BSF Updates

Students Receive N.Y.S. Seal of Biliteracy

Nineteen Bronxville High School seniors have earned the prestigious New York State Seal of Biliteracy. The distinction is given to graduating seniors who have demonstrated proficiency in both English and another language.

“By offering this opportunity at Bronxville, our goal is to recognize the advanced language work that students are already doing in their English and world language classes,” said Denise Flood, a Latin teacher and curriculum leader.

As part of the culminating project, the students were required to prepare extensive portfolios, which included examples of their student work, personal reflections, tests, essays and travel diaries, among others. They were also interviewed by a panel of judges to demonstrate their language proficiency. By earning the seal, the students have shown a high level of proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing in one or more languages in addition to English.

The students who earned the seal on their diplomas are Kelly Baclija (Latin), Spencer Blumenreich (Latin), Elizabeth Brennan (Spanish), Elizabeth Burnell (French), Rory Denning (Latin), Ali Dotson (Latin), Erin Foley (French), Patrick Greatrex (Latin), Avery Jones (Spanish and Russian), Bethany Lee (French), Teresa Markola (Latin and Spanish), Donna Napolitano (Spanish), Nadia Newton (Spanish), Matthew Rodriguez (Spanish), Will Stupart (Latin), Fiona Vail (French), Alice Vranka (Latin), Isaiah Weir (Latin) and Patrick Wu (Latin).

The Seal of Biliteracy panel consisted of Flood, French teacher Toby Gillen, Spanish teacher Denise Napolitano, English teacher Robert Cross, Principal Ann Meyer, Director of Guidance Aaron Kind and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Mara Koetke.

Over the last two years, Flood, Gillen, and Napolitano assembled a cohort of students called the World Language Fellows to work toward this goal. The Foundation supported the work of the World Language Fellows through a grant.

Helena McSherryStudents Receive N.Y.S. Seal of Biliteracy
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Third Graders Code Active Games for Younger Students

Third graders – who coded active video games in technology specialist Claire Hollocou’s class – engaged second graders to play their original games. During the collaboration, the younger students stepped on squares that changed colors and sounds as part of games that either had a countdown, kept score or interacted with other players.

“Teaching the games to the younger students helped the third graders practice public speaking, communicate themselves clearly and model appropriate behavior,” Hollocou said. “It was awesome to see their ability to try out ideas and change them along the way as needed. Not only were they applying their coding knowledge to a new, more complicated platform, but they were also using design thinking strategies to stay flexible and problem solve.”

For their project, the third graders observed the second graders play games using the Unruly Splats, a learning tool that combines coding games for kids with active play, to note what kept them engaged and active. Then, they came up with their own game ideas and coded the program on Unruly Splats before encouraging the second graders to try out a beta version of their games.

The Unruly Splats technology is courtesy of a grant from the Bronxville School Foundation.

“Third graders ideated and coded games that would get younger students to move their bodies as they played,” Hollocou said. “Students needed to use and build their understanding of conditionals, loops, variables and user-generated input to code these games.”

Hollocou said the students developed their critical thinking and leadership skills while also solving problems and making necessary adjustments to their games. In addition, she said the students took a skill they felt confident in and passed it along to their younger peers.

Helena McSherryThird Graders Code Active Games for Younger Students
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BHS Orchestra Groups Perform at Regional Concert; Foundation Grant Supports Advanced Coaching

By Katie Shah, Public Relations, Bronxville School Foundation

Two Bronxville High School chamber music ensembles were selected to perform at the prestigious Westchester-Hudson Valley-Connecticut Chamber Music Society concert on March 3rd at Hoff-Barthelson Music School. Student performers included Ian GegenwarthSimos DimasAndrew Jensen, and Patrick Wu (The Mendelssohn Group), and Remi MellinghoffSaya MuellerRia Mueller, and Andrew Jensen (The Borodin Group). Both ensembles are now in consideration to perform at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center as a part of the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society’s Young Musicians Program.

Last spring, the Bronxville School Foundation awarded a grant to the high school orchestra program to fund 10 advanced coaching sessions in the 2021-22 school year on topics including intonation, harmony, communication with other players, and concert performance techniques. The grant was designed to help Bronxville students prepare for the CMS Young Musicians Program.

High school chamber music ensembles were invited to submit applications through their school music department to be considered for participation. 

“The grant was really important for the orchestra program because it gave us a chance to try a different style of classical music,” said 11th grade violinist Saya Mueller. “One of the biggest takeaways for me was learning how to weave melodies and harmonies together in a four-person group. The coaches taught us to play with expression without overshadowing each other.”

