Bi-Cultural Day School News

Bi-Cultural Celebrates 60th Anniversary

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by admin
Douglas Herman, Debbie Soifer, Nathaniel Herman, Bob Zitter and Adam Zitter dance at the recent Bi-Cultural Celebration dinner (with Hillary Zitter, Sally Olson and Jordana Raich in the background). (Photo by Clive Salmon)

Douglas Herman, Debbie Soifer, Nathaniel Herman, Bob Zitter and Adam Zitter dance at the recent Bi-Cultural Celebration dinner (with Hillary Zitter, Sally Olson and Jordana Raich in the background). (Photo by Clive Salmon)

On Monday, May 30th at the Greenwich Hyatt Regency Hotel, more than 500 parents, faculty and community members gathered to celebrate the school’s 60th anniversary with dinner, dancing and song celebrating the school’s many achievements.Hillary and Bob Zitter were the Guests of Honor for the event as other Bi-Cultural community members were honored: Kori and Bill Meyers (Keter Torah Award), Robyn Winarsky (Young Leadership Award), Amiram Soifer (Alumni Award) and Sally Olson (Jane Shoztic Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching). The honorary co-chairs for the event were Rhoda and Avram Freedberg, dinner co-chairs were Meg and Yoav Haron and Dani and Avi Kwalwasser, and journal co-chairs were Cheryl Bader-Goldblum and Stephen Goldblum, Liat and Benjamin Karsch, and Tara and Richard Shapiro.

Jackie Herman, Mark Winarsky, Robyn Winarsky, Bill Meyers, Kori Meyers, Hillary Zitter, Bob Zitter, Louise Soifer, Amiram Soifer and Walter Shuchatowitz (“Mr. S”) at the annual BCDS Celebration Dinner. (Photo by Raema Salmon)

Jackie Herman, Mark Winarsky, Robyn Winarsky, Bill Meyers, Kori Meyers, Hillary Zitter, Bob Zitter, Louise Soifer, Amiram Soifer and Walter Shuchatowitz (“Mr. S”) at the annual BCDS Celebration Dinner. (Photo by Raema Salmon)

BCDS Students Combine Learning by Design with Math

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by admin
Bi-Cultural 6th grader Robert Okun presents his learning-by-design proposal for an enhanced recess center during his math class with Ben Wiener in the background. (Photo by Dora Salm)

Bi-Cultural 6th grader Robert Okun presents his learning-by-design proposal for an enhanced recess center during his math class with Ben Wiener in the background. (Photo by Dora Salm)

While some students may just dream about having a special place like a fully-equipped recess room, a student center and a rock climbing wall in their schools, a group of students at Bi-Cultural Day School recently used their math skills to create a set of wish lists, taking the first steps toward making their dream spaces come to fruition.

The students in middle-school teacher Adrianne Robinson’s 6th grade math class recently participated in a learning-by-design project as part of their math curriculum. In this project, students conducted an analysis of possible ways in which they could improve the physical space of the school campus, complete with calculating total costs of the re-designed space.

The ideas ran the gamut from a uniquely-designed recess room complete with space for a study hall and game tables, a student center, a new bleacher system in the school gymnasium for basketball games and school assemblies, a musical arts center and recording studio, and an outdoor arts arena (including space to paint and draw landscapes and a potter’s wheel). Each proposal included scaled blueprints as well a total cost analysis accounting for all materials and labor. Students were given the task of deciding the precise locations of these additions. They had the opportunity to present their visions and proposals to both the Bi-Cultural administrative team and the school’s executive board of directors. Following the students’ presentations, an online survey asked their classmates and parents to vote for their favorite design.

“I am so proud of our students for this project. The students used a wide-range of incredibly important skills throughout the process: creativity, basic architecture, research, even determining how much raw materials and labor would cost. Lastly, the students presented their findings to each other and to adults in the school, displaying a high level of maturity and understanding of their concepts,” said Robinson.

Students expressed a great deal of excitement at having the opportunity to design their own space to improve student life. “During the colder months, we are inside most of the time and that gets very hard–by the end of the day it’s really hard to focus. To have a special place where we could have recess and also have a place to study would be very helpful, and I think that a lot of the kids would really appreciate it,” said Robert Okun, a 6th grader who participated in this project.

