My location has changed.

Image Fall 2013. I have moved to the Eastchester School District in Eastchester, New York. Please contact me at if you would like to connect. You may also find me on:

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5. Twitter: eleanorschuster

Looking forward to continuing my old friendships…and making new ones!

SMS Video Conferencing 2007-2013


IMG_3160March 20, 2013.  Four NASA women panelists  told Elyse Tenzer’s FACS students what kinds of jobs are available in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.


Julie Kleinhenz, Deb Goodenow, Kelly Gilkey, and Lauren Clayman told   students what subjects to study, how to apply for an internship or shadowing program, what degrees you need, and what kind of projects you may work on.


A few current projects of the panelists include keeping astronauts healthy in space, working on the design of a nuclear reactor for Mars, and making fuel on Mars so that we can get equipment home.

We thank the panelists and NASA outreach educator extraordinaire, Dave Mazza,  for an important and informative session about STEM that details how to take advantage of vast opportunities available to our students. More pictures on slideshare below.



Heart of a Hall of Famer: Chris Doleman

Doleman-1 March 14, 2013. Diane DiAmbrosio’s grade 8 AVID class talked with Chris Doleman, courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, about the 6 Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. Doleman

Some great words of wisdom from Mr. Doleman:
1. If you don’t have a plan for life, life will have a plan for you.
2. Time waits for no one.
3. You are what you repeatedly do.
4. The best way to predict your future is by making your future.
5. You are judged by what you give, not by what you receive.

“What happens when you get an unfair call during a game?”
You move on.  Life isn’t fair. You have to anticipate that some of the calls won’t be fair.”

“Would you have made any different decisions?”
No, people see things in you that you don’t see in yourself. All these things will shape and mold you. To find that path early is peace because you’re not floundering; you’re being true to yourself.
Diane Doleman

Doleman is a former American Football defensive end who played in the NFL for the Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, and San Francisco 49ers from 1985 to 1999. He was an 8-time Pro Bowl selection and a 3-time First-team All-Pro, recording over 150 sacks. He is a member of the NFL Hall of Fame.

Many thanks as always to Jerry Csaki of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and to Chris Doleman for giving his time to talk about important values to our 8th graders.Jerry Csaki

NASA Asteroids!

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 10.27.18 AMPatty Marina & Ashley Connington Grade 6 Science classes learned about planetary science in a fantastic video conference about Asteroids with Dave Mazza from NASA’s Glenn Research Center

“This module helps students learn about NASA missions to study asteroids so they can gauge for themselves the threat of future asteroid collisions.”

See more of NASA’s educational video conference programs on their distance learning network (DLN) site.

Mr. Mazza encouraged the students to study math. He said that we live in a very exciting time in which there is a lot to be discovered about asteroids and planetary science. He emphasized that math is a critical subject to master if you want to become an astronaut or research scientist.

Think about working for NASA someday:
NASA Facilities and Centers around the country

  • Jet Propulsion Lab is in Pasadena, California
  • Train to be an astronaut at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas
  • Launch into space at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Be a research Scientist at The Glen Research Center Cleveland, Ohio


A few famous asteroid hits:

Interesting Facts:

  • NASA was created in 1958
  • 1972 –  The last time we were on the moon
  • Most of our asteroids are located between Mars and Jupiter
  • The largest asteroid is about 330 miles in diameter
  • The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs was 7 miles in diameter, but most asteroids are very small
  • Number of asteroids in the main asteroid belt over 1 kilometer in size is: 1 to 2 million
  • First asteroid was found in 1801. Today we know of 500,000
  • You can name an asteroid if you can find it
  • Asteroids are made up of different materials which may prove to be very useful: special minerals
  • All the asteroids together weigh 4% of the moon
  • For every impact on the moon, the earth has been hit 25 times.
  • Meteorite showers are remnants of a comet that we see as the earth passes through the comet’s tail.
  • You could probably find dust from a meteor on the roof of your house.
  • In 2003 Japan landed an unmanned spacecraft on a small asteroid named Itokawa.


A Sampling of Student Questions:

How would you get rid of an asteroid approaching earth? You don’t want to blow it up because all the pieces would cause more damage. You would send something up to try to move its orbit so it would pass by and not hit earth.

Are aliens real? We have not found any evidence. But if there are aliens, they will read your texts someday. Texts go up to a satellite and some keep traveling through space so our sounds go through space and could be heard. But we have not found any evidence yet.

Will space mess up communication? Solar energy interferes with communications in space and on power grids on earth.

Did you want to be an astronaut? When Dave was young they only took military test pilots and you had to have perfect eyesight. Therefore, he decided to become a scientist! today you just need your degree in one of many sciences and you can become a mission specialist. We need more women astronauts!

How do you get a career at NASA? Look for shadowing opportunities. Look for an internship in NASA when you are a senior in high school.

What are you doing to advance the technology that we don’t know about? We need you! We have the James Webb Telescope due to launch in the next few years. “

The James Webb Space Telescope (sometimes called JWST) is a large, infrared-optimized space telescope. The project is working to a 2018 launch date. Webb will find the first galaxies that formed in the early Universe, connecting the Big Bang to our own Milky Way Galaxy.

james webb

“Asteroids present a mysterious, ancient, and potentially Earth-damaging threat within our Solar System. Many formed during the beginnings of our Solar System, 4.5 billion years ago, and some of them have very different, and sometimes eccentric, egg-shaped orbits. Occasionally their paths do cross the Earth’s orbit, and at times they enter the atmosphere where they either burn up as meterors or land as meteorites. Asteroids have created large features on the Earth, such as craters and water basins. This module helps students learn about NASA missions to study asteroids so they can gauge for themselves the threat of future asteroid collisions.”

