Watch April 14 Task Force Meeting Here
The Task Force on Reducing Violence in the Lives of Children and Youth help a public meeting in New Rochelle City Hall on April 14. You can view the meeting here.
On March 14th, Columbus students and staff, like many educators and students across the nation, paused to reflect and honor the teachers and students who tragically lost their lives in Parkland, Florida.
Students in grades 3, 4, and 5 assembled silently in the back playground and formed a large peace symbol. After this activity, teachers led discussions in their rooms and asked students to reflect on how they, individually and collectively, could increase peace and kindness and inclusion at Columbus, around New Rochelle, and in the world at large. After speaking for a while, students each wrote a thought pertaining to the activity and how they might help increase peace now! Similarly, primary students all signed a large bulletin board promising to be ONE of the brave at our school who would spread kindness and help friends who are being bullied or excluded. Bulletin boards in our main hallways now display students' writings following these exercises.
Since the beginning of the year, Ms. Owens and I have provided every classroom teacher with a few books that have been read aloud and discussed in class. Together, the books engage children in dialogue about accepting differences, allowing others to be different, helping those who are excluded, and more. As a school, we have read: Each Kindness, by Jaqueline Woodson; One, by Kathryn Otoshi; Oliver, by Birgitta Sif; and excerpts from a book called, You Can't Say "You Can't Play," by Vivian Paley.
The themes and lessons that run throughout these stories match well with our long-standing school expectations that Columbus students SOAR (are Safe, Organized, Accountable, and Respectful). You Can't Say: "you can't play" is also an important RULE that is meant to guide children's behavior and help all students feel connected to friends in and out of class.
On March 14th, as we stood together to reflect and honor those who have lost their lives to violence in schools, our energies turned toward the commitments we continue to hold to one another, and to make Columbus a more caring and peace-filled school community, always.
Familias de Columbus:
El 14 de marzo, los estudiantes y el personal de Columbus, como muchos educadores y estudiantes en todo el país, se detuvieron para reflexionar y honrar a los maestros y estudiantes que perdieron la vida trágicamente en Parkland, Florida.
Los estudiantes en los grados 3, 4 y 5 se reunieron en silencio en el patio trasero y formaron un gran símbolo de paz. Después de esta actividad, los maestros dirigieron las discusiones en sus habitaciones y les pidieron a los estudiantes que reflexionaran sobre cómo ellos, individual y colectivamente, podrían aumentar la paz, la bondad y la inclusión en Columbus, Nueva Rochelle y el mundo en general. Después de hablar por un tiempo, los estudiantes escribieron un pensamiento relacionado con la actividad y cómo podrían ayudar a aumentar la paz ahora. De manera similar, todos los estudiantes de primaria firmaron un tablón de anuncios con la promesa de ser UNO de los más valientes de nuestra escuela, que difundiriá la bondad y ayudaría a los amigos que están siendo intimidados o excluidos. Los tablones de anuncios en nuestros pasillos principales ahora muestran las escrituras de los estudiantes que siguen estos ejercicios.
Desde el comienzo del año, la Sra. Owens y yo hemos proporcionado a todos los maestros de clase algunos libros que se han leído en voz alta y se han discutido en clase. Juntos, los libros involucran a los niños en el diálogo sobre la aceptación de las diferencias, permitiendo que los demás sean diferentes, ayudando a aquellos que están excluidos, y más. Como escuela, hemos leído: Each Kindness, por Jaqueline Woodson; One, por Kathryn Otoshi; Oliver, por Birgitta Sif; y extractos de un libro titulado, You Can not Say "You Can't Play", de Vivian Paley.
Los temas y las lecciones que se encuentran a lo largo de estas historias coinciden con nuestras expectativas escolares desde hace mucho tiempo que niños de Columbus SOAR (sean seguros, organizados, responsables y respetuosos). No se puede decir: "no se puede jugar" es también una REGLA importante que debe guiar el comportamiento de los niños y ayudar a todos los estudiantes a sentirse conectados con sus amigos dentro y fuera de clase.
