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Lohud: Girls basketball rankings...Briarcliff moves up after impressive 4-0 starts


2007 Section One and Federation Varsity Girls' Basketball Championship Team Honored

The 2007-2008 Girls Basketball team was honored before the BHS Booster Club Annual Tournament Championship. Seven of the twelve members of the team (pictured r-l Savina Reid, Kasey Heyda, Brianna Reid, Jamie Heyda, Katie Weiner, Taylor Pescetti, and Shelby Coon; not pictured Liz Meyers, Sam Muratoria, Maggie Blair, Kathryn Holland, Liana Cornacchio) joined Coach Don Hamlin on the court for pictures and hugs and each player was presented with medals engraved with her name and the words "Once a Bear Always a Bear."

Coach Donald them, "The ride is more important than than the goal. Staying positive, true to yourself, and working together no matter the obstacles you face will allow you to achieve your goals. You have given me so much more than I can ever dream of giving you. I only hope I have made 1/1000 of a real impact on your life that you have had one mine."

See more pictures on our Facebook page.

2007 Section One and Federation Varsity Girls' Basketball Championship Team Honored


The 2007-2008 Girls Basketball team was honored before the BHS Booster Club Annual Tournament Championship. Seven of the twelve members of the team (pictured r-l Savina Reid, Kasey Heyda, Brianna Reid, Jamie Heyda, Katie Weiner, Taylor Pescetti, and Shelby Coon; not pictured Liz Meyers, Sam Muratoria, Maggie Blair, Kathryn Holland, Liana Cornacchio) joined Coach Don Hamlin on the court for pictures and hugs and each player was presented with a medal engraved with her name and the words "Once a Bear Always a Bear."

Coach Don told  them, "The ride is more important than than the goal. Staying positive, true to yourself, and working together no matter the obstacles you face will allow you to achieve your goals. You have given me so much more than I can ever dream of giving you. I only hope I have made 1/1000 of a real impact on your life that you have had one mine."

See more pictures on our Facebook page.

BMS and BHS Students Wow Audiences at 2017 Winter Dance and Chorus Concert

Congratulations to all our talented performers for another outstanding concert. Next up, Todd 5th Grade Concert on December 7, 7 pm at Todd School.

Two More Winter Concerts at Briarcliff! 12/12 and 12/13


Strong Performance by Briarcliff’s Debate Team

Briarcliff’s debate team won big at the Suffern High School speech competition on November 28.
Andrew Sugrue (right) participated in the prose category and delivered President Reagan’s Challenger speech; John Hansley (left) participated in the impromptu category, which involved speaking extemporaneously.  Competing against students from seven high schools, Andrew came in second place, and John came in third place in their respective categories.

Todd Welcomes Author Dan Gutman


Author of over 100 books for children and adults, Dan Gutman visited Todd Elementary School’s third, fourth, and fifth grade classes on October 24 to talk to students offer both support and inspiration for budding writers in Briarcliff.  He spoke frankly with them about the lack of success he experienced early in his career and encouraged them to stick with it. (See more pictures our Facebook page!)

He told the students, “I tried writing magazine articles, with little success. I wrote a few screenplays, but never sold them. I thought I had some good book ideas, but publishers weren’t interested. I received hundreds of rejection letters. It was very frustrating, but I was very determined and persistent.”

He went on to tell the students that he never thought he would be any good at creating a story, but in 1987 he decided to try his hand at writing about something he always loved: sports. “I sold an article to Discover magazine about the science behind the spitball, scuffball, and corked bats. This led to my first adult baseball book It Ain’t Cheatin’ If You Don’t Get Caught.”

Then shortly after the birth of his son he started writing non-fiction for children and again had moderate success. The real turning point was in 1994, when he decided to give fiction a try and much to his surprise he sold the first novel he wrote They Came From Centerfield. “It was fun to write, kids loved it, and I discovered how incredibly rewarding it is to take a blank page and turn it into a world.”

The rest, as they say, is history. You can read more about him at his website

Todd Librarian Tara Phethean explained the value and extent of these visits at Todd. “Author visits are always an exciting time at Todd and each one is a unique opportunity to engage the students. We are extremely grateful to our PTA for generously funding these special experiences for our students!”

To prepare for the visit, students were encouraged to participate in one or more activity:  snap a photo of themselves reading a Gutman book for the ‘You’ve GOT to Read a Gutman!’ hallway display, read a Gutman book & write a book review in Destiny Quest OPAC, enter the essay contest for a chance to win lunch with the author, or order an autographed copy of your favorite Gutman book.”

