Community & School News November 2016

Important School Dates
November 4 – TACHS Exam
November 8 – Election Day (schools closed)
November 11 – Veteran’s Day (schools closed)
November 24 & 25 – Thanksgiving Vacation (schools closed)

Public School Parent Teacher Conferences:
November 2 & 3 – Elementary Schools
November 15 & 16 – D75 Schools
November 17 & 18 – High Schools

Public School Directories & More 
With the 2015-1016 school year in full swing, it’s time to prepare for what’s to come beyond this year. The 2017 Middle School Directory is available for download and serves as a resource for fifth grade students who will be graduating elementary school later this year. In addition, the deadline to submit a request for Gifted and Talented testing is Monday, November 14 for students born between 2009 and 2012. For more information on Gifted and Talented Resources, middle school applications, as well as the high school admissions process and other important information from the Department of Education, bookmark our Public Schools page.

P.S. 35 Wins Blue Ribbon
Congratulations to P.S. 35 The Clove Valley School in Sunnyside on receiving a 2016 Blue Ribbon Award, an honor bestowed upon schools across the country in recognition of academic excellence. Just 20 public and private schools in New York received the award this year, ten of which are in New York City. Last year P.S. 5 received the prestigious award. Other Staten Island past winners include P.S.53, P.S.48, the Hungerford School, Staten Island Technical High School, Tottenville High School, and Port Richmond High School.

Tabs to Riches
Generosity comes in many forms, and for one particularly kind-hearted Staten Islander, it even comes in the form of soda can tabs – 37,000 soda can tabs, to be exact. 67-year-old Marvin Cohen has been collecting the tabs for two years to donate to the Ronald McDonald House, an organization which provides temporary housing to pediatric cancer patients and their families. The assisted living resident is retired and disabled, but wanted to be able to donate to help children in any way he could. After reaching out to a local news station about his collection, Cohen received a personal message of gratitude from the CEO of Ronald McDonald House, Dr. Ruth Browne. “We are very touched at the Ronald McDonald House that someone would do this for us. It really speaks to how everybody can make a difference,” she said. At sixty cents per pound, Marvin’s donation is over $250. He plans to start a new collection for the charity right away.

Property Tax Break for NYC Veterans
Finally, a very well-deserved tax break for local veterans. Governor Cuomo recently signed legislation which will grant a property tax exemption for veteran homeowners New York City. Although legislation was passed in 2013 which allowed the exemption for veterans within New York State, there was a loophole preventing veterans living within the five boroughs to receive the same benefits as those living elsewhere in the state. With the help of Senator Andrew Lanza, Assemblyman Michael Cusick and Council Members Steven Matteo and Debi Rose, the closing of this loophole will alleviate the property tax bills of more than 130,000 veterans in the city.

“It is only fitting that we show our commitment to military veterans who have sacrificed so much to protect our freedom,” Senator Lanza said. “As the proud sponsor of this bill, I think it is important that we demonstrate our unwavering commitment to honor and properly recognize our veterans’ service to America.”

Library HotSpots
Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña recently announced a new partnership with the City’s three library systems, Google and Sprint to offer free Wi-Fi hotspots available for year-long rental to public school students and families to increase internet access at home. The program addresses the needs of more than 1 in 5 New York City households who do not have home access to high-speed Internet services. The initiative – the next round of the Library HotSpot program – will launch in 46 library branches across the City, primarily in high-need neighborhoods with low internet connectivity. The branches are all located near DOE Community Schools, including Port Richmond High School and P.S. 78 here in Staten Island, but qualifying families can have students in any public school.

Eligibility to borrow one of the 5,000 free hotspots extends to City residents who are over 18, have no internet at home, have at least one public school student in grades pre-K through 12, have a fine-free library card, and attend a lending event at one of the participating branches. Currently these events are held at the Stapleton Library and the St. George Library Center in Staten Island. Click here to find out how to register for the program.

Holiday Happenings
‘Tis the season for turkey, traditions, and tons of holiday fun! But wasn’t it summer, like, yesterday? Don’t let the holidays sneak up on you this year. As the most wonderful time if the year approaches, we want to make sure you make the most of the season with your family. Head over to our Holiday Happenings section and get the scoop on holiday fairs, tree farms, charity opportunities, local holiday events, crafts, a gift guide giveaway and so much more!

