Community & School News May 2018

Important School Dates
May 1-2 – New York State Mathematics Exams
May 28 – Memorial Day (schools closed)

Staten Island Fleet Week
Staten Island Fleet Week is returning for another week to show the troops how much we appreciate them! Military ships will be docking at The Sullivans Pier for Staten Island Fleet Week on Wednesday, May 23. During this week, visitors are welcome to tour the ships and meet visiting crew members. The 3rd Annual Rockin’ Our Troops Music Festival kicks off with the band Full Disclosure at 5:30 on Friday, May 25. Admission is free and the musical acts continue through the weekend and into Monday.

In addition to public tours, schools can arrange class trips where students can experience the ships first hand. As a non-profit organization with a volunteer-only staff, Staten Island Fleet Week relies solely on donations to fund its programs and events. They are also in need of corporate sponsors. Go to for more info or to learn how you can donate, sponsor, or volunteer to help out, or to learn more about Staten Island Fleet Week.

Comic Con Comes to New Dorp
Comic Con is returning to New Dorp High School! The school will be hosting its own version of the popular Comic Con event and student art exhibit for the third time this year. The event will be held on Saturday, May 19, noon to 5pm at the school (465 New Dorp Lane). New Dorp’s past Comic Con events attracted over a thousand comic book fans and has become the biggest student art gallery in New York City, according to visual arts teacher Arthur Vallario. This year’s Comic Con will include student and local artists, collectors, graphic novelists, Staten Island’s three comic book stores and cosplayers. The event is organized by student committees and all proceeds will go toward student and school needs.

Sunrise WALK
You can help give summer back to children with cancer at SunriseWALKS on Sunday, June 3rd at Mount Loretto, 6581 Hylan Boulevard. The WALK will raise the funds needed to provide as many as 100 children – those with cancer and their siblings – with their most fun summer at the Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp. The campers come from Staten Island and nearby New Jersey, Brooklyn and Manhattan because it’s the only camp of its kind in all of New York City. The six-week day camp is completely free of charge, including transportation, and welcomes all who are eligible.

You can help by participating in our SunriseWALKS & Carnival on Sunday, June 3 (registration opens at 9am and the WALK starts at 10:30am). The short walk is followed immediately by a free family carnival (food available for purchase). You can form your own team with friends or donate to an existing team. Registration is $20 for adults and $10 for kids. Not big on walking? You can simply donate and know you will be helping a child forget their illness for a while and just be a kid. Or just come down and participate in the walk – be one of hundreds of people walking together for a wonderful cause. For information or to register please go to or call 718.475.5213.

2018-2019 School Calendar
The next school year isn’t as far away as you think. The Department of Education has unveiled the calendar for the 2018-2019 school year and you can check it out right here (or click on the Preschools & Schools Directory tab and scroll down to “Public School Directories, Resources and More” on our homepage). For you vacation planners, here’s a sneak peek at the recess dates:

Winter Recess: December 24, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Midwinter Recess: February 18–22, 2019
Spring Recess: April 19–26, 2019

Be sure to bookmark to view the full calendar anytime!

S.I. Clean Team
The Borough President’s Clean Team recently kicked off its operations, in which they pick up litter at locations around the borough three times a week. Over the past four years, the Clean Team has cleaned hundreds of locations around Staten Island. BP Oddo is asking the public to report locations to his office for a cleanup. Cleanup requests can be sent in through the following ways:

Send a message or post to his official Facebook page:
Tweet a location at @statenislusa
Use the BP Assist mobile app, which is available here:
Report it at:
Call the Borough President’s Helpline at 718-816-2000
Email the location to Anthony Esposito at [email protected]

“This remains a campaign without an exit strategy,” noted BP Oddo. “The fight to reclaim our streets from those who litter continues. We ask the public to help us, not only by not littering, but also by letting us know when they see a dirty location so we can send our Clean Team out to beautify the area.”

Free Autism Resource
Parenting a child is a difficult job but parenting a child on the autism spectrum is even more so. That’s why the National Autism Academy has made its pioneering, seven-part series entitled “The 7 Emotional Secrets of Parents with Autistic Children” available for free to those interested in understanding life with autism.

In making the announcement, Jeanne Beard, the academy’s founder and the parent of a 21-year-old autistic son, said the 10- to 12-minute videos explore the emotional challenges parents of special needs children (and others) face, including dealing with compassion fatigue, burnout, and living with loss. In the videos, parents and others who cope with autistic individuals will learn:

• How your emotions drive your child’s behavior and what successful parents do to feel better.
• Steps you can take if you feel like the school is failing your child.
• Ways to approach your Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting with power and persuasion to get the resources your child needs.
• How to pinpoint why you feel chronically exhausted, hopeless, or like you are failing as a parent plus how to transform that energy into positive support for your child.
• How social and cultural expectations add painful pressure to our lives, and ways to break free from those unnecessary burdens.

You can link to the free videos here.

