Community & School News January 2016

Important School Dates
January 1 – New Year’s Day (No School)
January 4 – School Resumes following Winter Break
January 13 – Release of Catholic High School Admissions Notices
January 15 – Kindergarten Application Deadline
January 18 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (No School)
January 25 – Pre-kindergarten Application Period Begins
January 26-29 – Regents Exams
January 28 – Pre-K Non-attendance Day
January 31-February 6 – Catholic Schools Week

Mulchfest 2016
Don’t just throw away your Christmas Tree – “Treecycle” it! The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, along with The NYC Department of Sanitation and GreeNYC are urging New Yorkers to participate in Mulchfest 2016, the annual recycling of holiday trees into wood chips that will nourish trees and plants all over the city.

Want to chip in? Just drop off your tree at a designated chipping location on January 9 or 10 between 10am to 2pm. Your tree will be chipped right away– and you can even bring home your very own bag of mulch! Staten Island’s designated chipping locations are Clove Lakes Park, Conference House Park, and Midland Beach (parking lot #6 on Father Capodanno and Graham Boulevard). You can also bring the tree to select drop-off locations (no chipping) from January 2 to January 10. Staten Island’s drop-off only locations are Father Macris Park, Silver Lake Tennis House, Tappen Park, Willowbrook Park, and Wolfe’s Pond Park.

Click here for more information about Mulchfest from the Parks Department.

The Big Apple Awards
Does your child have a seriously awesome teacher? Give ‘em a Big Apple Award! The Big Apple Awards are bestowed annually upon New York City’s most outstanding teachers. All award recipients receive a well-deserved classroom grant for their students and their school and will spend the 2016-17 school year representing teachers citywide as members of the Chancellor’s Advisory Group. You have until January 18 to nominate your favorite teacher. Click here to link to a nomination form. Good luck to all of Staten Island’s fantastic teachers!

New Springville Greenway Officially Opens
A ribbon-cutting ceremony recently marked the official opening of the New Springville Greenway, a 3.3-mile, off-street multi-use path along Richmond Avenue that is part of the ongoing development of Freshkills Park. Borough President Oddo, who was in attendance at the ceremony, expressed his fondness for the path. “We haven’t even cut the ribbon yet, and I think we can all agree that the New Springville Greenway has already been a big hit with Staten Islanders,” he said. “Almost since the day construction started, walkers, runners, and bicycle riders have been flocking to the Greenway to both enjoy the scenery and improve their health and fitness. It is a welcome addition to our borough, and provides us with another fun, active recreation outlet. With the grand opening of the Ocean Breeze Track last week and this project, Staten Islanders now have more options than ever to become active.”

Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia added that the area has “come a long way from being the world’s largest landfill.”

The greenway runs along the eastern edge of the park, parallel to Richmond Avenue by the Staten Island Mall, safely connecting users with an existing on-street bike lane on Arlene Street in the north, the LaTourette Park bike path, and an anticipated bike lane planned for Arthur Kill Road in the south. The construction of the Greenway included installation of a 10 to 12-foot-wide asphalt path, a wetland overlook deck, drainage systems, and provided sidewalk reconstruction and improvements. Bikers, runners and walkers are able to use benches and bike racks placed along the route. For more information on other perimeter projects located at Freshkills Park and to view an events and tour schedule, visit the Freshkills Park Alliance web page at

Making Music with P.S. 39
This year is really going to rock for students at P.S. 39! The school is partnering with Education Through Music (ETM) to provide music education to every student in the school. ETM works with inner-city schools to provide all students with music as a core subject, create school communities that value the arts, and enhance students’ academic performance and general development. Now in its 25th year, the organization serves over 27,000 students in all five boroughs of New York City.

“Every student at PS39 will now benefit from an enriched educational experience thanks to Education Through Music,” said P.S. 39 Principal Tracey Wright. “Music belongs in the public schools. The value of a music-rich education in engaging and improving student learning is indisputable and we are thrilled that our students will reap those benefits as part of their overall education.

Click here to learn more about Education Through Music.

Catholic Schools Week 2016
This year’s annual National Catholic School Week celebration is set for January 31 – February 1. The theme for 2016 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service.” The event is typically observed through Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and community members. Each day offers a new celebratory theme: within the parish, community, students, nation, vocation, staff, and family. Participants are welcome to share their celebrations via social media using the hashtag #CSW16.

Read more about Catholic Schools Week here.