Winners of the essay writing contest – which asked students to write 100 words about why they should have lunch with Dan Gutman were: Kevin Pahk, Nika Moini, Christian Brown, Lauren Jaffee, Mia Willey, and Jack Weinstein.

The next author visit is scheduled for December 6 and will feature author Marc Brown.

Congratulations to our Fall Scholar Athlete Teams


Congratulations to the BHS Fall Teams who achieved the Scholar Athlete Award from New York State Public High School Athletic Association: Varsity Cheerleading, Varsity Boys Cross Country, Varsity Girls Cross Country, Varsity Field Hockey, Varsity Boys Soccer, Varsity Girls Soccer, Varsity Girls Swimming/Diving, Varsity Girls Tennis, and Varsity Volleyball

At the end of each sports season, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) honors those teams and individuals that excel in the classroom. Those student-athletes, teams, and schools work very hard throughout the year and deserve to be recognized for their academic success. To receive Scholar-Athlete team recognition with a certificate, the team’s average GPA for 75% of the roster must be greater than or equal to 90.00. 


BMS and BHS students celebrate Global Day of Clay


Earlier in November, BMS and BHS students participated in Global Day of Clay. This collaboration between NCECA (National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts) and the ceramics department at 92Y in NYC uses technology to link individuals, arts organizations, universities and galleries all over the world. (see more pictures on our Facebook page) 

Art teacher at BMS and BHS Jessica Dubin explained, “The purpose of Global Day of Clay is to create interest around ceramics and pull people from within the field and outside of it into a deeper state of consciousness about all things related to clay. Images, videos, conversations and examples of work are available through the platform they've created for the day. I created an Instagram account in order to showcase student participation in this unique event. There is only one post at the moment but I will add posts as the day goes on. I have a wonderful array of photos of kids working in clay at both BHS and BMS.”

The lesson taught in each grade were:

6th Grade, MS: Students learned about the historic significance of clay as a method of communication in the ancient world. They looked at cylinder seals from Mesopotamia and the clay tablets that the seals were impressed in. We discussed cuneiform and hieroglyphics as well. Students then created a clay cartouche which was incised with their name written in the Egyptian hieroglyphics. They will be fired and glazed next week.

7th Grade, MS: Students looked at images of ancient ceramic vessels from each of the world's continents. They discussed the similarities and differences they observed. Using slabs of clay as a base, students impressed fired clay and wood "stamps" to create texture and pattern. Next, the slabs were cut into circles or squares and draped into simple molds to create plates. Students will glaze their plates next week. 

Foundations in Studio in Art, HS: Students looked at images of ancient clay animals from different parts of the world.  Some dated as early as 2000 BC. ranging in origin from Egypt to Greece to Peru. Working in groups, they created clay animals, collaborating and making decisions about how to join parts into a recognizable whole. Once done, they shared their creations with each other.


Visit the Instagram page:






Students at Todd participate in "Stuff-a-Bus" campaign.


This week, students at Todd participated in Pajama Program’s 10th annual "Stuff-a-Bus" campaign. Westchester schools and organizations collect new pajamas and books and then literally stuffed the inside of a school bus with the items gathered to be given to the children and teens Pajama Program serves. This is a picture of Lea Campani's first grade class getting ready to stuff! 

Principal Nadine McDermott explained, “Stuff-a-Bus ties into our school goal of empathy. We believe that teaching empathy is a lifeline to the heart and soul of our school. To promote empathy and ‘The Golden Rule,’ formal lessons are designed to appreciate diversity within our school community.” 

Pajama Program offers at-risk children, often abandoned, abused and neglected, and living in group homes, shelters and temporary housing, the unconditional, magical gifts of new pajamas and new books so that they can enjoy the greatest benefit of a loving bedtime and peaceful good night: a fulfilling good day. 

Pajama Program is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which believes that every child, no matter their circumstances, has the inherent right to a loving good night, complete with the comforting bedtime ritual of changing into clean, warm pajamas and enjoying an enchanting story.

Swimmers and Divers Headed to States!


Briarcliff’s Swim and Dive team had a fantastic season finishing 8-0-1 in the regular season, second in the conference, and third in the section, and State Qualifiers, Carly Schwab, Claire Goldstein, Anna Ketron, Yasmin Hill will be competing in Ithaca NY November 17th and 18th.

Coach Anthony Pizzolla said, “The quality of swimming and diving this season was tremendous and we held our own against extremely tough competition.  Coach Lauren and I could not have asked or expected any more from our swimmers. They left everything they had in the pool and gave a truly fantastic effort every swim.”

