Community & School News September 2018

Important School Dates
Wed, Sep 05- First day for public schools
The, Sep 6 – First day for Catholic schools
Thu, Sep 06 – First full day for non-District 75 kindergarten students
Mon, Sep 10 & Tues, Sep 11 – Rosh Hashanah: public schools closed
Wed, Sep 19 – Yom Kippur: public schools closed

1,000 Public School Seats Coming to the Island
Seeing St. John Villa close its doors after 94 years last June was heartbreaking, to say the least. But the good news is the approximately seven-acre property is not destined to become merely a vacant lot or residential housing. Instead, the city has acquired the space and plans to convert it to a new public school. The new school, which Mayor de Blasio deems will be a “state-of-the-art facility” will offer over 1,000 public school seats to Staten Islanders in the area.

Borough President Oddo adequately expressed the emotions that many feel regarding the news. “This is a deeply bittersweet moment because the pain of the St. John Villa family is still palpable, and it will be that way for a long time. I recognize that,” he said in a statement. “The closure of this school will never sit well with some, and I very much understand those deep emotions. As the person responsible to represent the 500,000 people of this borough, I knew what would be even worse than St. John Villa closing would be St. John Villa closing and this bastion of education reduced into an unwanted residential development. We have seen that regrettable scenario play out nearby in recent years. I am pleased the City has stepped up in a big way to acquire this precious space. I will do all I can to ensure the learning that takes place here in the future lives up to the rich tradition of educational excellence of St. John Villa.”

Conference House Exhibit Brings Pollution Awareness to the Island
A new exhibit in Conference House Park is shedding some light on the darkness of polluted waters. Plastics: Pelagic Peril focuses on the detriments to our health, marine life and local economies that are imposed by the millions of pounds of trash floating around in the sea. The exhibit features poignant images of marine life by local artists and outlines specific actions that we all can take to protect and conserve the world’s oceans. It opens on September 13 and will be on display to the public at Conference House Park until November 17.

Festa Italiana Returns to the Mount
Last year, they called it the biggest Columbus Day celebration in Staten Island’s history. This year, they say it’s going to be even bigger. Festa Italiana is a three-day Italian heritage festival that will include games and rides for kids, live music, delicious, authentic food and more. The festival will take place on Friday, October 5th through Sunday, October 7th. Click here for more details as, including hours and admission info.

First American Girl Outlet Opens in Hershey
Finally! American Girl at discount prices! The store opened its first outlet at the Tanger Outlets in Hershey, PA last month. Markdown merchandise like discontinued dolls, clothes and accessories will be available for purchase, although the available items will change on a daily basis. The popular Truly Me collection, dolls made to resemble their owners, will always be on sale at the store. Go to for more info.

Museum Day Returns
Smithsonian’s annual Museum Day will be held on Saturday, September 22. On Museum Day, over 1,250 museums nationwide open their doors to the public for free. Here in Staten Island, the participating locations are: The National Lighthouse Museum, The Staten Island Museum, Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden, and The Noble Maritime Collection. Just over the bridge in Manhattan you can visit the Intrepid, Air, Sea & Space Museum, the New York City Fire Museum, the Museum of Arts and Design and the Museum of Chinese in America for free, among others. There are also several participating museums in New Jersey and around the other boroughs. Click here to link to more info, including the full list of participating museums and to learn how to get your free ticket to Museum Day.

2017-2018 School Calendars
They’re going baaaack! School is officially back in session on Wednesday, September 5. What’s in store for the upcoming school year? Click here to check out the Public School calendars for 2017-2018. You can also find school lunch and breakfast menus, important directories, and that link.

Standardized Test Scores Available Soon
Wondering how your child did on this year’s state tests? Scores for the 2018 standardized reading and math exams will be available on the NYC Public School website sometime this month. In previous years, the grades were released over the summer. With the new reduction of test-taking days from three to two, New York State educators needed time to review the performance standards. You can access your NYC Schools Account to view your child’s scores once they become available.

