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District Newsletter

 Fall 2021

Harrison High School Students Achieve Milestones

Debate Team Earns National Honor; Seniors Named Academic All-Americans

Four members of the Harrison High School Debate Team earned the prestigious National Speech & Debate Association's Academic All-American award, which recognizes academic rigor, competitive speech and debate success, and personal excellence. From more than 141,000 student members of the National Speech & Debate Association, fewer than 1% of students earn the Academic All American award each year. Congratulations to seniors Ali Ahmad, Mai Blaustein, Annie Chen, and Elizabeth Murno. For the third consecutive year, the Debate Team also has earned membership in the National Speech & Debate Association's prestigious 100 Club. To achieve this recognition, students earn points based on competition, leadership, and service activities. This recognition demonstrates outstanding commitment to teaching students essential life skills including communication, research, listening, writing, and organization.  This year also marks the fifth time a Harrison student has been ranked by the NSDA as the #1 Lincoln-Douglas debater in the nation.


Seniors Recognized for Academic Achievement

Seven Harrison High School Seniors were named Commended Students in the 2022 National Merit® Scholarship Program. Commended Students are recognized for exceptional academic promise demonstrated by their outstanding performance on the PSAT/NMSQT qualifying test. 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are recognized. Congratulations to Julia Ansel, Ethan Gilden, Macarena Hesse, Joanna Howson, Jack Kelly, Benjamin Lovinger, and Graham Napack for their achievement.


Senior Joshua Feldman Earns All-State Band Honors

Harrison High School senior Joshua Feldman, earned the position as first chair French Horn in the All-State Symphonic Band. Joshua competed with students from across New York State and earned the position as a result of his outstanding performance at the New York State School Music Association Solo Festival, where he earned a perfect score. Joshua has studied instrumental music since elementary school and has been an active member of the Harrison High School Band where he participates in concert band, symphonic winds, and marching band as one of the drum majors.  (Photo courtesy of D. Feldman)

LMK Middle School Students: Engaged, Active Learners

8th Graders Bring Learning to Life

Eighth grade students taking Design Technology built robots and set them into motion. Robotics is one unit in the 8th grade technology curriculum, which also includes sustainability and manufacturing. Students are introduced to production technology through units that range from hands-on woodworking, to learning the history of mass production, and understanding how robotics are used in factories.  Students use the Design Process to create a robot model and then work to make the robot accomplish tasks and solve problems. The Robotics unit provides students with foundational understanding of design of complex machines that are made of metal and plastics and use electricity, magnetism, and computer coding.  The International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP) criteria are aligned with the Design Process taught at each grade level: Inquiring and Analyzing, Developing Ideas, Creating the Solution, Evaluating. Materials for the robots were funded by a grant from the Harrison Educational Foundation.


Students Apply Math Outside the Classroom

Seventh grade students at LMK Middle School are learning how math skills apply outside the classroom. The introductory lesson for the 7th grade math unit on statistics began with a visit from Greenburgh Nature Center. The nature center team conducted a lesson about the environment, which included individual and group activities to reinforce learning, and provided students with common knowledge, understanding, and vocabulary. The lesson served as a foundation for the upcoming unit on statistics. Students learned to categorize, applied mathematical equations to calculate information including water use and carbon footprint, and discussed how math applies to their everyday lives. At the end of the lesson, students shared reflections on their learning. Teachers integrate what students learned about the environment when they introduce statistics, and demonstrate how math concepts apply to real world circumstances. This interdisciplinary approach is integral to the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP) philosophy, and aligns with the IBMYP learning standards. 

 

Learning Thrives in Elementary School Classrooms

Preston Students Build Self Awareness

This year, students at Preston Elementary School describe how they feel by selecting a word from one of four colored quadrants on a grid known as the “Mood Meter.” Preston is piloting the use of the Mood Meter as a tool to build self-awareness and communicate feelings. The Mood Meter was created by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence as a tool to identify, label and express feelings. Students were introduced to the Mood Meter at the start of the school year. Classroom teachers explained how to use the meter to identify feelings that correspond to a colored area on the grid. Throughout the day, students rely on the grid to communicate feelings – in classrooms and hallways, at lunch, and on the playground. Preston Principal, Mr. Kortright is encouraged by how students have incorporated the meter into their everyday interactions with each other and adults, “Our students are building an emotional awareness and vocabulary they will carry with them beyond Preston.”

Students also rely on the meter to guide their discussions. During a recent 4th grade English Language Arts lesson, students were asked to analyze the development of characters from the beginning of the story through the end. Students used their “mood meter” vocabulary to chronicle and evaluate the emotional progression of fictional characters in literature. With the Mood Meter, students not only develop a common understanding and vocabulary about emotional intelligence and empathy, but also the skills to effectively express their feelings and thoughts.


