Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nearly 600 Educators Attend East Ramapo Private School Staff Development Day

By Randi Weiner, The Journal News

SPRING VALLEY - Rabbi Avremel Kotlarsky carefully tore a piece of aluminum foil off the roll handed to him and began folding it into thin strips destined to become electric power conduits.

The finished product was expected to be a homemade fourth-grade science game, where correct answers light up a small bulb. The ingredients: relatively low-cost objects found around the home and in the local hardware store. The idea: getting the area's private-school teachers thinking in terms of teaching hands-on science to their youngsters.

"This is the second year we've brought our entire staff here," said Kotlarsky, principal of the Hebrew Academy in New City, one of about 30 private schools - mostly yeshivas - attending East Ramapo's fourth annual professional development day yesterday for nonpublic-school educators.

"It's a great opportunity for them to enhance their teaching skills and acquire some good ideas," he said. "Science is my fascination. ... and I'm looking for things to share with my staff and administrators."

East Ramapo public schools are surrounded by private schools serving an estimated 17,000 students. As part of the 8,000-student public schools' outreach, East Ramapo's Office of Funded Programs arranges workshops for the nonpublic educators throughout the year that offer concentrated training on specific topics.

Four years ago, the district began offering the daylong workshop on a mix of topics, ranging from basic classroom management to the fine points of using an electronic black board and working with children with special needs.

Keynote speaker and conference organizer Merritte Mellion said the variety means that everyone who attends can find something of interest to help them be better teachers so their children are better educated.

This year's 35 workshops drew about 600 private-school educators, many attending the program for the second, third and even fourth time.

"I've come every year," said Yaakov Oppen, general studies principal at Bais Hachinuch in Spring Valley. "It's a great program. It really offers a very wide range of subjects for the teachers."

Beth Katznelson, a sixth-grade general studies teacher at Ateres Bais Yaakov, and Terry Mostrowitz-Roth, a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher from the Adolph Schreiber Hebrew Academy of Rockland, praised the experience.

"I've been teaching 40 years, but there are many things that I could still learn," Mostrowitz-Roth said. "I look forward to this."

Katznelson said the workshops "are a great opportunity for teachers to grow as educators and bring their new skills into the classroom."

Mindy Rosenberg, a teacher at Yeshiva Avir Yaakov in New Square, chose a math workshop "because I find this is an area of acute challenges and frustration for children. To learn some tricks to get kids to think - that's the key to education."

Educators who attend the seminars do so for free; the nearly $12,000 price tag for this year's slate of workshops was paid for with state and federal grants and aid available for teacher training and for schools with needy students, said Elie Wizman, director of Funded Programs for East Ramapo.

Monsey Pathmark to Host 2009 Kosher Fair

The Monsey Pathmark is proud to once again host the annual Kosher Fair on Sunday, March 8th from 10:00am to 4:00pm, located at 45 Route 59, Monsey, NY.

One of the largest Kosher events in the region, this event showcases the most recognized brand names in Kosher delicacies. Founded over ten years ago, the Monsey Kosher Fair was established to help shoppers prepare for Passover and Purim by offering an assortment of delicious and diverse Kosher foods.

Over the years, this exciting event has grown attracting guests from around the country, as well as popular Kosher vendors such as Streits Matzo, Tabatchnick Soups, Osem USA, Manischewitz Company, Joyva Candy, Kedem, Reisman Passover, Klein’s Naturals and Kellers. These vendors are nationally known for their delicious specialty products. During the Fair, several of these vendors will be holding in-store demonstrations providing shoppers with helpful tips on how to prepare special meals and the opportunity to sample some of the finest Kosher foods.

Some of the exciting brands and foods featured at the 2009 Kosher Fair will include:

• Dairy – Offering a wide range of dairy products
• Bakery – A sumptuous array of delicious treats for anyone’s sweet tooth
• Deli – A large selection of cold cuts and seafood salads
• Meat – A wide variety of fresh meats

Further highlighting the Kosher Fair will be gift basket raffles with delicious Kosher beverages, meats, condiments, snacks and baked goods for several lucky customers.

Please note that N'shei Chabad of Rockland and Chabad of Suffern will be setting up several tables at the Fair to do outreach. N'shei Chabad has been participating in the Pathmark Kosher Fair since the project began. Volunteers are needed to give out neshek, brochures, the famous "Kosher Quiz" and raffle for a Lubavitch Cookbook Trio and other give-aways. Women of all ages and teen-age girls are welcome to participate. Please call Mrs. Yehudis Sassiver at 845-352-8910 to volunteer an hour or two of your time, from 10: AM to 4:00 PM on Sunday, March 8, at Pathmark of Monsey.

Some in Spring Valley Get Tax Break

By James Walsh, The Journal News

SPRING VALLEY - Some property owners will get a bit of a tax break from changes in fire district boundaries.

The neighborhood is at the tip of the northwest corner of the village, including Avon Gardens, Spring Valley Towers and Sixty East Eckerson apartment complexes, as well as properties on Bedford Court, Shuart Drive and the south side of Viola Road.

Ryan Karben, an assistant village attorney, estimated the overall savings would be about $22,000 annually.

Property owners in the area had been paying fire district taxes to both the village and the Moleston Fire District of the Hillcrest Fire Department.

The double taxation apparently began in the 1960s, when the area was incorporated into the village. Upon the village's incorporation, the neighborhood automatically fell within the jurisdiction of the Spring Valley Fire Department.

"As a matter of law," Karben said, "the Spring Valley Fire Department is responsible for any property located in the village of Spring Valley."

The property owners, though, continued to be taxed by Moleston, while paying the village for fire-protection services.

The change will not affect fire protection, which will continue to be provided by Spring Valley.

In a statement, Mayor George Darden said the agreement reached last week would save tax dollars "without compromising the outstanding public services our residents enjoy."

The village became aware of the double billing in 1998, Karben said, but it was unclear why it took a decade to rectify it.

Gary Wren, chairman of the Moleston Fire District, said he didn't know how long the double billing had persisted, but that the district moved quickly to redraw the boundary as agreed to last week.

"We got a letter from the Spring Valley attorney pointing out the problem," Wren said, "and it took several months for the attorneys to do what they had to do."