Bi-Cultural’s administrative team took this project and the students’ proposals to heart after hearing the students’ presentations. “The feasibility study and the entire project made us take a real look on how we could improve the students’ campus experience. We hope to take the proposal with the most votes and try to make this vision become a reality,” said Rachel Haron, Associate Principal of General Studies.

Bi-Cultural Races for Education

Posted on: May 31st, 2016 by admin
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Bi-Cultural students and staff participated in the recent Race for Education.

On Thursday, May 26th, Bi-Cultural Day School celebrated the holiday of Lag B’Omer with the annual Race for Education, a national fundraising effort open to schools throughout the country. Co-chairs Meredith Cohen and Judith Jelen and the Parents Association organized the event as friends and family cheered on students as they ran laps around the school field. (The 8th grade class who were finishing up their Israel Experience trip were also able to participate by running near Masada.) Last year, the school was able to fund a new large-scale electronic scoreboard for the gymnasium and this year, Bi-Cultural is hoping to renovate the physical education facilities with the funds raised through Race for Education.

BCDS Teacher Selected for Prestigious Fellowship Program

Posted on: May 20th, 2016 by admin

gretchen_headshotGretchen Mathews, a middle school language arts teacher at Bi-Cultural Day School, has recently been selected to participate in the Connecticut Writing Project Summer Institute, the highly acclaimed writing program offered to teachers and writers.

The Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University, an affiliate of the National Writing Project, is dedicated to improving students’ writing abilities by strengthening the teaching and learning of writing, providing professional development programs for classroom teachers, and expanding the professional roles of teachers. The Invitational Summer Institute (ISI) is a month-long, professional development program which includes workshops and courses for teachers in southern Connecticut and southeastern New York State. It is designed by teachers and writers for teachers and writers, with the goal of increasing literacy leadership, knowledge, and expertise in the classroom. Each participant is required to create a unique writing workshop for use in their own school setting or at another school within the writing project network.

Mathews, who is one of about a dozen teachers and writers selected from a large pool of candidates, said, “I am thrilled to become part of a network of educators dedicated to improving literacy across the country and excited to learn new methods to more effectively teach writing at Bi-Cultural Day School.”

 

Bi-Cultural’s 8th Grade Depart for Israel Experience 2016

Posted on: May 3rd, 2016 by admin
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Parents and siblings wave to the departing bus of Bi-Cultural 8th graders as they leave for their trip to Israel. (Photo by Joanne Karow)

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Parents and siblings wave to the departing bus of Bi-Cultural 8th graders as they leave for their trip to Israel. (Photo by Joanne Karow)

The weather was gloomy, but the spirts were bright and soaring as Bi-Cultural Day’s School’s 8th grade class departed on Monday, May 2nd for their Israel Experience Trip, a nearly month-long journey that they have been preparing for and learning about since kindergarten. The itinerary includes experiencing the many cultural and spiritual sights that Israel has to offer and walking in the footsteps of their Jewish ancestors who they’ve been studying throughout their course of studies at Bi-Cultural. This much-anticipated annual event provided an opportunity for students to synthesize much of the learning, message, and spirit of their years of study at Bi-Cultural.

Bi-Cultural to Celebrate 60th Anniversary with Gala Dinner

Posted on: May 2nd, 2016 by admin

On Monday, May 30th at the Greenwich Hyatt Hotel at 5:30 p.m., Bi-Cultural Day School will celebrate its 60th anniversary with the annual Celebration and Dinner.

The theme of this year’s celebratory event is Celebrating 60 Years and Counting…On Each Other and the school will be focusing on Bi-Cultural’s many achievements in the areas of education and community-building. In addition, Bi-Cultural will he honoring the following parents and community members: Hillary and Bob Zitter (Guests of Honor), Kori and Bill Meyers (Keter Torah Award), Robyn Winarsky (Young Leadership Award), Amiram Soifer (Alumni Award) and Sally Olson (Jane Shoztic Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching).

The Honorary Co-Chairs for this event are Rhoda and Avram Freedberg; the Dinner Co-Chairs are Meg and Yoav Haron and Dani and Avi Kwalwasser; and the Journal Co-Chairs are Cheryl Bader-Goldblum and Stephen Goldblum, Liat and Benjamin Karsch, and Tara and Richard Shapiro.