“Congratulations to the musicians and thank you to the Foundation for support as we continue the journey,” said orchestra teacher Wyeth Tvenge. “Although it is a huge honor for the Bronxville orchestra students to be considered, they have earned it.”

Since its inception in 1991, the Foundation has awarded more than $11.5 million in grants that focus on piloting new programs, pursuing creative ideas, and providing equipment and facilities in the areas of science, arts, athletics, technology, and curriculum development. 

Helena McSherryBHS Orchestra Groups Perform at Regional Concert; Foundation Grant Supports Advanced Coaching
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Science Olympiad Students Earn Medals at Competition

A group of Bronxville Middle School students participated in the Lower Hudson Valley Middle School Regional Competition for Science Olympiad on March 5 at Scarsdale Middle School. They competed against students from across the region and earned medals in several building and study events.

Jean Windels, science teacher and the team’s adviser, said her students have been preparing for the competition since October. Ahead of time, they built and tested their devices and studied for the paper and pencil tests. 

“I’m very proud of this team,” Windels said. “They learned new skills, including Tinkercad, sawing, using a drill, measuring accurately, as well as designing, evaluating and modifying their designs and testing, testing, testing, all within a very specific set of rules. We also managed to have fun at the same time.” 

A total of 28 teams competed in 20 different science events, which included five building events: a balsa wood bridge, an electric motor balsa wood plane, bottle rocket, trebuchet and mousetrap vehicle. The students were also tested on different topics, including anatomy and physiology, ecology, physics, experimental design and the solar system.

•    Sixth graders Hunter Malpass and Zeke Malpass earned medals for their mousetrap vehicle, as well as in the “Write-it/Do-it” challenge, for which Hunter wrote directions to build an object and Zeke had to use the directions to build it.
•    Sixth graders Ainslea Hong and Teddy White earned a medal for their balsa wood plane.
•    Sixth graders Carter Blumenreich and Matthew Moore earned medals for their mousetrap vehicle and their balsa wood bridge. 
•    Seventh graders Kendall Valente and Ava Toolan earned a medal in the “Green Generations” study event, which tested their knowledge of ecology.
•    Eighth grader Jack Goddard competed in the “Crave the Wave” study event.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Bronxville School Foundation, the students used a 3D printer to design and build the chassis for their mousetrap vehicle. This vehicle was powered entirely with a mousetrap pulling a string off the axle. The car was required to move forward 1 meter, reverse direction and travel 4 meters in the other direction.

The balsa wood bridge was tested by determining the maximum amount of mass it could hold. The electric motor balsa wood plane was tested for the longest time it could spend in the air. The bottle rocket, which launched with a ping pong ball attached to a parachute, aimed to have the longest travel time. The trebuchet, which launched a racquetball and a tennis ball with very specific counterweights, aimed to get the ball into a five-gallon bucket.

Helena McSherryScience Olympiad Students Earn Medals at Competition
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Students Guide Robots Through Mazes Using iPads from Foundation Grant

Students from Melissa Wood’s class practiced their computer programming skills as part of a hands-on activity with technology specialist Claire Hollocou.

During the lesson, the students created mazes by strategically placing colorful tiles on the floor. Then, they completed their maze, one step at a time, before solving their peers’ mazes. After creating and completing multiple mazes throughout the lesson, the students worked on their iPad to guide a robot, named Dash, through their maze.

“The students tracked both their finger’s motion on the iPad and the robot to make sure they were making it go in the right direction,” Hollocou said. “Students have been using coding as a fun way to practice skills they can apply to all parts of their day. It is wonderful to see students feel successful and have fun, especially knowing that all the while they are working on important skills.”

Hollocou said the students have been working on creating and following algorithms, and the activity helped support their ability to comprehend and follow multistep directions. 

“My hope is that students leave the class having increased their capabilities and self-confidence,” she said.

The student iPads are courtesy of a Foundation grant.

Helena McSherryStudents Guide Robots Through Mazes Using iPads from Foundation Grant
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The Bronxville School Foundation Announces 2022 Grant Cycle; Deadline of February 28

By Deirdre Doheny, Public Relations, VP, Bronxville School Foundation

Feb. 2, 2022: The Bronxville School Foundation is pleased to announce that its 2022 grant cycle is underway. Faculty, administrators, staff, students, parents, and community members are invited to submit grant applications.

The Foundation is eager to support grant requests that enable students to lead, to innovate, to engage the world, and to think critically, particularly during these uniquely challenging times. The deadline for grant applications is February 28, 2022.

