playwriting,” she said. “It was also a great springboard to get them revved up for the school year to begin again.” Middle School students who attend Institute classes get more serious, with a Forensic Science class that takes crime scene investigation to new levels. They study fingerprinting, blood spatter analysis, bullet case analysis and other techniques that real investigators use. They also study famous crimes for historical relevance, and construct mock crime scenes. The older students could also take Legal Eagles, an introduction to mock trial. They immersed themselves in the legal process, learning how to present testimony, develop questioning skills, and understand legal terminology. Mapping the ontinued on page 7

Fall Sports Update:

Three New Coaches and Sleepy Hollow Spirit! Tarrytown’s fall sports teams are already under way with the new season, and Director of Athletics Chuck Scarpulla is excited about what he promises will be “a solid athletics program all year.” The District welcomed three new coaches this year: • Ryan Fisher, who is coaching Varsity Girls Soccer after a five-year coaching career at Our Lady of Victory School in Irvington. • Clare Carr, a Morse School teacher who is coaching the District’s merged Swim Team. • Rachel Flaherty, a graduate of Dominican College who has taken over for Leana Peltier as coach of the Girls Volleyball team. “I’m happy to add those three new coaches to a quality coaching team here,” said Mr. Scarpulla. At every level this year, more students have tried out for Junior Varsity and Varsity teams than in previous years, said Mr. Scarpulla, which is a testament to how well the athletics program is regarded. “We’re pleased that our coaches are working hard already, and our kids have really bought into the sports program here.” Sleepy Hollow fans can expect to see solid performances from all of the teams, said Mr. Scarpulla. The swim team, he noted, has placed second in the Divisional Championships for the last two years and will be looking to unseat their rivals, Ursuline, in 2013. The varsity field hockey team, under Coach Alexandra Griffin, is motivated to win, after having raised enough money over the spring and summer to travel to the KSA Events three-day tournament and training camp in Florida to work on their field hockey skills and compete against teams from around the country. Mr. Scarpulla also said he expects a good season from the foo ll team, coached by Steve Borys, and boys soccer, coached by Brian Duschenchuk. “The Sleepy Hollow spirit and leadership is alive and well,” said Mr. Scarpulla. “I invite anyone in the community to come on over and watch our kids practice and compete.” Mr. Scarpulla urged parents and supporters to subscribe to the interactive calendar on the District website for game information, schedules and athletics news. Instructions for subscribing to the interactive calendar can be found at documents/usecalendar.htm.

Photo by Joe Golden

Challenge Summer Institute continued from page 6 Mind was an introduction to psychology for the older students, and gave them a chance to study the theories of psychologists like Pavlov and Skinner, examine how the brain works, and even conduct personality tests on themselves. A Smart Robotics class, which applies the skills of measurement, geometry and computer

programming, was seventh-grader Michael Miles’ favorite. “The robotic course enhanced my knowledge of programming,” said Michael. “It’s learning that’s fun and entertaining.” In the summer of 2014, said Ms. Massaro, the Challenge Institute will likely add more robotics equipment to the program, and the

teachers are considering adding a computer programming course. “Each year, we listen to our students and do our best to add more course offerings based on their interests,” she said. “After all, it’s about them. If they put forth an idea, we try to make it happen.”



UFSD of the Tarrytowns 200 North Broadway Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 School News-Cable Channel 77 Board of Education Mimi Godwin, President Vincent Nadile, Vice President Carol Banino, Trustee Craig Laub, Trustee Jennifer Liddy-Green, Trustee B. Joseph Lillis, Trustee Katharine M. Swibold, Trustee

Non-Profit US Postage PAID Permit #91005 White Plains, NY 10605 CARRIER PRESORT


Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher Clouet (914) 631-9404 Evelyn McCormack, Editor Maria Ilardi, Art Director

The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns do not discriminate on the basis of sex, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, citizenship, age or disability or any other protected classification in its employment, admissions practices, vocational opportunities or access to and treatment in programs or activities, in accordance with Title IX, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Inquiries concerning application of these regulations may be made to the Assistant Superintendent of the UFSD of the Tarrytowns, 200 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. 10591.

District Holds Community Forum on Fields, Facilities continued from page 2 According to Mr. Lillis, who co-chairs the finance subcommittee of the Capital Projects Steering Committee, the cost of the improvements would total $9,887,673. But he noted that $800,000 of the District's reserve funds, along with a private contribution of $70,000 toward the cost of improving the Washington Irving fields, would result in a bonded amount of $9,030,000. The New York State reimbursement rate on capital projects would be 30 percent, said Mr. Lillis. As a result, the net cost on the school tax bill in Tarrytown would be 1.11 percent. For each $1 million change in the project cost, the school tax bill would be impacted by .125 percent.

Under that scenario, a $5,000 annual school tax bill would increase by an additional $55.50 a year, or $4.63 a month. A $10,000 school tax bill would increase by $111 a year, or $9.25 a month. A $15,000 school tax will would increase by $166.50 a year, or $13.88 a month, and a $20,000 school tax bill would increase by $222 a year or $18.50 a month.

Tarrytown Athletic Director Chuck Scarpulla talks with residents at the Sept. 19 meeting.

Of the total proposed improvements, roofing improvements comprise 31 percent, field improvements amount to 22 percent, the carriage house reconstruction amounts to 18 percent, and the remainder of improvements would comprise 29 percent of the total costs.

The timeline for the improvement work itself would take about two years, said committee members, once state approvals are cleared and construction begins.

To contact the Board of Education with questions or suggestions, email them at


Public Schools of the Tarrytown


Tarrytown Schools Fall 2013 Newsletter  
Tarrytown Schools Fall 2013 Newsletter