Peanut & Gluten Detector
A new device could be a major lifesaver for families affected by peanut and gluten allergies. Nima is a sensor that allows you to test your food for these allergens and find out within three minutes whether it’s safe to eat. The easy-to-use tester is small and portable for families on the go to use in restaurants, parties or anywhere else. Just place a pea-size amount of food into the Nima’s testing tube and allow it to use its sensors to detect whether there are peanuts or gluten present. The peanut sensor is being developed to detect 20 parts per million (ppm) of peanut protein or more at 99 percent accuracy, according to The Nima Blog. The gluten sensor is 99.5 percent accurate at 20 parts per million of gluten. The $289 gluten sensor is available now at and might be covered by your insurance. The peanut sensor is also $289 but not available for purchase until sometime this year. You can reserve one for free at

Springtime Clothing Drives
Spring cleaning? Don’t toss your old clothes — give them to those in need. The Staten Island Moravian Churches are hosting their annual clothing drive, now in its 15th year. They will be collecting clean, laundered and gently used warm and cool weather clothing for all ages and genders. If you’d like to contribute, be sure to sort your clothes by gender and size before you bag them up. If possible, put clothes for only one size and gender in a labeled bag. Among the most needed items are infant and children’s clothing and school supplies, as well as Halloween costumes. Collection barrels will be available at these locations:

• Castleton Hill Moravian, 1657 Victory Blvd., 718-442-5215
• Great Kills Moravian, 74 Hillside Terrace, 718-317-7788
• New Dorp Moravian, 2205 Richmond Road, 718-351-0090
• Vanderbilt Ave. Moravian, 271 Vanderbilt Ave., 718-447-2966

You can also contribute to Staten Island Little League’s Used Clothing Drive, which is going on now through May 11. They are collecting wearable and usable clothing and shoes for all sizes and genders, along with accessories, linens, stuffed animals and bicycles. SILL will receive money for every pound collected. Please put your donations in a tightly closed plastic bag labeled “Clothing Drive” and drop off at the SILL Clubhouse at 225 Seaver Avenue during games (or leave on the bench by the main door after hours). Contact Michelle Harrison at 347-678-6726 with questions.

41st Annual TD 5 Boro Bike Tour
The TD Five Boro Bike Tour has been a major New York City event for both cyclists and onlookers since it started in 1977. On Sunday, May 6, thousands of cyclists of all ages and skill levels will spin their wheels freely throughout all five boroughs where the streets have been cleared of cars. The 40-mile tour kicks off at 7:30am in lower Manhattan and will conclude at Fort Wadsworth here in Staten Island, where a festival is held at the finish line. The tour is the largest charitable bike ride in the U.S., with proceeds funding Bike NYC’s free bike education programs. If your plans that day don’t include a bicycle, you might want to steer clear of traveling to other boroughs. Parts of the Verrazano Bridge will be closed for the duration of the tour, along with many streets and other bridges located within New York City.

Free Summertime Bike Programs
Speaking of cycling, Bike NYC is offering a free summer youth program for camps this year. This free program for summer camps offers campers (ages 10 and older) a chance to learn the mechanics of riding a bike, the rules of the road, best practices for riding in a group and on the streets, and–of course–the joy and freedom of biking. This program is only available to established summer camp programs. To request participation click here, or get more info at

Screen-Free Week
Are you worried about your family’s overabundance of screen time? Screen-Free Week is an initiative encouraging families, schools, and entire communities to enjoy life beyond the screen. From April 30 to May 6, people are urged to unplug all of their devices and go outside, play a sport, read a book, or simply spend quality time with family and friends. Screen free week is also Children’s Book Week — so it’s definitely the best time for kids to replace technology with a good old-fashioned book! Click here for more information about Screen-Free Week.

A Conversation with the Class of 2018
Students voices are meant to be heard. That’s why Borough President Oddo recently hosted “A Conversation with the Class of 2018” for graduating high school seniors in the Black Box Theater at Susan Wagner High School. Students were invited from around the Island to the annual event to meet with BP Oddo and talk one-on-one about the issues they face as Staten Islanders. They spoke about the stresses they face on a daily basis and their future plans as well as sharing their concerns about issues like the opioid epidemic. According to the BP’s office, all of the questions, comments, and ideas these seniors presented were well prepared and thoughtful.

Mia’s Summertime Lovin’ Drop
Mia Mannarino is a true warrior. She’s currently fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia, but that hasn’t stopped the brave nine-year-old in her mission to help other children who are sick. She’s already generously collected hundreds of toys and thousands of character bandaids for kids in the hospital. According to her mom, these “drops” not only bring a smile to the face of children who need it, but also keep Mia’s mind off her own battle with leukemia.

Her next goal is to bring summer to the pediatric ward of Richmond University Medical Center in her fifth collection, Mia’s No More Ouchie Summertime Lovin’ Drop. She needs your help to make it a special summer for these children. She will be collecting the following items until June 1:

• Plain tee shirts (any colors and all sizes, even for the adults)
• Anything to decorate shirts with (markers, paint, gems to glue on, fun kid stencils, etc.)
• Puffy paint, all colors
• Mini glue guns and sticks to fit
• Plain pillow cases
• Small wooden birdhouses to paint
• Fun character bandaids
• Other fun items (message Mia with your ideas)

There is also an Amazon Wish list where specific items can be purchased and sent directly to Mia. You can link to it here. The cutoff for donations is June 1, as the items will be delivered just before school lets out. If you are interested in donating, please message Mia on Facebook (the account is run by her mom). You can link to her Facebook page here or by searching the hashtags #TeamMiaTheGreat or #MiaTheGreat08 on Instagram and Facebook.

Good luck, Mia! We wish you and the children at RUMC all the best this summer and always!

The World’s Largest Swim Lesson
One of the largest provider of swim safety programs locally is the JCC of Staten Island which has swim classes starting with infants (and their parent/caregiver). The JCC offers the American Red Cross Learn to Swim Program which is open to the entire community as well as JCC members. The 6 week classes are designed for all levels and ages.

This year for the second time, the JCC is participating in the World’s Largest Swim Lesson at its Bernikow JCC pool. This takes place at an estimated 600 locations in more than 20 different countries. The fee is $10 JCC member, $20 non-members (parents must get in the water with children under 3). It will be held on Thursday, June 21 at 5:30pm and is limited to 50 children.