From Student to CEO
The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Academy (SICCF YEA!) is once again offering business-minded high school students the chance to learn how to start and run their own real companies. The only program of its kind in New York City, students enrolled in the YEA! program learn from local business owners and educators to develop ideas, create business platforms and then deliver pitches to local investors. Upon completion of the program, students will be running their own businesses or social movement. The program is open to students in grades 9 through 12 from public, Catholic or private schools. Classes run from October through April, every Wednesday from 3:30pm to 6:30pm at Staten Island Technical High School. Go to siparent.comClick here to link to an application and learn more about this one-of-kind program for young business owners. If you have any questions, email Kim at [email protected] or call 718.727.1900. The deadline to apply is September 15, 2018.

Fall Fundraising Walks
With summer now a memory, it’s time burn off those barbecue pounds and get back into a workout routine. Start by joining one of the many fundraising walks around Staten Island this fall? Talk about a feel good kind of workout! If you’re not into breaking a sweat, you could always make a donation instead. Every little bit helps! Here’s a list of local walks taking place this fall season.

Michael’s Cause Step for a Cure 5K Run and Walk • Sunday September 23 • Midland Beach Boardwalk
Michael’s Cause for Awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy •

Walk Like MADD • Sunday, September 26 • Clove Lakes Park
Mothers Against Drunk Driving •

Walk to End Alzheimer’s • Saturday, September 29 • College of Staten Island
Alzheimer’s Association •

Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk • Sunday, September 30 • Ikea Parking Lot 9 in Red Hook, Brooklyn
Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation •

Out of the Darkness Community Walk • Sunday, October 2 • Clove Lakes Park
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention •

Light the Night Walk • Saturday, October 13 • College of Staten Island
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society •

JDRF One Walk • Sunday, October 14 • College of Staten Island
For a World Without Type 1 Diabetes •

Autism Speaks Walk • Sunday, October 21 • College of Staten Island
Autism Speaks •

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer • Sunday, October 21 • Midland Beach Boardwalk
American Cancer Society •

Tobacco Free Staten Island’s Smoke-Free Housing Victory
With all we know about the dangers of secondhand and even thirdhand smoking, smoke-free housing should be a no-brainer. But Tobacco Free Staten Island, an organization within JCC’s Reality Check program comprised of adults and youth dedicated to promoting a healthy, tobacco-free norm, fought hard for it – and won. They shared their experience with us below.

Since the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued regulation requiring all federally funded public housing to be smoke-free, more than 400,000 NYC residents will officially have access to clean air. To public health advocates, this is a dream come true. But to others, this is a mandate on assumed rights. The policy has had reasonable controversy and has questioned NYCHA’s (New York City Housing Authority) commitments to tackling other serious problems, but it’s a start. For years, the tobacco industry has targeted low income communities through price discounting, higher density of tobacco retailers and marketing to marginalized populations. These approaches have led to high rates of smoking among low-income communities and youth. It is policies such as smoke-free housing that have helped to reduce the gaps among these communities and encourage current smokers to quit.

Having worked with many residents and served on the NYCHA Advisory Board, we knew this would be a difficult endeavor that required the participation and collaboration among multiple sectors within the city. At the table sat many individuals from diverse backgrounds with extensive experience and knowledge, all coming together with a common goal of implementing a policy and addressing barriers that we may encounter. With different views and opinions, it was clear that there would be intense conversations along the way. As the monthly meetings progressed, time was not on our side. Now, after a year and the full roll out of the policy over 300 public housing developments cross the city – including some in Staten Island –  are smoke free. The policy will help to reduce exposure of secondhand smoke to thousands of residents in the buildings. As the Surgeon General has stated, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke.

Public health policies benefit the community and can significantly impact some of the most vulnerable populations. However, there is always some resistance. It is important to recognize, that as members of the community, it is our responsibility to use our voice, to advocate for policies and action. This includes, writing letters to the elected officials or your representatives.  Speaking to local community organizations and identifying resources both available and lacking and spreading the word.  While this is a start in the right direction, there is always more work to be done.

If you are a property manager looking to implement a tobacco-free policy within your building contact Ashley Zanatta 718.475.5277 or [email protected]