El 14 de marzo, mientras estábamos juntos para reflexionar y honrar a aquellos que perdieron la vida por la violencia en las escuelas, nuestras energías se volcaron hacia los compromisos que seguimos manteniendo el uno con el otro, y para hacer de Columbus una comunidad escolar más solícita y pacífica, siempre.
Just like the weather this past weekend, the Columbus Chess team is warming up.
On Saturday, January 27, 2018, the Columbus Chess team traveled to Cottle
Elementary school in Eastchester to compete in a National Scholastic Chess
Foundation chess tournament. The Columbus team won seven awards including
first place teams in both the Booster and Primary Novice sections.
The Columbus team came in first place in the Booster section led by Ignacio
Valencia who came in second place. Individual awards were also won by Kevin
Lopez - 5th place, and Dylan Minchez – 7th place. Also playing in the Booster
section for Columbus were Frida Arenas, Salvador Torres, Sahir Aguilar, Evelyn
Sanchez, Alan Verghese, Aiden Rodriguez, and Kenneth Servilla.
The Columbus team also took first place in the Primary Novice section lead by
Dylan Solovyev who came in first place in this section. Also winning an individual
award was Sofia Valencia who came in 9th place. Playing in the Primary Novice
section were Naolin Concha, Gianna Murgia, Joel Salick, Giovanna Murgia and
The highest rated chess player on the team, Gabriella Ceja competed in the
Columbus Elementary school will be hosting their second NSCF tournament of the
year on March 24, 2018.
Here are the new dates for the workshops FOR PARENTS on reading, writing, and math.
Aquí están las nuevas fechas para los talleres PARA PADRES sobre lectura, escritura y matemáticas.
Kindergarten and 1st Grade (March 1st & May 16th) 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
2nd and 3rd Grades (March 2nd and May 18th) 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
4th and 5th Grades (March 7th and May 22nd) 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
Our teachers are thrilled to share with you great ideas for helping your children develop into strong readers, writers, and creative mathematicians!
Come and learn about the curricula we use and how you can BECOME your child’s COACH and PARTNER right now, and in the years ahead!
¡Nuestros maestros están encantados de compartir con ustedes grandes ideas para ayudar a sus hijos a convertirse en lectores fuertes, escritores y matemáticos creativos!
¡Venga y aprenda sobre los currículos que usamos y cómo puede convertirse en el COACH y PARTNER de su hijo ahora y para adelante!
Beginning January 2018 Comenzando en enero
English as a Second Language Ingles como Segundo idioma martes y jueves /Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00-10:30 AM Columbus School
Clases para obtener su diploma de la Escuela la Secundaria en Español lunes y miércoles /Mondays and Wednesdays 9:00-10:30 AM Columbus School
Para obtener más información communiqués con la Sra. Merlucci o Sra. Sanchez en la Oficina Principal.
For more information, contact Mrs. Merlucci or Mrs. Sanchez in the Main Office.
Do you want your child to learn to read, write, and speak beautiful Spanish? Spanish classes for students in grades 2nd—5th will begin JANUARY 8TH at Columbus School, Mondays through Thursdays after school. For more information, contact Mrs. Merlucci or Mrs. Sanchez in the Main Office. Link to printer flyer.
¿Desea que su hijo aprenda a leer, escribir y hablar español? Las clases de español para los estudiantes de segundo grado a quinto (2nd—5th) comenzarán el 8 de enero en Columbus, de lunes a jueves después de la escuela (3:20 PM). Para obtener más información comuniqué con la Sra. Merlucci o Sra. Sánchez en la Oficina Principal.
We are halfway through the school year! We are very pleased with the work teachers and students are doing every day. Thank you for your cooperation and support in all that you do to collaborate with us. After-school clubs for students in grades 3-5 are going so well! Students love the time to pursue different kinds of interests with different teachers, and we are so pleased to have an additional hour after the clubs to support the kids with homework, reading, writing, and math. Also, keep in mind that we now offer—for free—ESL classes for parents (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.) and GED classes in Spanish (Mondays and Wednesday, from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.). If you are interested, please stop by the main office and speak with Maria or Noemi.
