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MISSION MONDAY: Tri-State Takes a Look

MISSION MONDAY: Tri-State Takes a Look Photo

Welcome to Mission Monday, a series of posts highlighting the ways North Salem students embrace the district mission of engaging in continual improvement, including questioning, defining and solving problems through critical and creative thinking. To learn more about the North Salem Mission, please click here.

The North Salem Central School District played host to a team of administrators and teachers from the Tri-State Consortium for a three-day visit from April 26 – 28.

In its efforts to engage students to continuously learn, question, define and solve problems through critical and creative thinking, the district has engaged in collaborative efforts with the Tri-State Consortium and EdLeader21 Consortium to answer the following two questions.  

1.    To what degree is the Mission having an impact on students in and out of the classroom?
2.    To what degree are Mission-linked instruction and learning embedded in the culture of the district?                   

Answers to these questions will help the district continue to improve its work with students in preparing them to be problem-solvers, decision-makers and innovators for life.

View highlights from the visit in the below video.

Audit Committee Opening

Audit Committee Opening


The North Salem Central School District Audit Committee has an opening for an interested community member.  If you are interested in serving on this committee please send a resume to the Board of Education at by June 30, 2017

Seniors Embrace Real World Experience

Seniors Embrace Real World Experience Photo

Seniors at North Salem Middle/High School presented the culminations of their Opportunities for Professional Training In-and-Out of North Salem, or O.P.T.I.O.N.S., during a special exhibition on June 6.

The district welcomed professionals from the community to evaluate students’ presentations and ask them questions about their experiences in environments in and out of the district, under the supervision of their teachers, administrators and professional mentors. 

Students’ experiences touched a wide range of industries, from scientific research, veterinary medicine, civil engineering, app creation, aquarium installation, finance, sports entertainment and dentistry, to name a handful.

Rebecca Collins found she did not have to look further than Pequenakonck Elementary School to find a qualified mentor for her project. She worked alongside occupational therapist Elyssa Yablow at the school to learn about the requirements of the job.

Jake Leicht traveled to Manhattan to complete his work with the firm Tendy Law. He noted in his presentation that both his parents are experienced lawyers and he thought it wouldn’t be a profession that would interest him.

“I thought it would be boring and uninteresting to me, but I was wrong,” he said, going on to praise the professionals he worked with, including his mentor Sheila Tendy. “They gave everything to me in an accessible way. It was a great experience.”


Honoring Administrative Retirees

Honoring Administrative Retirees Photo

Three administrators who have dedicated their lives to education and the North Salem Central School District community marked their retirements at a special celebration on May 31.

Dr. Mike Hibbard, who has served as assistant superintendent for instruction and human resources in the district for a decade, will retire at the end of the school year. His career in education spans 40 years.

Additionally, North Salem Middle/High School Principal Dr. Patricia Cyganovich and Assistant Principal Dr. George Bovino, who have served the district for 30 years, will retire on June 30.

The retirement celebration, held at Old Salem Farm, allowed colleagues and friends to congratulate the trio. Also in attendance at the celebration was Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, who presented each retiree with a proclamation thanking them for their service. They also received certificates of appreciation from the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

Photos courtesy of Halston Media

Being Friendly with Four-Legged Friends

Being Friendly with Four-Legged Friends Photo

Friends come in all shapes and sizes, and earlier this year, PQ’s ONE CUB Kindness Initiative made some new four-legged friends when they visited Our Farm Equine Rescue in North Salem. The visit was part of ONE CUB’s expansion to include teaching students about kindness toward pets and animals.

The ONE CUB team decided to use recycling money from bottles/cans donated by students, families, faculty and staff to make a donation to the facility to help feed the rescued horses, as they wait to be adopted and find a forever home. Sharon Kress, the Rescue founder, provided an informative, guided tour and introduced GiGi, Sadie, Harry, Obie and Nugget – the horses she rescued and is currently rehabilitating. Gazing into the expressive eyes of the beautiful animals, the team knew they had to do something to help this most worthy cause.

The team rallied the troops at PQ and sent a letter home to families announcing the project and asking for bottle donations. The response was overwhelming! On May 5, Ms. Kress came to PQ to receive a card containing $220 to help with horse expenses. Lisa Finer and Britt Togonon, PQ paraprofessionals and ONE CUB co-founders, recycled 4,400 bottles and cans over three months to raise this amazing sum.

