Community & School News July 2016

Fourth of July Travis Parade
Happy Independence Day! The annual Fourth of July Travis Parade is celebrating its 106th anniversary this July. The parade is one of the longest running Independence Day celebrations in the country. This year’s Grand Marshal will be NYC Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo. The ceremony kicks off at 12:30pm in front Showplace Entertainment Center at 141 East Service Road, and the viewing stand will be located in front of P.S. 26 at 4108 Victory Blvd. between Wild and Melvin Avenues. All access roads into Travis will be closed off by 11:30am and parking will be available at Showplace. Click here for

DSNY Golden Apple Awards
Congratulations to this year’s Golden Apple Award winners, including two schools here in Staten Island! The annual competition, hosted by the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), rewards NYC public schools with cash prizes for their implementation of programs in recycling, waste prevention, as well as cleanup and beautification. IS 75 Frank D Paulo won both the Citywide Intermediate division and the Staten Island Golden Shovel Award for Master School Composter, receiving an impressive $11,000 in total for their efforts as a model recycling school. In addition, Tottenville High School received an honorable mention for their own green efforts and was awarded $1,000. Click here to learn more about the schools’ impressive recycling programs and to see the winning contest entries.

Free Museum Pass for Teachers
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week at the Staten Island Museum all summer long! The museum is offering a free pass to all teachers, administrators, and parent coordinators every day between June 15 and September 15. The pass is valid at either location (St. George and Snug Harbor); visitors just need to show their school ID, a paystub, or school letterhead to be granted free entry. Check out the S.I. Parent Family Calendar for information on the Staten Island Museum’s family-friendly events and programs.

Camping with Urban Park Rangers
How does a beautiful night camping under the stars sound? How about a night camping under the stars right here in Staten Island, where you don’t have to travel far and you are provided with free equipment and instructions for your whole family? Urban Park Rangers is hosting several free family camping events in Blue Heron Park, Willowbrook Park, Wolfe’s Pond Park, and Conference House Park over the summer. Registration for each session will take place online the week before the event, and campers will be selected via lottery. There are 30 spots available for each session. Click here to learn how to register.

2017 High School Directory
Choosing the right high school is a very important decision in a middle schooler’s life, and if your child is entering eighth grade this fall, then now is the time to start thinking about it. The 2017 NYC High School Directory is currently available online at the Department of Education website, and it’s filled with important information for students preparing to enter High School in 2017. You’ll find High School Fair dates, admissions test dates, application deadlines, important websites, as well as guidelines for applying, methods of admission, programs offered, and much more. Link to the directory here to get started applying to the high school of your choice.

I.S. 51 Principal Nominated for Daily News Award
The students at I.S. 51 know more than a thing or two about community service and it’s all thanks to their Assistant Principal Andrew Cataneo, who was recently nominated for a Daily News Hometown Heroes in Education Award. The award honors school staffers who go the extra mile when it comes to helping those in need. Under Cataneo’s guidance, the students have raised over $90,000 for the March of Dimes foundation in the last two years. Other public serviced efforts spearheaded by Cataneo include shoveling snow for seniors, packing care boxes for needy children, and helping to raise cancer awareness. Hometown Heroes in Education winners will be announced in October. Good luck, Mr. Cataneo!

Smoke Free Playgrounds For All
If there’s one place cigarettes don’t belong, it’s near a child. After posing a question for our followers on Facebook about their favorite park in Staten Island, some local moms expressed concern over the amount of people smoking on or near playgrounds and the lack of law enforcement present to keep it from happening. Smoking is strictly prohibited on all NYC public parks and beaches, so our children should never be forced to breathe in cigarette smoke. We brought the matter to Community Education Council 31 Leader and former NYPD Lieutenant Michael Reilly, who urged anyone with a similar experience to report it via 311 or online at the 311 website. You can link directly to the smoking violation form here. Don’t be shy about it– according to Reilly, the more complaints they receive, the more likely the Parks Department will be to deploy enforcement.