For more information on the Celebration Dinner and Gala, please contact Shana Yakubovich at dinner@old.bcds.org.

Ami Soifer

Ami Soifer

Robyn Winarsky

Robyn Winarsky

Hillary & Bob Zitter

Hillary & Bob Zitter

Sally Olson

Sally Olson

Kori & BIll Meyers

Kori & BIll Meyers

Bi-Cultural Hosts Two Leading Authors

Posted on: May 2nd, 2016 by admin

 

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Local author Stacy Mozer poses with some of Bi-Cultural’s 5th grade class following her presentation of her recently-published book, The Sweet Spot. (Photo by Dora Salm)

Bi-Cultural Day School celebrated National School Library Month of April by hosting two inspiring children’s book authors, one a local first-time author and the other a best-selling internationally-acclaimed writer. Each captivated their audience with inspiring stories of storytelling and writing.

On Friday, April 15th, Stamford resident and newly-published author, Stacy Mozer, visited the 4th and 5th grades in a combined presentation where she discussed her personal and creative journey to authorship, which began with the seed of an idea that grew into a her recently-published, middle-grade book entitled The Sweet Spot (published by Spellbound River Press last year). This story of a girl who meets resistance in her pursuit of playing baseball, the game she loves, speaks to children positively about the power of perseverance in their lives.

Mozer, who is a 3rd-grade teacher in Greenwich, shared with the students how it took years of her own determination, through multiple revisions of her original story concepts, characters and plot to create her final story.

“When you’re young, all your teachers tell you to ‘write what you know,’ and that’s true, but of course there’s so much more – it’s also research and re-editing, focusing on characters and writing dialogue, and believing that you have a story that’s worth sharing,” explained Mozer to the group of students and teachers, noting the many years and iterations it took for her to produce a book that she felt was worthy of sharing. In the lively discussion following her presentation, students got a chance to discuss their own writing with Mozer and ask her questions about topics ranging from books to baseball.

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Best-selling author Adam Gidwitz discussed his books and the writing process during his author visit to Bi-Cultural on Monday, April 18th. (Photo by Mati Finkelstein)

The following Monday, another exciting author, Adam Gidwitz, spoke to students in four different presentations throughout the school day. Gidwitz is a world-renowned author best known for his Grimm book series — fantasy middle school books inspired by the original Grimm Brothers’ fairytales. In discussing his books, Gidwitz explained that the intent of the original Brothers Grimm fairytales, published hundreds of years ago in Europe, was not merely to entertain young listeners, but also to provide moral lessons through its collection of dark, cautionary tales. These tales provide the inspiration for his new, modern works.

Gidwitz’s personal journey to authordom began as a teacher in Brooklyn, telling stories and sharing his personal writing with his students, before leaving teaching to focus on writing full-time. He explained that his entry to publishing included multiple revisions of his original ideas (his second book took more than 350 major corrections) and his own perseverance in the face of resistance and rejection on the path to publishing his first book. “The first editor that I ever met told me that I should just give up and quit trying to become an author. I decided that I could go one of two different ways: listen to that person and just quit or listen to myself and keep pursuing my dream. …I chose the latter. Never let anyone convince you to give up on your dreams,” said Gidwitz.

Bi-Cultural Students Win Literary and Writing Contests

Posted on: May 2nd, 2016 by admin
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Winners from the Stamford Literary Contest and their teachers: Front row: Talia Raich, Drew Leferman, Lev Shapiro, Brandon Shapiro, Emily Sherman, Yael Everett (missing: Naomi Listikin and Tani Smart) Back row: John Sakson, Laura Miller, Gretchen Mathews and Michelle Gordon (missing: Tricia Hoff, Liz Marriott and Helena Raffel) (Photo by Dora Salm)

Students from Bi-Cultural Day School recently received awards in two distinct and highly-regarded writing and literary award contents, earning recognition and achievement across many different divisions and genres.

