Our talented artists Janine (parent from Class 503) and Nathalie (parents of students in 403, 123 and K005) created fantastic templates for 217 "Coat of Arms" Classroom Door Decorating contest. Help your class design a coat of arms representing it (think Harry Potter style Hogwarts Houses coats of arms)! You don't have to really "get Medieval" on this project... but if you want to, there is plenty of information on heraldry on Wikipedia, and feel free to research sample lesson plans online!
Creating a classroom Coat of Arms is a wonderful challenge for students because it makes children weigh 217 community and their personal values and think about how to symbolically and artistically represent them. Contact your class parents and teacher to help them schedule and conduct this exciting project next week!
Children will visit the Fair with their classes. Book Fair schedule is subject to change, so class specific reminders will be emailed to you as teachers register for the Fair or change their class visit time. Please join your children during their class visit and help them select the books, come directly to the library (2nd Floor). Come earlier and/or stay later if you're considering being a PTA volunteer at the Fair!
If You Can't Come - Send the Money with Your Child
This week, we will be sending home a catalog of the books that will be available at the fair. Please look through the catalog with your child or go online to preview the selections and make choices. If your child will be buying books at the fair without your help, please send in their money with them in a clearly labeled envelope or plastic baggie, with their name and the total amount enclosed. Remember to add10% for tax that will be added at the register.
Teacher's Wish Lists
Every year 217 PTA offers the teachers to set aside some books in the fair that they would like to have for their classrooms. Buy a book or two from your teacher's Wish List box when you visit the Fair! If you can't come to the fair, but wish to contribute to your child's classroom library, send extra money with your child in a zip lock bag and please mark your contributions towards your teacher’s wish list as “class gift”.
Please visit our Fall Book Fair next week October 6-10 from 8:30am - 2:30pm in the school library on the 2nd floor. A number of new and fascinating books will be available for families to purchase. By purchasing books at the fair, you help the school earn credit with Scholastic that can be used for more books and educational materials for 217 classrooms.
The Sir Readalot's Castle Scholastic Book Fair starts next week at school, but you can begin shopping this Wednesday, October 1, at the 217 book fair's online shopping site! Orders placed online starting October 1 will be delivered directly to 217 after the Fair closes and will be distributed to the students.
Click HERE to preview some of the titles that will be available for purchase at the fair.
by Jim Baehler
The PTA is the primary funder of the school’s enrichment programs, which include art, gardening, dance, literature, and drama.
According to the school, giving or pledging through a payment plan by October 31 will enable the school to finalize enrichment programs and professional development planning for this academic year.
Board of Ed
The Board of Education provides little or no funding for enrichment programs, forcing City schools to look elsewhere for such monies. At PS/IS 217, as in a lot of other New York City schools, the PTA assesses need and then finds ways to provide the necessary funds.
As school budget cuts have gotten more and more severe, PTAs have had to step in to contribute more. In fact, PTAs pay for all or part of every enrichment program that schools offer, including the instructors. Upper East Side stalwart PS 6 raised $4.3 million between 2007 and 2012. For this school year, PS 6 wants to raise $800,000, and their suggested donation is $1,200 per child. The West Village’s PS 41 is trying to raise $600,000, and requests a contribution of $700 per family. Hunter College Elementary School wants $1,750 per student.
A big priority is 100% participation. Grant-giving organizations like to know that their money will go to efforts that are fully supported by the affected parents. The Roosevelt Island school suggests $500 per family, but prefers that every family give what it can; even a $5 or $10 donation will help the school obtain large grants. The PTA is organized as a non-profit under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code, which means that donations are tax-deductible, and may be eligible for matching grants from employers that have such programs.
The Roosevelt Island school also gets money from the General Purpose Fund administered by RIOC. Charitable organizations that support school activities provide some grants, but the principal source of funding is contributions from parents with children enrolled at PS/IS 217.
The Co-Presidents of the PS/IS 217 PTA are Natalia Starkova and Olga Shchuchinov. Neither is new to the PTA. In fact, Shchuchinov has served as President or Co-President for the past six years. Starkova was treasurer and website manager.