Mall Closed on Thanksgiving – Sort Of
Sorry bargain hunters, but you may just have to wait a day this year for those super sales. The Staten Island Mall will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Stores will, however, have the option to open from 6pm to midnight, but it is not mandatory. The entire mall will be open the following day at 6am for Black Friday-goers. Happy shopping!

When Good Homework Goes Viral
How’s your child’s school year going? Thanks to some hilariously clever tips from a local third grader, kids across the country should be well prepared for the year. Christopher Bannon, an 8-year-old student at P.S. 69 in New Springville, is Staten Island’s newest internet celebrity after a homework assignment his mom posted to her Facebook page went viral. Christopher’s heartfelt guide to surviving the third grade includes sage advice for kids of all ages. Christopher’s mom, Melissa Barvels, says that although he was inspired by the book “Amelia’s School Survival Guide,” he came up with the tips by himself. All of this witty student’s advice is both humorous and helpful, but the number one tip to his peers is simple — “Have Fun!” Click here to check out the entire list.

New Donation Pickup Service
Good news for those of you (read: everyone) looking to make room in your closets and around your home! Instead of leaving your old stuff out by the garbage, there’s a new, easy option. GreenDrop is a company that raises money through the collection of donated clothing and household items, which is then converted into funding for charity organizations. The Pennsylvania-based company has recently expanded and now provides Staten Island families with its convenient pickup service. Donors simply schedule a home pickup at their convenience and have their donations taken care of for them– an easy alternative to the suspicious donation bins often found in shopping center parking lots. Donors will receive tax-deductible documentation and can choose one of GreenDrop’s partner charities to direct their giving to: the Military Order of the Purple Heart or the National Federation of the Blind. Last year alone, GreenDrop raised over $2.5 million to fund initiatives for our nations veterans and blind. Link to their website here.

Keeping the Faith
Congratulations the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of New York, winner of the 2016 National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award. The Seton Award commemorates individuals and organizations devoted to faithful service to Catholic education. “We are incredibly proud and humbled to receive the Seton Award from the NCEA,” said Dr. Timothy J. McNiff, Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese of New York. “Catholic schools offer the fundamentals so many of us care about – outstanding academics within a safe and nurturing community. But at the heart of the Catholic School experience are things we hold sacred – a belief in the dignity of all people, a calling to service, a pursuit of faith, a personal relationship with God, and a commitment to learning. These values prepare our students for success and good citizenry in school and beyond. We will always remain committed to these values and our students.”

E-Waste Removal Made Easy
Tired of seeing old TV’s littering side of the road? Apparently, so is the Department of Sanitation. A new pilot program will allow Staten Island residents to request curbside e-waste pickup. This includes electronic devices like TV’s, computers and their components, VCR’s, fax machines, DVD payers, cable boxes, portable music players, and video game consoles, amongst others. Pickups will take place Monday through Friday, except city holidays, and may be scheduled up to two weeks in advance. Click here to link to a full list of banned electronics or a pickup request form.

Touring Tuesdays
Are you planning to register your child for Catholic School next year? The Archdiocese of New York has announced the dates for its 2016-17 “Touring Tuesdays” events at 140 elementary schools throughout the Archdiocese of New York (which includes Staten Island’s Catholic Schools). Touring Tuesday open house events are designed to introduce prospective families to the benefits and value of a Catholic education. Since it began in 2013, Touring Tuesdays has been attended by thousands of families and resulted in more than 7,000 new student enrollments from Pre-K through Grade 8, across the Archdiocese. These open house events will take place on select Tuesdays throughout the school year from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. or by appointment. The 2016-17 dates are November 15, January 10, January 31 (takes place during Catholic Schools Week), February 14, March 14 and April 4, from 9 a.m.-11 a.m., or by appointment. Link to the Catholic Schools website here.

Parent Teacher Conferences 
It’s time for Parent Teacher Conferences! Take some time to prepare by meeting first with your child to get a heads-up on any potential problem they might be having in the classroom. Ask if there are any missing homework assignments or any upcoming projects they should be working on, or any other classroom issues you should be aware of. Take note of how long it takes your child to complete homework assignments so you can discuss with the teacher if they are on target with their time management skills. Do they need a lot of help with their work? If your child is struggling, consider their seat assignment in the classroom. Are they distracted by certain other students, traffic near their desk, proximity to windows, or use of technology? Now is the time to ask for a change or for advice on how to help them succeed this school year.

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