Message from the Principal
Spring signifies a new beginning as flowers start to blossom, leaves appear on our trees, and sunlight brings warmth to the air. I feel Austin Road is beginning anew again as we welcome back the majority of our students for five day a week in-person learning. I am so proud of our students and staff for following our safety protocols day in and day out to allow us to get to this point. I know that as an Austin Road community, we will continue working together to ensure that these next 3 months of school are engaging and rewarding for the whole student. I wish everyone a very happy spring.
Austin Road News & Headlines
Austin Road Legacy Project: The Little Free LibraryFor their 2021 legacy project, the Austin Road fifth grade class collaborated on an outdoor lending library lovingly named “The Little Free Library.” The final idea and design came together as a result of wanting to find an appropriate way to connect to the elementary schools' Teachers College reading and writing implementation and have enough space to uniquely represent each student.The planning and design was spearheaded by Principal Bryan Gilligan, Assistant Principal Michelle Tween, and Austin Road art teacher Tess Zinzi who were all in agreement that the final design must have enough space on the roof to fit the one roof tile for each student. Aaron Wisotsky donated his time and design and carpentry skills to make the dream a reality and each student was asked to create the artwork for the roof tiles during virtual art classes. The roof consists of 56 tiles on each side of the roof, one for each fifth grader.“Each student's tile is a unique "inhabited initial" that tells us something about them,” said Assistant Principal Michelle Tween. “Every book in the Little Free Library tells a different story, just like our students' tiles. Austin Road is a beautifully connected and caring community. In a special way, The Little Free Library invites our Mahopac neighbors, of all ages, to be a part of that community.”The Little Free Library will be outside of Austin Road main building, so be sure to take a look next time you drive by the school.AR News & Headlines
Congratulations Austin Road 5th Graders
The Moving Up Ceremony at Austin Road gathered parents and family members in the auditorium as fifth graders were congratulated on all they accomplished during their time at Austin Road, but especially the last two years
Mr. DiCarlo greeted families and congratulated students and teachers called names and attendees cheered for six great years at Austin. Mr. Gilligan handed each student a certificate and shook his or her hand, but not before he reminded the class how much he will miss them and how special they are to him since their first year at Austin Road was also his.
After the ceremony, families moved outside where students picked up their commemorative beach blankets provided by the PTO and gathered for pictures under a balloon arch. On the way out families admired the “Little Free Library,” a gift from the Class of 2021 to their school.
Congratulations Austin Road!AR News & Headlines
MCSD 2020-2021 District-wide Art Show
MCSD 2020-2021 District-wide Art Show
The Mahopac Central School District believes that Art education is an essential component of human development. Through Visual Art, students are empowered to be creative, “out of the box” thinkers and conscious designers; they are able to discover and express who they are, communicate their ideas, understand the visual, cultural, and virtual world, take risks, work collaboratively, make connections in their learning, innovate, develop an increasing sense of their own aesthetic, and authentically engage in their education.
The inaugural District-wide Art Show centralizes all the a talent district wide from Kindergarten to 12th Grade. Click the link below, explore, and enjoy!AR News & Headlines
Six-Degrees of Musical Separation
Austin Road Music Teacher Elizabeth Day challenged her students to combine the music they enjoy with critical thinking and research skills they had developed throughout the year, “The musician's timeline was a project that Austin Road Elementary 4th and 5th graders started by sharing with the class who their favorite artist is, and then adding pictures, videos, and music into a YouTube-type template and being prepared to describe their favorite music and why they liked it.”
Part of the research included reviewing infographics of how different musicians are connected, in formats similar to family trees or a six degrees of separation-type layouts. Students were then asked to think about gaining information in a casual, social setting.
"I asked my students to picture themselves at a backyard barbecue or a party at your favorite artist's house and to describe the kind of music they thought would be playing," Day said. “This required researching who their favorite artist listened to, and then we took it a step further. I challenged them to take it to the next level, having them hypothesize who would their favorite artist's favorite artist listen to, and on and one for several ‘degrees.’ They also had to be prepared to defend their choices.
The project was both eye-opening and fun for both students and Day. “ For me as their teacher, it gave me a way to connect to the music that is relevant to them and actually learn of some new artists and bands I did not know about. For the students, especially those who said they did not listen to music, it inspired conversations about where they might hear music with something they enjoy, like movies or video games.”
Day described this as opening them up to a new perspective on music in their lives. “By the end of the timeline project, students were finding that many of their favorite artists, although they were different, seemed to be influenced by the same people in history.”
Check out these timelines her class created!AR News & Headlines
The Study of Animal Adaptations Science in Posters
Susan Downey’s fifth grade students shared the projects that were the culmination of their Animal Adaptations Science Unit with the entire Austin Road community by displaying them in the main hallway.
Throughout the unit they learned about the different types of adaptation including physical, behavioral, mimicry, camouflage, hibernation, migration, and dormancy. The children were asked to select a non-domesticated animal and create a poster that showcased how it adapted. Their final score on the project was based on how well they followed the project rubric. Once the posters were completed, each child presented his/hers to the class (both in person and virtually).