They’re responsible for designing the fund-raising effort at our school. They started this school year’s push at the end of last school year, with a presentation at the New Families’ Orientation. In the school’s packed cafeteria, they explained where the $500 per family goes. Additionally, they passed around folders to every family listing upcoming activities, ways to volunteer, and the basis for the projected PTA expenses.
The PTA hosted a picnic on the Saturday before school started, and a welcome breakfast at Al Lewis Playground on the first day of school.
It’s not all about soliciting contributions; the PTA raises money in other ways. The school is hosting the Scholastic Book Fair October 6 through 10. This year’s fair will have a medieval theme. The school hosts Halloween Carnivals, Thanksgiving Pie Sales, Pizza Parties, Movie Nights, Concerts, Valentine’s Day Parties, Auctions, International Dinners – many of which are open to the community at large. Many of these activities are advertised on the kiosks. Otherwise, families can sign up to be on the PTA email list, or like the PTA on Facebook, or follow it on Twitter.
Co-Presidents Starkova and Shchuchinov encourage parents to donate their time, too. “Money isn’t everything. We need new people with new ideas to join the PTA. Like most people who have been doing something for a while, we can get into a rut. We welcome newcomers who bring a fresh way of looking at things, and have new ideas on how to solve our problems and reach our goals.”
Parents are encouraged to sign up as classroom aides, their schedules permitting. “We have children here from 96 different countries, some of whom have little or no facility with English, and properly trained teacher aides can make a big difference. We are extremely fortunate in having Daniel Hirsch as our English as a Second Language instructor. He is fluent in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and a number of other languages, and it is so gratifying to see him put an apprehensive child at ease by speaking in that child’s native language.”
A parent who is interested in becoming a teacher’s aide will undergo a background check, and will need to complete a training program of one or two days.
Some of the programs wholly or partially financed by the PTA include:
• Ballroom Dancing for grades 5 through 8.
• The Third Grade Band, in which parents pay for the instruments but the PTA covers funding for parents who cannot afford to pay. The PTA also finances music books and the maintenance and repair of the instruments.
• All grades participate in the school’s gardening program, A Living Library, at various Island locations. The PTA’s Shchuchinov reports, “The children just love it. They are so fascinated to see things grow and to learn how that happens.”
• Yoga and Movement Classes for grades K-2; the instructors are from the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance.
• Fourth graders participate in Gold Opera, where the class creates and performs its own original opera.
• Shakespeare in Schools is a 7th-grade program. The students analyze plays, act out scenes, and learn about the world of Shakespeare.
A full listing of enrichment programs sponsored by the PTA is on its website at www.217pta.com.
Islanders wishing to contribute to the PTA can write a check to PS/IS 217 PTA and submit it at the school office. Alternatively, a donation can be made online at www217pta.com.
PS/SI 217 kindly invites to the first presentation of the 2014-15 Parent/Guardian Workshop Series that will take place on September 29, 2014 at 7:55-8:20 am.
The topic of this workshop by Ms. Sanchez and Mr. Gurwin will be "Bullying vs. Conflict". Parents of PreK to 8 grade students are invited.
Support your child academically behaviorally and socially/emotionally! We hope to see you there!
Wednesday, September 24, 2014 - 03:35 PM By Beth Fertig
The city's Department of Education is updating its social studies curriculum for the first time in nine years, and Chancellor Carmen Fariña made it clear she wants the subject to get more attention.
Fariña said the curriculum needed to be tweaked to match the state's new Common Core learning standards, which put more emphasis on critical thinking and written arguments. But the update is also a chance for schools to improve their focus on social studies.
"Because there was no test, a lot of schools dropped social studies from their curriculum," she explained, referring to the growing emphasis over the past decade on the state math and reading tests. "So we want to say, we need this back."
The Social Studies Scope and Sequence outlines the topics students should learn throughout the year in kindergarten through eighth grade. Most grades will start by exploring geography in September before tackling subjects such as colonization or the structure of government.
"Our kids don't know the 50 states, they don't know where Europe is, they don't know where Asia is, they certainly don't know where the Mideast is," Fariña told Department of Education staffers during her announcement at the Brooklyn Public Library Wednesday.
She encouraged schools to move away from textbooks and to include more primary sources and literature. "You can't just teach social studies with facts and dates," she said. The chancellor also said weaving literature into social studies would help students develop the skills they need for the state’s reading tests.
