Supporting Creative Learning.

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Newsletter June 2010

Supporting Creative Learning - Rhinebeck Science Foundation - PO Box 508 Rhinebeck NY 12572 845.876.0748

JUNE 2010
Letter from the President
Spring Celebration
Mini-Grants in Action

And They’ re Off!
Gala Garners Support for Rhinebeck Schools

What could be a more fabulous mixture than a gorgeous May evening, our Second Annual Spring Celebration, and Kentucky Derby Day?   Well . . . maybe just those sweet, icy mint juleps enjoyed by 275 guests who gathered at the historic Grasmere Estate on May 1st to honor IBM for its support of science education in our community.  And the juleps weren’t all. Our home-grown Kentucky Derby Party featured a live band, a delicious dinner, and some incredibly decadent desserts from the Culinary Institute of America.  Partygoers turned out in full force this year: roughly $40,000 was raised to support STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in the Rhinebeck Central School District.

All this thoroughbred fun was had by some truly elegant ladies and gentlemen who came bedecked in splendid hats (for the ladies) and spiffy bow ties (for the gents).  Event Chairperson Dana Page created Rhinebeck’s version of the famous Churchill  Downs Infield right on the Grasmere lawn. Later in the evening, folks moved indoors to bid on our silent auction items, and place bets on our very own Wheel of Wow, which brought some true horse-racing Derby Day spirit to the festivities. For the Grand Finale, all assembled were treated to a traditional Kentucky Derby Hat Parade.

This year’s honorand, Sheila Appel, Manager of Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs at IBM, has dedicated her career to forwarding the company’s initiatives in the arenas of public education and technology at both the state and local level.

Hats off to all of the sponsors, volunteers, and guests who made this event such a success. We are truly off to the races, with over a third more sponsors this year, and an impressive increase in both attendees and funds raised. This will be hard to top, but we have a whole year to do it…

(Gala Celebration Photos: Kathy Cassens Photography)

Eco-Initiative in Full Swing

Teachers and students in every grade have been working closely with Kim Notin, Lia Harris, and Lisa Cissel of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies this spring to prepare an “environmental scorecard” for all three campuses of the Rhinebeck Central School District to be presented to the community in September. Measuring energy use, waste, and biodiversity during a series of “BioBlitz” days, elementary, middle and high school students collected and analyzed data for the environmental scorecard. Studying vegetation and animal traps, for instance, as well as swamp, air, and grass samples at a series of mini-research stations in the CLS schoolyard, children constructed hypotheses about their findings.

Older students also participated in an assessment project to measure their prior knowledge about environmental topics. Building on the enthusiasm and energy of this year, Director of Curriculum and Instruction Marvin Kreps along with a faculty planning team are presently designing the next year of the project. In August, teachers will convene for a three-day workshop with educators on Cary’s Millbrook campus that extends and deepens the impact of the Eco-initiative. Although the Cary Institute works with other area schools to promote “ecosystem literacy,” this collaboration is a unique, comprehensive focus on the entire district. Students are well on their way to tackling issues of sustainability within the context of Rhinebeck and are learning to understand the broader implications of environmental science and policy.

Mini-Grants in Action: CLS Science Fair

Fourth and 5th grade children and their parents crowded into a filled-to-capacity Community Room on Tuesday, May 18th for the Chancellor Livingston Elementary School Science Fair. Prior to the event, nearly two dozen students under the direction of Mr. Tom Blass, Ms. Julie Wasik, and Mrs. Katherine Younger met before school for a six week period of instruction in preparation for the poster session.

Students developed hypotheses—as well as null hypotheses—before conducting their experiments at home. After recording data, the young scientists met again to analyze and graph their results, in the process familiarizing themselves with fundamental precepts of the scientific method.

Queries ranged from “which materials conduct electricity?” and “does the temperature of a magnet affect its magnetic field?” to “do people have the same sensitivity to smell?” and “are dogs right or left handed?”

Mini-Grants in Action: CLS Math Fair

In a reprise of last year’s highly successful Math Fair, families and friends of 3rd, 4th and 5th grade children enjoyed an array of games, puzzles, and exhibits in the gym and community room of Chancellor Livingston Elementary School on Thursday, June 3rd. Assisted by Mr. Blass and Mrs. Squillante, students from Mrs. Palmatier’s and Mrs. Younger’s 5th grade classes, Mrs. Denise’s 4th grade class and Mrs. Rizzolo’s 3rd grade class designed interactive games exemplifying math concepts they have been working to master this year. A daytime version of the fair was held by the hosting classes for their peers at school on Wednesday, June 2nd.

Rhinebeck Science Foundation co-sponsored the event with the PTSO, having invested in scientific instruments to support the students’ creative learning in 2009. According to Mrs. Younger, “equipment included Vernier probes which enabled students to investigate topics such as graphing using a heart rate monitor.
Children are able to see the measurements visually and mathematically on a graph with x and y values. Another exciting addition to the Math Fair was an engineering station with Mindstorms robotics and the generous assistance of Lisa, Lauren and Megan Heller. The students worked very hard to create some wonderful math games and puzzles for students in all grades and their families to enjoy.”