“Every single student earned the highest possible score of 4, something that has never happened before in Downey's class!” Mrs. Downey raved about this year’s students’ efforts and final projects, “They crushed the project this year too. All of the work, with the exception of some research, was done at home.”AR News & Headlines
Austin Celebrates World Autism Day
April is World Autism Month, beginning with United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. Throughout the month, people are encouraged to focus on sharing stories and providing opportunities to increase understanding and acceptance of people with autism, fostering worldwide support.
Austin Road special education teacher Amanda Giacquinta snapped these fabulous pictures of the hallway decorations and said, “I love walking through the halls and seeing this in honor of Autism Awareness Month!”
We agree, Mrs. Giacquinta!AR News & Headlines
Reading and then becoming a "Marble Champ"Students in Beth Doré’s class read The Marble Champ, by Gary Soto which is a story about a girl named Lupe who wants to be good at a sport. She decides to try marbles. The story first tells how Lupe becomes a good marbles player. She strengthens her thumb and practices marbles every day. It’s a little suspenseful in the middle when she has a few competitions. At the end, Lupe is proud that she has finally become good at a sport.After reading and discussing the book, the class studied the game of marbles and played together at recess outside and during free time inside.“It is the perfect responsible, socially distant game,” said Ms. Doré, “and best of all it’s fun!”AR News & Headlines
Students Sign Song of Thanks
When Austin Road Elementary students can't sing together (check out the video here!), they sign together instead! Music teacher Elizabeth Day, using technology and sign language, helped her students perform "Thanks a Lot" by Raffi in celebration of Thanksgiving and in gratitude. Enjoy!
The Lyrics of the song are:Thanks a lot,
Thanks for Sun in the sky.Thanks a lot,
Thanks for clouds so high.Thanks a lot,
Thanks for whispering wind.Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the birds in the spring.Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the moonlit night.Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the stars so bright.Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the wondering me.Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the way I feel.Thanks for the animals,
Thanks for the land,
Thanks for the people everywhere.Thanks a lot,
Thanks for all I've got.
Thanks for all I've got.AR News & Headlines
2020-2021 One Page Calendar
This Calendar includes school breaks, holidays, and color cohort days for the entire 2020-2021 school year. *Please refer to specific communications from schools for building specific changes and updates.*AR News & Headlines
Welcome Assistant Principal Michelle Tween
Michelle Tween has joined Austin Road Elementary as the school’s new assistant principal.
“I speak for everyone at Austin Road in saying that I am pleased to welcome Michelle to the Austin Road Family,” said Principal Bryan Gilligan. “I am grateful to the administration and The Board of Education for working diligently to select someone with the combination of educational experience and philosophy that she brings. I look forward to working closely with her to continue the good work being done at Austin Road to the benefit of all our students. I believe that her passion and dedication to early childhood and elementary education is well-aligned with mine and am confident will make a great team.”
Prior to joining Austin Road, Mrs.Tween spent nearly a decade as Director of Early Childhood Education at the Chapel School in Bronxville supervising and supporting preschool and K-2 team leaders, teachers, and teacher aides. Her other duties included coaching and observing teachers in instruction, management, and planning. She also created and implemented a schedule and protocol for school-wide faculty instructional rounds to create a culture of collegiality and collaboration. She was a reading specialist and a classroom teacher for Kindergarten, first, and second grades and participated on and led several educational and community committees including chairing the Cultural Competence Curriculum Review Committee.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Austin Road team. The warm welcome I received from Mr. Gilligan, the staff, and all of the teachers has been nothing short of amazing,” said Mrs. Tween. “Everything that I was told about the culture of Austin Road is what drew me here, and my experience so far is better than I could have imagined. Austin Road’s commitment to each other, to our students, and to our families will continue to keep us a truly connected and strong community.”
Mrs. Tween, who lives in Eastchester, NY, earned both a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fordham University and a master’s degree in early childhood education and early childhood special education as well as an advanced diploma in school building leadership from The College of New Rochelle. She returned to Fordham to earn an Ed.D in Educational Leadership, Administration & Policy and is planning to graduate in 2021.AR News & Headlines
Spotlight Special Edition: Austin Road Reopening
Please enjoy this Spotlight especially for Austin Road Families about the Reopening.AR News & Headlines
Austin Road will unfortunately NOT be open for self-guided walk-throughs this summer.AR News & Headlines
Elementary Schools Parade a Success!
Teachers and staff from all three of Mahopac’s elementary schools - Lakeview, Austin Road, and Fulmer Road - held a parade on Friday, June 5, to pay tribute and say goodbye to their students, who they haven’t seen in person since the pandemic shutdown began. Students lined Route 6 with signs so they could say “goodbye” as well in a touching tribute.
Check out pictures of the parade - with many pictures submitted by YOU - here!
Read more about it and see even more pictures in the Mahopac News: https://www.tapinto.net/towns/mahopac/sections/education/articles/a-parade-of-goodbyesAR News & Headlines