The following girls qualified for the State Championship in Varsity Girls Swimming: Carly Schwab - 50 Freestyle, 100 Breaststroke, 200 Medley Relay, & 200 Free Style Relay; Claire Goldstein - 200 Medley Relay; and Anna Ketron - 200 Freestyle & 200 Freestyle Relay. Yasmin Hill finished 5th out of 23 divers and qualified for the New York State Swim and Dive Competition.

Claire Goldstein, Anna Ketron, and Carly Schwab were named All League.


Juliana Arroyo Named News12 Scholar Athlete of the Week!

Use this link to see the video or visit our Facebook page.

BHS Students Sign Letters of Intent


Three the finest BHS student athletes within the graduating class of 2018 officially committed to their colleges in a ceremony on Wednesday, November 8th in the HS Library at a National Letter of Intent signing ceremony with parents, coaches, members of the administration and Board of Education present. 

Director of Athletics Chris Drosopoulos spoke to the gathered crowd and recognized the student athletes’ “character, worth ethic, respect, and perseverance.”

The National Letter of Intent is a binding agreement between a prospective student athlete and a National Letter of Intent member institution. The NLI program now includes 650 Division I and Division II participating colleges and universities.  

An important provision of the NLI program is a recruiting prohibition applied after a prospective student-athlete signs the NLI. This prohibition requires other member institutions to cease recruitment of a prospective student-athlete once an NLI is signed with another college or university.

Congratulations to:

Quinten Cooleen - University at Albany - Men's Baseball
Rachel Lim - Harvard College - Women's Tennis
Jack Ryan - College of William & Mary - Men's Baseball

Briars and Ivy Recognized for Excellence


The staff of Briars & Ivy, Briarcliff High School's literary arts magazine, has been recognized by the National Scholastic Press Association receiving a rating of First Class with One Mark of Distinction and with a Gold Award in this year's Empire State Scholastic Press Association (ESSPA) run by Syracuse University for the 2017 edition. Click here to read Briars& Ivy online

National Scholastic Press Association Judge Kathryn Campbell said, "It is clear that the Briars & Ivy staff is committed to providing a high-quality publication for the student body that illuminates ideas and celebrates craft." 

The NSPA and its divisions promote the standards and ethics of good journalism as accepted and practiced by print, broadcast and electronic media in the United States along with endorsing and advocating for free expression rights for student media. Additionally, NSPA and its divisions cooperate with other student media associations and other non-student groups and businesses that share its mission to educate and recognize the work of student journalists, to improve the quality of student media and to foster careers in media.

From the ESSPA, in addition to the Gold Award, the following students also won individual awards in the following categories:


  • Jonah Koen: "Lumos," Cover Design--Gold
  • Sam Driver: "Lunch," Non-fiction--Gold
  • Jordan Kim: "The Allagash Rock," Poetry (Division B)--Gold 
  • Jillian Agona: "Ten Times a Man Left Me," Fiction--Silver
  • Erica Polevoy: "Sconces," Poetry (Division B)--Silver
  • Lauren Tannenbaum, "The Renaissance," Poetry (Division B)--Bronze
  • Alex Schoepke: "Sweet Heart," Fiction--Bronze
  • Ava Goldwyn: "Homecoming," Fiction--Bronze
  • Emma Calame-Pennington: "Secrets," Artwork/Illustration--Honorable Mention 
  • Emma Calame-Pennington: "Seasons," Poetry (Division B)--Honorable Mention
  • Sharon Halevi: "The Israeli," Non-fiction--Honorable Mention


Congratulations to the entire staff and Advisor Ms. Karen McCarthy!


Todd Second Graders Participate in Teatown "Trees are terrific" Program


Todd second graders made their annual trek to Teatown for the “Trees are Terrific” program. The children learned that a tree operates like a factory, records history like a book, and plays an essential role in the ecosystem at each stage of its life. Through games and activities, they learned about tree anatomy and function, in addition to their important role in a forest community. They took a guided hike and used observation and comparison skills to identify trees found in the Hudson Hills and Highlands region.

Mrs. McDermott explained, “This trip allows the children to get hands–on experience as part of the seasonal changes curriculum in Science.”

From Lohud "The Bears led about midway through the fourth set, and were tied 16-16...

..., but could not close it out and force a winner-take-all fifth set." Read the article and watch the video here.