Capturing the most awards from any other school, nine students swept the awards in the 31st annual Stamford Literary Contest sponsored by the Friends of the Ferguson Library. Each year, the Friends of the Ferguson hosts this event which encourages young writers to explore their creative and literary sides. Any student in grades 3 through 12 living in Stamford or attending either a public or private school in Stamford can submit original work in one of three categories — fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The winning pieces are compiled into a booklet that is distributed at the awards ceremony which took place on Sunday, April 17th, at the Ferguson Main Library. This year, the winners from Bi-Cultural were the following: Yael Everett (grade 4, 3rd place for the fiction story, “The Most Amazing Softball Supplies”), Isabella Kuhr (grade 5, 3rd place for the poem, “Fall”), Drew Leferman (grade 6, 3rd place for the fiction story, “Death from Above”), Naomi Listikin (grade 7, 2nd place for the non-fiction piece, “Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams), Talia Raich (grade 6, 1st prize for the fiction piece, “The Complex Life” and 2nd prize for the non-fiction piece, “The Amazing Invention of Paper”), Brandon Shapiro (grade 6, 3rd prize for the poem, “Ode to Fire”), Lev Shapiro (grade 6, honorable mention for the poem, “Ice Cold), Emily Sherman, (grade 4, 3rd place for the poem, “Tennis), and Tani Smart (grade 6, 2nd place for the poem, “Ode to Snow Forts”).

Nicole Tehrani and Erez Fass each won an honorable mention in poetry in the Connecticut Writing Project’s 2016 Student Writer’s Contest, sponsored by the University of Connecticut. (Photo by Dora Salm)

Nicole Tehrani and Erez Fass each won an honorable mention in poetry in the Connecticut Writing Project’s 2016 Student Writer’s Contest, sponsored by the University of Connecticut. (Photo by Dora Salm)

In addition to the local Stamford Literary Competition, two Bi-Cultural students received honorable mention at the statewide Connecticut Writing Project’s (CWP) 2016 Student Writer’s Contest sponsored by the University of Connecticut. This literary contest is a popular venue for student writing; all winning writing entries are published in the Connecticut Student Writers, a magazine established in 1987 by the CWP to honor excellence in writing by students from kindergarten through high school. From the more than 1,700 writing entries submitted to the content, 4th grader Erez Fass won an honorable mention for his poem entitled “Cedar Tree” and 5th grader Nicole Tehrani won an honorable mention for her poem entitled “Fall.”

“We are so proud of all our young writers here at BCDS,” said Rachel Haron, Bi-Cultural’s Associate Principal of General Studies. “Our writing and literature curriculum fosters such incredible creativity and imagination and our teachers work incredibly hard with our students so that everyone’s writing can shine. It’s such an honor to be recognized in these important writing contests.”

Bi-Cultural’s Hupal to Present at National Education Conference

Posted on: May 2nd, 2016 by admin

3-IMG_4660Bi-Cultural Day School middle school teacher Erin Hupal has recently been selected to present at the Association for Middle Level Education (AMLE) annual conference, which takes place in October in Austin, Texas. Hupal’s topic which she will be presenting is Creative Assessments for the 21st Century and she will be speaking about developing a projects-based, differentiated learning model to assess student progress and understanding rather than basic standardized testing. “This is a huge honor for me and I am so humbled,” said Hupal. “Providing the means for students to express their competency and understanding of class content through differentiated outlets is very important to me and I’m looking forward to discussing this topic with other middle-school teachers across the country.”

Hupal teaches social studies to 7th and 8th graders at Bi-Cultural. The (AMLE) is the leading international organization advancing the education of all students ages 10 to 15 and this is the 16th year of the annual conference.

Bi-Cultural Over the Rainbow with Spring Performance

Posted on: April 5th, 2016 by admin

wizard_oz_wicked wizard_oz1In three, sold-out performances on Thursday, March 31st and Sunday, April 3rd, the BCDS Players, Bi-Cultural Day School’s own cast of performers and technical crew consisting of students in grades 5th through 8th (with 3rd and 4th graders portraying Mini Munchkins) followed their own yellow brick roads to success with their stage production of The Wizard Oz. Under the guidance of Musical Director Jonathan Cahr and Director Janice Chaikelson Steinberg, the more than 50 cast rehearsed for more than six months to master the musical, acting, choreography and intricate staging skills necessary to perform this sweeping production. The cast performed such favorites as “Over the Rainbow,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” as well as an originally-written song, “A Very Good Man,” written by Cahr and Chaikelson Steinberg and performed by 8th grader Sarah Broder.