Community & School News October 2016

Important School Dates
October 3-4 – Rosh Hashanah; public schools closed
October 10 – Columbus Day observed; schools closed
October 12 – Yom Kippur; public schools closed October
26 – Middle School Evening Parent Teacher Conferences
October 27 – Middle School Afternoon Parent Teacher Conferences
October 17 – TACHS Online & Phone Registration Deadline

For kids, the best adventures are usually the hands-on kind. This month, kids will have an opportunity to explore a real firetruck, school bus, tow truck, and other construction equipment at the Touch-A-Truck fundraiser. The low-cost event, hosted by the Staten Island Mental Health Society, will support local children with special needs. The event will be held at the Vanderbilt parking lot in South Beach on October 8 from 11am to 3 pm. Admission is $5 and the event will go on rain or shine. Visitors will be invited to touch and explore the trucks and meet the people who protect, build and serve the community. Admission includes entertainment, face painting, crafts and other activities for kids. Refreshments will be available.

All proceeds will benefit the diverse programs and services provided by the SIMHS for Staten Island children, teens, young adults (and their families) who are challenged with behavioral/emotional disorders, intellectual/learning disabilities, chemical addictions and other conditions. Click here to visit the Staten Island Mental Health Society’s website for more information on the Touch-A-Truck fundraiser, or call 718-442-2226.

Halloween Candy Buy Back
Candy may be sweet, but giving back is even sweeter. That’s why you should encourage your kids to give some of their candy away this year– for a good cause, of course. Several Staten Island dentists are “buying back” candy from generous youngsters by way of cash, coupons, and other creative currencies. The collected candy will be distributed to military support groups like Operation Gratitude. The following local dentists are participating in this year’s Candy Buy Back:
Kids Dental • 4864 Arthur Kill Road • 718-356-543
Phyllis G. Merlino • 268 Todt Hill Road • 718-761-2090
Dr. Michael D’Anna • 115 Seguine Ave • 718-948-4384

Click here to read about more fun Halloween trends for 2016!

Red Ribbon Week
With the highest number of drug overdose deaths in New York City, Staten Island has a very good reason to support Red Ribbon Week. According to, children of parents who talk to their teens regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of teens report having these conversations. The Red Ribbon campaign hopes to change that statistic. The organization, whose goal is to educate youth on drug prevention and spread awareness of drug-related crimes, will hold their annual Red Ribbon Week October 23-31. This year, students can also enter the Red Ribbon photo contest for the chance to win an iPad and $1,000 for their school. Click here to link to contest rules, more information on Red Ribbon Week, and to learn how you can take the Red Ribbon Pledge to be part of a drug free America.

Falling Back

It’s time to “fall back” into the shorter days and longer nights of autumn as we prepare for the end of Daylight Saving Time next month. Although your phones, cable boxes, and many other digital devices are likely to change automatically, don’t forget to set those clocks around the house back an hour on Sunday, November 6, when Daylight Saving Time ends. Enjoy the extra hour of sleep – if your kids let you, that is.

Holiday Fairs
Is your school or organization hosting a holiday fair this season? The upcoming November and December issues of S.I. Parent will feature our annual list of local holiday fairs in Staten Island. The list will also be featured online at Please email the time, date, location and additional details of your holiday fair to [email protected], with the subject line “Holiday Fairs” to ensure your event is featured on our list. Don’t let your school miss out!

Staten Island Half Marathon

On your mark, get set, GO! The Staten Island Half Marathon is set for Sunday, October 9 this year, just four weeks before the famous New York City Marathon. The race is the final run of the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Five-Borough Series, which features a different marathon for each borough throughout the course of the year. The NYRR Staten Island Half is a perfect tune-up for NYRR’s flagship event and features fabulous views of New York Harbor and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

If you enjoy running but 13.1 miles is a little much, consider signing up for the NYRR Staten Island 5K instead. The 5K is suited for runners of all experience levels. Be sure to bring the kids along! Children 2-12 years old can race the bases of Richmond County Bank Ballpark from 10:30 to noon; just be sure to sign up in advance to secure a spot for your child. Click here to find out how to register.

Education Through Music
This year is really going to rock for students at P.S. 57, P.S. 51, and P.S 39! The schools have partnered with Education Through Music (ETM) to provide music education to every student in the three Staten Island schools. 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. The organization serves nearly 27,000 New York City students from low-income communities every week.

Through this partnership, ETM hires, trains and mentors the music teacher, provides classroom set up, offers a complete curriculum and ongoing support, and provides professional development throughout the school year. P.S. 57 and P.S. 51 joined P.S. 39 on the nonprofit’s roster of Staten Island partner schools. P.S. 39, which became ETM’s premiere Staten Island partner school in 2015, launched the nonprofit’s first band ensemble in the borough for the 2016-2017 school year. Core to the nonprofit’s mission to provide all children with quality music education, no child is denied the opportunity to join the ensemble. ETM works with parents to ensure that all students, despite economic circumstances, have the ability to choose and play an instrument. Click here to learn more about ETM.

