Principal's Message

September, 2019

Dear Parents and Community Members,

On behalf of Dr. Montesano and the Board of Education, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the new school year! This is always an exciting time at Bronxville Middle School as we embark on another year-long voyage together. Much has been done to prepare our school for the fall and we continue to be indebted to Mr. Mike Lee and his crew for all the renovations and upgrades they have made to our spaces over the summer. Outside the building, as you might be aware, there is construction happening, particularly on Meadow Avenue. Sidewalks are being excavated to allow for improved drainage which will tie into our pumping system on the Midland side of the building. As this work progresses, other phases of construction will begin and it is likely that the Atrium entrance on Meadow Avenue will not be accessible. Students can still be dropped off on Meadow, but they will have to enter the building through other doors. Notably, a security guard will be installed in the Auditorium Lobby area and this will be an excellent place for students to enter the building during most of this year.

Among the goals for this year, our school community is charged with the task of creating a defined school identity. What are the things that our Middle School should be proud to champion? What makes us special? What do we believe in and what do we believe is valuable? Along the way we will discuss these ideas with students, faculty and parent groups. During this process we hope to answer these questions while also finding new and interesting ideas we can explore to make our school an even more exciting and fun place to come every day.

New Staff Members and New Roles

It is with great enthusiasm that I introduce the community to our newest faculty members:

Middle School Psychologist
Ms. Jillian Tomlin
Jillian Tomlin began her career in Bronxville as the Middle School Psychologist before becoming the Elementary School Psychologist. She returns to us now and we are thrilled to have her! Ms. Tomlin has been a key member of our extended support team and she has always remained connected to our school and has quietly been both an advocate and a resource for our students, teachers and families alike.

Grades 6-8 Physical Education
Mr. Matt Fisher
Over a decade ago, I interviewed a young man with a car full of boxes, literally driving home after his graduation from Michigan. He was very impressive and Matt has been a fixture in our building ever since. Mr. Fisher began in the MS/HS and after a long tenure in elementary, Matt rejoins the MS/HS faculty. Mr. Fisher will still retain his role with BASC, our afterschool program moving forward.

Grades 6-8 French
Ms. Emily Cloud
Ms. Cloud returns to our school this year as the teacher for all French classes for grades 6-8. Ms. Cloud lives and breathes all things French! In addition to having studied and worked professionally in France, Emily continues her studies and travel in France every chance she gets. She shares her love of French language and culture every day. We are thrilled to have Ms. Cloud join the staff of our school full-time this year!

Grade 8 English and Social Studies
Mr. Rich Diefenbach
returns to the middle school this year. His teaching assignment will be all Grade 8 classes this year. Mr. Diefenbach will teach two sections each of English and Social Studies on the eighth grade level.

This unique placement allows Mr. Diefenbach, who is certified in both English and Social Studies to explore both of his academic passions with students in two content areas!

Grade 7 Science
Mr. Daniel Tocci
will teach Grade 7 Science full-time this year as a probationary teacher. Dan spent half the year teaching Science 7 last year and is very conversant in the curriculum (he also taught the same level in Scarsdale). Mr. Tocci functioned as an outstanding leave replacement teacher in both sixth and seventh grades last year and we are thrilled that there was an opening for him on staff this year!

Grade 6 Spanish
Mr. Cesar Sanchez
will teach Spanish in both the Middle and High Schools. Cesar has been teaching Spanish most of his life. As a middle school student starting school in the United States after living in the Dominican Republic, Cesar found that he was able to teach his classmates more about Spanish than their teacher could and a calling was born! Mr. Sanchez is teaching Grade 6 Spanish classes this year in our section of the building!

Middle/High School Band Director
Ms. Uma Karkala
is our new Band Director. Ms. Karkala comes to us from Ossining where she transformed the experience of being a band student into a very special experience. Ms. Karkala has ties with the Bronxville School already as she has privately instructed high school students in town for several years. Even teachers in our school who have ties with Ossining sing her praises and we are thrilled that she is with us this year!

Middle School Orchestra Director
Mr. Wyeth Tvenge
joins the MS faculty as our new strings teacher for all three grades. Mr. Tvenge has been a fixture in Broadway and regional stage productions for years and comes to us with a great background in performance teaching. Mr. Tvenge and his wife (also a music teacher in Harrison) are residents of Bronxville and they have both spent countless hours in the building this summer preparing for a great year!

Grade 8 Math (Leave Replacement for Mr. Mitchell, Q1)
Ms. Allyn Flaherty
joins us to teach Math 8, 8H and Algebra I classes while Mr. Mitchell is on leave for the first quarter. Ms. Flaherty worked in Scarsdale at the Middle School at the beginning of her career and she recently returned to teaching Mathematics in her home district of Pearl River after raising her family. She is excited to take on this longer leave replacement position and she is ready to meet our students!

Grade 8 English (Leave Replacement for Ms. Dioguardi, Oct.-Feb.)
Mrs. Vanessa Lawson
will come to Bronxville at the beginning of October to work with Ms. Dioguardi’s Grade 8 English classes during her maternity leave. Mrs. Lawson did her Field Placement work in Bronxville Middle School at the beginning of her career. She went on to teach at Rye City before raising her family. We are excited that she returns to her roots to restart her career in education!