The Lily Jo Memorial Fund
The devastating loss of a child is a nightmare that no parent should ever endure. But for two-year old Lily Jo Jurgens’ family, that nightmare became reality when the toddler passed away suddenly and inexplicably last June. Now the family is working to honor her memory through a charity fund in Lily Jo’s name that will raise money and awareness for The SUDC Foundation. SUDC, or sudden unexplained death in childhood, is the death of a child over the age of 12 months which remains unexplained after a thorough investigation and autopsy. The SUDC Foundation is dedicated to increasing awareness of sudden unexpected deaths in childhood, funding crucial research into the causes and prevention of SUDC, and advocating for the needs of families affected by these tragedies. To make a donation to the Lily Jo Memorial Fund, visit

The family will also be hosting a Family Fun Day in Lily Jo’s name on January 9 at Flagship Brewing Company with proceeds going to the SUDC Foundation. Click here for more details on the event.

Click here for more information on the SUDC Foundation.

AT&T and CSI Team Up
AT&T has partnered with the College of Staten Island to promote job opportunities for Staten Island’s unemployed young adults by way of a new workforce training program. The five-month program includes IT training leading to valued industry certification, as well as real world work experience through local externship placement. The course is the first of its kind at CSI.

According to a recent New York labor report, approximately one in three young adults is out of work. “The concentration of disconnected young adults in Staten Island is growing. That is why we decided to launch this life-changing workforce educational program to help provide students with a certificate, training and work experience to create better lives for themselves and their future generations,” said Marissa Shorenstein, President of AT&T New York. “New York City has one of the fastest growing tech scenes in the country, and with the increasing number of tech jobs available across the boroughs, we wanted to develop a program that allows students to walk away with a robust resume that will prepare them for the available and promising opportunities.”

And the W-I-N-N-E-R is…
Congratulations to eighth-grader Shenan DeMel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel-St. Benedicta School in West Brighton, winner of the 2015 Catholic School Region of Staten Island Spelling Bee! And big kudos to runner-up Nicholas DiMeglio as well, an eighth grader from St. Charles School in Oakwood. Curious about the winning word? DeMel correctly spelled “skirmish” for the victory. A total of 29 students from 22 schools competed in the spelling bee, which took place December 10 at St. Christopher’s School.

HEAP Cooling Program
When temperatures drop down into single digits this winter, people who are financially unable to heat their homes are put in serious danger. HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) is a federally funded initiative that provides benefits to supplement a household’s annual energy cost. “It is important that every resident is able to adequately heat their home,” said Assemblyman Michael Cusick. “Seniors on fixed incomes and working families struggling to make ends meet should not have to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table, and I strongly suggest eligible residents sign up for the HEAP program.”

HEAP benefits are available through 3/15/16. Call 1-800-692-0557 for more information. Click here for a list of required documents. Click here to link to an application form.

See Something, Send Something
We’ve all been there before: you notice a backpack or a purse under the seat in a subway car and you barely give it a second glance, assuming it was left there mistakenly by its absentminded owner. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. That’s why local law enforcement agencies are urging New Yorkers to report absolutely anything they perceive as being suspicious. With the new “See Something, Send Something” app, doing so is now easier than ever before. Users can simply download a mobile app on their smart phone and then there is no worry about who to send the tip to or what phone number to call. You send a photo of the suspicious activity using your device’s camera, by choosing a photo from its library, or by sending a written note. From there, the tip will be reviewed and if relevant, sent along to the appropriate channels. The app also includes information on what to look for and when to report suspicious activity, and is free to download for both iPhone and Android users. Click here to download the app.

“These new efforts are essential pieces in our fight against terrorism,” Governor Cuomo said. “We have stepped up our preparedness in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, and we continue to remain vigilant against those who seek to spread fear and violence. Despite the tremendous pain and loss that terrorist attacks around the world have caused the people of this state, the family of New York stands stronger than ever before.”

Garden of Dreams
Most people could never even dream of playing basketball for their favorite NBA team, but for young Staten Islander Edward Gelormino, that dream came true last month. The 11-year-old Annadale boy was signed to an honorary two-day contract with the New York Knicks last month, which included meeting his favorite players and attending an honorary press conference in his name. Edward, who has been battling leukemia for several years, was asked to be a part of Madison Square Garden’s Second Annual Garden of Dreams Week in December.

The Garden of Dreams Foundation works with Madison Square Garden to positively impact the lives of children facing obstacles such as homelessness, extreme poverty, illness and foster care. Since it began in 2006, Garden of Dreams has used the magic of the Rangers, Knicks, Liberty and MSG to brighten the lives of more than 275,000 children and their families. Click here to visit the Garden of Dreams website.

Meningitis Vaccine Mandatory for 7th Graders
Has your child gotten their meningitis shot? A new bill recently signed by Governor Cuomo requires that all incoming seventh grade public school students receive a meningicoccal vaccine by beginning of the start of the next school year. New York is joining 20 other states currently mandating the vaccine. Meningitis is a dangerous infection of the covering of the brain and the spinal cord. The potentially deadly disease is spread through saliva and most often occurs among people living in close quarters, such as college dormitories.

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