Kress commented, “Thanks again! We are so appreciative and proud to be a recipient of this program. I am so proud of and impressed by your students. Great job!”

In addition to recycling, a bulletin board was created in PQ’s front hallway, which highlighted a different horse each month in hopes of getting one of them adopted. Greeting all those who enter the building were photos of each “horse of the month” along with what is known of the horse’s history.

Taking care of horses is a big responsibility, and the students in Mrs. Donofrio’s kindergarten class watched, “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Pets” and learned that taking care of and being kind to any pet (large or small) is an important job. The young learners took turns sharing how they take care of their pets at home. 

“We encourage the community to continue supporting this non-profit organization in any way possible. The farm offers after-school enrichment programs and has a Facebook page and website ( detailing all the ways North Salem can help our four-legged neighbors,” Finer and Togonon said in a joint statement. “They will also be at the Old Salem Farm horse show with information about their organization. Together, we can find these beautiful animals a forever home.”

ONE CUB would like to thank PQ’s students, families, and co-workers for bringing in bottles to help the cause. Keep those bottles coming, and we’ll keep recycling to raise funds to spread kindness around our community!

ONE CUB’s mission is to empower students with the knowledge that they can make a difference in our world through kindness, communication, citizenship, problem solving, and celebrating the differences in us all.  It all starts with ONE CUB!

Acts of Kindness for the Earth

Acts of Kindness for the Earth Photo

Kindergarten students celebrated Earth Day by performing acts of kindness that help the planet.

The grade has been engaged all year in the ONE CUB Kindness Initiative, and for Earth Day, students strengthened their school/home connection by bringing home two green leaves. At home, they wrote their earth-friendly acts of kindness on the leaves. Students wrote about acts such as turning the faucet off while they brush their teeth, cleaning up litter and helping their parents in the garden. Students shared their acts of kindness with their classmates before the leaves were added to a gradewide tree mural.

ONE CUB’s mission is to empower students with the knowledge that they can make a difference in our world through kindness.

Bringing Brightness to Salem Hills

Bringing Brightness to Salem Hills Photo

With little April showers on their shoulders, Pequenakonck Elementary School’s kindergarten classes happily visited their intergenerational friends at Salem Hills Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Purdys. This sojourn marks the sixth consecutive year of this get-together to share kindness, communication, literacy, music and smiles. This trip is part of the school’s unique, ongoing ONE CUB Kindness Initiative, founded by paraprofessionals Lisa Finer and Britt Togonon in 2008.

The young learners entered the arts and crafts room with a book in one hand ready to read to their senior partners and a handmade tissue paper flower in the other to present as a gift. The friends conversed and colored together as they enjoyed each other’s company. The trip concluded with a sing-along including old standard tunes and a patriotic song. You can’t help but get goosebumps listening to voices harmonizing whose owners are separated by 80 to 100 years!

This unique friendship is ongoing throughout the year. Kindergartners made “Thank you” stars in November for veteran residents at the facility. In December, all four classes arrived with presents for every senior friend to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah. ONE CUB expanded beyond the kindergarten walls as all grades at PQ participated to write personal cards and letters, make gifts and stationery and collect water bottles to recycle. All recycling money collected was used to purchase a gift for each of the 130 residents. PQ families, faculty and staff donated new items to be gifted – a true collaborative team effort.

In February, Chris Bockis, the activities director of Salem Hills, visited kindergarten classrooms along with her assistant, Victoria, dressed in costume to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Salem Hills gifted the kindergarten with a Dr. Seuss book as well as a very special game designed by the seniors for their young friends. The year culminates with this April visit – a heartwarming experience for all!

ONE CUB is a constant team effort – thanks go to paraprofessionals Claudia Badia, Denise Coursen and Carole Galligan, as well as the kindergarten teaching team, for their ongoing help and support.

The mission of ONE CUB is to empower our students with the knowledge that they can make a difference in our world through kindness, citizenship, problem solving, communication and celebrating the differences in us all. ONE CUB contributes to forming the foundation of these building blocks and skills that the students will cultivate and refine over their years at PQ, the MS/HS and beyond. A happy heart is an important thing to have - always! It all starts with ONE CUB!

Learning the Importance of Pollinators

Learning the Importance of Pollinators Photo

Fifth-grade students at Pequenakonck Elementary School took their studies of plants and the environment outdoors in honor of Earth Day.