Briarcliff Instrumentalists Recognized by NYSSMA


Based on spring 2017 New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Solo scores, the following BHS musicians have been selected to perform in the 2017 Area All-State Band and Orchestras at SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center on November 16, 2017 at 8:00 pm: Band: Max Pushkin – bassoon (symphony orchestra), Christopher Li – trumpet (band). Orchestra: James Flanagan – violin (string orchestra), Joshua Kupka – viola (string orchestra), Matthew Li – viola (string orchestra), Keshav Rao – violin (string orchestra), and Michael Tu – cello (symphony orchestra) 

In addition, based on spring 2017 NYSSMA Solo scores, the following BHS 9th graders have been selected to perform in the 2018 All-County Intermediate Orchestra AT SUNY Purchase Performing Arts Center on March 4, 2018 at 11:00 am: Band: Brian Zhou – oboe (orchestra)
Orchestra: Ethan Schwartz – double bass 

Dr. Banks, K-12 Performing Arts Coordinator said it best, Congratulations to our fine instrumentalists!

Boys Varsity Soccer Ends the Season on a High Note!


The Briarcliff Varsity Boys Soccer Team received the "Honorable Mention Award" by the Westchester-Putnam Approved Soccer Officials Association for their outstanding season and exemplary behavior on the pitch.

5th Graders "Step Up" and Learn About Aztec, Inca, and Mayan civilizations

5th grade teacher Jen Case took advantage of the beautiful fall weather and moved her Social Studies lesson on the differences among Aztec, Inca, and Mayan civilizations outside to the athletic field at Todd. The day before, Mrs. Case led the class in research on each of the civilizations using a combination of laptops and Kids Discover magazines. Mrs. Case explained, “I like to bring them outside when I can to add movement and motivation to my lessons. We played the “step-up” game during which students used cards - one for each civilization - to show the answers to various questions posed to them. We were able to review the differences among the three groups and students got to “step up” if their answer was correct. The team that moved the farthest by the end of the game was the winner and everyone had fun!”

2007 State Champion Varsity Girls Soccer "come home" to celebrate 10th anniversary!

In 2007 BHS Varsity Girls Soccer were undefeated all season and went on to become State Champions. The team was honored last week before the Girls Varsity Home game against Croton-Harmon. As Dr. Kaishian said, "Great achievement, wonderful memories & extraordinary young women!" Once a bear, always a bear!

Briarcliff Celebrates National Merit Commended Students


Congratulations to Farhaanah Mohideen, Jane Tilles, Matthew Tu, Andrew Agriantonis and Dustin Qian - Briarcliff's National Merit Commended Students!

In late September, more than two-thirds (about 34,000) of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT® receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Commended Students are named on the basis of a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is typically below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit® Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

Briarcliff's Talented Instrumentalists and Vocalists Recognized by NYSSMA and ACDA

Briarcliff's talented instrumentalists and vocalists are receiving recognition far beyond our District! NYSSMA: All State String Orchestra Junior Josh Kupka (viola) and All State Wind Ensemble Senior Dustin Qian (flute)
American Choral Directors Association (ACDA)Eastern Division: Freshman Harrison Beckler (bass, junior high honor choir) and Junior Juliet Freedman (alto, high school honor choir)and 30 Briarcliff elementary and middle school students have been named to the 2018 Honor Choir: Fourth Graders: Julia Baker, Jasmine Behr, Madeline Chu, Madeline Cohen, Leah Falah, Yael Falah, Lauren Jaffee, Georgina Janos, Hailey Merker, Sasha Plitt, Gisele Prechtl, Ariana Thomas, and Ava Wu. Fifth Graders: C. C. Anderson, Meena Chrzanowski, Abigail Chung, Caitlin Lee, Drew Packer, Matthew Seim, Eli Snider, and Mia Willey. Sixth Graders: Gordon Beckler, Allison Chu, Lily Hager, Jillian Mauro, Samantha Nemeroff, Yasmin Parandian, Tristan Rutman, Alexand. Congratulations to all!

Do you know an exceptional BHS graduate? Nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Award due February 1!

A true measure of a school’s success can be found in the actions, achievements and contributions of its alumni and alumnae. Briarcliff High School graduates have many outstanding accomplishments and contributions as well as having provided service to their communities and our country through government and/or military service and volunteer activities.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is intended to recognize an alumni/alumnae for his/her outstanding achievements, service to their communities and/or service/support of the Briarcliff School district. The honor is intended to be granted annually as part of the annual High School Awards assembly although multiple awards may be granted in a year and in some years no award need be granted. 