HAS Students Create Art Inspired by Jasper Johns

Kindergartners at Harrison Avenue reinforced their knowledge of letters in the alphabet in art class, while continuing to work on their ability to write letters of the alphabet. HAS art teacher, Lisa Monti introduced American artist Jasper Johns' collaged and painted work, “Alphabet” to kindergarten classes. Students learned about Johns' style and methods and were inspired by the bright colors and textures. Kindergarteners’ Johns’ inspired alphabet artwork began with texture rubbings, followed by adding letters of the alphabet, and then finally the brightly colored paint. Just like Jasper Johns, students arranged their pieces in an organized grid, but then experienced that the many textures and colors make us move our eyes all around the paper.


Parsons First Graders Hunt for Rhyming Words, Build Literacy Skills

First grade students at the Parsons Elementary school were excited to build their reading skills by chanting sounds, identifying letters, and discovering words that rhyme during shared reading lessons. Shared reading is a dynamic, interactive approach to learning. Teachers lead students through text posted on the Smartboard and group-reading books to support development of reading fluency, literacy skills and phonological awareness.  Teachers begin by modeling letter sounds for students, who enthusiastically mimic what they hear and connect sounds with the letters they see in front of them. Reading as a group provides an environment for teachers to differentiate instruction as students learn together, support each other to break words into sounds, identify patterns, rhyming words, and increase vocabulary and sight word recognition. Lessons like this occur in first grade classrooms across the district as students develop reading fluency, literacy skills, and phonological awareness on their way to becoming fluent readers. 


Purchase Kindergarten Students Learn How Color Reacts to Heat

As the school year began, kindergarten students at the Purchase School learned about heat absorption. Teachers and students gathered outside as a grade level to test how colors absorb heat differently.  Students held black and white boards in the sun, shared observations and compared how much heat is absorbed by black paper versus white paper. They also discussed how heat absorption affects their everyday lives, including which color t-shirt is best to wear on a hot, sunny day.  The lesson served a dual purpose– building collaborative skills and getting to know one another while learning science, as all the kindergarten classes interacted and learned together.

Live Performances Return to Harrison High School

HHS Students, Faculty Perform Musical Revue

Celebrating a return to live performances, members of the Harrison Schools community performed in All Together Now! - a special one-time only musical showcase. The performance featured members of the Harrison High School Chorus, HHS Husky Harmonics and the LMK Skylarks, as well as a special Faculty Chorus, comprised of elementary, middle and high school teachers performing beloved and familiar Broadway show tunes as solos, duets, trios, quartets, and full ensemble numbers.  Students began working on music over the summer. Chorus teacher Ms. Meghan Test reflected on the show, “Our socially-distanced and masked return to live performance was a fantastic way to open the concert season and celebrate being back and all together.”  The program was made possible by Music Theater International, a leading theatrical licensing agency, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI provided schools and theatres around the globe with an exclusive musical revue featuring songs from beloved shows…all free-of-charge. 

All Together Now! Playbill


HHS Playhouse Stages Dear Chuck

Audiences enjoyed HHS Playhouse production of Dear Chuck by Jonathan Dorf. Harrison High School theater teacher and HHS Playhouse advisor Nina Haberli selected Dear Chuck as a play that could be staged in a socially distanced manner, and be an excellent vehicle for the many talented actors in the club. The wide array of scenes and monologues in this production featured the talents of HHS Playhouse club members: Angel Aguilar, Barbara Borrell, Ulysses Bravo, Emily Caragliano, Albieris Castano, Jonathan Choi, Chris Collazo, Simona Forgione, Hikari Fujino, Aaralyn Gravagna, Lexi Gulla, Hailey Helmer, Joanna Howson, Sasha Konigsberg, Joey Lipple-Smetana, Sohji Matsuda, Eleanor Millard, Nolan Regan, Philip Schultz, Angelina Siconolfi, Sam Vallejos, and Lana Waights. The HHS technical crew for this productions included: Stephanie Andre, Jonathan Choi, Gia Ciulla, Shannon Kenny, Cate Latini, Dan Maron, Stella O'Connell, Georgia Robb, Elita Robertson, Alondra Nolasco Rojas, Nicole Salazar , Caroline Tanico and Lauren Ugarte.

Faculty and Staff News

HHS Teachers Recognized for Excellence

Harrison High School Teachers, Dr. Jen Daddino and Ms. Kim Maricevic, were named Co-Teaching Pair of the Year at the annual New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Conference. The award recognizes excellence as the Outstanding ENL and Classroom/Content teacher pair in New York State.  The state TESOL association supports education of English language learners at all levels of education, with focus on classroom practices, research, programs, and curriculum development. Jen and Kim also have written several articles about their work and presented at conferences to share their expertise and experiences with other teaching professionals.