High Energy and New Initiatives Add Up to New School Year Excitement at Rye Neck

rnLthumbRye Neck elementary students didn’t begin the new school year until September 6, but administrators and teachers set the wheels in motion long before.


By Janice Llanes Fabry


Rye Neck elementary students didn’t begin the new school year until September 6, but administrators and teachers set the wheels in motion long before.


RNBab“The teachers have come back with incredible energy,” said Daniel Warren Principal Joan Babcock. “They have written letters to all the incoming students, and their classrooms look stunning. We have an incredible group of professionals who are very collaborative and always looking for ways to enrich the curriculum.”


Both F.E. Bellows and Daniel Warren schools are continuing the transformation of their libraries, which have incorporated state-of-the-art technology and are entirely interwoven with the curriculum. The district’s initiative strengthens the connection between core library and classroom skills in all subjects. Students have access to video conferencing, vertical tours, and voice threads.


“Everything is interconnected,” added Mrs. Babcock. “Today’s young students are natives to this technology; we’re the immigrants.”


F.E. Bellows adapted the Book Talk program, introduced at Rye Neck Middle and High schools last year. Fourth and fifth graders chose one book to read over the summer from a list compiled by the teachers. They were required to take notes and complete reporting forms. Faculty and staff facilitators, who also read one of the selections, will meet with their individual groups for what promise to be lively discussions September 13.


“I think they get more out of their summer reading this way,” said F.E. Bellows Principal Marge Longabucco. “Of course, we don’t discourage students from reading more than one book, but we’re going for quality rather than quantity.”


Third graders read animal adaptation books and completed math packets to get a head start on the multiplication tables.
“We find the kids who do their work over the summer adapt to the school year’s programs much better,” observed Mrs. Longabucco. “It avoids brain freeze.”  


rnLAt the end of the summer, consultants from the Math In Focus program, which originated in Singapore and was implemented at Rye Neck last year, worked with teachers at both schools on its next installment. The rigorous curriculum provides differentiated instruction, offers visual mathematic instruction in greater depth, and encourages students to be more analytical. Both principals agree that it’s essential to reinforce the skills and concepts at home and in the classroom in order to give students a competitive edge.


“The program is evolving and it’s important that we pace all the units carefully,” Mrs. Longabucco explained. “We enrich the curriculum for those students who are excelling and provide additional support for those students who need it.”


A number of exciting events are scheduled in the elementary schools this fall. At the end of the month, award-winning musician John Farrell will visit Daniel Warren for a concert highlighting “respect for others” through music and poetry. The Rye Historical Society will introduce first graders to colonial life, and the US Army Field Band will kick off Veterans Day celebrations.


F.E. Bellows will hold a book fair next month, and their annual circus training and performances will be returning by popular demand in November. Winter concerts will be held in December.

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