In a PTO-sponsored assembly, students learned the importance of pollinators and supporting habitats by replanting native plants and flowers in the area.

“Students helped to turn the PQ garden into a pollinator garden,” said Assistant Principal Julio Vasquez. “They planted many bee and butterfly friendly flowers.”

The flowers were seedlings that students had begun growing in their classrooms, as well as seeds that were sown directly into the garden.

“Some of the flowers students planted were milkweed, swamp milkweed, butterfly weed, joe pye weed, calendula, sunflower and poppies,” said Vasquez. “Many thanks to our fifth-grade students, teachers [Mr. Tavino, Mrs. Oswald, Mrs. LeFave, Mrs. Federici and Mrs. O'Brien] and a special thank you to Mrs. Tait for spearheading the project. This project served to develop our students' communicator, collaborator, critical and creative thinking skills, [and allowed them] to actively display citizenship by caring for our environment.”

Pausing to Remember the Holocaust

Pausing to Remember the Holocaust Pic 1
Pausing to Remember the Holocaust Pic 2
Pausing to Remember the Holocaust Pic 3
North Salem Middle/High School played host to the Somers Holocaust Memorial Commission’s annual Yom Hashoah on April 26, a day of remembrance for the more than six million victims of Nazi atrocities committed during World War II.

The evening included remarks from keynote speaker Dr. Michael Geisler, president of Manhattanville College.

“He spoke eloquently about his childhood and adolescent experiences growing up in West Germany and the troubles that many war-generation Germans had in confronting the Holocaust,” said social studies teacher Christopher Regan.

Dr. Geisler discussed how these troubles contrasted with the mindsets of their children, who were looking for answers throughout the 1960s as to how these events could have occurred while their parents were youths.

“The Student Art Contest winners from both Somers High School and North Salem MS/HS were recognized for their outstanding creativity and efforts,” said Regan.

A student-led candlelight procession and prayer service for the victims of the Holocaust followed by Dr. Lola Margulies, a Somers resident and Holocaust survivor, who lit the six candles of Remembrance on the Commission's menorah, ended the evening.

Pictured below are student-generated artwork from the Student Art Contest.

Sharing an Environmental Message

Sharing an Environmental Message Photo

Leading up to Earth Day, senior members of the high school’s Environmental Club visited Pequenakonck Elementary School’s kindergarten classes to share a message about protecting the environment.

The high schoolers, in pairs, read the Dr. Seuss book “The Lorax” to each kindergarten class.

“We chose ‘The Lorax’ for its environmental themes,” said club advisor Ms. Kylie McCarron.

In addition to sharing an earth-friendly message, the seniors delighted in visiting their former classrooms and teachers and meeting with the younger students.

“It’s about building connections,” said Ms. McCarron. “It’s nice when the kids take charge and teach other kids.”

After the read aloud, the seniors shared some of the initiatives the club has undertaken to make North Salem a little greener. They then asked kindergartners what they have done and can do to protect the environment. The PQ students were eager to speak about times they had picked up garbage and planted trees.

MISSION MONDAY: An Animated Walk Through History

MISSION MONDAY: An Animated Walk Through History

Welcome to Mission Monday, a series of posts highlighting the ways North Salem students embrace the district mission of engaging in continual improvement, including questioning, defining and solving problems through critical and creative thinking. To learn more about the North Salem Mission, please click here.

View the below video to see our amazing journey to create a Mission for all students!

Important information from the Mylan Company regarding the Epi-Pen Recall.

 Important information from the Mylan Company regarding the Epi-Pen Recall.


Please see attached for recall information. 




Dear Parents and Friends of North Salem,

It is with mixed emotions that we are writing to you to formally announce our retirement from the North Salem Central School District at the close of the 2017 school year.  After 30 years as part of this wonderful school district and community it is time for us to turn our attention to family and other adventures and to give a new leadership team the opportunity to work and grow with the dedicated professionals and caring parents and friends of North Salem beginning in September.

We are extremely grateful for your kindness, support and assistance to us both personally and professionally over these many years through both good times and challenges allowing us to work together with you to provide the very best education to the children of North Salem.

We take with us the fondest of memories and wish you and your family good health, happiness and continued educational excellence in the years ahead.


George A. Bovino, Ed.D.

Assistant Principal

Patricia P. Cyganovich, Ed.D.



Chase University River Central School District