The Foundation’s mission is to raise community funds in order to provide resources beyond the district’s budget across Bronxville’s Elementary, Middle and High Schools. Since its inception in 1991, the Foundation has awarded more than $11.5 million in grants that focus on piloting new programs, pursuing creative ideas, and providing equipment and facilities in the areas of science, arts, athletics, technology, and curriculum development.

“For 30 years, the Bronxville School Foundation has partnered with educators, students, parents, and the community to build a solid infrastructure of innovative programming, equipment, and technology,” said Wendy Fahy, V.P. of the Grants Program.  “This year’s significant challenges have provided an opportunity to capitalize on the learning of this past year and advance it to the next level. The Foundation continues to be immensely impressed by and grateful for the administration, faculty, and staff as they have continued to rise to the many challenges of these unprecedented times. We at the Foundation are looking forward to continuing to work with the school to fund grant applications in technology, academics, the arts, athletics and student support services, in order to enhance the experience of all Bronxville students.”

For further information or inquiries, please contact vice president of grants, Wendy Fahy, at, or the Foundation’s executive director, Helena McSherry, at

Helena McSherryThe Bronxville School Foundation Announces 2022 Grant Cycle; Deadline of February 28
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Bronxville School Foundation Accepting Nominations for Board of Directors

By Nancy Marshall, Board Member Bronxville School Foundation 

Jan. 26, 2022: The Bronxville School Foundation will accept nominations through February 4, 2022, to fill open positions on its Board of Directors for the upcoming year.

Candidates are village residents who would work with current board members to raise funds and support grants that will enhance educational programs in the Bronxville School district.

Senior citizens, parents of current students and graduates, alumni, and community members without children are encouraged to express interest. The directors reflect a broad and diverse cross-section of the community.

The Foundation was established as a nonprofit in 1991 by the Trustees of the Bronxville School Board of Education, citizens in the community, and supporters of the school who understood that raising private funds from school families and village residents to supplement the district’s budget was important to maintaining excellence at the Bronxville School.

The Foundation’s Board of Directors consists of thirty people, including one member of the Board of Education, the Superintendent of Schools, and the Vice President of the PTA.

The primary role of the Foundation’s Nominating Committee is to identify motivated, hard-working leaders for possible nomination to the Bronxville School Foundation. The Committee considers recommendations from within the board itself as well as from individuals who express interest through the Foundation office.

To express your interest, propose candidates, or learn more about the Foundation, please contact Executive Director Helena McSherry at 914-395-0515 or via email at Written correspondence should be forwarded to Helena’s attention at The Bronxville School Foundation, 177 Pondfield Road, Bronxville, New York, 10708, and include specific information about involvement in the community and the school. Other details regarding background or relevant experience should also be included.

Helena McSherryBronxville School Foundation Accepting Nominations for Board of Directors
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The Foundation Announces 15th Annual Katie’s Run/Walk Is Virtual November 15-30

By Julie Meade

The 15th annual Katie Welling Memorial Run/Walk honoring the life of Katie Welling, a 2002 BHS graduate who died in an off-campus fire at Miami University in Ohio at the age of 21, will be held virtually again this year for maximum safety and flexibility due to continuing COVID concerns.  This beloved Bronxville tradition benefits the Bronxville School Foundation.

Participants can complete a 2.5-mile run, walk or bike any time from November 15 through 30.  Walking or running on a treadmill or riding on a stationary bike counts too and is a great way to participate virtually in this wonderful community event!

“Last year, it was incredible to see the many creative ways that people chose to participate in Katie’s Run over the two-week virtual event,” said Rob Crystal, the Bronxville School Foundation’s Chairperson.  “Many people participated from places far beyond Bronxville’s one square mile, while others honored the wonderful tradition of Katie’s Run by finishing the event at the Bronxville School track.  Even though we could not all be together, participants uploaded great photos to a community album that allowed us to share in the virtual event together and feel the special sense of community that Katie’s Run creates.”  The virtual event raised more than $20,000 from over 200 participants and donors.

Participants are invited again this year to upload photos of themselves, families and friends to a community photo album on the event’s registration website at   You can also view some of last year’s great pictures for inspiration!

Katie’s Run/Walk was created by friends and family to commemorate her great sense of humor, infectious laugh and love of life.  With the support of her friends, village residents, Bronxville School faculty, staff and alumni and village merchants, Katie’s Run has raised nearly $240,000 since its inception in 2007.  These funds go to maintaining the excellence of the Bronxville School by enabling the Bronxville School Foundation to make grants for equipment, curriculum and specialized programs that the Bronxville School would not have otherwise been able to afford.  This past year, the Foundation’s support was more critical than ever in enabling our school to reopen safely during this unprecedented time.

