February 2009

Open Letter to Richard Organisciak on "Project Restart"

February 05, 2009 - 17:29

Dear Mr. Organisciak,

At the Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday I took my three minutes during the public comment period to present a few of the questions I raised the day before about an article in Monday's Journal News: New Rochelle middle school extends hand to struggling alum.

Despite the Board's policy of not responding to statements made during the public comment period you displayed a bit of pique that I was so "rude" to have walked away from the microphone without waiting to listen to your response. Thrilled to actually get a response from you - we both know you've been ducking my questions for the better part of a year - I returned to the microphone to hear what you might say.

To my surprise, you stated that Project Restart was "a partnership with United Way", an important piece of "information" that was not contained in the Journal News article. When I followed up by pointing out that your reply was non-responsive to my questions and still did not explain why school resources were being directed to support anyone other than current Isaac students, Ms.

Free Saturday Enrichment Program at Salesian High School

February 05, 2009 - 16:57

The Saturday Academy is an extension of the American History Academy Program at Salesian High School.  It is funded by The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.  The Academy is a tuition-free Saturday enrichment program offered to all Grade 7 through Grade 9 public, private, and Catholic school students in Westchester county and the north Bronx, all for the FUN of LEARNING!  The program is open to both boys and girls.   Classes begin February 28, 2009, and will run for six consecutive Saturdays until April 4, 2009.

Students who participate in the Academy have the opportunity to study selected topics in American history studies by analyzing primary sources, videos, slides and music, as well as participating in group discussions, using the school’s computer facilities, and enjoying demonstrations by re-enactors.  All instruction will be based on materials supplied by the teachers.  Best of all – no homework – no tests!  Upon the satisfactory completion of the course (attendance is required each week), the Academy will send a Certificate of Achievement to the student’s school.

Salesian High School Holds "Open House" for Middle School Students this Saturday

February 04, 2009 - 19:20


Salesian High School, a Catholic High School for young men, is holding an Open House for prospective students. The Open House will take place on Saturday, February 7, 2009, from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade boys and their parents are invited to tour the school, obtain information about programs and activities, and meet administrators, teachers, and students. The school’s campus is at 148 East Main Street in New Rochelle. Please call the school at 914-632-0248 for more information or visit theSalesian High web page.

A Barack Too Far? New Rochelle Public Schools Assign Seven Year Olds to Obama Campaign

February 04, 2009 - 01:03


Students at an elementary school in New Rochelle, NY, a largely Democratic suburb of New York City with a City Council and School Board dominated by Democrats, were recently assigned an in-class assignment to color in drawings of Barack Obama to mark the occasion of the inauguration of the 44th President. The drawings depicted Obama in various heroic poses, flags waving in the background, but one drawing went beyond adulation into overt political activity disguised as a pedagogical exercise. The drawing is a campaign button, in the center of a circle Barack Obama is smiling surrounded by another circle with the words "Students for Obama 2008".

At least one student objected but her concerns were ignored. "I was mad", the second grader told Talk of the Sound. "I wanted McCain to win".

Do public school employees cross the line with this sort of thing? New Rochelle Superintendent of Schools Richard Organisciak, an Obama supporter, did not respond to emails requesting comment. What do you think?


Richard Organisciak
Superintendent of Schools

City of New Rochelle Web Site Voted Worst in New York State

February 03, 2009 - 18:16

Well, the vote was just one person - me - but I think if there really were a contest for worst municipal web site, New Rochelle would certainly win in the "30,000 - 74,999 population category" and make a strong challenge for "Worst in Show".

The New Rochelle web site is a byzantine monstrosity that is largely useless for all except the most dedicated and persistent users. Many of the most useful links - and there are a few - are buried so deep within the web site, the path to arrive at those links is so slow and confused, the wall surrounding the information so impenetrable that the only purpose for having the information there is so the City can say it's there. Suffice to say, the phrase "user friendly" does not come to mind while connected to the New Rochelle Online web site. The good news is that the link to pay your parking fines works!