The city’s new outline includes essential questions to be covered in each grade. For example, second graders will use the month of March to look at how suburban communities are different from New York City. By eighth grade, they spend March looking at issues of power, wealth and morality in U.S. history by exploring immigration and the treatment of Native Americans.
Anna Commitante, executive director of curriculum, instruction and professional development, described the new framework as more of an update than a full-scale makeover.
“We are taking the units that were already in place and we are revising and updating them so that they are aligned to Common Core, they're aligned to the state frameworks and they include a vaster array of rich resources to draw from,” she explained.
She said 40 teachers in grades 3 to 8 worked on the document over the summer, and that teachers from the earlier grades will continue to work on it this fall.
The chancellor said parent coordinators will take parents on field trips to museums, so they can learn how to make more out of these visits with their own children.
The city will eventually create written units of study, with specific reading materials, for teachers. But Fariña made it clear that she wants principals and teachers to start taking the new recommendations seriously this year by using whatever they already have.
"This is not going to be something that's optional," she said. "I want to see maps in classrooms, I want to see kids talking about event, I want to see a lot of discussion on what the world is and could be, because that's the only way you're going to grow global citizens who don't think everything begins and ends in their local neighborhoods."
The online donation site for credit card gifts is right HERE. You can place your cash donation or a check payable to "P.S./I.S. 217" in a marked envelope and deposit it into PTA mailbox.
Help improve your child's school and contribute now!
Calling all class parents or those interested in becoming one! We're having a brief information meeting on Tuesday, September 23 at 8:30am in the PTA room. We'll discuss the class parent roles, responsibilities and answer any questions you may have. We're looking forward to seeing you on Tuesday.
Come help us brainstorm ideas for 217 Medieval Themed Book Fair scheduled for October 6-10th. Join us in the PTA room, Monday, September 22nd, immediately following drop off.
NOTE THE REVISED DATE
Join Early Childhood specialist Don Duerr for "Setting Routines" Workshop onMonday, September 22nd, 8:32am in the 217 Auditorium.
Fariña made the comment while speaking to parents in Manhattan’s District 1, where tensions with the Department of Education over the district’s choice-based school enrollment policy for younger grades have persisted for years. District leaders have said the current policy has increased segregation over the last decade and have sought to amend the admissions policy to achieve more diverse schools, but the department has stood in its way, citing concerns that their preferences violated federal education laws.
Parents again presented their case on Wednesday, this time to Fariña, who attended a town hall event at P.S. 20 on the Lower East Side. Fariña said diversity was an “issue that means a lot to me,” but stopped short of making any commitment to adjusting enrollment rules.
For now, schools have to adapt to what parents want — she noted dual-language and technology programs were hot now — and then have to market themselves, she said.
“It’s a competition against each other. And many of the schools have the same message. So how do you have a different message so that you’re doing something a little bit different?” Fariña said.
She added, “I’m just saying that in public education, like everything else, you need a hook. What’s the hook that people are looking for?”
5th Grade Families: District 2 Middle School Fair is scheduled for Tuesday, September 30th 5:30-7pm at Stuyvesant High School, 345 Chambers Street, New York, NY. Information sessions will be at 5:30pm, 6:15pm, and 7pm.
Stay informed about Middle School admissions process, visit DOE's Website and Inside Schools. 217 Guidance Counselor Mr. Gerwin is at the school Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Contact him if you have questions about selection of middle schools.
Every school year 217 administration schedules grade specific residencies that enrich our children's learning experience and deepen their understanding of the subject. Look for blue letters going home in backpacks to see Enrichment News!
This week, to supplement 3rd graders social studies curriculum on countries of the world, students in Grade 3 have began their West African Dance residency program with teaching artists from the Roosevelt Island Main Street Theater. Students kicked off this 9 week residency program with a workshop introducing West African music and dance motifs and movements. Save the date for the demonstration performance for families and fellow students which will conclude this residency on Wednesday, November 19th at 9:15am. You can watch video from 2012 performance, and 2013 performance on YouTube below.
The cost for this program - including the resident artist, her assistant, costumes and live music - $4,000 is covered by your donations to the PTA! Thank you for making this program possible!
