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Home Schools Rye Schools' Super: 3,250 Students, Follow Me on Twitter & Other Updates

Rye Schools’ Super: 3,250 Students, Follow Me on Twitter & Other Updates

We've go a letter out from Rye School Super Eric Byrne with various updates before school starts next week, when 3,250 kids will head to the classroom. There are updates on courses, facilities, professional development and enrollment.

And "The Super" would like you to follow him on Twitter @EricByrneRCSD. We hope thee are no middle of the night Twitter rampages, like some other people we know…

The Super

ric Byrne, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools

Rye City School District

555 Theodore Fremd Avenue, B-101 Rye, New York 10580

Tel.: (914) 967-6100 Ext. 6271 Fax: (914) 925-8950

August 28, 2018

Dear RCSD Parents and Guardians:

The Rye City School District has been busy over the summer! Over the past two months, teachers, administrators, and other school personnel have been working hard to prepare for the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. We look forward to welcoming your students back on Wednesday, September 5, for the beginning of another successful year.

On a personal note, I am looking forward to my second year as Superintendent of Schools. I spent a great deal of time over the past year conducting entry interviews with community members, parents, faculty, and staff to get to know Rye and its people, while building a strategic vision of teaching and learning for the

District’s future. Looking ahead, I intend to focus on the opportunities I see for growth and improvement, including more focus on students “in the middle,” creating more inclusive opportunities for special education students, bringing more high quality, meaningful professional development for faculty and staff, thinking differently about how the schools utilize space, and improving scheduling. I have been so impressed with the willingness of faculty, parents, community members, and students to examine what we are doing well here in the District and think about how we can improve and build on what is already a great program. I am looking forward to seeing all that we can accomplish together during this next school year. In the meantime, I have a few updates to report.

Curricular Changes

Ninth graders at Rye High School will take a new course this year for half of their physical education credit. The class, developed by RHS Physical Education teachers, consists of four wellness-related units, including yoga and Pilates, nutrition, fitness, anatomy, and physiology. A new course for Spanish students who have completed level 5 is now available; “Advanced Communication in Spanish” is an elective designed to improve students’ communication fluency. For those students who have completed American Sign Language 2, an ASL 3 class is offered beginning this fall.

At Rye Middle School, all incoming 6th graders will be taking a new reading workshop course utilizing curriculum resources from Teachers College at Columbia University. Students will learn about characterization, the non-fiction genre, and reading about social issues. The 6th grade English and social studies teachers received professional development at Columbia to support teaching the workshop over the summer. American Sign Language (ASL), previously only available to rising 7th graders, is now an elective available to 6th graders. Project Lead the Way engineering classes (PLTW) have been in place at RHS for several years. Now RMS is offering two middle level “Gateway” engineering units for 7th and 8th graders.

Based on the recommendation of the District’s Math Committee, the District will be piloting two Singapore Math-based curricula in each of the three elementary schools. The District hopes to decide between the two programs in early 2019, with the new program being rolled out District-wide in the fall of 2019.

Osborn School will pilot two integrated co-teaching (ICT) classrooms in grades two and four this coming school year. The co-teaching model, widely in use in the High School and Middle School and broadly in elementary schools in New York City and throughout Westchester County, consists of classrooms with two teachers and a teaching assistant in each class. The District hopes to roll out elementary ICT classrooms more broadly next year.

School Facilities Update

The District replaced the bank of bleacher seats in the main High School gym over the summer – you may recall they were damaged by understandably excited fans during the boys varsity basketball game versus Byram Hills at the end of the regular season.

Three RMS classrooms were completely renovated, floor to ceiling, and six received new wood grain flooring. Several hallways received a lot of attention over the summer, with all new flooring, ceilings, and lighting. The school now has two 3D printers and two laptop carts holding 30 Chromebooks for use by the PLTW engineering classes. The school also added several new laptop carts, each holding 30 Chromebooks, for use as needed. The technology was purchased by the District with assistance from the school’s Parent Organization.

Midland School received two interactive television sets over the summer and a new laptop cart with 25 Chromebooks. The 3rd graders will be using brand new touchscreen Chromebooks this year. Two rooms in the kindergarten wing received beautiful new flooring.

At Milton School, a new, solid surface playground replaced the wood chip playground to the rear of the school, and a new bottle filling station was installed on the second floor; both come courtesy of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). Milton’s gymnasium floor was completely resurfaced: stripped, sanded, re-lined and buffed to a mirror shine. Third grade students will be using touchscreen Chromebooks this year, courtesy of the District and the PTO.

Osborn School students have a brand-new playground coming in early September, courtesy of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO). The front sidewalk in the “drop off zone” has been completely replaced, and there are beautiful new floors in the nine third grade wing classrooms, hallway, and teachers’ lounge. Third graders will be using new touchscreen Chromebooks this year, courtesy of the District and the PTO.

RCSD Professional Development

Thanks to a generous grant from the Rye Fund for Education, 18 elementary and secondary level teachers and three administrators participated in two days of Project Based Learning training with Global Education Consultant Jill Ackers-Clayton this summer. Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by investigating and responding to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge. Teachers will continue to be trained in Project Based Learning teaching techniques throughout the school year.

Over the summer, technology courses taught by the District’s IT specialists attracted teachers from all five schools, while others chose to learn more about the Literacy Workshop Model from the District’s two new Literacy Staff Developers, Tara Bauer and Katie Wears. Ms. Bauer and Ms. Wears will continue to bring literacy-related professional development to teachers in the elementary schools throughout the school year. Ms. Kerri Winderman, formerly a Staff Developer at Milton School, is now the District-wide elementary Math Staff Developer and will be supporting teachers’ professional learning and instructional practice in mathematics.

Challenge Success

In April, the RCSD partnered with Challenge Success, a project of the Stanford University School of Education that seeks to redefine what success means to students, parents, and communities like Rye. In late July, I traveled with a small group of faculty members and administrators to Boston to undergo training at a Challenge Success leadership seminar. A larger “Leadership Team” from the District will travel to Stanford University for a couple of days in September to attend the fall Partner School Conference. At the conference, the District’s team will create an action plan for the work ahead. I will keep you posted on our progress as we continue down this important path.

Enrollment Information

The School District’s enrollment has decreased slightly. This September, we will welcome 210 kindergarten students, bringing our total student population to 3,250, versus 3,369 at the same time last year.

I hope you and your students have a terrific fall, and I look forward to seeing you at school and community events throughout the year. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @EricByrneRCSD. Sincerely,

Eric Byrne, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools

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