Action Needed Today

Relaying a message from NYC Kids PAC, a political action committee devoted to issues surrounding NYC public schools, started by a group of District 2 parents. The issue concerns a budget vote in Albany today that would fund charter schools over traditional public schools and give them preference over any space in an NYC public school building. NYC Kids PAC urges concerned parents to call their legislators in Albany today and ask them to vote against the bill. Click here for the full release.

There’s No Such Thing As Buyer’s Remorse

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In case you should be waking up this morning with a bit of regret at how much you spent at last night’s auction, know that you are not alone! But also know, as I’m sure you already do, that your money is going directly to our school and to our children’s education, and this is money very well spent.

As a K parent, this was my first time at the auction and it was tremendous fun. A big thank you to our co-chairs, Gildren Alejandro and Rebecca Gomez; Sarabeth’s and the other food and beverage sponsors (Duane Park Patisserie, Frankly Wines, Tribeca Wine Merchants, NY Vintners, and KG Fare); the many donors of the items for auction; and all the volunteers who made the event run so seamlessly. Special props to Tanya and Laura for wandering the aisles and refilling glasses during the live auction, thereby boosting bids 1000%.

And of course, thank you to everyone who bought a ticket and bid on an item. Can’t wait to hear how much we raised!

Build Schools Now

By George Hunka

UPDATE: There will be a Build Schools Now meeting on Tuesday, April 1, at 6.00pm at Manhattan Youth’s Downtown Community Center, 120 Warren Street. All are welcome to attend and learn more about the effort.


Downtown Manhattan schools are already burdened with a growing school-age population, and the establishment of new schools is not keeping up with the boom. A new non-partisan, independent political committee called Build Schools Now seeks to promote awareness of the urgent need to build more public schools downtown to meet this demographic growth.

Build Schools Now says that its mission is to hold the Department of Education accountable to build a 456-seat school budgeted in its Capital Plan and restore the DOE’s commitment to build 1,000 new seats in Lower Manhattan. To this end, it has created a Web site at http://www.buildschoolsnow.org and maintains a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/BuildSchoolsNow. You can visit either of the sites for more information and to make a donation; you can also download a convenient flyer here.

An honor to be nominated — but a greater honor to win!

By George Hunka

789Recognize your child’s teacher at PS 150 by nominating them for this year’s “Blackboard Award for Teachers,” administered by Manhattan Media and which will be presented on Monday, June 2nd, at Scholastic.

Since 2002, The Blackboard Awards have been honoring excellence in education in New York City, celebrating schools, principals and teachers from all education communities — public, private, parochial and charter — and from all grade levels from nursery school through high school. The organization welcomes nominations for any specialization: be it math, science, the arts, special needs, languages, history, the environment, etc., as well as general grade level instruction.

You can make your nominations at http://www.blackboardawards.com. The recipients are selected through a combination of factors, but volume of nominations is a big part, as are the details that are put into each nomination – you’ll find at the form a box that asks you to explain why you’re nominating that particular teacher.

Now’s the time: the deadline for nominations is May 1, 2014, so vote today!

There’s a Garden Growing in PS 150

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Kudos to PS 150’s Wellness Health And Movement (WHAM) Committee, which recently received a grant of $1,737 from GrowNYC. This, combined with additional grants from the Department of Education’s School Wellness Council and Whole Foods, and the support of New York Sun Works, has enabled WHAM to install a hydroponic garden in our Pre-K classroom. WHAM envisions that the budding garden, which uses water with added nutrients rather than soil, will introduce the science of urban farming to our students and teachers, and eventually will yield the produce for our school’s monthly vegetable taste tests. First up: lettuce and basil.

Also on WHAM’s agenda is the second annual Family Fitness Day, scheduled for Saturday, May 10. Like last year, families will be invited to participate in a series of fun physical activities. Organizers are looking for volunteers to help plan the event. If you are interested, please contact 150wham@gmail.com.

WHAM was co-founded last year by Susan Korenberg (Jessica, 4th Grade and Olivia, 1st Grade) and Shakira Provasoli (Amina Rosa, 4th Grade and Marinella, 1st Grade) to inspire students to try new vegetables and to make healthy eating choices. One lunchtime every month, students are invited to participate in a vegetable taste test, and then vote for their favorite. The fourth grade class makes a graph to announce the winning vegetable.

For more information about hydroponic farming in a classroom setting, see these videos about the greenhouse lab at PS 333 on the Upper West Side, where Shakira also happens to be the environmental science teacher for Grades K-5:

The Downtown Kindergarten Situation Worsens; Take Action by Joining “Build Schools Now”

The annual agony of Downtown parents of Kindergarten-aged children worsened this week with the publication of two recent articles (DNAInfo: “Downtown Kindergartens Flooded With Even More Applicants Than Last Year“; Tribeca Trib: “Downtown ‘K’ Registration Soars as City Rejects Plea for Added Seats“) saying the number of applicants for seats at our zoned public schools has increased from last year. Here are the numbers:

  • PS 234: 177 zoned students applied for 125 Kindergarten seats, up from 173 in 2013
  • PS 276: 157 zoned students applied for 100 Kindergarten seats, up from 140 in 2013
  • Spruce Street: 89 zoned students applied for 75 Kindergarten seats; no information was released regarding 2013, but 2014 will be the first year the school will be over-subscribed
  • Peck Slip: 86 zoned students applied for 50 Kindergarten seats, up from 60 in 2013

No numbers were published regarding PS 89. Also, let’s not forget that some of these seats will automatically go to siblings, so the number of free spaces is in fact smaller.

As for our own PS 150, over 500 applicants have been received for Kindergarten, but this number likely includes children living outside of District 2.

Frustrated by the Department of Education’s perennial inability to address Lower Manhattan’s overcrowding issue, a group of PS 150 parents have started Build Schools Now, a political action committee to promote awareness of the urgent need to build public schools downtown.

Please attend an organizing party for Build Schools Now this Friday, March 7 at 6pm at the home of Buxton & Lisa Midyette. All are welcome, particularly new parents of children under 4 who are hoping to enter the public school system. Details of the event can be found here.