Mr. Galland and Ms. Owens
Familias de Columbus:
¡Estamos en la mitad del año escolar! Estamos muy contentos con el trabajo que los maestros y estudiantes están haciendo todos los días. Gracias por su cooperación y apoyo en todo lo que hace para colaborar con nosotros. ¡Los clubes extracurriculares para los estudiantes en los grados 3-5 van tan bien! A los estudiantes les encanta el tiempo para explorar diferentes tipos de intereses con diferentes maestros, y estamos muy contentos de tener una hora adicional después de los clubes para apoyar a los niños con la tarea, la lectura, la escritura y las matemáticas. Además, tenga en cuenta que ahora ofrecemos clases gratuitas de ESL para padres (martes y jueves de 9:00 a 10:30 a.m.) y clases de GED en español (los lunes y miércoles de 9:00 a 10:30 a.m.) Si está interesado, pase por la oficina principal y hable con Maria o Noemi.
Tenga en cuenta los siguientes eventos y fechas en mente:
Sr. Galland y Sra. Owens
"We promote interdisciplinary studies and encourage authentic, problem-based learning by doing.
We recognize that High Expectations result in High Achievement.
We believe that teaching and learning is fostered by creating optimum conditions to ensure success for students and their teachers.
We are committed to create a positive school climate, which respects and values diversity and nurtures everyone's self-esteem, in partnership with our parents and our community."
In order to preserve an orderly and safe arrival and dismissal for all students each day, please note the following:
Con el fin de preservar una llegada y salida ordenada y segura para todos los estudiantes cada día, tenga en cuenta lo siguiente:
City Hall, Carew Room
City Hall, Carew Room
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
January 29, 11:10 Dismissal
March 5, 11:40 Dismissal
June 20 - 22, 11:40 Dismissal
Chess in the Park - October 9th.
Presentation honoring Mark Hegenauer in celebration of his 20 years teaching chess in our schools.
Read the article in the National Scholastic Chess Foundation's Publication:
Because ESL teachers work with individuals or very small groups of students, many don’t have a classroom. When Mark Hegenauer came to Columbus Elementary School in New Rochelle in 1998, “I was set up in a closet.” While space may not be a problem for ESL, it’s definitely a problem when more kids are interested in learning chess than will fit into the room. But like any good chess player, Mark has figured out his way around the obstacles, working in the library, borrowing classrooms and sometimes even spilling out into the hallway (“That wasn’t very workable”). For a few years, he even had his own classroom. Along the way, he has taken his students, many of whom are the low-performing students he works with in his regular instruction, from learning so they could play a bit of chess with their friends to competitors on the national stage.
On Columbus Day, during our Chess in the Parkevent at Library Green in New Rochelle, the National Scholastic Chess Foundation will be honoring Mark for 20 years teaching chess in the schools.
Mark is an example of what the NSCF has been developing with its teacher training initiative as we are training teachers to be able to teach chess, at least at the introductory level. “A lot of schools have these highly-rated chess players. I’m not a tournament chess player and I didn’t grow up playing chess. I am an ESL teacher and that is really my main focus. But I definitely see the benefits of teaching chess and how it helps students of every ability level, especially the students I serve. They have to shake hands and they have to make eye contact. When I first play a child, I will hold the handshake until they make eye contact. I know it’s just a board game, but the kids are socializing and interacting with one another and that is so needed today.”