Screen shot 2013-02-27 at 1.57.07 PM

“Lessons From The Past: Overcoming Challenges of Racial Barriers” with the Cleveland Browns


“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough, fast enough, or smart enough. You need to find out what to do to make the right decisions to achieve your goals.”
Bobby Mitchell, Cleveland Browns

February 7, 2013 Gabrielle Blake’s grade 8 class viewed a live panel discussion in recognition of Black History Month. “Lessons From The Past: Overcoming Challenges of Racial Barriers,” moderated by Pro Football Hall of Fame President/Executive Director, Steve Perry. The panel included Cleveland Browns alumni and NFL players: John Wooten, Bobby Mitchell, Paul Wiggin and Greg Pruitt.
browns panel

The players shared stories about what is was like to grow up during a time under the shadow of Jim Crow laws and the burgeoning civil rights movement.

Bobby Mitchell, halfback and flanker for the Browns, told how he didn’t know if he was going to pick cotton for the rest of his life or go to school. He was offered a scholarship at the University of Illinois and traveled north to college in a train’s caboose because he wasn’t allowed to sit with white people. He lived alone in the campus parade baracks because he wasn’t allowed to live in the dorms or have a white roommate. He didn’t even know if he was a good enough football player or would be asked to play on the team.

He spoke with difficulty about this experience, with tears in his eyes, but then said,

“We must move forward. We achieve the things we have on the shoulders of those who have gone before us.”

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough, fast enough, or smart enough. You need to find out what to do, to make the right decisions to achieve your goals.”
Videocon Browns


John Wooten, guard for the Cleveland Browns, said, “Carry yourself in such a respectful manner that no one can use the race card against you.”

“You need to be prepared. Have optimism. Many kids today lack optimism. Don’t just wish (for something). If you really want to achieve your dreams, then figure out how to work for it. Have goals, figure out what you need to do to move forward. Don’t make a bad choice that will move you away from your goals. You have to make sure that you make right choices to move towards your goals.”

Greg Pruitt, running back for the Cleveland Browns, said his greatest achievement was getting a good education. His mom is his hero. She was the disciplinarian. Reflecting on life, he decided to listen what his mom told him, “Find the people who love you and who will give you good advice.”

He added, “When you work you are painting a portrait of yourself and you want that portrait to be beautiful.”

Paul Wiggin, defensive end for the Browns, said that when you’re part of a football team race doesn’t matter. That’s what he loves about sports. The camarderie is a vital part of life. He advised to take the word ‘impossible’ out of the dictionary. Program yourself to what you want to do. You get the idea that you can do it, athletics or medicine.

Steve Perry closed by saying, “Everyone in this room will get knocked down. The question is whether you will have the character to persevere.”

We greatly appreciate these Heart of Famer series offered by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Many thanks to Jerry Csaki for organizing the video conferences.


SMS Students Take a Stand with One Million Bones

million bones chris article pic

January 2, 2013. Article in in Sloatsburg Village by Jennifer Citrolo, Ramapo Central Schools.

Suffern Middle School students are using videoconferencing to learn about the ultimate act of bullying — genocide. In a project closely tied to the sixth-grade curriculum, Barbara Biddy and Jennifer Fruhling’s sixth-grade classes are taking part in the One Million Bones project, a social arts project promoted by NYC-based nongovernmental organization Global Nomads, Students Rebuild and CARE International to bring attention to the humanitarian crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

The project’s goal is to use art to inspire activism. Suffern Middle School students, along with schools across the country, will collect artwork bones for a collaborative installation of 1,000,000 bones that will be viewed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. from June 8th-10th, 2013.

“A lot of the work we’re doing in humanities is about dealing with inhumane acts around the world,” remarked student teacher Chris Wetzel. “Not just talking about it—but exploring what we can do to stop it.”

“Participating in videoconferences like this is a powerful prompt for reflective writing,” said library media specialist Eleanor Shuster, who is coordinating the project. “Genocide is the ultimate act of bullying; by encouraging our students to take action, they’re learning not to be bystanders.”

Suffern students will make and ship hundreds of “bones” made of newspaper to be included as part of the One Million Bones exhibit. Each bone contributed to the project helps earn money, donated by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos through the Bezos Family Foundation.

“It’s more than connecting with other people,” explains sixth-grade teacher Barbara Biddy. “It’s reaching out to help. How can we invert the violence in the world into a triumph of understanding, caring and compassion? That’s what we’re trying to teach.”

Students are participating in a series of videoconferences with representatives from CARE and members of the Somalia Youth Leadership Initiative to learn more about life in that region of Africa.

During a recent videoconference that was part of the project, Suffern Middle School students Emma and Nicole performed a song on flute and the Somali youth sang their national anthem.

Despite the absence of a functioning federal government, the Somali students spoke about the strength of local communities.

“We support each other in our search for peace: Somali for Somali,” one participant explained.

The Somali students noted that their country has a single, dominant culture that contrasted with the multiculturalism of the U.S. One participant asked how, given such diversity, a woman wearing a head scarf is perceived in the U.S.

“It’s not a big deal,” answered Evan, a Suffern Middle School student. “We have people who practice a lot of different religions here.”

Two other Suffern students, Paige and Michaela, fielded a question about education.

“We learn different languages, about our history and about things going on in the world around us,” they said, speaking to other students half way around the world.