We are happy to welcome all of these dynamic and enthusiastic educators to the Bronxville Middle School! There is an old saying that “No ship ever sails the same sea twice” and such is also true of the voyage we embark on presently. It takes an outstanding faculty, energetic students and thoughtful and invested parents to sail with confidence and it is with gratitude and a strong belief in our community that I humbly invite you to join us for another fantastic year in the Middle School.

August, 2018

Dear Parents and Community Members, For those of you who are new to the Bronxville Middle School, welcome! The faculty and staff join me in welcoming everyone to the new school year. It is still summer, but the school is alive with activity! Outside the building, some much needed repairs are being completed on roof surfaces and the new elementary school playground structure is rapidly taking shape. Inside the building, painting, cleaning and preparations for the fall continue. I am indebted to our maintenance crew under the leadership of Mr. Mike Lee for giving their time and energy to making sure the school is ready for our opening. In addition to many off-site educational and training opportunities our faculty elect to take, some of our faculty participated in a two-week workshop with Innovative Designs for Education (IDE) and are in the process of reconfiguring their rooms to reflect more project-based, creative instruction where students take greater ownership of their own active classroom space.

New Staff Members and New Roles

It is my pleasure to introduce Ms. Emily Cloud , our new Middle and High School French teacher. Ms. Cloud will teach Grade 6 French for us this year. It is also my pleasure to present Mr. Rich Diefenbach, our new Grade 7 and 8 English teacher. Mr. Diefenbach has been a leave replacement in the High School and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Middle School! Ms. Meg Weiss will move from her previous role to teach a new class, Creative Writing, to Grade 7 and 8 students as an Exploratory class. Additionally, Ms. Weiss will offer academic intervention for students on the same grade levels. Ms. Jennifer Zopp and Ms. Jennifer Oliveri are both taking maternity leave in the fall. Mr. Daniel Tocci will be with us through the end of February in place of Ms. Zopp for Science and we are very close to naming Ms. Oliveri’s leave replacement, which will take us through the endof December. We welcome our new colleagues and can’t wait for you and your children to meet the newest members of our faculty!

The First Day of School

The first day of school is Wednesday, September 5 th beginning at 10:00am for all Middle School students. On the first day, students do not have to bring all of their materials and supplies. They should bring some writing utensils and something to write on as well as their Master Lock for their hall locker. Students will be given a homework planner to write in during the day as well. After the first day, students may bring the rest of their materials and secure them in their lockers. On the first day, students should arrive no earlier than 9:30am . We will have an extended homeroom session before moving to the rest of classes for the day. The day will end at 3:00pm. The following day we will start school at our regularly scheduled time of 8:10am and classes will be of regular length. The regular school day begins in homeroom each day, where students listen to the dailyannouncements, attendance is taken, and we say the Pledge of Allegiance. After homeroom, students go to their various classes throughout the day.

Options for Lunch

At lunch, students have the option to buy lunch in our cafeteria, to bring lunch from home, or, if you permit, your child may go to the village (we call it going “up-town”), but this requires your permission on an electronic form you can request to be emailed to you from our secretary, Mrs. Krieg . Don’t be talked into thinking that ‘everyone goes uptown’! This is not the case. More than half of our students eat in school on a daily basis. There are some clubs that meet at lunch, including the Middle School Organization (MSO), our student government. Our school newspaper and our language clubs also meet at lunch at specified times. When students are finished eating lunch, whether “uptown” or in the cafeteria, they have the option to go to the gyms where our teachers monitor an open play time for the children.

Extra Help

We will offer extra help before school every day this year. We piloted a hybrid model last spring where two days were after school and four were before school, but that paradigm was confusing. So, we are running extra help before school starting at 7:45am each day. Homeroom will be at 8:10 every day. We recognize that this does not suit everyone’s preference, but it is important that we standardize help times so students know how and when to have access to assistance from teachers. Extra help is not mandatory, but it is a good habit to begin to recognize the importance of being invested in your own success. Students who attend extra help with regularity tend to have internalized some important life-skills in addition to improving their understanding of the work.

Student Schedules for the fall

Thanks to Mrs. Krieg’s tireless efforts, our schedules will be available beginning on Wednesday, August 15th . It would be helpful if you would review the schedule with your child and to please let us know directly if there are any questions or issues. Email any inquries to me directly at so we can fix any potential issues. Please do note, however, that scheduling is a mathematical process and there are only so many possible permutations, so while we need to know about class gaps or redundancies that may exist, there is far less latitude for changing teachers or honoring friend requests. Thank you in advance for understanding why these requests are not entertained.

Early Year Happenings

On behalf of Deirdre Curran, our Council Chair, we would like to invite you to our first Middle School Council meeting on September 14th at 8:30am in the MPR . Council meetings are a good way to keep up with the life of the school and it’s always nice to see so many folks taking an interest in our school. Back-to-School Night for the Middle School is on September 20th beginning at 7pm . On this evening you are invited into the school to meet with all of your child’s teachers and to learn more about their academic program. We look forward to another great school year! Enjoy these last weeks of summer and we will see you in September!

Best wishes,
Dr. T homas L. Wilson
Middle School Principal