Equity in Excellence
Mayor de Blasio recently announced plans to execute rigorous education reforms to to raise student achievement. The reforms, called Equity in Excellence, will require a $186 million annual commitment by the city once fully implemented. “There is a tale of two cities in our schools, and we will not accept it. Each and every child in each and every classroom deserves a future that isn’t limited by the zip code of their birth,” de Blasio said. “Our schools must run on the twin engines of equity and excellence. These reforms take tools proven to drive success and make them the new standard for every student and every school. These are the building blocks that will ensure our students and this city can compete in a world that demands more education than at any time in our history.” The reforms announced by de Blasio include:

• Computer Science for All: Every student will receive computer science education in elementary, middle, and high school within the next 10 years.
• Universal 2nd Grade Literacy: To boost literacy, every elementary school will receive support from a dedicated reading specialist, who will ensure all students are reading on grade level by the end of 2nd grade.
• AP for All: Every high school student will have access to a range of Advanced Placement courses.
• Algebra for All: Every student will complete Algebra no later than 9th grade, enabling them to reach more advanced math courses in high school, which will better prepare them for college and careers.
• College Access for All: Every student will have the resources and individually tailored supports at their high school to pursue a path to college. This will include schools providing students with opportunities to visit a college campus, get help completing applications, be paired with a college student who can serve as a mentor, or receive support in setting a strategy with their family on how they will afford college.
• District-Charter Learning Partnerships: Up to 50 partnerships between district and charter schools through a new program to foster stronger relationships and sharing of best practices.

Every Kid in a Park
Every kid belongs in a park—every park, that is! The Obama Administration recently launched the second year of the Every Kid in a Park program, which gives fourth graders and their families free access to federal lands and waters nationwide for a full year. If your child is currently in the fourth grade, he or she can obtain a free pass that provides access to federally managed lands and waters – including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries. The pass is valid through August 31, 2017 and grants free entry for fourth graders and up to three accompanying adults (or an entire non-commercial vehicle for drive-in parks) at more than 2,000 sites across the country.

The Every Kid in a Park program will continue each year with the new class of fourth graders. After 12 years, every school-age child in America will have had an opportunity to visit their public lands and waters for free. Fourth graders can log onto the Every Kid website at and complete a fun educational activity in order to obtain and print their pass. Students can also trade in their paper pass for a more durable pass at participating federal sites nationwide.

“The Every Kid in a Park program is unlocking natural curiosity in children by encouraging them to explore our nation’s most spectacular places,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “We’re excited to welcome this year’s fourth graders and their families to our nation’s diverse parks, public lands and waters. From feeling the spray of a waterfall on their faces to peering at animals in their natural settings to understanding our rich history and culture, introducing children to their public lands can inspire a deep, lifelong connection to our country.”

GoFundMe Success
By now you’ve probably donated to at least one or two campaigns on the popular fundraising site, One particular campaign recently helped a retired teacher from Staten Island raise enough to purchase prosthetic legs for her adopted son. Born with leg deformities, her son Christian used a wheelchair most of his life. In July, Christian underwent a double leg amputation so that he could be fitted with prosthetic legs. When Laura’s health insurance couldn’t cover both legs, she created a GoFundMe page and successfully raised over $10,000. She recently updated the page with the exciting news that Christian was able to stand for the first time.
“Your generosity, thoughtfulness, support and prayers have helped us raise not only the funds needed for microprocessor or BIONIC knees, but you have lifted up our spirits and have shown us that there are good people in this world,” she wrote.

ECMO Fundraiser
Melissa Barvels was 25 weeks pregnant in December 2013 when she became gravely ill with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) as a result of contracting Swine Flu. In respiratory failure, she was quickly transferred to New York Presbyterian Hospital and placed on a machine called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, which saved her baby’s life as well as her own. She was still in a medically induced coma when her son was born three weeks later, but today both mom and son are doing fine, thanks to ECMO.

ECMO is a highly specialized treatment that is not often available, especially in adults. Melissa is hoping to raise money to continue the EMCO program and help spread the word about this lifesaving machine. The annual Staten Island Family ECMO Awareness Sunday Funday, featuring loads of entertainment and a softball tournament, has raised over $20,000 in past three years with all of its proceeds benefiting The Shiland-Maringer Fund for the Advancement of Adult ECMO, at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. This year’s event will be held on October 9, 2016 at Nansen Park in Staten Island.

Rome Through Richmond Town
Spend your Columbus Day Weekend at Historic Richmond Town! Rome Through Richmond Town is a delightful afternoon filled with Italian heritage and culture that celebrates the American experience. The free event will showcase tasty treats, colorful culture and wonderful music. This year, the kids’ plaza has expanded to include more child-friendly activities and food vendors. After a smash performance last year, Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses will be back this year to rock your socks off. Explore the experience of Italian immigrants and their impact on American history at this rich celebration for the entire family on Saturday, October 8th, 12-5pm at Historic Richmond Town.

Halloween Hoopla
Celebrate the spookiest holiday with the Borough President’s office! For one day only, Bloomingdale Park will be transformed into Boo-mingdale Park to host the annual Halloween Hoopla, a free event for kids of all ages. Kids can play games, explore the hay maze or race the clock on inflatable obstacle courses. This year’s Hoopla includes pony rides and a performance by The Rock-A-Silly Band. Come in your costume and join the costume parade, filled with chances for parents to snap a picture of their kids with various costumed characters and unique photo opportunities. And of course, no Halloween event would be complete without candy! The event takes place on Monday, October 31st, 2-5pm at Bloomingdale Park.

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