Bronxville High School teacher Beth Agarabi has earned the country's highest national board certification for educators. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of the Bronxville Union Free School District
Students at Hommocks Middle School excelled at the national AMC-8 Competition, a contest offered by the STEM Alliance of Larchmont-Mamaroneck. Photo Credit: Margaret Käufer
Colorfully caped students and staff at Daniel Warren Elementary School in Rye Neck march in capes during an assembly Dec. 10 to celebrate their own strengths. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rye Neck Union Free School District
Students at Daniel Warren Elementary School learn about being community heroes at a Dec. 10 assembly. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Rye Neck Union Free School DistrictDi

Around Westchester Schools: Teacher Hits High, Caped Heroes, Math Whiz Talent Shines

A Westchester teacher has earned the country's highest certification and she's done it in record time.

Bronxville High School teacher Beth Agarabi spent 160 hours over a year and received a National Board Certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. While most teachers who pursue the certification are allowed three years to complete the required coursework, Agarabi earned the certification in just one year.

Entirely voluntary, this advanced teaching credential was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers. Available in K-12 education, it allows teachers to hone their practice, showcase their talent in the classroom and demonstrate dedication to their students and profession.

The school's principal Ann Meyer lauded Agarabi, calling her "a dedicated professional who always puts her students at the forefront of her planning and instruction."

“She worked tirelessly to apply for National Board Certification, which is a significant time commitment. We are thrilled that she has received the certification.”

The rigorous certification process requires teachers to demonstrate standards-based evidence of the positive effect they have on student learning in four components, each of which includes five core principles. 

With the exception of the first component, which is a computer-based test, each component requires a lengthy, focused analytical writing and reflection. 

She successfully completed the four components: content knowledge, differentiation in instruction, teaching and learning environment, and reflective and effective practitioner.

Agarabi is in her 23rd year teaching at Bronxville, where she currently teaches English to seniors and freshmen and speech and debate to grades nine to 12.

Hommocks math scores up in challenge

Nineteen students at Hommocks Middle School drew high marks at the national AMC-8 Competition, a voluntary contest held at their school, offered by the STEM Alliance of Larchmont-Mamaroneck.

The Mamaroneck middle schoolers were tested on advanced high school material in 25 multiple choice questions in a 40-minute timeframe. 

The opportunity allows participants to develop positive attitudes towards analytical thinking, problem-solving skills, and mathematics that can assist in future careers and strengthen their math skills.

The Hommocks competitors prepared in their STEM Alliance after- school club under math teacher Judith Keneally for 10 weeks.

Student Dashen Sukhatme had a score of 20, placing him in the top 5 percent of students nationally.

Six students scored 12 points or higher ranking them in the top 25 percent of participants in the country. 

The highest scorers were 1st Place: Dashen Sukhatme with 20 points; 2nd Place: Harry Middlemiss with 15 points and 3rd place: Jonathan Dobkin with 14 points. 

Caped children learn community heroism

Daniel Warren Elementary School students celebrated heroes in “Heroes – Real and Fantasy," a program for kindergarten through second-grade students in Rye Neck. The children along with school staff celebrated their strengths Dec. 10 in the schoolwide assembly.

The program was about "empowering students to see the potential they all have to be heroes in their community,” said Principal Tara Goldberg.

Each student and teacher wore capes they made and decorated with symbols that represented their strengths and interests, which the children showcased by marching in front of fellow classmates and teachers.

The event followed their classroom learning about heroes from contemporary stories and folktales, asking questions like “Why do we have heroes?” “Why are heroes important?” and “Can a kid be a superhero?”

“The students considered and wrote about ways they could use their own hero strengths for good,” librarian and media teacher Leigh Ann Kowalchick-Porphy noted.