Community & School News February 2019

Important School Dates
Tue, Feb 05 – Lunar New Year (public schools closed)
Mon, Feb 18-Fri, Feb 22 – Midwinter Recess (public schools closed)
Mon, Feb 18 – President’s Day (Catholic schools closed)

3-K Coming to Staten Island; Apply Feb 4
Next fall, children born in 2016 will be eligible to attend the new 3-K program in Staten Island. If your child lives in New York City and will be turning 3 next year, you can apply for a District 31 3-K program this month. Children living in NYC who were born in 2015 may apply for Pre-K this month as well. 3-K and Pre-k programs will be offered in public schools as well as some private schools. Go to siparent.com to link to a 3-K or Pre-K Finder tool and see which schools have seats available. The admissions process for each is similar. According to the NYC Department of Education, there is no first come, first served basis. All applications submitted online, by phone, or in person by the deadline are treated the same based on admissions priorities. You can list up to 12 schools on your application. The application deadline for Pre-K is March 15, 2019. Click here for more information.

Diaper Duty for All 
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently signed a new bill requiring public buildings to provide diaper changing stations to all New York City parents. The bill is to ensure all parents have access to these stations— meaning both moms and dads can comfortably change their child’s diaper when they are out in public. New York City is one of the first cities in the nation to make this enforcement in new or recently renovated buildings.

“Requiring diaper changing stations in all public restrooms, regardless of gender, will go a long way to promote gender equity and encourage dads to also be on diaper duty,” said Council Member Rafael Espinal, prime sponsor of the bill. “After witnessing a father changing his daughter’s diaper on an unsanitary sink in a public space, I realized diaper changing stations must be a requirement in all public bathrooms, because moms and dads should have equal access to sanitary and safe spaces when changing their baby’s diapers. Our city is now leading the nation on this issue, and I am proud that we are building upon the work of President Obama when he required federal buildings to have this service. For too long most public restrooms have not had dedicated spaces for families to care for their children, but after today’s signing, every public building in NYC will be required to create a space to allow parents to change their child’s diaper with dignity.”

National Wear Red Day
Don’t save your red clothes for Valentines Day! Friday, February 1 is National Wear Red Day, a day designated by the American Heart Association every year to raise awareness of heart disease in women. Heart disease affects more women than men and is sometimes called the “silent killer” because its symptoms often go unnoticed. Heart disease and stroke kill 1 in 3 women, yet the disease is 80% preventable. Show your support for the cause by wearing red on February 1 and sharing your pictures on social medial using the hashtag #GoRed. You can also make a donation to the cause. Click here learn more about National Wear Red Day.

Dog Museum Opens in NYC
Here’s some doggone good news for the canine-loving crowd: The American Kennel Club (AKC) Museum of the Dog is finally returning to New York City. The museum is home to one of the largest collections of dog art in the world, with more than 180 pieces of dog artwork and half a dozen interactive digital exhibits spanning two floors and three stories. The new hi-tech exhibits aim to bridge the digital and physical and bring new life to the collection. The gallery includes interactive exhibits such as a “Find Your Match” kiosk that takes your photo, aligning its likeness with an AKC-registered dog breed. A “Meet the Breeds” touchscreen table allows visitors to explore breeds’ physical features, traits, and history. On the top floor, you’ll find digital, interactive puppy training.

“We have a very sophisticated work where we took a ten-month-old Labrador Retriever and put her in a motion capture suit and had her go through her basic obedience drills,” museum director Alan Fausel said (akc.org). “Then we transferred that to a screen where you can actually train the avatar of that dog in real time through voice and hand signals.”

The museum also has an app where kids can interact with the exhibits with “Arty” a virtual dog/tour guide throughout the museum. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for children under 12, and $10 for students, seniors, youth, and military/veterans. The museum’s official opening will be February 8. It is located at 101 Park Ave in midtown Manhattan.

National Day of Unplugging
Ever feel like you’re missing out on life while staring at a phone screen? You’re not alone. National Day of Unplugging is a movement that encourages people to stop missing important moments with their faces in their devices. You can pledge to “unplug,” or disconnect from those devices and reconnect with yourselves and others, from sundown to sundown on March 1-2. If you go to nationaldayofunplugging.com and take the pledge, they will send a free toolkit with activity guides and conversation starters. You can link directly to the pledge here.

Free Microsoft Programs for Students & Teachers
Did you know students and teachers can download Microsoft Office 365 entirely for FREE? In today’s technology-driven world, it’s more important than ever for students to have access to the digital tools they need to succeed in school and beyond. Microsoft piloted the program here in New York City in 2016, and has since expanded to include students and teachers throughout the country. There are only three requirements for eligibility: You must be a full-time or part-time faculty or staff member or student at an academic institution; have a school-specific email address provided by the school that can receive external email of legal age to sign up for an online offer individually; and have Internet access. NYC public school students can sign up through your NYC Schools account. Link to the form here. Microsoft 365 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Microsoft Teams, plus additional classroom tools.