Community & School News March 2016

Important School Dates
Wed, Mar 2 – Registration Day for Catholic High Schools
Wed, Mar 2 – Public Elementary School Evening Parent Teacher Conference
Thurs, Mar 3 – Public Elementary School Afternoon Parent Teacher Conference
Mon, Mar 7 – D75 Evening Parent Teacher Conference
Tues, Mar 8 – D75 Afternoon Parent Teacher Conference
Thurs, Mar 10 – Public High School Evening Parent Teacher Conference
Fri, Mar 11– Public High School Afternoon Parent Teacher Conference
Wed, Mar 16 – Public Middle School Evening Parent Teacher Conference
Thurs, Mar 17– Public Middle School Afternoon Parent Teacher Conference
Thurs, Mar 17 – Feast of Saint Patrick (some Catholic schools may be closed)
Thurs, Mar 24 – Holy Thursday (some Catholic schools may be closed)
Fri, Mar 25 – Good Friday (Public and Catholic schools closed)
Mar 28-Apr 1 –Easter Recess (some Catholic schools may be closed)

The Wagner College Distinguished Educators Awards
Wagner College is celebrating teachers who make a difference– and they need your help. They are looking to honor exceptional Staten Island school teachers, administrators, college professors and community educators for the annual Wagner College Distinguished Educators Awards. CLICK HERE to link to a nomination form. The form must be completed by March 17. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on June 8.

S.I. Ferry Honors a Hero
The newest ferryboat to sail the waters between Staten Island and Manhattan will be named for a local hero, a decorated veteran from New Dorp who lost his life in Afghanistan in 2013. Staff Sergeant Michael Ollis was just 24 years old when he died courageously shielding another soldier from a suicide bomber. Borough President James Oddo rallied for the decision, along with over 5,000 others who signed an online petition to honor the hero.

The new ferry will make its nautical debut in 2019, the first of three new ferries that will carry passengers to and from the Island. A new petition has begun circulating social media to name the second new ferry after another brave Staten Islander, NYPD Officer Edward del Pino, who ended the killing rampage of a deranged homeless man with a sword on the ferry in 1986. Del Pino passed away in 1999. Do you agree that the new ferry should be named after the heroic police officer? Click here to sign the petition!

Free Microsoft Programs for Kids
In today’s technology-driven world, it’s more important than ever that students have access to the digital tools they need to succeed in school and beyond. That’s why Microsoft has teamed up with the New York City public school system in a unique partnership that will put the company’s newest software in the hands of every NYC public school student. Families are now able to download Office 2016, Office for Mac 2016, and the Office 365 mobile apps available for Windows 10 tablets, iPhone, iPad and Android devices. There is no cost for up to five downloads each on personal computers (Windows or Mac), tablets, and phones. Click here to download yours.

“This initiative is about providing students with the tools they need to succeed,” said New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “Technology like Microsoft software enhances the educational experience and infuses learning with crucial hands-on computer skills – skills that will be an asset as students prepare for college and the workforce. Learning doesn’t stop at the end of the school day – we want to ensure that children and their parents have the resources at home to get curious, organized, and ready to learn together.

Spring Ahead!
Good news, Staten Island! Lighter, brighter days are ahead! Daylight Saving Time begins at 2am on Sunday, March 13; don’t forget to set your clocks forward an hour. Not to be confused with when we “fall back” an hour in autumn, Daylight Saving Time provides some much-needed relief from the dark days of winter when the sun sets before most people leave work. It’s also a pleasant reminder that warm spring days are just around the corner!

Summer Help Wanted
Is your son or daughter looking for a summer job? Staten Island teenagers and young adults who wish to work over the summer break can apply through the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Qualified youths, ages 14-24, will be placed in paid, entry-level summer job programs for six weeks throughout July and August. SYEP also provides workshops on job readiness, career exploration, financial literacy, and opportunities to continue education and social growth. The programs are located in community-based organizations in all five boroughs of New York City. Applicants can apply online or at a community-based organization during the application period and will be selected via lottery. Enrollment will take place in March and April. Click here to apply.

Catholic School Applications
Families applying to Catholic elementary schools will find the process a little easier this year thanks to a new online application and increased financial assistance. Last year over 8,100 scholarship/tuition assistance awards were distributed averaging over $2,100 each, and the Archdiocese hopes to increase the awards given to 10,000 recipients this year. Parents applying should do so as early as possible, as scholarships and financial assistance for the 2016-2017 school year will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. New students entering kindergarten through 8th grade need to complete both the admissions application and the financial assistance/scholarship application by March 9 in order to receive a decision by April 22. Click here to download a free online application.

“Choosing the right school is one of the most important decisions a parent can make for their children’s future, and this new streamlined application and additional tuition assistance and scholarships will offer more children a high-quality, life-changing Catholic education,” said Dr. Timothy J. McNiff, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York. “Children of all faiths are welcome in our schools. Academic success starts in our early childhood programs and continues throughout the elementary and high school grades. We are proud that more than 98% of our high school seniors graduate and 99% of those graduates go on to college or post-secondary education.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters Comes to Staten Island
The youth mentoring organization Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC recently celebrated the opening of its first Staten Island office. Although the organization has been working with kids on the Island for years, the new Bay Street location will help to expand the mentoring program in the borough. The ribbon-cutting ceremony in January also honored the 2015 ‘Staten Island Big of the Year,’ Amanda Tavarez, for her extraordinary commitment to her “Little.” Both residents of Staten Island, Amanda and Samantha have established a very strong bond since they were matched in 2012. By providing support, structure and guidance, Amanda has been able to help Samantha overcome challenges as she enters her teenage years.