Mark got his start when he started as an ESL teacher at PS291 in the Bronx. He was set up in a closet there too and a teacher in “another closet” was Alan Abrams who was teaching chess. Mark was sitting in on one of Alan’s classes and was asked to play against two of the 4th graders. “I didn’t play much chess, but was just about to graduate with my masters degree and these were elementary kids… how hard could it be?” He was beaten by both boys. Thus, his interest was sparked. “These kids were tough kids. I would hear their conversations and they involved carrying guns and knives, even though they were only in elementary school.” But he saw Alan making progress, actually getting them interested and good at chess. “Alan was not only the chess teacher, he dealt with conflict resolution and his personality was such that he gained their trust.”
“Many of these children who don’t do well in other subjects can perform on the chess board. It really helps with self-esteem and with self-control.… I like to tell the story of one boy Alan and I both taught. He was large for his age in 4th grade and then had to repeat the year. He couldn’t read and he had a lot of social problems. Many of the kids laughed at his deficits and picked on him. The first year I worked with him on his reading, but the following year Alan got him interested in chess and made a huge impact. Because he did well at chess, he earned the respect of the other students.”
Mark started helping take kids to NSCF tournaments with Alan. “The first tournament we took them to was in Greenwich. It was like the chess movies–underperforming kids from a low-income neighborhood where there wasn’t even a playground showing up to play other elementary kids whose school looked nicer than a college campus.” The kids, as it turned out, did remarkably well.
The next year, Mark took a position at Columbus Elementary School and determined that, in addition to his ESL classes, he would continue to teach chess and started reading chess books to improve his own knowledge. “Alan used to have chess puzzles all over his walls and I would faithfully copy them. Now I was finding that he got these from (Bruce) Pandolfini and other books I was now reading myself!”
The Columbus program began modestly using photocopied puzzles and some discount store chess sets. In 1999, Mark took some of his players to a tournament in Sleepy Hollow where he met Sunil Weeramantry, executive director of the NSCF. “When Sunil found out what we were working with, he arranged for the NSCF to donate 10 boards and sets, a demo board and to give us 50% off the registration fee so our students could play in as many tournaments as possible. We’ve had a tremendous relationship ever since.” For several years, Mark was teaching chess during the day and NSCF chess instructor Polly Wright was leading an after school program. “That was when the program was the strongest really,” Mark said.
Mark also pointed out that the program, in its early years, was supported by some of the parents. “One student, Evan Posner, had a dad who was this traveling accountant. He would go to these meetings with different companies, and then, at the end of the meeting, ask for a few extra minutes; he'd tell the story about our little chess team and pass the hat. In 2001, we were able to go to Saratoga for the New York State championship and we came third in our section. Then we went to SuperNationals in Kansas City. We had three boys score 5 ½ games in K-6 under 900 and one little girl won 6 (out of 7). It was such a magical experience. In 2002, we again went to Nationals and our youngest players moved up to the K-3 Championship section. We came 12th, and that was against all these private schools with some of the best chess teachers in the nation.”
Afterwards, another couple stepped forward, Wendy and Martin Sanchez, to support chess at Columbus. They held monthly parent meetings, and coordinated events, such as a yearly spring fair, car washes and raffles, allowing Mark to take even more children to state and national events.
Beyond the chess board, at this time, Mark was in a position to access student test scores. “This was by no means a scientific study,” he said, “but all the children who were taking chess were showing improvement in their classes. It would have been interesting to be able to study this in more depth.”
The program changed a bit when Mark became a father himself. The class has since been limited to lunch times and it has been a struggle to teach all the grades and give them playing time. And the parent support also dwindled as students moved on to middle school and beyond. But one parent, Joan Waldron, came along in 2007 who has been a faithful and diligent supporter ever since. Even though her own son is now in 11th grade, Joan continued to support chess at Columbus Elementary. “I don’t know if I would have continued (with chess) without her ongoing support,” Mark said. Fundraising has taken a back seat as well but Mark still sends a team to Nationals every other year.
As for the results beyond the chess board, Mark said one of the parents hosts an annual summer party for the chess club and many former students come back to say hello and play some chess. Again, it’s only anecdotal he said, “But they tell me 99% of the children who were in the chess program have gone on to college – that’s pretty remarkable.”