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August 14, 2020

Schools

Dr. Michael Weschler, formerly the school's psychologist, is now the assistant principal of Increase Miller Elementary School at Katonah-Lewisboro School District.
Dr. Michael Weschler, formerly the school's psychologist, is now the assistant principal of Increase Miller Elementary School at Katonah-Lewisboro School District. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Katonah Lewisboro School District

Westchester County Schools: '400 Years' Talk Open To Students, Teachers, 'Hybrid' Plan

Parents and students in one of Westchester's largest school districts can expect a "hybrid blend" of education when the schools can safely reopen, according to an educator there.

The formula that will be used to reopen schools across New York State was released this week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made the announcement at a COVID-19 news briefing on Monday, July 13 in Manhattan. 

White Plains Superintendent of Schools Joseph Ricca said the schools' Reopening Committee is "working diligently to implement the requirements of the guidelines established by the New York State Department of Health." Daily Voice Plus contacted several other school districts this week asking for comments on the news, but administrators declined.

Westchester schools can reopen if the region is in Phase 4 and the daily COVID-19 infection rate is five percent or lower over a 14-day average. But if the regional infection rate is greater than nine percent using a seven-day average after Saturday, Aug. 1, schools will then have to close, in effect, "an emergency stop button," Cuomo said.

The determination for school reopening will be made the week of Aug. 1 to 7.

"The goal of our stakeholder committee remains the health and safety of our children and educate community members," Ricci commented.

He said, "At the present time, we anticipate that we will be able to welcome our students back to our facilities in a hybrid blend of in-person and remote learning. Of course, the situation remains fluid and we will continue to be guided by health care professionals with regard to the opening schools.” 

White Plains City School District serves 7,000 students.

Here's more about New York State schools reopening plans in Daily Voice.

Join '400 Years' On Zoom For HS Teachers, Students

Free tickets are available for high school teachers to "Contemplating 400 Years of Inequality" on Wednesday, July 29 from 4 to 6 p.m. via Zoom, a presentation also suitable for students in grades 9 to 12, organizers say.

Presented by Angel Acosta who received his doctorate degree in curriculum and teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University, it will focus on processing our collective past for our present healing and learning. Acosta will provide a digital timeline as a contemplative learning tool to support participants with deepening their understanding of entrenched racial and socioeconomic inequality in the United States.

With the aim of commemorating the year 1619, marking the arrival of enslaved Africans to U.S. shores, the 400 Years of Inequality National Organizing Committee has created a timeline for all of us to use to dive into our past. Acosta will share how combining contemplative-based practices with the exploration of the timeline has helped to guide communities in re-imagining how we can both transcend implicit bias and develop a more compassionate society.

Teachers will receive resources for integrating the timeline into their professional and educational settings.

The information provided is also suitable for teens and older youth to "engage students during this unusually difficult summer," suggested Nicole Alifante, founder of The Coalition for Understanding Racism through Education in Larchmont.

Acosta studied anthropology and leadership at SUNY Plattsburgh. For the last 10 years, he has worked in the field of college access, preparing underserved youth for higher education through the nonprofit College for Every Student. His academic research focuses on contemplative practices, critical pedagogy and youth leadership development.

Katonah-Lewisboro Adds Assistant Principal

The new assistant principal at Increase Miller Elementary School, Katonah Lewisboro School District has a doctoratei n psychology and degree from culinary school. 

He is the district's former school psychologist, Michael Weschler. The appointment was announced at a May 1 Board of Education meeting and became effective July 1.

Weschler succeeds Andrew Galotti, who served in the field of education for more than 30 years. 

“Bringing people together in a meaningful way has been a theme throughout my life,” Weschler said.

In his prior role, he counseled students and co-led social-emotional learning at IMES for 14 years. 

“I am confident that Michael will continue to demonstrate his deep commitment to supporting and nurturing all students and his thoughtful approach will further enhance the culture and experiences of students at IMES,” said Kerry Ford, principal of IMES.

Weschler describes his recipe for student success as a blend of behavioral and humanistic approaches. 

“I help students achieve their goals by challenging those barriers in their thinking that can perpetuate unproductive thinking, feelings and actions,” he said. 

The school looking ahead at safely reopening faces "many challenges ahead," Weschler noted. He said he's "looking forward to being part of that process.”