“Amanda is the embodiment of the values that Staten Islanders exemplify, and her relationship with her Little Sister is truly inspiring,” said Hector Batista, chief executive officer of BBBS of NYC. “With the incredible support of the Staten Island community, the opening of our new office space will allow our organization to more effectively recruit caring adult mentors just like Amanda for hundreds of young people across Staten Island.” Click here to learn more about the Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC and find out how you can offer support or apply to be a mentor.

Museum Day Live!
Do you like museums? How about FREE museum days? Museum Day Live! is a day annually hosted by Smithsonian Magazine when over 1500 museums nationwide open their doors to the public for free, usually occurring sometime in September. This year a special edition of Museum Day Live will also be held on March 12 in honor of Women’s History Month. Here in Staten Island, you can get your Museum Day Live ticket to The Alice Austen House and Historic Richmond Town. There are several participating locations in nearby Manhattan as well, including the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, The New York City Fire Museum, and the Museum of Chinese in America. Your Museum Day Live ticket is valid for up to two people per household.Click here to find out how to get yours.

Indy Kids!
Is there a young, aspiring writer or journalist in your life? You should check out IndyKids, a newspaper written for kids by kids. Available in print and online, IndyKids engages youth through current events and issues relating to social justice. As part of the IndyKids Kid Reporter Program, writers ages 9-15 pitch, research, write, edit, and submit news and feature articles, book or movie reviews, and more. The newspaper is distributed and read in classrooms and libraries nationwide. Click here to subscribe or find out how your child can become an IndyKids reporter.

Bike New York
You know what they say; you never forget how to ride a bike. But that’s only if you learn how in the first place! Bike New York offers a variety of bike education classes to children and adults in all five boroughs for free. Bike New York is the organization responsible for the popular TD Five Boro Bike Tour as well as the Bike Expo New York. In-school programs are offered for grades pre-k to 12 to teach kids that cycling is a fun, healthy activity, but that it does have rules that kids should know and follow.Click here to learn more about Bike New York.

Frosty Fundraising
There’s never been a more delicious reason to support a good cause. Now through March 13, Wendy’s customers who purchase a $1 Frosty key tag will receive a free Jr. Frosty Dessert with any purchase on subsequent visits until August 31. All proceeds will benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a non-profit public charity dedicated to increasing adoptions of children in North America’s foster care system. Visit to link to more information about the foundation.

Pancakes with Purpose
Free flapjacks all around! To celebrate its 11th Annual National Pancake Day, IHOP is offering a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes to customers all day on Tuesday, March 8. Although the pancakes are free, guests are encouraged to pay it forward by making a donation to a local participating charity. The annual event has helped raise over $20 million for children’s and local charities across the country to date. The Staten Island IHOP is located at 935 Richmond Ave.

“Every pancake we give away has a purpose on National Pancake Day. Through the generosity of our guests and the hard work and commitment of our franchisees and their team members, we will help fund life-saving treatment and care for children in need,” said Darren Rebelez, President, International House of Pancakes, LLC. “On behalf of everyone in the IHOP family, we are so grateful to our guests who have turned this into such an incredible event that truly makes a difference in the lives of these kids.”

Staten Island’s First Triennial of Photography
The Alice Austen House will unveil its new cutting edge exhibit, Staten Island Unlimited; a Triennial of Staten Island Photography this month. The exhibition aims to reveal the contemporary state of photography in the borough, showcasing work from both local photographers and others viewing the Island from the outside. The exhibit will be on view from March 12 to August 31. The Alice Austen House is located at 2 Hylan Boulevard.

Springtime Basket Auctions
Holiday Fair season seems like a distant memory by now, but Spring Basket Auctions are right around the corner! Head to for a list of auctions held in Staten Island this spring. Feeling generous? Be sure to contact the schools in your area if you are interested in donating a basket of your own. If you would like your school’s auction to be added to the list, please email the details to [email protected] with the subject line: Basket Auctions. Click here to see the Basket Auction list.

Calling all Young Inventors!
The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is calling on New York City’s youngest and brightest inventors to enter their 2016 Antonio Meucci Young Inventors’ Competition. The contest honors the legacy of the inventor Antonio Meucci, who was responsible for many inventions, improvements and ideas throughout his lifetime. All New York City students in grades 3-8 may enter. Students are asked to present an original idea for a new invention or an improvement upon an existing one and winners will be rewarded cash prizes. The deadline for entries is Friday, March 11, 2016, with the final competition set for Sunday, April 17 at Staten Island Technical High School. To request official rules and an application, please contact Marianna Randazzo, Director of School Programs at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum at [email protected]

Freshkills Park Walking Tours
Two-hour walking tours of Freshkills Park offer groups of up to 30 students the unique opportunity to explore what was once the world’s largest landfill. Students learn about the history of waste disposal and help brainstorm about the future of Freshkills Park. They will also learn about the landfill’s history and explore the wildlife habitats. These tours are designed for grades 3-8 and are offered March-November. For more information, visit

Valentines for Vets
Over 60 Veterans were treated to special handmade cards and letters from the third grade students of P.S. 35 last month. The class teamed up with Assemblyman Michael Cusick in coordinating the project, which was part of the “Valentines for Veterans” program at the Fort Hamilton VA Hospital. Assemblyman Cusick, who has long been a member of the State Assembly on Veterans Affairs, expressed his joy in working with the students. “The work that these students have done for our veterans is a simple but truly special way to say thank you,” he said. “It always brings me pride to deliver these Valentine’s cards & letters, and I know the veterans appreciate the gesture just as much as the kids enjoyed making them.”

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