For more information or to nominate a graduate, CLICK HERE.

Briarcliff schools make history - first K-12 district in Westchester to go 1 to 1

Todd students K-2 have their own personal iPads with age appropriate apps that allow them to learn through personalized plans. Older students district-wide have laptops which facilitate their ability to collaborate, create, and access not only state-of-the-art resources, but a continuous learning environment. In other words, this is a portable makerspace for each student. Much more information on this initiative as the year progresses...

Briarcliff HS English Teacher Julia Fernandez: NYS Educator of Excellence.

Briarcliff HS English Teacher Julia Fernandez was one of only seventeen educators across the state to be named a New York State Educator of Excellence by the New York State English Council (NYSEC).
Briarcliff HS English Teacher Julia Fernandez was one of only seventeen educators across the state to be named a New York State Educator of Excellence by the New York State English Council (NYSEC).

Briarcliff HS English Teacher Julia Fernandez was one of only seventeen educators across the state to be named a New York State Educator of Excellence by the New York State English Council (NYSEC). As described on their website, each year the NYSEC recognizes excellence in teaching by presenting Awards at its annual conference to English Language Arts educators nominated by their schools and then selected by the Council.

Jamie Mandel, English Department Coordinator at the HS and her colleagues coordinated the award submission. She said, “Ms. Fernandez, a teacher of fifteen years, demonstrates expertise and a wide breadth of knowledge. She has a keen mind that asks the right question – the thought-provoking question that penetrates to the heart of the matter. She also infuses her classroom with her love of reading, be it the classics, the newest graphic novel, or the latest poetry.  The classroom atmosphere she creates, challenging yet supportive, culminates in well-read, thoughtful, and critically aware students. She pushes our students, who are already high achieving, to new levels. 

When asked how she felt about the award, Ms. Fernandez beamed and said, “Being nominated for New York State Educator of Excellence is an honor. Literature has always been an important aspect in my life, so becoming part of the English department at Briarcliff sixteen years ago was a gift. Discussing the art of the craft—and hopefully inspiring my students to appreciate the artistry—is a constant motivator.  Every afternoon, I leave the building smiling over something that happened during my day. I am fortunate that I love what I do and that I am surrounded by supportive and passionate professionals.


Congratulations Julia!!

Congratulations to National Merit Semifinalist Madison Hennessy!


(from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation website) 

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest- scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record through- out high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February 2018 they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

Winners will be announced in March 2018.


Author James Howe Visits 7th Grade, Discusses Friendship and Bullying


Each year 7th grade students read "The Misfits" by James Howe over the summer. The theme of the book is friendship and bullying. Mr. Howe has come to speak with the 7th graders for several years now. He talks to them about fitting in, or not fitting in, and what that means or if it even matters. The main characters in the book are all sort of "outsiders" and they "find each other" and once you have friends, you're really not an outsider anymore - you're your own group. 


The kids have the chance to ask questions about the characters and how and why he wrote the book. 

Bears Volleyball Goes Undefeated to Capture Booster Club's Invitational HS Tournament


Todd MakerSpaces are Buzzing with Building!

Second graders competed in the Todd School MakerSpace Challenge to see who could build the tallest free standing structure!

Starting the year off right at Todd Elementary with a Principal Read Aloud

Mrs. McDermott read “The Golden Rule” to all kindergarten and 1st grade classes at the first Principal Read Aloud of the year! There are three more scheduled for the 2017-18 school year and each one will support one of the habits of mind. The first focused on empathy, the second: remaining open to continues learning, the third: thinking flexibly, and the fourth: striving for accuracy. Such a wonderful Todd tradition - be sure to ask your child about it!!

2017 Graduate Leaves Her Mark!

2017 Graduate Eliana Perez is leaving her mark at the Briarcliff Schools - literally! She was chosen to design the cover of the MacBooks and iPads that will be used by students this year. Thank you Eliana and good luck Champlain College studying video game design!

Planning for the first day!

District and building administrators gathered to discuss the upcoming school year earlier this week. It's been a busy summer in the Briarcliff Schools - we can't wait to welcome Freshman, 6th graders, and Kindergarteners on 9/5, and all students on 9/6! 

Apple Certified Mac Technicians in Training!


Once again this year, Briarcliff's student tech gurus can attend summer training to become Apple Certified Mac Technicians. This program enables us to provide more efficient service to both faculty and students when hardware-related issues arise! Lohud did a story on this unique program last year (read it here!)


Tuesday, December 12, 2017