“We are honored that the Wellings chose the Foundation as their partner fifteen years ago and look forward to a great event this year,” said Rob Crystal.  “We were thrilled to call Tom Welling our colleague during his years of dedicated service to the Foundation.”

To register for the 15th Annual Katie Welling Run/Walk, please go to: and click on the banner in the upper right-hand corner.

There is no registration fee again this year, but a tax-deductible contribution would be appreciated and would be of great benefit to the Bronxville School Foundation.

For more information on Katie’s Run/Walk or the Bronxville School Foundation, please contact Executive Director, Helena McSherry at (914) 395-0515 or

Helena McSherryThe Foundation Announces 15th Annual Katie’s Run/Walk Is Virtual November 15-30
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Fourth Graders Benefit from New Flexible Seating Options

With a book in hand, fourth graders in Derrick DiRienzo’s class moved freely around their classroom to choose which type of seating worked best for their needs. Some preferred reading their book on floor cushions, while others opted for reclined seating or their new desks and chairs.

“In my classroom, the students can choose where they want to sit during independent math, reading and writing time,” DiRienzo said. “This level of choice has promoted both collaboration and productivity but also their independence and responsibility. Choosing the right place to sit is a skill that we are working on because it requires a certain level of maturity.”

Thanks to a generous grant from the Bronxville School Foundation, DiRienzo’s classroom is one of several elementary school classrooms that are equipped with flexible seating options to keep students engaged and to optimize learning. The classrooms are equipped with new desks and chairs that can be easily moved around to encourage collaboration among peers. In addition, they feature various types of floor seating options that allow students to sit in areas of the classroom that are most conducive to their personal productivity.

“The transformational professional development and consulting our faculty has been receiving from Innovation Design for Education has contributed to our understanding of executive functioning,” DiRienzo said. “The newly acquired furniture is aligned to the structures of IDE including but not limited to activity lists, benchmark lessons, the learner-active and technology-infused classroom and authentic learning units. The furniture is creating unique opportunities for us to apply this new understanding of how our students learn successfully.”

While flexible seating refers to the types of furniture, it also refers to the freedom it provides students with. DiRienzo said that, ultimately, he would like to move away from assigned seating and reach a level of full classroom flexibility.

“The fourth-grade team is very appreciative of the Foundation’s assistance in helping us to reach this goal,” he said. “They share our modern approach to classroom flexibility, and we look forward to partnering with them on future projects.”

Helena McSherryFourth Graders Benefit from New Flexible Seating Options
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New Vibrant Designs Revitalize Elementary School Playground

A colorful, bright and vibrant playground surface – designed to foster creativity and inspire free play – has become a reality at Bronxville Elementary School, thanks to the innovative thinking of district leaders and a generous grant from the Bronxville School Foundation.

The thermoplastic playground surface, which was installed by EduMarking on the blacktop part of the playground, is nonslip, durable and entirely chemical-free to create a safe play area for students. In addition to playing traditional games like foursquare and hopscotch, the students have the freedom to use their imagination, create games and invent their own rules.

“The thermoplastic playground surface has entirely revitalized our old blacktop by turning it into a unique experience ideal for elementary and physical education students,” said physical education teacher Anthony Vaglica, who co-wrote the grant with Assistant Principal Rakiya Adams. 

One of the educational designs features a snail with the letters A through Z to encourage students to spell out words, create obstacles courses and complete tightrope activities while going through the alphabet. Another interactive design is a dragon with the numbers from one through 25, which has inspired students to create their own obstacle courses. Other engaging activities include a maze, a “mirror me” game and a standing long jump station, as well as designs that allow students to set up their own races.

“Our playground has seen more and more students gravitating to the blacktop to challenge their imaginations,” Vaglica said. “Students have been playing traditional games, but the main attraction is the surface and the freedom it allows for.”

Vaglica said the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic sparked ideas for educators to find creative ways to maximize the school’s outdoor space for recess and physical education classes. He credited Adams for her leadership in initiating the grant due to her care and commitment to providing the best experience for all students.

“Each class needed an outdoor area during recess and the new playground surface has done so,” Vaglica said. “Rakiya and I could not be more appreciative and thankful for the support of the Bronxville School Foundation.”

Helena McSherryNew Vibrant Designs Revitalize Elementary School Playground
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