VIDEO: African Dance Performances from 2012 & 2013
Partner with 217 staff on Monday mornings from 7:55am - 8:20am to support your child academically, behaviorally and socially/emotionally. Come learn about the Common Core Standards, strategies your child is learning in school, games that provide practice and reinforcement, PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), and so much more. All teachers will be hosting two workshops throughout the school year for your to attend.
Series 1 (September-December) will begin on Monday, September 29th, 7:55-8:20am with a workshop for Pre-K-8 Grade families on "Bullying vs Conflict" presented by 217 Dean Ms. Sanchez and Guidance Counselor Mr. Gerwin. We hope to see you there!
Average class sizes in grades 1-3 in New York City public schools rose to 25 or 26 children in the last school year—an addition of three students a class from five years earlier, according to the Mayor's Management Report released Wednesday.
Average classes in grades 4-8 also rose but at a slower pace, and averaged 26 to 28 students. The report noted the city aims to bring class sizes down in all K-8 grades, and has a five-year construction plan to reduce overcrowding.
The number of students getting special education services rose to 250,509 in the last school year, an 11% jump from the prior year. The report said that reflected a real increase as well as improved reporting due to a change in data systems. The nation's largest district enrolls more than one million children.
The Brian Lehrer Show
A New Model for Parent-Teacher Conferences
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Tonight starts the first of four scheduled parent-teacher conferences for the school year, up two from last year. Carmen Fariña, New York City schools chancellor explains why the expansion was a priority for her and offers advice on making the most of the time, including this week's introductory session.Nick Lawrence, 8th grade social studies teacher at the East Bronx Academy for the Future offers a teacher's perspective.
[EDUCATION NEWS] ChalkBeat: city’s teachers now have 80 uninterrupted minutes every Monday For Professional Development
With 80 minutes of new teacher training each week,
schools set out to see what works
by Patrick Wall on September 16, 2014
After years of meeting over lunch and between bells, the city’s teachers now have 80 uninterrupted minutes every Monday afternoon to collaborate and train.
Committees at most schools are still figuring out how to spend the weekly sessions, which were mandated by the new teachers contract and are the cornerstone of Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s plan to uplift the school system. But some schools have already decided to set aside the time for teacher-led workshops on topics from technology to special education, education book clubs, viewings of peers’ videotaped lessons, and visits to other schools, according to interviews with educators at a dozen schools.
That diversity is by design. The education department released a “professional learning” handbook for principals this month with ideas for the Monday sessions, and the teachers union posted similar guides on its website. But beyond that, schools have been left to plan on their own.
Read more: http://ny.chalkbeat.org/2014/09/16/with-80-minutes-of-new-teacher-training-each-week-schools-set-out-to-see-what-works/#.VBnljS5dXKI
Thank you to all 217 teachers and admin for organizing very informative Curriculum Night, and to all families attending it and our first PTA meeting! We are excited to welcome you to 217 community and hope to see you at our next PTA meeting on Wednesday, October 15th, at 8:35am or one of our upcoming school events.
Stay up-to-date with your child's school by linking your personal calendar to the 217 PTA Google Calendar here: LINK
Please come directly to your child's classroom by 5:30pm to hear your teacher's presentation. Informational session presented by administration and specialized teachers begins at 6:20pm in the Auditorium (2nd Floor). It will be followed by the PTA meeting starting at 6:45pm.
The PTA arranged for childcare service available during Curriculum Night for a $10. per child fee. You can leave your child at the school cafeteria starting 5:20pm. After 6pm, weather permitting, children will go outside to play in the yard till the end of the PTA meeting. Please deposit $10. per child fee in the payment box in the cafeteria at the drop off. During check in, list emergency phone number and any medical/allergy information. You and your child will receive numbered wristbands, and the child will only be dismissed to the person with the matching ID on their wristband.
217 has grown, and more students means more involved parents helping us support all the wonderful enrichment programs. The PTA is excited to announce we are working on a donor wall to celebrate the 217 community’s effort, acknowledge all the support given, and to inspire future donations!
Families' support makes a big difference here at 217, we want to recognize every contribution by putting children's names on our wall!
Donate to the 217 PTA today to continue our enrichment programs that serve the entire school community. Click here to make a donation: LINK