Free Summer Meals
Summer vacation may be in full swing, but hungry bellies don’t take time off for the break. The Summer Meals program has returned this year, providing free, healthy breakfast and lunch to all children ages 18 and under at hundreds of locations around the City until September 2. The Summer Meals Program is available at hundreds of public schools, community pool centers, New York City Housing Authority complexes, libraries, and other locations around the city. Children do not need to register or show any kind of documentation or ID to receive their free meal. To find a Summer Meals location near you, text “NYCMEALS” to 877-877, call 311, or link to their website here. And like most things nowadays, there’s also an app for it. Search “Feed Your Mind” in the app store to easily find the nearest Summer Meals location.

Charge It Up!
You can’t get the perfect shot of the kids splashing around in the waves this summer if your cell phone battery dies before you leave the beach. This summer, NYC Parks has once again teamed up with AT&T in deploying solar powered mobile charging stations at several of New York City’s beaches, including Midland and South Beach here in Staten Island. The charging stations work day or night, in the sun or shade. The AT&T Street Charge was inspired by restoration efforts following Hurricane Sandy, when AT&T had set up charging stations in devastated areas to help people connect with loved ones in the aftermath of the storm. In addition, AT&T provides free Wi-Fi to all mobile device users in 21 New York City parks as part of the Wi-Fi in the Parks initiative.

Lunchroom Artwork Sends a Valuable Message
Young artists at two local schools are laying it all on the table when it comes to expressing themselves through their work. Talented student artists of two Staten Island middle schools have once again transformed lunchroom tables into beautiful and meaningful works of art addressing major social issues in their communities as part of the LeAp (Learning Through an Expanded Arts Program) Public Art Exhibition. The students presented their original large-scale public artworks in two Staten Island parks last month, which will remain on display through August. Students from P.S./I.S. 25 proudly presented their anti-bullying-themed project at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in June, while students from I.S.61 unveiled their anti-racism-themed project at Clove Lakes Park on the same day.

The schools are two of ten participating schools that have created public artworks comprising the largest student art exhibition in the history of NYC parks, as well as the first to span the five boroughs. The exhibition, “A View From The Lunchroom; Students Bringing Issues To The Table,” is said to empower young people to have a voice in their communities and to express themselves on important issues. School lunchroom tables were chosen as a canvas for the project because they are a symbol of student ideas and conversations. “Art can have a deep impact on all of us, especially young people, and to see it exhibited in our public parks stimulates our bodies, minds and souls. The extraordinary students in LeAp’s Public Art Program use their artwork to explore powerful themes and self-expression in creative ways, bringing their personal dialogues into public view,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.

Smiles 4 Seniors
Calling every kid with a big heart and a soft spot for Grandma and Grandpa! Smiles 4 Seniors is a grant program that funds schools and youth programs in efforts to engage and uplift senior citizens in order to simply brighten their day, and they are looking for schools or youth programs here in Staten Island to help them do so. Affiliated with the Brooklyn Home Foundation, the program is a part of an initiative to address social isolation and depression in the senior community. Staten Island schools and afterschool programs may apply for a grant between $500 and $1,000 to provide art and craft supplies for the children to produce crafts or cards for residents of nursing homes or senior groups on Staten Island. Grants are also available for schools to bring chorus or musical instrument groups. “We are invested in making a difference for seniors and people in need that live in our own community. Brooklyn Home started as the Brooklyn Home For Aged Men in 1878 with this simple mission and continues today. I hope that the students and teachers who participate walk away with a stronger sense of civic engagement and responsibility to help those in need,” said Brooklyn Home Board President Erika Hellstrom.

After receiving a generous grant earlier this year, Staten Island Academy wowed Hellstrom with their many endeavors, which included performing at nursing homes, creating artwork for hospitals and geriatric care units, and purchasing instruments to play concerts for the seniors. Applications from Staten Island schools and nonprofit organizations with afterschool programs will be accepted through September 25, 2016, and the projects can be funded for anytime between July 1, 2016 to March 1, 2017. Click here to apply for a grant from Smiles 4 Seniors.

Birthday Freebies!
Everyone deserves free stuff on their birthday! Head over to to find out where you can cash in on tons of free stuff on your special day. Kids can enjoy free ice cream at Carvel, free burritos at Moe’s Southwest Grill, free pretzels at Auntie Anne’s and so much more! Click here to start reaping those sweet birthday benefits. And while you’re there, be sure to sign up for our monthly birthday club and get ten free tokens at Fun Station. Go to page 73 to check out the Staten Island Parent Birthday Club.

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