Let me be blunt. Whoever is in charge of the City's web site should be fired or relieved of their responsibilities. Even the simplest, easiest to correct problem with the site has been left unaddressed for YEARS. Here is the home page as of 10:30 AM this morning. See any problems?


As Journal News Shills for Isaac Young Principal, Middle School Launches Program for High School Dropouts

February 02, 2009 - 16:26

In a story one part absurd and two parts District propaganda, the Journal News, and Mr. Aman Ali in particular, once again abdicate their responsibilities as journalists to serve as shills for the City School District of New Rochelle to promote a bizarre decision to send high school dropouts back to middle school. In the article that could have been - and may have been - written by the school principal himself, the District seeks to shift attention away from recent criticism of Anthony Bongo over his failure to care for a seriously injured student in his charge by promoting a nonsensical program supposedly designed to help adults with no relationship at all to his school.

Mr. Ali uses the phrase "hoping to correct the situation" without once clarifying what "situation" Mr. Bongo claims to be "correcting". If the situation is that a student has dropped out of high school and wishes to return would not the obvious solution be for them to return to the high school? If they want to get a GED, aren't there plenty of programs in and out of the district to prepare them for the GED exam? If they need job counseling, doesn't the New York State Department of Labor offer programs for this purpose?

What is a Blog Editor? How to Get Started Using a Blog Editor

February 01, 2009 - 18:30

Blog Editor or Weblog Client are synonymous terms for software you run on your local machine (desktop) that lets you post to your blog. In some cases, the Weblog Client can even manage your weblog entries. You might think of Weblog Clients as the equivalent of email clients such as Outlook and Eudora Mail but instead of pushing "send" you push "publish". Essentially, the Blog Editor or Weblog Client allows you to write a post even if you are off-line; then, the next time you connect to the Internet, you can publish that post.

Blog Editor or Weblog Client software offers several advantages over posting directly into the blog via a web browser: the ability to save drafts, a nicer interface, fancy formatting features, features like cross-posting to multiple blogs, faster uploading and addition of photos, the ability to keep local backup.

To learn more, read What is a Blog Editor or Weblog Client?. Then read Top 5 Reasons to Use an Offline Blog Editor.

What is RSS, Why Use an RSS Reader and How to Get Started

February 01, 2009 - 18:26

RSS is a family of Web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format. An RSS Feed includes full or summarized text or audio attachments (podcasts) and video attachments (video podcasts). By subscribing to an RSS feed readers get timely updates from their favorite websites and can aggregate feeds from many sites into one place. RSS feeds can be read using software called an "RSS reader", "feed reader", or "aggregator", which can be web-based, desktop-based, mobile device or any computerized Internet-connected device.

Wikipedia has a helpful entry on RSS that tells you what RSS is all about. Google/YouTube has some good videos that explain RSS and RSS Readers. For a quick, light-hearted overview, watch RSS in Plain English. For a rich, detailed how-to guide, watch What is RSS? from the Peoria, AZ school district.

How do I pick an RSS Reader?

There are many choices available but the first decision is whether to select a web-based or desktop-based reader. Each offers different benefits.

How to Write a Good Title for Your Blog Post

February 01, 2009 - 17:51

The purpose of a blog post title or "headline" is to get potential readers to read the first line of your content. Write a captivating and intruiging title and you’ll draw people into reading it every time. Remember, just as in a traditional newspaper, blog readers tend to skim headlines to find posts that appear to be important to them. The right words in the title are the difference between being read and being ignored so don't rush.

Headlines these days are just as important as the post itself — with users skimming through their large list of RSS feeds or social media links, the headline is your only chance to grab their attention. Headlines for blog posts matter on multiple levels - they are what appears in search engine results, RSS feeds, links from other bloggers, social media sites, web site archives. Often, the only thing that people see and the sole thing that people make the decision to visit your post on.