Enthusiasm for all forms of calculation ran high throughout the evening, culminating in prizes for lucky winners, pencils and Everyday Math games for all attendees.

(Math Fair Photos: John Halpern Photographer)
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President’s Thank You

Despite an enormously challenging year for the schools of New York State, Rhinebeck Science Foundation remains committed to bold thinking about education for the next generation. We draw inspiration from and offer thanks to the members of this community for their steadfast support of public schools. We will continue to work with Rhinebeck’s forward-looking educators to advance innovative pedagogy in our district.

We can’t do this alone.

On behalf of the foundation, I gratefully acknowledge:

  • $40,000 raised at this year’s Kentucky Derby Spring Celebration
  • 275 Kentucky Derby Party guests
  • 45 plus event sponsors
  • 75 individual and business donors to the 2010 Silent Auction
  • Over 50 volunteers dedicated to making the evening a success
  • Members of the Celebration Steering and Fundraising Committees

  • Did You Know?

    Although the Cary Institute for Ecosystem Studies collaborates with many teachers throughout the Hudson Valley, the only comprehensive district-wide eco-initiative it has undertaken is right here in partnership with the Rhinebeck Central School District.

    Did You Know?

    Rhinebeck Science Foundation partnered with the PTSO to support NASA scientist Ron Pastrana’s recent residency in the elementary school as well as the 2010 CLS Math Fair.

    Did You Know?

    This year’s CLS Science Fair is the first to be held in the district in over five years – and it was sponsored by the Rhinebeck Science Foundation.

    2009-2010 RSF Giving:

  • Year One of a three-year district wide Eco-Initiative (project extends into 2012)
  • Professional development opportunities to incorporate Lego Robotics into the curriculum
  • The 4th and 5th Grade Science Fair
  • CLS’s Math Fair (in concert with PTSO)
  • NASA’s Scientist in Residence Program (in concert with PTSO)
  • Building blocks for Mrs. Mortensen’s 1st grade classroom
  • Previous Program Funding:

  • Discovery Festival (Fall 2008 and Fall 2009)
  • 4th Grade Archeology Dig in Thompson-Mazarella Park (Fall 2009)
  • Mad Science Camp (Summer 2009)
  • Chancellor Math Fair (Spring 2009)
  • Lab equipment purchased for all three RCSD schools (Fall 2008)

  • Rhinebeck Science Foundation

    PO Box 508 Rhinebeck, NY 12572

    President – Jennifer Hammoud
    Vice President – Diane Kantaros
    Treasurer – Andrew Schulkind
    Secretary – Deirdre d’Albertis

    Board Members
    Nathaniel Charny, Stephen Jenkins, Tom McKibbin-Vaughan,
    Anthony Rinaldi, Laura Schulkind, Dean Vallas

    Founder – Julia Spiegel

    RSF Committees
    District Liaisons

    Catherine Pietrow, Alison Vaccarino

    Kentucky Derby Spring
    Celebration Steering Committee:

    Dana Page, Event Chairperson
    Michelle and Joe Cassarino
    Rosemary and Graham Hanson
    Jill and Steve Kaplan
    Monique Segarra
    and Christopher Lipscomb
    Julia Spiegel and Bernard Lunn
    Mariana and Jonathan Mensch
    Christine and John O’Han
    Dana and Darin Page
    Kim and Tom Traudt
    Annette and Tom Vaccaro
    Illiana Van Meeteren
    and Terence Boylan
    Kristin and Tom Voorhis
    Randi and Lyle Wienick

    Spring Celebration
    Fundraising Committee:

    Ali Hammoud, Chairperson
    Michael Cassano
    Nathaniel Charny
    Alexa Dull
    Sarah Fajardo
    Clifford Hart
    Steve Jenkins
    Diane Kantaros
    Yunhee McCarty
    Tom McKibbin-Vaughan
    Anthony Rinaldi
    Julia Spiegel

    Andrew Schulkind, Chair
    Nathaniel Charny, Jonathan Mensch, Stephen Jenkins, Anthony

    Ali Hammoud, Chair
    Nathaniel Charny, Clifford Hart, Stephen Jenkins,
    Diane Kantaros, Anthony Rinaldi

    Diane Kantaros, Chair
    Jon Gautier, Lisa Rosenthal,
    Tom McKibbin-Vaughan

    Grant Review
    Nathaniel Charny, Chair
    Diana Ayton, Terence Boylan,
    Julia Eilenberg Goldman, Ron

    Laura Schulkind, Chair
    David Hoffman

    Strategic Communications
    Deirdre d’Albertis, Chair
    Jon Gautier, Liz Halpern, Ric Lewit, Catherine Pietrow

    Kathy Cassens Photography
    John Halpern Photographer

    Gabriel Hammoud
    Julia Jordan Photography